While a growing number of people may have considered adoption, five long-standing misconceptions are still prevalent in Taiwan’s relatively conservative society and continue to hold back the process, a survey by the Child Welfare League Foundation suggested yesterday.
The survey, conducted from July through September, found about 28 percent of respondents said they thought about adopting a child.
However, despite the changing sentiment, the number of children fostered nationwide every year still stands at only between 2,500 and 3,000, indicating that there remains a vast difference between considering adoption and actually fostering a child, foundation president Joyce Feng (馮燕) said.
Feng attributed the low adoption rate to five prevalent social misconceptions: that only affluent households could afford to adopt; that only infertile parents would opt for adoptions; that adopting “under the table” involved less red tape than going through licensed agencies; that fostered children are prone to self-abuse when they discover they were adopted; and that children would be better off being adopted by overseas households than those based in Taiwan.
The foundation released the poll at a promotional event in front of the Presidential Office during which first lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青) joined scores of parents and children to fly kites to mark the nation’s second “Adoption Month.”
The foundation set November last year as the first national “Adoption Month” in a move to promote the values of adoption.
Seeking to dispel the myths about adoption, the foundation said that even moderate-income households are capable of fostering a child, as about 60 percent of the country’s adoptive families earn an average monthly income of about NT$100,000 (US$3,420) and that the number of married couples choosing adoptions “out of love” is on the rise.
“It is worth mentioning that about 36 percent of the respondents remain unaware that ‘under-the-table’ adoptions are prohibited by law after ... the Protection of Children and Youth Welfare and Rights Act (兒童及少年福利與權益保障法) took effect this year,” the foundation said.
The new amendment — which came into effect on May 30 — stipulates that adoption proceedings must be carried out by licensed agencies.
The survey also found 26 percent of respondents, if fostering a child, would not tell their child about their adoption primarily to avoid the risk that their adopted child would self-harm.