From The Office of Congressman Jeb Bradley
Manchester, NH) - Earlier this week, First District Congressman Jeb Bradley traveled with Allyson and Michael Schaaf of Stratham to the headquarters of the European Union (EU) in Brussels, Belgium, where they met with EU and Romanian officials about the status of pending international adoption cases in Romania. The Schaafs have been trying to adopt Natasha, a Romanian orphan, for nearly four years, but their efforts were stymied when a new law that bans international adoptions was implemented after their application had already begun to be processed.
Bradley and the Schaafs met with members of the European Parliament andEuropean Commission, as well as with the Romanian Ambassador to the EU, Lazar Comanescu, and the U.S. Ambassador to the EU, C. Boyden Gray. On May 16th, the EU will decide whether to approve Romania's accession in 2007 or in 2008.
During meetings with staff of the European Commission President José Manuel Barosso and European Commissioner of Enlargement Olli Rehn, it was repeatedly stated that the EU has not told the Romanian government that their accession would be in jeopardy should they process the remaining international adoption cases. Unfortunately, Romanian officials are insistent that the moratorium and subsequent law banning international adoptions were put in place in order to join the EU.
Allyson Schaaf stated, "The European Commissioners' staff stated that the EU supports the adoption cases being finalized and that Romanian accession to the EU would not be jeopardized in any way. Romania should not use the accession process as the rationale for the ban on international adoptions. Romania can process the pending adoptions and still uphold their commitments as a member-state of the EU. As an adoptive mother, I cannot stress enough to the EU and the Romanian government that there are loving families across the globe who want to provide homes for these children. These children deserve to be in a happy home rather than in an orphanage."
Bradley stated, " According to Romania's Secretary of State, Theodora Bertzi, there were 76,509 children in Romania's child protection system as of December 31, 2005. It is statistically impossible for all of these children to have been placed domestically, as the Romanian government claims. The 1,100 families worldwide that are trying to adopt these Romanian orphans have made a loving and long-term commitment to their well-being. Threats by Romanian officials will not deter parents like the Schaafs from fighting to bring their sons and daughters home."
Bradley has been working with the Schaafs and other New Hampshire families since 2004 to complete their pending adoption cases from Romania. Although Romania ordered a moratorium on all international adoption cases in order to meet requirements for accession to the EU in 2001, the country still continued to accept and process new international adoption applications - even completing several cases and allowing the children to leave Romania and join their adoptive families. In January 2005, a Romanian law took effect that permanently banned all international adoptions. Bradley and others have been lobbying for the country to resolve any adoptions that began before the law took effect, including the Schaafs' case.