SOS Children's Villages' standpoint regarding adoption

31 October 2007

31/10/2007 - In war-torn regions in both Chad and Sudan SOS Children's Villages provides psychosocial care to children and women suffering from trauma and trauma-related symptoms. It is especially in emergency and crisis situations such as these that exceptional care should be taken to prevent the separation of children from their families. SOS Children's Villages regrets the situation in which the 103 children in Chad find themselves and we hope that every effort will be made to reunite them with their families and that their well-being be protected at all times.

SOS Children's Villages aims to support children and families in need. The central principle of our work is that every child should grow up in a family, where possible in his or her own family and in his or own familiar environment. It is our aim and conviction that children should grow up learning their native language within their own culture. When a child is at risk of losing parental care we seek to strengthen the support system through programmes aimed at strengthening their coping skills, ensuring their access to essential services, and providing medical, educational, and psycho-social support. A second line of support stems from the extended family and the community.

When parents are unable to take care of a child in spite of interventions, in first instance a solution is sought within these spheres. A child may be considered for admission to an SOS Children's Villages when there are no possibilities for long-term care within the extended family or the community. By rule SOS Children's Villages works with local and national youth welfare authorities. Not only do we depend on this cooperation with and support of the government, we consider the building of local capacity for long-term family based child care a vital element of our work. In our work with children who have lost parental care, in most cases the legal guardianship over children is not with SOS Children's Villages but with the parents, some other relatives, or the youth welfare authorities.

SOS Children's Villages principally has a positive attitude towards adoption as it is one channel to find good care for a child. International adoption can offer a good solution if and when the local possibilities have been exhausted, the proper legal channels have been followed and the fundamental principles of international adoption, as established by the Hague Convention on Intercountry adoption, have been met. The same principles apply for adoption as for admitting a child to an SOS Children's Village: one has to consider whether it is the best way to care for that particular child. One important principle in our work is that siblings should not be separated. This can be problematic in cases of adoption as it is usually considered for individual children.