International Adoption Remains Stalled in Cambodia


MLJ Adoptions, Inc. continually researches the possibility of new programs in countries where there is a need to provide children with homes. MLJ has been watching closely developments in Asia hoping for changes in policies in both Vietnam and Cambodia. Needless to say both countries do not show anything promising in the near future.

Special Advisor for Children’s Issues, Ambassador Susan Jacobs, met with Cambodian government officials in January 2012 to discuss the possibility of Cambodia opening inter-country adoptions while in compliance to the Hague Adoption Convention. Originally thought to be accepting adoption applications by April 2012, it was announced that Cambodia has decided to extend this deadline to January 2013. This delay in accepting applications from adoptive families is a result of Cambodia trying to implement the regulations of the Hague Convention and trying to develop and put into place the necessary Child Welfare structures to implement Hague. Implementation of the Hague Convention is supported by the US in an effort to fully regulate the adoption process and to ensure all adoptions are performed in compliance with Hague regulations. In effect placing what is in the child’s best interest in the forefront and completing ethical and legal adoptions as well as addressing child trafficking issues around the world. While Hague is meant to protect children during the adoption process, many countries with fewer resources find themselves struggling to implement its regulations.

We understand many families wanting to adopt from Asia may feel disappointed as do we. Many families continually inquire about Vietnam and when it may open. In striving to offer other possibilities to families, most recently we opened our Samoa program as an alternative. Samoa is located in the South Pacific and close to New Zealand, Australia and Asia. Samoa, while still a pilot program, can offer an alternative to adopt a child in need from this part of the world.

MLJ will continue its efforts in exploring countries that may be feasible for international adoption as well as having a need to place orphaned children. Accomplishing this goal can be tedious as every country has its own laws and culture which may prohibit international adoption of its orphaned children. MLJ is always watching and researching possible developments. Trying to reach into the world to assist children in need, even in countries not necessarily thought of currently, not only helps offer adoptive families more choices but also allows us to reach other parts of the world and to find forever families for even more children, perhaps in countries not all are familiar with.

As the first agency in Congo, we opened the door there to international adoption. We are striving to do this again. In the meantime, we offer other programs in Bulgaria, Nicaragua, Honduras and Ukraine.

Sonja Brown works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptionsā€™ programs in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Samoa. Sonja is also proud to work directly with our Individualized Country Program families who are adopting from countries where no adoption service providers currently operate.