Believes the authorities must take full control over all adoptions
22 January 2024

The Directorate for Children, Youth and Families believes that if adoptions are not temporarily stopped, the Norwegian authorities must step in and take more control.

MUST CLEAN UP: Minister for Children and Families Kjersti Toppe has taken on the task of cleaning up Norwegian adoption practices. 

The Directorate for Children, Youth and Families (Bufdir), which is the professional authority in the adoption field, believes that there is a real risk that illegal adoptions may occur. They have therefore recently recommended to the minister a  temporary halt in all adoptions

If the minister does not follow Bufdir's recommendation, Bufdir proposes three alternative measures. 

Among other things, they will check documents in each individual case. They also propose that an adoption should only be carried out after direct cooperation between the countries' state administrations. And that requirements for soundness and legal certainty are clarified to a greater extent than today.

CONCERNED: Anders Hendriksen, divisional director of BUFDIR, is concerned that illegal adoptions will be carried out if action is not taken.

Bufdir also proposes that the scheme with adoption organizations be closed down. Or that one reduces adoption organizations from three to one or two. Which is fully financed by the state. 

- Today, the organisation's finances depend on the number of adoptions carried out, which we believe is unfortunate for their role and objectivity, writes Henriksen to TV 2.

Be safe this summer

In June, TV 2 asked whether it was appropriate to temporarily stop all adoptions , pending an investigation. Both the Directorate for Children and Families (BUFDIR) and Minister Kjersti Toppe replied at the time that it was not necessary.

- Parents wonder if they have been part of something criminal

They believed that it was safe to adopt children to Norway. 

Since then, Bufdir has  stopped adoptions from Madagascar, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, and South Korea. Now they also want a temporary stop for the rest of the countries Norway adopts from. 

What happened? 

Divisional director Anders Henriksen in Bufdir says that since the interview with TV 2 in June, an assessment of risk has been ongoing. 

- Now our assessment is that the risk of illegalities is real and at a level which means that we recommend a temporary halt until the committee that examines foreign adoptions delivers its report.

Minister of State Kjersti Toppe explains that the statements to TV 2 in June were based on the information she had at the time. She also points out that during the interview with TV 2 this summer she stressed that if information came out that adoptions were not safe, then measures had to be put in place to ensure that.

Will wait for a decision

Now Bufdir has warned the minister and asked for a temporary stop. But Toppe still does not want to make a decision until she has received more information. 

- A temporary shutdown will be invasive and must take place in an orderly manner. The investigation instructions set requirements for case investigations, and these requirements must be followed so that decisions are made on a sound basis, the minister writes to TV 2.