The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


The best interests of children are not served by severing the familial bonds contemplated by international adoption law. Nonetheless, because of the high costs of the international adoption process, efforts to adopt their Haitian orphan relatives are ignored. In attempts to guarantee the “best interests of the child” are met, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children Co-Operative Respect of Intercountry Adoptions (Adoption Convention) were created as the two governing bodies of international adoption law. Global South countries, including Haiti, however, have not ratified the Adoption Convention. These countries also are reluctant to embrace international adoption treaties. The adoption treaties aim to convert customary adoptions to the practice of plenary adoptions and mandate that state parties put all available resources towards implementing their principles. Nevertheless, Global South countries believe international adoption treaties threaten familial bonds and the deeply rooted child-rearing traditions in their countries. Instead of pushing to create universal principles in intercountry adoptions, the argument must focus on the long-term effects that such adoptions have on adopted children. The adoption crisis solution should not be to “save” children from their homeland, but rather force these countries to care for their children. Furthermore, wealthier receiving countries must look to international adoption as a last resort and respect its obligations under international human rights law to ensure that the bundle of rights for children entails the right to keep their families intact. Nonetheless, the government should not be relieved of its obligations under international law to protect the most vulnerable within its borders.

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St. Mary's University School of Law



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