By Evie Andreou
PRIVATE adoption arrangements seem to be a point of contention between the Labour ministry and the Children’s Rights Commissioner Leda Koursoumba who argues that it should be removed from the bill the ministry is drafting to amend current adoption legislation.
The bill is reportedly at the final stages and is expected to be tabled in June.
Koursoumba, however, urged the Labour ministry to abolish private adoption arrangements that are allowed under the current law, since they endanger the best interests of the infant.
These arrangements, whereby parents of the baby agree to give it up to whoever they choose without any intervention from the welfare services, do not abide by international law and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Koursoumba argued.
“Private arrangements may be subject to financial arrangements or may involve human trafficking; the commissioner’s position is that adoptions must be made by competent state services,” an official of the Commissioner’s office told the Cyprus Mail.
If parents wish to give their baby up for adoption, the official said, and if the reasons are not financial, then they should be advised on the procedures of adoption and once they consciously decide to proceed, then the social welfare services must arrange for the baby to be given to the most suitable family.
According to the daily Politis, Labour minister Zeta Emilianidou supported private arrangements at the public consultation on the issue last April and said that on average only four adoptions had been arranged by the social welfare services, while around 40 were arranged privately.
Koursoumba argued that adoptions must always be carried out through central authorities and that since private arrangements are not allowed according to the Hague Convention in inter-governmental adoptions, they should not be allowed by national legislation either.
In the new bill, it was heard at the public consultation, all international conventions on the rights and welfare of children were taken into consideration and that there will be restrictions.
Politis also reported that the bill provides that criteria will be introduced so that couples will know whether they qualify as adoptive parents and avoid unnecessary paperwork.
In November 2013, five people, including a newborn baby’s parents and a doctor, were arrested for arranging a private adoption with a financial deal. The court had heard that the mother had agreed to take €10,000 to give her child up for adoption, after she visited the doctor for abortion and he allegedly had advised her to keep the baby and that he would assume the cost.
Koursoumba, had said that the illegal adoption case highlighted the current law’s weakness in allowing adoption via agreements of the related parties, without the need of a professional and scientific evaluation.