Children for sale or how much it costs to adopt a child of black? This reporter showed New Marina Tsekova in a series of materials adoption scheme
October 15, 2014
Marina Tsekova Source: Nova TV
Children for sale or how much it costs to adopt a child? This showed Nova TV reporter Marina Tsekova in a number of investigations about the scheme of adoption.
It turned out that adoption for money has been a practice since years. There is no official price list, but the amounts start at 10 000 Levs and can reach € 30,000.While the responsible institutions deny the existence of such practices, the trade runs at full speed.
Why chop the most expensive? Where is the control of the state and will let you know the fate of our children fall into the vicious circle. “Catch 22” – meets Marina Tsekova.
– Marina, how long have you worked on this investigation and where did you actually hear about this corrupt practice?
– The investigation took about two months. We had to wait a long time to collect information because the subject is extremely sensitive and any thoughtless word or statement can ruin the reputation of a person or institution. During the investigation we found a number of families who had paid for children. Because they committed a crime, logically, they refused to stand before our cameras. But they gave us valuable information on how to get the material.
– From the story you’ve seen that this is actually a very well-oiled scheme. Do you have information on how long it lasts and how many families have paid to adopt a child? Have other families alerted you?
– Adoption for money is the practice since years. Judge about the stories of people who have paid for a child. The trade is very difficult to show and prove. People who adopt in our country do this mainly because of their inability to have children of their own. Pressed by their position, they are ready to do everything to be parents. Therefore, those who have paid – are silent. And those who want their money – are also silent because they know that if they talk, the system will not protect them and will punish them.
In our investigation we found an exception – a family that has and can have children. So for them to tell their truth was more important than going home with a child.
– We have seen that if you want to adopt a child, you must pay at least 10 500 lev – 10 000 lev for a lawyer and 500 lev for the social worker. You mention, however, that for other children they demanded an amount of about € 15,000. How to reach which price and what determines that exactly?
– Officially there is no price list. Fortunately there is no showroom. We learned that attorney’s fees start at 10 000 lev. But this is the price for Bulgarians. If the family is a foreigner, the requested amount can be up to € 15,000. If the family is abroad – I know about tariffs up to € 30,000. However, the price depends on the requirements of the family. The less white and healthy the child is – the more expensive. I shudder saying that. For between life and money there should not be a sign of equality.
– On the one hand we heard Noble Buneva lawyer, who explained how the social worker takes about 500 lev to move faster the adoption procedure. On the other hand, it was the chairman of the Council for adoption himself, Cvetelina Vassileva, who held this post for 10 years, who “does not believe” such practices exist. According to you, where is the truth?
– I am trying to exclude personal opinion in dealing with similar themes and to show all perspectives. I believe that our viewers are smart enough and educated to be able to form their own conclusions.
– And where is this control of the state? Who keeps track of all these tips in adoption and what is their role in the case?
– This is a very interesting question. The Adoption Council is part of the structure of the Agency for Social Assistance. And this agency must verify and supervise their work. It’s like I’m a reporter and editor, that is – I write and edit too. There should be a separation of roles. For the investigation we found that regular inspections of the centers are only done by the council after violations are whistled. In such a case, and in the absence of publicity, we cannot expect results.
– “Hope for the Little Ones” – the foundation that manages the home, immediately issued a statement denying such practices with and even accused the family of Patrick and Sarah that they themselves have offered money. Is it possible that attempts of sale of children happen without the knowledge of the Foundation, which manages home? That is, “Hope for the Little Ones” in this case is outside the scheme and this is happening without their knowledge?
– Our team approaches very closely with the foundation, because in practice it is an indirect participant in the events. Its chairman himself insisted, however, to participate in the story after the explicit refusal to interview the accused of demanding bribes Kristeva. Several times I talked with Mr. Georgiev and I pledged that his version of events does not remain hidden. I have kept that promise. Again, my job is not to represent my personal opinion, but to show different perspectives. From now, assessing who is the victim and who is to blame is in the hands of the viewer.
– The report also said that there are various ways to circumvent the system. So is it true?
– The doors to the system are numerous. Often families do not fit into the register of adoptions, and look for a woman who’s giving birth and intends to abandon her child. In maternity hospital, the adoptive father recognizes the child and so it directly goes to the new family, without going through the system of “Social Assistance.” The rates of these women are different – from a few thousand lev to an own house. Another option is for parents to fall in love with a child and then giving the appropriate amount to ascribe the child serious illness. Adoptive parents often take in their home a seriously ill child. After three rejections, the family can legally adopt the child. Often the adoption goes through foster care. The family chooses the child, as the system of foster care permits such practice. They care for a selected girl or boy for a year, then by law the adoption of this particular child is possible.
– What about the lawyer Buneva Noble, who is more than clearly part of this scheme. Will there be a punishment for her?
– This is a more interesting question. The answer is “I do not know”. So far the prosecution has not called us, as should happen in such cases.
– The family of Sarah and Patrick said they have filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office, and that they wrote to the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, with suggestions on how to change the law on adoption. According to you, what steps in this direction should be taken – what needs to change in the law in order to have a truly effective adoption policy?
– I wonder if the law is the problem or people who apply. There are countries where parents can choose their children. I do not know whether this is the best option. Because then it will become even more lively. I would be relaxed, however, if I know that the people who enforce the law do their job. Then again would probably unhappy, but not blackmail.
– In Western countries, adoption of a child as if it was turned into a cause. In our country’s misery or walking, or it became clear trade. Who do you think has the advantage to win back the children?
– Won anyone can get to parse (quoting lawyer Buneva). At least our chain were lawyers, social of the lowest to the highest level, the members of the councils for adoption. And no excuse “I take 400 lev and so so.”
– Lawyer Buneva said there are 20 children for adoption and 7500 candidates … Is this the real statistics?
– We visited Buneva lawyer with a hidden camera. This is the time to thank one of the bravest and best journalists in television, who took the role of adoptive mother. It stipulated that – a child under one year old, white, a Bulgarian girl. Such children are few. Annually the number of children for adoption in the country is around 2000 but most of them are of Roma origin. Because of the cumbersome process, many of them did not wait for a parent in his early years, and at 5 years of age, almost nobody wants them. Because then inclusion in the family is very difficult. Lawyer Buneva commits us to be among the first to acquire the appropriate child. Although the law parents have no right to choose the child.
– Again she showed pictures of children – almost all of them have already given up for adoption abroad. What this means – even if you agreed to pay the required amount a foreign may adopt a Bulgarian child?
– It showed pictures of children from abroad because the parents had allowed. She argues that there are many more photos of children who are adopted in-country. Their parents did not want their faces to smile from the wall, lest anyone recognize a child who does not know he’s adopted. Interestingly, by law foreigners can adopt Bulgarian children with severe disabilities and after they were denied 3 times our adopters. We saw the pictures and – at least at first glance – we have not seen a child with a severe disability.
– Director of the Foundation “Hope for the Little Ones” Petromir Georgiev said that this accusation is groundless and “there can be no evidence.” According to him, you may have invented the whole scheme and is there enough evidence? My question is in the context of a number of investigative reports that show how to buy electoral votes, for example, and the result is no. What are the risks the same “Catch 22” to be repeated here?
– A second ago, I opened a letter from social assistance which denied all allegations. The Foundation also vehemently denied. Prosecutors are silent. Meanwhile stall again stretched and trade flows with full force. Things will change when people stop to think about homeless children as “nobody’s children.” They are “our children”. And the responsibility is shared.
– What to expect from your next reports on the subject?
To continue. After the system is bristling material breach and will not be easy. But I urge all people who have ever been touched by such corruption not to keep quiet. Contact us. Because that’s how changes begin.