(Dec. 29, 2010) On December 13, 2010, the Knesset (Israel's Parliament) passed an amendment to the Adoption of Children Law, 5741-1948. The amendment provides guidance for evaluation of the principle of the “best interest of the adoptee,” a top consideration in adoption proceedings under the law. According to the amendment, such an evaluation must take into consideration the “rights of the child, his needs and interests, including minimizing his transfer, to the extent possible, among agencies or families” (Adoption of Children Law (Amendment No. 8), 5771-2010 §2 inserting §1b in the Law [in Hebrew], the Knesset website, http://www.knesset.gov.il/privatelaw/data/18/3/268_3_2.rtf (last visited Dec. 27, 2010)). The Law further requires that during the evaluation of the “best interest of the adoptee” the wishes and opinions of the adoptee, to the extent that he is capable of understanding the matter, must be considered.
The amendment regulates the timing and method in which parents' consent to give up a child for adoption, as well as to withdraw their consent, may be validated. Accordingly, parents' consent will generally not be accepted prior to the expiration of seven days following the birth. Such consent will only be accepted after the parents have been provided with information by a social worker regarding all aspects of the adoption process and, among other possibilities, the option of leaving in the adoption file a letter or a souvenir for the child. Parents' consent for adoption must be granted before a social worker as well as a judge or an attorney.
The amendment requires the identification of or a search for a missing parent and provides for exemptions from the consent requirements in specific situations, including potential endangerment of a parent's life and birth of a child resulting from a sexual offense. (Adoption of Children Law, 5741-1948, 35 LAWS OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL 360 (5741-1980/81); Adoption of Children Law (Amendment No. 8), 5771-2010, supra.)