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Wednesday 18.10.2017 | Name days: Rolanda, Rolands, Ronalds, Erlends

The ‘price’ of adoption of Latvian children by American families is made known

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU‘You cost us $30,000 and now you say you don’t want to be adopted? You’re ungrateful and selfish!’ – this is what an orphan girl from Latvia heard from her foster mother when she was visiting USA during the summer break.

Māra Juškeviča heard all this on the phone. The girl had phoned her, crying. The call was then abruptly cut off, as reported by Diena.

Another girl under the care of Mrs Juškeviča was also told her ‘price’. She was chosen to be adopted by a senior pair of Italian citizens. During the court hearing, during which the fate of the 13-year-old girl was to be decided, she suddenly announced she does not want to be adopted. This revelation infuriated the Italian pair to the point of them asking a simple yet compromising question to representatives of the court: ‘What did we pay EUR 1,000 for?’ After the hearing, the pair took away all the presents they had given the girl during her stay in their rented apartment in Riga. According to the girl, however, life there was not as ideal as promised: the pair were always drinking wine and loudly quarrelling with each other.

Juškeviča reported all of this to the National Child Protection Inspectorate. However, inspector Inese Upe stated in response that such is the Italian mentality and that Mara Juškeviča had no right to interfere. Chief of VBTAI, Laila Rieksta-Riekstiņa, says her subordinate never said anything of the sort, and adds: ‘We do not handle adoption cases. If the adopting family believes something is not done in the interests of the child, they can turn to the orphan court or inform the prosecutor’s office, which will then review the adoption case.’ It was not possible to contact Chairwoman of Viesite region’s Orphan Court Sandra Grigoryeva, because she does not respond to phone calls or text messages.

Adoptive families often share stories and experience with Diena, but they nevertheless fear they will be found by state authorities. ‘Those that talk too much and raise alarms about child trade have had their status as adoptive families revoked. Children are often taken away from them and put back into orphanages. These are the weapons used by Welfare Ministry to keep in line families and children,’ – says the adoptive mother, who takes care of five children along with her husband. Another mother, who wished to remain anonymous, told that ‘those in charge in Latvia’ were paid EUR 5,000 for one of the children she was taking care. The ministry then sent that child to Italy for adoption. This fact was later revealed to the girl by her new Italian mother.

There are more than 1,000 children living with foster families in Latvia. Another 5,000 live with guardians. If the guardian is the child’s legal representative and acts to replace both parents, a foster family serves as a service provider. The child remains with such a family on the basis of a contract. This means a child may remain under temporary care, which may last until the child reaches adulthood. This service can also be cancelled with no particularly serious reason. This kind of decision is made by the orphan court and the family, or if the municipality refuses the contract.

‘WM has created adoptive families as a good jump point for foreign adoption opportunities. This is because these families have completely no rights to defend children that are put under their care,’ – says Board member of Zvannieku māja Linda Baļčūne. These families even have a common legal strategy that tells them what to do when WM representatives come to them with offers from foreign adoption agencies. These often come with doctors that want to inspect children on the spot, counting teeth and ribs.


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  1. mike walsh says:

    What has Europe come to?

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  2. us says:

    There are very good hosting agencies in USA for Latvia children. These families love children. Some just want to host, some host to know better the child and to allow the child to know better the family with the ultimate goal to be an option for the child at the eyes of the OC that reviews letter of intents. A girl of 13 yrs old has more attachment to Latvia than a girl of 8 and it is ok to have few cases where the child tells the judge that a doubt is still there. The majority of the children suffered abandonment and the hosting period is in the majority of the time filled with love. Again exceptions occur. It is giving them hope. Agency interviewed the children and select the ones that can benefit from a hosting period to boost their self esteem. It is ok to pay for services… It is ok to have frustrated adoptive parents when something unusual occurs in court, it is human to react this way since a lot of time, money is involved, anyway that’s the exception. The only deplorable thing is the way they expressed themselves… They made a lot of sacrifices to get the money, they love the child, they are surprised and sad. We must think that we are not the ones who have been subjected to a “no adoption’ during a court. What I do not like from your article is that your only portrait the process as miserable when you only has few cases in mind. Sorry but your cases are the exceptions. Because of 2-3 bad experiences, you seem to want to shutdown amazing hosting/adoptions experiences for maybe over than 300 children per years. Maybe you could interview the vast majority of children who have been hosted or adopted and are happy. Your article is negative, negative, just negative, and it does not represent the reality.

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