The adoption of South African children by Finnish couples is steadily growing, South Africa’s ambassador to Finland Sello Moloto said on Friday.
In 2011, Finland’s statistics showed that most children adopted from abroad were born in South Africa, he said in Helsinki.
“It’s great. They are given a new life in Finland,” said Moloto.
“And you know, these adopted children are living much better here [in Finland] than some middle class families in South Africa, even better than my kids. They have guitars and ipads and lots of other things…”
Most of the adopted South African children in Finland had been abandoned.
In the past five years around 400 South African children were adopted in Finland, most of them aged between two and four.
“These kids, when you see them, they are already speaking Finnish,” said Moloto.
Many women in Finland chose not to have children as they concentrated on careers.
“Many of them decide not to have kids, as they don’t think they have the time for conceiving… but the main thing is the choice,” he said.
Finnish couples preferred South African children to those from other African states.
“I don’t know what are their reasons but South African laws are much tighter.
“They believe that if they pass through all the processes and screening, the child would not be reclaimed at a later stage.”
He said Finnish people also trusted the South African legal system more than other African countries.
The adopted children generally kept their South African-born names, like Bongani, Thando, and Bheko.
The children could at any time visit their homeland, as many of them retained dual citizenship for Finland and South Africa.
Moloto recently visited a couple who had adopted two South African boys.
The wife was a doctor and the husband a businessman.
“Everything in their home is South African. There are South African flags, emblems, music, food….” said Moloto.
They even celebrated South African holidays so that the boys would not forget their heritage and where they came from.
“I went there on the occasion of Freedom Day and they were having a braai. I was quite surprised.”
They also celebrated Mandela Day.
The boys were born to different mothers and were now brothers.
Finland worked mostly with the Johannesburg Welfare Society, but also other adoption agencies.
Women not wanting their babies were urged to take them to the society or other adoption agencies instead of abandoning them in public places.
“It’s better to leave the kid at the society… than dropping them on the sidewalk,” said Moloto.
According to Statistics Finland, adoptions in 2012 of children born abroad numbered 208.
“The largest groups in the adoptions from abroad to Finland were children born in China and South Africa,” it said on its website.
“In 2011, the largest groups in adoptions from abroad were children born in South Africa.” -Sapa