Parliament supports temporary ban on foreign adoptions

The Latvian parliament on July 9 supported a bill that would ban most foreign adoptions until new regulations are worked out.

It is understood that the bill, which was supported in the first, non-final reading, would ban foreign adoptions even to countries with which Latvia has two-party agreements.

There would be several exceptions to the law, however: adoption cases in progress would be allowed to continue, and relatives or the children of spouses could still be adopted.

However, some MPs and government officials argued about these changes. MP Artuss Kaimiņš said that the main problem concerning foreign adoptions is that Latvia has no way to make sure children are living a good life after adoption.

MPs want more control over the process and plan to set up an institution under the Cabinet of Ministers which would be able to rule whether a child would be put up for foreign adoption.

Meanwhile Evita Zālīte-Grosa (New Conservative Party) said that it's a myth that only disabled children are put up for foreign adoption. But Vita Anda Tēraida (Development/For!) argued that teenagers in particular are not adopted locally and most often find a home elsewhere instead.

Welfare Minister Ramona Petraviča (KPV LV) said the new regulations take into account neither the child's interests nor international regulations. "These amendments ignore the opinions and wishes of the children," said the minister.

Currently 141 children are put up for adoption, Petraviča said. For the past two years, Latvian children have been adopted exclusively to the United States.

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