Could well have been in the U.S., though. After all, the U.S. isn't just a receiving nation in international adoption, we're a sending country, too. I find that that fact surprises many people. After all, sending countries are supposed to be poor and undeveloped . . . .
Local institutions have joined an international effort to break down bureaucratic obstacles preventing foreign couples from adopting Czech children.
At a Sept. 24 conference in Brno, south Moravia, addressing international adoption, a panel of European experts agreed that children should be placed within their country of origin as much as possible, but stressed that other options must be made available.
A mere 277 Czech kids have been adopted by foreign families since 2000, when the Czech Republic ratified a Hague convention on adoption and child protection. These children, predominantly of Roma origin, often find their new homes in Denmark, Germany or Italy.
“Czech parents are very picky. They practically require a warranty with their adopted child,” said panelist František Schneiberg from the Institute of Social Medicine and Public Health. “They expect guarantees that the child will be always healthy, extremely talented, get good marks at school and go to university. Foreign parents are much more tolerant.”
Aside from this comment, most panelists skirted the exact reasons behind the difficulty in placing children with suitable families in the Czech Republic. However, Lenka Pavlová, director of the government Office for International Legal Protection of Children (ÚMPOD), reluctantly hinted that prejudice and racism in Czech society prevents locals from adopting underprivileged children.
Still hoping for change
2 months ago