My Russian Side, By Alex Gilbert

This is Alex. He is adopted. He has a story to tell.

”My Russian Side” is Alex’s story of bravely undertaking a search to find his Russian biological parents and to uncover the truth about his past.

Alex longs to find the answers to questions. Questions he has held hidden in his heart for many long years.

Global warming hasn’t reached Russia. Alex’s sunny disposition and bright smile are in stark contrast to the dreary skies and decaying buildings of Rybinsk, where his birth mother is now living. A six hour drive from Moscow. Alex does not harden his heart against his birth mother and father when he learns the truth about his past. He doesn’t judge them.  His New Zealand adoptive parents would no doubt be very proud of their son.  Alex is grateful for a better life in New Zealand. Sadly, very few abandoned children are so lucky and International adoptions from Russia are now banned. Conditions in Alex’s old orphanage in his birthplace of Arkhangelsk are harsh and hopeless. Alex wants to provide comfort and hope to the hundreds of abandoned children left behind.

He is the founder of ”I’m Adopted” which is a Registered Charitable Trust in New Zealand.  You can find them on facebook helping adoptees around the world connect and find biological parents and siblings.

Please help Alex’s dream of a better life for abandoned children living in his old orphanage in Arkhangelsk. Visit the website; http://www.imadopted.org and donate.

Asociatia Catharsis; Registered Adoption Agency and Disability Support Services

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-8-14-45-amScreen shot 2016-03-04 at 2.54.56 PM

Azota Popescu, Founder and Director of Asociatia Catharsis, has worked tirelessly over the last twenty years to provide day-respite services to the blind and visually impaired and to advocate for better services for the disabled people in her community. She has also worked tirelessly to advocate for the rights of Romania’s 60,000 abandoned, institutionalised children. In line with the governments recent policy changes to domestic adoptions and their campaign; ” A Family For Every Child” , which aims to have no children living in institutions in Romania by 2020, Asociatia Catharsis are now are Registered Adoption Agency and, in accordance with government legislation, are able to provide the following essential services.
Catharsis Association Brasov, Romania and private body public interest
Reautorizată is to carry out activities and services in the field of domestic adoption as follows:
Activities for families who want to adopt a baby:
– informing families / individuals expressing their intention to adopt, documentation required to, and the domestic adoption procedures;
– preparing for adopters informed parental role;
– information and counseling adopters on the necessary legal steps disclosure, under the law, natural identity baby’s parents and, where appropriate, necessary contact or biological relatives by child;
– family or adoptatorului assessment in order to obtain adoptatoare attestation / family person to adopt one or more children.
Activities for children who have been or will be adopted:
Specialist Nurse for that child has not been able to identify a suitable adoptatoare family, where the adoption of the child adoption failed or stopped;
– drawing material information addressed to children on procedures, and the effects of adoption;
– Adoptatului and preparation advice for achieving its contacts with parents and / or natural biological relatives;
Natural activities for parents and extended family of children who have been or will be adopted:
– insurance expert assistance the adoption termination;
– advising and training natural parents and / or biological relatives for achieving contacts with adopted.
Adoption: post activities
– information and advice for parents and children;
– organising courses for parental capacity development;
– formation of groups for parents and children;
– supporting adopters to inform the child about adoption;
– advice on revealing adoptatului parents identity / natural biological relatives;
– advice and preparation adoptatului / parents / natural biological relatives to contact.
Adoption services internal
– information and promote domestic adoption awareness in order to / beneficiaries and needs increased domestic adoption by organising meetings, conferences, communications, media campaigns, editing of publications.

Asociația Catharsis Braşov, organism privat român şi de utilitate publică,
este reautorizată pentru a desfăşura activități și servicii în domeniul adopției interne, după cum urmează:

Activităţi destinate familiilor care doresc să adopte un copil:
– informarea familiilor/persoanelor care își exprimă intenția de a adopta, cu privire la documentația necesară, la demersurile și la durata procedurilor adopției interne; 
– pregătirea adoptatorilor pentru asumarea în cunoștință de cauză a rolului de părinte;
– informarea si consilierea adoptatorilor cu privire la demersurile legale necesare dezvăluirii, în condițiile legii, a identități părinților firești ai copilului și, după caz, necesare contactării acestora sau a rudelor biologice de către copil;
– evaluarea adoptatorului sau familiei adoptatoare în vederea obținerii Atestatului de persoană/familie aptă să adopte unul sau mai mulți copii.

Activități destinate copiilor care au fost sau urmează să fie adoptați:
-asistenta de specialitate a copilului pentru care nu s-a putut identifica o familie adoptatoare potrivita, în cazul în care demersurile de adopție ale copilului au eșuat sau adopția a încetat;
-întocmirea unor materiale de informare adresate copiilor cu privire la procedurile, demersurile și efectele adopției;
-consilierea și pregătirea adoptatului pentru realizarea contactelor acestuia cu părinții firești și/sau rudele biologice;

Activități destinate părinților firești și familiei extinse a copiilor care au fost sau urmează să fie adoptați:
– asigurarea de asistență de specialitate în situația încetării adopției;
– consilierea și pregătirea părinților firești și/sau a rudelor biologice pentru realizarea contactelor cu adoptatul.

Activități post adopție:
– informare și consiliere pentru părinți și copii;
-organizarea unor cursuri pentru dezvoltarea capacităților parentale;
– constituirea de grupuri de suport pentru părinți și copii;
– sprijinirea adoptatorilor în vederea informării copilului cu privire la adopția sa;
– consilierea adoptatului în vederea dezvăluirii identității părinților firești/rudelor biologice;
– consilierea și pregătirea adoptatului/părinților firești/rudelor biologice în vederea contactării.

Servicii în domeniul adopției interne
– informarea si promovarea adopției interne, în scopul conștientizării problematicii/nevoilor beneficiarilor și creșterii numărului adopțiilor interne, prin organizarea unor întâlniri, conferințe, comunicări, campanii de mediatizare, editare de publicații.

Azota Popescu; Founder and President of Association Catharsis, Brasov, Romania.
http://www.catharsis.org.ro
e-mail: office.catharsis@yahoo.com
azotapopescu@yahoo.com
Phone/Fax: 0040 268 324888
Mobile: +40.722.295.282
Address: Braşov, 16th Toamnei St.,
Romania, Postal code: 500223

U.N.I.C.E.F in Romania-Adoption Procedures

Increased chances of new family for ‘hard to place’ children

The number of forms to be processed was halved, some of which were simplified
Today, 17 August 2016, the National Authority for the Protection of Child Rights and Adoption (NAPCRA), with the support of UNICEF in Romania, held a media briefing on the recent changes and additions to Law 273/2004 regarding adoption procedures and related methodological norms.
The event was attended by: Ms. Oana Țoiu, Secretary of State/Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Protection and the Elderly, Ms. Gabriela Coman, President of the National Authority for the Protection of Child Rights and Adoption, and Ms. Sandie Blanchet, UNICEF Representative in Romania, as well as representatives of local and central authorities involved in the adoption process.
Any child’s place is with a family and it is our duty to do everything we can to speed up and simplify the process through which more and more children in state care are placed with a loving and protecting family. This is what we have been aiming to accomplish through the recent regulations – eliminating any red tape that could hinder the adoption process for children and any forms that could challenge a family’s hopes for a quick onset of the adoption procedure. I would like to thank all those who contributed throughout the law amendment process and I believe that it is worth all our efforts to provide children who have no home with the chance to enjoy parental love”, said Gabriela COMAN, NAPCRA President.
During the meeting, participants tackled the main revisions to the law, such as: the number of forms used in the adoption procedure was reduced by half (whether by taking them out completely or combining them) while some of the forms retained were simplified, the mandatory requirement to submit workplace references was dropped, the mandatory requirement for adopting parents to submit the full documentation when lodging their adoption request was also dropped, and a profile of the ‘hard to place’ child was introduced in order to increase the chances of finding these children a home.
We commend Romania for improving its legislation on child adoption, including through innovative measures like introducing the profile of ‘hard to place’ children. UNICEF will continue to support NAPCRA in its development of services at local level to prevent child-family separation, such as the Minimum Package of Services”, said Sandie BLANCHET, UNICEF Representative in Romania.
To date, in our country, there are around 58,000 children in child care, of which 3,250 are adoptable. 46% of the adoptable children are aged between 7 and 13, and more than 21% have some form of disability.

Searching For Birth Parents

15463404-mmmainProfessor Victor Groza, with over twenty-five years promoting best practices in child welfare in Romania and adoption research, kindly provided the following links and comment regarding adoptees searching for birth parents. I hope that you find this, as well as other informative posts by Professor Groza helpful.

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services; Child Welfare Information Gateway has many excellent articles of a generic nature, including this one; ” Searching For Birth Parents”.

s (https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/search/childsearch/).

Professor Victor Groza-
”There should be professional services in place to prepare adoptees and birth parents for a search, to support them during the process, and to help them after a search is completed–whether or not it is successful.  Our practice model in the US is that search is a normal part of development for some adoptees.  Females tend to want to search more than males and not all adoptees search.  For those who do, there needs to be extensive support.  That includes letting them know that in the eyes of their poor families, they are seen as wealthy. The birth family may feel entitled to the adoptee and for the adoptee to support them, even if they abandoned her or him.  That is why search should not be undertaken lightly.   Here is the link to  the Adoption Network-Cleveland’s website about search (http://www.adoptionnetwork.org/) ; they have a protocol they follow for search and reunion.”

 

Hope for Institutionalised Children; Adoption Support

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The Romanian Prime Minister, Dacian Colios, pays tribute to the dedicated work of ” Hope and Homes for Children”.

He says that there are still 57,000 children not in their families and that the problem of institutionalised care, caused by poverty, is the most critical problem facing the country.

The governments objective is that by 2020, there will no longer be any children in institutions. The government is putting a framework in place to implement new laws to provide families with financial assistance and prevent poverty.

Sunday, 10 April
Prime Minister Dacian Cioloș attended the Hope Concert organized by Hope and Homes for Children Romania Foundation

Address by Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos at the Hope Concert

Dacian Ciolos: Good afternoon. Congratulations, Olga, for the strength you found to continue your way in life despite what people offered you and congratulations to those who found the wisdom, by that time and ever since then, to demonstrate that nothing is irreversible and that along with funds and laws, we can find in us the force and love, and the determination to overcome the most critical moments that this country was confronted with. This issue of institutionalized children was and is one of the critical problems our country is confronted with, and this is why, we should demonstrate that we are able to solve it, and find a resolution for it through ourselves and not just pushed by those outside. Congratulations “Hope and Homes for Children”, for what they achieved and those who helped us that way, but, first of all, we should find the determination in ourselves. I am sure that this problem of institutionalized children is like a test for us, so that we can demonstrate that beyond the love we can find for the one close to us, the family, we can find love to take our children home, as these are our children, are the children of the country, and the way in which we are able to care for them and help them find their way in life, proves that each of us is able to give this country and this nation a path as we want and we wanted it back then, in December 1989. Romania started in 1990 with 100,000 institutionalized children in over 700 centers and, slowly, things have changed. Unfortunately, today, we still have 57,000 children who, in one way or another, are not in their families; for much of them, solutions were found in other families or are cared for by social workers or are in centers that are more welcoming, but the problem still is not resolved. And that’s why I want to tell you that the objective that we take as a state – and here I speak for the government – and I am convinced that this objective will be fully met, regardless of who will be prime minister or the Government that will be in office. The objective we have set is that in 2020, we no longer have children in institutionalized centers. Those 8,000 children Mr. Dărăbuş was talking about – to be able to take them into families and to find them a place to find love around them, to find the wisdom of caregivers so as these children are able to find a way in life. But this is not enough. It is important to have the strength and wisdom to stop the bleeding, so that other children do not add to those whom we wish to see in families, and see them with a purpose in life. These are the two objectives that we meet through this package of measures against poverty which the Government released, and that bring together more financial resources from various sources, several measures, in order to create a safety net for those most vulnerable among us, to be able to overcome difficult times in different stages of life, to reach to be able to go to kindergarten, to be able to go to school despite the difficulties that some families may face and then, they should find a job, find housing. Therefore I wanted to put various measures – which were disparate and were treated coldly, institutionally – in a package for those people determined to find solutions, and who will also have the instrument for it, as many times, we have laws that can be good, we have money, but we do not find the structure, the framework whereby all these put together meet with the determined people, who are able to use these instruments so that we avoid reaching such problems, or to resolve emerging problems. Other objective that we meet is that over the next months, we find solution that these measures that the state makes available, can benefit and be used not only by state institutions –which have already changed, turned by a lot in good, but they still need further development to boost their efficiency, but also non governmental organizations that have demonstrated lately that they know to use these resources efficiently, and that alongside funds and laws, they find love to care for these children. I want to tell everybody who is in this room, representatives of NGOs, that “ yes, we need you”. The state needs you so that we find lasting solutions together for such things not to happen again in Romania and for us to be able, as of 2020 onwards, to look into these children’s eyes and to promise them a future. It is also important to find resources for families in difficulty to receive the support they need to keep their children, because I am sure that no parent wants to abandon their children when he has the means to provide him a future. Therefore, congratulations “Hope and Homes for Children”, congratulations to all who initiated this law and once again, I am leaving from here hoping that we will all find in us the love that would allow us to find solutions to the problems we are facing. Thank you.

Romania- New Adoption Law in Effect.

http://www.internationaladoptionguide.co.uk/   Thursday, September 17, 2015- I.A.G. -International Adoption Guide.

The Government approved in its Wednesday’s sitting a draft law to make domestic and international adoptions faster and more flexible, a release of the Executive informs.

An adoption currently takes 14 to 15 months on the average; the intention is to shorten as much as possible the waiting for children and adopting parents, National Authority for Children’s Rights Protection and Adoption president Gabriela Coman explained in a briefing at the Government. She mentioned that 480 children have been adopted last year.

The draft law regulates situations when biological parents refuse to attend two court terms; this is considered as an abusive refusal of consent to adoption, and the child will be pronounced adoptable. Adoption is also possible when parents or identified relatives declare they refuse to take care of a child, but later refuse to sign the declarations of consent to adoption; also, if parents or relatives up to 4th degree are not found.

The 2-year term for the validity of the adoptable child status will be eliminated; the child can be adopted any time before the age of 14, after a court rules adoption is possible.

The new legislation provides for a paid accommodation leave up to 90 days for any of the spouses in the adopting family, with a monthly allowance of 3,300 lei. Also, adopters get up to 40 hours per year without wage penalties for evaluations necessary for issuing the adoption certificate and for practical matching.

The law will enter into force after the publication in the Official Journal of Romania sometime in 2016.
The new law allows for intercountry adoptions of Romanian children only by:
1. Relatives of the fourth degree of kinship,
2. The spouse of the child’s natural parent,
3. Romanian citizens who are habitually resident abroad.

Asociata Catharsis in Brasov, Romania, is a government Registered Adoption Agency.

Romania- Domestic Adoption Improvements

Chamber’s Labour Committee approves child adoption bill
BY DANA.PURGARU •   FEBRUARY 3, 2016 AT 8:47 AM

CHAMBER’S LABOUR COMMITTEE APPROVES CHILD ADOPTION BILL
The Labour Committee of the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday approved a bill amending and supplementing Law 273/2004 on child adoption to simplify procedures and provide for a leave of absence of at most one year for the adoptee and the foster parents to get to know each other.

The chamber passed an amendment providing for the one-year leave of absence in the case of adoptees 2 years old and over. The leave is granted upon request and the parent qualifies for a benefit of 3.4 times the social reference indicator, which means 1,700 lei a month, which is $600.00 Australian. Screen shot 2016-02-04 at 1.42.42 PM

For children under 2 years of age the rights provided for under the child rearing legislation will apply.

Attending last week’s debate in the Labour Committee, Chair of the National Children’s Rights Protection and Adoption Authority Gabriela Coman argued that the amendments of the legislation in force are designed to get rid of difficulties in the conduct of adoption procedures for Romanian children in Romania.

The Chamber for Deputies is the decision-making chamber in this case.

http://www.nineoclock.ro/president-iohannis-signs-into-law-bill-simplifying-adoption/- 9th. of April, 2016.

Romania – Domestic Adoption Improvements

Romania’s Government recently approved a bill that sets a more flexible adoption process, for both domestic and international adoptions.

The bill includes a series of procedural provisions which will allow an adoption to be completed in a shorter period of time. For example, the term of appeal in court will be reduced from 30 days to 10 days, and the first hearing will take place 15 days after the application is registered, reports local Hotnews.ro.

The bill also includes an adaptation holiday with a maximum duration of 90 days, and a monthly allowance during the time the child is entrusted to the family who wants to adopt him. The allowance is to be given to any of the spouses who makes taxable income in Romania. The leave shall be granted for the adoption of a child aged over 2 years old.

Moreover, those who want to adopt a child can require free time, in the limit of 40 hours per year, to carry out the evaluations required for getting the certificate and achieving practical suitability. Free time will not be affecting the person’s remuneration.

The law will enter into force in maximum 4 months after being published in the Official Gazette.

According to Gabriela Coman, president of the National Authority for Child Protection and Adoption, the adoption process now takes about 14-15 months, reports Hotnews. A total of 840 children were adopted in Romania last year.

Romania brings together child protection and adoption activities within newly created institution

Over 58,100 children in Romania’s special protection system

Over 80,000 Romanian children’s parents work abroad

Irina Popescu, irina.popescu@romania-insider.com