Belgian couple seek return of Internet baby

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The Ghent couple say their financial situation had improved since they allegedly sold the four-month-old boy.

28 November 2008

BRUSSELS - A Belgian couple accused of selling their unwanted second child over the Internet want to get the baby back from its would-be parents in the Netherlands, Belgian television reported Wednesday.

The lawyer for the couple told Flemish VTM television that the couple felt bad about their decision and had come under pressure from family and friends to change their mind.

He said the financial situation of the couple, from Ghent, northern Belgium, had improved since they allegedly sold the four-month-old boy due to money problems but they did not know whether they would be able to get him back.

Prosecutors in Ghent have opened an investigation into the couple for agreeing an adoption without official authorisation, an offence that carries a five-year prison sentence in Belgium.

A Dutch court is to consider Thursday the fate of the boy and will hear recommendations from the national child protection agency on his immediate future.

"We can recommend that nothing changes, or that the child be removed from the couple and placed under guardianship," said the Dutch agency's spokesman Kees Dijkman.

"And between these two extremes, we can advise that the child remains with the couple currently taking care of him, but under the guardianship of a third person or organisation."

Dijkman said the Dutch couple, who are reported to want to legally adopt the boy, had been invited to attend the hearing.

The pair, who are unable to have children of their own, made contact with his biological mother after seeing an Internet advertisement and took receipt of him a few hours after he was born in a Belgian hospital in July.

Dutch media have claimed that they paid the child's biological parents between 5,000 and 10,000 euros.

(AFP/Expatica 2008)

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