Overseas adoption is governed in England by the Adoption Act and various international conventions such as the Hague Convention. We can assist by putting you in touch with a specialist Notary* for authentication of documents and “apostille certification” of adoption documents.
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Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
International adoption is the practice of exporting children overseas to people who wish to become their legal guardians. It is often used as a humanitarian tool to enrich the lives of children who have suffered in their childhood. International adoption trends show that adoption predominantly occurs with a couple or a family adopting a child
Local authorities are required by law to offer an international adoption scheme. Furthermore, independent adoption agencies exist which are registered to offer international adoption. It is important to realise that international adoption regulation laws vary from country to country. In the UK, the fundamental regulations are that the child cannot be cared for in their own country, that the adopter has been classified as adequate to adopt overseas by a UK agency and that the adoption is in the interests of the child.
One large factor regarding adoption is the condition of the countries where international adoption primarily occurs. Political unrest and social unrest are major influences; statistics show that Vietnam experienced peak adoption figures (with the children moving to the US) in the years following the Vietnam war (ironically with America).
Adoption figures were low during the war, perhaps due to both the taboo and the hardship as a war was occurring. However, when the war ended, demand in the US rose. This shows that countries affected by war generally increase demand for adoption overseas perhaps due to the sympathy generated because of the poor living conditions that arise due to a nation at war, with children living there seen as collateral damage.
In this way, many couples from MEDCs adopt because they believe that they are giving the children there an alternative future with a greater chance of success and happiness. Further proof is that adoption figures increased in South Korea after the Korean war and also concerning Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In recent years, there have been a number of high profile cases regarding international adoption, which have caused both controversy and renewed interest in the topic. Most notably, internationally-famed pop singer Madonna adopted a baby from Malawi who she named “Mercy”. Many Malawians applauded her actions, claiming that she had saved the child from a bleak future. This support included the uncle of the child. There was also opposition to the decision. Many cynics said that it was wrong to randomly select a single child aside from others in a country of poverty and some believe that it was a publicity stunt by Madonna. Either way, the child is no longer in poverty.
Another case that occurred in January 2012 involved women selling their babies to a human trafficking group who then sold the babies on to couples looking to adopt. In return, the birth mothers received money and had their medical bills paid. Such cases carry devastating personal damages, to the babies born and also to those who try and obtain a baby through this; the couple were forced to return the baby. Child trafficking also flourishes in countries with political upheaval, due to lawlessness and international adoption demand. A major example was Haiti, with orphans of the earthquake being abducted and sold.
On a final note, international adoption is beginning to decline. In recent years, government guild lines in certain nations have become stricter. Organizations such as UNICEF have acted to set up guidelines to protect vulnerable children from child trafficking, including making international adoption harder. This attitude is also evident in the creation of the moratorium on international adoptions in Guatemala, another major source of adoptions.
Additionally, medical advancements such as IVF have helped deal with infertility. This has undoubtedly led to a decline in international adoption because one of the main reasons behind this decision is because some couples cannot procreate; as a result , they adopt a child to care for as their own.
Despite all the controversy, international adoption has changed millions of lives for the better and will continue to do so. International adoption is a lifeline for children who are living in poor conditions. International adoption gives them potential access to their basic human rights that might previously have been unattainable (such as food and water) as well as giving them a better education and healthcare. If anything, government legislation has ensured that almost all international adoptions are legitimate, to help combat child trafficking while also improving lives. J Cage 2012
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