ACT: Frequentely
Asked Questions

Find answers to the most common questions people have concerning ACT

Why is intercountry adoption wrong?

Intercountry adoption often involves vulnerable birth parents in low-income countries making decisions under challenging circumstances. They may feel coerced or uninformed about the consequences of their decisions without the support to take into account the long term consequences of their decisions..

Childless couples seeking to adopt, parents facing poverty, and unmarried mothers at risk of social ostracism can all become victims of unethical practices by criminal organisations disguising themselves as reputable adoption agencies. The more opportunities exist for relocating children from their birth families and native communities, the less motivated authorities are to establish support systems for at-risk children in their own countries.

What are adopted children's rights?

Adopted children’s rights are acknowledged by international and national laws and agreements. These rights include:

The right to a safe and loving home

The right to fair treatment

The right to preserve their original identity

The right to a quality education

The right to access healthcare

The right to protection from harm

The right to privacy

The right to have a voice in decisions

The right to information about their birth family

How are adopted children protected in law?

Adoptees are protected by an the internationally recognised treaty – the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The following articles outlines some of the fundamental rights of children applicable to adoptees.

Article 2 - Discrimination

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child’s parents, legal guardians, or family members.

Article 3 - Interests of the child 

In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare, institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

Article 6 - The right to life

States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life. 2. States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.

Article 8 - Identity 

States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference.

Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily his or her identity.

Article 12 - Freedom of speech

States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child. 

For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law. 

I want to access my adoption papers in India. Can you recommend a lawyer?

No, we don’t provide an introductory service to third-party lawyers. Our own lawyer, Anjali Pawar, brings legal expertise to our services. Our commitment to adoptees from India encompasses a comprehensive search service, which includes access to lawyers and legal professionals across all regions of India. What sets us apart is our specialisation in searches and adoption matters. 

Article 17 - Exposure to information

States Parties recognize the important function performed by the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health.

Article 18 - Parental responsibility

States Parties shall use their best efforts to ensure recognition of the principle that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child. Parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child. The best interests of the child will be their basic concern.

Article 19 Protection from harm

Contact us with what information you do have and we will find a way of getting your file. We have many years experience in carrying out searches and overcoming the seemingly impossible is part of our job description.

Do you do anything illegal? Or pay bribes?

States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.

Article 24 - Health

States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services. 

Article 25 - Social care

States Parties recognize the right of a child who has been placed by the competent authorities for the purposes of care, protection or treatment of his or her physical or mental health, to a periodic review of the treatment provided to the child and all other circumstances relevant to his or her placement. 

Article 28 - Education 

States Parties recognize the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular:

(a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all;

(b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, make them available and accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as the introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in case of need;

(c) Make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means;

(d) Make educational and vocational information and guidance available and accessible to all children;

(e) Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates.

How profit driven is the market in intercountry adoption?

The market in intercountry adoption is largely profit-driven. Adoption agencies, in their role as intermediaries, frequently impose hefty fees and commissions, contributing to the already significant expenses associated with intercountry adoption.

This profit-driven approach, characterised by high fees, creates an environment where unethical practices flourish. This includes instances of child trafficking and other unscrupulous activities, especially in regions where regulations and oversight are lax. In many cases, the lure of financial incentives lead to a focus on expediting adoptions rather than considering what’s genuinely in the best interest of the child.

Most recently in Eastern Europe policies introduced to end intercountry adoption have shown dramatic improvements in children’s services when the option of taking children out of the country is removed.

Furthermore, the profit-centric model can have a detrimental effect on child welfare institutions. Most recently in Eastern Europe policies introduced to end intercountry adoption have shown dramatic improvements in children’s services when the option of taking children out of the country is removed.

These policy changes have the effect of encouraging a more comprehensive focus on the well-being of children within their home countries whereas the prospect of intercountry adoption often leads to the deprioritization of investments in domestic child welfare services. When this option is no longer available, governments are forced to redirect their efforts toward enhancing local services and support systems. This can lead to an increased possibility in finding locally sourced foster carers , family reunification, and in-country adoption solutions.

Why is it better to help children and their families where they are?

Helping adoptees stay connected to their birth families, culture, and community honours a child’s right to grow up within their familiar cultural and social surroundings. According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC),

intercountry adoption should be a last resort and encourages us to do everything possible to keep children within their own families or communities.

Intercountry adoption can also lead to adoption trauma in children which is well documented as affecting adoptees in their later teens and early adulthood whereas children raised in their countries of birth are more likely to develop a strong sense of identity, belonging, and emotional stability.


Why do intercountry adoptions undermine the setting up of social support systems?

Governments who prioritise intercountry adoption, as a way of dealing with the most vulnerable children in their society, inevitably divert resources away local social support systems including healthcare, education, and other essential services for families in need.

Sometimes knowing that the possibility of intercountry adoption exists can create incentives for prioritising adoption over providing support to struggling families. Sometimes adoption may seem like a quicker or more attractive option, making it easier for authorities to put less emphasis on investing in local services, with the effect of discouraging governments and local authorities to make long-term investments to social support networks that require time and sustained effort to yield significant improvements.

Are adoptees commodities?

Adoptees are human beings and, as such, possess an intrinsic value as individuals and should never be considered objects for sale or trade.

The use of the term “commodity” to describe adoptees is dehumanising.. It is important for all agencies to respect the dignity and rights of adoptees and acknowledge their unique identities and experiences. If adoption is considered to be the only option available it should always be undertaken with a focus on their welfare and the best interests of the child should always be prioritised over and above any financial considerations.

How are adoptees mistreated or abused by the system?

Many intercountry adoptees can experience difficulties in connecting with their adopted family’s culture and struggle with their own and ethnic identities which can result in a sense of loss or disconnection from their heritage.

Some adoptees who have decided to search for their birth families face restricted access to their original birth records making it far more difficult for them to reconnect with their original biological family or cultural heritage. This lack of information can exacerbate confusion around their sense of identity and deepen feelings of abandonment.

Although the ideal of adoption is for children to be placed in loving and caring families, many have suffered mistreatment and neglect within their adoptive families including physical and psychological abuse. Unfortunately there is rarely any oversight from authorities and the crimes of abusive parents can go unpunished for years.

Even in cases where adoptees are placed with families as infants, the sense of loss and dislocation can be long-lasting and cause underlying psychological problems for adoptees into adulthood. Often, these unique challenges faced by adoptees, including issues related to race, identity, attachment, and the desire for reunion with birth families are not recognised and they receive inadequate or no support to help address them.

Mistreatment can also occur within the adoption industry itself where adoption agencies or individuals within it engage in child trafficking, falsifying documents, or coercing birth parents which can have the longer term consequence of making it all the more difficult for adoptees to trace their birth families.

Can child trafficking be considered a crime against humanity?

Crimes against humanity usually involve a systematic attack against civilian populations, leading to human rights abuses on a large scale. Although child trafficking is not currently classified as a crime against humanity, it is still is a serious crime more commonly addressed under national and international laws around child rights, and organised crime. Typically child trafficking doesn’t involve the same, systematic level of organisation required to come under the category of a crime against humanity.