Wed, Jul 12, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Legal adoption helps protect kids

By Stephanie Huang 黃韻璇

A Taipei doctor was recently arrested on suspicion of trading infants under the guise of arranging adoptions of abandoned children using birth certificates that he forged. Those who bought the children have also committed document forgery, and violated the Children and Juveniles Welfare Law (兒童及少年福利法).

Some may think that the procedure for adopting children in Taiwan is too complicated and that this is what leads to the trade in children. I disagree with this oversimplified view.

According to the Child Welfare League Foundation's experience arranging adoptions, most parents putting their children up for adoption do so because they are either underage, economically unable to take care of themselves or single parents.

Among those who give their children up for adoption, 63.13 percent do so in order that their child or children will be given better care. These newborns are immediately faced with the cruelties of life: while other children have parents who love them, they must find a home somewhere.

How could we give these children to people who may not be fit to parent or who may not have thought through what it means to be a parent, without any kind of control? Giving them to unprepared parents could well hurt the children a second time.

Adopting children is not an impulsive decision in the way that taking on a pet often can be. It affects many different aspects of one's life.

We hope that discussions between the adoptive parents and social workers or advisory organizations will continue throughout the adoption process so that the new parents will have a chance to clearly think through why they want to adopt a child, whether they are psychologically and practically prepared to become parents, what their expectations are of their new child, and whether or not these expectations are reasonable.

We have a duty to help couples preparing to adopt a child clarify the issues they will have to face and give them the opportunity to share and discuss their thoughts and experiences. Doing so will consolidate the determination to adopt, guarantee an understanding of the problems they may encounter and help them bring up their children.

In Holland, adoptive parents have to obtain certification. In addition, the waiting period is four years -- but people still line up for the special training and counseling.

The only reason they do all this is that they love children and therefore think that this kind of expert assistance and the reasonable waiting period will bring a better future for them and their child.

Adoption creates a lifelong relationship, and we encourage Taiwanese couples who plan to adopt to do so through legal channels. With the help of credible and trustworthy agencies, adoption can be an act of love that will give the child a beautiful future.

Stephanie Huang is a research fellow at the Child Welfare League Foundation.

Translated by Daniel Cheng and Perry Svensson

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