What is HHC’s attitude to inter-country adoption (more commonly known as international adoption)?

Hope and Homes for Children does not support inter-country adoption. While such adoptions can give children the opportunity to enjoy family life and a number of benefits not available to them in their country of origin, it exposes children to significant risks and should not be considered on the same basis as domestic adoptions.

Many children labelled ‘orphaned’ in developing countries have families but have been separated from them for a variety of reasons. Inter-country adoption denies these children the opportunity to live with their immediate and extended family and exposes them to trauma and long-term emotional damage.

Furthermore, financial incentives associated with inter-country adoptions make the system vulnerable to corruption, child trafficking, ‘child laundering’ and the proliferation of institutions. The system also compromises the development of quality alternative care for children in their own communities by diverting valuable resources away from community-based services.

There are few countries in the developing world which have the necessary checks and balances in place to oversee a transparent inter-country adoption system which prioritises the best interests of the child, as outlined in The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.

Until governments are more accountable for the well-being of the children in their care, and the requirements set out in the Hague Convention are fully implemented, inter-country adoption poses more risks for children, than it provides solutions.