PEAR's Cautionary Statement on Adoptions from Poland
Over the past four months PEAR has received numerous complaints and requests for assistance from families who are in the process of adopting from Poland or who have completed a recent adoption from Poland. The majority of these situations involved inaccurate, incomplete, or falsified medical and psychosocial histories of the children to be adopted. In each case, the families have chosen to either disrupt the adoption process in Poland or dissolve adoption once in the US.
One of PEAR's goals is to ensure that all families are provided the opportunity to make a wholly informed and educated decision to adopt. Part of this includes the accurate and full conveyance of a child's known or suspected medical and psychosocial history to the family prior to adoption, and this is one of the requirements listed under PEAR's Prospective Adoptive Parents Bill of Rights. The purpose of this requirement is two-fold, one preparing parents to best meet the needs of their children is always in the best interests of the child, and two, prevention of disruptions or dissolutions harmful both to the child and his/her potential family.
We understand that some of the motivation behind the innacurate and incomplete medical histories may be the good intentions of those involved in these adoptions to find homes for children with special needs. However, good intentions or not, these childrens and families are being placed in very risky and possibly harmful situations as a result.
In addition, adoptions from Poland are subject to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children in Respect to Intercountry Adoption. Article 9 (a) and Article 16(1)(a) of the Hague Convention require that Central Authorities to provide medical histories and records to the adopting family. Failure of the Central Authorities to act in accordance with the Hague Convention on the Rights of the Child may result in the halt of adoptions from that country. Under the US regulations promulgated in support of the Hague Convention, accredited adoption service providers and their incountry representatives must provide adopting families with accurate medical histories both known and suspected at least two weeks prior to the family traveling to the receiving country. Failure to abide by the Hague Regulations found at 22 CFR sec. 96.49 can result in sanctions or the loss of accreditation on the part of adoption service providers.
As an additional caution to adoptive families and adoption service providers, please know that families who present at the US Embassy interview in Warsaw can be, and in fact have been, denied visas on the basis that the child they adopted does not fit within the parameters of the child they were prepared and approved for in their homestudy.
PEAR respectfully requests adopting parents to be vigilant in their review of medical records and to request clarification or further information if they suspect undisclosed issues. We also ask accredited adoption service providers and their incountry personnel to convey full and complete medical and social histories to adopting parents in accordance with the Hague Regulations and the Hague Convention. Additionally, we are calling upon the Central Authorities of Poland and the US to investigate and work with Polish and US individuals and organizations involved in caring for or placing children to convey the importance and necessity of conveying complete and accurate records about the children to their potential adoptive parents.
Resources: If you have adopted or in the process of adopting from Poland and have received inaccurate, incomplete or falsified medical records you can report your situation to any or all of the following:
PEAR at email@example.com or via our online Web Comment form www.pear-now.org.
The US Embassy in Warsaw:
American Embassy – Consular Section
Ul. Piekna 12
00-540 Warsaw, Poland
Tel: 48-22-625-1401 or 48-22-504-2106;
The DOS and COA via their online Complaint registry at:
The Polish Adoption Authority:
Mrs. Elzbieta Podczaska, Director
Publiczny Osrodek Adopcyjno-Opiekunczy
ul. Nowogrodzka #75
Tel/fax: 48-22-622-0370, 0371, or 0372 (Please note that Mrs. Podczaska does not speak English, but members of her staff do.)
Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.