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Florida agency lays out new, tighter international adoption rules

Anyone who has been through the process of an international adoption knows that it can include hurdles. At the same time, no one would deny how rewarding the experience is once an adoption is finalized. Couples who are considering adoption may want to understand forthcoming legal changes that could affect their plans.

Officials from the Florida Department of Children and Families stated that international adoptions throughout the United States will be subject to a new federal law beginning July 2014. Under the Universal Accreditation Act, international adoption agencies will no longer just need a state license to operate. Rather, additional credentials will be required.

In order for international adoptions to proceed, adoption agencies must now have Hague Accreditation. Before this designation is conferred to agencies, the U.S. State Department will have to review ethical practices and adoption history. The purpose of the law, according to federal officials, is to help prevent illegal practices that can accompany international adoption, such as child trafficking.

In addition to preventing illegal activities, the law also seeks to ensure that certain practices are followed in the countries where adoptions originate. A Florida official also noted that the new law could also reassure adoptive parents that cooperating agencies adhere to important ethical standards.

Changes to the law shouldn't discourage families from exploring all of their options for adoption. Rather, it's important to be prepared to take all the steps necessary to complete the international adoption process accurately. As such, families will want to make certain that the agencies involved in adoption fall in line with current standards.

Source:, "Stricter rules making international adoptions more difficult," Margaret Kavanagh, Jan. 30, 2014

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