Senate Passes Landrieu Resolution on Romanian Adoption Policy

2 August 2006

Senate Passes Landrieu Resolution on Romanian Adoption Policy

Senate resolution urges Romania to reinstate international adoption.

August 2, 2006

WASHINGTON — The Senate unanimously last week passed, S. Res. 359, a resolution sponsored by United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., that sends a strong message to Romanian President Traian Basescu that Romania should decrease barriers to adoption, both domestic and international, thus improving the well-being of their children.

"My hope is that the U.S. Senate's unanimous support for this resolution will encourage Romania to get rid of its law prohibiting international adoption," said Sen. Landrieu, co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption. "Tens of thousands of Romanian children today remain without permanent families when Americans and Europeans are willing to give these children safe homes."

The resolution's passage coincided with President Basescu's visit with President Bush July 27. The House passed an identical resolution, H. Res. 578, on April 6, demonstrating that both chambers of Congress want Romania to resume international adoptions.

In 2004, Romania passed a law restricting adoption to biological grandparents. In addition to ending international adoptions of Romanian children, the law's enactment has greatly reduced the number of domestic adoptions. The Senate resolution urges Romania to amend its law and remove domestic and international adoption barriers.

The resolution also asks Romania to process the adoption cases that were pending when the 2004 law was enacted. Prior to the law, 211 Romanian children were matched for adoption with American parents, and 1,500 children were matched for adoption with Western European parents. None of these children have been placed with their matched adoptive parents.

"Romania should swiftly allow the 1,711 children who were already matched with families abroad to be placed with their adoptive parents," Sen. Landrieu said. "These orphaned or abandoned children, like children all over the world, deserve the chance to have a real family and a loving home."

In March 2005, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported that more than 9,000 children a year are abandoned in Romania. There are approximately 37,000 children living in Romanian orphanages and 49,000 children living in foster care and in other temporary arrangements.

In 1994, Romania signed the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, which says that when no domestic family can be found, international adoption can be used to find an orphaned or abandoned child a permanent family.