The vast majority of children abandoned after birth go into institutions where they stay for several months even though people who want to adopt are standing in imaginary queues at the offices. In the future, some of the babies could avoid institutions altogether and go directly into a new family.
The Labour Ministry came up with a method that would enable regional authorities to find adoptive parents before the mother who does not want to keep the baby gives birth. Both sides would sign all the necessary documents before the birth and the child would go directly into the new family. The biological mother would then sign an agreement with the adoption after six weeks. The aim of the proposal is to minimise the emotional deprivation of the baby in an institution.
The new method also has a number of critics. “The protective six weeks term has its reasons. The mother may not be psychologically balanced after birth and she should therefore have time to think it through,” says Anna Čurdová, ČSSD MP. In case the biological mother changes her mind, the adoptive parents would have to return the baby. The biological mother would also know the identity of the parents she passes her baby to. “Not every parent is ready for that,” says Marián Hošek, deputy labour minister. The law today enables so-called direct adoptions but in fact they only take place between relatives and acquaintances. “We have no experience with mediating direct adoptions,” says Olga Dacková from the social department at the Karlovy Vary regional authority. Other offices say the same.
Currently a baby gets into a family seven weeks after birth at the earliest. The terms are often prolonged due to medical checks that can take months. The question remains what will the regions’ approach to the ministerial recommendation be. Some social workers disagree with such a procedure and the ministry cannot force them to speed up the adoptions.
The ministry’s proposal is a reaction to the case of the Fund for Children in Need, which received a fine last year over mediating adoptions and had to stop these activities. According to the Fund’s director Marie Vodičková, the organisation recommended some 110 children into families during its existence. “Even today the parents turn to us but the whole agenda has to go through regional authorities,” Vodičková says. According to the ministry, it is the state that needs to be responsible for substitute family care and it is illegal for a third party to search out contacts. The deputy minister would like to solve the situation of the children remaining in institutions because their parents did not sign agreement for adoption. They can go into substitute families only if the court rules their parents are not interested in them. That, however, may take even one year. Hošek appeals to the courts to deal with such cases preferentially.