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Dutch couple seek adoption of Czech Romany child in vain

?TK / Prague Daily Monitor
December 30, 2008

Prague, Dec 29 (CTK) - A Dutch couple, Ester and Nico, are seeking the adoption of a Romany child in vain in the Czech Republic where they moved three years ago, the daily Lidove noviny (LN) reports Monday.

They complain that they have so far met with an exorbitant bureaucracy of the Czech authorities that demand an "infinite" number of forms and certificates from them.

"It is unbelievable that everything lasts so long here. We understand that a child cannot be placed in anybody's custody but why does it take such a long time" Nico, 41, told the paper.

Yet Czech childless couples are usually not interested in adopting Romany kids and prefer "a healthy white baby," and this is why Romany children in Czech institutional care are often adopted by foreign families, LN recalls.

Ester and Nico, who live with their disabled son Vincent near Hradec Kralove, east Bohemia, on the basis of a permanent residence permit, turned to the Czech authorities with their adoption application a year ago. They said they would like to gradually adopt a few Romany kids.

The couple had to fulfill a number of requirements from Czech clerks, but they always demanded more documents, LN writes.

At present Ester and Nico say they are not sure whether they will be allowed to adopt at least one child. "We have a feeling that the Czech state does not want it," Ester told LN.

They had to repeatedly prove, for instance, that they would really stay and live in the Czech Republic, Nico said.

He said they both work in the country where they took a mortgage on a house and have nothing left over in the Netherlands.

"What else but our obligations shall we submit to prove that we want to live here?" Nico asks.

However, the Regional Office in Hradec Kralove dismissed the objections, saying it was a standard procedure under the respective Czech law in similar cases.

The paper adds that the complete adoption procedure in the Czech Republic is to take some 10 months from submitting the application to the final decision, but in practice it is sometimes longer.

Nico also said he and his wife were discriminated against by the Czech authorities.

They had to pass all psychological tests and interviews and fill in all forms in the Czech language, which they consider a disadvantage in the procedure. It would be easier for them to communicate with the authorities in English though they command Czech relatively well, they said.

Anna Stara, from the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry, told LN that foreigners seeking adoption in the Czech Republic can use the services of an interpreter, but they have to pay for them from their own pockets as the state does not cover such expenses.

The adoption applicants must meet a lot of requirements. Stara explained in LN that they must submit their personal data and medical reports on their health condition, a social worker then inspects their household, and the authorities assess their income level as well as their physical and psychological preconditions for raising a child.

The paper writes that after their negative experience with Czech red tape, Nico and Ester are slowly giving up their original plans and are considering helping the abandoned Romany kids in another way at least.

"It is strange. We are offering to the state to provide a quality life for children whom no one wants, but the state cannot decide whether to accept our offer or not," the Dutch couple told LN.


2008 Dec 30