Biological parents have the right to contact with adopted children

DENMARK 8 MAY 2013 KL. 1.23

When a child is adopted, it must not be cut off from contact with the original parents. That states the Appeals Board under the Ministry of Social Affairs as a result of the cases of Amy and Masho. It can change practice.

A total reorientation of our whole perception of adoption.

It is a new opinion of the Parliamentary Ombudsman from the Appeals Board under the Ministry of Social Affairs result, experts believe.

It finds namely that the right to family life and thus contact between children and indigenous parents are protected, even if a child has been given new legal parents through adoption.

‘The opinion is a violation of the manner in whichwe hitherto perceived adoption, where ownership of the adopted child very clearly belonged to the adoptive parents, “said assistant professor at Aarhus University Lene Myong, who has researched transcultural adoptions and sees an important fundamental recognition that adoptees may have family in the donor country who want contact.

Senior lecturer in social law Stine Jørgensen believes that statement puts a big question on the concept of adoption. “We think that with adoption, the child got some new legal parents, and thus ended. But in reality, there are still biological parents, so it is a kind of legal fiction in which one constructs a new legal family relationship, “said Stine Jørgensen, University of Copenhagen.

The Ombudsman questions

The Ombudsman has sought to clarify whether adopted children have the right to contact with their original family. The occasion was the media coverage of the cases of the two Ethiopian adoptees Amy and Masho. He now finds the statement that ‘the right of an adopted child and its original parents to support a family, which was established prior to the adoption, in the form of contact with each other as a starting poin,t is protected ‘by the European Convention on Human Rights.

It especially will affect the approximately 1,500 children who have been adopted after 2009, when a new Danish Adoption Act came into force.

Arun Dohle from the European NGO Against Child Trafficking, which fights against unethical adoption practices has read the statement: “If I have understood the report correctly, it is a very big step forward, but shows how bizarre the system is. This can not only cause the system wide open cracks, but can totally get it to go to deadlock. ”

Amy’s case as an example
both adoption agencies in Denmark and parents organization Adoption and Society have indicated that they welcome the ‘open adoptions’, where there is a continuing contact between the child and the biological family.

However, according to Arun Dohle, it is not so simple.

In the final analysis open adoptions could lead to a stream of younger children from poor countries for a temporary stay in Denmark. ‘If Amy’s case should serve as a model for future adoptions of older children, you can continue to say to vulnerable families: Just send your children to Denmark because Denmark will ensure that the child visits you every year, and that it may come back when it’s got a good education, ” he says.