Netherlands to resume international adoptions from selected countries

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - After a nearly two-year-freeze on new international adoptions the Dutch government on Wednesday announced plans resume adoptions of children from the Philippines, Hungary, Lesotho, Taiwan, Thailand and South Africa.

The Netherlands froze international adoptions in February last year, after a government commission found some children had been stolen or bought from their birth parents in cases going back to the 1960s.

Dutch Minister for Legal Protection Franc Weerwind said in a statement the decision to partially resume international adoptions signified "an end to a time of uncertainty".

Dutch parents adopted around 40,000 children from 80 countries in the previous half century. The practice has declined in recent years, with just 145 children adopted in 2019, dropping to 70 in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the independent Dutch Youth Institute think-tank.

In its statement, the government added that adoption agreements with China and the United States, previously among the top countries of origin for children adopted in the Netherlands, would be stopped. Adoptions from Haiti, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Peru, Colombia and Burkina Faso would also be halted, the authorities added.

Dutch adoption policies came under scrutiny after increasing numbers of grown-up, adopted children began to research their roots and often found that their birth documents had been forged or lost, or that their adoption had been illegal.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Alex Richardson)