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Late Adoption – Child’s right to family life

In the Mozambican legal system, a fundamental right for children is the right to grow up within a family. This right emanates from the CRM that provides that “All children have the right to protection of the family, society and the State, in view of their integral development – in terms of 1 of Art. 121.o . “

However there are situations of children who have no natural family, who are in situations of abandonment or orphaned. In these situations the law provides for the possibility of “prosthesis families” and one of the ways is by adoption (see Art. 27 .The Law 7/2008, of 9 July).

Adoption can be defined as a legal and solemn bond established with a child who was in an institutional arrangement and who now wishes to create a true natural family tie. Although there are no ties of consanguinity (1 of 36 72 and 74 all of Law 7/2008 of 9 July).

In terms of art. 393 of Law 10/2004 of 25 August, the conditions for adopting are:

1          a married couple (man and woman) who have been married for over three years and who are not separated;

2          older than 25 years but not more than 50 years;

3          have moral and material conditions that allow the harmonious development of the minor. .

A child who goes through the adoption process becomes a legitimate child before the law and has the rights pursuant to art. 390 of Law 10/2004 of 25 August.

Children placed for adoption seek these family ties and want to be in a structured home where they will be loved. This does not always happen because there is still a large number of children living in institutional care and because of their age are not chosen by families.

The adoption of children over 8 years old is designated “Late Adoption”, which is a process even more complex compared to the adoption of children under 8 years since it involves a different situation and trauma.

Late Adoption means to emphasize the main causes of placement of these children and adolescents in institutions that often result from parental neglect, sexual abuse, delivery of children to state care for lack of healthy conditions , etc.

Most children in these situations are in temporary homes (such as shelters) for a long period. Sometimes while waiting for a family, many reach adolescence and adulthood without having the opportunity to be in a healthy and structured home, due to prejudice against Late Adoption.

Such prejudice lead to feelings of abandonment, exclusion and emotional distress. On the one hand, abandonment by the biological family that for various reasons is being prevented from raising their children, and on the other hand abandonment of society that still excludes and stigmatizes these children thus hindering their right to adoption.

The Mother Law of our country (CRM) enshrines these children beyond the right to protection and care necessary for their well-being and establishes the obligation of the society and the State to protect them against any form of discrimination and abuse in terms of paragraph 1 of art. 47 and paragraph 2 of art. 121 of CRM.

From the above, it is important to develop actions that encourage and facilitate Late Adoption. Even though the state has tried to solve these problems with the approval of the Law for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child, such action is still insufficient.  It is also up to society to abstain from prejudice and instead opt for Late Adoption.

However, all children should be guaranteed the right to a structured home, stable and continuous relationship, in a home where the child is a child and not just an abandoned child.

Article compiled by Leonice Mutepua, lawyer at Mozambican member firm CGA Associados

Sources:

Constitution of the Republic of Mozambique;

Law 10/2004 of 25 August – Family Law;

Law No 7/2008 of 9 July – The Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child

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