A Family for Every Child: International Adoption of American Children in the Netherlands
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- The ups and downs of inter-country adoption
- New regulations make international adoption harder than ever for Americans
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- The United States, international adoption, The Hague Convention, and child abuse
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This is an interestng perspective from a Dutch Authority, more on the rising adoptions of American children to the Netherlands. Frankly, from the sounds of it, many of these kids would be better in a European home/lifestyle than a wacked American one. Many of these Dutch families so want a child and there is just no children available in the Netherlands. Very hard especially the infertile couples who try and try . Dutch has very little predjudices like America and is very accepting.
Hans van Hooff
Legal Advisor, Fiom and Coordinator, International Social Service (ISS) Netherlands
Summary: Social and political changes are resulting in an increase in the number of American children adopted in the Netherlands.
Recently, the adoption of American children in the
The US has traditionally adopted the highest number of foreign-born children. This, of course, begs the question of how is it possible that children, especially infants, from the US are available for international adoption when there is an obvious demand for children to adopt within the country. A second concern is that many American children are still infants when they are adopted internationally. The result is that the biological mother has little time to consider her decision. This is in direct conflict with the spirit of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, to which the Netherlands is a signatory. In response, the minister of justice decided to minimize the number of adoptions from the US by limiting adoption to children with special needs and children over five. A brief overview of the history of adoption in the
National Adoption in the Netherlands
In 1956, the Netherlands enacted the Adoption Act. National adoption under this act is defined as a complete adoption: severing all (legal) relations with the biological parents. Although adoption is viewed as a child protection measure, it also incorporates an element of family formation. Domestic adoption in the
Number of Domestic Adoptions:
The decrease in domestic adoptions is the result of several factors: a changed view of single motherhood, the introduction of the Social Assistance Act, increased access to contraception and the emergence and legalization of abortion clinics. In addition, increasing prosperity has resulted in women having children at a later age. However, this has led to an increase in fertility problems. Often, (international) adoption is the only remaining option.
Intercountry Adoption in the Netherlands
Because there are so few children available for domestic adoption in the
Until 2004, the number of foreign-born adopted children increased in the
Number of children adopted from abroad:
2004 1307 including 18 from the
2005 1185 including 32 from the
2006 816 including 38 from the
2007 782 including 39 from the
2008 767 including 56 from the
Children Adopted from the United States
Since 2001 Dutch adoption legislation has permitted international adoption by same-sex couples. However, until very recently, only the US allowed adoption by same-sex couples. The result is that many US-born children are adopted by same-sex couples. In the Netherlands, most adoptions from the US are achieved by applying, a “do-it-yourself” method. This means that adoptive parents personally developed contacts abroad rather than hiring a state-licensed agency to assist. However, this option is only available in countries that are not signatories to the Hague Convention. Because the US has ratified the convention, the ability of prospective parents to utilize the “do-it-yourself” method has been eliminated. There are two reasons for this.
First, all international adoptions that occur between Hague signatory countries are administered by the central authority in each country. Second, the principle of subsidiarity of the Hague Convention states that international adoption is not an alternative unless all domestic options are fully explored. This includes the children’s extended family, foster care and domestic adoption opportunities. It is only when a domestic solution is not available that international adoption can be considered.
These changes in Dutch domestic child welfare law and the fact that the US has ratified the Hague Convention means that prospective parents in the Netherlands may have a very long wait to adopt. However, there are thousands of potential parents who are willing and able to provide a safe, permanent and loving home to American-born children.