Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 2909 (ih) To provide for implementation by the United States of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, and for other purposes. [Introduced in House] ...

H.R. 2909 (ih) To provide for implementation by the United States of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, and for other purposes. [Introduced in House] ...


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        H.R.2909

                       One Hundred Sixth Congress

                                 of the

                        United States of America


                          AT THE SECOND SESSION

           Begun and held at the City of Washington on Monday,
             the twenty-fourth day of January, two thousand


                                 An Act


 
    To provide for implementation by the United States of the Hague 
  Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of 
             Intercountry Adoption, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Intercountry 
Adoption Act of 2000''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents of this Act is as 
follows:
Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Findings and purposes.
Sec. 3. Definitions.

                TITLE I--UNITED STATES CENTRAL AUTHORITY

Sec. 101. Designation of central authority.
Sec. 102. Responsibilities of the Secretary of State.
Sec. 103. Responsibilities of the Attorney General.
Sec. 104. Annual report on intercountry adoptions.

       TITLE II--PROVISIONS RELATING TO ACCREDITATION AND APPROVAL

Sec. 201. Accreditation or approval required in order to provide 
          adoption services in cases subject to the Convention.
Sec. 202. Process for accreditation and approval; role of accrediting 
          entities.
Sec. 203. Standards and procedures for providing accreditation or 
          approval.
Sec. 204. Secretarial oversight of accreditation and approval.
Sec. 205. State plan requirement.

   TITLE III--RECOGNITION OF CONVENTION ADOPTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES

Sec. 301. Adoptions of children immigrating to the United States.
Sec. 302. Immigration and Nationality Act amendments relating to 
          children adopted from Convention countries.
Sec. 303. Adoptions of children emigrating from the United States.

                TITLE IV--ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT

Sec. 401. Access to Convention records.
Sec. 402. Documents of other Convention countries.
Sec. 403. Authorization of appropriations; collection of fees.
Sec. 404. Enforcement.

                       TITLE V--GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec. 501. Recognition of Convention adoptions.
Sec. 502. Special rules for certain cases.
Sec. 503. Relationship to other laws.
Sec. 504. No private right of action.
Sec. 505. Effective dates; transition rule.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.

    (a) Findings.--Congress recognizes--
        (1) the international character of the Convention on Protection 
    of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption 
    (done at The Hague on May 29, 1993); and
        (2) the need for uniform interpretation and implementation of 
    the Convention in the United States and abroad,
and therefore finds that enactment of a Federal law governing adoptions 
and prospective adoptions subject to the Convention involving United 
States residents is essential.
    (b) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are--
        (1) to provide for implementation by the United States of the 
    Convention;
        (2) to protect the rights of, and prevent abuses against, 
    children, birth families, and adoptive parents involved in 
    adoptions (or prospective adoptions) subject to the Convention, and 
    to ensure that such adoptions are in the children's best interests; 
    and
        (3) to improve the ability of the Federal Government to assist 
    United States citizens seeking to adopt children from abroad and 
    residents of other countries party to the Convention seeking to 
    adopt children from the United States.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    As used in this Act:
        (1) Accredited agency.--The term ``accredited agency'' means an 
    agency accredited under title II to provide adoption services in 
    the United States in cases subject to the Convention.
        (2) Accrediting entity.--The term ``accrediting entity'' means 
    an entity designated under section 202(a) to accredit agencies and 
    approve persons under title II.
        (3) Adoption service.--The term ``adoption service'' means--
            (A) identifying a child for adoption and arranging an 
        adoption;
            (B) securing necessary consent to termination of parental 
        rights and to adoption;
            (C) performing a background study on a child or a home 
        study on a prospective adoptive parent, and reporting on such a 
        study;
            (D) making determinations of the best interests of a child 
        and the appropriateness of adoptive placement for the child;
            (E) post-placement monitoring of a case until final 
        adoption; and
            (F) where made necessary by disruption before final 
        adoption, assuming custody and providing child care or any 
        other social service pending an alternative placement.
    The term ``providing'', with respect to an adoption service, 
    includes facilitating the provision of the service.
        (4) Agency.--The term ``agency'' means any person other than an 
    individual.
        (5) Approved person.--The term ``approved person'' means a 
    person approved under title II to provide adoption services in the 
    United States in cases subject to the Convention.
        (6) Attorney general.--Except as used in section 404, the term 
    ``Attorney General'' means the Attorney General, acting through the 
    Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization.
        (7) Central authority.--The term ``central authority'' means 
    the entity designated as such by any Convention country under 
    Article 6(1) of the Convention.
        (8) Central authority function.--The term ``central authority 
    function'' means any duty required to be carried out by a central 
    authority under the Convention.
        (9) Convention.--The term ``Convention'' means the Convention 
    on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of 
    Intercountry Adoption, done at The Hague on May 29, 1993.
        (10) Convention adoption.--The term ``Convention adoption'' 
    means an adoption of a child resident in a foreign country party to 
    the Convention by a United States citizen, or an adoption of a 
    child resident in the United States by an individual residing in 
    another Convention country.
        (11) Convention record.--The term ``Convention record'' means 
    any item, collection, or grouping of information contained in an 
    electronic or physical document, an electronic collection of data, 
    a photograph, an audio or video tape, or any other information 
    storage medium of any type whatever that contains information about 
    a specific past, current, or prospective Convention adoption 
    (regardless of whether the adoption was made final) that has been 
    preserved in accordance with section 401(a) by the Secretary of 
    State or the Attorney General.
        (12) Convention country.--The term ``Convention country'' means 
    a country party to the Convention.
        (13) Other convention country.--The term ``other Convention 
    country'' means a Convention country other than the United States.
        (14) Person.--The term ``person'' shall have the meaning 
    provided in section 1 of title 1, United States Code, and shall not 
    include any agency of government or tribal government entity.
        (15) Person with an ownership or control interest.--The term 
    ``person with an ownership or control interest'' has the meaning 
    given such term in section 1124(a)(3) of the Social Security Act 
    (42 U.S.C. 1320a-3).
        (16) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of 
    State.
        (17) State.--The term ``State'' means the 50 States, the 
    District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the 
    Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the Virgin 
    Islands.

                TITLE I--UNITED STATES CENTRAL AUTHORITY

SEC. 101. DESIGNATION OF CENTRAL AUTHORITY.

    (a) In General.--For purposes of the Convention and this Act--
        (1) the Department of State shall serve as the central 
    authority of the United States; and
        (2) the Secretary shall serve as the head of the central 
    authority of the United States.
    (b) Performance of Central Authority Functions.--
        (1) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the Secretary 
    shall be responsible for the performance of all central authority 
    functions for the United States under the Convention and this Act.
        (2) All personnel of the Department of State performing core 
    central authority functions in a professional capacity in the 
    Office of Children's Issues shall have a strong background in 
    consular affairs, personal experience in international adoptions, 
    or professional experience in international adoptions or child 
    services.
    (c) Authority To Issue Regulations.--Except as otherwise provided 
in this Act, the Secretary may prescribe such regulations as may be 
necessary to carry out central authority functions on behalf of the 
United States.

SEC. 102. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE.

    (a) Liaison Responsibilities.--The Secretary shall have 
responsibility for--
        (1) liaison with the central authorities of other Convention 
    countries; and
        (2) the coordination of activities under the Convention by 
    persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
    (b) Information Exchange.--The Secretary shall be responsible for--
        (1) providing the central authorities of other Convention 
    countries with information concerning--
            (A) accredited agencies and approved persons, agencies and 
        persons whose accreditation or approval has been suspended or 
        canceled, and agencies and persons who have been temporarily or 
        permanently debarred from accreditation or approval;
            (B) Federal and State laws relevant to implementing the 
        Convention; and
            (C) any other matters necessary and appropriate for 
        implementation of the Convention;
        (2) not later than the date of the entry into force of the 
    Convention for the United States (pursuant to Article 46(2)(a) of 
    the Convention) and at least once during each subsequent calendar 
    year, providing to the central authority of all other Convention 
    countries a notice requesting the central authority of each such 
    country to specify any requirements of such country regarding 
    adoption, including restrictions on the eligibility of persons to 
    adopt, with respect to which information on the prospective 
    adoptive parent or parents in the United States would be relevant;
        (3) making responses to notices under paragraph (2) available 
    to--
            (A) accredited agencies and approved persons; and
            (B) other persons or entities performing home studies under 
        section 201(b)(1);
        (4) ensuring the provision of a background report (home study) 
    on prospective adoptive parent or parents (pursuant to the 
    requirements of section 203(b)(1)(A)(ii)), through the central 
    authority of each child's country of origin, to the court having 
    jurisdiction over the adoption (or, in the case of a child 
    emigrating to the United States for the purpose of adoption, to the 
    competent authority in the child's country of origin with 
    responsibility for approving the child's emigration) in adequate 
    time to be considered prior to the granting of such adoption or 
    approval;
        (5) providing Federal agencies, State courts, and accredited 
    agencies and approved persons with an identification of Convention 
    countries and persons authorized to perform functions under the 
    Convention in each such country; and
        (6) facilitating the transmittal of other appropriate 
    information to, and among, central authorities, Federal and State 
    agencies (including State courts), and accredited agencies and 
    approved persons.
    (c) Accreditation and Approval Responsibilities.--The Secretary 
shall carry out the functions prescribed by the Convention with respect 
to the accreditation of agencies and the approval of persons to provide 
adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the 
Convention as provided in title II. Such functions may not be delegated 
to any other Federal agency.
    (d) Additional Responsibilities.--The Secretary--
        (1) shall monitor individual Convention adoption cases 
    involving United States citizens; and
        (2) may facilitate interactions between such citizens and 
    officials of other Convention countries on matters relating to the 
    Convention in any case in which an accredited agency or approved 
    person is unwilling or unable to provide such facilitation.
    (e) Establishment of Registry.--The Secretary and the Attorney 
General shall jointly establish a case registry of all adoptions 
involving immigration of children into the United States and emigration 
of children from the United States, regardless of whether the adoption 
occurs under the Convention. Such registry shall permit tracking of 
pending cases and retrieval of information on both pending and closed 
cases.
    (f) Methods of Performing Responsibilities.--The Secretary may--
        (1) authorize public or private entities to perform appropriate 
    central authority functions for which the Secretary is responsible, 
    pursuant to regulations or under agreements published in the 
    Federal Register; and
        (2) carry out central authority functions through grants to, or 
    contracts with, any individual or public or private entity, except 
    as may be otherwise specifically provided in this Act.

SEC. 103. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.

    In addition to such other responsibilities as are specifically 
conferred upon the Attorney General by this Act, the central authority 
functions specified in Article 14 of the Convention (relating to the 
filing of applications by prospective adoptive parents to the central 
authority of their country of residence) shall be performed by the 
Attorney General.

SEC. 104. ANNUAL REPORT ON INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS.

    (a) Reports Required.--Beginning 1 year after the date of the entry 
into force of the Convention for the United States and each year 
thereafter, the Secretary, in consultation with the Attorney General 
and other appropriate agencies, shall submit a report describing the 
activities of the central authority of the United States under this Act 
during the preceding year to the Committee on International Relations, 
the Committee on Ways and Means, and the Committee on the Judiciary of 
the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations, 
the Committee on Finance, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the 

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