Romania slammed its doors two weeks ago, ending foreign adoptions of its orphans until it could establish procedures that would be less "frustrating and corrupt," according to a Romanian official.
Despite rumors to the contrary, the ban is not permanent. The doors are expected to reopen sometime next week."There were too many crooks who were making money off the backs of our kids and of people who want to adopt," said Cornell Dragomirescu, press attache to the Romanian Embassy in Washington, D.C. "Our government stopped the adoptions for two weeks to put an adoption process in place."
"The information we've received from the embassy, the State Department and Senator Hatch's office is that adoptions will resume March 1," said Suzanne Stott, Rocky Mountain Adoption Exchange. "They've closed it temporarily mainly as a protection. They're looking for a better way of compiling lists and that kind of thing."
During the Ceausescu administration, which wanted to increase the population dramatically and ordered women to have children or pay a stiff "celibacy tax," thousands of children were placed in Romanian orphanages.
Since then, people from around the world have flooded into Romania to adopt children. Because the Eastern European country, long mired in poverty, was unprepared for the massive - and unexpected - adoption movement, the resulting confusion led to corruption. Bribing of adoption officials by prospective parents, which is illegal, became common. Some officials refused to assist the would-be parents without some form of payment, which is also illegal, Dragomirescu said.
Dragomirescu said that special boards have been established. Membership includes doctors who are caring for the children and others who help the prospective families through the Romanian part of the process.
Utah interest in adopting Romanian children has been high. In January, hundreds of people gathered at a seminar sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Adoption Exchange to pick up tips on cutting through the paperwork and bringing a child home. Most of the parents who had already adopted a Romanian child reported they spent up to three months in Romania.
That will change, the attache said. "It will be much easier," he said, "for the families that can get approval. Last approval is up to the court. But people can get all informations they need in Romania from our new special commission in the government building. They can go to the orphanages and make their own choice, then bring the file of the kid and the file of the family and appeal to the court for permission."
After a child is located, he said, a judge will make the decision on the adoption within two weeks. Then the adoptive parent will need to visit the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest to get a passport and other papers so the child can enter the United States.
The paperwork that has to be completed before a family leaves for Romania has not changed, Dragomirescu said.