International adoptions - Q&A (24 November 2022)


Q: What is the Quai d’Orsay’s reaction to the activities of some international adoption bodies?

A: The allegations concerning the practices of some [French] authorized adoption bodies (OAAs) as regards international adoptions are old. It is for the judicial authority, not the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to decide on possible action to be taken.

Adoption procedures supported by the accredited adoption bodies, and the way they operate, are strictly controlled today by the services of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs to ensure that they conform to the requirements set by international agreements and French law.

An OAA has just had its accreditation withdrawn in this way, on 24 October, by a decree published in the Journal officiel on 26 October. The decision was taken following a violation of the rules which apply under the Hague’s 1993 Adoption Convention, which governs international adoption and which France is a party to.

The Government is particularly sensitive to the prevention and remediation of illegal international adoption practices. On 8 November 2022 it launched an inter-ministerial inspection mission on illegal international adoption practices in order, firstly, to identify past alleged illegal practices to prevent them from happening again and, secondly, to respond to requests from adoptees and civil society. Formed from the three inspection bodies of the ministries concerned – the General Inspectorate of Foreign Affairs, the General Inspectorate of Justice and the General Inspectorate of Social Affairs –, the mission will present its findings in six months.

Furthermore, without waiting for the mission’s recommendations, the Ministry has been actively involved in drafting the legislative reforms which took place in January 2022 and now strengthen the ethical safeguards in international adoption, with two strong measures: a ban on single-parent adoptions and tighter controls on operators. OAA authorizations and accreditations are now time-restricted, allowing the authorities to regularly and scrupulously review the way they operate. The implementing decree for the Act of 21 February 2022 on the regulation of OAAs, which is being finalized, will allow the Government to further raise the level of requirement expected from operators, as much in terms of legal powers as their ability to lend support to families.

On 22 and 23 November 2022, the Ministry convened all international adoption stakeholders to make them aware again of the risks of illegal international adoption practices and ways of remedying irregularities which may have occurred in the past. All the bodies were reminded of the level of requirement expected for the renewal of authorizations and accreditations expiring in February 2024.