Does the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption Adequately Protect Orphaned and Vulnerable Children and Their Families

Karen Smith Rotabi, Judith L. Gibbons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, designed to protect the best interests of the child in intercountry adoption, has been signed by 83 nations. We evaluate both the strengths and the weaknesses of the Convention in achieving this purpose and also in protecting a second vulnerable population, birth families. A case study example of the United States’ implementation of the Hague requirements reveals several weaknesses with respect to non-Convention countries as sending nations, financial oversight, and oversight of foreign collaborators. International birth families, especially birth mothers giving consent to an adoption, are often vulnerable because of a lack of power and resources, as well as different cultural understandings of the nature of family and adoption. We conclude that in order to protect vulnerable children and birth families, individual sending and receiving countries need to supplement the Hague Convention with specific, contextually appropriate laws and regulations.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Intercountry adoption
  • Orphan
  • Vulnerable
  • Children
  • Birth mother
  • Hague convention


  • Environmental Health
  • Economics
  • Psychology

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