by: Ainsley Pavey
From: The Courier-Mail
March 26, 2013 1:00AM
TWO children embroiled in an international adoption scandal are being relocated to Australia amid allegations they are part of a child smuggling racket.
The Family Court of Australia has cleared the way for the children to leave their Mediterranean island home, three years after their adoption by an Australian couple.
Justice Kirsty Macmillan revealed the toddlers had spent their lives “effectively stranded” on the island since the breakdown of their adoptive parents’ marriage in 2010.
The four-year relationship ended a day after the High Court of Greece legalised the adoption, which the adoptive father now claims was illegal. He has launched an appeal against the court ruling in Greece on the grounds his wife obtained the children through a “black market child smuggling scheme”.
It is a claim the adoptive mother has denied, but the legal tussle has left her and the children stranded, surviving on funds from her family.
“It is the husband’s case that the children were placed in the wife’s care before his arrival in Greece and it was only, he says, after he arrived in Greece that he became aware that payment had been made for the children, which he says, was above and beyond what he had thought was the standard charges associated with adoption,” Justice Macmillan said. “The wife denies the adoption was illegal or part of a black market child smuggling scheme.”
According to the judgment, the couple went through a lengthy process in Greece to adopt the two children, which involved setting up a home on an adjacent island, undergoing medical tests, lengthy interviews with a social worker and a two-day court hearing.
Despite sympathising with their plight, the father “does not wish to have anything to do with them”.
The judge said the adoptive father was concerned about his child-support obligations if the children were allowed to move to Australia with their adoptive mother.
But she said the children were legally his and he was obliged to help support them.