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Senate Approves International Adoption Treaty Bill

A bill (H.R. 2909) designed to implement a treaty on international adoption was approved, by voice vote, on July 27 by the Senate. The House approved the legislation on July 18. Before passing the measure, the Senate amended it to reflect a version of the bill (S. 682) that was approved in April by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (see The Source, 4/14/00). The House is expected to reapprove the bill with the Senate’s changes.

Under the treaty, The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, agencies that arrange international adoptions would be required to provide full records to parents, basic instruction for dealing with previously institutionalized children, and preparation of parents for potential health issues, such as fetal alcohol syndrome often found in babies from the former Soviet Union. Sixty-six nations began negotiations in 1991 and completed the treaty in 1993. Since then, it has been signed and ratified by 35 countries, but not ratified by 12 others—including the United States. As amended, H.R. 2909 would:

  • place central authority for enforcing the treaty with the Department of State’s (DOS) Bureau of Consular Affairs;
  • require the DOS and the Immigration and Naturalization Service to develop a system for tracking all international adoptees entering and departing the U.S.; and
  • designate the DOS to monitor and accredit adoption agencies from countries other than the U.S.
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