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Understanding the Hague Convention

If you're thinking about adopting internationally, you've probably heard of the Hague Convention, but do you know what the impact is going to be on the adoption process? It's important to understand how it works and what it could mean for you.

Technically called the 1995 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoptions, this is an agreement that countries sign saying they'll treat children a certain way and follow specific steps when putting a child up for adoption. Its goal is to protect kids and to make sure they're not being sent away as part of a child trafficking ring.

Nations that having signed say they will do the following:

-- Locate the child's relations.-- Look for local families to adopt the child before choosing international ones.-- Use a strict code of ethics specifically designed to prevent child trafficking and other issues.

As you can imagine, this does make it harder to adopt children from other countries. The process is more time-consuming and intensive than it has been in the past.

It means fewer children are being adopted out, as well. For example, China did not sign on until 2005. That year, 14,496 children were sent to 17 different countries, with 1,871 of them ending up in Canada. Just five years later, in 2010, only 5,471 children were sent out to homes internationally, and a mere 472 ended up in Canada.

Since the adoption process can be long and complex, it is very important to know about every step that you need to take so that no legal mistake are made, delaying things further.

Source: Today's Parent, "International adoption: What you need to know," Diane Peters, accessed June 23, 2016

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