Joy, that was the first response of the adopted Dilani Butink when she heard that new adoptions from abroad are being temporarily suspended. This was decided in response to a devastating research report on the Dutch adoption culture and the role of the government. “I am very pleased with the report of the committee and the temporary stop. This simply confirms what we have been fighting for all this time, that it has not been in vain.”
Dilani Butink was adopted by Dutch parents from Sri Lanka in 1992. She filed a lawsuit following her adoption proceedings, in which, according to her lawyer, serious mistakes were made. Last year, the judge ruled that the case had been time-barred, which would not allow the court to deal with the substance of the case. An appeal is still ongoing.
Butink thinks it must sound crazy to respond happily to such a devastating report, but she feels familiar with her suffering through these conclusions. “We knew what all went wrong, but its nice that this is now confirmed. And I thought it was a shock to see that things are still not going well.”
Mirjam and Doriet also went wrong with their adoption from Indonesia. They later turned out not to be sisters and recently told about them:
Minister Dekker apologized and announced in response to the report that the State will no longer invoke limitation periods in legal proceedings of adopted persons, allowing more victims to proceed successfully to court. What that means to her case, Butink doesnt know yet.
Her lawyer, Lisa-Marie Komp, says shes very happy that the state doesnt do that anymore. According to Komp, it is rare to say in advance that there is no recourse to limitation periods. “This clearly shows that the Minister knows that this is very unreasonable in this case.”
However, she finds it frustrating that there have been recourse to limitation periods in various procedures. “I think the minister could have had that insight without this report.” Her client Butinks proceedings so far focused on whether the case was a time-barred or not. “So we could have skipped that. That could have cared a lot of time, money and frustration.”
The appeal in Butinks case is now ongoing, and the lawyer is going to see with her client what this development means for that. “But I assume that the matter can now be dealt with in substance. That we can come to this interesting question: what has gone wrong with its adoption and what responsibility does the State bear for this?”
Second Chamber: shocking, penetrating report
MPs from CDA, VVD, D66, SP, PvdA and GroenLinks, among others, are shocked by the abuses that the report reveals. CDA MP Van Toorenburg speaks of a “penetrating report on extremely bad abuses”. D66-MP Bergkamp calls the abuses “shocking and violent”. GroenLinks MP Van den Berge is “shocked” and Pvda-MP Kuijten calls it almost “not to contain”.
fact that Minister Dekker has apologized is justified. MPs find it particularly shocking that “the government knew about it and looked away”. Help for all parents and children is now of paramount importance, says the Chamber.
The Chamber will have to look at how to proceed. “We need to see if adoptions from other countries can still be made,” says CDA member of parliament Van Toorenburg. A decision on this is up to a subsequent cabinet, according to MPs.
Sander Vlek, chairman of the National Association of Adoptive Parents, says that in the coming days he will focus on informing wishers. “According to Dekker, there are now about 400 files that are already running and that can still continue.” He then focuses on the new House of Representatives, which has to decide on the future of the adoption system. He fears damage to the existing infrastructure because the foundations concerned are unable to do their job for the time being.
Vlek also wants to talk to the Joustra Commission about statements at the presentation of the report, which he believes are offensive to adoptive parents. “Joustra talked about pressure from wishers. It is true that prospective adoptive parents have a childs wish, but not through abuses. We always want to be able to explain to our children why they are with us.”
All information nights for people who are considering adoption have been canceled for the time being.