Reinventing Intercountry Adoption

By C. Jackie Semar, M.Ed.

2011-11-18-international-adoption-375x250 The adoption community needs a fresh vision of intercountry adoption that will restore both reputation and momentum to the practice. This requires a fundamental reworking of our identity, our methodology as adoption service providers (ASPs), and our goals. Securing adoption for the future requires a broader vision than some have had in the past and a platform that unites adoption advocacy with permanency.

Permanency for orphaned children is our true mission. It is what distinguishes us from others in the child welfare community—permanency, not temporary care.

The Hague Intercountry Adoption Guide to Good Practice No. 1 states:

In achieving the best interests of the child in intercountry adoption, the 1993 Hague Convention recognises that:

  • children should grow up in a family environment;
  • permanency is preferable to temporary measures;
  • intercountry adoption may offer the advantage of a permanent family to a child for whom a suitable family cannot be found in his or her State of origin.

The best interests of children are served through intercountry adoption when competent authorities in the child’s country of origin conclude, through application of the subsidiarity principle and due consideration of in-country placement, that intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests.

To achieve our goals—which we can define as promoting the right of children to have permanent families and ethically facilitating to that end—we need to capitalize on collaboration. Unfortunately, our history as a community is one of fragmentation, which has in part led us to the status quo. Only from a foundation of open dialogue and common purpose will we be able to rebuild momentum, address legitimate concerns in the intercountry adoption process, and restore our collective reputation as adoption service providers.

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