After six years he will finally be able to see his daughters again. The Court of Appeal of Rome has decided that a woman, of Nigerian origin and a victim of trafficking, will be able to see the two girls aged 8 and 10 given up for adoption to two distinct Italian families. It is the first concrete case of “mild adoption” in Italy: that is, the obligation, in the event of the adoption of minors, to maintain a link with the family of origin after the declaration of a parental incapacity to take care of their children. “It is a revolutionary sentence of the Italian legal system”, explains the lawyer who followed the case, Salvatore Fachile. “A much more modern and intelligent form of adoption, which leaves out the selfishness of adopting families to try to improve the growth path of boys and girls”. The mother is a trafficked Nigerian woman whose daughters had been taken away, given up for adoption to two different families. “She was reproached for not being able to organize her social life, for not having a salary, a house, material conditions”, explains Fachile.

“Incredibly, although it cannot be done. But it is instead a practice: for years, even in Rome, it has been customary to take children away from women not because they are accused of violence but because they are ‘guilty’ of not having a full capacity to take care of the needs of children very often from an economic and social point of view “, says the lawyer. “Obviously we are talking about foreign women or women of Roma origin: in many cases, as in this one, Nigerian victims of trafficking”.

The minors are given up for adoption, and relations with the mother are interrupted after the first expulsion sentence. Although there is still the possibility of appeal. The European Court of Human Rights precisely for the case in question, in 2021, had condemned Italy, declaring the total interruption of relations between the daughters and the mother after the decision of first instance illegitimate. “A practice that is very widespread and is a fundamental element of adoptions”, says the other lawyer who followed the case, Cristina Cecchini. “After the first degree sentence, even pending the appeal and the possibility of legitimizing the decision, relations are interrupted: and this is illegitimate for the ECHR”. It is the practice of adopting ‘at legal risk’, whereby the adoptive families “despite the procedure is still in place, they see children in their care without knowing anything about them and their history and accepting an adoption that should probably lead to maintaining relationships with the family of origin “, continues Cristina Cecchini. Relationships “which, on the other hand, are not maintained to ensure the success and secrecy of the adoption”.

Now the decision of the Court of Appeal of Rome “represents an important step also in reviewing the processes of adoptability. Because it is clear that this will have an explosive impact on the whole system”, adds Cecchini. After the first sentence and the adoption of the daughters A. the woman had appealed, losing him. “So we appealed to the Supreme Court”, says Fachile. “And there we got an exceptional sentence that says that in the Italian legal system there is a mild adoption. adoption of a child, to verify if that child can maintain relations with the family of origin, thus creating a collective family “. After the Supreme Court, then the appeal to the court of appeal “where they have now proved us right: the girls, who among other things, incredibly, have been given to two separate families, must maintain constant relations with their mother for their own good. their interest, “says the lawyer. The sentence is immediately effective and gives the local services the task of taking charge of the resumption of relations between the woman and her daughters. “Except that, in a bizarre and anachronistic way, the sentence provides that the sort of privilege that is the secrecy of the adoptive family must be preserved”, adds Salvatore. Therefore the mother “will not be able to know the surname of the girls, or the surname of the adoptive family. Obviously it will be impossible to maintain the secrecy of the data. We will appeal to the Supreme Court to try to eliminate this flaw in this sentence which in any case remains revolutionary and puts an end to a very bad practice “.

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