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French adopters stranded

French adopters stranded

Fifteen French families are stuck in Phnom Penh after Cambodia expanded the moratorium

on international adoptions. That was according to a notice published on a French

government website.

"After the American authorities decided the adopters must cease processing the

adoption of Cambodian children, they requested the Cambodian government not grant

passports to adopted children," states the February 18 notice. It goes on to

explain that the ban on processing US cases for adoption had been expanded to a blanket

ban for all potential adopters.

"The Cambodian government extended this measure to all adopted children and

almost 15 French families must stay with their children in Phnom Penh," it said.

The French adoption system is lengthier and more complex than the US system and bans

the use of adoption "facilitators" in line with the Hague Convention on

adoptions.

The notice warned potential adopters not to go outside the law.

"The difficulties shouldn't incite candidates for adoption to avoid the general

processes or request services of people not officially responsible for adoption,"

it said. "We must recall that the French rules condemn the use of adoption intermediaries."

The French embassy did not respond to written requests for further information, but

the Post understands the measure affects around 200 French families who are at various

stages of adopting Cambodian children. According to the website 240 adoptions were

completed in 2000. Until February 11, 2002, 45 French visas had been granted for

adopted Cambodian children.

A notice posted on the US Immigration and Naturalization Service [INS] website February

19 states the "Cambodian authorities have acknowledged that the US Government's

concerns were justified". The US had previously suggested that document fraud

and baby selling were a feature of Cambodia's adoption system.

The statement announced the INS has sent a task force to discuss measures with the

government to ensure future adoptions are dealt with in a way "consistent with

US law."

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