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Feb 7

Written by: Adoptions Together
2/7/2012 9:30 AM  RssIcon

Written by Irene Jordan, LCSW-C | International Program and Assessments Director

Dramatic changes have unfolded over the past few years in the area of international adoption. Adoptions of children from some countries have been put on hold. The number of adoptions of children from other countries has decreased significantly.  There has been greater emphasis on the adoptions of older children and children with special needs from overseas. New procedures and safeguards have been developed to prevent unethical practices in the international adoption process. What’s going on?

Back in 1993, 69 countries meeting through the United Nations signed The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (The Hague Adoption Convention). The purposes of the Hague Adoption Convention are to establish standards of practice for intercountry adoption; and to prevent baby selling and child-buying.  It has taken years for regulations to be developed and for the Hague Adoption Convention to be implemented in the U.S. and in other countries. The Hague Adoption Convention entered into force in the U.S. in April 2008.  As of that date, Hague Adoption Convention safeguards apply to adoptions by U.S. citizens from other countries that have also joined The Hague Adoption Convention.

The Hague Adoption Convention has brought about significant changes:
  • Some countries, including Guatemala, Vietnam and Azerbaijan, have put a hold on international adoptions while implementing new procedures under the Hague Adoption Convention. Each participating country must establish a Central Authority to provide information and to oversee the adoption process.  Each country must also develop regulations and procedures to meet the Hague standards for adoption.
  • The Hague Adoption Convention recognizes international adoption as a means to provide a child with a permanent home when a family has not been found in the child’s country of origin.  Some foreign countries have made increased efforts in recent years to find families for orphaned children within their own countries. 
  • Greater emphasis is being placed on finding families for those orphans who are most vulnerable: older children, siblings and children with special needs.  This is most notable in China.  China’s Central Authority has developed an extensive system to share information about special needs children with accredited adoption agencies in order to seek families for these children. As a result, there has been a significant increase in the number of special needs children who are being placed with adoptive families.
  • The Hague Adoption Convention requires that prospective adoptive parents receive training and preparation for parenting a child from overseas. New workshops, webinars and trainings have been developed.  Adoptive parents are now better informed and prepared for parenting a child from overseas.

The website on intercountry adoption of the Department of State (the U.S. Central Authority) is a superb resource. Families can learn the status of international adoptions from any country, as well as the process and the number of adoptions from a particular country. Alerts are issued on this website when there is a change in the status of adoptions.  
Adoptions Together is a Hague Accredited agency.  This means that our agency can have placement programs with Hague Convention countries as well as with countries that are not yet a part of the Hague  Convention. Our agency can provide home studies for international adoptions from any country. Adoptions Together offers extensive trainings and support for prospective adoptive families and for adoptive families.

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