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Dec/Jan 2008Vol. 8, No. 11U.S. to Join the Hague Adoption Convention in December

A message from the U.S. Department of State

The U.S. Department of State, Office of Children's Issues, is pleased to announce that the President signed the U.S. instrument of ratification of the Hague Adoption Convention on November 16. The legal requirements for ratification of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) have been completed, and the formal deposit of the instrument of ratification will take place on December 12, 2007! The Department will announce the official U.S. effective date—projected to be April 1, 2008—in the Federal Register. The Hague Adoption Convention protects children and their families against the risks of unregulated adoptions abroad and ensures that intercountry adoptions are made in the best interests of children. The Convention also serves to prevent the abduction of, sale of, or traffic in children.

Once the treaty is in force, the new processing requirements for Hague adoption cases will take effect for adoptions between the United States and more than 70 Convention members. The new process protects the rights of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents while promoting transparency, accountability, and ethical practices among adoption service providers.

The progress we have made toward joining this important Convention would not have been possible without the hard work and cooperation of the whole U.S. adoption community, including families, adoption service providers, and public servants who have helped us make our laws and regulations among the best in the world. The dedication of the adoption community to the improvement of intercountry adoption practices has been invaluable and is greatly appreciated. We can all be proud this December when Assistant Secretary Maura Harty deposits the U.S. instrument of ratification at The Hague. Congratulations to all who have helped make this possible!

For more information on intercountry adoptions and the Hague Adoption Convention, please visit the Intercountry Adoption page of the Department of State website: