UPDATE: Portuguese immigrants caught up in UK adoption scandal

Posted by portugalpress on March 21, 2014

Portuguese immigrants were in Brussels this week fighting for children they claim were seized by UK authorities running a high-level adoption scandal.

And as the shocking news accelerated through international media, police were reported to have arrested the Portuguese parents of five children – accusing them of attempted kidnap.

The situation follows worrying reports of a scheme said to involve judges, lawyers and social workers effectively ‘kidnapping’ 4500 children every year to “feed the adoption industry”.

On Wednesday, Carla and José Pedro joined 30 other foreign immigrant couples to petition to European Parliament.

“You can hardly believe this story”, Victims Unite activist Sabine McNeill told the European parliament on Wednesday March 20.

“The cases related during a three-hour audience shocked euro MPs”, affirmed Correio da Manhã newspaper. “The denouncements point to the existence of a scheme in the UK involving lawyers, social workers and judges to take children from good parents – the majority immigrants – and put them up for adoption, with the objective of feeding the industry surrounding adoptions”.

“It’s all done for profit!” accused one grandfather in the delegation.

In its own report, SIC TV showed the parents and family members later going to the British Embassy where they attempted to deliver a dossier on the scandal.

According to the report “neither the British embassy nor the British consulate would receive them”.

Said Susana Frexes reporting for SIC, the Euro Parliament does not have the power to force the UK authorities to do anything, but the hope of families is that it can at least push for change.

Euro MP Angelika Werthmann explained it is “very much a Human Rights issue”: “The Human Rights of the child need to be heard”.

Carla and José Pedro, campaigning every way they can for the children that were forcibly taken from them over a year ago, have now reportedly been arrested in their hometown of Grantham, Lincolnshire – on suspicion of attempting to kidnap their own children.

The news reported by Público and picked up by other media instantly came via Sabine McNeill. It is developing rapidly, and we will bring updates throughout the day.

Carla and José, both 43, told SIC television that they wanted their case to be transferred to social services in Portugal, as they are confident that if it is, they will then win parental custody back. All their children are reported to have Portuguese nationality.

The couple’s nightmare began in April 2013 after their eldest son, a child with mental problems, complained at school that his father had beaten him.

It was an accusation that the boy later retracted many times, but it was enough for social workers to arrive on the Pedro’s doorstep in Grantham,Lincolnshire, and remove all five children – aged from 3 to 14 – on the same day.

José Pedro was also taken into police custody, but released hours later “due to lack of evidence”, writes Correio da Manhã.

Originally told their children would be removed for only 72 hours, the Pedros have been without them ever since.

They now see their children only once every two months for an hour in the company of social workers, writes Público newspaper.

“They cry. They are thin, and they want to come home”, Carla told SIC’s television team.

The two youngest have been put up for adoption against the parents’ wishes and their eldest daughter has since threatened to kill herself if she loses her little siblings, Público adds.

It is a tragedy considering both parents say they never beat their children – and the reason given by the UK courts for not returning them was “the risk of future emotional damage”.

As Euro MP Angelika Werthmann pointed out, the emotional damage of separation is plain for all to see.

It now remains to be seen what happens to these children, and those of all the other families (Russians, Lithuanians and Latvians) who petitioned Brussels on Wednesday March 20.

The Facebook site Stolen Children of the UK, which is quoted in CM as saying the forced adoption scheme affects 4500 children every year, warns families: “Love your family today, because tomorrow the Government might take them away”.

Now, there is the added spectacle of parents taken into custody as this high-profile case goes viral.