The Netherlands froze the adoption of children from abroad after a government commission found that some children had been kidnapped or bought from their biological parents.
Reported by Reuters.
The commission was created under pressure from a growing number of adult foster children who began researching their roots and often found their birth documents forged or lost, or that their adoption was illegal.
The commission investigated adoptions in Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka that occurred from 1967 to 1998.
Parents in the Netherlands have adopted about 40,000 children from 80 countries over the previous half-century. This practice has declined in recent years, with only 145 children being adopted in 2019.
In some of the more challenging cases, it has been found that the children adopted through intermediaries were abducted or bought under duress by their biological parents.
Legal Defense Minister Sander Decker said on Monday that despite recent reforms, in some foreign countries “too much remains out of our sight.”
“I understand that this will be painful for some people, but let’s not forget the reason for this decision: by stopping adoption, we are protecting children and their biological parents,” he said.
He noted that the next government will have to decide whether it is possible to develop a foreign adoption system that would not be vulnerable to such abuse.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government resigned last month over a tax scandal and is currently working in an interim role pending elections in March.