New in July: Flemish international adoption services to merge

Flanders' three international adoption services will merge on July 1 into a single institution called Het Klein Mirakel ("The Little Miracle"). The Flemish ministry of Welfare wants to pool available resources, knowledge and expertise in the context of declining international adoptions.

The Flemish government decided back in 2019 to merge all Flemish international adoption services into one service by 2023, as the number of international adoptions has been declining for years. 

According to Flemish Welfare minister Hilde Crevits (CD&V, Flemish Christian democrats), the unified international adoption service responds to "the current reality of the limited share of adoptions from abroad to Flanders and Brussels."

A total of 244 children were adopted into Belgium from abroad in 2009, a number that halved by 2012. Another decade later, only 28 international adoptions took place in Belgium. The number of domestic adoptions that year was not much lower, at 17.

Reports of abuses

All files of prospective adoptive parents will be "gradually transferred" in the coming months, said adoption official Ariane Van den Berghe. Since each service works with different countries of origin, there will be no impact on the waiting lists.

International adoption has been a sensitive issue in Flanders in recent years. After reports of abuses in international adoptions from Ethiopia in 2019, the government of Flanders decided to screen cooperation with all countries of origin to prevent abuses in the future.

After a first round of screening of five countries, Flanders decided to stop international adoptions from Vietnam in February 2023. The screening of 15 other countries of origin is ongoing.


#FlandersNewsService | © BELGA PHOTO THIERRY ROGE

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