What the National Children’s Trust (PANI) describes as a case of pressure to adopt a minor, an adoptive mother relates as torture for her and her family, who in recent months have tried to directly adopt a baby they met in a hospital ward where she works.
Xinia, a pediatric cardiologist, met baby “S” when he barely weighed one kilo. She was born at 26 weeks (less than seven months) in a delivery fraught with complications because her mother, a 15-year-old teenager, was unaware of her pregnancy.
Since September 2021, Xinia and her husband, with whom she has been married for 20 years and who is also a doctor, had been approved in the suitability process carried out by PANI to access adoption. Although they conceived two biological daughters, they had considered the possibility of adopting a minor, even without knowing S.
This is the story about a mother who agreed to a direct adoption, took in a baby for two months, but then had to hand it over to PANI in the midst of an emotional storm.
Direct adoption is an agreement between the adopters and the parents; it is legally established in the Family Code, but its execution may encounter obstacles.
The other protagonist is “K”, the teenage parent, a student who lives with her immigrant mother in poverty. She considered putting S up for adoption, but without the risk of institutionalizing him; that is, she did not want her to not be in a shelter, but rather that she could be adopted by someone she knew, according to Xinia.
During the hospitalization of the premature baby, both met at the medical center and, under the supervision of the hospital’s Social Work office, they created a bond and agreed to start a direct adoption process.
According to Xinia, when they made the decision and because they did not know how direct adoption works, they went to the PANI, where a process began that she classifies as arbitrary and painful, when she met a lawyer from the institution who, from a first interview, made her accusations and accusations on suspicion that he was buying the baby, despite the statements of the parent and his mother who were willing to give the baby up for adoption.
“The lawyer attends to us and takes us to an office, but the mother (parent) screams four times, treats us very roughly, and asks her ‘why don’t you come with your mother if she is a minor? old?’.
“He tells me ‘I have a red flag (red flag) with you, the social worker (from the hospital) says that you had arrived very arrogant, too demanding in this process’, and she says to me ‘are you paying money (to the parent)? to this child?’ I told her that what she was denouncing was very serious and she told us that if we continue on this issue she can take us out of the parents’ bank because this is not correct, ”said Xinia.
From then on, according to the doctor, the PANI began to coerce the mother and her family so that they would not hand over the baby who was about to leave the hospital and, allegedly, exerted pressure, and even threats, so that the grandmother would assume the custody of the minor, who from that moment entered a regime of protection by the Board of Trustees.
However, a few days later, on June 27, with the little one out of the hospital, the teenager, her mother and the doctor signed a document in which the parent delivered “power of attorney” for Xinia to take care of the child. her son and the direct adoption process began before a Family Court.
By legal obligation, the court consulted the PANI and this entity delivered a report with disqualifications towards Xinia, a document that also indicated a possible manipulation of the adolescent.
Consequently, the judge shelved the wishes of the direct adoption, considering that, according to the PANI report, there were ambivalences in the wishes of the biological mother.
On August 22, after two months of caring for and caring for the baby, the doctor had to hand him over to the judicial authorities, after a search warrant was issued against him. The child remained in PANI custody and was declared up for adoption so that another family could choose to take care of him.
From there, a legal battle began before administrative and judicial instances, without Xinia to date having been able to recover S.
“Direct adoption exists, but the PANI demonizes it. This child had a bond with my family. It’s not what I want, it’s what the boy had achieved. We were undergoing therapy, his muscle strength had improved, I don’t know if he is going to be a paralyzed or autistic child, now is the time that I can do something so that he is well and I don’t understand if the PANI has to ensure the well-being of our children, why PANI messes with my suitability, the one I already have; They already know that the child is fine, I don’t know what the goal is…
“This is the most painful thing that has happened to us in this life; my daughters are devastated. In 22 years of marriage, I have never seen my husband cry like this and I find him in a corner looking at photos and videos of S”, said this mother.
Xinia alleges flaws in the process because the PANI lawyer was supposedly separated from the case due to a complaint on her part, although the Board of Trustees assures that it was not a separation, but the beginning of a study of the request that has not been resolved.
The doctor also filed an appeal for revocation before the court, an appeal that was rejected. According to the resolution, the rights of S were “violated, but by the same gentlemen when they assumed the care and responsibility of the minor without any type of legal, administrative, or judicial authorization, and both doctors where the minor was hospitalized, for being the same premature, they began to take care of the child, not as doctors, but assuming a care that was not part of their functions.
What the PANI says
From the story, disclosed by the office of the deputy of the Libera Progressive Party (PLP), Johana Obando, the Board of Trustees ruled.
According to the PANI, the adoption process before a Family Court was not possible because the biological mother was ambivalent about her willingness to give the baby up for adoption, from the beginning, despite the fact that the parent and her mother accepted the start of the direct adoption process.
Due to the perceived attitude of the PANI authorities, the decision was made to protect the minor, in the custody of his maternal grandmother, a fact for which it was not possible to reach a legal agreement with Xinia, they argue, since the minor was under the protection regime.
“Under these circumstances, the delivery that is made, with these administrative protection measures in place, is vitiated and the possession of the child’s family for adoptive purposes is illegal and could even be configured as a crime, if they knew what was previously done and ordered by the PANI. ”, explained the entity.
The institution added that “one of the essential elements of direct delivery is the fact that the consent is legal, free and informed and protective with knowledge of a duly founded cause”, so if the PANI considers that this does not give , your duty is to protect the minor and oppose the adoption.
It may be the first time that many people know about the term direct adoption, although it is long-standing. It is usual that when thinking about adoption, the PANI is kept in mind first, but legality has this exception in which it is a judge and not the Board of Trustees who decides on the adoption of a minor, according to Wendy García, lawyer and former family judge
According to García, in direct adoption processes the figure of the PANI does not enter at the beginning. The process begins with an agreement between those interested in adopting and their parents who together make the request before a Family Court.
Then, a judicial deposit is issued that allows the adopting family to have the minor under their protection until the final resolution.
Although the PANI does not decide in these cases, it issues a report on the aptitudes and willingness of the parents to give the child up for adoption, but it is the judicial office that is in charge of verifying the suitability of the adopters.
In this case, although the parent and Xinia initiated the process, the court filed the case due to the negative criteria of the PANI, despite the fact that, in September 2021, this same institution had declared the suitability of the family.
“Direct adoption has existed for years in the Family Code, it is done, but it is not well known; PANI does not promote them. Direct adoption implies skipping the process of declaring abandonment (which PANI does) and gives parents the opportunity to choose who they give the minor to for adoption,” explained the lawyer.
It is not that easy either, according to García, because the judges are very cautious in terms of verifying the suitability of families and their conditions, but usually the processes are accepted unless there are very serious defects that prevent their acceptance.