THE DARK SIDE OF ADOPTION

Because of the bureaucratic nightmare involved in trying to adopt in Spain, at least 35,000 couples or single parents have adopted children abroad in the past 10 years, mainly in Eastern Europe, China, Nepal, Ethiopia, the Congo, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. A recent study shows, however, that it’s not always a case of “and they all lived happily ever after”. According to university professor Ana Berastegui, one of the few people who has studied the issue, at least one in five families with adopted children experience big problems, to the extent that some children are now in the process of being returned to their native countries. Prof Berastegui said: “The parents believe that love can conquer all but the children have their own story, often an emotionally unhappy one which marks them. Psychologist Jesus Palacios, an adoption expert, advised parents to seek professional help as soon as problems begin to emerge. He said: “People who adopt must understand that visits to psychologists are just as necessary for adoptive children as visits to the dentist.”

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