Jan Walters Capp: 'Minister's job should be to help not hinder'

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The Independent Online

Jan Walters Capp and her husband, Simon, were within weeks of adopting a Cambodian baby when the Government banned the transfer of children.

Mrs Walters Capp recalled: "After the birth of our son Isaac, five, we had been looking at adopting in Cambodia. In June the Government sent a letter saying everything was in order."

Mrs Walters Capp, a music teacher and harpist, felt badly let down when Margaret Hodge announced the ban on inter-country adoptions with Cambodia.

She said: "What has happened has all the hallmarks of an abuse of ministerial power. We followed the minister's own guidelines to the letter, only to be told that she could change the rules overnight. We have proposed that our adoption proceed subject to the same special safeguards used by the US authorities, only to be told this would be too costly."

She added: "Worst of all, after we began our case arguing she had no power to ban adoptions, the minister put a draft Bill before Parliament to give herself that very power.

"All we are asking is for thorough checks to be carried out in Cambodia so that orphaned children who will otherwise never enjoy a family life can join us here. A minister for children should be using her resources to make that possible, not to fight it."