Hague Adoption Convention 101

Hague Adoption Convention 101

Many folks are familiar with the concept of international adoption, but the regulations and laws governing this practice are often less familiar to those of you who may be embarking on this journey for the first time. If you are in the early stages of researching adoption and talking to adoption agencies, you may have heard certain phrases thrown around like “Hague accredited” or “Hague Convention.” But what do these terms mean?

To begin with, The Hague Adoption Convention is an international agreement safeguarding the intercountry adoption of children. In layman’s terms, it is a set of laws regulating the transfer of children across international borders for the purpose of adoption. At its heart, The Hague Adoption Convention was designed to ensure children are not being trafficked in the name of adoption and that agencies overseeing the placement of children are conducting ethical business with the utmost level of care and practice. In addition, the Convention strives to ensure that intercountry adoption is indeed in a child’s best interest, especially after determining there are no viable options within his/her country of origin. In sum, the Convention recognizes that intercountry adoption offers the advantage of a permanent home for a child who may not otherwise have one.

The Hague Adoption Convention applies to all adoptions by U.S. citizens. In many ways, adopting a child from a country not party to the Convention is similar to adopting a child who is coming from a Convention country. There are some key differences, however, particularly in that those seeking to adopt may receive a higher level of protection when adopting from a Convention country.

Each participating country in The Hague Adoption Convention must designate a Central Authority to oversee intercountry adoptions. In the U.S., this entity is the Department of State. Only agencies that have been Hague accredited or approved on a federal level are allowed to offer specific services for Convention countries. It should also be mentioned that not all U.S. adoption agencies have gone through the rigorous process of becoming Hague accredited, so this is a question you will want to ask when conducting your research on international adoption.

Finally, whether you pursue international adoption with a Hague Convention country or not, there are two basic criteria to be determined: 1) Is the child in question legally eligible for adoption and 2) Is the prospective adoptive family suitable to adopt this child, something that is determined through the home study process.

If you are researching adoption, be it domestic or international, Adoption Matters, Inc. welcomes the opportunity to speak with you and answer any questions about the different types of adoption, the requirements involved, the home study process, fees, what to expect when adopting, and so on. Adoption Matters, Inc. is Hague accredited and is also licensed in North and South Carolina.

We wish you and your family all the best in the New Year

S. Groff