By Janice L. Jacobs - Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs
November was National Adoption Month, when hundreds of events were held around the country to finalize adoptions of children in foster care and to celebrate adoptive families. Last year, families in the United States adopted over 12,500 children from around the world and more than 70,000 children domestically. U.S. citizens adopt more children internationally than the rest of the world combined. I believe this is a testament to the love and generosity of the American people.
The Department of State maintains country specific information about the intercountry adoption process for prospective adoptive parents, adoption service providers, and members of Congress. In addition, we work closely with other governments to promote ethical and transparent adoption laws and procedures.
In 2008, the United States demonstrated our commitment to help children in need around the world by becoming a party to the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention. This Convention establishes a framework for intercountry adoption by establishing international standards and procedures for processing intercountry adoption cases. The Convention mandates safeguards to protect the interests of children, birth parents and adoptive parents. Over 75 nations, including China and India, are party to the Hague Adoption Convention.
By joining the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention and implementing its requirements, the United States has taken an important step to promote ethical adoption programs around the world and to place the best interest of the child at the forefront of adoptions to or from the United States.
Through our role in the immigration process and as Central Authority under the Convention, the Department of State works hard to maintain standards and procedures that facilitate a permanent placement for every child adopted abroad by a U.S. family. In cooperation with other governments, we promote the present and future well-being of children who have been left vulnerable in foreign countries.
Every child deserves a loving home. As the U.S. Central Authority for the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention, I am proud that the Department of State is an active member of the international adoption community. We strongly encourage other nations to join the Convention to ensure that, as the Convention’s preamble states, “… the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.” For more information about intercountry adoption, please visit www.adoption.state.gov.