Slovakia can be described as philanthropic landscape with conscious people who show solidarity with people in need and responsibility for the situation in developing countries. At least that show the results of a questionnaire survey – which was conducted in late May and focused on the long-distance adoption of children from the African continent. How do you otherwise explain that the vast majority of respondents is familiar with the term „long-distance adoption“, three quarters of them would accept the project and adopt a child (in parallel to 84% of people willing to adopt HIV-positive child). Up to 64% of survey-participants considered unethical – to choose the adoptive child according to the physical appearance or the photo.
In late May 221 people responded to a call to fill in a questionnaire on the long-distance distance adoption – announced on four social networks. Average age of respondents ranged between 26 to 30 years, the exact half of them identified their status as single. Half of the respondents came from the Slovak capital city Bratislava region and the other seven counties were represented equally.
How much do we know about adoption?
Whopping 99% know the term „long-distance adoption”. More than half of respondents knows someone close who has adopted a child through the program: long-distance adoption in a developing country. The identification of the NGOs was difficult, since half of the respondents mentioned NGOs providing long-distance adoption in Asia, not in Africa. But this research is focused on education support for children of selected countries in Africa, because two of three priority countries of the Slovak Official Development Assistance are African (Kenya and South Sudan) and several Slovak civic associations have their field workers there. Respondents know mostly these organizations: Integra Foundation (acting mainly in Ethiopia and Kenya), Savio (focusing on Kenya and South Sudan) and Goodness of St. Elizabeth (providing the adoption process in Kenya).
Up to three quarters of respondents thought about adopting a child from a developing country. More than three quarters of respondents thought specifically of the African continent. Whatever it sounds idealistic and somehow clichéd – their motives for this decision were: solidarity with people in need (143 of 221 people), education support for children outside of Europe (96 respondents), regret over defenseless children or responsibility for the situation in developing countries. It is important to point out another interesting result of this questionnaire: 84% of people would adopt HIV-positive child through long-distance adoption program.
How to use money from adoptive parents?
Half of the Slovaks involved in this survey would be willing spare to their adoptive child per month in Africa from 10 to 20 euros, nearly one fifth of respondents would like to send them 20 or 30 euros. This money is mainly used to purchase school uniforms, the purchase of books and school supplies, also appropriate food or drugs.
66% of respondents (145 people) trust the organizations and their projects of long-distance adoption. Among the frequent responses – how to increase the transparency of organizations in Slovakia (providing the education support for children in Africa) were: placing annual reports, monthly reports and photo gallery of the project on the web-site of organization and also communication on social networks. What could be interesting (related to the effects of media on the audience): more than half of respondents demanded: the documentary movie covering the process of adoption in the country and publishing regular press releases in the media. Up to 129 people (more than half of respondents) would support their child for more than five years.
More than half of respondents would pay particular Slovak organization for the administration of the project in the African country: 5% of their monthly allowance. But there was a small group of 14 generous Slovaks, who were willing to give up to 20% of their contribution to the organization. Adoptive parents would like to receive some kind of information about the use of their money and about the support of their adoptive kids, e. g.: a letter from the child, then a written assessment of the project field staff of the organization, email information about particular child and the child’s photo.
Is the selection of kid according to the photo ethical?
The criteria for selecting adoptive child for Slovak (potential) parents were: non-completeness of the family (85 out of 221 respondents), age on health status, number of siblings and the child’s country of origin. It is important to note that the photo and the physical appearance of the child was interested only for 18 out of 221 survey-participants. It was important to put the question in the questionnaire again – to verify the attitude of adoptive parents. To the question: „Do you consider ethical the choice of a child according to photo/physical appearance?” 67% of people answered: no.
At the end of survey prospective parents had possibility to ask anything that interested them in connection with long-distance adoption. They raised the questions – concerning the transparency of financing of such projects in Africa and the adequate use of money, but also very stimulating pulses appeared. For example: how kids look at themselves as adopted children; how other siblings in a family react to adoption of their brother or sister; how successful are adopted kids later on labour market; is a part of education also family planning; is there a possibility of helping families to protect themselves against HIV virus and sponsor their protection.
Among the most emotional and sincere responses belongs the message from one Slovak, who added to the questionnaire also her contact data – that she is interested in classical adoption of a child, not only through long-distance program. If the question is: does this type of assistance in developing countries (facilitating the fulfillment of one of the UN Millennium Development Goals and promoting education through long-distance adoption) makes sense – 207 out of 221 respondents answered: yes. This number does not need a special comment…
Written by: Boba Baluchova