Excerpts from memo sent to President Bush and updated to include passage of Resolution

14 August 2006

monday, august 14, 2006

Excerpts from memo sent to President Bush and updated to include passage of Resolution


In June of 2001, the country of Romania closed legal avenues for the adoption of unwanted children by loving parents from other countries. This change in policy was done in order to answer the charges made by Romania’s former EU rapporteur of corruption in the child welfare system and a need to review the currently child welfare legislation. Unproven accusations of adoptive parents selling their children’s organs and “baby buying” fueled the EU bureaucrats request for a total ban on inter-country adoption as a condition of Romania entering the European Union. Consequently, the new legislation which was signed into law in January 2005 bans all inter-country adoptions except in the case of biological grandparents, and has left 1,100 adoptions that were in progress suspended in permanent limbo. American (and European) families have now waited 3 - 6 years to adopt children whose adoptions were in progress prior to the ban.


An “Emergency Ordinance” (EO) was issued by the Romanian government in October of 2001 to allow previously suspended adoptions in progress to proceed and new adoptions to be registered, processed and finalized.

During the EO time period, the Romanian Adoption Committee arbitrarily selected which dossiers/children were allowed to be sent to the office of former Prime Minister Nastase, whose signature was required on each dossier to allow the case to proceed to court and finalization. The date of the initial filing/registration was not a consideration. Hence the reason many of the “pending/pipeline” adoptions have waited as long as 6 years for completion. The EO was suspended in February of 2004 at the request of the former EU rapporteur.

Parents – those who had already adopted from Romania and “pending parents” - and non-government organizations (NGO’s) have been working with their Congressmen and EU Parliamentarians for the last 2 years to persuade the Romanian government to at least transparently review, with a clear set of criteria, those adoptions that were “pending” and filed prior to January 1, 2005.

A committee – “The High Level Working Group” – subsequently reviewed the pending cases and notified the waiting parents of their status between November 2005 and March of 2006.

The initial and long-awaited “review” of the pending/pipeline Romanian adoptions is unacceptable. With the exception of biological grandparents, or those parents who have permanent residency in Romania, all of the cases were denied. The “High Level Working Group” that reviewed these dossiers was made up of individuals, suggested by former EU rapporteur Baroness Nicholson, who have publicly stated they are against inter-country adoption and were clearly biased.

The Romanian government also used contradictory arguments as to their denials stating that dossiers were reviewed under the criteria of the 2001 Emergency Ordinance (EO), and yet denied under the current child welfare laws which came into effect Jan. 1, 2005.

The Romanian government has stated these children did not meet the EO “exceptional criteria”. These denied cases represent disabled children and children over the age of 3. However, healthy babies and non-disabled children were finalized for adoption during the EO. In reading the EO there is no “exceptional criteria”.

The Romanian government states that there are less than 1,000 children available for adoption domestically – ironically the number of pending/pipeline cases (they have stated that some of the original 1,100 pending/pipeline children have already been domestically adopted or placed with their biological families). This is because all children who were declared legally abandoned prior to Jan. 1, 2005 (approximately 5,000) must now go back to court and be declared legally abandoned again in compliance with the new legislation, which voids their previous court documents. This number does not include children who have been abandoned since 2004. According to a UNICEF study issued in January of 2005, 9,000 children are abandoned each year in Romania and the numbers have not changed in 30 years. The Romanian government currently has not the funding or the professional staff to take these children’s cases to court. Additionally, in their attempts to appease select EU officials they have no interest in expanding their current statistics of abandoned children. It should be noted that Romanians rarely adopt Roma children (73% of abandoned children) or children over the age of 2. It is unheard of to adopt a disabled child.

We know that many of the pending/pipeline cases have not been domestically adopted, “reunited” with their birth families, or are living in foster care. We also have proof that currently Romanian social workers are being paid 20 Euros for every child in state care that can be placed with their biological family.

In December of 2005, an amendment to Romania’s EU Accession report was unanimously approved by EU Parliamentarians in which Romania was asked to allow these pending adoptions to be finalized. On July 6, 2006, 408 European Union Parliamentarians – including Romania’s current EU rapporteur and VP of the EU Parliament - signed Declaration 23, calling on Romania to allow these dossiers to be reviewed again and the children allowed inter-country adoption. The Romanian government can no longer use the excuse that their EU membership is at stake.

U.S. Senate Resolution 359 passed unanimously on July 27th, 2006. U.S. House Resolution 578, an identical Resolution, passed unanimously in April 2006. These Resolutions call on the government of Romania to allow the pending/pipeline adoptions to be reviewed again by an unbiased committee and proceed to finalization where appropriate.

Proposed Solution:

An unbiased committee should be set- up as soon as possible to review these pending/pipeline cases again, with a view to allowing adoptions to be finalized that meet transparent and clearly defined criteria. Pierre Moscovici, Romania’s current rapportuer and VP of Parliament, could designate select committee members and the criteria used to review these cases. Verifiable evidence (court documents) should be provided to those parents and their governments who were told their children were domestically adopted or returned to their biological families. In many cases, we have found this is not true.

posted by Steve! @ 12:46 PM