Deciding Where to Adopt

The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) governs adoptions between the United States and approximately 90 other nations.

  • The Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008.
  • The Department of State is the U.S. Central Authority for the Hague Convention, and oversees compliance with both the Convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA). In this role, the Department of State also serves as U.S. liaison with other adoption Central Authorities around the world.
  • The Hague Adoption Convention protects children and their families against the risks of unregulated adoptions abroad, and ensures that intercountry adoptions are in the best interests of the children involved. The Convention also serves to prevent the abduction, sale of, or traffic in children.

The protections extended under the Hague Adoption Convention to children and families are not necessarily available when adopting from countries outside the scope of the Convention.

The adoption of a foreign-born child does not automatically guarantee the child's eligibility to immigrate to the United States. It is imperative that all adoptive parents are aware of U.S. immigration law and legal regulatory procedures. For more information about immigration to the U.S., please visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website for more information.

Contact with Birth Parents

The Hague Adoption Convention generally forbids prospective adoptive parents from having any contact with the child's birth parents, and/or the child's legal guardians before the country of birth determines the child is adoptable according to Convention principles and refers the child for adoption to a family.

Some additional resources: