Foster families rejected a child twice before he turned eight



Zagreb, 270314.
Dijete koje ceka vec cetiri godine na posvajanje zbog spore i lose birokracije, fotografirano u Domu za djecu u Nazorovoj.
Foto: Boris Kovacev / CROPIX
Boris Kovačev / CROPIX

Child in Zagreb's Foster home

After foster parents from the south of Croatia returned the adopted four-year-old boy to the orphanage just two days after adoption because he was overly active, another foster family returned the boy to the orphanage this year.

Foster parents - people who often spend years trying to adopt - rarely "give up" on a child after finally adopting it and it has not been documented in Croatia thus far that two foster families returned a child, especially before the child turned eight.

In summer of 2014, JUTARNJI LIST reported on the case of three brothers, then aged two, four and six, who were adopted by a married couple from the south of Croatia after years of trying to adopt. Since the three were biological brothers too young to go to school, without developmental problems, with "clean" papers and prepared for adoption, the relevant social care center tried to keep the boys together and hoped that it will be possible to find foster parents prepared to adopt all three.

It looked like the center found such foster parents when the couple from the south of Croatia expressed willingness to adopt three children. They visited the boys and got to know them while preparing rooms for the boys at their house, buying toys, three booster seats…

The adoption was finally greenlighted at start of August 2014 and the foster parents took the kids home one Saturday. However, they returned all three kids on Monday, stressing that the kids were overly active and they could not deal with them! According to the information at our disposal, the foster parents made the decision on the drive home as the kids - aged two, four and six - were very demanding during the trip that took hours, as well as unruly, loud, stubborn and impossible for them to calm down. When they got home, the wife allegedly cried and said she would need psychiatric care if they kept the children.

Cancelled adoption

Since the social care system does not recognize "return" of children, foster parents filed an appeal against the decision to approve adoption after leaving the children at the relevant social care center. The center approved their appeal - there were no other options as it is not possible to force parents to care for children they do not want - and cancelled the adoption.

The boys ended up in the social care system after just two days. The relevant center kept trying to find new parents for the boys, but months went by and there were no families interested in adopting three children so it was decided to have them adopted by three different families as the center decided that living in families was better for the boys compared to growing up in orphanages.


Three families in three cities were found in 2015 and relevant services appealed to the families to keep in contact to allow the brothers to maintain close relationships throughout their lives.

The middle brother, who is now eight, was adopted by a family from a small town by the sea which previously adopted a child. As we have learned, the family is wealthy and did not have problems adopting another child, a boy who was then five.

However, unnamed sources revealed that it soon became clear the decision was not the best solution. The family was not prepared for problems connected with adoption and foster parents gradually became uninterested for maintaining contact with the boy's brothers (while the families that adopted the other two brothers maintain regular contact), they started caring less for children and, when they decided to get divorced last year, they decided they could no longer care for the children. Both adopted children were left without family, placed in orphanage and put up for adoption again.

The boy is now eight and was rejected by his parents three times thus far - first by his biological parents, and by two foster families.

How is it possible, after all the checks foster parents are supposed to go through before adoption and experts who try to match foster parents with children, to find best parents for a given child?

-There has been no progress with regard to quality and successfulness of adoption even though we have been presenting the Ministry with recommendations for years - said Diana Topčić Rosenberg, Adopta adoption NGO Management Board member.

Not commenting on the specific case, Topčić Rosenberg wonders what sort of expert support was provided to the families before they decided to return the children, stressing that the worst thing that could happen to children is another trauma caused by rejection and loss of family as well as the feeling that grownups cannot be trusted because they have let them down again.

- We have to start asking: who is responsible for all of this - noted Topčić Rosenberg.

Assessment quality

She warned that before we delve into matching children with potential foster parents, we should look into quality of assessment of suitability of potential foster parents, which should be analytical and based on suggestions of experts on best potential foster parent candidates for a specific child, support networks at their disposal, how they manage stressful situations as couples and individuals, what their parenting qualities are and more.

-Suggestions of experts should be discussed with potential foster parents, rather than just sending them a short comment on whether they are suitable or not - she pointed out.

Besides that, she stressed the importance of multidisciplinary expert assessment of the child's needs so that experts could advise potential foster parents on what children need and what to prepare for.

Inačica na drugom jeziku / Alternate language version