Adoption in the Czech Republic

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In the Czech Republic an increasing number of couples are adopting children without following official state procedures. They are circumventing the lengthy bureaucratic waiting lists - which take up to 1-3 years - by setting up pseudo-adoptions for themselves. Radio Prague's Nicole Klement has more...

In the Czech Republic only the state has the authority to legalise an adoption and the state's adoption laws contain a number of loopholes which desperate couples are exploiting. Often, couples wishing to adopt but not wishing to go through the lengthy application forms and invasive interviews will find a pregnant single mother who wants to give up her child. The couple then pays the mother an agreed sum of money and then the man pronounces the child to be his - the result of an extramarital affair. The biological mother then simply signs a statement giving the supposed father sole custody of the child. This practice is very popular since it does not violate any laws. Even if the would-be father is found not to be the biological father the law does not prohibit him from claiming fatherhood. In the Czech Republic a father is simply the person who claims that position on the child's birth papers. However, this method is not without risks, there is no anonymity between the two parties and the biological mother does have the means to blackmail the family, in the future, if she so chooses.

The state's laws on international adoption are not much better. Adoption of a Czech child by a foreigner is officially possible. However, the state says that due to falling local birth rates there is a limit to this possibility since the number of adoptable children in the Czech Republic is quite small. Although adoption of a handicapped or Roma child from 3 to 16 years of age increases the likelihood of being granted an adoption, the difficulty with international adoption here in the Czech Republic is getting the Czech child a visa to leave as well as obtaining citizenship in another country. .

I spoke briefly with Michaela Tominova from the Centre for Gender Studies here in Prague about the cause of the problems associated with adoption here in the Czech Republic.

Author: Nicole Klement
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