Nordic Adoption Council statement in accordance with the conference in Reykjavik in September 2023.
Every second year, the Nordic Adoption Council (NAC) holds Nordic meetings and an open day conference, which is open to anyone who is interested in the field of intercountry adoptions. This year the conference was arranged by the Icelandic Adoption Society in Reykjavik, Iceland, on September 15-16, 2023. The theme of the open day conference was “Adoption – a lifelong process” with a focus on approaching adoption as a continuing process throughout life and highlighting the importance of viewing this process from multiple angles.
Among the speakers were Ólöf Ásta Farestveit, General Director of the National Agency for Children and Families in Iceland, Rut Sigurðardóttir, social worker and family therapist from Iceland, Heiða Þorleifsdóttir, adoptive mother, Bergdís Wilson, a psychologist, David Asplund, cultural anthropologist from Sweden, Kristin Gärtner Askeland, a clinical psychologist and senior researcher at the Regional Centre for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare, RKBU Vest in Norway, Anna Guwert, case officer at the PAS-department, and Anna Taxell, department head of adoptions, both from Adoptionscentrum in Sweden. A discussion panel with adult adoptees was also part of the program.
NAC open day conference statement below focuses on eight key commitments where the Nordic Adoption Council has played an important role over the years to develop legal certainty in intercountry adoptions. The statement highlights the commitment of Nordic adoption organizations to ensure that intercountry adoptions are carried out with the utmost consideration for the child’s well-being and in compliance with ethical and legal standards. It also aims to highlight the risk of not facilitating an international adoption when needed and, thus, limiting the child’s right to the best possible outcome.
Nordic Adoption Council, NAC, 2023 Reykjavik conference statement
1. The primary focus is on the child’s best interest, highlighting the importance of ensuring that each adoption case is individually assessed to ensure it benefits the child.
2. NAC underlines the importance of conducting adoptions in an ethically sound manner, emphasizing the need for transparency and ethical practices throughout the adoption process.
3. NAC encourages an open and honest debate about adoptions, acknowledging that it’s not without challenges. This transparency is crucial for addressing concerns and improving the adoption system.
4. NAC recognizes the significance of PAS (post-adoption support) for adoptees and their families, emphasizing the commitment to provide continued assistance even after the adoption is finalized.
5. NAC highlights international cooperation through conventions like the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in International Adoptions. These conventions set important guidelines to ensure adoption is in the best interest of the child.
6. NAC acknowledges that international adoptions have decreased because conditions in many countries have improved, primarily focusing on support to the biological family and secondly on domestic adoptions, in a positive trend.
7. NAC emphasizes the prioritized order of care, starting with the biological family and extending to the extended family before considering adoption, reinforcing the importance of keeping families intact when possible.
8. NAC expresses the conviction that international adoption is a positive solution when a child cannot find a permanent family in their home country, and that international adoption is in the best interest of a child otherwise risking the adverse consequences of long-term institutionalization, or absence of care, during childhood.