Saudis barred from adopting Syria orphans

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Social Affairs has banned Saudi families from adopting Syrian or other foreign children.

“The ministry does not sponsor Arab children who lost their parents in conflicts, such as in Syria and Iraq. There are global humanitarian organizations that deal with these cases,” said Latifah Al-Tamimi, director of social supervision at the ministry in the Eastern Province.

However, the ministry does support children of marriages between foreign women and Saudi men, providing them full rights as citizens, she was quoted as saying in a local publication on Thursday.

On a related matter, she said that Saudi families recently adopted 560 Saudi orphans. These orphans are entitled to birth certificates, passports and other personal documents.

The ministry also provides adoptive families SR3,000 a month, with the children getting free medical treatment at private hospitals and bank accounts, she said.

However, orphan children adopted by Saudis must keep their original family names, and must be informed that they were adopted when they grow up. Al-Tamimi said the ministry had not uncovered any abuse of the adoption system yet.

Orphans are entitled to live independently when they are 18. The ministry also supports those who want to get married, providing a financial subsidy of SR60,000 per person.

Abdullah Makki, a former Islamic science professor at Um Al-Qura University, told Arab News that Islam encourages adoption but not changing the family names of orphans.

“Islam encourages Muslims to embrace orphans so that they are raised in a family environment,” said Makki.

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