Romanian Orphans, ready for export to the EU

Source: Jurnalul National of 20 October 2009 – translated article

European Commission and Romanian Office for Adoptions quietly force to reopen international adoptions 

- REPORTING FROM BRUSSELS - Romanian Office for Adoptions prepares since almost 3 months to modify law 273 of 2004, the law that stopped the trafficking of children from Romania to other countries, under the guise of international adoptions.

ORA officials have not acted on their own, but with the support of interest groups in the U.S., Italy, France and other countries.

By  Mircea Opris

These groups were used by a Directorate of the European Commission, which will hold a conference for the reopening of international adoptions from Romania, on 31 November and 1 December in Strasbourg.

The European Commission requires changing of the law, imposed by itself as a condition of our entry in the EU. Jurnalul National was able to look into the corridors of these international operations, with the help of a source inside the European Commission, whose identity we will protect for understandable reasons.


The Romanian Office for Adoptions paved the way for amendments to the law prohibiting international adoptions since the summer, when they organised two conferences, both held in Timisoara. The first took place in early September and referred to the rights of the adopted child. Here were assembled all the directors of the child protection directorates in the country for a central database for the adoption process, data about the number of adoptable children and of adoptions in process. A second conference was also held in Timisoara, away from the eyes of the EU mission in Bucharest. 

In the period 27-30 September 2009, UNICEF Romania and the National Authority for Child Protection (ANPDC) organised the National Conference which opens the series of events dedicated to celebrating the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Attending were representatives ANPDC, DGASPC sites, UN agencies in Romania and other government institutions and NGOs.

Here, Romanian and international institutions, together with NGOs involved in adoptions have finalized, in order to promote later, by legislation the Integrated National Action Plan on Preventing and Combating Violence against children. Coordinators were Ileana Savu, Secretary of State at the ANPDC, and Edmond McLoughney, UNICEF Representative in Romania.

With only one day before the predictable failure of the Boc 2 Government, ORA proposes, through a Memorandum sent to the Government, to reopen international adoptions. The document prepared by ORA shows that during the four years of implementation of Law 273/2004, concerning the legal status of adoption, it was found that there are some categories of children who are "hard to adopt" because the regulatory framework in force does not identify appropriate solutions with a permanent character. The initiators of the document state that such a measure should be taken, having regard to provide equal opportunities for all children separated from their natural families, who can not be reintegrated and can not be adopted in Romania.

The role of "soldier of sacrifice" was for Secretary of State of the Romanian Office for Adoptions, Bogdan Panait, who said the reopening of international adoption will be done only in cooperation with accredited authorities of the respective States, in order to avoid corruption. He fails to convince why this memorandum was submitted to the government at a time when Romania has no government.

"I submitted the memorandum Monday morning before the vote of the motion (the fall of the government - sic). I do not know what will happen to it. I am in a hurry, it's one thing we wanted to submit for political debate and decision, and I think that this Government could discuss this Memorandum, "said Bogdan Panait. Clearly, ORA took advantage of political turmoil in Bucharest to demand a change of the law, to negotiate it with the next government to be appointed. 

Approval of this Memorandum means practically the amendment of Law 273 on the rules of adoption. Some of negotiations with representatives of U.S. and EU countries, interested in adoptions from Romania could be possible to adopt the memorandum and adoption law. "When I came here, I had a discussion with the Prime Minister (Emil Boc - Sic). Of course, there were many complaints from families and international fury, but the discussion was to value and change the law.

Sure, he was not clear if it was about international adoption. I have taken up this mission. The modification was made. The law is ready for 99 percent, in the coming weeks it will be subjected to public debate and will be posted on the website. But from the context in which we made the changes to the law, I have concluded - and because of international protocols - that we can go ahead with the idea and start procedures for international adoption. 

Sure, this is not a decision which I can make. And that’s why I made this Memorandum, a memorandum which is very neutral. It is up to the Government to decide to what extent it is the political moment, we have statistics, I mentioned the commitment of Romania in the field and the decision will be entirely to the government," said Bogdan Panait a few days ago. Interestingly, in early September, in an exclusive interview to Jurnalul National, the same Secretary of State said that "As long as I am the director of  ORA, if the government will ask me to find a solution to the international adoptions, for the moment at least, such thing is excluded".

Once more it will create the image that again we will trade, traffic and other dealings with children. In three or four years perhaps, but it is the responsibility the Romanian State must bear." Powered by internal and external pressure or not, Bogdan Panait had no patience for three or four years and urged the reopening of international adoptions as soon as possible.


Subtle movement to amend the Law 273, which became a mandatory condition of Romania’s accession to the EU, was dismantled by the Government that gave its last breath. On October 16, the Romanian Executive announced officially that it does not support the memorandum initiated by the Romanian Office for Adoptions, which proposes reopening the international adoptions. The Memorandum represents the point of view of the institution and is not endorsed by the Emil Boc Cabinet Emil, still in office. The Government had no discussion about this Memorandum and therefore has not taken any decision on this document.

Prime Minister still in office, Emil Boc, believes that current legislation in the field of international adoptions is in accordance with international law and European standards. The same view was exposed by former PSD Foreign Minister, Cristian Diaconescu.


The European Commission and the Council of Europe have prepared the international conference "Challenges of the procedures for adoption in Europe", which originally was to be held on 26 and 27 November in Strasbourg. Beyond discussions of principle, the ultimate aim of the conference is to develop a joint recommendation that Romania should follow the Bulgarian model, which is to reopen international adoptions. Those of the European Commission and NGOs who oppose this idea immediately came into conflict with the organizers. 

The website announcing the conference and where one could register was suspended and amended several times, and those interested to participate could not register. Subsequently, only NGOs approved by the organizers were informed by e-mail, and not at the official site of the conference, that the dates had changed and the conference would be held between November 30 and December 1. The worst thing is that the team of the European Commission in charge of organising the conference is not legally allowed to do so. 

Specifically, the Directorate General for Justice, Freedom and Security of the European Commission, the unit E2 - Civil Justice, headed by the Finnish Salla Saastamoinen organises the conference. The coordinator of the organisational team is the Italian Patrizia De Luca, working in that directorate. According to the organigram of the European Commission, the Rights of the Child are part of the D1 of Directorate D of the European Commission, led by the Romanian Aurel Ciobanu-Dordea. Sources in the EC Directorate D told National Journal that this structure has no involvement in organising the conference in Strasbourg, although it is the only unit that has competence in children's rights in the European Commission. 

The same source says that Directorate E2 violates the official regulations of the EU, more precisely the European Union anti-corruption policy, which states that a Directorate can not organise actions on issues that do not fall within their powers, conform the Communication on Anti-Corruption Policy, number 317 of 2003, addressed to the European Council and the European Parliament.


The organisational team E2 of the Directorate of Justice has hired a private firm that bought an Internet domain,, announcing the upcoming conference. Normally, the conference should have been officially announced on the Internet pages of the European Commission and the Council of Europe. Subsequently, the team only had contact with organisations and NGOs who are in favour of reopening international adoptions and ignore all others and international media interested in this subject. Many last-minute changes were only announced on the website of the conference at the last minute, or not announced at all.

Jurnalul National managed exclusively to unveil the secrecy around this so important conference, even at the European Commission in Brussels, from a source working in the Directorate of Justice caught offside, ie unit E2. This source claims that postponing the conference has nothing to do with the submission of the Government memorandum of ORA in Bucharest, but that the new government which will be installed until the conference, November 30, could give a favourable opinion of the proposed change of Romanian Office for Adoptions. 

To the conference no nongovernmental organization from Romania or from another country that is hostile to reopen international adoptions was invited, the ultimate goal of the meeting in Strasbourg.

"We invited to the conference those organizations that have a closer connection (they coincide with those that oversaw international adoptions in Romania until 2004 and continued lobbying for the reopening them – Sic.) and we can not invite everyone who registered or the press because the conference hall has only 150 seats. The website does not work all the time, because it is under construction, because the conference agenda and guest list is not yet complete.

From Romania only three guests will participate from State institutions. One of them, Bogdan Panait, director of ORA. I do not remember the name of the other two. We pay to participate, just travel and accommodation, for participants approved by us, with whom we worked, a total of 10 NGOs. Among them the Nordic Adoption, an umbrella association of 15 adoption agencies, very important in northern Europe and other organizations from France, and SERA, SERA whose leadership has moved to Geneva, International Social Service, and Amici dei Bambini in Italy.

So, from Romania will come only three guests from the State and Edmond McLoughney, UNICEF representative in Romania, who will speak on behalf of Romania, told us the source of the European Commission. Interestingly, the last topic of the conference will be "Towards a European policy on adoption ", where the case and experiences of Romania and Bulgaria will be analysed, and Frenchman Jean-Marie Cavada, Member of the European Parliament and a close associate of French pro-adoption lobby in Romania, will talk about a common adoption policy, because other countries have opened adoptions, only Romania has not done this, though is part of the European Union.

We will have a Hungarian adoptive parent who lives in Britain, who will speak about the problems he had when he adopted a child in Hungary. This conference is a sequel, a follow-up to the conference in 2006, when it was tried also to make Romania to understand how necessary it is to reopen international adoptions, as well as other EU countries. We will not solve the problem immediately, but the conference has to convince Romania that international adoption can be resumed, like in other EU countries, such as for example Bulgaria, which has responded positively to this request for international adoptions.

The fact that Romania has a law against international adoption is the fault of former European rapporteur for Romania, Baroness Emma Nicholson, who said that international adoption means trafficking in children. She used his influence to halt all adoptions and make the entry of Romania into the EU to stop adoptions. Now we try to convince Romania to re-open adoptions, like other countries in Europe,” our source in Brussels told us.

FINAL REPORT pe419613_en.pdf


"Like other countries in Europe"

Before PPL, I was under the silly impression only Americans were involved in international adoption.

It never occurred to me other European countries were buying so-called orphans from poor countries.

It never occurred to me other countries were/are making decisions about international adoption policies, based on "reported findings".

Reported findings can be an odd little glitch, in lots of little ways.

PPL tries to keep updated on latest reported findings, but it's difficult to do with so very little help.  Nevertheless, PPL case pages manage to feature various parents and children "touched" by the adoption industry.  Most of these cases represent what's been taking place post-placement in various parts of the world, as well as what's taking place in the United States.  The trouble is, many wrongly removed, over medicated, and child abuse post placement cases never make main-stream media news.  As such, the number of "reported findings" can be misleading.  For instance, there may only be 127 child trafficking cases documented within our pages, but that does not mean all trafficking cases have been reported.  [After all, who's to say only the United States is receiving harvested children from Ethiopia?  Maybe Spain is sending religious groups to convince parents to send their children away, too.]

One can only imagine what sort of care adopted children are given in places other than Australia, Canada, the United States, the UK.  One can only imagine how many are following foreign placed children put in a new home.  One can only imagine what's the real difference between all that is being reported and all that is actually happening/taking place.

The more I read, the more international adoption really disturbs me.... especially when I read something like this:

The role of "soldier of sacrifice" was for Secretary of State of the Romanian Office for Adoptions, Bogdan Panait, who said the reopening of international adoption will be done only in cooperation with accredited authorities of the respective States, in order to avoid corruption. He fails to convince why this memorandum was submitted to the government at a time when Romania has no government.

"I submitted the memorandum Monday morning before the vote of the motion (the fall of the government - sic). I do not know what will happen to it. I am in a hurry, it's one thing we wanted to submit for political debate and decision, and I think that this Government could discuss this Memorandum, "said Bogdan Panait. Clearly, ORA took advantage of political turmoil in Bucharest to demand a change of the law, to negotiate it with the next government to be appointed. 

Are there many in Europe reporting what happens to a foreign child, after an adoption is final?

Reported findings

Interesting point. When it comes to abuse post placement, disruptions, overmedication, coercion, the vast majority of "reported findings" come from within the US. Only on the issue of child trafficking do European countries report just as much as the United States.

I have often wondered why out of the more than 400 abuse cases we have collected so far, more than 95% come from the US. There is reason to expect that the actual number in Europe is higher than being reflected within our archives. Much of that has to do with language. It's not easy to find articles in Italian, Spanish, Norwegian or Finnish. I also suspect European news papers to not mention the adopted status of children when abuse is being reported.

When checking the news on abuse cases in general (whether adoption is involved or not), the reports come mainly from the United States. It seems countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom, are reluctant to bring those cases in the news. The same can be said about news in non-English speaking countries.

Of course European countries are just as guilty of trying to receive children from sending countries as the US is. Christian World Adoptions got caught by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, but that is not to say that some of the Catholic agencies operating in Southern Europe don't use similar practices.

What are the numbers?

Of course European countries are just as guilty of trying to receive children from sending countries as the US is.

So, to get a better understanding of the size (number of adoption placements) we're talking about.... how many children are being sent away to foreign countries a year?  In other words, in general, how many foreign children are Americans receiving, and how does this number compare to adoption-friendly countries in Europe?  [Are more foreign children typically sent to the USA... and is this because more Americans are wanting to adopt?]

I ask because the above article reads to me as if Romania will be embraced by the EU, only if intra-country adoptions are resumed.  Ironically, in order to join the EU, Romania  had to close it's doors to adoption, because of corruption.  Now the EU wants those doors re-opened.... because what.... more Europeans are looking to adopt?  Who is to say more corruption is not going to take place once encouraged European PAPs decide they want to adopt "more locally"?  ["Local", meaning, NOT from China, or Vietnam, or Africa....]

Some numbers

Here are some numbers of the top five receiving countries:

United States (2008) - 17449
Spain (2007) - 3648
France (2008) - 3217
Italy (2008) - 3977
Canada (2007) - 1713

The demand in all of these countries far exceeds the supply, so with the exception of possibly Canada, each of these countries would gladly receive the entire supply Romania has to offer. In fact the idea of a European adoption system is to eliminate the competition of the US when it comes to adopting children from Europe. If accepted, domestic adoption will be sought before European adoption, while European adoption is sought before international adoption.

Opening Romania for adoption again, is probably going to reinstate the corrupt situation that existed before 2001. Adoptions from Romania have been rampant with fraud at least since the early 1990's. During the Ceaucescu regime inter-country adoption also existed, but little is known about it, though corruption is common-place under totalitarian regimes.

There is nothing good to expect from opening Romania again, except for those PAP's that don't mind how they receive their child as long as it is white.

Types of child-trading markets

This is what I see happening:  If Romania opens their doors to intra-country adoption, more European PAP's would be willing to keep their adoption-interests local.... especially if one type of European can look like another type of European, very "easily".  This has two benefits -- money made from selling so-called orphans will be kept within the EU, and more and more families will look less obviously different.  [I see this as being a  quasi-closed trading market.]

In other words, if you look at the EU as being the United States... each country being a state... and you see so-called orphan children in orphanages/foster-care as being products that can be sold.... increasing local intra-country trade will make the EU a much stronger, more hemoginized unit.  It would be like American's in New Mexico, adopting from Arizona or California -- the children will be moved "out and away" from their states of origin, but those children will still remain within a certain region.... a region that looks and feels somewhat familiar.  So, the money made from those adoptions will not only be kept within the US -- but obvious outsiders, like children from China or Ethiopia, won't be needing schools with "special progams" that introduce sticky subjects like ethnic tolereance, cultural diversity, and PC integration rules.  [Any parent in America knows, the more programs a school has to add, the more a local resident will be taxed.]

Keeping things local, keeps things from getting "too different".  Keeping things relatively the same requires far less dramatic (uncomfortable) change.

Meanwhile, I see the US wanting to open doors, as if more diversity creates a better living environment.  [I see this as being a global trading market.]  I'm not so sure adding more diversity is such a great thing.  From an ideologic standpoint, "diversity" can be very nice, but ideas and reality are often two very different things.  I know from personal experience, some people... some ideas... simply do not mix.... no matter how hard a person may want or try to convince other ways and ideas are equal or "just as good".

In any case, I'm really not sure how an exclusive adoption market in Europe would benefit people.  I do know increasing adoption, (as it currently exists and is practiced), will also increase problems for parents, families and children.... regardless of race, religion or gender.  In my mind, that's plain common sense, and it's an issue that needs to be recognized and acknowledged.

I tend to think most people around the world forget how adoption affects a person after the ink has dried on an agreement contract.  All one has to do is peruse the internet and read some blogs and quickly see how American AP's are struggling with health/behavior problems of children shunted from one region to another.  (RAD being a very big issue many AP's are facing)  Sure, there are doctors, lawyers, and businesses that benefit from the misery of many with money (or good insurance), but all in all, if you ask me, trading children for money is (and always has been) hurting people!  Opening or limiting a market isn't going to change that simple fact.

Europan Adoption Policy and the US

First of all, as receiving countries, the US and the EU receive almost the same numbers if you add up all EU Member States' adoptions.

The difference is that we hardly  have domestic adoptions in Europe. All EU Member States ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and respect that adoption is not an average child protection measure. It changes the identity and cuts families apart forever. Families are supported, children if necessary placed in foster care (with individual families) or in family type homes (the US Foster homes), and sometimes in residential care and they will be re-integrated into their original families whenever possible. An exception on the European policy is the UK, that has a more US-like approach.

What would a European Adoption Policy mean. One could indeed say that Europeans would get access to the European children first, at the expense of the United States. However, it would also mean that when no families could be found in Europe, the US would get access to European children again (which they now only have in very few European countries, and in small numbers).

All would still be fairly non-alarming, if it were not that a European Adoption Policy - accordingn to the ideas of one of its promotors the Italian agency AMICI DEI BAMBINI - would mean that Europe would change its child protection policy into the American way. Foster care and family-type homes strictly as temporary measure - and adoption as a preferred measure.  After all, what would such a policy be worth, if there would not be a large number of adoptable children.


The program and the report

The above article mentions a conference taking place in Strasbourg, November 31 and December 1. Today I received the program of that conference and a report that will be presented with respect to European adoptions.

So far I have only been able to read the introduction of the report, the entire document is 262 pages. The introduction gave me the impression the authors not so much see a child welfare issue that needs addressing, but mainly conclude from a declining trend in the number of inter-country adoptions that there is a problem that needs fixing.

I still have to read the remainder of the report, before jumping to conclusions, otherwise I can't blame the authors of the report of doing that.

The program and the report are added as attachments to the above article.

"there is a problem that needs fixing"


"there is a problem that needs fixing".

Is it me, or is that the understatement of many centuries?

Pound Pup Legacy