“Opaque” system causes dwindling adoption rate

26 August 2015

“Opaque” system causes dwindling adoption rate


Congolese children 'rescued' by minister Boschi last year

ROME- Italy sees an all-time low in adoptions this year, with associations citing the cost, the waiting time and no guarantee of a child as being the primary reasons for the decline. In 2010, 4130 children were adopted in Italy whilst in the first half of 2014 there were only 950 adoptions, a 30 percent decrease from the same period in 2010. Analysts say that this year shows a further decrease.

In Gabicce Mare, west of Florence, a two-day conference on the issue began on Wednesday in which Italy and other European countries such as France and Spain came together in the hope of raising adoption rates. The organisers of the event, l’Associazione amici dei bambini (The Friends of Children Association) said that the principal reason for a decrease in requests was due to exorbitant costs.

The average total of these costs however are not easy to find, even through the government-owned adoption association the International Adoption Commission (CAI.) In Italy, “DIY” adoptions are illegal and so couples interested must go through associations such the CAI, foundations, NGOs and intermediate groups- which have to be certified- to act between the interested party and the foreign country of the child. A visit on their official website shows only outdated figures irrelevant to shedding light on total costs.

In fact, those interested in adoption only realise the costs after attending a “group meeting”, when they are informed of the adoption procedure: numerous tests, appointments with psychologists, psychiatrists and magistrates, and several documents are required to finally receive approval from the Juvenile courts. All these stages could take years, due to funds, slow response from the foreign countries, and flights to visit the child also incurring further costs.

According to Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, the most expensive children to adopt are Russians, costing approximately 35,000 euros. To adopt a Vietnamese child costs 30,000 euros and a Peruvian, 22,000.

Another deterrent for those interested in adoption has been that many Italian couples have received no word on their adopted child even after completing the standard procedures. A famous case is that of 2013, when 48 Italian parents adopted Congolese children.

Despite some of the children arriving on Italian soil dramatically with Reform Minister Maria Elena Boschi amid a glare of publicity in May 2014, the children have been in an orphanage since with apparently no information given to their prospective parents. The halt was said to be due to the Congolese authorities blocking the adoptions in light of a case of a child-trafficking American family according to Il Fatto Quotidiano.

The head of UFAI, the Italian Union of Adoptive Families, Elena Cianflone has launched a petition for the CAI to provide greater transparency regarding the potential costs of adoption, and to update the approximate costs as regularly as possible. Pope Francis, before taking up office in the Vatican, had also sounded in on the issue, calling for “improvements in the adoption system, which involves too much bureaucracy and favours corruption.”