Under the old laws, an orphan was defined as a child who has suffered from the death or disappearance of both parents, or for whom the sole surviving parent is unable to provide proper care. Additionally, the traditional rules only allowed single mothers to be considered the sole surviving parent. Unmarried fathers would not be allowed to release the child for adoption.
The Convention definition of an adoptable child is much broader. Both parents or the sole surviving parent may consent to terminate their parental rights and allow the child to emigrate. The child’s birth parents may still be alive, but they must be incapable of providing care for their child. In considering whether the birth parents were “incapable of providing proper care,” all relevant circumstances would be examined based on local standards. This will include financial concerns, poverty, medical, mental, or emotional difficulties, or long term incarceration.
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