Hundreds of children from Colombia were adopted by European couples without the permission of their parents. Dutch national daily De Telegraaf came to this conclusion after investigating the adoption of a seven-year-old called Stephen, who was taken from a Cali children’s home by his Dutch adoptive parents and has since been living in the Dutch town of Dokkum.
De Telegraaf writes that the Colombian child welfare authorities put the boy up for adoption without the permission of his biological parents. However, it remains to be seen whether the adoption was actually illegal; Colombia is one of just a few countries where children can be given up for adoption once their parents have been deprived of their parental rights.
The case, which was exposed by Colombian current affairs Septimo Dia TV program, sparked an outcry in Europe and South America. Since the initial broadcast, more than 300 families have come forward to claim that their children were taken from them in the same way. The Netherlands is home to about 6,000 adoptive children from Colombia, at least 15 of them were reportedly adopted without their parents’ consent.