Conflict of Interest of FIOM-ISS in roots searches for adoptees

Last year ACT wrote to the Dutch Minister of Justice to inform him about the serious conflict of interest that the FIOM-ISS has regarding the roots-searches of adoptees.

Note about FIOM/ISS
15 November 2019

The Ministry of Justice considers the involvement of the FIOM in the planning of the funding for organisations which execute searches for adoptees for their families in the sending countries.

This non-exhaustive note points towards a number of conflicts of interest and other concerns.

According to the Ministry, FIOM and ISS should not be seen as one, but

  • The FIOM and ISS merged in 1999.[1] Thus they cannot be at all considered to be separate.

ISS has a long history and deep involvement in intercountry adoptions.

In India for example, the ISS correspondent was ICSW who advised, since 1972, the Indian court in each individual case.[2] That means that in many of the wrongful adoptions ISS was involved as a ‘clearing house’.

In Colombia, the ISS correspondent is ICBF through which every adoption passed, and since the Hague Convention also is the central authority. ICBF/ISS was thus involved in every wrongful adoption in Colombia.

In Bangladesh, ISS was involved in setting up the adoption system. It was ISS advising the President in Bangladesh in 1972 on the adoption law. They also mediated a few adoptions themselves from Bangladesh.[3]

Moreover, ISS Netherlands was represented on the board of the state-subsidised BIA, together with representatives of the ministry of justice. [4]

Mr. Ruud Deibel was Director of the FIOM, as well as of the Board of SIA, then he worked for the Ministry of CRM and as BIA was set up he was member of the Board of BIA.[5]

The below article reconfirms this.

Source: Leidsch Dagblad | 1973 | 25 april 1973 | pagina 7

Summarising, these examples show a clear conflict of interest in involving the FIOM/ISS in anything that concerns roots searches.

Any involvement of FIOM/ISS with intercountry adoption post-adoption services and/or roots-searches would be inappropriate.

[1] See: accessed 15.11.2019

[2] Rule 316-B: “ when a foreigner makes an application for being appointed as the guardian of the person of property of a minor, the Prothonotary and Senior Master shall address a letter to the Secretary of the Indian Council of Social Welfare, informing him of the presentation of the application and the date fixed for the hearing thereof. He shall also inform him that any representation which the Indian Council of Social Welfare may make in the matter would be considered by the Court before passing the order on the application”

[3] Book: „ Picking up the pieces“ Mustafa Chowdhury, 2015

[4] Justitiele Verkenning; nummer 4/1979; Adoptie van buitenlandse kinderen page 12 „.. Om deze reden wordt in mei 1975 een centraal bureau opgericht, het Bureau Interlandelijke Adoptie, afgekort `BIA’, die de bemiddelingsactiviteiten van de op dat moment bestaande verenigingen overnam. In het bestuur van het BIA zijn de verschillende ouderverenigingen vertegenwoordigd, evenals het Ministerie van Justitie, de Raden voor de Kinderbescherming, en de Stichting International Social Service, afdeling Nederland. Het BIA wordt door het Ministerie van Justitie gesubsidieerd.

[5] Page 74, footnote, Kinderen die niet konden bliven, Rene Hoksbergen, reads as follows:“…Zie Verslag 1971 en Deibel, 1991. Ruud Deibel was aanvankeliijk directeur van de FIOM en lid van het bestuur van de SIA, later werkzaam bij het ministerie van CRM en vanaf de oprichting van het BIA tot an zijn overlijden op 12 februari 1997, lid van het BIA bestuur….“