The Department of Community Development (DCD), Abu Dhabi, released the first edition of Family Adoption Guide, in collaboration with the Family Care Authority, during a panel discussion at an event organised in Al Ain. The event coincided with World Adoption Day, which is celebrated on November 9 every year, and held the panel discussion titled ‘The Effects of Adoption on Families, Children, and Society’.
H.E. Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development; H.E. Mariam Al Rumaithi, Director General of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), H.E. Dr. Bushra Al Mulla, Director General of the Family Care Authority, as well as a number of notable characters and adoptive families attended the event.
The guide highlights the concept of adoptive care, along with laws, regulations, and standards regulating it, and social services, that adoptive families need to adhere to, especially while Adoption children of determination. It further states various parental skills required to take care of the children and introduces relevant program by the Authority and other related social entities in the Emirate.
Through this guide, the Authority aims at setting practical and legislative frameworks for the adoptive care system within an alternative care system and encourage Emirati family to raise children who lack the care and support. It lays down rules and standards to ensure protection of the family and child, in a well-balanced social environment, which ensures equal right and duties.
H.E. Dr. Bushra Al Mulla, Director General of the Family Care Authority, said: “The adoptive care system is one of the most vital ways to maintain social stability in Abu Dhabi. In this light, we have issued the Family Adoption Guide, in line with the vision of the Authority to achieve optimum social care and welfare. It specifies the principles, frameworks, and standards to better organise the process of adoptive care for unprivileged children. We aim at ensuring that children are empowered and integrated in the society, further becoming an active member of the society that contribute to the future development of the country.”
H.E. added: “Keeping in mind the rapid developments in the international social sector, the adoptive care system has gained immense social importance as it has a vital role in achieving a well-balanced society that empowers the national, and further uplifts moral values, and the cultural heritage of peoples and societies.”
H.E. further emphasised on the importance of this guide to achieve the Authority’s aim of supporting sustainable Adoption and enhancing the quality of life for society members by ensuring a decent family environment for children who lack care. It additionally ensures that the families that adopt children are well aware about the necessities for these children so that they can help them realise their rights, ambitions, and aspirations of a good life, thus keeping up with the comprehensive development in the UAE.
H.E. stated that Emirati families are knowledgeable, aware, and capable of facing social challenges that stand in the way of achieving comprehensive social development. She further said that the Authority is responsible for using all resources to come up with innovative solutions to enhance and develop family care, further consolidating the UAE’s vibrant cultural image in this area.
H.E. Dr. Layla Alhyas, Executive Director of the Community Development Sector at the Department of Community Development (DCD), Abu Dhabi, said that our wise leadership prioritises providing a safe and stable family environment for adoptive children, while supporting and meeting their needs. The guide focuses on various services and initiatives that support families, ensuring that they understand the needs and psychology of an adoptive child, to successfully integrate them in the family. H.E. stressed the value of the guide in outlining many of the fundamental principles of Adoption so that Emirati families might learn and adhere to them in order to give thorough care.
According to this guide, the family must complete an initial training course before adopting, in order to prepare them psychologically for the child who is in need of family care. The program focuses on a number of issues, including the adoptive child's rights and the adoptive family's responsibility for addressing their psychological and emotional needs. The guide further offers Adoption families ways to deal with difficulties in integrating adoptive children into their extended and Adoption households.
The family is advised to talk about Adoption before adoption, clarify the reasons for adoption, and encouraged to ask for support from appropriate authorities if necessary. The guide introduces the idea of Adoption to the family members. Additionally, it indicates that as family members are crucial to the success of the Adoption process and roles must be distributed among them in order to let them experience a sense of shared responsibility. Additionally, it offers advice on how to nurture a strong bond with the adoptive child and consistently schedule family gatherings so that the Adoption process can be completed.
The guide also lists the laws pertaining to children's rights that adoptive parents should be aware of, such as Wadeema's law and other local and international laws covering children's fundamental rights, adoptive children's family rights, and adoptive children's rights to health, education, and cultural and educational opportunities. It also lists the things that adoptive children are not allowed to do.
The guide offers the following requirements for Adoption application requirements: The family must be an Emirati Muslim family living in the country with two spouses who are at least 25 years old, who have never been convicted of a crime against honour or trust, who have both been shown to be free of infectious and psychological diseases as well as mental disorders that could endanger the health and safety of the child which is verified in a report issued by an official medical authority, and must undertake and oath to raise the child well and ensure the child’s health, education and protection. The specialised committee may also recommend that, in accordance with the law of unknown parentage, a woman Muslim citizen residing in the country of at least 30 years of age, unmarried, divorced, widowed, or intermittently absent from her husband, can adopt a child, provided she is financially capable of supporting the child. Furthermore, children under the age of 18 can be adopted if an adoptive family or adoptive mother willing to adopt a child over the age of two is available. All Adoption criteria and conditions are ensured by meeting the family, administering psychological tests, conducting home visits, interviewing extended family members, and signing and adhering to the Adoption agreement.
In terms of the Adoption procedures, the guide outlines a number of steps that are governed by a ministerial decision that upholds the adoptive child's rights. As a result, a family that wants to adoptive a child must submit a request for child Adoption at the Authority after creating a file, fulfilling the requirements for Adoption, and providing the necessary documentation. The Authority will examine the requests in accordance with the systems, policies, and procedures pertaining to family Adoption and ensure they meet the requirements and standards before approval. The families are then notified of the approval after which the Adoption family will start the final Adoption requirements. Whether the prerequisites for an adoptive family have been met, the families are notified of approval and denial.
The guide states that there may be some difficulties for the family during the beginning of the Adoption stage, particularly in terms of the child's emotional needs and adaption. Additionally, it is common for adoptive children to have questions about their biological families, which may be challenging, but it is imperative to be honest with the child about his situation.
The guide further highlights ways to ensure adaptation to the new situation for a child through introduction to the Adoption process and explaining the differences between an adoptive family and biological family. In addition to preparing regular activities on various dates to commemorate adoptive care, it is important to develop close relationships with other adoptive families and organising activities that aid in building memories and ties with the new family. The Family Care Authority also offers a variety of tools to help adoptive families in this regard.
The guide further explains the role of the Family Care Authority in supporting families taking care of an adoptive child, further helping the child overcome past trauma and make sure that his or her positive emotions will last. This is done by using a number of skills that are determined by the condition and reaction of the child.
Furthermore, the guide also clarifies a number of crucial issues that the family must be aware of when Adoption a child, such as being honest with the adoptive child about his reality, which must start at the initial stages, while being welcomed into the family, the significance of ensuring routine health checks of adoptive children, the measures for protecting the child and ensuring their emotional wellbeing. The guide's explanations of these subjects are thorough. The guide can be downloaded and more details on the topic can be found at DCD’s official website www.addcd.gov.ae