Early next year, Nepal will start allowing international adoptions again. They had been suspended because of a variety of problems. Now the government wants to make sure certain criteria are in place and make sure that international standards are met.
International adoptions are criticised for spurring an illicit adoption market
Foreigners have been adopting Nepalese children for over 30 years but last year international adoptions were banned after it was found that prospective parents had been paying up to 20,000 dollars for an adoption. Critics argued that this created a kind of an illicit adoption market. One of the reasons was that couples had to deal with orphanages directly. Now, the government wants to streamline and centralize the process to prevent such problems.
Adoption in Nepal was no easy task
Prakash Adhikari is from Nepal’s ministry of women, children and social welfare, which has been tasked with formulating new adoption policies for international adoptions, and is responsible for ratifying international conventions. He says that a conference had been held in March 2007, and had concluded that there was no legal system and international norms for adoption. ‘’The conference also focused on the need for change in the system. So, based on this, the government had stopped this process unless the legal system is made,“ says Adhikari.
Now, Adhikari says that foreigners who want to adopt children from Nepal will first have to apply via their embassy in Nepal. The ministry will then process the applications from the various embassies.
Prospective parents can choose to go via government-endorsed adoption agencies or children’s organisations in Nepal.
All actors hope that the new provisions will simplify the adoption process, which was often very long and difficult. Thomas Döhne, a German who adopted a small girl from the country 13 years ago, recalls his difficulties during the adoption procedure, right from the application to integrating the child into the family. ‘’It was a lengthy process, we had to produce lots of certificates. We went through the official application process. We submitted the application to a Nepalese children’s organization, which is a recognized Nepali adoption authority,’’ says Döhne.
New provisions to streamline procedures
Prakash Adhikari from the ministry of children hopes that these problems will now belong to the past. He argues that the process will be made easier by the fact that the government will do the matching after the prospective parents meet the criteria.
The fees that adoptive parents should pay and the documents they should bring to Nepal have already been decided upon.
Adoptive parents will have to pay 5,000 US dollars to foster families, children’s homes or adoption agencies for a child and 3,000 US dollars to the government for processing the applications.
The government has already endorsed about 60 adoption agencies and says that adoptions will begin in January or February 2009.