The number of infant adoptions has fallen by half – the pre-adoption center in Otwock is alerting. The problem has been growing for several years, and the pandemic has contributed to it. It is not about the lack of people willing to adopt, because there are many parents willing to create a real home. Material of the magazine “Polska i Świat”.
They have been abandoned or taken from parents with problems – the youngest is 10 days old, the oldest a little over a year and will soon have to leave the facility intended only for infants. But the fact that a child leaves the pre-adoption center in Otwock does not mean that it will go to a new family. The number of adoptions has dropped significantly here.
The problem has been growing for several years, and the pandemic has contributed to it. – What I saw last year just broke me. I have been dealing with this for 20 years and I have not seen such a trend – emphasizes the director of the Intervention Pre-Adoption Center in Otwock, Dorota Polańska.
Paralysis of child adoption in Poland
Four years ago in Poland, fewer than every tenth child qualified for adoption. There are no newer data, but as reported by the center in Otwock – one of the two pre-adoption in Poland – the situation is getting worse.
– There was practically a paralysis – says Danuta Rydzewska, a volunteer from the center in Otwock. It is not about the lack of people willing to adopt them, because the queue for toddlers is constantly growing. It is about regulating the legal situation – making a decision by the courts whether to return the child to biological parents or open the way for adoption. – It takes months sometimes. There are situations in which parents already have a child, they already come to our Otwock, they lulla it all day and still cannot take it home – adds Danuta Rydzewska.
– We have noticed that we write many letters to the courts, that the mechanism of bureaucracy has grown, but there are few concrete actions, says Polańska.
The situation is not the same across the country. There are places where such a problem does not exist. – This is unfortunately typical of larger centers because the courts there struggle with difficulties with regard to the speed of proceedings – says Maja Jabłońska, vice-president of the Association of Family Judges in Poland.
But it is not only about the courts overloaded with cases, but also the regulations that do not clearly say how much time biological parents have to recover their child. – In fact, this procedure takes a long time and when biological parents from time to time remind themselves of this situation and want to get their child back, the regulations actually allow them to drag it out indefinitely – admits Karolina Karlińska-Markiewicz, a family law lawyer.
Questions about government action on adopting children
Journalists wanted to ask the Ministry of Justice about the situation of the protracted cases, which repeatedly argued that the reform of the justice system would improve the operation of the courts, but no answer came.
Also, the Ministry of Family has not decided to talk about the upcoming amendment to the law on supporting the family and foster care, which is to facilitate the adoption process, but in practice will limit adoption from abroad. – There is no reason for children to lie for months and wait for mercy – says Rydzewska.
And the problem is urgent, because the longer a child waits for the legal situation to be resolved, the more difficult it is not only to adopt, but also to develop properly. – A child needs two parents, the same, all the time. We are changing and the child feels it, despite the fact that we try very hard – emphasizes nurse Alicja Rafał.
The center does what it can do not only in terms of childcare. The facility in Otwock is subsidized by the local government, but it has to cover at least 20 percent of its own expenses – including for rehabilitation, drugs or operations not reimbursed by the National Health Fund. Annually, it is from 600,000 to a million zlotys.
Main photo source: TVN24