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New federal regulations may make international adoption harder

For families in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who are looking to adopt children, options may be limited by the red tape associated with the process. One woman who has adopted four children with her husband said that adoption is an amazing experience, but that it can also be challenging. The Universal Accreditation Act, which goes into effect on July 14, may make the process even more challenging for those who want to adopt outside of the country.

In the past, international adoption agencies usually only needed state licenses to do business. Under the UAA, all international agencies will be required to seek Hague Accreditation. According to a spokesperson from one state's Department of Children and Families, Hague Accreditation will help keep children safe by putting basic standards in place.

Federal review of an adoption agency for accreditation will include a look at several categories. Reviewers will want to see proof of ethical practices and policies. They will also review the agency's prior history.

Some are worried that the regulations will make it harder to adopt internationally. Changing rules and regulations from a variety of countries have reduced international adoptions from some countries. Adoptions from Guatemala totaled over 4,000 in 2008. When problems were reported, processing came to a virtual standstill. Only seven adoptions were reported from the country in 2012.

Other countries have limited adoptions to the U.S., in part due to rules about who can adopt. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, previously limited adoptions to individuals that identified as heterosexual. Recently, the Congo government further limited adoptions by prohibiting single parents from adopting children from the country.

Though challenges may arise with any adoption process, those that press on through the legal issues are usually well-rewarded. Understanding legal complexities before entering the process ensures you are better prepared for whatever happens.

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

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