International Adoption: Understanding the Hague Convention

The Hague Convention on Protection of Children is a set of internationally agreed-upon ethical standards for countries involved in international adoption.

These standards are designed to protect children, birth parents and adoptive parents, and to prevent child trafficking and other abuses.  Hague Convention countries must adhere to the rigorous Hague Convention standards, and any adoption agency wishing to facilitate an adoption through two countries must sign the Treaty and be accredited.

The Hague Convention for Inter-country Adoption was enacted in the United States in April 2008. To date, 75 countries have joined and follow a stricter set of guidelines than countries that are not operating under Hague. Hague countries are active in preventing child trafficking and abduction. They also make all efforts to find a family within their own country and culture before deeming a child eligible for inter-country adoption.

There are countries that have not signed on to be party to the Hague Convention and are considered non-Convention countries. It is possible to adopt from these countries, but choose a recommended agency who is licensed and operating under the highest standards.

A way to do this is to choose an agency that holds Hague Accredited/Approved which means:

  • The agency makes sure that they are ethically and morally operating in the best interest of the children involved with adoption.
  • The agency makes sure that there is no involvement in child trafficking, abduction, child exploitation, or the unethical “sale” of children.

The Department of State issues Adoption Alerts to caution American citizens about adopting from a certain country. Adoption Alerts may notify that a country has suspended adoptions or that the United States cannot process adoptions from that country. They may also inform prospective adoptive parents and adoption service providers about countries not compliant with the Hague Adoption Conventions.

For a list of countries that have ratified the Hague Convention click here, see the US Department of State site, and for a list of Hague Convention Countries. At this point in our journey, my family will only work with Hague Accredited countries.

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