Starting this month people giving up their children for adoption and those seeking to adopt will no longer be able to do so privately, as a law stipulating that all adoptions will have to go through authorized institutions — excluding those conducted between relatives — comes into force.
“Revisions to the Children and Juveniles Welfare Act (兒童及少年福利法) stipulating that child adoption should go through government-authorized institutions were passed at the end of November last year and have taken effect from the end of May,” Child Welfare Bureau director-general Chang Hsiu-yuan (張秀鴛) said.
“With the new measures in place, we hope to better regulate child adoption, preventing problems such as child selling and adoptive families ‘returning’ children to their original families,” she added.
She said that on average, courts approve between 3,000 and 4,000 child adoptions a year, of which “about half are adoptions between relatives and the other 50 percent are non-relative adoptions, mostly done privately.”
Out of the private adoptions, between 30 and 40 percent end with adoptive families regretting their decision and terminating the adoption.
“Many people adopt children simply because they do not have kids and want to pass on the family lineage. As they are largely ill-prepared, they regret their decision once they find the kid is not behaving as they would have expected,” Chang said. “This hurts the children involved.”
Even worse, there have been cases where parents have sold their children, she said.
Local media outlets have reported stories detailing the sale of infants for between NT$300,000 (US$10,020) and NT$350,000.
The most shocking case occurred in 2006 when a Taipei doctor was involved in 50 cases of infant trading and issued forged birth certificates falsely listing his “customers” as the biological parents of 101 infants.
“When adoptions are done through authorized institutions, such problems can be better prevented,” Chang said. “In addition, parents who want to adopt children would be required to attend 30 hours of lessons on relevant laws, welfare resources, child-raising and how to tell their adopted children about the adoption.”
“The authorized institutions are also required to track adoptions for three years to provide assistance on any problems that may occur and will regularly host reunions for adoptive families to discuss issues that they face in common together,” she said.