This is yet another twist in a course already strewn with pitfalls. After eight years of waiting, Estelle and her husband were finally preparing to become parents. But the Covid-19 pandemic decided otherwise. The couple may have moved heaven and earth, they were unable to obtain an entry visa to Russia.
He was therefore unable to attend the summons of the Saint Petersburg court, which was yet to pronounce the adoption of their 4-year-old boy on November 2. “ Everything was planned. We have already met him in February, the “nannies” of the orphanage give us regular updates, but we were unable to cross the border ”, laments Estelle.
→ INVESTIGATION. Adoption: children waiting for a family, a side effect of the coronavirus
How many families find themselves in this situation? Marc Lasserre, of the Movement for Adoption Without Borders, said he received many calls from “Families who have the impression that the French have become veritable plague victims”. For fear of bringing in the virus, some countries, especially among those with the most fragile health systems, are closing down drastically. And, because France is one of the most affected countries, its nationals would be persona non grata.
81 adoption visas issued since March
“The health crisis amplifies the uncertainties, particularly in terms of, admits Charlotte Girault, Director General of the French Adoption Agency (AFA). It should be noted, however, that most countries have adapted their ways of working since March and that the activity has not stopped, as it has not been at the agency either. The International Adoption Mission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs settled the situations on a case-by-case basis. Several humanitarian flights were organized to collect the children. Thus, 81 adoption visas have been issued since March, 176 since the start of the year. “
→ EXPLANATION. The state could take control of the adoption
Despite these efforts, many cases remain unresolved. “The whole problem, in fact, is that few children had already reached the end of their adoption procedure when the borders were closed. However, when the files are still in progress, France has much less room for maneuver ”, admits Charlotte Girault. This is the case, for example, for Amélie and Hern. This Parisian couple was also on the verge of buying plane tickets to Russia, where they were to meet for the first time Karina, a little girl who will be 7 years old in December.
“For two years, we have been learning Russian”
For them, it was still much too early to be able to hope to return with the child, but this first meeting, they dreamed of it. “It was the first time that we were offered a child that corresponded to our approval, explains Amélie. For two years, we had been learning Russian in anticipation of this meeting. We knew that the child we would be entrusted with would not be a baby, so we prepared to be able to speak to him in his mother tongue. “ But today, the couple uses their knowledge of Russian to try to reach intermediaries on the spot.
Above all, he lives in anguish of never seeing Karina : “Our approval is only valid for a child under 7 years old, explains Amélie. If we can’t adopt Karina legally before her birthday next year, then we won’t be able to adopt her at all. ” “It’s still silly! Why not let us cross the border quits, of course, to subject us to quarantine and PCR testing? “, adds her husband.
The feeling of being forgotten
A situation that is all the more difficult to live with as the children born after surrogacy during confinement have, conversely, been able to return to France. Adoptive parents can’t help but report it, even if they don’t feel like bringing shame on anyone.
“This is a consequence of the Taubira circular of 2013, which allows children born by surrogacy to obtain nationality and have their filiation established from birth, analyzes the lawyer Marie-Christine Le Boursicot. It is therefore much easier for the chancelleries to intervene so that they can travel despite the closed borders. ” Enough to feed even more the feeling of being forgotten.
The decline in international adoption
The main countries of origin of adopted children in 2019 were Vietnam (49 adoptions), Colombia (43), Thailand (37) and Haiti (30).
The number of children adopted abroad has fallen significantly in recent years. Thus, 421 international adoptions were pronounced in 2019, against 3,095 in 2001.
This decline can be explained by economic and legal progress. Some developing countries now have enough resources to organize orphanages and find adoptive families there.
The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children, adopted in 1993, is also starting to bear fruit. Since then, major efforts have been made to clarify the civil status of children, which has led to a drop in the number of children considered to be adoptable.