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Bufdir maintains recommendation of temporary suspension of inter-country adoptions

Anders Henriksen

In January 2024, the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir) submitted a recommendation to the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Families to temporary suspend inter-country adoptions to Norway.

In its reply, the Ministry had further questions to Bufdir and requested further elaborations on the consequences for persons and Adoption Accredited Bodies involved, and an elaboration of alternative measures.

The response was submitted to the Ministry 16 April 2024.

– Bufdir maintains our recommendation of a temporary suspension of inter-country adoptions to Norway. We still find a temporary suspension to be the most suitable and effective measure to ensure that illicit practice do not occur during the ongoing investigation of inter-country adoptions, until a new and strengthened system for inter-country adoptions to Norway is potentially implemented, says Anders Henriksen, Head of Department at Bufdir.

Bufdir has recommended a temporary suspension, however we suggest a cutoff point that allows for adoptions to proceed for prospective adoptive families who are well-advanced in the process and have been matched with a child, subject to approval and control of documents by Bufdir.

– I want to stress the fact that it is up to the Ministry of Children and Families to make a decision in the matter. There will be no changes in the current system until the Ministry makes their decision, says Anders Henriksen.

You can read more in Bufdir's initial recommendation and Bufdir’s elaboration to the Ministry (Norwegian only):

What Bufdir has done

To elaborate further on whether temporary suspension of inter-country adoptions is necessary and a proportionate measure, Bufdir has described in more detail the risk and given specific examples of l documentation lacking in recent adoption cases to Norway. There are examples where documentation of the consents to adoption from biological parents are missing, where there is insufficient documentation for the release of the child for adoption, and examples of contradictory information occurring in the same case. These examples confirm that the risk of illicit practice is real and at a level which makes Bufdir recommend a temporary suspension of inter-country adoptions.

Bufdir has also elaborated on why alternative risk-reducing measures are found not to be sufficient, mainly because it would take a long time before such alternative measures could have an impact on inter-country adoptions to Norway.

In addition, Bufdir consulted the three Adoption Accredited Bodies that mediate inter-country adoptions to Norway, as well as organizations and associations founded by and working for adoptees. The inputs are communicated to the Ministry and taken into consideration in our elaborative response to the Ministry. However, the input has not made Bufdir modify our recommendation. The Directorate maintain its recommendation of temporary suspension, due to risks of illicit practice in today’s system for inter-country adoptions to Norway.

Bufdir mandated by The Ministry to reevaluate all adoption accreditations

Furthermore, Bufdir is working on re-assess accreditation licenses with countries that were not re-assessed in 2023. This is because Bufdir has received a mandate from the Ministry of Children and Families to reevaluate the six remaining accreditations. This re-assessment of the co-operation with specific countries is not a part of the evaluation and recommendation by Bufdir to temporary suspend inter-country adoptions.

Contact information for media

Email: media@bufdir.no

Phone: (0047) 404 49 555 (no text messages)