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Intercountry adoption: a collective demands a right to access to origins

They were born in India, Guatemala, Brazil, Congo, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Peru, etc. And of their origins, they know almost nothing. What their adoptive parents told them, which is written in a few documents sometimes gathered in a file, for years, they were satisfied with it. Today, they are mobilizing to obtain information on their biological families and, sometimes, to raise suspicions about the legality of their adoption.

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The “RDO” (for “search for origins”) is at the heart of the demands of the Recognition of illicit adoptions in France collective (Raif), created by Emmanuelle Hébert a few months ago. Initially, the young woman undertook research out of simple curiosity, after the death of her adoptive parents. I wanted to understand where I come from, who I am, to have a story to pass on to my children, does she justify. I have dark skin, everything about me says I’m not from here, but I don’t know anything from there either. However, according to the International Declaration of Human Rights, I have a right to this information. “

“I was made to understand that there was no point in searching”

During his quest, surprises follow one another. “All my papers were false. My date of birth had been changed. When I questioned the Indian orphanage where I had been adopted, I was told that there was no point in searching. “ Little by little, doubt creeps in and the search for the 40-something changes: she wants to know what is hidden in her story. “I have been to this orphanage three times. Each time I was told a different story. I even met a woman who was introduced to me as my mother, before I was told the opposite on the next trip. “ Faced with these improbabilities, she created the Raif collective which brought together several dozen people in her case.

The story of Soul Quetzalame is near. He also took the step to “Feel whole”. He too was faced with empty files full of inconsistencies. He then conducted research on the Internet, with the only clue of having been adopted in Guatemala, during the civil war. In 2019, he found out that it was actually stolen during the Civil War, a common practice at the time. He even finds traces of his mother who, for her part, had started research to find him. “I could not meet her because she died three months before my research was successful, he laments. But I reconnected with five brothers and sisters who stayed behind. Some remembered me. “

Switzerland and the Netherlands reacted

These stories revive doubts about the practices of the time and the adoptions carried out in countries at war. “It is a matter of state”, assures Emmanuelle Hébert. Faced with similar accusations, Switzerland apologized and the Netherlands banned international adoptions. This is not the case in France, where controls have nevertheless been considerably strengthened since the adoption of the Hague Convention in 1993. The number of intercountry adoptions has also dropped drastically, from 3,095 in 2001 to 421 in 2019. .

“We want the files to be reopened and France to explain itself”, asserts the activist. The association has launched an online petition calling for a commission of inquiry, which has collected more than 35,000 signatures. The deputy La République en Marche (LREM) Mireille Robert, on the other hand, sent, on June 21, an official request to Christophe Castaner for the opening of a parliamentary information mission.

→ CRITICAL. “A story of your own” by Amandine Gay, changing the story of adoption

With others, the association also hopes to be able to influence the child protection law, which is due to be examined in July in Parliament. “It is quite possible to broaden the skills of Cnaop to find parents of origin even when there is no secret birth, in order to respond to a huge demand for help”, considers the former magistrate Marie-Christine Le Boursicot. This body was set up at the end of 2002 in a context of a similar sling from children born under secrecy in France.“At the time, the same movement for access to origins had emerged and, every Saturday, the ‘angry X’ demonstrated at the Trocadéro. Since 2003, the creation of Cnaop has greatly pacified the spirits ”, she recalls. An amendment should be introduced in this sense, when the text is examined by the Social Affairs Committee on July 6.


The Cnaop facilitates access to origins

The National Council for Access to Personal Origins facilitates the procedures for adopted persons and wards of the State wishing to know the identity of their biological parents.

Composed of 17 members and 200 departmental correspondents, it has legal resources: consultation of civil status registers, the administrative file of maternity or child welfare, health insurance files, etc.

He must reconcile the child’s request and the mother’s right to respect for her private life, when she gave birth under X.

In 2008, the Cnaop found the biological mother in half of the 3,600 files submitted to it.


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