As I mentioned in my last post, after you take the momentous decision to adopt a child from the foreign country, the next choice, which needs to be taken pretty much simultaneously, is which country to adopt from. Why are there only potential 27 countries listed here in ICAA’s website? Well apart from being the countries that the official adoption agencies in Catalunya work with (called ECAIs—more on them in the next post), all these countries have ratified the Hague Convention on International Adoption.
Familiarise yourself with this name dear readers, as it’s one that is going to pop up again and again in your adoption journey. In a nutshell, countries in the world are classified into ‘Hague’ and ‘Non-Hague’ in adoption speak. Amongst other things, countries that ratified the Hague Convention guarantee that every effort has been made to locate the child’s biological parents and that they have not been trafficked (you can read the full document here). Spain is a signatory and only really encourages inter-country adoptions with countries that have also signed.
One of the paradoxes of international adoption is that it’s generally the most difficult, if not impossible (unless you are Madonna of course), to adopt from countries where it’s generally perceived there is the most need. War-torn countries simply do not have the infrastructure in place to guarantee the conditions defined by the Hague Convention; ditto for those who have been affected by natural disaster (though the recent decision from the Spanish government to fast-track adoptions already in process from Haiti is a sign that they are at least flexible). To make matters more complicated, countries, whether Hague or not, can ‘close’ to adoptions very quickly (this recently happened with Ethiopia, who decided to halt adoptions to single parents). On the positive side, countries can also ‘open up’, thus providing more options for you.
Although you can change your preferred country during the adoption process, it will be easier, and often faster, to get it right in the beginning. Cost, waiting time for allocation, the requirements of the country you want to adopt from and other factors all come into play. The internet is a great resource: a good way to get started is to find a Yahoo adoption forum for the countries you are interested in, or look through the posts under ‘Paises’ on the website www.adoptiva.net