Given the permanency of adoption, it should be used very carefully and only when it is in a child’s best interests. In some cases difficult choices must be made between keeping a child in a temporary care situation in the hope of eventual family reunification, and a child’s developmental need for permanent attachment and care within a family environment. Adoption should not be considered an option in an emergency context. In the case of family separation in an emergency all tracing activities must be exhausted before adoption can be considered.
The long term care of a child requires thorough assessment and planning, and should include the participation of all those affected, especially the child in question. The choice for adoption must meet the child’s long term needs and wishes, and enable their healthy development into adulthood. Wherever possible, children should remain with siblings and encouraged to maintain contact with relatives. All adoptive placements should be in keeping with applicable national law and international standards.
Ideally adoptive parents should come from a similar cultural and religious background to the child, so that the child can retain her heritage and sense of identity. This will be more likely when the adoption is within the country of the child’s origin. The child care policies of a country must therefore provide mechanisms for formal state adoption procedures, and provide workers to support this process. Intercountry or cross border adoptions should be used with caution since the child is likely to grow up in unfamiliar surroundings, and may therefore be more isolated and exposed to risk. When intercountry adoption is in the best interests of a child, international protection agencies should ensure standards are met and procedures should be in keeping with the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption.
This section of papers includes country and policy examples of the use of adoption and guidance on practice.