Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Several Recent US DOS Announcements Concerning Guatemala & also US Hague Implementation

The US Department of State recently released three intercountry news announcements of interest to US adoptive families and adoption providers.


Guatemala Update

November 8, 2007

The Department of State has received inquiries about the status of anticipated adoption reforms in Guatemala, and the outlook for adoption cases which are currently pending. Whether the Guatemalan government elects to implement the Hague Convention on December 31st or later in the spring of 2008, pending cases would not be affected if, as expected, the final legislation includes a transition provision that allows pending cases to be processed to conclusion under current law. We continue to advise American Citizens not to initiate new adoptions until the Government of Guatemala has completed its implementation of the Hague Convention.

Adoption reform legislation remains under discussion in Guatemala’s Congress. We continue to advocate for a law that complies with the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption and that includes transition provisions for cases already filed under the current system of law.

Passage of a new adoption law is only the first step. The next, urgent priority will be for Guatemalan officials to establish a Hague compliant system. Designing and implementing the necessary structural reforms will take time.

The Guatemalan Government has said it will assume its obligations as a Hague Convention member on December 31, 2007, a decision we support, because Guatemala’s children -- indeed all parties to an international adoption -- deserve the protections afforded by the Convention as soon as possible. When the Hague Convention goes into force for the U.S. in the spring of 2008, both the U.S. and Guatemala must have Hague-compliant adoption procedures in order for new adoption cases to be filed. Thus in the interest of long-term adoptions from Guatemala, responsible, prompt reform of the current law and procedures is critically important. The U.S. is committed to provide assistance and support to the Guatemalan authorities for this task.

Guatemala Update, US Department of State, 8 November 2007


Notice: Department of State Plans to Deposit the Instrument of Ratification in December 2007

The United States and the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention

We are pleased to announce that the United States has nearly completed all the domestic requirements necessary for the deposit of its instrument of ratification for the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (The Hague Adoption Convention) in December 2007.

As the US Central Authority under the convention and the lead Federal agency for its implementation, the Department of State eagerly anticipates the moment when we can join the more than 70 other countries who believe in strong international norms for protecting the best interests of children, as well as the interests of birth parents and adoptive parents in the intercountry adoption process.

According to the terms of the Convention, it will go into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of three months after the deposit of the instrument of ratification.

The Convention strengthen protections for adopted children, birth parents and adoptive parents involved in intercountry adoptions. Its key principles include:

1) Ensuring that intercountry adoptions take place in the best interests of children; and
2) Preventing the abduction, exploitation, sale, or trafficking of children; and
3) Facilitating communication between Central Authorities in countries of origin and destination countries

The Hague process in the United States will require that adoption service providers show that they meet Hague standards in an accreditation process. Adoption service providers who do not meet the standards will not be permitted to provide adoption services in Hague member countries. Our Hague regulations also require transparent fees, home studies that are approved by an accredited adoption service provider and mandatory training for prospective adoptive parents.

The United States signed the treaty in 1994.

In 2000, Congress passed the Intercountry Adoption Act (IAA), the implementing legislation for the Convention. The Senate gave its advice and consent for ratification of the Convention on the condition that the United States was prepared to meet its obligations under the Convention as provided in IAA.

We are proud to say that we are very close to completion of those preparations.

For more information please see our website at travel.state.gov
Or contact the US Central Authority at AdoptionUSCA@state.gov.

Notice: Department of State Plans to Deposit the Instrument of Ratification in December 2007, US Department of State, November 2007

And finally:

U.S. on Track to Join the Hague Adoption Convention in December
November 19, 2007

A message from the U.S. Department of State

The U.S. Department of State, Office of Children’s Issues, is pleased to announce that the President signed the U.S. instrument of ratification of the Hague Adoption Convention on November 16. The legal requirements for ratification of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) have been completed, and we plan to join with our deposit the instrument of ratification on December 12, 2007! The Department will announce the official date the Convention will go into force for the United States—projected to be April 1, 2008—in the Federal Register. The Hague Adoption Convention protects children and their families against the risks of unregulated adoptions abroad and ensures that intercountry adoptions are made in the best interests of children. The Convention also serves to prevent the abduction of, sale of, or traffic in children.

Once the treaty is in force, the new processing requirements for Hague adoption cases will take effect for adoptions between the United States and more than 70 Convention members. The new process protects the rights of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents while promoting transparency, accountability, and ethical practices among adoption service providers.

U.S. on Track to Join the Hague Adoption Convention in December, US Department of State, 19 November 2007



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