Portuguese doctors slam “curse in Portugal” that holds-up adoptions for the sake of money

Two Portuguese doctors are challenging State-funded charity Santa Casa da Miserícórdia over the latter’s decision that they are not “apt” to adopt a five-year-old child.

Orthopedic specialist Frederico Teixeira and his endocrinologist wife Sílvia Saraiva claim the institution’s treatment of their case has been “dishonest and larded with incompetence”.

Even worse, it suggests children are being kept in institutions for the sake of money.

“The Santa Casa (da Misericórdia de Lisboa) has two roles”, explains Frederico Teixeira.

“On the one hand it has a department that deals with adoption, on the other it has multiple institutions that take-in children. Why is it that the process is so slow? Who gains from this? The answer is that these institutions are financed according to the number of children they have. It is the curse of children in this country. Instead of being in a family, they are institutionalised,” he told national tabloid Correio da Manhã.

The exposé of the couple’s fight details how they feel they have been thwarted every step of the way in their bid to give a five-year-old child the chance of a family.

“They signed up (to adopt) in June 2012,” writes the paper. “The decision should have taken just six months. Almost 18 months passed before the couple complained in writing, promising they would fight for their rights. Result: the next day they were failed. Outraged they contested the decision which, they say, leaves one more child without the possibility of having a real family”.

According to Teixeira, the couple’s screening interviews were mismanaged. Answers they gave were not properly detailed. In short, the report on their suitability as adoptive parents was “without any scientific basis” as well as “prejudiced”.

“They said we had an unstable relationship. We have been together for eight years and married for five. Is that unstable?” He queried.

“We have an 11-year age gap” (Teixeira is 40, Saraiva 51). “But what has that got to do with our suitability to adopt?”

Teixeira is the biological father of two children, one of which is studying medicine at university, the other is in his 11th year at school – but although the Santa Casa report mentioned them, at no point were the children’s opinions on the way their father had brought them up ever sought, he told CM.

“I am a normal person, with a home to give a child with love and care”…

CM has taken the couple’s case up with Santa Casa which has responded that “adoption cases are protected by secrecy” and that this one “followed all legal stipulations”.

The doctors nonetheless are adamant. If Santa Casa does not reconsider, they will take the matter to court, claims CM.

Meantime, leader writer Octávio Ribeiro poses the question: “If the man was the one who was older, would the decision have been the same?”

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