Italians make best parents for adopted Indian children

By Kavita Bajeli-Datt

October 18, 2009 /

NEW DELHI - Italians and Spaniards make the best parents for adoptive Indian children among foreigners and they don’t mind taking in children who are older, have faced trauma or suffer some handicap, says an adoption agency official.

“Many foreigners come to India to adopt children, but we have found that Italian and Spanish couples make wonderful parents,” said Leila Baig, honorary secretary of the Coordinating Voluntary Adoption Resource Agency (CVARA), a voluntary association of 10 adoption agencies in Delhi.

“The updates we have got later indicate that they make good parents,” Baig told IANS.

However, she said it would be wrong to say that other foreigners do not make good parents. “Most of the children that foreigners adopt are older, with a psychological or some other treatable problem. But they don’t mind it,” she added.

“In fact, some of them even ask us especially for those children who have not been adopted by others or have been rejected because of behavioural problems. When we see the same children later, we find they are changed drastically. Maybe, they are given personalised attention or a very good home atmosphere,” Baig said.

“We have also found that they give wholehearted love to the child and tackle the child in such a manner that even a difficult one or a child facing psychological difficulties is able to adjust with them well,” she added.

Baig said Indians mostly adopt children of below one year, healthy and fair. “Indian couples have high expectations from the child they adopt. They want a healthy child who is not dark. But foreigners have no such problems.”

Sister Lucy Joseph, sister-in-charge at the Holy Cross Social Service Center, one of the adoption centres, in north Delhi, agreed with Baig.

“It is true that both Italians and Spaniards make good parents. It could be that they are emotional, just like Indians. And like Indians, give importance to family. They are close to each other and share great bonding,” Joseph told IANS.

Americans, Australians and Germans are the other foreigners who come to the centre for adoption.

“They don’t mind adopting siblings or even triplets and are open to taking children who are above five years, or even children who are not so intelligent, need some treatable medical help or have some handicap,” she added.

“We give preference to Indians first. Indians usually select young and healthy children. They don’t accept children who have even a bit of health problem, or are dark. So, those who are left behind, we try to settle them. And we select foreign couples with whom these children will do well,” Joseph added.

She said the organisation seeks quarterly reports and photographs from the parents. “This shows us that the children have settled well,” she added.

“We also meet the children when sometimes these Italian or Spanish families come to India to adopt another child. The child looks happy, healthy and comfortable. We only want that our children should integrate well with their adopted families,” she added.

She also had a word of praise for Americans.

“Some American couples have even adopted children who were blind and had cerebral palsy. Maybe they adopted them because they have access to good infrastructure and medical facilities. The adoption brings joy to both parents and child,” she added.

Till June this year, the agency has been able to provide 73 children to Indian parents, 21 to non-resident Indians and 81 to foreigners.


Parents and skin color

I was actually laughing as I was reading this article.... because once again, I see how the PC thing to do is to address adoption identity issues, without playing the color/ethnic/race-card.

When it comes to international adoption, for some reason, it's not ever correct or acceptable to call a spade a spade.  Why?  I'll never know.  The friends I have with mixed children, or black and white parents tell me it's really difficult not fully fitting-in... but we have learned these are things that we can only discuss in private, because no one these days wants to be seen as being a racist bigot.

I grew-up in an adoptive family where Like was supposed to stay with Like... and if you messed with that, you were only asking for trouble.

My east-coast blue collar Adad married a west-coast "Golden Girl".  One went to public school and the Army after graduation; the other went to country clubs and got a private college education.  Both had a shot-gun wedding, where the bride wore a light blue suit.  In my case, this is where my family-life began.  Three years after an emergency hysterectomy, my arrival was being planned.

Growing-up, my old-world Italian Adad had a policy... a policy handed-down to him by his Italian family...  I was to do as I was told and I was never to bring home anyone with skin darker than his dark (very hairy) olive-colored skin.

In fact, the whiter and more Irish-looking, the better, according to my "traditional"  Good Catholic-Irish Amother. 

In my mind, I thought the best and funniest advice came from my friends -- "Whatever you do, don't bring home a red-head!". 

At this point, I should mention I was a matched-baby... one with very fair skin, light strawberry blond hair, and big brown eyes.  My appearance allowed my Aparents the freedom to chose what it was they wanted others to know about themselves.  I could be the adopted orphan, "saved" from a very poor region (with very bad orphanages) or I could be the little sister born into my chosen-clan... (the one chosen through an adoption-plan.)  I imagine back then, (late 1960's), matched-adoptions cost quite a bit of money from "specialized" private agencies.  Back then, white children were not available through foster-care.  Back then, married women were not supposed to be infertile.

While I always knew I was adopted, life got very confusing for me.  Some days my Amother loved to brag how I was adopted.  Other days it would be "our secret".  I learned to hate the phrase, "You look just like your mother!".

My comment, "I wouldn't know", was rarely appreciated. 

I was "the first" in my extended Afamily to be adopted.  After me, adoption became easier.  I remember when the little niece of a brother-in-law was brought into my Afather's large family.  Her mother had died, so her uncle and his wife (my Adad's younger sister) adopted the little girl, making the little girl their own.  [Kinship adoption, in my mind, is NOT the same as ICA.]

I'll never forget how my grandmother would talk hushity-hush about "the difficult situation".  I was still quite young, but I remember my name being used a lot and how this next adoption would be "a little easier".  I remember my Afather's mother being able to accept one simple fact:  the child in question was a blood-relation to her son-in-law.  That blood-connection, in her mind, made a real difference.  The adoption was approved and accepted... no more questions asked.

Years later, another family-member decided to adopt.  This time it was a cousin... my Afather's cousin.  This adoption was even easier, even though the little boy was from Korea. 

I'll never forget this adoption-process -- my Amother was on the phone all the time with her cousin-in-law.  As the only "family member" who adopted outside of the country, there were many questions only she (my Amother) could answer.  I have no doubt my Amother felt like a much needed and wanted heroic celebrity.  Meanwhile, back at family headquarters, grandma was holding court, and discussing her concerns with various daughters.  After much debate and discussion, it was decided grandma could and would accept her brother's daughter's adoption because of two key points.  1)  The child's skin was dark, like everyone else's.... AND 2) the cousin/"new mother-to-be" had small squinty eyes, making the slanted eyes of the child's somewhat "the same".  [The third unspoken relief was this child was going to belong to another family... a  family that was blood-related, yet still had grandparents who shared a different last-name.]

Maybe many adoptive parents around the world don't care how and what their adopted child looks like... or from where that child came.  But as the adoptee who heard more than her share of "jokes" and discussions.... let my words be remembered:  what is said behind backs and closed doors is NOT that same as what's being spoken in larger groups or in public.  Parental acceptance does NOT mean complete full-family approval.

This adoptee may have pretended to be deaf, dumb and blind... but after many years, listening to those around me, I knew I was NOT stupid.  In my case, this was a very disturbing, upsetting, unsettling, hurtful, truth.

Italy: the new go-to-place for soon-to-be-adoptees?

I'm not going to lie.... before PPL, I never paid much attention to the goings and comings of children traded through ICA.

However, an announcement made by Russia's Prime Minister today caught my eye, as his message was sent to Italians wishing to adopt.

"Comprehensive care for children, their competent upbringing and their healthy physical and moral development are an absolute priority for any civilised society. Kindness and concern for the younger generation serve as criteria for civic consciousness, a sign of societal maturity.

Today, the processes of adopting boys and girls are of an international and in many ways global nature. This facilitates solving the main task of finding a family for the child. In addition, it is necessary to react to any problems in this effort in a deliberate and timely fashion, effectively protecting children from any form of violence or exploitation.

I am confident that the agreement on adoption signed last year between Russia and Italy will serve as tangible progress with regard to these issues. It will contribute to the development of the customarily friendly relations of our countries and peoples."

[From:  Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sent a salutatory telegram to delegates at a Russian-Italian seminar on international adoption issues, October 28, 2009 ]

Given Russia's outrage over the Chase Harrison case [see:  Moscow outraged over adopted Russian boy manslaughter ], I cannot help but think Russia is looking to wean away from American PAP interest, and focus more on Europe's growing interest in the adoption-option.

If ICA were a competitive game/sport, I'd say America may be down a bit, while Italy seems to score big with both India and Russia. 

Doesn't Italy ban domestic

Doesn't Italy ban domestic adoptions?

no ban

No Italy knows both domestic adoption and international adoption, just like any other country in Europe.

Pound Pup Legacy