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US adoption talks ongoing

Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong met with US Senator Mary Loretta Landrieu last Friday to discuss the possibility of resuming foreign adoptions between the two countries, which have been suspended by the US since 2001 amid concerns of baby-buying, fraud and corruption.

Namhong told reporters after the meeting that one of the main roadblocks to lifting the ban was concerns about child-trafficking and reiterated recent government statements that adoptions will be largely limited to children eight years old and younger.

But he said the government was committed to resuming the adoption process between the two countries because officials believe adopted children would be raised well in the US.

Senator Landrieu said she was concerned about children here languishing in orphanages for extended periods of time.

“Children must go to warm families and be raised with a good quality of care,” she said, adding that the US government would be making a donation of $1 million toward improving child welfare in Cambodia.

Both sides said no date had yet been set for the resumption of foreign adoptions.

US Embassy spokesman Sean McIntosh said yesterday that while the Kingdom’s present adoption processes did not provide adequate protection for children, the US will “continue working with them, so when the time comes for adoptions to resume, they will be ready.”

Last week, the US Embassy placed an ad in a local newspaper seeking applicants for an “InterCountry Adoption Assistant.” 

To contact the reporter on this story: Sen David at david.sen@phnompenhpost.com

With assistance from Danson Cheong

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