Adopting alone, a never-ending legal battle

By Camille FratiLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

The European Court of Human Rights condemned Luxembourg in 2007 for banning full adoption for single women. However, fifteen years later, the legislation still has not changed.

Old laws always contain some surprises, articles whose purpose has become obsolete or regressive. In Luxembourg, it was only in 1973 that women were legally allowed to open a bank account without their husbands, only in 1978 that they were able to terminate an unwanted pregnancy without being prosecuted, only in 2016 that unequal pay between women and men was punished by law. And then there are those articles of law that continue to exist in plain sight. Like the adoption law which, in its 1989 version, still reserved the possibility of adopting a child only to married couples.

This was without counting on the perseverance of Jeanne Wagner, a name that has long haunted the corridors of the Ministry of the Family. In 1995, Ms Wagner was 28 years old and began the process of adopting a child. "It may sound strange, but ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to adopt children", says the bubbly woman, now a grandmother. "It was always my dream". The young woman first turned to the Red Cross, "which refused me on the pretext that I was not married", then to the Luxembourg-Peru association. With the support of Luxembourg's honorary consul in Peru, Haydée Fischbach, she obtained the green light from Peru and packed her bags to pick up a three-year-old girl. "A few days before my departure, the Ministry of the Family contacted Mrs Fischbach to forbid her from sending me away and entrusting me with a child. They even told her that she could go to prison!"

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