Adoptions are frozen
PANAMA. For the last three years, no child has left the Hogar San Jose de Malambo ionstitute holding the hand of his of an adoptive par...
PANAMA. For the last three years, no child has left the Hogar San Jose de Malambo ionstitute holding the hand of his of an adoptive parent. Some 160 children at the shelter wait to be part of a family, 28 of them babies carrying the HIV virus, another 12 children suffering from a physical disability, and 15 suffering from some degree of mental retardation.
The picture is not encouraging for Sister Lourdes, who for 35 years has been taking care of helpless children. She regrets that those in charge of the adoption system delay the administrative procedures, forcing children to stay at the shelter for so long.
The worst part is that the shelter does not receive a lot of help from the government. For example, in the case of the babies with HIV, the shelter barely receives $1,000 a month to care for all of them, while the maintenance costs triple, and on average Malambo invests $3,000 per child per month.
Sister Lourdes just thanks God’s providence, claiming that she maintains the shelter thanks to donations that help her meet the children’s needs. Among those, are help and donations by the Children’s Hospital who, for example, lower some of the $3,000 per child costs that she would otherwise have to get from outside donations.
She does not hide her conviction that the “struggle” between the Social Development Ministry and the children’s court to lead the discussion on adoption ends up aggravating the complicated road to it.
Sussie* is a 30 year old mother of eight children, all of whom are housed at Hogar Malambo because she does not have the economic resources to maintain them. Sister Lourdes said that the siblings came one by one year after year. The adoption of the siblings is even more difficult than usual, because the law protects their right to live together.
Sister Lourdes explained that the MIDES should take preventive measures in cases like Sussie’s.
“When it was found that this woman had more than three children. Doctors should have operated on her, because now it is the children who are left without family.”
At Malambo, there are 60 staff members, most of whom earn a monthly salary.