Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 2909 (rh) 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. [Reported in House] ...

H.R. 2909 (rh) 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. [Reported in House] ...

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                                                       Calendar No. 692
  2d Session
                                H. R. 2909



                             July 19, 2000

            Received; read twice and placed on the calendar


                                 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,


    (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 

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Findings and purposes.
Sec. 3. Definitions.

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.

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

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.

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.


    (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.


    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 
            (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'' 
                    (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 
        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, 
            (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 
            (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 
            (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 
            (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.



    (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.


    (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 the 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 
    (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 
    (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.


    In addition to such other responsibilities as are specifically 

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