Saturday, 27 July 2013

Spanish families trapped in Morocco by adoption problems

Due to the change of government in the north African country, fifty Spanish families who adopted Moroccan babies a year and a half ago are not being allowed to take the children home with them to Spain.

Spanish families protest in Rabat

It used to be a fairly straightforward adoption procedure, but Abdelilah Benkirane's moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party, which has been in power since late 2011, has introduced a new law which prevents non-residents from adopting Moroccan children.

Catalan daily, La Vanguardia, interviewed some of the anxious mothers.

Maribel, a Basque woman, told the newspaper: "They don’t want to sign my son’s leaving permit."

"We're not going to abandon our children, as desperate as we may be," Maribel adds.

Monica Díaz, who is sharing an apartment with Maribel, was first introduced to her adopted son Abdallatif in an orphanage in Rabat when he was not even a month old.

Two years later, with the new adoption laws, she has not been able to take her baby home with her to Spain.

"They've asked us to be patient, but it’s been nearly 22 months of suffering," she told the newspaper.

Monica is self-employed, and used to regularly visit Abdallatif in the early stages of the adoption. However, with the problems being experienced, she has now had to move to Rabat to ensure her son is not taken away from her.

Along with 50 other Spanish families, Monica is waiting for a signature on her son’s passport which will allow him to leave Morocco.

20 of these families are now living in Rabat and find themselves in the same “desperate situation.”

They are in regular contact with the Spanish Embassy in Morocco to make sure that this new law is not applied retroactively.

Adoptions in Morocco take the form of Kafala, by which the adoptive parent is seen more as a guardian and children keep their Muslim names to guarantee they don't forget their roots or religion. In most cases Kafala is restricted to Muslims or converts to Islam.