• July 2007
  • Vol. 8, No. 6

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New Regulations May Impact Intercountry Adoptions

Approximately 20,000 infants and children are adopted each year by U.S. citizens through intercountry adoptions. In recent years, the greatest numbers of these children have come from three countries: China, Russia, and Guatemala. Last year, the U.S. Department of State issued immigrant visas to 6,493 Chinese children, 3,706 Russian children, and 4,135 Guatemalan children to allow them to enter the United States with their new parents. However, recent developments in each of these countries may delay or restrict future adoptions by U.S. parents.

  • China has now placed greater restrictions on the families who adopt. According to the Department of State website, new requirements regarding prospective parents' age, marital status, medical conditions, and more were announced by the Chinese government in December 2006 and went into effect on May 1 of this year. One of these restrictions prohibits single-parent adoption.

  • Russia is now withholding approvals on adoptions, pending its own accreditation of U.S. adoption agencies. According to the U.S. Department of State, no U.S. adoption agency is currently accredited in Russia, and a new law in that country requires that five governmental ministries review and approve American agencies before U.S. families can bring home Russian children through those agencies.

  • Guatemala's situation is somewhat different. Because of concerns about the safety and best interests of the children involved, the United States has imposed the recent restrictions that limit adoptions from that country. In March, the Department of State cited serious problems with the oversight of adoption practices in Guatemala and said that U.S. officials would carefully scrutinize adoptions from that country on a case-by-case basis. The Department noted that it could not recommend adoptions from Guatemala at that time and that such adoptions would not be possible once the United States implemented the Hague Convention. A June 13 statement by the Department reiterated these cautions.

The United States will fully implement the Hague Convention in early 2008, which will further regulate the intercountry adoption process to better safeguard the safety and well-being of the children involved. While the Hague Convention will not resolve the continued demand for intercountry adoptions, it will set minimum standards for those children, birth families, and adoptive parents involved in adoptions between Convention countries. This may provide American families with greater assurance about the safety and regulation of the intercountry adoption process.

For the most up-to-date information about the Hague Convention and intercountry adoption news, visit the Department of State website:

http://adoption.state.gov

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