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Congress tackles international adoption issues

When Michigan families choose to adopt, there are a number of different routes to take. International adoption is one of the options available, and since 1999 U.S. families have adopted over 240,000 foreign-born children. International adoptions give these families and the children they take in a chance for new beginnings.

But although there are so many wonderful families out there, international adoption is sometimes used for the wrong reasons. There is an important distinction between the healthy adoption process and child trafficking. While adoption is motivated by love, trafficking is motivated by greed.

Our government is aware of these issues and concerns. State and federal government try to protect both the adoptive children and their families through laws and regulations. But regulations can also make the adoption process more complicated and frustrating. The key is to create laws that promote safety but do not deter potential parents.

The U.S. is currently debating how to manage ethical international adoptions and has created the proposed legislation titled the Universal Accreditation Act. Congress passed the law in 2012 and it will be enacted this summer. The new legislation simply holds American adoption agencies to higher standards, namely the standards set by the Hague Convention. If an agency fails to meet those standards, then they can no longer pursue international adoptions.

State laws also play an important role in adoptions but the new congressional act will at least create a little more uniformity and fill in the gaps where state laws drop off. Michigan parents may feel more comforted with pursuing an international adoption if they know that the agency is held to these high standards. If parents have concerns with the process in general, it may be helpful to speak with a Michigan adoption law firm in order to work through these family law issues.

Source: CBS News, "48 Hours: Tougher laws at hand for international adoption," Doug Longhini, Jan. 17, 2014

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