Featured News 2012 What is the Hague Convention?

What is the Hague Convention?

Every year, thousands of Americans decide that they want to add to their families by adopting children who were born overseas. In third world countries, there are many children without homes who live on the streets or in country-sponsored orphanages. Intercountry adoptions are a noble and exciting endeavor, but they can also become complicated. That is because the adoption process needs to abide by the laws in your country of origin and the country that your child is from. There are two ways to go about adopting a child from another country- The Hague Convention process and the non-Hague Convention process. Which process you use is determined by whether or not the country you are adopting from is a part of the Hague Convention. In 1993, in The Hague, the Netherlands, this convention established the international standards of practices for an inter country adoption.

According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs, the convention applies to all adoptions between the United States and any countries that joined the convention. There are dozens of countries on this long list, including China, Ireland, Mexico, Thailand, the Philippines, and Kenya. If the country your child resides in is a part of the convention, then they will receive greater protections while you try to obtain them. The countries who are party to the Convention are required to establish a Central Authority who is the ruling source of information and point of contact in the country where your child lives. In the United States, the Department of State is this Central Authority. If you use an adoption agency to obtain your child, then these people will help you to locate a similar mediator in the country.

Children are only adoptable if they have been deemed eligible in their country of origin and proper effort has been put forth to finalize the documentation. By making things careful and rational, this Hague Convention process is able to provide formal international and intergovernmental recognition of the adoption. That means that the adoption will be recognized in both countries and the child won’t run into trouble later on. The point of The Hague process isn’t to make your life more complicated, it’s actually to make it easier. The designers of this process hope that it will prevent the abduction or trafficking of children from foreign countries and make sure that the adoption is in the best interests of the children.

If you are engaging in a Hague Convention adoption, an accredited adoption agency is key to helping you obtain your child. Only agencies that have been accredited on a federal level can aid in a Hague adoption. This is so the government can be assured that the agency helping you only aims to give a child in a foreign country a loving home, and won’t be sold or trafficked. Adoptions can be expensive, which is why the adoption agency you choose is required to be transparent when they discuss costs with you. They need to tell you all fees and estimated expenses associated with the adoption ahead of time. If you have a complaint against your agency for dishonesty, then you can normally file a concern with the U.S. Department of State.

Once the lengthy process is over and your child is safe in your home, then that new loved one will receive a Hague Adoption Certificate. This is issued by the U.S. consulate and declares that the adoption met all the requirements of The Hague Convention and Intercountry Adoption Act. Your child will also need to meet the requirements for a visa to enter the country, where a second adoption ceremony will be performed in a U.S. Court. When you have questions about international adoptions, you can contact a family lawyer to give you more information. If you run into trouble during your adoption process, you will want to hire an empathetic and intelligent attorney to help you bring your child home.

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