Ninety adoptions were recorded in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation in 2016, compared to 109 in 2015, 136 in 2013 and 221 in 2011. This is reported today (Tuesday) in the Sudpresse publications, on the basis of figures released from the Adoption Agency of the Central Community Authority (known as the “ACC”).
This does not take account of adoption by relatives (for this there are some 150 cases per year). This decrease may be explained by a decline in international adoption and by a reduction in requests by potential adoptive parents.
A continuous decrease has been seen since 2004, despite a short period of stabilization. Although adoption outside of the family in respect of Belgian children has remained relatively stable in recent years (31 in 2016), international adoption is less frequent.
Didier Dehou, who is responsible for the Adoption Agency, says “Some countries have better social structures. One facet of the issue is that there are less cases of children given up due to uncertain family situations. Another aspect is that there are now more adoptions actually taking place within such states.”
Moreover, several countries of origin have improved their legislation to comply with the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. Cases are currently more thoroughly analysed and the primary focus is to find a solution within the family, then national adoption is considered. Only after these options are exhausted is entrusting the child to foreigners contemplated.
Adoption continues to occur frequently in Africa, with the converse occurring in South America, Asia (except for Thailand) and Eastern Europe, where adoption almost never occurs now.
In addition to this decline in international adoption, we have also seen a reduction in prospective adoptive parents. Since the 2008 crisis, some have given up taking the step of adoption which can prove to be expensive. Moreover, 40 per cent of such parents have given up part way through the procedure.
In relation to the average profile of children adopted, they are a little older than in the past, sometimes having more complex medical histories than previously.