Cristian Alejandro is only five months and four days old. He lives with his “brothers” Yisley and Orlando, three years old; Ana Lía, four and Janier, six, in an attractive and cheerful little house, where they dance, sing and play. However, his eyes reveal sadness and he hardly knows how to smile.
Their "mother", together with 13 members in that family, try to make them happy and feed them well. "But living in Home for Children without Family Support leaves a trace for a lifetime, a stigma that they will keep forever."
And, like nobody else, Aleida Blanco Quiñones, a Graduated in f Education and director of this institution, knows about these traces, located in Bauta. Aleida has spent 19 years teaching the first words and incipient steps to many children, whose mothers and fathers are deprived of their parental rights , temporarily or definitely, or they just live there because of other reasons.
Grow from hugs and pampering
“We always try to be happy, although nothing and nobody replaces the family; hence the desire to find one for each child. Adoption can be the happy ending, ” the director says.
She also adds that “it is not a simple process, even the Commissions for Prevention and Social Care should guarantee deeper research on the children´s family environment in the Home, as they are led by the Labor and Social Security managements , and composed by masses organizations and institutions responsible for the child proper development. There is so much to do!
“We receive many files, almost thirty couples with conditions to assume paternity, approach here, where there are children from their first day of birth to six years, because they have less possibilities when grow up. Due to many reasons, in the almost nine years of Artemisa province, only two small ones have been adopted; the other have beeb taken to San Cristóbal´s Home ”.
Caridad Ledón Prieto, prosecutor of the provincial Department of Family and Jurisdictional Affairs, explains that the preliminary ruling file for adoption, with a detailed investigation, is delivered to the Popular Municipal Court, reviewed by the Prosecutor for the subsequent issuance of an opinion, and the Court Supreme People decides the fate of the child's life.
"Adoptive parents must be at least 25 years old, be in full enjoyment of their civil and political rights, not suffer mental or physical limitations or have not been punished for crimes against minors," Ledon says.
"The spouses apply for adoption, within marriage, and after legal approval they have rights, duties and obligations as if they were the biological parents," she emphasizes, and refers to Law 1289/75 of the Family Code.
Further from an adoptive family
In another house similar to that of Bauta, in San Cristóbal, for children over seven years, 13 children live. So far none of them has the chance of being adopted due to their limited intellectual development, says Alicia Blanco Echenique, the director, graduated in Education 17 years ago.
“One of them, an orphan since he was nine years old, lives with a Substitute Family, who are people in charge of children on weekends, when they are in school breaks, on vacations or other exceptional occasions. That must also be authorized after an exhaustive verification process, to ensure proper home conditions. ”
Alicia tells us about a foreign couple interested in two of the children. “They lived in San Cristóbal and have not been able to have children . They came to see them twice, but they haven't started any process yet, ”Alicia explains.
“This process is complex, much more for those who do not live in Cuba, and the children have two other brothers in Bauta´s Home. Although we should not accept separation from siblings, adoption is a voluntary act, and it is very difficult for a family to adopt four children. ”
Meanwhile, encouraging news makes her smile. “One of the girls, already with Substitute Family, has her legitimate father in the process of becoming legalized as such. I didn't know about the daughter's existence and, after the loss of the mother, he will take on paternity. ”
The longed for light
Mention children´s adoption in an infertility consultation in Artemisa, gave looks of astonishment and uncertainty, because "if children are adopted it must be a very discreet process," some tell me, while others doubt it, because there is no culture in the population about the subject.
However, Mario García Rodríguez and his wife, from San Miguel del Padrón, in Havana, did search , and take on as a Substitute Family for a little girl from Bauta´s Home.
“We got married in 2015 and, due to her operation, we can't have children. We decided to adopt one and achieve family happiness, Mario says with infinite emotion.
“We together with the three-year-old girl enjoy the pleasure of being parents. She calls us mom and dad. She has achieved empathy with the rest of the family. She is good and affectionate. We go every weekend from San Miguel to Bauta. ”
“Although she has lived in the Home for almost a year ago, without visits from any family member, the mother still has parental rights. But the one who sees the little girl's happiness face when she comes hand in hand with Mario , finds the immediate reason for the adoption! ”, The director says.
Mairelis Galá Galá, head of the Department of Family and Jurisdictional Affairs in the Provincial Prosecutor's Office, brings us closer to the fact that it is not the proper moment for adpotion.
“The girl began in the Home in November 2018. We established the file , to show compliance or not with the obligations of her legal representative, on October 22, 2019, since the beginning of this year she has no had connection with her. We have 30 days to investigate further and make the claim to the Court, which would deprive it of parental rights, and they would start the process to adopt her . ”
Bridges, for happy endings
The fact that adoption is considered a kindness of our social system, as it is free and the best interest for the child prevails (atypical in other societies), the situation around children makes the process longer.
Living in a Home or Children without Family Support is not the only way to adopt a child. In the nine years of the province, they have hired some 30 child adoption processes in law offices in 11 municipalities, said Belkis Mesa Díaz, provincial deputy director of Technical and Training at that institution.
“They are children who were not without family support . I remember two little children who were mother orphans, and the father's wife decided to adopt them, even with surnames change.
“San Cristóbal is the municipality with the most cases processed (seven), and Guanajay (five) follows. On the other hand, the ones with fewer contracts are Bahía Honda (none) and Alquízar (one) ”, she details while inferring that it is still seen as a social taboo.
Some children have no parents for uncertain reasons . And some couples do not have children for different reasons. A bridge between the two would be the happy ending.
Growing up being loved and being parents is a privilege, beyond blood ties. Feeling the smile of a child without so many many attempts, is glory. If we combine sensitivities and legality together, there will be greater possibilities of creating families: those that there are many ways to build.
TRANSLATION BY LMMS