The Netherlands will immediately suspend adoptions from abroad. This was announced by demissionary minister Dekker for Legal Protection, in response to the Joustra Commissions report on the Dutch adoption culture and the role of the government. Ongoing adoption procedures will still be completed, after an additional test. Also, the State will no longer invoke the limitation period in the proceedings of adopted persons.
According to the committee, the Netherlands has been too passive in the past in the adoption process. As a result, the monitoring of procedures was insufficient and there was no intervention in the event of abuses that were revealed. These include child theft, child trafficking and unethical behaviour by civil servants. These kinds of abuses have been known since the 1960s.
Minister Dekker acknowledges that. “The Dutch government has failed by looking away from abuses in inter-country adoption for years and not intervening in this,” he says. Dekker apologizes to the victims. He says that adopted people deserve recognition of past mistakes and deserve help in the present.
Dekker explains the abuses because it has long felt that adoption was a form of “doing good” for adoptive parents with a child wish and the children, who often came from poor countries. “This is an explanation for the abuses, but no justification,” says Dekker.
According to Dekker, children struggle with pressing questions that are sometimes difficult to answer:
The report of the committee led by Tjibbe Joustra was presented this morning, but the conclusions were already out on Friday. Minister Dekker says the Cabinet is taking over all the recommendations from the report. Among other things, there will be an independent national expertise centre for adoption, which bundles knowledge about identity formation and aftercare.
The Committee further concludes that measures have been taken over time to improve supervision and regulation, but that “the system contains inherent vulnerabilities”. Joustra says that the committee doubts whether a system can be designed to remove these vulnerabilities, but leave it to politics.
Dekker joins in this. “Although there is no longer a question of looking away and supervision has been tightened. The system is and remains vulnerable. That is why we need to reconsider adoptions from abroad.” A decision on a future adoption system leaves the demissionary minister to a subsequent cabinet.
No more invoking limitation
Furthermore, Dekker announces that the State will no longer invoke the limitation period for claims relating to adoptions from abroad, as happened last year, for example, in the case of Dilani Butink adopted from Sri Lanka in 1992. In this way, he strengthens the position of adopted people who want to initiate proceedings against the Dutch government.