China joins the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention
Over 200 experts from 66 nations meet at The Hague to discuss the protection of children in intercountry adoption

Today, on the eve of a one week review meeting to discuss the practical operation of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Inter-country Adoption, the People’s Republic of China deposited its instrument of ratification of the Hague Convention with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. China is the 67th State to join this global Convention.

This Hague Convention is one of the most successful international treaties drawn up by the Hague Conference on Private International Law and one of the great successes of "The Hague Legal Capital". Since it came into effect, 10 years ago, it  has enormously improved standards and procedures for international adoption, to the benefit of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents.

Tomorrow, 17 September, 230 experts from 66 Nations will convene in the Chamber of Commerce at The Hague (due to construction works at the normal venue, the Peace Palace) for a week. They will discuss what can be done to make the Convention work even better and make recommendations to that effect. The meeting should also reach consensus on a Guide to Good Practice on Implementation of the Convention.  Moreover, a number of countries will be attending who intend to join the Convention (e.g. Cambodia, Guatemala, United States, Vietnam) and hope to learn from the experience of others.

Issues to be discussed include: co-operation among Central Authorities with overall supervision responsibilities under the Convention; accreditation of private bodies licensed to work in the field of inter-country adoption; giving preference to in-country family care solutions over inter-country adoption; adoptions of special needs children (older children, handicapped children, siblings); inter-country adoption among relatives; adequate preparation and counseling of future adoptive parents; financial issues and many others.

It is estimated that at least over 40.000 children were adopted internationally last year. More children are being adopted from China than from any other country (over 11.000 in 2003).