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U.S. Supports Intercountry Adoption


American Theresa Alden talks with her adopted foreign-born sons, Gavin (C), 6, and Graem, 4, at their home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (file photo).

Over the last ten years, American families have opened their hearts and homes to more than 200,000 children from other countries.

November is National Adoption Month in the United States. Over the last ten years, American families have opened their hearts and homes to more than 200,000 children from other countries. These children have become part of the tapestry of America.


Every child deserves to grow up in a loving family environment. In some cases, however, it is difficult for a child to find that environment in his or her home country. Ambassador Susan Jacobs, Special Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State for Children’s Issues, says bringing a child to a new country can provide a solution:

“We think that intercountry adoption is very important in any well-developed child welfare program.”

The Department of State works with 89 partner countries under the 1993 Hague Convention to ensure that procedures are in place to protect the interests of children and families throughout the adoption process. The Hague Convention is a legal framework that ensures intercountry adoptions are transparent and ethical. Signatories work closely with one another and encourage other countries to adopt these standards as well:

“We also work with the Hague on helping countries that are joining the convention to write their regulations and their laws to allow intercountry adoption.”

Even with the best adoption processes, however, sometimes adoptive families encounter challenges. To provide support in these cases the U.S. has well-developed, multi-layered child welfare protection systems in place:

“All children who have been adopted into the United States have the same rights and protections as all other American citizens…so child welfare authorities and state and local governments are charged with the protection of these children.”

Each state has trained professionals who evaluate allegations of abuse or neglect and determine whether intervention and services are needed.

The United States is enriched, thanks to families who embrace intercountry adoption and the unique qualities that their children bring.

To learn more about intercountry adoptions to the United States visit the website: www.adoption.state.gov.
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