2007 Adoption Policy Conference

 

The Hague Convention, the United States, and Intercountry Adoption

The topic of the 2007 Annual Adoption Policy Conference was intercountry adoption. Our focus was the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption and its effects on adoption policy and practice in the United States.

This is a pivotal time in the history of American Intercountry Adoption (ICA). The United States is scheduled to ratify the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption in October. For the first time, the U.S. will allow its international adoption to be governed not by fifty state laws but by an international treaty. Such a surrender of sovereignty represents an American domestic relations legal revolution. The State Department assumes a new role as the U.S. central adoption authority. For agencies involved in ICA, the Hague Convention will demand accreditation and a host of new requirements intended to improve transparency and meet the most important goal of the legislation-to ensure the best interests of the child.

While its intent is positive, the effect of the Hague Convention on the numbers and timeliness of adoptions from abroad is as yet unknown. Once the U.S. ratifies The Hague Convention, if Guatemala, our second largest sending country, does not amend its adoption laws, all ICA to the U.S. from Guatemala will cease.

At the same time, a confluence of factors not directly related to The Hague is threatening ICA. China has recently altered its ICA requirements to remove from eligibility almost half of the current applicants. Romanian ICA remains forbidden, while ICA in Russia is constantly under threat.

The Conference’s panels and speakers included:

Opening Remarks

Diane Kunz, Executive Director, Center for Adoption Policy

Legal and Ethical Questions in Inter-Country Adoption

Joan Heifetz Hollinger, Lecturer in Residence, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall), Moderator

Richard Klarberg, President and Chief Executive Officer, Council on Accreditation

Cassie Statuto Bevan, Senior Professional Republican Staff Member, Committee on Foreign Affairs, United States House of Representatives

Katherine Monahan, Chief of Hague Adoption Implementation Unit, Office of Children’s Issues, State Department

Dina J. Rosenfeld, Director, Undergraduate Social Work Program, New York University

Inter-Country Adoption on the Ground: A Global Survey

Dr. Jane Aronson, Executive Medical Director, Worldwide Orphans Foundation, Moderator

Hannah Wallace, President-Focus on Adoption

Weihang Chen, China Program Director, Alliance for Children

Linda Robak, Co-founder, For the Children-SOS

Dr. Helen Egger, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical Center

The Future of U.S. Inter-Country Adoption in a Hague Convention World

Kathryn Bradley, Director of Legal Ethics, Duke University School of Law, Moderator

Elizabeth Bartholet, Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law, Harvard University

Thomas DiFilipo, President and Chief Executive Officer, Council on International Children’s Services

Sara A. Dillon, Associate Professor, Suffolk University School of Law

Louise Schnaier, Director of International Adoption Services, Spence-Chapin Adoptive Services