Forum “The right to know your origin – faces of adoption” was held on July 21 at the French Cultural Institute in Sofia.
The event aimed to raise awareness on the right of adopted people to know their biological origins and to provoke debate on the need for changes in current legislation.
The event was organized by the Bulgarian Association of Adopted and Adoptive Parents, the National Online Register of people searching their relatives “Where are you?” and the National Network for Children, in partnership with the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the support of the French Embassy in Sofia.
Georgi Bogdanov, executive director of the National Network for Children, outlined the difficulties adoptees and biological parents have in Bulgaria and pointed out that the problem is extremely serious and has affected nearly 2 million Bulgarians from the World War II up to now.
Despite the recommendation of the Council of Human Rights of the United Nations to the Bulgarian government “to introduce legislation prohibiting the secret of adoption and ensure the child’s right to know their origin”, this practice continues to be legally grounded and widely practiced. To keep the “secret”, the origin and family bonds are often hidden and /or erased, which violates their right to retain their identity, nationality, name and family bonds, guaranteed by the Art. 8 of the Convention on the Children’s Rights of the UN.
Among the main problems is also the lack of a single institution to register and store the important information for the child’s origin and information related to medical circumstances around them, including genetic predispositions, which often hinders the diagnosis in healthcare. The only available procedure for determination of the biological origin is the Art. 105 of the Family Code, but it allows an access to the confidential information only after a Court decision and the procedure is very slow and prolonged. 90% of the requests are denied on the ground that there are no “important reasons” for disclosure of the secret of adoption. The personal psycho – emotional reasons are not recognized as ”important” by the Court .
Every year between 100 and 150 people submit applications to the courts asking for disclosure of their biological origin. According to the Bulgarian Association of Adopted and Adoptive Parents over 7000 individuals are looking for their relatives in online forums in Bulgaria.
Among the main challenges are the lack of political will to change the legislation and the absence of a data register gathering the information about adoptees and their biological parents. There are many cases of deleted personal identification information, birth certificates, there are some altered names and dates of birth, some children are declared dead but lately are given up for adoption, which is a criminal practice.