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The Hague Convention and Intercountry Adoption

What It Is and How It Has Changed International Adoption

· Adoption Stories

The Hague Convention’s Effect on Adoption

Since the early 2000s, there has been a steady decline to the number of international adoptions taking place each year. Many have speculated as to the reason why but a rather large consensus believe that it is due to The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, otherwise known as The Hague Convention or Hague Treaty.

Before we get into some of the facts and figures, I think it is important to mention that there are two sides to every argument, and The Hague Convention is no exception. Those who support it say that it has allowed for safer international adoptions while the opposition has argued that it has stagnated an already slow process.

Explaining the Drop in Foreign Adoption

According to CNN, the total number of international adoptions has dropped nearly 50% since 2004. At its peak in 2004, the U.S. adopted 22,884 children. Fast forward eight years later to 2012, and that number dropped to 8,668.

Many speculate that this decline was solely due to the harsh regulations of The Hague Convention, but it is unfair not to mention other factors at play. For example, in the early 1990’s to the early 2000’s China was a very popular adoption destination because of the single child per household rule they had in place. However in 2007, due to less children being placed for adoption and sustained economic success, China created new adoption policies. They put in place strict rules for adoptive parent applicants; single adoptive parents, adoptive parents over the age of 50, people with facial deformities, and those who were morbidly obese were all prohibited from adopting Chinese children.

The Glaring Problems in International Adoption

Now, there is little the United States, or any other country for that matter, could do about China’s strict rules for who could adopt a Chinese national. However, there is a much larger problem looming in international adoption, human trafficking and abusive adoptive parents.

In countries like Cambodia, Montenegro, and Vietnam it became apparent over time that kids were being abducted and trafficked in order to keep up with the supply for adoptive children. It was at this point that something needed to be done to ensure that children were cleared to be adopted, this led governments to regulate adoptions and ratify The Hague Adoption Convention. Proponents of The Hague Treaty also took extra steps to ensure that adoptive parents were fit to handle the responsibility of being parents after it was discovered that adoptees were given to abusive families.

The Debate Continues

If there is one agreement both proponents of the bill share, it’s that the treaties main objective is to make sure the adoption process is ethical, legal and safe. But, The Hague Convention will continue to divide the adoption community. On one side, it has made international adoption safer while providing accountability for both countries while promoting safer standards for international and inter-country adoption. On the other side it has made an already complex process even more complex and makes it harder for good-intentioned people to help children in need of a home.

For additional information and stories about inter country adoption, here are some helpful links.

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