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Balancing the right to know of adoptees and privacy of biological families: Is the Contact Veto Provision the way to go?

By Vivian J. Salles Vieira Pinto

Introduction

The right to know is the core of the right to identity of adoptees, as it allows them to pursue their own biological information. The identity of one`s biological parent – a simple, straightforward information for many – is a significant missing piece in adoptees’ history. Questions such as: who are my biological parents? Where did I come from? Why was I put up for adoption? What is my family's medical history? These inquiries, though seemingly commonplace, underscore the profound impact of the right to know on adoptees' self-identity. While the legal definition of the right to know is still a matter of debate, this right seems to function as a mechanism for exercising the right to one's own identity. By exercising the right to know, the adoptee should be able to collect pertinent data to construct their own identity, which can be significantly compromised in adoption scenarios. The right to identity is a comprehensive and all-encompassing right that ensures individuals have the right to exist and enjoy their rights within society, including the right to have a name and surname, nationality, gender, and date of birth.

Unravelling the complexities, this blog post aims to shed light on the intricate interplay between the right to know of adoptees and the right to privacy of biological families in adoption scenarios, particularly concerning the role of the Australian Contact Veto Provision (CVP) in this context. In this regard, the Australian CVP in New South Wales is especially noteworthy. It is one of the few jurisdictions that enforce legislative measures to prevent adoptees from contacting their birth parents. This type of provision was also previously enacted in Tennessee and subsequently repealed in 2022, rendering it ineffectual due to its shortcomings. In 2001, Ireland attempted to implement a CVP in the Draft scheme of a bill on adoption information and post-adoption contact, which was later removed.

The right to know

Woman was not successful - sentenced for hate speech again

The verdict is unanimous. The woman who called Celine Song Mee Nilsen (28) "damn Chinese" on Barcode has again been convicted of racism.


Last year, the accused woman was sentenced to 21 days in unconditional prison for hate speech, reckless behavior and violence against Nilsen.

The woman appealed the case , and now she has also been sentenced in the Court of Appeal.

- I am so grateful to be believed, both in the district court and the court of appeal. This shows that racism is unacceptable and that the legal system cracks down on it. Justice has prevailed, says Celine Nilsen to VG.

The woman's lawyer Kim Ellertsen tells VG that he has not had time to familiarize himself with the new sentence, and does not want to comment immediately.

Europe winds down adoptions from South Korea

Northern European countries are scaling back their long-standing overseas adoption programs following reports of illegal practices, a move that will likely impact South Korea, one of the leading countries in sending babies abroad for adoption.

Norway is contemplating a temporary suspension of all international adoptions after local news outlet Verdens Gang exposed illegalities and corruption in the process of bringing in foreign-born babies to be adopted by Norwegian families. The primary countries sending babies to Norway include South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan and Colombia.

The news report claimed that an adoptee from Korea discovered, from a hidden letter, that she was taken away from her Korean biological parents 50 years ago and was sent away for adoption. In a similar case, another adoptee found out that she was secretly sent to Norway by her grandmother without the consent of a biological father.

On Tuesday, one of Norway's top policy bodies recommended a suspension in intercountry adoptions while authorities investigate the alleged document fabrication, legal violations, profiteering, and abduction involved in the process.

“Adoptions must be safe, sound and in the best interest of the child,” said Hege Nilssen, head of the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs. “Our assessment is that the risk of illegalities is real.”

CM Sukhu urges wealthy people to adopt orphans residing in childcare centres

Shimla, Jan 18 (PTI) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Thursday appealed the wealthier section of the society to adopt children residing in the childcare centres and provide them a safe and bright future. He visited a childcare home at Tutikandi here where Jyoti (original name withheld), residing at the centre, was adopted […]


Shimla, Jan 18 (PTI) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Thursday appealed the wealthier section of the society to adopt children residing in the childcare centres and provide them a safe and bright future.

He visited a childcare home at Tutikandi here where Jyoti (original name withheld), residing at the centre, was adopted by her new parents in the chief minister’s presence under the ‘Mukhya Mantri Sukh Ashray Yojana’.

Sukhu lauded the couple for their noble gesture and encouraging wealthier section of the society to opt for adoption.

“The government understands the problems faced by the orphans and other weaker sections of the society, therefore the Mukhya Mantri Sukh Ashray Yojana has been started in the state,” an official statement quoted him as saying. Sukhu said the state government was arduously working for the welfare of the weaker sections of the society.

Taiwan affected by international adoptions decision

Taiwan affected by international adoptions decision

Staff writer, with CNA

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International adoptions from Taiwan are conducted according to the Hague Adoption Convention and no reports of illegal cases have been received, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said yesterday after Norway and Denmark on Tuesday suspended international adoption from several countries, including Taiwan, pending an investigation into alleged illegal operations.

Social and Family Affairs Administration Director Chien Hui-chuan (簡慧娟) said that 215 children were adopted in Taiwan in 2022, with 110 of them international adoptions, including 62 to the US, 15 to Sweden, 10 to the Netherlands, and one each to Norway and Denmark.

Nearly half a million children in Europe and Central Asia live in residential care facilities

'Long road ahead before ending Europe and Central Asia’s long, painful legacy’ of institutionalisation of children, as new UNICEF report highlights rate of children living in residential care across region is double the global average


GENEVA, 18 January 2024 – Nearly half a million children – or 456,000 – across Europe and Central Asia live in residential care facilities, including large-scale institutions, according to a new report published today by UNICEF.

Pathways to Better Protection: taking stock of the situation of children in alternative care in Europe and Central Asia notes that the rate of children living in residential care facilities across Europe and Central Asia is double the global average, with 232 per 100,000 children living in residential care facilities compared to 105 per 100,000 globally.

“We have a long way to go before ending Europe and Central Asia’s long and painful legacy of institutionalising children. While there have been some improvements, progress has been far from equal. Children with disabilities have largely been left behind,” said Regina De Dominicis, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia.

Western Europe has the highest rate of children in residential care facilities at 294 per 100,000 children – nearly triple the global average. While facilities in Western Europe tend to be small and integrated into communities, there remains an overreliance on residential care instead of family-based care. The higher rate is partly due to an increase in unaccompanied and separated children and young people seeking asylum in Europe in recent years.

Adopted woman: Can it really be right that it is the childless couples that we should have sympathy for here?

As an adoptee, I live with holes in my heart that can never be healed. The risk that I have been trafficked is horrific. I am happy that Denmark is closing international adoption.

 

On Facebook I read the following message:

"Today may be my birthday. This day brings me sadness and reminds me of my lack of foundation, but today I want to celebrate myself despite my sadness, because this year I fill up'.

 

In Norway, a Proposed Ban on Foreign Adoptions Rattles All Sides of a Heated Debate

A policy body recommended this week that the country halt all foreign adoptions amid allegations of stolen children, falsified paperwork and for-profit adoption schemes.


One Norwegian woman only discovered via an old letter, hidden for 50 years, that she had been taken from her Korean parents. Another was taken from her home while she was stricken with polio; a woman had arrived and said she was taking the girl to medical care but instead took her to an orphanage. Yet another woman was given up to an orphanage by a vindictive grandmother, trying to break up her son’s marriage.

In each case, the women believed for their entire lives that they had been unwanted, given up or orphaned by their biological parents. The truth, though, could not have been more different.

Theirs are but a sliver of stories that have rattled Norway’s — and, potentially, greater Europe’s — robust foreign adoptions industry. On Tuesday, one of Norway’s top policy bodies recommended a halt to all foreign adoptions amid a probe into allegations of stolen children, forged paperwork and illegal, adoption-for-profit schemes. On the same day, Denmark’s sole foreign adoption agency announced it would be winding down its own operations following similar concerns.

The recommendation in Norway, sweeping in its scope, took all sides of the adoption debate by surprise.

Adoption: High cost, tedious process spike illegal sale of babies - Business Hallmark

Many Nigerian couples desiring to adopt babies, whether out of social responsibility or childlessness are finding it increasingly difficult to realize their objective as a result of the obstacles they are facing. Before now, it required just a formal documentation and payment of a moderate administrative fee to the caregivers, whether orphanage or social welfare of government to get a baby.

However, given the rising awareness of Nigerians about adoption and the nefarious activities of child traffickers and ritualists, demand has skyrocketed, and both the price of babies and the process have become frustrating, which is driving the business underground. Recently, there were reports of many northern children being sold to couples in the south for adoption illegally.

Child adoption is said to take lengthy of time for it to be fully completed, most experts put it at between 2 to 5 years processing period. In Lagos, to commence adoption process, the couple concerned will have to go to the Ministry of Youth and Social Welfare to collect adoption form, thereafter, there’s a slew of bureaucracy that discourages intending couple and this tends to slow the desire for formal adoption, even after paying a reasonable fees charged by the ministry.

On account of this, many couples, according to findings, tend to patronize many orphanage homes, especially the unregistered ones where the process is faster.

The registered homes often follow the Ministry’s guidelines.

Couple approved for adoption left in limbo: 'We feel forgotten by the system'

37 Danish families were on a waiting list when the mediator of international adoptions, DIA, put an end to all adoptions from abroad.

 

The couple Sanne and Morten Kjær Tornøe from Randers have been approved for adoption since January last year. They got on the waiting list to receive a child from Taiwan in August.

It was not many days ago that they were last in contact with the organization Danish International Adoption (DIA), which is the only organization in Denmark that mediates international adoptions.

At that time, the couple was assured that there was no danger that the DIA would stop their adoptions to Denmark.