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Adoption: “Often, reunions are fantasized on both sides”

The cross : Does the quest for the origins of adopted children have a chance of succeeding?

Sebastien Roux: In France, abandonment is very supervised and the State puts in place lots of strategies to cut filiation. From the collection of the child to his arrival in the foster family, the social workers are very careful never to speak of the origins, those who take care of the child never meet those who take care of his mother, etc. . It therefore remains complicated to find information on one’s birth when one was born in France, outside the procedures provided for by the National Council for Access to Personal Origins.

In other countries, with less government, it’s easier. Most often, children adopted abroad come from rural, poor, southern countries where there is a memory of their birth. There is often someone who remembers that the cousin, the neighbor, the wife of the nephew gave birth in such and such a year. In Ethiopia or Vietnam, this is the case.

Social networks are also becoming increasingly important. There are entire sites where kids can post their requests and parents can sign up too. They meet like this. Often, when we think of the search for origins, we think of the identity of the parents, but in fact, it goes much further. In other countries, the family is larger, the memory circulates more. So people first find cousins, uncles, etc. What is also changing is the massification of DNA tests to verify filiation.

How’s the reunion going?

SR: Everything depends. Often they are fantasized on both sides. The children imagined that the parents would have wanted to keep them but could not, for financial reasons in particular. But they may discover that this is not quite the case, that the abandonment was voluntary. Conversely, on the side of the birth families, it is often hoped that the child sent abroad has become a surgeon or a lawyer, has had children in turn and is happy. Finding yourself faced with a child who does not fit this pattern of success can be equally violent. Both must readjust to reality.

Have doubts about international adoption been resolved?

SR: International adoption is increasingly in line with the legal recommendations of the Hague Convention: parents are better prepared, systems for transferring children are put in place that are more gentle, there is a concern to do the right thing , increasingly codified procedures. Nevertheless, some activists are calling for a general ban, believing that in this area, ethics would be impossible. They see in it an intrinsic violence, an unbearable power relationship between rich parents in the North and poor children in the South. However, this point of view is not unanimous and divides the adoptees themselves.


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