The number of children in Hungary that have no families is 21,000, reports 444.hu. These children are either orphans, abandoned by their parents or removed from their home because of neglect or abuse. These children live in foster homes or children’s homes, and only a part of them are up for adoption.
Child services always try to provide these children with the best possible options. Usually the best for them would be growing up with their parents, but in some cases it is the job of child services to remove children from a possibly harmful environment. If the parents are abusing or neglecting their children, or if they have financial troubles that make it impossible for them to raise their children, then the state takes responsibility and finds a children’s home or a foster family for these children in need.
In the past few years the number of children in state care has risen, even though the overall number of children in the country is continuously decreasing.
Technically the country’s aim is to give these children new homes, a family that could adopt them. Last year, the number of children up for adoption was 1972. Also, last year there were 2753 families wanting to adopt a child, and these are only the parents who have passed every possible test. Most of them are married couples, but there are some single parents, too.
But no matter how many people want to adopt, the procedure is still very long and slow-going. In 2014, only 784 adoptions were finalised. In the past few years, there have been some attempts to make the process quicker, and it looks like the number of children who are adopted is getting higher every year. Last year 1025 children found new families. This number is higher than in any other year in the last two decades.
There could be several explanations:
- there are more children in state care
- More parents are wanting to adopt a child
- Rules were modified in 2014 and made the process quicker
- More foreign citizens adopt Hungarian children
Most of the children in state care are not babies. Less than 10% of the children currently in state care are under 3 years old. About 30% of the children are between 3 and 10 years old, but most children are at least 10 years old.
Couples usually want to adopt babies or younger children. Older kids have less chance to find an adoptive parent, and those with disabilities or chronic illnesses are most likely to stay in state care.
In 2017 every third child available for adoption had a chronic illness or a disability.
These children have special needs, and not every couple is capable to give them everything they would need. So most just decide to wait a few more years.
There are two types of adoptions: open and secret adoptions. In a secret adoption, the birth mother chooses to keep her identity private and does not exchange contact information with the adoptive family. The birth mother does not know where her child ends up, and the adoptive family does not know anything about the child’s birth parents. In an open adoption, the birth parents and the adoptive parents know each other and could choose to keep in touch.
But according to the new rule made in 2014, in an open adoption the birth mother has the right to ask for her baby back in the first 6 weeks, in case she changes her mind.
60% of the children that get adopted has spent time in a children’s home or with a foster family. The good news is that these adoptions are usually a success. In 2017 there were only 10 cases when the adoption had been reversed, 4 of these happened when the children turned 18, and their adoptive family cut ties with them.