A case

The more I know or the more I understand about something, the less reactive I am.

A week ago the media exploded about an adoption case in Romania. Sorina who is 8 years old, and has been declared adoptable 4 years ago but 122 families didn’t go through with her adoption. She was eventually matched with a Romanian family, with dual citizenship, living in USA. The adoptive family did everything that was required. They were evaluated and they went through the matching process in Romania. The adoption was finalized.

The foster mom took Sorina and another girl from an orphanage when the girls were ~1&2 years old. She adopted one of them a few years later. But not Sorina who became adoptable 4 years ago. During the adoption process, a lot must have happened. The foster mom lost her fostering license two month ago but she kept the girl, against the law. She even kept her away from school, with false medical leave, based on her old name and obsolete birth certificate.

Not sure who started it, but there is this scary lie being perpetuated that the adopted children from romania are taken away for organ trafficking. A lot of people took to the streets protesting this adoption.

After two court orders to release the girl into the child protection services care, a prosecutor came with law enforcements to pick up the girl. Needless to say, it was dramatic, and was all caught on camera by the foster dad. No amount of negotiation and patience helped. The foster family did not want to give up. These past four years they have been asked if they want to adopt the girl. It was within their right to do so. But they didn’t. Mainly because the foster parents are paid a full salary +expenses to care for the child.

One would bring up the attachment issue. Indeed, foster kids attach to their foster family, and for their emotional development, the mutual attachment is healthy.

It is such a painful & delicate time, this transition from the foster family into the adoptive family. There are hundreds success stories (many that I have listened to recently, in the light of this drama). I read stories of adults who do the right thing, and they own their emotions and help the little ones understand and process theirs. I am 100% sure it is hard for foster families to say goodbye either. One kind of story does not negate the other. We are trying to gain a more comprehensive perspective, to validate the hardship of the transition and see what can be done better in others.

The foster family has an undeniable responsibility: to prepare the adoptable child for the transition. To inspire trust, to release the ties, and under no circumstances to tell frightening or made-up stories.

Kids who end up in protective care have been either abandoned or removed from more visible abusive situations. And though it pains me to admit it, Sorina has been submitted to further psychological and emotional abuse just now. And it was all caught on camera and promoted with mixed intentions, by the very people who were supposed to protect her.

A judge had already signed off on the adoption. But due to media pressure, the adoption is being reevaluated.

I know first hand of families who have backed out from adopting a child, because the foster mom did not cooperate. What a strange roadblock. Often time insurmountable. Except by law. Which logically should be a pretty solid ally. But enforcing not abiding by law brings on further drama and trauma. And while every adoptive family treads lightly, we are at the mercy of the system, of the foster family who has power to influence the child and the outcome.

Maybe this unfortunate case is going to shed light many similar situations. We are called to be brave and not turn a blind eye, nor run run away in defeat before the battle has even started.

It is sad to think of all the children who have missed out on a family of their own, because the adults did not act with integrity, but with selfishness.

I heard a preteen say that what they wish for is a mom and dad who aren’t paid to take care of him. That speaks volumes.

Recent articles and statistics affirm that only 2% of the (over 50k) kids in the Romanian child protection system are adopted every year.

A brief recount of the case by ARFO. And a more comprehensive view of the orphan crisis in Romania.