Legal Regulation of International Adoption in Lithuania and Portugal
Research problem and degree of the research. Protecting the rights of the child is one of the most important issues today, both nationally and internationally. The situation is particularly complicated when it comes to international adoption. The adoption institute transcends all cultures and has long since existed, having played different functions over time. This institute has come to reflect social changes relating to how society faces a child’s needs, the way of exercising parental responsibilities and the needs of birth parents and adoptive parents. This is a subject increasingly relevant within the phenomenon of globalization and the urgency given to children and their rights in contemporary society. This is a subject for today and for the future.
The adoptive child, due to his or her subjective characteristics, is unable to exercise his or her rights properly. This obligation must be exercised by the child’s parents or the State and its authorities. Although the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania guarantees that every child has the right to grow up in a family, many children do not have a family and are forced to grow up in foster care. In this situation, an adoption institute emerges, which, at least from dallies, gives the child a chance to live in a family. In Portugal, the strong connection between the principle of the child´s best interest, major principle of family law, deeply influences the entire legal institute and, specially, the matter of international adoption. The placing of children in a foreign family is a subsidiary option, in great deal due to the difficulties that they will find from the moment they exit their country of origin. Difficulties such as differences in culture, language, religion, habits, among others that may result in children´s cultural uprooting and affect their cultural identity, beyond the cut with their biological family, implied in any adoption.
Subject of the article: protection of the rights of the child and problems in cross-border adoption.
Aim of the work: to analyse whether the rights of the child in the case of international adoption are violated.
Research methods: teleological, historical, comparative analysis of legislation, generalization, analysis, and synthesis of scientific literature, descriptive, comparative, analytical methods.
The right of the child to grow up in a family is enshrined in the basic international instruments. It is in the family that the life and socialization of each child begins. It creates an atmosphere for the child to grow, develop and explore the world. The child should grow as much as possible to feel the love, care, and responsibility of his parents.
Adoption is a significant process in many states. The main international instrument governing adoption is the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Intercountry Adoption. States, in accordance with both their national and international legislation on adoption, seek to enable the child to grow up in a new family, while ensuring that such adoption best protects the rights and interests of the child.
In Portugal, the child’s best interest is a fundamental concept in this matter, for a true concept of individual rights is one in which the child is considered a subject of rights, and not object of them. This principle is the guiding principle for the exercise of private responsibilities in relation to children, as well as public ones, and should be considered both in state and judicial decisions and actions. The child’s best interest is an indeterminate legal concept, varying with the customs of each society, taking into evolutionary and dynamic nature, and depending on case-by-case evaluation.
This continues to be a divisive issue in Portugal and Law No. 2/2016, of 29 February eliminates discrimination against persons of the same sex who live in a de facto union or are married, in access to adoption, civil sponsorship and other family legal relationships, making all the legal changes.
Key words: child, adoption, child’s right to grow up in a family, international adoption.