Is Your "Waiting Child" really WAITING?
Intimidating question, isn't it? Have you fallen in love with a child from a country's waiting children list?
Make sure to ask your agency, under whose authority is this child taken off the waiting list? Is there any documentation that I can see that tells me that this child will be taken off the list while I become paperwork ready?
Although most countries have a "waiting children list" most countries do not allow the children to be matched with adoptive candidates unless these candidates are paperwork ready.
What is paperwork ready? It is the process, dictated by the Hague Convention, where government gets involved to make sure that the candidates are good people pursuing an adoption for the right reasons. Most of this is accomplished through the home study, where a licensed social worker from a Hague Accredited Agency runs background checks on the adoptive candidates including FBI clearances and child abuse clearances.
This helps to screen the candidates for the protection of the children as is dictated by the Hague Convention. The reason why most countries won't take a child off a waiting list for people who aren't paperwork ready is - well, really simple - they don't know who you are.
The Hague Convention is not a suggested route of pursuing adoption. It is the only route.
To put into perspective, an adoption agency can't (legally) help you with your international adoption unless they are Hague Accredited and follow the Hague rules.
The Hague Accreditation process consists of the US government officials - COA - sending trained personnel to examine all of the agency's operations. This includes visiting the agency's physical office to scrutinize each and every file, each and every policy and procedure and seek evidence of their correct daily implementation in order to make sure that the agency is adhering to the Hague Standards. This is done every 4 years.
Almost every cycle of re-accreditation, many agencies don't renew (for different reasons) or aren't granted permission to renew.
So why is all this important? Because this same Hague Convention (read more here) lays out rules that apply to all who are wishing to adopt from a Hague country - as are most countries in the world, including the US.
Some Hague Countries, like Bulgaria, will allow a child (most often with more severe special needs) to be taken off the waiting children list. The adoptive parents will sign a simple document stating their intent to become paperwork ready. This signed Statement of Intent will be presented to the Bulgarian Central Authority - which in that country is the Ministry of Justice. The Bulgarian Ministry of Justice will then approve (or disapprove) the request and TAKE THE CHILD OFF THE WAITING LIST.
This means that no one else can adopt that child. No other US based candidate, or Canadian, or Australian, or German, or Italian etc. No one else. You, as the approved candidate, by the highest authority in the land - Ministry of Justice - Central Authority are then given a timetable to become eligible through the standards of the Hague Convention. If you don't meet that timetable, the child will be placed back on the waiting children list. Or if you don't qualify, the child will again be placed back on the list.
Poland does not work this way. Their highest authority - Central Authority - Ministry of Labor and Social Policy DOES NOT take a child off a waiting list just because you've seen their picture somewhere online.
Bulgaria will, but even then your request is forward to the Central Authority first. It is approved, and then the Central Authority takes down the info of the child so no other candidates regardless of their location can pursue the adoption of that same child.
Most countries don't work this way. Poland does not work this way. Poland will not remove the child from the waiting list. That is an example of countries working differently. No adoption agency in the United States can play the role of the Polish Central Authority. No agency in the United States has the authority to promise you that you will be matched with a waiting child.
According to the Hague Convention, only the Polish Central Authority has the right to do the matching, and the a child being on a waiting list DOES NOT in any way circumvent the adoption process or the Hague law.
So make sure to do your research and ask your agency what guarantees do I have that this child will still be available when I am paperwork ready?
This article was posted by Nick Ratchev, MBA - Agency's Operations Manager. If you'd like to chat about any of this, give me a call directly. 704 527 7673. Or for more info, please click here.