Last year, Malta registered its fewest overseas adoptions for the past 10 years, latest figures show.

One child was adopted from Albania, four from Slovakia and 13 from Russia.

In an interview with the Times of Malta, Carmen Buttigieg, director of the Maltese central authority for adoptions, attributes the drop to the number of children up for inter-country adoption falling because many countries give preference to adoptive families from within the child’s own country of origin.

Moreover, Malta competes with many other countries and long waiting lists. Asked if Malta needs to work harder at opening adoption channels with other countries and step up its diplomatic efforts and if the central authority is well equipped to handle the situation, Ms Buttigieg says it is not a question of more staff members.

“We are constantly establishing contacts and sending reminders… But the actual number of children who come to Malta following this process does not depend on us. We establish contacts but the number of children and the matching of the children with their prospective adoptive parents does not depend on us,” she says.

Efforts to open an adoption channel with the US were halted because the Maltese authority had reservations over the programme offered by the American adoption agency.

Malta is trying to kick-start adoption processes with Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Vietnam. Ten adoption applications for Maltese prospective adoptive parents have been sent to India.

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