SOS Children’s Villages operates in the spirit of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and encourages governments and partners to implement its principles. Accordingly, we work to ensure that every child and young person is granted the right to grow up in a supportive, positive and loving environment.
Decisions related to children’s and young people’s care must always have the best interests of each individual child and young person at the centre. Every effort should be made to keep families together, and, in cases where separation is necessary, to enable family reunification.
When a child or young person cannot be cared for by the parents, the state is responsible to assess what other options are suitable for the care, including care in the extended family, foster care and other such forms of family-based or family-like alternative care, as well as adoption. Inter-country adoption, which involves the permanent transfer of a child or young person from his or her country of origin to another country, can be an option for some children and young people without parental care when other possible solutions in the country of origin have failed.
Nonetheless, SOS Children’s Villages acknowledges the complexity of inter-country adoption, and the potential dangers for misuse and illicit practice.
Therefore, SOS Children’s Villages believes that priority should be given to alternative care options in the child's or young person’s country of origin (as stated in Article 21 of the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child) such as domestic adoption, foster care, community-based care or family-based care.
Should inter-country adoption be considered, the well-established internationally recognised treaties and conventions serve as guidelines for best practice. The most notable of these is the 1993 Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation Regarding Inter-country Adoption (otherwise known as The Hague Convention).
SOS Children’s Villages strongly urges that if and when inter-country adoptions are deemed necessary, such adoptions occur between states that have ratified the Hague Convention. Private adoptions through non-accredited agencies should never be allowed, as they involve demonstrably greater risks of illicit practice.
Finally, SOS Children’s Villages recognises that adoption adds an extra layer of complexity to a child’s and young person’s life, particularly in the case of inter-country adoptions, whereby they are uprooted from their countries and communities of origin. SOS Children’s Villages advocates for comprehensive post-adoption support for everyone involved in the adoption, particularly the children and young people. Such services must include access to mental health providers, family and child counselling, adoptive family community organisations, and support groups, so as to facilitate a child’s and young person’s integration into his or her adoptive family.