Concord Times (Freetown)

Sierra Leone: Child Adoption Saga - Parents Demand Children's Return

Freetown — Aggrieved parents whose children were adopted by American-based Main Adoption Placement Services, MAPS, have demanded the immediate return of their children.

In a meeting with the minister of social welfare, gender and children's affairs at his New England office yesterday, spokesperson for the aggrieved parents, Kassim Kargbo said: "We want our children back immediately. We were not informed about any adoption."

He said they were told by Help A Needy Child International, HANCI, that their children would be well taken care off and provided with the basic amenities up to university level, adding, "It is rather unfortunate that it has turned out to be an adoption."

HANCI, an organization responsible to look after the welfare of children in the country, facilitated the adoption of the children to MAPS in America.

The organization had earlier claimed that the adoption was done legally and that the parents of the children were fully informed throughout the process.

Kargbo noted that the social welfare ministry, the family support unit (FSU) of the police and the criminal investigation department (CID) had promised to investigate the matter since last year but that nothing has been done.

"We were hoping that the matter should have been taken to court before now. The only solution to our problem now is for us to have our children back," he demanded.

Social welfare minister, Dr. Soccoh Kabia, said the matter has been thoroughly looked into by his ministry and a detailed report put together for cabinet discussion.

"We've carefully looked into the matter and no finger was pointed at anyone. A report has been prepared and there are strong recommendations in it. I will present it to cabinet on Wednesday for prompt action," he said.

According to the minister, the matter was complicating because MAPS were saying the adoption was legal while parents were saying the apposite.

"All I am asking is for you to be patient until the report is discussed in cabinet. I appreciate your efforts on the matter. The president is very much interested in the matter," he noted.

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