The Hague Convention on Adoption

The Hague Convention on Adoption has the best adoption procedures. Its aim is to protect the best interest of a child. In this regard, Ethiopia can consider this international treaty as an option, as a means to give a meaningful life for a vulnerable child.

In the early 1990s a treaty was drafted, debated, and eventually finalized that would shape the course of international adoption forever. The treaty, later known as The Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, was actually the second convention put forth by The Hague Conference on Private International Law concerning adoptions. The first, finalized in 1965, was formally denounced by the governments of Austria, Switzerland, and the U.K, and never saw a single country ratify or accede to it. That first convention dealt only with the recognition of adoption decrees and was nowhere near as comprehensive in scope as the convention that would follow in 1993 (commonly referred to as the Hague Convention). However, the 1965 convention did provide a template for the Hague Convention, or at least a warning that for an international adoption treaty to be successful it needed to be broader in scope and have more robust engagement in the drafting stages.

The Hague Convention was the product of many years of debate and negotiation and multiple drafts of nearly every provision. Over 60 countries sent delegations to the session where the Hague Convention was discussed and eventually finalized. However, the document discussed by those delegates was a product of nearly three years of meetings among a smaller group of drafters. After multiple versions were considered over those three years, a proposed draft was submitted before the hundreds of delegates present, representing over 60 countries. As with any treaty, there was much debate and many compromises resulted. Some provisions were intentionally left with ambiguity, allowing for multiple interpretations and permitting different constituencies to all feel satisfied that their desires were achieved. This meant that the text of the convention was in some ways rather malleable. Ultimately, however, the Hague Convention emerged as a successful treaty that currently has over 100 countries as parties to it, including the United States.

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