Flanders stops intercountry adoptions from Gambia, Haiti and Morocco

Flanders will stop adoptions from Gambia, Haiti and Morocco after screenings revealed misconduct in the countries of origin, the Flemish agency for adoption, Opgroeien, reported on Tuesday. Vietnam was removed from the list earlier this year for the same reason.

After reports of malpractice in adoptions from Ethiopia in 2019, the Flemish government established an expert panel to investigate. Following a report from the panel, the government put procedures into place that included screening all countries of origin by interviewing adoptees and international adoption services to help prevent misconduct.

Five countries were part of the first screening round this year: Portugal, Colombia, South Africa, Kazakhstan and Vietnam. The screening gave Portugal, Colombia and South Africa the green light, meaning adoption cooperation is possible for these countries. Kazakhstan received an orange light, indicating that an on-site visit is necessary before a decision can be made. For Vietnam, "there is too little confidence to say that misconduct can be ruled out", Flemish Welfare minister Hilde Crevits said at the time.

During the second screening round, 13 other countries of origin were examined. Three countries received a red light: Gambia, Haiti and Morocco, which means that international adoption is no longer possible for children from these countries.

'Time of uncertainty'

Burkina Faso, Hungary, India and Togo require an on-site visit to provide additional insights into the possibilities of facilitating adoptions in the future. Pending a final decision, cooperation will continue in those countries. Collaboration with Burkina Faso is currently suspended due to the unsafe situation in the country. Bulgaria, Chile, the Philippines, Honduras, Peru and Thailand received a green light.

According to Opgroeien, it is a "time of uncertainty" for prospective adoptive families. The termination of cooperation means that families eligible to adopt from these countries now have to reconsider their adoption process.



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