If looking to adopt a child from outside of the US, how can you be sure that the child is, in fact, eligible for adoption and that the agency with which you are working is conducting business in an ethical manner? One way is to work exclusively with an adoption agency that is “Hague accredited.”
What is the Hague Convention and why is it important to be accredited?
On April 1, 2008 the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (The Convention) went into effect with approximately 80 countries signing the Convention agreement. This Convention led to the creation of written standards for intercountry adoptions assuring the protection of the best interests of the child and preventing the abduction, sale and trafficking of children. The list of Convention Countries can be found on the US Department of State’s website.
For an adoption agency to provide any adoption services between Convention Countries, the agency must be Hague accredited.* This means that they have gone through a third party review by the Council on Accreditation (COA) or the Colorado Department of Human Services. This accreditation review is an extensive and time consuming process in which the adoption agency must meet eligibility requirements in nine areas, including ethical practices, information disclosure and service planning. By reviewing the list of accredited agencies you will see that agencies are accredited either for Incoming or Outgoing adoptions. This means that children are coming into the US from another Hague Convention Country (Incoming) or Outgoing from the US. Some people are surprised to learn of children being sent from the US to another country (more on this in a future post).
It is not just the adoption agencies that must be reviewed, but the adoptive parents as well. It is important to safeguard that children are being placed into safe, stable homes where the parents are equipped to care for a child(ren) from another country. All parents must be approved by the USCIS on the basis of their health, education, financial stability, motivations to adopt and other characteristics that are verified through a home study report. Background and criminal checks will be conducted on all household members, including fingerprint checks for members over the age of 18. Further, to adopt from a Hague Convention Country, the parents are required to complete at least 10 hours of training, above and beyond any that is required by a home study.
If you are looking to adopt from a Hague country, your adoption agency will provide you with a detailed list of requirements.
All of the extra paperwork, verification, training and sometimes additional cost are to ensure that intercountry adoptions are conducted safely and ethically. Not all agencies are approved neither are all prospective adoptive parents accepted. Click here for a list of denied agencies. For maximum protection of the best interests of prospective adoptive children and parents, it is highly recommended that you look toward Hague Convention Countries and use an accredited adoption agency.
Have you gone through an intercountry adoption or are you thinking of doing so? Which country? How was your experience? Please feel free to share your thoughts.
* Unless the agency is operating as an “exempt provider” or under the supervision of an accredited or approved adoption service provider.