In Iceland the waiting period for the adoption of children from foreign countries is currently three to four years. A woman who applied for adoption in 2005 believes that she will have to wait for another two years, Fréttabladid reports. The Minister of Justice says that the problem is international. In China fewer children are being put up for adoption, according to research undertaken by law student Ólöf Marín Úlfarsdóttir in her masters thesis for Reykjavik University.
Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Since 2000, Iceland has been party to the so-called Haag Agreement, which is an international cooperation on international adoption. The agreement’s main goal was to shorten the waiting period. According to Úlfarsdóttir, that goal has not been reached. If anything, the opposite is true. “The waiting period is so long because the demand is far larger than the supply,” she explains.
Minister of Justice Ragna Árnadóttir says that the problem is not Icelandic but an international one, and the main reason for it is the length of the adoption process in the country in question. It is up to adoption agencies to establish new contacts with foreign states. The government only creates the legislation, but it does what it can to assist and support the agencies. “By establishing new connections, the agencies might find new ways of adopting that do not exist today. And in that way the waiting period could be shortened,”says Árnadóttir.
Karen Rúnasdóttir, treasurer at the agency International Adoption (Althjódleg ættleiding), has herself been on the waiting list for Icelandic adoption since October 2005, in regards to adopting a child from China. Her agency was founded last fall with the aim to open to agreements with new countries. Recently, they made an agreement with Poland.
Rúnarsdóttir does not know when her turn will come. “The Chinese explain the wait stems from better conditions in the country, which results in fewer children being put up for adoption,” she says. “Also, there has been an increase in domestic adoptions.”
According to Rúnarsdóttir, the waiting period could even surpass five years, if this trend continues. “The only thing you can do is watch and wait. It looks like I’m going to have to wait another year and a half or two years.”