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Flanders to pause international adoptions pending reform

18:42 02/09/2021

Flanders plans to suspend international adoptions for at least two years while it reforms the system, the Flemish minister in charge of family affairs, Wouter Beke, has announced. 

After observing the way international adoptions can pave way for fraudulent activities, a panel was established in 2019. The panel's advice was published this week.

The panel proposed major changes, with 20 recommendations, among them the idea that adoption should be organised around the needs and desires of the child, and not the adoptive parents.

The panel also encourages maintaining contact with the adopted child’s family, history and country of origin, whenever and wherever possible. When international adoption resumes, the plan is to keep it as a last resort and focus on investing in local adoption systems.

Experts including family lawyer Veronique Van Asch, academics, researchers, and adoptees, also recommend centralising the Flemish services in charge of adoption.

Written by Rebecca Rommen