Bilateral Agreements vs. Hague


Since 2008, The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Convention) has been the primary agreement that provides standards for international adoptions between the United States and other countries. Currently, more than 75 countries have joined the Hague Convention. The Hague Convention provides safeguards to increase protection for the adoptive parents, the biological parents, and the adopted children.

Recently, some countries are choosing to enter into what is referred to as a “bilateral agreement” on the process of adoption. Sometimes sending countries just don’t have the resources necessary to become completely Hague compliant as a result of poverty, political instability or natural disasters. This makes it difficult for such a country to implement the Hague regulations. Sometimes countries have their own standards that they believe are important in protecting their most vulnerable citizens. Some of the benefits of a bilateral agreement are that adoptions can continue with a decreased risk for corruption, less burden is placed on the sending country, a country can design their own program, and adoptive parents know what to expect.

One recent example of a bilateral agreement between the US and another country came on July 13th, 2011, when the United States entered into a bilateral agreement with Russia. This agreement is the product of more than a year of negotiation between the US and Russian governments as a result of increasing concern over incidents of several alarming adoption tragedies surrounding the international adoption of Russian children. Though the recent bilateral agreement with Russia is not part of the Hague Convention, it does incorporate many of its important components. One important component of this agreement concerns the preparation of the adoptive parents. The Hague Convention requires a minimum of 10 hours of education for adoptive parents. Research has demonstrated that the more education and support the prospective adopted parents receive, the greater the chance for a successful adoption transition. Had the parents involved (in the previously mentioned Russian adoption tragedies) been adequately prepared, perhaps these tragedies could have been prevented.

At MLJ Adoptions, Inc. we also believe in the importance of education and support for adoptive families. Our Adoption Preparation Education program was designed based on Hague standards, and we continue to add additional courses and resources for families to help them be as prepared as possible to offer the best possible situation for that specific child. We also provide a myriad of support services. Support Services can include 1:1 support calls or meetings, family counseling, and support groups. The Support Specialists at MLJ are educated, trained, and experienced with the special issues that affect children and families in adoption. All Support Services are supervised by Brooke Randolph, LMHC. For additional information regarding Adoption Preparation Education or Support Services please contact