Netherlands limits adoptions of US children

April 22, 2009

THE HAGUE (AFP) — The Dutch government said Wednesday it would make it more difficult to adopt American children, who formed the third largest group of foreign adoptions in the Netherlands last year.

"The adoption of children from the United States will be subjected to stricter requirements," the justice ministry said in a statement -- explaining that small children could easily be placed with American families.

From a total of 767 foreign adoptions last year, 56 were of American children -- the third largest group after China and Haiti.

Under Dutch adoption regulations, it was preferable for a child to be adopted from within his own area or country. And investigations have shown that "small children can easily find homes with American families," said the statement.

"There appears to be no necessity to place these children outside the United States."

The ministry said the tougher criteria would not be applied to American children of five years or older, those in foster care, or those who are difficult to place because of health problems or other special reasons.

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