International adoption has never been easy. It takes time, money, and commitment to bring a child from another land into a new family.
Then last year a woman from Tennessee put her adopted 7-year-old son on a one-way flight back to Russia, and a difficult process got a whole lot harder for a lot more Americans.
Russia banned adoptions to America for the better part of a year. Other nations began requiring much more careful screening and post-adoption follow-up visits for prospective families.
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If any good has come out of the Hansen scandal, it's been to improve the education and training that adoptive families undergo. Parents already go through extensive background checks - criminal and financial - home visits and counseling. Now, the scrutiny is tightening and parents can expect social workers to drop in on them and their new families for as many as five years after the adoption.
"Countries have become more stringent in their criteria" for screening potential adoptive parents, said Julie Bolles of Catholic Charities of Tennessee, which conducts home study visits for a variety of international adoption agencies. "Agencies have become more stringent about educating and preparing adoptive parents."
Still hoping for change
2 months ago