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Adoptions from Cambodia are still suspended. There is some hope for new adoption legislation in Cambodia in 2007.

On Dec. 21, 2001 the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service suspended adoptions from Cambodia. Other countries, including Australia, Canada and France, followed suit. INS action was based on confirmed reports of Cambodian children stolen from their birthmothers and placed for adoption with false documents. The suspension stays until the Cambodian Government can implement adoption laws meeting international norms and prevent abuses.

On Jan. 25, 2002 Cambodia confirmed it would suspend the adoption process, acknowledging the trafficking concerns. Prospective parents were urged to consider other countries, as the suspension would not likely be lifted in the foreseeable future.

The British Columbia ministry for adoptions advised parents that since Feb. 27, 2002 adoptions of children from Cambodia have not been facilitated in B.C. There were concerns that some adoptions involved buying and selling babies.

In March 2003, Canadian officials concluded that the adoption process in Cambodia is open to abuse and insufficiently protects the interests of the children and the birth and adoptive parents.

On March 1-4, 2004 U.S. officials visited Cambodia to see the government's progress in approving more stringent adoption legislation and eliminating opportunities for fraud and baby selling. The fact-finding mission made no decisions on the future of adoptions in Cambodia.

Cambodia continues to remain closed to intercountry adoptions with the United States. It is our understanding that in the near future there may be research conducted on the status of institutionalized children in Cambodia. [--Joint Council on International Children's Services,, May 2005]

On Nov. 20, 2004, the Washington Times reported, from UPI, that Lauryn Galindo of Seattle WA pleaded guilty to money laundering and visa fraud and was sentenced to 18 months in prison for placing for adoption Cambodian children who were not orphans. Her agency, Seattle International Adoptions Inc., arranged about 800 adoptions. Prosecutors accused Galindo of falsifying some adopted children's names, dates of birth, places of birth and family history, so many of the children -- some taken from mothers in Cambodia -- may never learn their true identity.

In July 2006 Joint Council for International Children's Services reported that although the State Department had hoped for passage of revised adoption legislation by year end, the Embassy in Cambodia feels this is less likely; 2007 may be more probable. France recently signed a bilateral agreement with the Cambodian government to start up adoptions by French families.

On Sept. 13, 2006 Deutsche Presse-Agentur ran the article "US official praises Cambodia's progress on adoptions". Maura Harty, U.S. assistant secretary of state, on a two-day fact-finding trip to Cambodia, said Sept. 13 that she was impressed with Cambodian government progress in making adoptions of children by U.S. citizens more transparent, but couldn't say if or when the four-year ban on adoptions might be lifted.

Alberta Children's Services wrote in September 2006 that the Canadian Embassy in Cambodia strongly discourages any adoption from Cambodia because of serious concerns about trafficking Cambodian children for international adoption. The embassy will not transmit any documents to Cambodian adoption authorities or officials to facilitate an adoption.

In January 2007 Joint Council for International Children's Services reported that it met with the State Department and got this update: During its Nov. 27-30 session, the Cambodian National Assembly approved Cambodia's joining the Hague Convention. The Convention was sent to the Cambodian Senate on Dec. 7 for approval; it was also sent to the Council of Ministers for review. This is progress toward ratification of the Convention by Cambodia. But as of Jan. 22 the State Department had heard of no further progress in ratification. It told Cambodian officials that the U.S. is willing to help Cambodia implement both adoption-related and broader child welfare reforms. The latter are a prerequisite to a possible future reopening of Cambodia for intercountry adoptions to the U.S.


For resources on Cambodia adoption, see Adoption Resource Central, Country-specific Resources.

Find an agency for the country you've chosen: use Agency Chooser,

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Country News is written by Robin Hilborn,
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Updated June 1, 2007

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