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armenpress: CHANGES TO ADOPTION LAW TO BE MADE

YEREVAN, AUGUST 19, ARMENPRESS: Deputy social security minister Karine Hakobian said an array of amendments to the Law on Adoption is being now developed to be submitted to government’s approval in autumn. Ms. Hakobian said the current law is very imperfect leaving room for corruption, especially in adoption of Armenian children by foreigners.

Under the proposed changes a government body supervising the process of adoption will have more authority to oversee adoptions and receive regular information about the state of the adopted children.

Hakobian said that information about the children adopted by Armenian citizens is usually available, which cannot be said about foreign adoptions. According to the deputy minister, the supervision must be based on inter-governmental agreements, as is the case in many civilized countries.

The changes will exclude the services of middlemen, permitted by current legislation. “Adoption of a child is a key decision in parents’ life and therefore they must be given time to arrive here to see the children before adoption. If this is not important for adoptive parents it would be better not to trust them,” she said.

Some recent stories in local media suggested that the process of adoption by foreigners involve thousands of dollars in bribes paid by adoptive parents and their agents to Armenian officials administering the process.

In the first half of this year some 80 children were adopted, of which 43 by Armenian citizens and 37 by foreigners. In 2002 178 children were adopted, of which 116 by Armenian citizens and 62 by foreigners.

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