Citizenship for all international adoptees should take precedence. That said, the US State Department today announced that the Center for Excellence in Adoption Services (CEAS) has been designated as an accrediting entity for purposes of The Hague Convention on Inter Country Adoption.
CEAS will join the Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (IAAME) as a Hague accreditor of Adoption Service Providers under The Hague Convention. IAAME was designated as an accrediting entity for another five years as of June 2, 2022. There are around 280 agencies currently accredited by IAAME. That number includes agencies that have multiple locations: one agency might have several offices in a state or in different states.
The CEAS website does not yet specify that they are an accredited entity under the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000. It does, though, list their current staff and Board of Directors, all of whom had an affiliation with the Council on Accreditation.
in 2006, COA was the first entity designated by the US State Department. They withdrew as an accrediting entity in 2017. The State Department’s announcement of COA’s decision is here.
The National Council for Adoption wrote about COA’s decision here, during a time when NCFA disagreed with the way that State was handling international adoption.
Much of the controversy then concerned how regulations were being implemented, with some advocates feeling the regulations were cumbersome and unnecessary, and other advocates arguing that the fraud and corruption in international adoption desperately needed better oversight. Many countries (Guatemala, Ethiopia, South Korea, China, and others) have decreased the numbers or completely stopped placing children for international adoption.
Numbers of international adoptions have declined substantially in recent years. While there were almost 23,000 children adopted internationally in 2004, there were just over 1600 in 2020.
International adoption needs a dramatic overhaul—that’s something of an understatement.
And sure, CEAS may well provide good accreditation services, and sure, those services are probably needed for adoption agencies seeking to place children internationally.
Will this new entity be part of business as usual, without adult international adoptees or international birth parents consulted and respected for their expertise? Will the decision-makers and policy influencers involved in the placement of Black and brown children remain mostly white, especially white adoptive parents?
Will there be a focus on adoption without any lens of white saviorism?
Will there be emphasis on orphan prevention and family preservation first? Will there be respect for authenticity and for genuine efforts to make sure there is not any fraud? (European Adoption Consultants, whose staff has pled guilty to fraud and corruption, was Hague accredited. State announced their debarment in 2016.)
Will there be effort above and beyond the minimum to ensure that every child’s medical and family history is accurate, and, especially, that the child is truly an orphan? So many adult adoptees have found that was not the case for them: they have discovered they were not orphans at all, though that is what they and their adoptive parents had been told.
Will there be any follow-up for international birth parents post-adoption that is equivalent to what US adoptive parents can access?
This should be the priority of energy and attention, by accrediting entities, organization officers, Congress, adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents, and others, before the international placement of more children.
If you’re going to promote international adoption, do so only after all international adoptees to the United States have been granted citizenship. To do otherwise is hypocritical and insensitive at best.