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  • Anupama Soumya


Updated: Aug 28, 2020

By- Likhita Agrawal & Vatsalya Pankaj, Third Year, B.A.LL.B.(Hons.) students at

National Law University, Nagpur



Inter-country adoptions refer to adoptions wherein the nationality and place of residence of the adoptive parents and the adopted child lie in different nationalities.[1] Such adoptions are often seen where one country has lower birth-rates and an aging population, a phenomenon seen in developed countries and countries with huge birth-rates and a relatively young population, a phenomenon seen in developing countries.[2]

As such, adoptions involve sovereign states, multiple conventions govern it. The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption, 1993 (“Hague Convention”), and Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1990 (“CRC”) outline the rights of the child and the responsibilities of both states towards the child. It is pertinent to note that any legislation or treaty for a child works on the “Doctrine of Best Interest,”[3] that is, the law should be interpreted and applied to benefit the child.

However, on the point of inter-country adoptions, many objections have been raised. Firstly, the child loses the culture and heritage of the country of birth and is “forced” to accept the culture and society of the country of adoption. Secondly, often Scholars have highlighted that while adoption does lead to a severance of ties with the family of birth and replaces it with new relations to the family of adoption, the bond between the country of the birth and the child cannot be broken.[4] Such objections have led to the call for the “Doctrine of Domestic Preference,” which essentially provides that if the child can be adopted by a parent in the country of birth, then that should be preferred over adoption by a family that is situated outside the country.

There are more serious risks that come with Inter-country adoptions too. Often it is seen that such adoptions become a money-making exercise for people looking to exploit the system.[5] Such children on the pretense of adoption are being trafficked, leading to severe human rights violations. The blog shall be discussing the multitude of facets of Child Adoptions, the regulatory mechanisms, and how to prevent them from becoming unethical human trafficking exercises.