The "unadoptable", the children that nobody wants – opinion article by Nuno Cardoso-Ribeiro at Público

Opinion article by our coordinator at Público on 03/28/2022, about the “unadoptable”, the kids that nobody else wants. Read the article on Público’s website or the translation and pdf below:

“The “unadoptable”, the boys that nobody else wants

I hope for a happy ending, both for this one and for many other children who are waiting for families who will take them in. Even if it is on the other side of the world.

There are “unadoptable” children. These are children with disabilities, or with serious physical or mental disorders, usually older, who cannot find adoption candidates in Portugal. After some time in the system, and once it is clear that they cannot be adopted here, the decision is made to open the door to international adoption, allowing these children to be adopted by families from other countries.

Portuguese law provides for the involvement of international agencies in this process. These are private social solidarity institutions (IPSS), with headquarters and accreditation in foreign countries that, once authorized by the Portuguese State to operate in Portugal, select and filter interested families in their countries of origin. Once the family and a child or children (in the case of siblings) have been selected, the agency follows and advises the process in Portugal and, finally, in the destination country.

The bureaucracy involved in the process and authorization of these agencies is substantial. And the administrative process is long and arduous. And nor could it be otherwise. The lives and well-being of children in the care of the state – and therefore of all of us – are at stake, and guarantees are needed regarding the suitability, capacity and impartiality of these institutions that propose to work in such a sensitive area.

At the beginning of this month of March, authorization for a North American agency that I represent in Portugal was published in the Diário da República. And, a few days after the publication, I was already being told that a North American family, long registered in the database of this IPSS, had shown interest in adopting one of these Portuguese children. One of those that nobody else wants.

There is still a long way to go until this family can welcome this boy into their home, that is for sure. But I hope for a happy ending, both for this child and for many other children who are waiting for families to receive them. Even if it is on the other side of the world. A new life for these children who have already experienced more in their few years than most of us will experience in a lifetime. “

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