Let us not be afraid of adoption!
In their letter for Holy Family Sunday the Polish bishops wrote, ‘childlessness remains a mystery that we may understand only on the other side of life. However, it is always worth discerning whether God calls us to special responsibility for the already born children who for various reasons cannot be brought up in their natural families; whether God calls us to the noble responsibility through adoption, adoptive family or to be dedicated to running a family children’s house. Do not fear to adopt children.’
In Poland the number of childless marriages increases. It is estimated that every sixth marriage will not have children. However, only ca. 30,000 marriages a year begin the process of adoption. Why are we afraid of adoption so much? Even among the educated people there persists the stereotype that adoption is risky. Since you do not know whom you are going to adopt. And the obligation is big. We invite a child born to unknown parents. It may be genetically infected, with some defect that cannot be seen at the first sight. Perhaps it has a bad character that will be revealed after years? Hearing these fears the workers of the adoption centres and psychologists wring their hands, ‘Does the fact that car accidents happen make us not buy a car?’ The second fear concerns the time and numerous obstacles. There is a conviction that candidates for adoptive parents should face a long and hard process of adoption, that there are piles of documents, obligatory trainings, few children to be adopted so we must be ready to wait for years… The adoption procedures are the way they are. On the one hand, they are complicated and demanding but on the other hand, one cannot give children free without checking whom we are dealing with. Even if the situation in orphanages is bad and cannot be worse anywhere else, a marriage that wants to adopt a child should be thoroughly screened. This is not only the matter of financial possibilities. The fundamental question is, ‘Are we emotionally ready? Have we emotionally matured to become parents? Will not a child become balm to our breaking-up marriage? Therefore, the candidates for adoptive parents must meet several conditions, frankly speaking, not too rigorous ones.
Step by step
The first step is a conversation between spouses. A sincere and deep discernment whether they both want to adopt a child. Are we prepared to have such a revolution in our life? We will not learn this if we do not visit the nearest adoption centre. Friendly and competent people work there. They will explain the process, its traps and what is most important; they will become our guides on the way to the desired aim, which is having a child. We phone the adoption centre and arrange our first meeting. During the meeting we fill in a detailed questionnaire. Then we must talk to an educationist and psychologist, and to a priest in Catholic adoption centres. We should attend a special training since even if we have experiences with bringing up our own children we will learn how to deal with an orphan, how to solve problems. This training consists of only a few afternoon sessions. Someone from the adoption centre will visit us to see the living conditions and get to know the rest of our family. The turning point is the acceptance of our candidature as adoptive parents, which is made by the Qualifying Commission of the Adoption Centre. If things prove to be all right we will be presented a concrete child. Before we can see it we will be told everything about its appearance, health and background. We have the right to know that and we should ask about everything, even about trifles. This is an extremely important and difficult moment because we decide to meet a child on the basis of written data. We should not expect to have some extreme emotions. The child will feel awkward and so will we. Love most frequently requires time. Let us offer each other the time. Since from that moment we can visit ‘our’ child, stay in touch with it, in a word, get to know it… Finally, we face the last stage: two trials in court. The first one, the so-called pre-adoptive, is the consent of the judge to take the child to our home. After a short time there will be another trial to complete the legal formalities. In 21 days the sentence becomes valid. No one can take the child from us from this time on.
What children can be adopted?
Americans say that to adopt a white healthy baby one must wait 3-5 years. In Poland the adoptive process lasts nine months so that the time of waiting is similar to the time of pregnancy. One does not wait to adopt a child of special care but the problem is that Polish families do not eagerly want such children. Those working in adoption centres admit that usually authentically believing marriages are not afraid of adopting disabled children. The children who have chances to be adopted are biological orphans and those whose biological parents relinquish their parental rights or the court has deprived them of custody of their children. Attention! In Poland one cannot adopt abandoned children – all children leave in the so-called life windows or near churches are not automatically taken to adoption centres! First, the police must investigate who the biological parents are. The same applies to children abandoned by foreigners. Only juveniles are subject to adoption but a 13-year-old child must agree to be adopted. However, one must remember that children who are under six weeks cannot be adopted. One cannot arrange with a woman to bear a child to some other family. All such agreements are not valid here. Since the birth the biological mother has three weeks to change her mind – it is worth remembering that. The older we are the older child will be presented us for adoption. That concern parents who are over forty years old. It is known that an older child carries a baggage of various experiences, often traumatic ones, poverty and violence. One can bring up a baby according to one’s own desires but it is more difficult with an older child. However, psychologists are convinced that being brought up in family, among good and wise people, allows solving these problems. There are also groups of adoptive parents in Poland. They share their experiences, meet and become friends. The final argument for adoption is the prevailing number of successful adoptions. We very seldom deal with an annulment of adoption by court. These are only single cases.
Successful adoption and indicative adoption
The adoption process is confidential and basically free of charge. The state adoption centres do not charge anything and the fee in private centres is a voluntary donation. There is the so-called indicative adoption when the biological family and adoptive family know each other. Until recently such situations often happen in adoption within the family, for example, parents die in a car accident and the mother’s sister adopts their children. Currently, indicative adoptions happen among non-related people, following the principle: I know that you will be good parents for my child. It is not true that you need to wait for adoption for years in Poland. It can happen that parents have relatively high requirements. Annually about 20-30,000 couples want to adopt children in Poland. And unfortunately, the number of marriages that want to adopt children is decreasing. Aversion towards adoption is often caused by ignorance, fear of complicated procedures and fear of raising a child having ‘alien blood’. However, all families that have successfully completed the first stages never regret their decisions. And we should believe them… It is true that in Poland too many children live without chances to be loved, to have normal homes. Tutors in children’s houses say that it is enough for a mother to show some interest in her child once a year to make the court not deprive her of her parental rights. Sometimes it is the regulations or lack of imagination of the court that condemn children to ownerless fates. The bishops write about that in their letter, appealing to change the fossilized and sometimes inhuman legal norms, ‘Let children experience the warmth of family home. Although someone else bore their bodies but you will ‘bear their hearts’ and struggle for their humanity. Here the words of Christ are very special, ‘And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.’ We wholeheartedly bless you, parents who serve your children in this way. We understand your expectations to adjust the Polish law in such a way that a mother adopting a baby could receive the maternity leave. We are worried about the signals of too beaurocratic approach of social workers. We are concerned about the tardiness of courts to give their consents to adoptions. We wish you a lot of kindness and understanding shown by all people. Here we do not deal with ‘a problem’ but with children for whose growths love and warmth of family home have fundamental meaning.’
DOCUMENTS NEEDED FOR ADOPTION:
Valid certificate of marriage (Catholic adoption centres require a certificate of the Sacrament of Matrimony and priest’s reference). Birth certificates in case of single people. Health certificate. (Certificate from Psychological Health Counselling Centre or a detoxification clinic that you have been not treated in such places. Please remember that if you go to such centres do not register there! Ask for a certificate) Your employer’s reference. Certificate about your financial situation. Unpunishability certificate.
ADDRESSES OF ADOPTION CENTRES IN POLAND:
ul. Broniewskiego 1a, 91-473 Lodz, tel. (0-42) 682-18-88
Warszawa, tel. (0-22) 618-92-45, 619-63-95 (international adoption) Chrzescijanski Osrodek Adopcyjno-Mediacyjny „Pro Familia"
ul. Kosinskiego 27, 61-522 Poznan, tel./fax. (0-61) 834-10 42
ul. Czeresniowa 15, 66-400 Gorzow Wlkp. , tel. (0-95) 729-52-75, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.doao.yoyo.pl
ul. Katedralna 4/25, 50-328 Wroclaw, tel. (0-71) 327-11-03,
ul. Kard. B. Kominka 1a, 45-032 Opole, tel. (0-77) 44-11-500, www.adopcja.dfoz.pl
ul. Plebiscytowa 49a, 40-041 Katowice, tel. (0-32) 608-15-96
ul. Warszawska 14, 82-500 Kwidzyn, tel. (0-55) 279-70-13
ul. Portiusa 4, 38-400 Krosno, tel. (0-13) 436-82-51
ul. IX Wiekow Kielc 15a, 25-516 Kielce, tel. (0-41) 344-55-92
ul. A. Mickiewicza 3, 70-383 Szczecin, (0-91) 442-50-85, www.adopcje.pl
Dzielo Pomocy Dzieciom, ul. Rajska 10, 31-121 Krakow, tel. (0-12) 631-03-00, 631-03-04, email@example.com, www.adopcja.dpd.pl
ul.3 Maja 10, 19-300 Elk, tel./fax (0-87) 621-38-25
Katolicki OAO Stowarzyszenia Rodzin Katolickich, ul. Jana Pawla II 82, 42-200 Czestochowa, tel. (0-34) 366-49-91, 0-607-355-014
Katolicki OAO Opiekunczy Archidiecezji Warminskiej, ul. Czarneckiego 3a, 14-100 Ostroda, tel. (0-89) 642-02-99, www.adopcja.warmia.pl
ul. Panny Marii 2, 87-100 Torun, tel. (0-56) 652-26-26
ul. Cienista 2, 85-817 Bydgoszcz, tel. (0-52) 375-36-05, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.adopcja.lo.pl
ul. Koscielna 5, 26-604 Radom, tel. (0-48) 365-29-29
ul. Sadowa 3, 18-400 Lomza, tel. (0-86) 483-55-14, 473-55-14