The overthrow of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu has had a happy side effect for more than 30 Israeli couples, who adopted babies in Romania in recent years but were forbidden to take them out of the country.
Now the ban is lifted. On Monday, 17 Israeli couples flew to Bucharest and 15 of them returned home with the children, age 3 to 5, whom they had adopted as infants.
Two couples remained in Romania because their children are ill. Another 14 couples will be going there shortly to pick up their children.
Many childless Israeli couples look to foreign sources for adoption because they are unable to meet Israel’s strict criteria for adoptive parents.
Romania had encouraged adoption by foreigners, and a considerable number of Israelis and Europeans filed adoption papers in recent years. The Israelis paid the Romanian authorities $2,000 each for their babies.
But soon after the formalities were completed, Ceausescu’s wife, Elena, ordered a halt to foreign adoptions.
It was part of a harsh program of enforced childbearing among Romanian women, who were expected to make the Romanian population the largest in the Eastern bloc.
Abortion was forbidden, and women were watched in the workplace and given frequent medical examinations to ensure that they did not abort.
Israelis were permitted to visit their babies in Romania but could not take them home. The restriction ended with the revolution and the execution of the Ceausescus last month.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.