Cambodia Resumes International Adoptions

Cambodia announced that after more than 4 years of suspending international adoptions, it will resume the system again in 2014.


Cambodia closed its international adoption system in 2009 due to concerns over corruption, but the US had already banned adoptions from Cambodia – in 2001. (If this is not an event that sticks out in your mind, the US halted adoptions in the midst of Angelina Jolie's adoption of her first son, temporarily keeping her from returning to the US with him after the adoption.)

Cambodia still has rampant issues it needs to deal with. Since 2005, the number of orphanages has increased by 75%. But this does not reflect the number of orphans, because 71% of the children living in orphanages still have parents.

With almost three quarters of children not actually being orphans, the process is ripe for corruption. In many countries, adoption “middle men” collect money from families who want to adopt, keep a percentage, then give the rest to the child's family, who thinks the child is just going away on a temporary basis to improve her education. Meanwhile a US couple is adopting a child who is not actually up for adoption.

Here is an example of how an nonprofit international adoption oversight organization would be remarkably beneficial. If the organization had a branch in Cambodia to coordinate and report compliance with Hague standards, local laws, and US regulations, we would create a level of accountability that would function to eliminate the types of problems that lead both the US and Cambodia to shut the international adoption system down in the first place.

Hopefully Cambodia's re-opened system will be a boon to international adoption. If it's not, unfortunately, we won't know until it's too late and the damage has been done. It's time to organize top adoption advocates, politicians, and thinkers to put a system that prevents corruption in place. I fear that having no such system means another shut down in the future.


Cambodia will resume int'l adoptions in next year (Daily Herald)

Cambodia's Booming New Industry: Orphanage Tourism (Forbes)

Horrible People are Exploiting Cambodia's Orphans (Vice)

Transnational Reproduction and its Discontents: The Politics of Intercountry Adoption in a Global Society (Journal of Global Change and Governance)


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