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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
November 21, 2007

President Bush Signs Off on Ratification of The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption

On November 16, President Bush signed the United States’ Instrument of Ratification for the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, authorizing the Department of State to deposit it with designated authorities in the Netherlands. This is the final procedural step for the United States to become a full member of the Hague Convention. Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Maura Harty will formally deposit this instrument in The Hague on December 12. The Department expects the Hague Convention to go into effect in the United States on April 1, 2008.

The Convention establishes international norms and procedures for intercountry adoption cases with other Hague Convention members. It mandates safeguards to protect the interests of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents. It also provides that member nations recognize adoptions that take place within other Hague Convention countries.

The deposit of the instrument completes a process begun in 1994, when the United States signed the Convention after participating actively in its negotiation and adoption. In 2000, the Senate consented to ratification and Congress passed implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act (IAA).

The Department of State, with the Department of Homeland Security, developed the regulations and took other actions necessary to implement the Convention. Beginning in April 2008, the Hague Convention will govern intercountry adoptions between the United States and other Convention countries. The major changes to intercountry adoptions under the Hague Convention are:

  • The Department of State, designated as the “Central Authority” under the Hague Convention and the IAA, is responsible for ensuring that the Hague Convention and IAA requirements are followed.
  • Accrediting entities designated by the Department of State must accredit any U.S. adoption service providers that will handle Convention adoption cases.
  • The Department of State will maintain a centralized registry to track adoption cases and to receive complaints and comments about accredited adoption service providers.
  • Outgoing intercountry adoption cases from the United States to other Hague Convention countries, such as Canada or Mexico, must also comply with the Convention and the IAA.


Released on November 21, 2007

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