Foster-family attitudes crawl forward

Welfare Ministry statistics on adoption reveal that attitudes towards the practice of assuming guardianship over orphaned children are improving, however prospective foster families continue to prefer only up three-year- or four-year-olds, leaving older children often stuck longer in state homes, faintly hoping to be adopted by a family from abroad, reported Latvian Radio’s Laura Dzērve.

Ministry representative Ivita Krastiņa told LR that the prime seeker of adoptable children want a single child up to the age of three, adding that there was a pronounced preference for girls since 2010.

“For example, up to October there were only two families willing to take a child up to the age of seven, and then only girls. If we’re talking about a six-year old boy, there are no adopters in Latvia right now,” Krastina revealed.

The situation prompted the Welfare Ministry to petition prospective adopters to consider taking groups of siblings where an older child is a key family member.

Both the numbers of families adopting more than one child at one time, or adopting a second child after a successful first adoption have crept up slightly in recent years, Krastina said.

But acceptance of various health and neurological issues among orphaned children remains a challenge, admits the ministry official. However Americans are known to be willing to adopt children with Down syndrome, for instance, she claimed.

Usually a child becomes eligible for adoption abroad when it no longer is possible to find a foster family in Latvia, for instance where a child is suffering from health issues, there is a family of several siblings, and children of advanced age.

So far by October altogether 227 kids found foster families, 81 in Latvia, the remaining 146 abroad. While the total number compared to last year is similar, the percentage of adoptions going abroad has risen sharply.

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