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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US Embassy appears to take adoption step

US Embassy appears to take adoption step

The US Embassy – which has suspended adoptions from the Kingdom since 2001 – has begun to seek applicants for an “InterCountry Adoption Assistant”, though a spokesman denied that there was any plan to lift the ban.

In a job ad placed in a local newspaper yesterday, the embassy said the assistant would “perform all duties involved in immigrant visa processing of children” once adoptions resume.

No date was provided for the resumption, but applications had a deadline of March 7.

But US Embassy officials denied that intercountry adoptions were resuming at this time.

Spokesman Sean McIntosh said the filling of the adoption assistant position had “nothing to do” with the resumption of adoptions.

“Funding for this position has long been in place and we are seeking to fill the position.”

McIntosh said it was “clear” the Kingdom was committed to further progress and did not rule out a future partnership.

The US banned adoptions from Cambodia in 2001 amid concerns of baby-buying, fraud and corruption.

In 2009, the Kingdom passed its own law suspending foreign adoptions, while it cleaned up the regulations. That ban was lifted just last month and previously, Cambodian officials have said the US government had agreed to resume adoptions – a claim the US never confirmed.

Efforts to contact the Cambodian government were unsuccessful.

A Unicef spokesman said it understood the US government recognised there were still some areas that needed work before adoptions could be resumed.

Unicef country representative Rana Flowers told the Post in an email that systems should be in place to “ensure the child is indeed an orphan, to check on the proposed adopting parents and guarantee that they have no record of abuse or exploitation of children”.

Last week, Italy signed a new MoU that restarted adoptions with Cambodia. It is the first country to do so since the 2009 ban was lifted.

To contact the reporter on this story: Danson Cheong at dansoncjf@gmail.com

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