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Strict restrictions may limit North Dakota international adoption

The U.S. government is imposing strict new restrictions on obtaining children from overseas. Couples who have infertility problems or otherwise have had difficulty having as many children as they want often turn to adoption, and international adoption is one of the avenues for addressing the issue. Many families in the U.S., including many from North Dakota, have adopted one or more children from other countries, providing good homes to orphaned or abandoned children who otherwise might have languished for years in institutions.

A strict new federal law coming into effect in July of 2014 will make international adoptions much more difficult. It is intended to interfere with the improper trafficking of children and will apply to international adoption agencies in the U.S. Such agencies now only need a state license but will need Hague Accreditation, an international certification, if they want to keep being involved in international adoption. The U.S. government, as part of that process, will look at the past ethical practices and history of the agency.

In some countries, reported difficulties and questions with international adoptions to the U.S. greatly reduced the number recently even as international adoptions generally continued to grow. Guatemala is an example, where the number of children placed in the U.S. shrunk from over 4,000 in 2008 to only seven in 2012. Some countries also have additional restrictions, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo no longer allowing single parents to adopt its children and barring gay people from adopting.

While some acknowledge that the new rules being introduced might prevent some trafficking of children that needs to be stopped, the additional red tape will create more work for adoption agencies to remain in compliance, which might result in delays or fewer agencies helping with international adoptions.

Source: News 13, "Stricter rules making international adoptions more difficult" Margaret Kavanagh, Jan. 30, 2014

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