"Adoption Catwalk" took place in Mato Grosso

On Tuesday, the adoption authorities in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso held the second edition of an event they call “Adoption on the Catwalk,” in association with the state bar association. Though the name is curious, to say the least, “Adoption on the Catwalk” is exactly what it sounds like. Hosted at a shopping mall in the city of Cuiabá, the event involved 18 children available for adoption, aged between 4 and 17, being paraded in a fashion show to a group of around 200 onlookers, largely made up of potential adoptive parents.

The children were kitted out with apparel from clothing stores, and the girls were given professional make-overs. After last year’s event, two teenagers were adopted by couples who attended the fashion show.

</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">&#8220;Adoption on the Catwalk&#8221; was widely criticized on social media. Being compared to </span><a href="https://brazilian.report/guide-to-brazil/2017/10/15/slavery-brazil/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">slave markets</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> or cattle auctions, the idea of children being judged for adoption based on their looks drew revolt from prominent figures such as Manuela D&#8217;Avila, the </span><a href="https://brazilian.report/opinion/2018/08/07/candidates-brazil-vice-president/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">running mate</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of last year&#8217;s defeated presidential candidate, Fernando Haddad.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">&#8220;I think this is one of the saddest pieces of news I have read,&#8221; she wrote on Twitter. &#8220;Children on a catwalk, full of hopes and dreams, looking for approval through a fashion show, as if in order to love our children we have to admire them physically.&#8221;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Besides the troubling optics of the event, putting these children in such a situation could be a violation of their human rights. After the repercussion of &#8220;Adoption on the Catwalk,&#8221; the Public Defender&#8217;s Office of Mato Grosso released a statement condemning the event, saying it exposed the children to &#8220;a situation of extreme social vulnerability.&#8221;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">&#8220;There is the risk that the majority of these children will not be adopted, which could lead to serious feelings of frustration, harm to self-esteem, and indelible psychological impacts,&#8221; the agency claimed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Regardless of the scandal behind the event, the fact that such an initiative exists proves that Brazil&#8217;s adoption system is not an effective one. Ahead of National Adoption Day on Saturday, May 25, </span><b>The Brazilian Report </b><span style="font-weight: 400;">has delved into the numbers of this rarely explored area of public policy.</span></p> <h2>&#8220;Supply and demand&#8221;</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the major bottlenecks of adoption in Brazil is the age of children available to be adopted, and the preferred &#8220;characteristics&#8221; solicited by potential parents.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In Brazil, as it is around the world, newborns, infants, and toddlers are the most sought after by prospective adoptive couples. Some 80 percent of adoption requests establish a maximum age limit of between 0 and 5 for their future child.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, there is only a small slice of children aged 0 to 5 available for adoption (under 6 percent); the vast majority are aged between 14 and 17, making up some </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">51.2 percent of the total.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As a way to fix this imbalance, the federal government regulated the practice of mentoring programs in 2017, seeking to foster emotional relationships between teenagers available for adoption and &#8220;big brothers or sisters.&#8221; Often, these connections lead to formal adoptions.</span></p> <hr> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-17832" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-kG7uJ.png" alt="adoption in brazil age" width="1200" height="800" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-kG7uJ.png 1200w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-kG7uJ-300x200.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-kG7uJ-768x512.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-kG7uJ-1024x683.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-kG7uJ-610x407.png 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1200px) 100vw, 1200px" /></p> <hr> <h2>Keeping siblings together</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Brazilian law states that brothers and sisters cannot be split up by adoption processes. A child cannot be adopted or taken into foster care without all of his/her siblings also being cared for by the same adoptive family. The provision was designed to avoid, at all costs, the breaking of fraternal bonds among children available for adoption, but it creates another obstacle in this already sluggish system, as it is less common for couples to adopt more than one child. Two-thirds of children up for adoption in Brazil have siblings, while two-thirds of adoptive parents do not want to take in two or more children.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is also the issue of health, as there is a significant number of children who are put up for adoption due to medical issues, with the biological parents feeling ill-equipped to care for their sick child.</span></p> <hr> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-17830" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-Ea3wG.png" alt="adoption in brazil kids with diseases" width="1200" height="228" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-Ea3wG.png 1200w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-Ea3wG-300x57.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-Ea3wG-768x146.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-Ea3wG-1024x195.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-Ea3wG-610x116.png 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1200px) 100vw, 1200px" /></p> <hr> <h2>Ethnicity matters</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When examining ethnic data of the Brazilian children up for adoption, we see an overwhelming predominance of non-white kids, making up some 70 percent of the national total. Looking at the entire population of the country, only around 53 percent of Brazil is non-white, according to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This balance is even more skewed in certain regions, particularly in the South, where the non-white population makes up only 23 percent across all ages, but close to 50 percent of children up for adoption are either black, mixed-race, Asian, or indigenous.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While this is not an obstacle to adoption in itself, it becomes a stumbling block when we analyze the prerequisites of Brazilian adoptive couples.</span></p> <hr> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-17831" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-QA6dl.png" alt="racial profile kids for adoption in brazil" width="1200" height="468" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-QA6dl.png 1200w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-QA6dl-300x117.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-QA6dl-768x300.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-QA6dl-1024x399.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-QA6dl-610x238.png 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1200px) 100vw, 1200px" /></p> <hr> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-17829" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-dlgRr.png" alt="racial profile kids for adoption in brazil" width="1200" height="410" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-dlgRr.png 1200w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-dlgRr-300x103.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-dlgRr-768x262.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-dlgRr-1024x350.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/export-dlgRr-610x208.png 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1200px) 100vw, 1200px" /></p> <hr> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Among international applicants to adopt Brazilian children, ethnicity appears not to be an issue. The percentage of parents who would not take in infants of any given race does not reach double figures. However, among domestic adoptive parents, a clear pattern emerges. While 92 percent of Brazilian couples would adopt a white child, only 51 percent would accept adopting a black child.

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SocietyMay 23, 2019

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