THE NORDIC APPROACH TO INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION

is based on the rights of the child and higher ethical standards in intercountry adoption

The Nordic Adoption Councilĺs Conference 2009 on intercountry Adoption took place in Iceland from 3th to 6th of September. Present at the Conference were all of the NAC-members, who represent all but one of the Nordic organizations, i.e. the organizations from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Denmark, accredited to work with intercountry adoptions plus parents organizations from some of the countries. The Conference agreed upon the following joint global venture in intercountry adoption context, based on the ambition to put childrenĺs rights and higher ethics at the forefront of the agenda when it comes to practices and basic rules in intercountry adoption.á

The background is well known: intercountry adoption is under increasing pressure due to the fact, that more and financially strong receiving countries have dramatically increased their number of approved families for adoption, while many of the traditional countries of origin have either put restrictions or barriers upon intercountry adoption or have closed up their intercountry adoption programmes completely due to better living conditions in the country, increased domestic adoption or - in worst case -á excessive pressure from potential adoptive families resulting in scandals involving trafficking.á

The Nordic organizations have ľ globally - the longest experience in mediating in intercountry adoption due to the fact, that intercountry adoption became a recognized social and legal phenomenon in the Nordic countries already some years after the Second World War. At the conference celebrated in Iceland, the Nordic Adoption Organizations ľ many of whom have celebrated 40 yearsĺ anniversary - agreed on the following standpoints to secure intercountry adoption processes based on ethics and responsibility:áá

* To engage in a joint effort with the Nordic Central Authorities, the accredited Adoption Organizations and the adoptive family associations in the Nordic countries to globally promote the Nordic Approach to Intercountry Adoption.á

* To emphasize the areas where the Nordic approach sets higher ethical standards than those established legally and by Intercountry conventions and promoting these areas, including the aim at abolishing private or independent adoptions, prohibiting contact with biological families prior to the adoption, to prohibit the intervention of private intermediaries, etc.á

* To secure intensive support to giving countries with weak economies and structures to promote awareness, to empower public institutions and to help set restrictions.á

* To globally promote adoption as a positive solution including the EU context where awareness of adoption as a positive solution for children at risk is highly underestimated.á

* To secure networking and sharing of knowledge with other stakeholders in intercountry adoption.

* To promote the idea of having a limited number of highly professionalized NGOs as accredited organizations to act as intermediaries in intercountry adoption, thereby securing continuity, engagement, sustainability and non-political engagement in the work.

* To do advocacy for the restriction of powerful receiving countries from putting undue pressure on the countries of origin by presenting huge number of applications which are not realistic seen in relation to the number of children available for adoption, and which puts immense administrative burdens on the countries of origin and might encourage trafficking.

* likewise and for the above reasons to do advocacy among the Central Authorities of the receiving countries to impose regulations restricting the organizations from presenting one familyĺs application to more than one country of origin simultaneously, unless in special and extreme circumstances

* To take responsibility for the post-adoption services, including the CAs taking responsibility for post-adoption counseling, securing the childĺs right to its own history and the preservation of the files of the adoptees.á

* To ensure that research has the proper focus on the rights of the child by ensuring ľ for example ľ that research concerning adopteesĺ development does not merely focus on a comparison between adopteesĺ development and the development of biological children, but does instead focus on adoption as an alternative solution to institutionalization or foster care placement of children at risk.á

* To be agenda-setting in the European and global context- based on the many years of experience accumulated in the Nordic countries in the field of intercountry adoption.á

The Nordic approach aims at securing the rights of the child and setting intercountry adoption into its right context as a good alternative for children, when a permanent family solution cannot be found in the childĺs country of origin.á

NAC consists of:á

AC B°rnehjŠlp (AC International Child Support)á Denmark (www.a-c.dk), DanAdopt Denmark (www.danadopt.dk), Adoption & Samfund (Adoption & Society) Denmark (www.adoption.dk); Interpedia Finland (www.interpedia.fi); Pelastakaa Lapset (Save the Children Finland) (www.savethechildren.fi); City of Helsinki Finland, (www.hel.fi/adoptio);á Adoptioperheet ry/Adoptivfamiljer Finland; (www.adoptioperheet.fi)á Islensk Ăttlei­ing (Icelandic Adoption Society) Iceland (www.isadopt.is); Adopsjonsforum Norway, (www.adopsjonsforum.no); InorAdopt Norwayá (www.inoradopt.no), Verdens Barn (Children of the World)Norway(www.verdensbarn.no); Adoptionscentrum Sweden (www.adoptionscentrum.se); Barnen Framf÷r Allt (Children above All) Sweden (www.bfa.se); Barnens Vńnner (Friends of Children) Sweden ( www.bvadopt.se);á FFIA Sweden (www.ffia.se)

SvŠ­i