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Adoption restrictions to rule out single, gay foreign applicants

Adoption restrictions to rule out single, gay foreign applicants

In meetings with French, US officials, the government asks that such applicants be screened out after draft law is approved.

IN meetings with representatives from France and the United States, Cambodian officials this month expressed their opposition to adoptions involving single parents, gay parents, low-income parents and parents who already have two children.

This opposition will become an outright ban when a draft law on adoption, currently being reviewed by the Council of Ministers, is approved by the National Assembly, said Koy Kuong, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who added that he hoped the law would be passed "soon".

Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong met with Jean-Paul Monchau, the French official responsible for overseeing international adoptions, on February 3 and voiced concern about the potential psychological effects such adoptions can have on children, according to a ministry press release issued Tuesday.

Ouch Borith, a secretary of state at the ministry, raised largely the same points in a Monday meeting with Janice Jacobs, the assistant secretary of state for consular affairs at the US State Department. 

Cambodian officials asked the French and American officials to screen out adoption applicants who would no longer qualify once the draft law on adoption is passed. 

The adoption law would also make it legal for Cambodian parents to give up their children for adoption, Koy Kuong said. Currently, only Cambodian orphans can be adopted.

Foreign response

Koy Kuong said Jacobs told Ouch Borith at the meeting that the United States would consider supporting the new legal framework for international adoptions.

John Johnson, a spokesman for the US embassy in Phnom Penh, declined to discuss in detail the meeting between Ouch Borith and Jacobs, saying the US is waiting to see whether the adoption law passes.

Tuesday's press release said France had recently expressed interest in increasing the number of Cambodian children adopted by French parents.

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