“Hello, lady, aren’t you my mummy?”[1]

The Role of Laws and Quality Psychological Testing in the Adoptions Procedure in the Czech Republic

Lenka Fořtová[2],2003

Preface: Lenka Fořtová is a student of Anglo-American college in Prague. She wrote this work for one of her courses[3], and she exploited quite a lot of my work. I am so grateful to her, as I need not to translate it into English, when I want to give you an overview what was my dissertation about. By the way she works as legal translator so if you need a legal translation of some official document between Czech and English, you can turn to her. Mgr. Jeroným Klimeš, Ph.D.

The wise King Solomon was asked to judge between the claims of two women who had each given birth to a child at the same time. When one of the babies died, both women demanded the remaining infant. To determine the truth, Solomon ordered his guards to cut the living child in half and give a portion to each. The real mother then rushed forward to prevent the act, so that her child might be spared. She announced that the child should be given to the other woman. From this, King Solomon knew she was the baby’s actual mother, as she was willing to give it up in order to save it (Hamerton-Kelly 1). Apparently, critical situations may show parents’ real feelings towards their children. Could this knowledge be used to force certain neglectful parents to say clearly what their real feelings toward their children are?

Paradoxically, although child psychology and social pediatrics of the Czech Republic belong to one of the few fields that have achieved a worldwide acclaim, the current legal framework regulating family status and adoption and foster care issues has been frequently criticized. Although the psychological testing procedure within the framework of the adoption/foster care process is elaborate and professional, it cannot make up for the drawbacks of the defective law in rescuing children from institutions and placing them with adoptive and foster families. Unfortunately, it is such families that only have the potential to bring up even deprived and abandoned kids into happy and prosperous human beings capable of managing their own lives.

Pursuant to the Family Act of the Czech Republic[4], substitute family care for children consists of two core areas. First, it is institutional care, which includes nursery institutions usually for children up to three years, children’s homes for children between 3 and 18 years, and diagnostic institutions for problematic children. Second, it is substitute family care that includes adoption and foster care, and host care. The Family Act of the Czech Republic defines these basic types of child care as follows: in adoptions, the adoptive child and parent relationship is equal to and replaces the biological parent-child relationship (in so-called legally available/freed children); in foster care, the foster parents provide an abandoned child with home and the foster parent-child relationship exists in addition to the surviving biological parent-child one. There is an alternative type of care for children who must stay in institutions without a chance of being adopted or returning to their parents (so-called legally unavailable children[5]); it is host care, or weekend/holiday visits, which is only used by some institution directors as a supplement to the above-described types of substitute family care (Škola 2001).

The Family Act as the major source of legal rules and regulations governing parent-child relations is frequently disputed due to some significant drawbacks that adversely affect adoptive as well as institutional children’s lives. First, the direct adoption system, which is the ideal solution for both the adoptive parents and the child, is not used by the state clerks. In direct adoption, a newborn whose mother immediately after delivery expresses her intent to give the child for adoption is placed with an adoptive family (state-approved one). However, state officials refuse to use this procedure of direct adoptions, claiming that there is no explicit definition of direct adoptions in the Czech laws; they prefer to place such a newborn into an institution (kojenecký ústav). In order to ‘secure’ the state’s baby-unfriendly position in rejecting direct adoptions, the Family Act, as amended in 2000, sets the obligatory six-week period during which a mother that wishes to place her child for adoption may withdraw her previous consent to adoption. In practice, this means that the baby is put away in an institution to ‘wait’ whether its mother is going to change her mind (Section 68a of the Family Act). Consequently, such babies are unnecessarily subject to the undesirable impacts of institutional care; they suffer from emotional deprivation and with every day of their isolation in the institution, it becomes harder for the child and his or her adoptive parents to subsequently establish a natural and functioning relationship. Thus, all the participants of the substitute family care process are harmed by the regulations of the Family Act.

Second, a major setback is the six-month period granted to those parents that place their children in children’s homes. According to Section 68 the Family Act, a child living in institutional care may only be legally released from its parents if they do not display any interest in it or fail to pay its maintenance for more than six months. Absurdly, in practice this means that such parents do not even need to come over to see their child; it is sufficient that they call their child or merely the children’s home's staff, asking about their child. Such a minimum contact is considered ‘parents’ interest in their child’ (Klimeš, K připravovanému zákonu o rodině 1). Undoubtedly, the consequences for such ignored children are harsh. In addition to severe emotional deprivation, they have no chance to be placed with a functioning family that would support their normal psychological development while their parents continue to demonstrate the above-described ‘interest’ in them.

Significantly, it has been proven that as far as success in child upbringing is concerned, there is virtually no difference between a child brought up by biological parents and one brought up by substitute parents. On the other hand, there is an essential difference between a child that grew up in children’s homes and a child brought up in a family (Blovská, “Možnosti dětí s postižením v ústavní péči,” Náhradní rodinná péče II/2002: 26). Unfortunately, this knowledge is not really taken as a basic fact in the Family Act. The state fails to systematically give preferential treatment to family rights (for biological or substitute families) compared to institutional care (Vodičková[6]).  A potential solution to this problem is forcing the non-functioning biological parents to decide: either they will in a limited period of time, e.g., three months, accept their child in their family and provide due care to them, or they will – in the children’s interest – give a consent to their adoption. Similar to the Salomon’s wise judgment, a limited period for decision might make them realize their real (dis)interest in their children and give a substantially greater chance to the children who would otherwise have no choice but to wait in the children’s homes for their parents to decide (Klimeš, K připravovanému zákonu o rodině 2).

A similar problem might also be solved by setting up a short time period for the authorities’ decisions; a time limit for social authorities in deciding whether to permit adoption or foster care in cases before them. Unfortunately, as employees of child-care institutions attest, social workers frequently hesitate too long to confirm a child’s assignment to substitute family care out of fear that it might not work out. Thus, with a fifteen-year-old child in institutional care, they tend to procrastinate the decision until the child turns 18; at this point, it is not up to them to decide anymore, the child can go live anywhere they please (Škola 2001).

Interestingly, while the legal issues involved in this field are occasionally discussed in the media, the issue of psychological testing, although of great significance, is surprisingly neglected and no specific information is available. The only exception is Mgr. Jeroným Klimeš’s dissertation entitled Reakce na ambivalentní objekt. Klimeš as a psychologist tests applicants for substitute family care, and he gives a very precise picture of the way psychological testing is carried out and applicants assessed. Klimeš asserts that the practice of ‘matching’ children in institutional care with adoptive/foster parents is based on the “parents for a child” principle, and not vice versa. This means that the potential adoptive parents only have the choice of saying yes/no to the acceptance of an offered specific child. The major advantage of this system is the reduction of the child-picking phenomenon. Also, the later doubts of adoptive parents are eliminated which might occur in the event of any future educational/upbringing problems (shouldn’t we have taken the other child?). Moreover, organizations active in the field of substitute family care are free to decide on which child to offer to which couple. Further, the so-called experimenting with kids – taking home "to try" (and then maybe returning them to the institution) – is significantly diminished. Last but not least, all children legally released for adoption are offered equal chances; the prettier and cuter children do not get picked rather than those less attractive (Klimeš, Reakce na ambivalentní objekt 5).

However, according to Klimeš (Reakce na ambivalentní objekt 5, 6) there are also drawbacks to the above-described system of child/parent matching. One drawback consists of the fact that the parents do not know what child they are going to get. Consequently, they want to stay on the safe side and are only willing to accept the youngest, whitest and healthiest possible child. This method has also proven inconvenient for older (over six years), non-white, and handicapped children, as there are not enough people that would be explicitly interested in taking care of them. Thus, it would be very convenient to compromise in matching adoptive parents and children. If selected applicants were enabled a reasonable contact and reasonable selection from children that may not otherwise be placed with families, more families might be matched. Thus, children’s homes would not have to be overcrowded with children that were only legally released for adoption or foster care at an older age. Klimeš insists that for children over six years of age, the method of looking for parents for a child totally fails, and the reasonable implementation of the opposite method, i.e., looking for a child for parents, needs to be considered.

Unfortunately, one of the greatest problems in merging the system of in-family and institutional care is the enormous tension between the family-oriented and the institution-oriented approaches. Not surprisingly, Klimeš contends (Reakce na ambivalentní objekt 7) that educators in the children’s homes frequently negate the host care due to the problems with the children’s fluctuations from the hosts and back to the institution. In fact, children not experiencing these transfers are emotionally more placid and thus more easily manageable for their governors. However, children that only experience the institutional care are, when they leave their ‘home’ institution, absolutely unprepared for the day-to-day life. For example, they are unable to choose between two types of yogurt, as they had always been assigned what to eat. Thus, the easy institutional managing of children may at times be in conflict with their prosperous development.

Generally, the issues of adoption and foster care as well as of infertility are still taboo in the Czech Republic. As Klimeš assets, infertile couples usually feel ashamed and deficient (Klimeš, Reakce na ambivalentní objekt 8). Furthermore, the Czech people also consider couples that adopt a child deficient: why would they adopt a child if they could have their own? This, and the taboos related to this issue, makes it even more difficult for infertile couples to go for adoption; they usually try to conceal their condition. Thus, there is a great need to speak of substitute family care as well as infertility as common, natural, and non-conflicting matters. As a matter of fact, unwanted infertility of applicants for substitute family care is a condition which has significant impacts on the couples, and which is to affect the would-be adoptive children of such couples. Step by step, infertility may develop into a specific type of handicap. The longer and slower the hope that they will have their own child dies out in these couples, the greater and deeper the trauma of their infertility. Applicants for substitute family care frequently complain that the gradual dying of hopes in having their own child is the worst symptom, and had they known what they would go through, they would have applied for substitute family care much earlier. The long-term and repeated switching between hope and despair, high costs of attempts of artificial insemination, constant desire to have a child, subordination of the couples’ sexual life to doctors’ recommendations and instructions, hormonal therapy; all these factors constitute a long-term psychological stress and burden that result in permanent psychological changes in the applicants towards more pessimistic and unfriendly approaches to life and all its facts. Subsequently, infertile couples that after years of attempting to conceive their own child decide to apply for substitute family care feel that they have a kind of justified claim to have a child. Worse, they want to get a child of their dreams, which is to be their compensation for their ordeal. Thus, to heal their wounds promptly, they aim at speeding up the entire adoption procedure. As a rule, they also require a healthy, perfectly white (read: non-Gypsy), and very young baby. They absolutely disregard the fact that in this category, the demand is approximately three times greater than supply, which gives them a considerable chance of having their desire unsatisfied. Generally, infertile couples that are handicapped in this manner have enormous demands on the child they adopt, regardless of the child’s abilities and intelligence. Worst, the adopted child is a compromise for them, a sort of solution for their problem; therefore, their own interests prevail over the child's (Klimeš, Reakce na ambivalentní objekt 37 – 41).

According to Klimeš (Reakce na ambivalentní objekt 8), the obligatory psychological testing of applicants for adoptive/foster care is usually viewed by the applicants as another evil they have to overcome on the way to their child. This makes it more difficult for the psychologist to introduce a friendly atmosphere. However, psychologists are not given sufficient freedom in drafting their opinions on individual applicants. As a matter of fact, according to the Act on Social and Legal Protection of Children[7], the applicants are entitled to see the final psychological opinion, which was not the case before 1999. Thus, the openness and professionalism of the psychological opinions are at stake, as the psychologists need to write the opinion carefully, attempting to avoid any undesirable misunderstandings. As a consequence of this situation, psychologists may tend to avoid any misleading terms, such as ‘debility’ or ‘hysteria’, which are often used as insults, and simplify their opinion too much. On the other hand, attempts to be excessively scientific may bring about confusion not only for the applicants, but also for the other parties involved in the procedure, such as social workers, doctors, or judges (Klimeš, Reakce na ambivalentní objekt 8, 9, 10).

Another issue which the psychologists need to handle in the process of testing is that of the time limits. One method of handling the time issue is postponing the final decision instead of saying no to unsuitable applicants; it may result in the applicants' giving up their efforts to adopt a child. Also, when applicants are in grief, postponing of the final decision must be applied, until the applicants have gone through all the phases of mourning. At times, procrastinating also may help certain couples when they are in a risky phase of their relationship; thus, although they are obviously currently unable to provide a harmonic environment for a child, they are given a chance to do so in future, when they have overcome the crisis (Klimeš, Reakce na ambivalentní objekt 10, 11, 12).

Moreover, although applicants usually complain about the lengthy procedure, the nine-month or longer pregnancy-substitute process is considered by psychologists to provide the would-be parents time to prepare for their new role and become accustomed to it. This process consists of incorporating the parenthood into one’s life plans and going through all the phases of conciliation with the new vision of the forthcoming life. Thus, it is desirable that this long-term and natural process in adoption substitutes the natural pregnancy development. Generally, it is taken as proven by psychologists that the waiting period of about one year supports the motivation maturing process. However, a longer waiting period is also undesirable. Long waiting results in resignation of the applicants to the very mission of bringing up a child or their rigidity and unhealthy attachment to the vision of their dreams (Klimeš, Reakce na ambivalentní objekt 27, 28).

The very process of the psychological testing procedure is considerably complex. During the first meeting, the psychologist needs to eliminate the tension that the applicants feel, as the applicants and the psychologist have the same final goal – matching parents with children. However, it is quite difficult to give clients a feeling that they are sharing their objective with the psychologist; most frequently, applicants tend to view the psychologist as an inevitable, evil element of the process (Klimeš, Reakce na ambivalentní objekt 13). During the subsequent meetings, the psychologist needs to deal with the clients’ dissimulation and self-styling, when the applicants attempt to conceal any problems they might be aware of and to show themselves in a better light (Klimeš, Reakce na ambivalentní objekt 14, 16). Also, clients tend to deny or avoid any potential 'hazardous areas' that might prove their relationship is not perfect (although there is nothing like that and every professional knows that). Furthermore, it is necessary that the psychologists assess the applicants’ reactions to stress and ability to cope with stressful situations. Through testing, such situations are introduced, and clients are asked some insignificant questions; their reactions show how they are capable of dealing with a problem that is currently unimportant for them. This situation is used to simulate and explain situations in families when children feel scared or have some problems, but the adults tend to respond to the children's fears and worries as insignificant and irrelevant (Klimeš, Reakce na ambivalentní objekt 22, 23, 24).

Surprisingly, as Klimeš proves (Reakce na ambivalentní objekt 24, 25), many problems commonly arise as a consequence of the applicants' poor knowledge of the issue of substitute family care. First, applicants tend to identify accepting a child for substitute family care with the birth of their own, expecting no real difference. Second, they believe that practical experience with children means success in substitute family care, which certainly does not have to be the case. Third, applicants often have no idea about the consequences of deprivation and abuse in children; for example, they irrationally expect that an abused child will be quite normal after their bruises disappear, hair grows, and other signs of physical abuse are reduced. Fourth, sadly, applicants are not interested in the substitute family care issues or the lives of children in children’s homes; they use the adoption/foster care to solve their own infertility. Fifth, they are mostly ashamed of their sterility, and the feelings of shame and inferiority subsequently inhibit their interest in the substitute family care. Sixth, potential adoptive parents tend to idealize the child who might come into their family; their ideals have developed for years without any confrontation with the reality. Thus, their dreaming of the child is a kind of self-stimulation, which is not aimed at adapting to reality but at satisfying the parents’ own needs.

As Klimeš contends, risks in potential foster parents, as described above, have certain serious consequences which may render the applicants incapable of deciding correctly when applying for adoption. First, they fear the age and race of the child to be adopted; they tend to secure the qualities they see as significant, including race and age. Second, they are unreasonably unaware and fearless of the actual risks of substitute family care and the consequences of institutional care in children. Thus, they fear the psychological testing, but see no problem in physically taking the child from the children’s home, which, after all, has been the child's home for some time. Third, applicants commonly reject the post-adoption cooperation with professionals and try to manage everything themselves. Fourth, with their pretended self-confidence, they also avoid other applicants and adoptive parents and tend to rely on their own abilities, regardless of the fact that someone’s experience might be very useful for them. Fifth, significantly, many applicants expect that their professional success guarantees their future success in substitute family care. These performance-oriented people with high IQ's usually tend to be individualistic, workaholic, and strong-minded. None of these qualities is favorable for successful substitute family care. However, the problem is not the people as such, but the mere contrast between the living standard of the couple and the abilities of the child (Klimeš, referring to Langmeier, Matějček 1963). On the other hand, applicants of this kind are usually very tolerant of the child’s race, as they frequently come from a sophisticated environment where racism rarely exists. Thus, their suitability for substitute family care is mostly moderate and it needs to be carefully considered what child they would be able to take care of (Klimeš, Reakce na ambivalentní objekt 25, 26, 27).

As Klimeš says (Reakce na ambivalentní objekt 29), several phases of development of adoptive parents–child relationship have been identified, each of which lasts differently in different cases. First, the phase of great desire for approximation between the parents and child erupts on both sides. Second, this phase is later replaced with the feelings of resistance, which the applicants frequently negate. Third, the time of distance and gradual adapting comes, during which the parents experience feelings of guilt, doubt the correctness of their decision to adopt a child, are uncertain about their own capacity, etc. Last, after this phase gradually dies out, acceptance and mutual satisfaction evolve in the relationship.

In order to succeed in acceptance of any child, several principles must be respected and the entire matter needs to be handled carefully and sensitively. The main principle is that the continuity of each child’s development must be maintained; certainly, the child must be able to talk to the new parents about their experience and memories and friends from the children’s home, and the parents should never attempt to make them forget their previous experience. Thus, the child should be never torn out of their – however deficient – environment and ‘replanted’ into the new family. On the contrary, the parents must encourage the kid to talk about their previous life, take them to their former children’s home for visits, and enable them to bring with them their favorite toys, pictures, and dresses, which should be replaced only slowly and naturally.

Essentially, every child should be made aware of their biological origin by the adoptive parents, regardless of their age when joining the family; failure to do so may result in the child’s disappointment in an older age, when they – and they will! – find out.

Psychologically, the most difficult part of the acceptance process is to estimate when the convenient time for child’s moving into the family comes. Certainly, the child’s verbal demonstrations of their wish to leave with the selected parents immediately are not a sufficient indicator. Due to the lack of their biological parents, the child idealizes them and at first tends to transfer these ideals into the adoptive parents. They have not expected that they might miss their friends and educators from the children’s home; they have not realized that the substitute parents are not omnipotent and cannot automatically make each wish of theirs happen. Consequently, Klimeš asserts, the children tend to behave manipulatively and in a utilitarian way, as well as switch extreme emotional positions. Practically, any actual and deeper attachment to the substitute parents on the part of the child as well as the parents’ acceptance of the child as theirs constitute a long-term process which, however, may be accompanied with extreme emotional variations – from the child’s absolute love of the parents to a flaming hatred when they fail to satisfy some of the child’s demands. Gradually, with the growing emotional attachment between the parents and the child, these extreme variations decrease. All these are reasons to only accept a child into a family after seeing them in their home environment several times; it is essential to let the child conclude that these are the parents they want. On the end, both the parents and the child must identify with the decision to live together (Klimeš, Reakce na ambivalentní objekt 30, 31).

Fortunately, there are a lot of suitable and successful applicants with altruistic motivation for substitute family care. Characteristically, such successful applicants are in frequent contact with children; they work in various activity groups with children, organize trips or summer camps, etc. Frequently, they also are very well informed about the substitute family care issues, whether through studying or through practical work with children from children’s homes. Naturally, they are less performance-oriented and family and unity are a priority for them. Furthermore, they are less ambitious and proud, although they are mentally balanced. They know how to live their own lives, and do not take having a child as the beginning and end of their happiness. Typically, they apply for adopting a child that needs help, placing the child’s interests over theirs. Commonly, in testing they are quite open and able to speak about relatively intimate matters and more or less fail to dissimulate and self-style. Also, they are tolerant and cope better with the adverse facts of life. Usually, they are not manipulative, emotionally oppressive, with tendencies to be sarcastic about others or to blame people, and do not moralize. They tend to avoid extremism, black-and-white ideologies, and schematic ethical thinking. Moreover, they are rather lively, talkative, and collective-oriented rather than individualistic. Their hobbies are more from the manual sphere than intellectual. Typically, they do not suffer from remarkable feelings of guilt or anxiety, and their attitude toward sex is open and tolerant. Most valuably, they are even able to get on well with conflicting people (Klimeš, Reakce na ambivalentní objekt 42).

Analyzing the legal as well as psychological issues in substitute family care, one comes across a paradox; foster/adoptive parents that wish to take care of other people’s children and give them home have to go through a thorough analysis and investigation (including home visits, other people being asked about them, answering intimate questions about their life and marriage, etc.). However, no biological parents ever can be analyzed to the least extent, and, if they prove to be unsuitable as parents, prevented from having children whose lives they can potentially destroy. Furthermore, there is not much appreciation for the foster/adoptive families' mission in the Czech society. Still, there is hope. Hope that gradually, the community will learn to value people who – though being aware of the numerous risk factors in the children they accept for upbringing – live to help those that without their determination and care would remain virtually helpless.


[Acual references to works of Jeronym Klimes, Ph.D. are be found at http://klimes.mysteria.cz/, note of JK]

Act of the Czech Republic No. 359/1999 Coll., on social and legal protection of children. (Act on Social and Legal Protection of Children).

Act of the Czech Republic No. 94/1963 Coll., on family, as amended by Act No. 132/1982 Coll., Act No. 234/1992 Coll., Constitutional Court’s Ruling No. 72/1995 Coll., Act No. 91/1998 Coll., Act No. 360/1999 Coll., and Act No. 301/2000 Coll. (Family Act of the Czech Republic).

Blovská, Gabriela. “Možnosti dětí s postižením v ústavní péči.”  Náhradní rodinná péče. Prague: Středisko náhradní rodinné péče. Volume II/2002, Year 5. 2002.

Hamerton-Kelly, Robert. King Solomon 2: The Judgment of Solomon. Sermon. Published at www.wvchurch.org/sermon01/08120128.htm   2001. (12 April 2003)

Klimeš, Jeroným Mgr. “K připravovanému zákonu o rodině.” CS Pediatrie. Published at www.fw.cz/jeronym.klimes/srpcuns/adopce.htm. 1996. (10 March 2003)

Klimeš, Jeroným Mgr. “Reakce na ambivalentní objekt.” Dissertation. Published at www.fw.cz/jeronym.klimes/srpcuns/adopce.htm. 2002. (1 March 2003)

Klusáková, Jana. “Interview with Dr. Vodičková, Chairwoman of Children In Danger Foundation, and Dr. Schneiberg, Chairman of Society for Social Pediatry.” Radiofórum. Broadcasted by Český rozhlas 1, Radiožurnál. 25 February 2003.

Škola, Václav Mgr. Personal interview. Dec., 2001. Children’s Home in Zvíkovské Podhradí.

Works Consulted

Janíčková, Jitka Mgr. “Jak se adaptují děti v novém prostředí náhradních rodin?” Published at www.rodina.cz/scripts/detail.asp?id/2118 2001. (10 March 2003)

Klimeš, Jeroným Mgr. “Poznámka k neplodnosti z pohledu náhradní rodinné péče.” Published at www.fw.cz/jeronym.klimes/nrp/neplodnost.html 1999. (10 March 2003)

Knox, Kathleen. “Czech Republic: Case Raises Issue of Direct Adoptions.” Published at www.rferl.org/nca/features/2001/10/29102001080606.asp. 2001. (6 February 2003)

Matějček, Zdeněk Doc. PhDr., CSc. “Co řekneme osvojenému dítěti.” Published at www.fw.cz/jeronym.klimes/nrp/crod.htm  2000. (10 March 2003)

Nadace Terezy Maxové. “Application for Substitute Family Care.” Published at www.adopce.com/beta/adopce/eng/uvod.php?stranka=27. 2002. (21 February 2003)

Nadace Terezy Maxové. “Basic Terms.” Published at www.nadacetm.cz/web/eng/obsah.php?stranka=13. 2002. (21 February 2003)

Náhradní rodinná péče. Prague: Středisko náhradní rodinné péče. Volume II/2002.

Náhradní rodinná péče. Prague: Středisko náhradní rodinné péče. Volume III/2002.

Řáhová, Barbora. “Náhradní péče o rómské děti.” Seminar research paper. Published at www.tolerance.cz/english/rahova.htm  2002. (30 March 2003)

Zpravodaj FOD 2/2002. Prague: Council of Fond ohrožených dětí. Volume 2/2002.

Zpravodaj FOD 2/2000. Prague: Council of Fond ohrožených dětí. Volume 2/2000.

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[1] Klusáková, Jana. “Interview with Dr. Vodičková, Chairwoman of Children In Danger Foundation, and Dr. Schneiberg, Chairman of Society for Social Pediatry.” Radiofórum. Broadcasted by Český rozhlas 1, Radiožurnál. 25 February 2003.

[2] Lenka Fořtová, Czech/English Legal Translator, Višňovka 185, 252 03 Řitka,Tel.: +420 608 352 590, Fax: +420 608 98 99 86, Lenka@Fortici.cz, www.fortici.cz

[3] Anglo-American College in Prague, Kathi Hickey's Composition II, Monday 11.30 a.m. Class, May 12, 2003

[4] Act of the Czech Republic No. 94/1963 Coll., on family, as amended by Act No. 132/1982 Coll., Act No. 234/1992 Coll., Constitutional Court’s Ruling No. 72/1995 Coll., Act No. 91/1998 Coll., Act No. 360/1999 Coll., and Act No. 301/2000 Coll.

[5] Legally unavailable children are those that are still considered under the law the offspring of their biological parents and cannot be relocated without such parents' consent; this can only be changed by the parents themselves, or by court. However, the courts in the Czech Republic are reluctant to deprive neglectful parents of their parental rights. Consequently, such children can only be released for foster care, or host care.

[6] Klusáková, Jana. “Interview with Dr. Vodičková, Chairwoman of Children In Danger Foundation, and Dr. Schneiberg, Chairman of Society for Social Pediatry.” Radiofórum. Broadcasted by Český rozhlas 1, Radiožurnál. 25 February 2003.

[7] Act of the Czech Republic No. 359/1999 Coll., on social and legal protection of children.