Illegal practices in international adoption


Publication of the report by the interministerial inspection mission on illegal practices in international adoption in France (13 March 2024)

Following the submission of the interministerial inspection mission’s report on illegal practices in international adoption, the Government recognizes that there were collective failures in the protection due to children and that these may have had consequences extending into their adult lives.

France wishes to provide the necessary answers and support to people who, as children, were not sufficiently protected, in particular when it comes to searching for their origins. In order to address their needs more effectively and avert any remaining risks for future adoptions, the Government is also asking the National Adoption Council (CNA) and the National Council on Access to Personal Origins (CNAOP) to discuss the recommendations set out in the report and issue a joint opinion within six months. Children’s best interests and support for adopted children who have become adults must be our collective compass.

The illegal practices which accompanied the surge in international adoptions until the beginning of the 2000s are now well documented. The interministerial inspection mission’s report is also aimed at encouraging consideration and debate among all those involved in international adoption in France. While it is impossible to assess the proportion of adoptions marred by illegal practices, the various strands of work all demonstrate the systemic nature of those practices, against the backdrop of poor regulation and vulnerable countries of origin.

The report recognizes the progress France has already made over the past 25 years on improving the regulation and transparency of practices relating to international adoption:

  • ratifying the Hague Convention in 1998;
  • creating the French Adoption Agency in 2005;
  • introducing the Act of 21 February 2022, which prohibits adoption not made through an officially recognized body;
  • strengthening control mechanisms, in particular by cooperating only with States that have ratified the Hague Convention and by deciding to accredit only one authorized adoption body (OAA) per State of origin alongside the public operator France Enfance Protégée, thus reducing the number of accredited OAAs to six, compared to 17 in 2022.

As the interministerial inspection mission’s report highlights, the risks of abuse in international adoption are minimal today, provided that these regulatory efforts continue: France is fully committed to this.