Welfare and Social Services Ministry is operating special programs aimed at providing adopting parents with tools needed to raise their children.
By RUTH EGLASH
There has been a sharp increase in the number of same-sex couples adopting children in Israel, according to a report released on Sunday by the Welfare and Social Services Ministry.While there was a slight increase in the total number of children adopted last year, from 372 in 2008 to 387 in 2009, adoptions by families with parents of the same sex more than doubled, from 30 in 2008 to 72 families in 2009.“I have been working hard to create a policy whereby the criteria for adoption has no basis on the sexual orientation of the couple applying, but is related to what is best for the child,” Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog said in a statement. “I am dedicated to this issue and see a real value in promoting it.”A spokeswoman for the ministry told The Jerusalem Post that over the past few years, the minister has made several reforms to the adoption process in an effort to remove the stigmas surrounding gay or lesbian couples, and implemented a policy of adoption placements based on what best suited the child.These policies, she said, were further enhanced by a 2005 Supreme Court ruling that the criteria for adoption should be based on what is best for the child and not on the sexual orientation of the parents.During 2009, the ministry received some 570 requests for adoption, with 377 coming from relatives of the children, including requests by members of same sex couples to adopt their partner’s children, according to figures released by the ministry on Sunday.In addition, out of the 387 adoptions that eventually took place last year, 127 (32 percent) were international adoptions; 91 (24%) of the children placed were born in Israel; 56 (14%) were children already related to the adoptee; and 41 (11%) were placed with surrogate families.AdvertisementThe remaining adoptions, 72 children, were by same sex couples.While there has certainly been an overall increase in the number of adoptions taking place in Israel over the past decade, information published by the ministry indicates that it is a challenge finding families willing to adopt children over the age of two, or infants with special needs, genetic disorders or addictions passed onto them by their mothers.The ministry also noted that adopting families were reluctant to agree to “open adoptions,” whereby the child remains in touch with his or her biological parent or parents.“Providing a warm home to a child in need requires special skills from the adopting family,” said Nachum Itzkovitz, the ministry’s director-general.The ministry wants to encourage adoptions and is operating special programs aimed at providing adopting parents with the training and tools needed to raise their children.
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