November/December 2001Vol. 2, No. 6Website Publishes Feedback on Draft Intercountry Adoption Standards
Under the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (PL 106-279), the State Department was charged with preparing a draft of standards for public comment and preparing a statement of work for implementation of the Hague Convention in the United States, which will assure services of high quality to all involved in the intercountry adoption process.
Acton Burnell, the firm that won the State Department contract for this project, mailed a survey to approximately 700 agencies known to be involved with intercountry adoptions and posted it online. A separate page on the website solicited input from parents, birthparents, and adoptees. Additionally, a parent survey was emailed to a number of parent support groups. Of the 142 individuals that responded as of June 2001, one-third were adoptive parents, one-third were agency representatives, and the remaining one-third represented multiple groups.
Besides establishing the accreditation process for agencies and individuals involved in intercountry adoption as required by the new law, suggestions provided by parents and other respondents included:
- Improving accessibility and helpfulness of agency in guiding adoptive parents before and after adoption process
- Providing parents with reasonable time expectations
- Providing an experienced intercountry adoption doctor to evaluate medical information about a referral
- Educating prospective adoptive parents about accredited agencies, intercountry adoption process, and related issues
- Improving the ability of the INS to handle increasing intercountry adoption workload effectively and equitably in all parts of the U.S.
Synopses of two public meetings, held April and June 2001, are provided on Acton Burnell's Hague Adoption Standards website (http://www.hagueregs.org). Background on team members chosen to work on the project, preliminary draft materials, a summary of public input, survey questions and responses, and comments on specific provisions in the law are also online.
The State Department is currently reviewing the revised draft standards, which are available on the Acton Burnell website. This fall, the State Department will publish a notice of proposed rule making in the Federal Register with the official version of the regulations. Following a period of public comment, a final rule will be published in the Federal Register.
Access The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption from the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (http://www.calib.com/naic/pubs/hague.cfm -- note: this link is no longer available).