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Prospective Parents Face Long Adoption Wait

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Prospective Parents Face Long Adoption Wait

Children in Iceland

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The long time taken to process adoption applications in Iceland can lead to some potential parents giving up, according to the chairman of Icelandic Adoptions. The processing time to adopt has increased greatly in recent years.

To receive permission to internationally adopt a child to Iceland, permission is needed from the district commissioner, which is based on information provided by municipal child welfare services, as well as information including tax returns, criminal records checks, marital status certification and medical certificates.

“This should not really be with the District Commissioner, instead it should maybe be with the families’ center. Because it’s not only legal thinking in progress, but also the human side,” Elísabet Hrund Salvardóttir says, arguing that social services would be better placed to deal with both halves of the adoption process.

In 2012, the processing of adoption applications was moved from the District Commissioner in Búðardalur to a bigger office with more money which should have improved the process. Elísabet says, however, that the speed has not improved: “The process has rather slowed dramatically in the last two years,” she says.

According to Elísabet, the time taken for the District Commissioner’s office to send the application to the child welfare committee is more than three months, and the average processing time for the entire process is now around a year.

“There are people who have been waiting for a long time and are willing to wait but this can have the effect that people just give up,” Elísabet says.

People can need to wait an extra year on top of this, while their application is processed in the child’s country of birth. “It is unnecessary that the wait in Iceland should be so long, where the system should be pretty streamlined, while children are waiting out in the world,” Elísabet says.

RÚV asked the District Commissioner for comment, but none was forthcoming.

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