If you’re friends with me on my personal Facebook account, I know, I’m sorry. I’ve been over all this before. But when I saw the positive reaction online to the news this morning — Japan just became the 91st country to ratify the Hague Convention — I’ve decided I need to talk about it here, too.
Because it matters.
I’m not going to talk about whether or not there were good intentions behind the Hague Convention in the beginning. I’m going to talk about now.
We’ve seen it over and over and over again: the Convention adds an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy and red tape to the countries which ratify the treaty. It piles on the list of requirements, and in many cases the countries don’t have the infrastructure, the funding or the ability to comply with the new regulations. And in the wake of the Hague Convention — not always, but often — international adoptions grind to a near-halt.
Take a look at the Hague Convention’s complicated legacy in Guatemala.
I don’t have the answers, but I know there’s more to international child advocacy than the Hague Convention. It’s not enough to push a nation to ratify, and then walk away.
If you want to take a more in-depth look at the way the international adoption system is broken, I’d highly recommend watching the STUCK documentary. (At the time of this post, you can stream STUCK for free if you have a Netflix account. If you don’t have a way to access Netflix, email me, and I can send you a different link to stream the film.)