Questions & answers about adoption aimed at relatives and other affected persons in a country other than Sweden
The Family Law and Parental Support Authority (Myndigheten för familjerätt och föräldraskapsstöd, MFoF) exercises supervision and examines authorisations in order to ensure that adoptions of children to Sweden are conducted in accordance with the law and in an ethically acceptable manner. In all our activities, we must promote the rights of the child as expressed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The right to one’s origin and identity is protected in both national and international regulations. In addition, there are provisions concerning the adoptee’s right to receive support should she/he decide to search for her/his origins.
The possibility of support and help in origin searches can be perceived as particularly important when information comes to light about irregularities in an international adoption.
The following questions and answers constitute information directed at persons who live in a country other than Sweden and who are in some way affected by one or more adoptions carried out from this country to Sweden. For example, it may be that you know or believe that you are a biological parent or relative of a child who has been adopted to Sweden, or you may be a member of an association that is involved in investigating irregularities in international adoptions.
1. Can MFoF help if a person who has been adopted to Sweden wants help with searching for her/his origins?
Yes. MFoF has been tasked with implementing a pilot project in 2020-2021 that aims to provide
individual support to international adoptees in connection with origin searches. The support that MFoF provides to those searching for their origins is free of charge.
It is possible that MFoF’s mandate to provide support for individual origin searches will be extended. Otherwise, it is the respective municipality in Sweden that must offer support in origin searches. MFoF has produced a guide that the municipalities can follow when helping an adoptee with an origin search.
2. Can people without Swedish citizenship apply for financial support from MFoF to search for relatives in Sweden?
No, this is not part of MFoF’s mandate.
3. Who can apply for individual support in connection with an origin search?
To apply for the support, you must have been adopted to Sweden from another country. You must also be at least 18 years old. You must use the form available on MFoF’s website and follow the instructions it provides.
The individual support for origin searches cannot be used by adoptive parents, biological parents or other relatives of the adoptee.
4. What kind of help can the Family Law and Parental Support Authority offer based on its mandate to provide individual support in origin searches?
In the application for support in an origin search, it is possible to choose one or more of the following options regarding the desired support:
- Get an idea of what an origin search might mean for me.
- Support in accessing and interpreting documents and documentation concerning my adoption.
- Create a clearer picture of my life story and my origins.
- Information and support before and/or during any return trip to the country from which I was adopted.
- Find biological parents and/or other relatives.
- I suspect or have information that my adoption was the subject of irregularities. I need help dealing with this.
- Something else/miscellaneous.
Once an application for participation in the pilot project is received, an investigator at MFoF will contact the applicant to book a telephone call. During the interview, the adoptee receives more information about the pilot project and the support that can be offered and is given the opportunity to tell MFoF more about what support is desired.
5. Can MFoF cooperate in any way with non-governmental organisations in other countries?
MFoF may receive and attempt to answer questions from non-governmental organisations abroad (e.g., adoption associations and organisations), provided that they fall within the scope of MFoF’s mandate and responsibilities. MFoF may also need to ask questions to foreign actors. However, the authority’s focus and priority are on communication and dialogue with the central authorities of other countries and actors that have been involved in the adoption process, as well as Swedish associations for adoptees.
6. Can MFoF do anything to support other countries’ authorities in their efforts to investigate crimes related to adoption?
MFoF is not a criminal investigation authority, but we can inform a foreign investigation about where in the Swedish system a foreign authority can turn. MFoF can also inform the other country’s investigation about how the Swedish system works, for example in connection with requests to obtain documents here in Sweden.
7. MFoF is Sweden’s supervisory authority over the adoption organisations - why does MFoF not investigate organisations that have been involved in adoptions in which information about irregularities comes to light?
Pursuant to the Act (1997: 192) on International Adoption Mediation, MFoF exercises supervision over the adoption organisations’ mediation activities. The supervision covers such matters as are important for MFoF’s assessment of current mediation activities. As part of its supervisory activities, MFoF may inspect the associations’ activities. MFoF may also order the association to remedy shortcomings in its mediation activities.
Under the same law, MFoF also authorises the associations and thereby examines whether they should be permitted to work with international adoption agencies here in Sweden and abroad.
MFoF also has the option to revoke a granted authorisation.
In its supervision and in its examination of authorisations, MFoF assesses current mediation activities. It is not part of MFoF’s mandate to investigate previous circumstances, and there is no legal basis for MFoF to do so.
This applies to all adoption organisations in Sweden and adoptions from all countries.
8. If a criminal investigation into adoptions to Sweden is started in another country - why does MFoF not inform everyone in Sweden who has been adopted from this country?
If a criminal investigation of this kind is ongoing in another country, MFoF tries to obtain concrete and reliable information about the investigation. When we receive such information, we publish it on our website. Based on such information, we can also answer questions from the media, associations or individual adoptees.
MFoF does not have registers with contacts for all adoptees from a certain country. Even if we did have such information, some form of targeted direct mail to a large number of adoptees could create anxiety and frustration in people who have not requested that information, which also does not necessarily affect their adoption.
9. Can people without Swedish citizenship gain access to Swedish registers to search for relatives?
No, Sweden does not keep a register of people who have been adopted from other countries.
10. Can MFoF help a person without Swedish citizenship to search for relatives in Sweden? I have information that my relative was adopted to Sweden, can you help me find her/him??
No, this is not part of MFoF’s mandate.