What is reverse child adoption

We are looking for parents for children and not children for parents

There was hardly a daily newspaper that did not report on it: Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and his wife adopted a child, a Russian child, who spent the first three years of his life in a children's home in St. Petersburg. Together with around 7,000 other children who

There was hardly a daily newspaper that would not have reported on it: Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and his wife adopted a child, a Russian child, who spent the first three years of his life in a children's home in St. Petersburg. Together with around 7,000 other children who were less fortunate than little Viktoria, who is now looking forward to a carefree childhood in the Schröders' house in Hanover.

But was little Victoria from St. Petersburg really lucky? Asking the question must be allowed. Just like thinking about the motives that may have moved the politically under pressure, 60-year-old Chancellor and his younger, but socially also heavily stressed wife to adopt a child.

Research into motivation in adoptions is generally a difficult undertaking. It would be important for the success of the company that everyone involved is clear about why an adoption took place in the first place. The child in particular will certainly ask for it later. If you don't know why you were born, you would at least like to know why the strange parents wanted you. Was it a substitute for your own or a playmate for existing children? Was adoption an attempt to cement a crumbling marriage? Or was pity involved and, in the case of international adoptions, even the desire to help alleviate the misery in developing countries?

The latter could have been the case with Doris Schröder-Köpf. Last year she was said to have visited Russian orphanages on behalf of a humanitarian foundation and was confronted there with the misery of orphaned or abandoned children. But is compassion a stable basis for a lifelong relationship that is heavily burdened from the beginning by the special circumstances of the child? Little Victoria is only three years old; but she's already three years old. This means that she brings experiences and memories with her that nobody knows how traumatic they will affect her later life.

"The integration of a foreign adopted child into his new family is a difficult, protracted and often turbulent process that demands a lot of time, strength and emotional commitment from the adoptive parents", was the way to read in the German magazine "Kinderpsychologie und Kinderpsychiatrie" in 1991. “Taking a needy child into a foreign culture is a far-reaching step for everyone involved. For the adopted child, it is not just a happy fortune, but a definitive step out of a cultural and social milieu of origin. Adoptive parents are always responsible for their motives and the manner of adoption vis-à-vis the 'foreign child', "writes Heinrich Nufer, the head of the Marie Meierhofer Institute for Children in the brochure recently published by the Swiss Agency for Adoption" Adoption of children from foreign cultures ».

In this extremely readable publication, prospective adoptive parents are not only familiarized with Swiss legislation and the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in the Field of International Adoption, but also with the far-reaching consequences of adoption for the lives of everyone involved pointed out. The story of an adoption is far from over with the legal procedure and the arrival of a cute baby or a cute toddler. On the contrary, this is where it really begins. Adoption - I speak from experience - is a life theme that overshadows everything that defines a person's biography, from family relationships to finding one's own identity. In the case of an adoption abroad, cultural uprooting, the feeling of being a stranger and the lack of knowledge about family origins can have an additional negative impact.

Therefore, as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child demands, and this is also how the experts see it, an adoption, especially of a child from a foreign culture, should represent an ultima ratio that is only taken into account if the child is not placed in the own country is possible. At a time when we receive news of adopting show stars from the USA almost every day, the trend seems to be pointing in the opposite direction. The example of the German Chancellor should give the transfer of children from poor to rich countries an additional boost.

Whether “the most touching story of the year”, as the “Bild” newspaper headlined, will find a positive continuation, we will find out, if at all, in twenty years at the earliest. There are still no figures on failed adoptions. Specialized agencies and legal regulations have the best interests of the child in mind. Mostly only those who are affected by it speak about the pain of adult adoptees.