The Perverse Effects of the Hague Adoption Convention

R. Post

Last year I published the book titled Romania For Export Only, The Untold Story Of The Romanian ‘Orphans’. The book focused on my work for the European Commission in relation to the reform of Romania’s child protection. In this book I describe the facts that led to the moratorium on intercountry adoptions and the pressure to re-open adoptions in Romania. In the media I was quoted as saying that intercountry adoption in fact was legalised child trafficking. This is not a popular statement and many placed me in the anti-adoption camp. I would like to distance myself from pro and anti-adoption labels and direct this discussion back to the heart of the matter: is intercountry adoption a child protection measure, or do children have rights in their own country and is intercountry adoption the ultimate breach of such rights?

This article describes the effects that the Hague Adoption Convention had on adoptions from Romania. The aim of the Hague Convention was to guarantee that intercountry adoption would take place in the interest of the child, with respect for his/her fundamental rights, and to prevent the abduction, sale of or trafficking in children. Romania was one of the first countries that ratified this Convention (1994), and adopted in 1997 a Hague compliant adoption law. However, from 1997 to 2001 this convention did not so much protect the rights of the children, but foremost those of the parties in the receiving countries: central authorities, adoption agencies and adoptive parents. It further shows how intercountry adoption developed into a full-grown market, which functions according to the economical laws of Supply and Demand.

The result of the Romanian ban on intercountry adoptions will be discussed, including the consequences with regards to other countries. The article ends with the crucial question: can intercountry adoption be legislated without it leading to a demand-driven child market? This article argues why such is not possible under the current provisions of the 1993 Hague Convention.

This article was first published in Dutch in November 2008, in Justitiële verkenningen 2008/07, title: Adoption under Fire (page 25-37). Justitiële Verkenningen (Judicial explorations) is published eight times a year by the Research and Documentation Centre of the Dutch Ministry of Justice in cooperation with Boom Juridische uitgevers. Each issue focuses on a central theme related to judicial policy.

Roelie Post (MSc) is employed by the European Commission in Brussels since 1983 and was involved in the reform of Romanian child protection from 1993 until 2005. She is the author of the book -- Romania For Export Only, The Untold Story Of The Romanian ‘Orphans’

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Supply and Demand

Over the years, I have read many things related to adoption, political corruption and the criminal mind.  There's a "triad"... one that's not seen by many average people, but I can promise, once certain connections are made, felt and experienced, those messages, stay in one's memory.

I'm a huge fan of Roelie Post.  She's a smart woman... a quality most politicians don't like....  and as one who knows about the dark-side of things, I know it takes TREMENDOUS courage to write about the things she has dared herself to publish.

Since the hey-day of closed adoptions, law makers have been faced with the supply and demand aspect of adoption practices.  Only now are AP's, (and God Willing, PAP's), beginning to see how schemes within the child placement industry are not always as they first seem.  [I implore others to read our child trafficking pages, as it relates to International Adoption.]

In other words, the demand for adoption has put pressure for more supply, and this affects many, especially children WITH non-abusive parents, world-wide.

<deep, heavy, sickened sigh>

While I am not wholly against adoption as a practice, I am against the many ways in which an adoption plan is completed.  It's my hope the Hague can catch-up to the needs of those children forced into the adoption industry.

Until then, all people can do is expose the truth, as it really exists, and pray other people will want ethical transparent adoptions to become the rule, not the exception.

Pound Pup Legacy