Proposed Changes to Intercountry Adoption Rules by the U.S. Department of State

Most of us agree on the major things. It’s the details that often trip us.  Such is the case with recently proposed regulatory amendments for the Intercountry Adoption process by the U.S. Department of State, the central authority for adoption in the United States.  Here’s what we know:

  • Everyone agrees that children should remain with biological family members when possible.
  • Everyone agrees that children should remain within their culture and country of origin when possible, through domestic adoption options.
  • And, most everyone agrees that when these two things cannot happen safely, intercountry adoption can be a valuable method for connecting children with a permanent, loving family in which to grow, thrive and reach their greatest potential.

How these ideals are achieved, however, is a different question, and there are plenty of opinions. Which brings us back to the Department of State’s proposals, consisting of twenty-two pages of fine-print details on how to achieve the above goals.  Some of the most provocative additions include increased training requirements for prospective adoptive parents, amplified regulatory oversight at a country-specific level, guidelines to assess and disclose fees, and obligations for supervision of foreign entities providing adoption services.
WACAP graphic showing people connecting with the words
Many are concerned that these might have the unintended consequence of further slowing the adoption process for children. Thankfully, the Department of State has invited comments from agencies, organizations and individuals in response to the draft regulations and has extended the deadline for commenting through November 22nd.  WACAP has been carefully reviewing the proposed changes and will be providing thoughtful and constructive feedback, item by item. Some, we welcome.  Others, we strongly oppose.

If you desire to engage with our governmental agencies on intercountry adoption issues, we offer some possible options:

And, since November is National Adoption Month, we encourage you to share your WACAP adoption stories, and shed light on the following facts:

  1. The vast majority of intercountry adoptions occurring are very successful.  See some of these faces here.
  2. Today, however, children continue to wait for families with no option for reunification or domestic adoption in their country of origin. They need us to act now!

These children, like those in U.S. foster care, are the motivation behind WACAP’s energy and passion. Our desire is to find permanent, safe, loving, and skilled parents for them.  We change the world by changing their world, connecting each child with a family in which they can celebrate their unique history and culture while discovering the promise of a brighter future.  Find out more about adopting.  Maybe they are waiting for you.

WACAP CEO at orphanage in Africa, children gather smilingAbout WACAP’s CEO, Greg Eubanks: Greg joined WACAP as CEO in December 2014. Serving children and families has been the focus and passion of his 20-year career in nonprofit executive leadership and business administration. With an extensive background in international adoption and foster care, Greg is committed to bringing hope to the children living without a family … and helping them home.


WACAP (World Association for Children and Parents) is one of the largest and most experienced international nonprofit adoption and child assistance agencies in the United States. Since 1976, we’ve placed over 10,000 children with loving adoptive parents and provided food, medical care and education to more than 200,000 children around the world.
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