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New law takes aim at international adoptions

Adoption is a time when a loving family seeks to share some of their love with a child. After an adoption has been completed those children are legally under the protection and supervision of the adopting parents. For some families this is a perfect arrangement and a welcomed addition to the family. In other cases, the child or the family may be put in a position they were not prepared for, nor ever expected. This has resulted in many tragic stories associated with adoption, especially for those families involved in international adoption.

Since 1999, there have been over 242,000 international adoptions by American families. While this has undoubtedly helped many of the children and families involved in the adoption, it has not come without abuse. Adoptions, especially international ones, can involve tens of thousands of dollars. This has created a market for children in countries that provide international adoption and there have been allegations of adoption agencies being involved in child trafficking and even kidnapping.

Those types of allegations, in addition to the cases of death or abuse of foreign born children, and instances of handing off adopted children to others, has prompted many countries to stop all adoptions to the United States. Likely in response to the current atmosphere, the Universal Accreditation Act was passed in 2012 by Congress.

The Universal Accreditation Act is scheduled to take effect in July of 2014. The Act creates a strict set of rules that all adoption agencies involved in international adoptions must follow. The actual rules come from the Hague Convention and any agency must be accredited by Hague to perform the adoptions. The hope is that having one single tough standard will help prevent the tragedies that have befallen some adoptions.

Source: CBS News, "48 hours tougher laws at hand for international adoption," Doug Longhini, Jan. 17, 2014

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