Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Adoptions "last resort"



Adoptions "last resort"

Adoptions "last resort"

The Editor,

We welcome the concern and interest in the issue (Phnom Penh Post July 11) on international

adoptions. As your commentary shows, this is a very complex subject and one which

arouses strong responses.

As you mention, our view is that it is vital to strengthen options for care of particularly

vulnerable children within Cambodia, and that inter-country adoption, which uproots

a child completely from his or her culture, extended family and cultural environment,

should only be considered as a last resort.

We are therefore working closely with the Ministry of Social Affairs to support the

introduction of new procedures to clarify the system for inter-country adoption,

and through the placement of a Child Welfare and Protection Adviser working with

the ministry, we hope to help find ways to strengthen in-country systems for adoption,

fostering, and other traditional ways of caring for vulnerable children within the

extended family.

Recent research we have conducted with ministry staff on child-related activities

within Phnom Penh and Kandal had revealed a high number of Government and NGO-run

'centers' for orpphaned or abandoned children who can no longer be supported by their

families. On figures we have have been given it would seem that over half of the

children in these centers are not 'full' orphans, in the sense of having lost both

parents. (The proportion of orphans is higher in Government orphanages established

in 1979/80, and much lower in some of the newer, smaller centers.) Most children

are known to have some close family members, and in many cases children are handed

over to centers because of extreme poverty or stress within the family.

We hope it will be possible to develop alternative options for support to the poorest

families before children are admitted to centers and to encourage efforts to re-establish

contact with the extended family of children in centers wherever possible, believing

that the right of a child to live with his or her own family is paramount except

in cases where this wil actually be detrimental to the child. There are also already

some exciting initiatives underway, such as the development of family-style 'group

homes' for some children who have no family, where they live in small groups of mixed

ages with carefully selected 'house parents'.

We are often shocked by the readiness of some foreigners to adopt Cambodian children

in a rush without proper attempts to trace family members, and we are concerned that

assumptions are being made about life being 'better' outside Cambodia for children

who are not in a postition to understand the enormity of what is happening to them.

While we know that the majority of foreigners wishing to adopt Cambodian children

have the best intentions, the amount of pressure exerted by impatient would-be adoptive

parents on Ministry of Social Affairs personnel is immense and often creates many

problems.

We sincerely hope that all individuals and agencies concerned about the well-being

of the poorest families in Cambodia will work together to strengthen local, family

and community-based options for the support of vulnerable children.
- Joan M. Anderson, Country Representative, Save the Chirdren Fund (UK).

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Woman seeks answers after arrest of American partner

    Filipina Lalaine de Guzman, 48, is demanding answers for the detention of her American partner by Cambodian immigration officers after he was arrested at their home almost 90 days ago. She said without an arrest warrant or proffering any criminal charges, Stephen Sidney Greatsinger, 56, is being detained

  • ‘No chance Cambodia booted out of ASEAN’

    A group of former and current Cambodian diplomats on Tuesday fired back at retired Singaporean diplomat Bihalari Kausikan after he proposed that ASEAN dismiss Cambodia and Laos from the bloc. In an open letter, the Cambodian diplomats said Kausikan’s remarks were made from a

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital