Letter: The fruits of others' suffering

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The Independent Online
Sir: On the news this morning, Tim Yeo (Under-Secretary of State for Health) was reported as saying that he hopes local authorities will not create as many obstacles for the adoption of Bosnian babies as they did for Romanian orphans. We were among the many couples opposed by our local social services in 1991 for the adoption of a Romanian child. We appealed against that decision and our appeal was upheld; we were given approval for the adoption of a Romanian girl, then almost four years old.

We now have the approval of the Social Services Appeal Panel and have been recommended by our MP, by a Romanian teenage orphan who has spent two holidays in our home, by the president of the Romanian Orphanage Project and by an immigration appeal adjudicator. Yet still Alina is in Romania. Why? Because Mr Yeo's department refuses to recognise the recommendations of all these people.

Last year, the Department of Health prevented at least 87 couples from adopting Romanian children, and we are not aware of any being approved. Our MP went to see Mr Yeo personally on our behalf, but the answer was still 'No'. Our MP asked for reasons, but Mr Yeo refused to give any.

Local authorities may have created some obstacles to Romanian adoptions, but it is Mr Yeo's department that is responsible for the ultimate obstacle. It says 'No' when local authorities have said 'Yes', and without even meeting the applicants. To all those people thinking of adopting a Bosnian baby, I would say 'Think again. They'll never let you.'

Yours faithfully,

M. AMOS

Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire

3 January

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