Latvia stops international adoptions
The Latvian parliament decided this week to stop adoptions of Latvian children by individuals or couples from other countries. A change in the law is intended to prevent such adoptions completely in the future. Around 1,400 Latvian children have been adopted by non-Latvian parents living abroad in the past ten years. A debate has broken out in the country about whether this is a disgrace for Latvia or a necessity in terms of child welfare.
The children's future must come first
The children are being forgotten in this discussion, Viesturs Kleinbergs, chairman of the Association for Social Workers, comments angrily in Latvijas avīze:
“Don't get me wrong: I do not stand for international adoption. Deep in my heart I am against it. But when it comes to the life and future of a child, we must not think only of national interests according to which we want to keep the country's citizens here at all cost. That cost is the life and the future of this child. ... If we want to prohibit international adoption the state must offer every child who has been left without parental care a caring and safe environment with a family in Latvia, where full opportunities for their development are available.”
The country's reputation is at stake
Lawyer Dana Rone voices concern about her country's image in the weekly magazine Ir:
“Latvia does not compare well with other Baltic states in the statistics on adoptions by people who live abroad. Since 2003, 1,925 children have been approved for adoption to foreign countries, half of them to the United States. In Lithuania and Estonia this figure is much lower. Such a significant gap between us and our neighbouring countries can be seen as damaging to our country's image. And it raises questions about why Latvia is unable to care for its own citizens.”