Tough report on adoptions from abroad: cabinet urged to stop

The adoption of children from abroad must be stopped completely for the time being. A committee led by former top civil servant Tjibbe Joustra draws this conclusion in a report to be published, sources around the cabinet report. The outgoing government team is very upset with the recommendations.

Jan Hoedeman 05-02-21, 03:00

In a harsh judgment about the Dutch adoption culture and the role of the government in this, mention is made of ‘serious abuses’. The committee identified child theft, child trafficking, corruption, forgery and theft of documents, unethical acts of civil servants and the transfer of children to the Netherlands under false pretenses.

The Joustra committee has mainly focused on adoptions of children from Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Joustra researched the thirty years between 1967 and 1997, but encountered a permanent and structural problem that still persists. Because contemporary adoption practice is still not good enough, bringing children to the Netherlands should stop for the time being, the advice is.

Today in the cabinet
Today the Council of Ministers will discuss the report that will be published on Monday. Not all squadrons in the government team are in favor of a stop on adoption. The ongoing adoption procedures should go ahead, some believe. A stop should therefore relate to new applications.

The Joustra Committee also believes that the Netherlands should apologize for the way in which the Dutch government facilitated adoption from the five countries for thirty years. In addition, the suffering of children and parents from those countries must be recognized. That is why the committee wants a reporting point in countries from which Dutch parents adopt to report abuses.

There has been a fierce discussion between ministers about the apologies, insiders report. The question is which ministry has made the most mistakes and has to make reparations: Foreign Affairs or Justice and Security.

The reason for setting up the Joustra Commission was information about illegal adoptions from Brazil in the 1970s and 1980s. It showed that officials had cooperated in this, but were kept out of the wind. A police investigation at the time concluded that parents had been guilty of criminal acts, but all cases were dropped.

The Joustra committee encountered so many abuses that the investigation period of the committee was previously extended by three months. Besides Joustra, the committee consists of professor Beatrice de Graaf and mr. Bert-Jan Houtzagers. They were allowed to hear officials and be shown any documents they wished. The report will be published on Monday.