The government of Sweden is the most recent to announce that it will investigate “irregularities” in the last 60 years of international adoptions, focusing in particular on China and Chile.
Around 60,000 children have been adopted to Sweden, most originally from South Korea, India, Colombia, and Sri Lanka.
Results of the investigation are expected to be released in November 2023.
In February 2021, The Netherlands froze international adoptions after adult adoptees raised concerns about adoptions from Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. A government commission found some adoptions, dating back to the 1960’s and through the 1990’s, where children had been stolen or bought.
An additional article about Sweden’s investigations from February 2021 is available here.
The District Court of The Hague on November 24, 2021, ordered The Netherlands to pay compensation (amount not yet determined) to a Brazilian adoptee.
According to Prakken d’Oliveira Human Rights Lawyers, “Patrick Noordoven was illegally adopted from Brazil in 1980. His parentage was thereby misrepresented, by giving him up as the biological child of the Dutch couple who adopted him illegally. Shortly after his illegal adoption, the police conducted an investigation and concluded that Patrick Noordoven and 41 other children had been adopted illegally from Brazil to the Netherlands. Nevertheless, after the investigation, the State did not take measures to enable Patrick Noordoven to know his parentage and the circumstances of his illegal adoption. The Court concluded that by doing so, the State acted in violation of Patrick Noordoven’s right to identity and knowledge of his parentage.”
In 2018, based on Noordoven’s case, The Hague Appeals Court determined that “a child that was illegally adopted has the right to all information about their adoption. This encompasses, among other things, information about how the illegal adoption took place, criminal investigations into the illegal adoption, and press reports about suspicions of child trafficking.” More information is available here: “Illegally adopted persons have the right to obtain all information about their adoption.”
Increasing numbers of international adult adoptees are searching for their origins, and finding that fraud and corruption were involved. Patrick Noordoven spent 20 years tracking down his truth. This appears to be the first time a country, in the case The Netherlands, has been ordered to pay damages to a person adopted internationally from another country.
I am not a lawyer, but I would say this case has global ramifications for illegally adopted people.