When planning an international adoption, the first question most of us face is “which country?” If you are trying to decide between a few different nations, consider adopting from one who has entered into the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or HAC). Here are some basics to understanding the Hague Adoption Convention. For more in-depth information, check out the United State’s State Department.

HAC countries currently able to complete adoptions in the United States (of which there are over 50) work with representative of the US State Department to ensure ethically sound adoptions and avoid trafficking and child abuse within adoption. They work to make sure that an intercountry adoption is in the best interest of the child—including ensuring that a child is actually eligible for adoption (not just placed in an orphanage because family members were in extreme poverty, for example) and that there are no suitable adoption possibilities available for the child in his home country. According to the Hague Adoption Convention site at the US State Department, children and relinquishing families must be interviewed and it must be proven that consent was given by both parties to enter a child into an international adoption.

– Agencies working in HAC countries go through an accreditation process to ensure compliance with the Convention. This includes making sure agencies are not receiving improper financial gain or remuneration for relinquishments, and that all costs and fees are transparent.

– When adopting into America, HAC agencies must provide transparency and be recognized and certified with the US government. Transparency includes providing as full a familial and health history as possible for each prospective adoptee, and a fully itemized fee schedule for the adoption.

– Countries that have entered into the Hague Adoption Convention work with the US government to provide visa and immigration certificated before the adoption has been finalized, so that prospective adoptive parents know before taking custody if the child is eligible for a visa.

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11 Things You Need To Know About International Adoption