Latvia: government to restrict adoption of children by foreign citizens

  • 2018-10-31
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The government decided on Tuesday to restrict adoption of children, growing up in foster families, to foreign countries, allowing such adoptions only in cases where the adoptive parents are the child’s relatives.

Under the current legislation, foreign citizens can adopt children that are being raised in foster families if there are no possibilities in Latvia to ensure proper care of these children in families. The new adoption regulation will only allow adoption from foster families if the adoptive parents are the child’s relatives.

Like before, foreign citizens will be able to adopt children of their spouses, children from custodian families if the child is their relative, as well as children from orphanages if there is no possibility to provide a family environment to the kid in Latvia.

The issue triggered a heated discussion at the Cabinet meeting, with Welfare Minister Janis Reirs (Unity) dismissing all objections and stressing the necessity to give each child the opportunity to grow up in a family.

Kristine Lemantovica, a legal representative of adoption agencies, argued that the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) obliged Latvia to timely inform about the planned amendments to the adoption regulation, which Latvia had failed to do. Reirs objected by asking the lawyer to show the paragraph containing such an explicit requirement, adding that Latvia provides sufficient information.

Madara Silina, a representative of the Children of the System public group, criticized the new regulation saying that it does not allow the children to choose the family in which they would like to grow up. Silina said that foster families do not always provide everything the children need so they often agree to get adopted by foreign citizens.

Reirs dismissed the criticism saying that adoptions by foreign citizens will continue. The aim of the regulation is to promote adoptions from institutions, not foster families.