The third Special Commission on the practical operation of the 1993 Intercountry Adoption Convention concluded in The Hague on June 25. Delegations from 88 countries and a variety of nongovernmental organizations devoted eight days to discussing these issues; I attended the meetings as an observer from the International Society of Family Law. The Commission adopted Conclusions and Recommendations that will be available on the web site of the Hague Conference. Detailed Preliminary Documents, including statistics from member countries and each country’s answers to detailed questionnaires, are also posted there.
Major subjects of discussion included measures to prevent abduction, sale and traffic in children and the draft of a new Guide to Good Practice on accreditation of agencies for international adoption work. The subject of the next Good Practice Guide will be selection, counseling and preparation of prospective adoptive parents. The Commission also had a considerable debate on the growing problem of international surrogacy, concluding that it was not appropriate to treat these cases under the Adoption Convention, but urging the Hague Conference to carry out further study of the legal issues around international surrogacy.