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S 682 RS

Calendar No. 523

106th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 682

[Report No. 106-276]

To implement the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 23, 1999

Mr. HELMS (for himself, Ms. LANDRIEU, and Mr. JOHNSON) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

April 27, 2000

Reported by Mr. HELMS, with an amendment

[Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic]


A BILL

To implement the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

[Struck out->] SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the `Intercountry Adoption Convention Implementation Act of 1999'. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (b) TABLE OF CONTENTS- The table of contents of this Act is as follows: [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 2. Findings. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 3. Definitions. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] TITLE I--UNITED STATES CENTRAL AUTHORITY [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 101. Performance of central authority functions. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 102. Authority of the Department of State. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 103. Responsibilities of the Secretary of State. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 104. Responsibilities of the Attorney General. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 105. Annual report on intercountry adoptions. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] TITLE II--ACCREDITATION OF PERSONS PROVIDING INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION SERVICES [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 201. Eligibility to provide intercountry adoption services. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 202. Accrediting entities. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 203. Eligibility for accreditation. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 204. Oversight of accreditation. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] TITLE III--RECOGNITION OF CONVENTION ADOPTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 301. Adoptions of children immigrating to the United States. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 302. Amendments of the Immigration and Nationality Act. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 303. Adoptions of children emigrating from the United States. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 304. Special rules for certain cases. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 305. Voiding of adoptions for cause. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 306. Recognition of Convention adoptions before entry into force of Convention for the United States. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] TITLE IV--ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 401. Records; privacy provisions. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 402. Documents of other Convention countries. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 403. Authorization of appropriations; collection of fees. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 404. Enforcement. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] TITLE V--GENERAL PROVISIONS [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 501. Relation to other laws. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 502. No private right of action. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Sec. 503. Effective date; transition provisions. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 2. FINDINGS. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Congress recognizes-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) the international character of the Convention, and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) the need for uniform interpretation and implementation of the Convention in the United States and abroad, [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] and therefore finds that enactment of a Federal law governing intercountry adoptions subject to the Convention is necessary. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] In this Act: [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) ACCREDITED PERSON- The term `accredited person' means a person (including an agency), not organized for profit, that has been accredited in accordance with title II to provide adoption services and to perform other functions under the Convention. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) ACCREDITING ENTITY- The term `accrediting entity' means an entity designated under section 202(a). [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (3) ADOPTION SERVICES- The term `adoption services' means-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (A) identifying children for adoption and arranging adoptions; [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (B) securing necessary documentation of consent to termination of parental rights and to adoption; [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (C) performing background studies on children, home studies on prospective adoptive parents, and reports of such studies; [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (D) making determinations of the best interests of the child and the appropriateness of adoptive placement; [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (E) counseling children and birth and adoptive parents with respect to adoption; [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (F) engaging in post-placement monitoring of cases until final adoption; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (G) if necessary because of disruption in the adoption process, assuming custody of a child, and providing child care or other social services, pending an alternative placement of the child. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (4) AGENCY- The term `agency' means any public entity or private corporation, partnership, organization, or other association. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (5) ATTORNEY GENERAL- The term `Attorney General' means the Attorney General, acting through the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (6) BIRTH PARENT- The term `birth parent' means the biological mother and, where applicable under the law of the place of birth of the child, the biological father of the child who is the subject of an adoption. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (7) CENTRAL AUTHORITY- The term `central authority' means the entity designated by any Convention country under Article 6(1) of the Convention as having primary responsibility for the discharge of the obligations of that country under the Convention. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (8) CENTRAL AUTHORITY FUNCTION- The term `central authority function' means any duty required to be carried out by a central authority under chapter III or IV of the Convention. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (9) CONVENTION- The term `Convention' means the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, done at The Hague on May 29, 1993. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (10) CONVENTION ADOPTION- The term `Convention adoption' means, upon entry into force of the Convention in the United States-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (A) an adoption (or prospective adoption) of a child habitually resident in a foreign country party to the Convention by a United States citizen; or [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (B) an adoption (or prospective adoption) of a child habitually resident in the United States by a person or persons residing in another Convention country. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (11) CONVENTION ADOPTION RECORD- The term `Convention adoption record' means any item, collection, or grouping of information, including any index, contained in an electronic or physical document, an electronic collection of data, a photograph, an audio or video tape, or any other information storage medium of any type whatever that contains information about a specific past, current, or prospective Convention adoption (regardless of whether a final adoption resulted) and that has been identified and retained in accordance with section 401(a) by the Secretary of State or the Attorney General. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (12) CONVENTION COUNTRY- The term `Convention country' means a country party to the Convention. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (13) OTHER CONVENTION COUNTRY- The term `other Convention country' means a Convention country other than the United States. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (14) PERSON- The term `person' has the meaning given the term in section 1 of title 1, United States Code. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (15) PERSON WITH AN OWNERSHIP OR CONTROL INTEREST- The term `person with an ownership or control interest' has the meaning given such term in section 1124(a)(3) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320a-3). [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (16) STATE- The term `State' means the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] TITLE I--UNITED STATES CENTRAL AUTHORITY [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 101. PERFORMANCE OF CENTRAL AUTHORITY FUNCTIONS. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] All central authority functions of the United States shall be carried out by the Department of State and other officials of the United States specified in this Act. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 102. AUTHORITY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (a) IN GENERAL- Except as otherwise provided in this Act, for purposes of the Convention-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) the Department of State shall serve as the central authority of the United States; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) the Secretary of State shall serve as the head of the central authority of the United States. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (b) STATE DEPARTMENT PERSONNEL PERFORMING CENTRAL AUTHORITY FUNCTIONS- All personnel of the Department of State performing central authority functions in a professional capacity shall have 3 to 5 years of personal or professional experience in international adoptions. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (c) AUTHORITY TO ISSUE REGULATIONS- Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the Secretary of State may prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to carry out central authority functions on behalf of the United States. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 103. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (a) LIAISON RESPONSIBILITIES- The Secretary of State shall have primary responsibility for-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) liaison with the central authorities of other Convention countries; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) the coordination of activities under the Convention by persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (b) INFORMATION EXCHANGE- The Secretary of State shall be responsible for-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) providing the central authorities of other Convention countries with information concerning-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (A) persons accredited under title II, persons whose accreditation is suspended or canceled, and persons temporarily or permanently debarred from accreditation; [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (B) Federal and State laws relevant to implementing the Convention; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (C) any other matters necessary and appropriate for implementation of the Convention; [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) providing Federal agencies, State courts, and accredited persons with an identification of Convention countries and persons authorized to perform functions under the Convention in each such country; [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (3) facilitating the transmittal of other appropriate information to, and among, central authorities, Federal and State agencies (including State courts), and accredited persons; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (4) taking other appropriate actions necessary to implement the Convention. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (c) ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES- The Secretary of State-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) shall monitor individual Convention adoption cases involving United States citizens; [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) may facilitate interactions between such citizens and officials of other Convention countries on matters relating to the Convention in any case in which an accredited person is unwilling or unable to provide such facilitation; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (3) may provide any other appropriate assistance in other cases. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (d) ESTABLISHMENT OF REGISTRY- The Secretary of State and the Attorney General shall jointly establish a case registry on-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) all adoptions involving immigration into the United States, regardless of whether the adoption occurs under the Convention; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) all adoptions involving emigration of the child from the United States to any other Convention country. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Such registry shall permit tracking of pending cases and retrieval of information on both pending and closed cases. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 104. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] In addition to such other responsibilities as are specifically conferred upon the Attorney General by this Act, the central authority functions specified in Article 14 of the Convention (relating to the filing of applications by prospective adoptive parents to the central authority of their country of residence) shall be performed by the Attorney General. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 105. ANNUAL REPORT ON INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (a) REPORTS REQUIRED- Beginning one year after the date of enactment of this Act, and every year thereafter, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to Congress describing the activities of the central authority of the United States under this Act during the preceding year. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (b) REPORT ELEMENTS- Each report under subsection (a) shall set forth with respect to the year concerned, the following: [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) The number of adoptions involving immigration to the United States, regardless of whether the adoption occurred under the Convention, including the country from which each child emigrated and the State to which each child immigrated. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) The number of adoptions under the Convention, including the country from which each child emigrated and the State to which each child immigrated. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (3) The number of intercountry adoptions that were disrupted, including the country from which the child emigrated, the age of the child, the date of the adoption of the child, the reason for the disruption, and the resolution of the disruption. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (4) The names of the persons who possessed accreditation to perform intercountry adoptions. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (5) The names of the persons who were debarred from performing intercountry adoptions, and the reasons for the debarrment. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (6) The average time required for completion of an intercountry adoption. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (7) The number of intercountry adoptions that were completed in the United States, and the number of adoptions that were completed in each foreign country from which children subject to such adoptions emigrated. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (8) The number of intercountry adoptions to the United States that were found to be fraudulent. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (9) The average adoption fee for intercountry adoptions to the United States set forth by country. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (10) The average adoption fee for intercountry adoptions from the United States set forth by country. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (11) The average fee for accreditation of persons engaging in the provision of intercountry adoption services. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] TITLE II--ACCREDITATION OF PERSONS PROVIDING INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION SERVICES [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 201. ELIGIBILITY TO PROVIDE INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION SERVICES. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (a) IN GENERAL- Except as otherwise provided in this title, no person may offer or provide adoption services in connection with a Convention adoption unless that person-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) is accredited by an accrediting entity in accordance with this title; or [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) is providing such services through or under the supervision and responsibility of an accredited person. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (b) EXCEPTIONS- Subsection (a) shall not apply to any of the following persons: [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) CERTAIN SOCIAL WORK PROFESSIONALS AND ORGANIZATIONS- A social work professional or organization conducting (and reporting on) home studies on prospective adoptive parents or background studies on children in connection with adoptions, but not arranging or otherwise facilitating adoptions subject to the Convention. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) ENTITIES PROVIDING CHILD WELFARE SERVICES- A public or private entity intervening in a Convention adoption to provide child welfare services, but not itself arranging or facilitating the adoption. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (3) ATTORNEYS PROVIDING LEGAL SERVICES- An attorney providing legal services in connection with a Convention adoption, but not arranging, either directly or through agents, the adoption or otherwise providing adoption services in connection with the adoption. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (4) PROSPECTIVE ADOPTIVE PARENTS ACTING ON OWN BEHALF- Prospective adoptive parents when acting on their own behalf, if they are permitted to do so under the law of the State in which they reside. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 202. ACCREDITING ENTITIES. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (a) IN GENERAL- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) DESIGNATIONS OF ENTITIES- The Secretary of State shall designate as accrediting entities, and enter into agreements with, no more than five nonprofit private entities that-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (A) have experience and expertise in developing and administering international adoption services and standards for entities providing child welfare services; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (B) meet such other criteria as the Secretary may by regulation establish. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) LIMITATION- An accrediting entity shall undertake an accreditation strictly for intercountry adoption, unless a person seeks additional program accreditation. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (b) RESPONSIBILITIES OF ACCREDITING ENTITIES- The responsibilities of accrediting entities shall include the following: [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) ACCREDITATION- Accreditation of persons to perform functions under the Convention, subject to section 203. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) OVERSIGHT- Ongoing monitoring of the compliance by accredited persons with applicable requirements, including review of complaints against such persons in accordance with procedures established by this Act and by such accrediting entity and approved by the Secretary of State. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (3) ENFORCEMENT- Imposition of administrative remedies, including requirements for corrective action, and sanctions for noncompliance, including refusal to renew, or the suspension or cancellation of, accreditation. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (4) DATA, RECORDS, AND REPORTS- Collecting data, maintaining records, and making reports to the Secretary of State, State courts, and other entities (including reports on persons granted or denied accreditation). [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (c) REMEDIES FOR ACCREDITING ENTITY'S ADVERSE ACTION- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) IN GENERAL- In any case where an accrediting entity denies, suspends, or cancels the accreditation of a person under this title, mandates corrective action, or takes other adverse action, the accrediting entity shall specify the deficiencies on which the adverse action was based, and paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) shall apply with respect to remedies. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) CORRECTION OF DEFICIENCY AND REAPPLICATION- The person that is the subject of the adverse action shall be permitted to reapply for accreditation (or to petition for termination of any other sanction applied) upon demonstrating to the satisfaction of the accrediting entity that the deficiencies have been corrected. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (3) JUDICIAL REVIEW- The person that is the subject of the adverse action may petition the United States district court in the judicial district in which such person resides to set aside the action, but only upon clear and convincing proof that the action was not supported by substantial evidence or that the accrediting entity abused its discretion. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (4) NO FEDERAL ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW- An adverse action by the accrediting entity shall not be reviewable by the Secretary of State or any other Federal agency or administrative entity. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (d) FEES- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) AUTHORITY TO ASSESS- Accrediting entities are authorized to assess fees in amounts approved by the Secretary of State against persons seeking or maintaining accreditation for the purposes of intercountry adoptions. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) FEE AMOUNTS- The Secretary of State may approve fees to be assessed under paragraph (1) that do not exceed the amount estimated to be necessary to cover all direct or indirect costs of accreditation and ongoing oversight by the accrediting entity with regard to Convention cases. Fees established under this section shall reflect, to the maximum extent practicable, the extent to which overall costs of accrediting persons varies in relation to the volume of Convention adoption cases a person handles. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (3) LIMITATION- An accrediting entity shall not provide discounted fees for certain persons for accreditation for purposes of intercountry adoption. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 203. ELIGIBILITY FOR ACCREDITATION. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (a) ESTABLISHMENT OF STANDARDS- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) ISSUANCE OF REGULATIONS- The Secretary of State shall establish by regulation standards and procedures to be used by accrediting entities for the accreditation of persons for the purpose of arranging Convention adoptions. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) STANDARD-SETTING PROCESS- In establishing standards and procedures under this section, the Secretary of State-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (A) shall consider the views of individuals and entities with interest and expertise in international adoptions and family social services, including public and private entities with experience in licensing and accrediting adoption agencies; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (B) may adopt, after opportunity for public comment, all or part of any standards or procedures developed or proposed by such individuals or entities. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (b) REQUIREMENTS FOR ACCREDITATION- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) CONDITIONS FOR ACCREDITATION- Except as the Secretary of State may by regulation otherwise provide, each person seeking accreditation under this title with respect to intercountry adoption services shall satisfy the following requirements: [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (A) SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS- To agree as follows: [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (i) To provide persons who would be the adoptive parents of a child in a prospective Convention adoption a copy in English of the medical records of the child not later than the earlier of 2 weeks before the adoption or the date on which the persons travel to a foreign country to finalize the adoption. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (ii) To provide the persons a training program that includes at least 6 weeks of counseling and guidance before the parents travel to a foreign country to finalize the adoption. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (iii) To employ personnel providing intercountry adoption services on a fee-for-service basis rather than on a contingent-arrangement basis. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (iv) To have in force adequate liability insurance for professional negligence and any other insurance that the Secretary considers appropriate. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (v) To permit open examination of the person's practices, including the disruption rates of intercountry adoptions facilitated by the person and the fees charged by the person for intercountry adoptions. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (B) CAPACITY TO PERFORM ALL ASSIGNED FUNCTIONS- To have, either directly or through arrangements with other qualified persons, qualified personnel, financial resources, an organizational structure, and appropriate procedures sufficient to enable it to perform, in a manner consistent with applicable standards, all functions under the Convention which it is seeking authority to perform in accordance with this Act (including the counseling of individuals involved in intercountry adoptions and the assumption of custodial and financial responsibility for children in cases where a placement disrupts before final adoption). [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (C) UTILIZATION OF SOCIAL SERVICE PROFESSIONALS- To have procedures designed to ensure that social service functions requiring the application of clinical skills and judgment are performed only by professionals with appropriate qualifications and credentials. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (D) RECORDS, REPORTS, AND INFORMATION MATTERS- To provide for the maintenance of such records and to make such reports as may be required by the Secretary of State and the designated accrediting entity; to cooperate with reviews, inspections, and audits; to safeguard sensitive individual information; and to comply with other requirements concerning information management necessary to ensure compliance with the Convention, this Act, and any other applicable laws. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (E) COMPLIANCE WITH CONVENTION- To establish adequate measures to comply (and to ensure compliance of their agents and clients) with the Convention, this Act, and all other applicable laws, particularly with provisions concerning fraud, improper inducement, and similarly egregious acts. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) ADDITIONAL CONDITIONS FOR ACCREDITATION- No person shall be accredited under this title unless such person is a private organization, not organized for profit, and licensed to provide adoption services in at least one State. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 204. OVERSIGHT OF ACCREDITATION. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (a) OVERSIGHT OF ACCREDITING ENTITIES- The Secretary of State shall-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) monitor each accrediting entity's performance of its functions under section 202 and its compliance with the requirements of the Convention, this Act, other applicable laws, and implementing regulations; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) suspend or cancel the designation of an entity found to be substantially out of compliance with the Convention, this Act, other applicable laws, or implementing regulations. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (b) DEBARMENT- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) SECRETARY'S AUTHORITY- The Secretary of State may, on the Secretary's own initiative or upon request by an accrediting entity, order the temporary or permanent debarment of a person from accreditation for purposes of intercountry adoptions if there is no possibility for timely mediation and-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (A) there is substantial evidence that the person is out of compliance with applicable requirements; [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (B) there has been a pattern of serious, willful, or grossly negligent failures to comply or other aggravating circumstances indicating that renewal of accreditation would not be in the best interests of the children and families concerned; or [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (C) actions by a person impact adversely important national interests of the United States. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) PERIOD OF DEBARMENT- The debarment order of the Secretary of State shall state whether the debarment is temporary or permanent. If the debarment is temporary, the Secretary shall specify a date, not earlier than 3 years after the date of the order, on which date the person may apply to the Secretary who ordered the debarment for withdrawal of the debarment. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (3) EFFECT OF DEBARMENT- In the case of a person that has been debarred pursuant to this subsection, the accrediting entity may take the circumstances of such debarment into account in considering any subsequent application for accreditation of the person or of any other person in which the person has an ownership or control interest, notwithstanding that the period of debarment has elapsed. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (c) JUDICIAL REVIEW OF SECRETARY'S DECISIONS- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) REVIEW BY FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT- A person (other than a prospective adoptive parent, person, or accrediting entity adversely affected by a final determination of the Secretary of State under this title with respect to the designation of an accrediting entity, or the accreditation of a person) may obtain review of such determination by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, or in the United States district court in the judicial district in which such person or accrediting entity resides. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) STANDARD OF REVIEW- A determination by the Secretary of State under paragraph (1) may be set aside only if the person adversely affected by the Secretary's final determination presents clear and convincing proof of abuse of discretion by the Secretary. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (3) PRECLUSION OF JUDICIAL REVIEW OF SECRETARY OF STATE DETERMINATIONS- A determination by the Secretary of State on foreign policy grounds is not subject to judicial review. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] TITLE III--RECOGNITION OF CONVENTION ADOPTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 301. ADOPTIONS OF CHILDREN IMMIGRATING TO THE UNITED STATES. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (a) LEGAL EFFECT OF ADOPTIONS FINALIZED IN THE UNITED STATES- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATES BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE- Pursuant to Article 23 of the Convention, the Secretary of State shall, with respect to each Convention adoption, issue a certificate to the adoptive citizen parent domiciled in the United States that the adoption has been granted or, in the case of a prospective adoptive citizen parent, that legal custody of the child has been granted to the citizen parent for purposes of emigration and adoption, pursuant to the Convention and this Act, if the Secretary-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (A) receives appropriate notification from the central authority of such child's country of origin; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (B) has verified that the requirements of this Act have been met. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) LEGAL EFFECT OF CERTIFICATES- If appended to an original adoption decree, the certificate described in paragraph (1) shall be treated by Federal and State agencies, courts, and other public and private persons and entities as conclusive evidence of the facts certified therein, except as provided in section 305, and shall constitute the certification required by section 204(d)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by this Act. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (b) LEGAL EFFECT OF ADOPTIONS FINALIZED IN OTHER CONVENTION COUNTRIES- The final adoption in any other Convention country, certified by the Secretary of State pursuant to subsection (a) or section 303(d) of this Act, shall be recognized as a final, valid adoption for the purposes of all Federal, State, and local laws of the United States, and shall be accorded the same legal effect as the final adoption of a child in the State where such United States citizens reside or are domiciled. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (c) CONDITION ON FINALIZATION OF CONVENTION ADOPTIONS BY STATE COURTS- In the case of a child who has been admitted to the United States from any other Convention country for the purpose of adoption, a State court shall not have authority to issue an order declaring the adoption final unless the Secretary of State has issued the certificate described in subsection (b). [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 302. AMENDMENTS OF THE IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (a) DEFINITION OF `CHILD'- Section 101(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(1)) is amended-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) by striking `or' at the end of subparagraph (E); [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (F) and inserting `; or'; [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (3) in subparagraphs (E) and (F), by inserting `except as provided in subparagraph (G),' before `a child' each place it appears; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (4) by adding after subparagraph (F) the following new subparagraph: [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] `(G) a child, under the age of sixteen at the time a petition is filed on the child's behalf to accord a classification as an immediate relative under section 201(b), who has been adopted in a foreign country that is a party to the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, or who is emigrating from such a foreign country to be adopted in the United States by at least one United States citizen and the citizen's spouse jointly, or by an unmarried United States citizen at least 25 years of age, if-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] `(i) the Attorney General is satisfied that proper care will be furnished the child if admitted to the United States, [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] `(ii) in a case in which required by the country of the child's habitual residence, the child's birth parents, or other persons or institutions that retain legal custody of the child, have freely given their written irrevocable consent to the termination of their relationship with the child, [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] `(iii) in the case of a child who has not been adopted, the competent authority of the foreign State has approved the child's emigration to the United States for the purpose of adoption by the prospective adoptive parents, [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] `(iv) the child is not the grandchild, niece, nephew, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or first cousin of any of the adopting parents, unless-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] `(I) the child has no living mother because of the death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation from or loss of the child's mother; or [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] `(II) the father is unknown, or was not married to the child's mother on the date of the child's birth, or is incapable of providing the proper care for the child and has in writing irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption, and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] `(v) the prospective adoptive parent or married husband and wife have complied with any adoption requirements of the child's proposed State of residence, [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] except, that no birth parent or former adoptive parent of any such adopted child shall thereafter, by virtue of such parentage, be accorded any right, privilege, or status under this Act.'. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (b) APPROVAL OF PETITIONS- Section 204(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1154(d)) is amended-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) by striking `(d)' and inserting `(d)(1)'; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph: [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] `(2) No petition may be approved under subsection (a) on behalf of an alien child who seeks to be accorded immediate relative status as a child defined under section 101(b)(1)(G), unless the Secretary of State has certified to the Attorney General that the central authority of the child's country of origin has notified the United States Central Authority under the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption done at The Hague on May 29, 1993, that a United States citizen domiciled in the United States has effected final adoption of the child, or has been granted custody of the child for the purpose of emigration and adoption, in accordance with the Convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act.'. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (c) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Section 101(b)(2) of that Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(2)) is amended by inserting `and paragraph (1)(G) (other than for purposes of the exception therein)' after `second proviso therein)'. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (d) EFFECTIVE DATE- The amendments made by this section shall apply with respect to petitions for classification under section 204 of the Immigration and Nationality Act filed on or after the date of enactment of this Act. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 303. ADOPTIONS OF CHILDREN EMIGRATING FROM THE UNITED STATES. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (a) COVERED CASES- This section shall apply in any case in which a child residing in the United States is sought for adoption in any other Convention country. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (b) RESPONSIBILITIES OF ACCREDITED PERSONS- In any case described in subsection (a), the accredited person that is providing adoption services in such a case, or the prospective adoptive parents acting on their own behalf, if permitted by the laws of the Convention country in which they reside and the laws of the State in which the child resides, shall have the following responsibilities: [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) Provide a written documentation of the following: [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (A) A background study on the child that meets the standards of the State court with jurisdiction over the child has been completed. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (B) The child will be adopted by a married man and woman. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (C) Twelve months have elapsed since the person made efforts to place the child in the United States. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (D) A determination has been made, in accordance with section 107 of Public Law 105-89 that the child cannot be placed in the United States. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (E) A determination has been made that placement with the prospective parents is in the best interests of the child. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) Furnish to State courts with the jurisdiction over adoption cases described in subsection (a) the following information and documents: [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (A) Documentation of the matters described in paragraph (1). [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (B) The background report (home study) on the prospective adoptive parent or parents prepared in accordance with the laws of the receiving country. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (C) A background report compatible with the laws of the State with jurisdiction. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (D) A declaration by the central authority (or other competent authority) of the receiving country-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (i) that the child will be permitted to enter and reside permanently, or on the same basis as the adopting parent, in the receiving country; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (ii) that the central authority or other competent authority of the receiving country consents to the adoption, if such consent is necessary under its laws. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (3) Furnish to the Secretary of State-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (A) official copies of State court orders certifying the final adoption or grant of custody for the purpose of adoption; [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (B) the information and documents described in paragraph (2); and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (C) any other information concerning the case required by the Secretary of State to perform the functions specified in subsection (d) or otherwise to carry out its responsibilities under the Convention. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (c) CONDITIONS ON STATE COURT ORDERS- An order by a State court certifying an adoption as final or granting custody for the purpose of adoption in a case described in subsection (a) shall not be recognized by the Secretary of State or the Attorney General for purposes of intercountry adoption unless the court-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) has received and verified to the extent it may find necessary-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (A) the information and documentation specified in section (b)(2); and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (B) satisfactory evidence that the requirements of Article 4 and Articles 15 through 21 of the Convention have been satisfied; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) has determined that the adoptive placement is in the child's best interests. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (d) RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE- In each case described in subsection (a), the Secretary of State, upon receipt and verification as necessary of the information and documents described in subsection (b)(3), shall issue, as applicable, an official certification that the child has been adopted or a declaration that custody for purposes of adoption has been granted, in accordance with the Convention and this Act. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (e) REQUIREMENTS UNDER STATE LAW- In cases described in subsection (a), States may impose additional responsibilities and requirements, not inconsistent with the provisions of this section, upon accredited persons and prospective adoptive parents acting on their own behalf. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 304. SPECIAL RULES FOR CERTAIN CASES. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] To the extent consistent with the Convention, the Secretary of State shall establish by regulation-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) alternative procedures for the adoption of children by individuals related to them by blood or marriage; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) procedures permitting exceptions to applicable requirements, and waiving penalties for noncompliance, in the case of unintentional or harmless failures to comply with the requirements of the Convention, this Act, or implementing regulations issued under this Act. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 305. VOIDING OF ADOPTIONS FOR CAUSE. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (a) VOIDING ADOPTIONS BY STATE COURTS- In addition to any remedies available under State law, a final decree entered with respect to a Convention adoption may be vacated by a State court if-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) the decree was granted by a State court; [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) the court finds clear and convincing evidence that-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (A) the consent of a birth parent or, in the absence thereof, the consent of a biological relative if required by State law, to termination of parental rights or to the adoption was not obtained, or was obtained as a result of fraud, duress, or improper inducement; or [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (B) consent of an adoptive parent to the adoption was obtained by fraud which such parent did not and could not reasonably have been expected to discover; [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (3) voiding the adoption is in the best interests of the child, taking into consideration the wishes of the child as appropriate given his or her age; [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (4) less than two years have passed since the adoptive parents obtained custody of the child; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (5) the adoptive parents are afforded an opportunity to be heard in the proceeding. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (b) RECOGNITION OF ANY OTHER CONVENTION COUNTRY'S PROCEEDING VACATING ADOPTIONS COVERED BY THE CONVENTION- Whenever the competent authorities of any other Convention country notify the Secretary of State that-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) the authorities have vacated an adoption decree originally made in that country pursuant to the Convention; and [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) the decree has been vacated in accordance with the standards established in paragraphs (2) through (5) of subsection (a), [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] the decision to void such a decree shall be recognized as valid and given full effect in the United States. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (c) VOIDING OF ADOPTION NOT VOIDING CHILD's NATURALIZATION- If a court of competent jurisdiction voids an adoption decree in accordance with subsection (a) or (b), such action does not void or prohibit the naturalization of the child as a citizen of the United States. Nothing in this subsection limits the Attorney General's authority under title III of the Immigration and Nationality Act to revoke the naturalization of such a child or to limit the Attorney General's discretion to consider a finding of fact by a State court that is relevant to such a determination. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 306. RECOGNITION OF CONVENTION ADOPTIONS BEFORE ENTRY INTO FORCE OF CONVENTION FOR THE UNITED STATES. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Subject to Article 24 of the Convention, any adoption concluded between two Convention countries that satisfies the requirements of Article 23 of the Convention and that became final before the date of entry into force of the Convention for the United States shall be recognized thereafter in the United States and given full effect. Such recognition shall include the specific effects described in Article 26 of the Convention. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] TITLE IV--ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 401. RECORDS; PRIVACY PROVISIONS. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (a) MAINTENANCE OF CONVENTION ADOPTION RECORDS- The Secretary of State and the Attorney General shall establish procedures consistent with the requirements of Articles 30 and 31 of the Convention for the retention and identification of Convention adoption records. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (b) DISCLOSURE OF AND ACCESS TO IDENTIFYING INFORMATION- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) CONSENT REQUIRED- Except as provided in subsection (d), identifying information contained in Convention adoption records shall not be disclosed. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) APPLICATION OF PRIVACY ACT- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (A) An individual, or an individual's parent or guardian, who would otherwise have a right to access any Convention adoption record pursuant to section 552a of title 5, United States Code, shall have such right with respect to identifying information in such a record only to the extent that such right is not restricted by this section. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (B) Disclosure of identifying information in any Convention adoption record shall be subject to any restrictions that may be imposed by section 552a of title 5, United States Code, and shall also be subject to any restrictions imposed by this section. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (3) NO DISCLOSURE TO CHILD UNDER 18- A child who is the subject of a Convention adoption record shall not be afforded access to identifying information in such record, and such information shall not be disclosed to such child, unless the child has reached the age of 18 years. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (c) FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT EXEMPTION- Information contained in records of the Department of State and the Immigration and Naturalization Service relating to adoption cases subject to the Convention shall not be disclosed to any person pursuant to section 552 of title 5, United States Code. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (d) DISCLOSURE FOR PURPOSES OF ADMINISTRATION OF THE CONVENTION- Information in Convention adoption records may be disclosed by the Department of State, any official of the United States exercising central authority functions, any accredited person if necessary to administer the Convention or this Act. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (e) IDENTIFYING INFORMATION DEFINED- In this section, the term `identifying information' means any information contained in an adoption record other than information relating to the health, social, or genetic background of the child, and which does not specifically identify the child, as prescribed by regulation by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 402. DOCUMENTS OF OTHER CONVENTION COUNTRIES. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Documents originating in any other Convention country and related to a Convention adoption case shall require no authentication or legalization in order to be admissible in any Federal, State, or local court in the United States, unless a specific and supported claim is made that the documents are false, have been altered, or are otherwise unreliable. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 403. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS; COLLECTION OF FEES. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (a) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) IN GENERAL- There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to agencies of the Federal Government implementing the Convention and the provisions of this Act. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS- Amounts appropriated pursuant to paragraph (1) are authorized to remain available until expended. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (b) ASSESSMENT OF FEES- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) The Secretary of State may charge a fee prescribed by regulation to cover the costs of new or enhanced services that will be undertaken by the Department of State to meet the requirements of this Act. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) Fees collected under paragraph (1) shall be deposited as an offsetting collection to any Department of State appropriation to recover the costs of providing such services. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (3) The provisions of the Act of August 18, 1856 (Revised Statutes Sec. 1726-28; 22 U.S.C. 4212-14), concerning accounting for consular fees, shall not apply to fees collected under this subsection. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (4) Fees authorized under this section shall be collected and available for obligation only to the extent and in the amount provided in advance in appropriations Acts. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (c) RESTRICTION- No funds may be made available to an accrediting entity to carry out the purposes of this Act. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 404. ENFORCEMENT. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (a) CIVIL PENALTIES- Any person that-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) provides adoption services in the United States to facilitate a Convention adoption without appropriate accreditation in accordance with title II, [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) makes a false or fraudulent statement or misrepresentation of material fact, or offers, gives, solicits or accepts improper inducement intended to influence or affect-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (A) decisions concerning the accreditation of persons to perform adoption services and central authority functions under this Act, [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (B) the relinquishment of parental rights or parental consent relating to the adoption of a child within the scope of this Act, or [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (C) the decisions or actions of persons and entities performing central authority functions pursuant to the Convention and this Act, [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (3) makes a disclosure of information not authorized by section 401(d) or to a person not authorized to receive the information under that section, or [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (4) engages in coercive action to gain consent to termination of parental rights or to adoption, [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] shall be subject, in addition to any other penalties that may be prescribed by law, to a civil money penalty of not more than $5,000 for a first violation, and not more than $10,000 for each succeeding violation. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (b) ENFORCEMENT- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) COORDINATION WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL- The Secretary of State may impose a civil money penalty under subsection (a) pursuant to such procedures as may be agreed upon by the Secretary and the Attorney General. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) NOTICE AND HEARING- No penalty shall be assessed under this section until the person charged has been given written notice and an opportunity to respond. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (3) FACTORS CONSIDERED IN IMPOSING PENALTY- In determining the amount of the penalty, the gravity of the violation, the degree of culpability, and the history of prior violations, if any, shall be considered. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (c) CRIMINAL PENALTIES- Whoever knowingly and willfully commits a violation specified in subsection (a)(2) shall be subject to a fine of not more than $10,000, or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] TITLE V--GENERAL PROVISIONS [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 501. RELATION TO OTHER LAWS. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (a) LIMITED PREEMPTION- No provision of Federal, State, or local law shall be considered preempted by the Convention, this Act, or implementing regulations unless specified in this Act. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (b) INDIAN CHILD WELFARE ACT- Nothing in this Act or in the Convention is inconsistent with or modifies the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. 1901 et seq.) concerning custody and placement of children subject to that Act. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (c) STATE LICENSING LAWS- Nothing in the Convention or this Act precludes any State from requiring that a person or entity be licensed by the State as a condition of providing adoption-related services. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 502. NO PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] Nothing in the Convention or this Act creates a private right of action to seek administrative or judicial relief, except to the extent specifically provided. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 503. EFFECTIVE DATE; TRANSITION PROVISIONS. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (a) Effective Date- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) PROVISIONS EFFECTIVE UPON ENACTMENT- Except as provided in paragraph (2), this Act shall take effect upon its date of enactment. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (2) PROVISIONS EFFECTIVE UPON THE CONVENTION'S ENTRY INTO FORCE- Subject to the provisions of subsection (b), sections 104, 202, 402, and 404 and titles III and IV shall take effect upon the date of entry into force of the Convention for the United States pursuant to Article 46(2)(a) of the Convention, and shall govern Convention adoptions made final thereafter. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (b) TRANSITION PROVISIONS- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (1) ADOPTIONS IN PROCESS ON EFFECTIVE DATE- The Convention and this Act shall not apply-- [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (A) in the case of a child immigrating to the United States, if the application for advance processing of an orphan petition or petition to classify an orphan as an immediate relative for such child is filed before the effective date specified in subsection (a); or [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] (B) in the case of a child emigrating from the United States, if the prospective adoptive parents initiated the adoption process in their country of residence with the filing of an appropriate application before the effective date of this Act. [<-Struck out]

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

(a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the `Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000'.

(b) TABLE OF CONTENTS- The table of contents of this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Findings and purposes.

Sec. 3. Definitions.

TITLE I--UNITED STATES CENTRAL AUTHORITY

Sec. 101. Designation of central authority.

Sec. 102. Responsibilities of the Secretary of State.

Sec. 103. Responsibilities of the Attorney General.

Sec. 104. Annual report on intercountry adoptions.

TITLE II--PROVISIONS RELATING TO ACCREDITATION AND APPROVAL

Sec. 201. Accreditation or approval required in order to provide adoption services in cases subject to the Convention.

Sec. 202. Process for accreditation and approval; role of accrediting entities.

Sec. 203. Standards and procedures for providing accreditation or approval.

Sec. 204. Secretarial oversight of accreditation and approval.

Sec. 205. State plan requirement.

TITLE III--RECOGNITION OF CONVENTION ADOPTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES

Sec. 301. Adoptions of children immigrating to the United States.

Sec. 302. Immigration and Nationality Act amendments relating to children adopted from Convention countries.

Sec. 303. Adoptions of children emigrating from the United States.

TITLE IV--ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT

Sec. 401. Access to Convention records.

Sec. 402. Documents of other Convention countries.

Sec. 403. Authorization of appropriations; collection of fees.

Sec. 404. Enforcement.

TITLE V--GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec. 501. Recognition of Convention adoptions.

Sec. 502. Special rules for certain cases.

Sec. 503. Relationship to other laws.

Sec. 504. No private right of action.

Sec. 505. Effective dates; transition rule.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.

(a) FINDINGS- Congress recognizes--

(1) the international character of the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (done at The Hague on May 29, 1993), and

(2) the need for uniform interpretation and implementation of the Convention in the United States and abroad,

and therefore finds that enactment of a Federal law governing adoptions and prospective adoptions subject to the Convention involving United States residents is essential.

(b) PURPOSES- The purposes of this Act are--

(1) to provide for implementation by the United States of the Convention;

(2) to protect the rights of, and prevent abuses against, children, birth families, and adoptive parents involved in adoptions (or prospective adoptions) subject to the Convention, and to ensure that such adoptions are in the children's best interests; and

(3) to improve the ability of the Federal Government to assist United States citizens seeking to adopt children from abroad and residents of other countries party to the Convention seeking to adopt children from the United States.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

As used in this Act:

(1) ACCREDITED AGENCY- The term `accredited agency' means an agency accredited under title II to provide adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the Convention.

(2) ACCREDITING ENTITY- The term `accrediting entity' means an entity designated under section 202(a) to accredit agencies and approve persons under title II.

(3) ADOPTION SERVICE- The term `adoption service' means--

(A) identifying a child for adoption and arranging an adoption;

(B) securing necessary consent to termination of parental rights and to adoption;

(C) performing a background study on a child or a home study on a prospective adoptive parent, and reporting on such a study;

(D) making determinations of the best interests of a child and the appropriateness of adoptive placement for the child;

(E) post-placement monitoring of a case until final adoption; and

(F) where made necessary by disruption before final adoption, assuming custody and providing child care or any other social service pending an alternative placement.

The term `providing', with respect to an adoption service, includes facilitating the provision of the service.

(4) AGENCY- The term `agency' means any person other than an individual.

(5) APPROVED PERSON- The term `approved person' means a person approved under title II to provide adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the Convention.

(6) ATTORNEY GENERAL- Except as used in section 404, the term `Attorney General' means the Attorney General, acting through the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization.

(7) CENTRAL AUTHORITY- The term `central authority' means the entity designated as such by any Convention country under Article 6(1) of the Convention.

(8) CENTRAL AUTHORITY FUNCTION- The term `central authority function' means any duty required to be carried out by a central authority under the Convention.

(9) CONVENTION- The term `Convention' means the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, done at The Hague on May 29, 1993.

(10) CONVENTION ADOPTION- The term `Convention adoption' means an adoption of a child resident in a foreign country party to the Convention by a United States citizen, or an adoption of a child resident in the United States by an individual residing in another Convention country.

(11) CONVENTION RECORD- The term `Convention record' means any item, collection, or grouping of information contained in an electronic or physical document, an electronic collection of data, a photograph, an audio or video tape, or any other information storage medium of any type whatever that contains information about a specific past, current, or prospective Convention adoption (regardless of whether the adoption was made final) that has been preserved in accordance with section 401(a) by the Secretary of State or the Attorney General.

(12) CONVENTION COUNTRY- The term `Convention country' means a country party to the Convention.

(13) OTHER CONVENTION COUNTRY- The term `other Convention country' means a Convention country other than the United States.

(14) PERSON- The term `person' shall have the meaning provided in section 1 of title 1, United States Code, and shall not include any agency of government or tribal government entity.

(15) PERSON WITH AN OWNERSHIP OR CONTROL INTEREST- The term `person with an ownership or control interest' has the meaning given such term in section 1124(a)(3) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320a-3).

(16) SECRETARY- The term `Secretary' means the Secretary of State.

(17) STATE- The term `State' means the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.

TITLE I--UNITED STATES CENTRAL AUTHORITY

SEC. 101. DESIGNATION OF CENTRAL AUTHORITY.

(a) IN GENERAL- For purposes of the Convention and this Act--

(1) the Department of State shall serve as the central authority of the United States; and

(2) the Secretary shall serve as the head of the central authority of the United States.

(b) PERFORMANCE OF CENTRAL AUTHORITY FUNCTIONS-

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the Secretary shall be responsible for the performance of all central authority functions for the United States under the Convention and this Act.

(2) All personnel of the Department of State performing core central authority functions in a professional capacity in the Office of Children's Issues shall have a strong background in consular affairs, personal experience in international adoptions, or professional experience in international adoptions or child services.

(c) AUTHORITY TO ISSUE REGULATIONS- Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the Secretary may prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to carry out central authority functions on behalf of the United States.

SEC. 102. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE.

(a) LIAISON RESPONSIBILITIES- The Secretary shall have responsibility for--

(1) liaison with the central authorities of other Convention countries; and

(2) the coordination of activities under the Convention by persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

(b) INFORMATION EXCHANGE- The Secretary shall be responsible for--

(1) providing the central authorities of other Convention countries with information concerning--

(A) accredited agencies and approved persons, agencies and persons whose accreditation or approval has been suspended or canceled, and agencies and persons who have been temporarily or permanently debarred from accreditation or approval;

(B) Federal and State laws relevant to implementing the Convention; and

(C) any other matters necessary and appropriate for implementation of the Convention;

(2) providing Federal agencies, State courts, and accredited agencies and approved persons with an identification of Convention countries and persons authorized to perform functions under the Convention in each such country; and

(3) facilitating the transmittal of other appropriate information to, and among, central authorities, Federal and State agencies (including State courts), and accredited agencies and approved persons.

(c) ACCREDITATION AND APPROVAL RESPONSIBILITIES- The Secretary shall carry out the functions prescribed by the Convention with respect to the accreditation of agencies and the approval of persons to provide adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the Convention as provided in title II. Such functions may not be delegated to any other Federal agency.

(d) ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES- The Secretary--

(1) shall monitor individual Convention adoption cases involving United States citizens; and

(2) may facilitate interactions between such citizens and officials of other Convention countries on matters relating to the Convention in any case in which an accredited agency or approved person is unwilling or unable to provide such facilitation.

(e) ESTABLISHMENT OF REGISTRY- The Secretary and the Attorney General shall jointly establish a case registry of all adoptions involving immigration of children into the United States and emigration of children from the United States, regardless of whether the adoption occurs under the Convention. Such registry shall permit tracking of pending cases and retrieval of information on both pending and closed cases.

(f) METHODS OF PERFORMING RESPONSIBILITIES- The Secretary may--

(1) authorize public or private entities to perform appropriate central authority functions for which the Secretary is responsible, pursuant to regulations or under agreements published in the Federal Register; and

(2) carry out central authority functions through grants to, or contracts with, any individual or public or private entity, except as may be otherwise specifically provided in this Act.

SEC. 103. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.

In addition to such other responsibilities as are specifically conferred upon the Attorney General by this Act, the central authority functions specified in Article 14 of the Convention (relating to the filing of applications by prospective adoptive parents to the central authority of their country of residence) shall be performed by the Attorney General.

SEC. 104. ANNUAL REPORT ON INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS.

(a) REPORTS REQUIRED- Beginning one year after the date of the entry into force of the Convention for the United States and each year thereafter, the Secretary, in consultation with the Attorney General and other appropriate agencies, shall submit a report describing the activities of the central authority of the United States under this Act during the preceding year to the Committee on International Relations, the Committee on Ways and Means, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Finance, and the Committee on Judiciary of the Senate.

(b) REPORT ELEMENTS- Each report under subsection (a) shall set forth with respect to the year concerned, the following:

(1) The number of intercountry adoptions involving immigration to the United States, regardless of whether the adoption occurred under the Convention, including the country from which each child emigrated, the State to which each child immigrated, and the country in which the adoption was finalized.

(2) The number of intercountry adoptions involving emigration from the United States, regardless of whether the adoption occurred under the Convention, including the country to which each child immigrated and the State from which each child emigrated.

(3) The number of Convention placements for adoption in the United States that were disrupted, including the country from which the child emigrated, the age of the child, the date of the placement for adoption, the reasons for the disruption, the resolution of the disruption, the agencies that handled the placement for adoption, and the plans for the child, and in addition, any information regarding disruption or dissolution of adoptions of children from other countries received pursuant to section 422(b)(14) of the Social Security Act, as amended by section 205 of this Act.

(4) The average time required for completion of a Convention adoption, set forth by country from which the child emigrated.

(5) The current list of agencies accredited and persons approved under this Act to provide adoption services.

(6) The names of the agencies and persons temporarily or permanently debarred under this Act, and the reasons for the debarment.

(7) The range of adoption fees charged in connection with Convention adoptions involving immigration to the United States and the median of such fees set forth by the country of origin.

(8) The range of fees charged for accreditation of agencies and the approval of persons in the United States engaged in providing adoption services under the Convention.

TITLE II--PROVISIONS RELATING TO ACCREDITATION AND APPROVAL

SEC. 201. ACCREDITATION OR APPROVAL REQUIRED IN ORDER TO PROVIDE ADOPTION SERVICES IN CASES SUBJECT TO THE CONVENTION.

(a) IN GENERAL- Except as otherwise provided in this title, no person may offer or provide adoption services in connection with a Convention adoption in the United States unless that person--

(1) is accredited or approved in accordance with this title; or

(2) is providing such services through or under the supervision and responsibility of an accredited agency or approved person.

(b) EXCEPTIONS- Subsection (a) shall not apply to the following:

(1) BACKGROUND STUDIES AND HOME STUDIES- The performance of a background study on a child or a home study on a prospective adoptive parent, or any report on any such study by a social work professional or organization who is not providing any other adoption service in the case, if the background or home study is approved by an accredited agency.

(2) CHILD WELFARE SERVICES- The provision of a child welfare service by a person who is not providing any other adoption service in the case.

(3) LEGAL SERVICES- The provision of legal services by a person who is not providing any adoption service in the case.

(4) PROSPECTIVE ADOPTIVE PARENTS ACTING ON OWN BEHALF- The conduct of a prospective adoptive parent on his or her own behalf in the case, to the extent not prohibited by the law of the State in which the prospective adoptive parent resides.

SEC. 202. PROCESS FOR ACCREDITATION AND APPROVAL; ROLE OF ACCREDITING ENTITIES.

(a) DESIGNATION OF ACCREDITING ENTITIES-

(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall enter into agreements with one or more qualified entities under which such entities will perform the duties described in subsection (b) in accordance with the Convention, this title, and the regulations prescribed under section 203, and upon entering into each such agreement shall designate the qualified entity as an accrediting entity.

(2) QUALIFIED ENTITY- In paragraph (1), the term `qualified entity' means a nonprofit private entity that has expertise in developing and administering standards for entities providing child welfare services and that meets such other criteria as the Secretary may by regulation establish.

(b) DUTIES OF ACCREDITING ENTITIES- The duties described in this subsection are the following:

(1) ACCREDITATION AND APPROVAL- Accreditation of agencies, and approval of persons, to provide adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the Convention.

(2) OVERSIGHT- Ongoing monitoring of the compliance of accredited agencies and approved persons with applicable requirements, including review of complaints against such agencies and persons in accordance with procedures established by the accrediting entity and approved by the Secretary.

(3) ENFORCEMENT- Taking of adverse actions (including requiring corrective action, imposing sanctions, and refusing to renew, suspending, or canceling accreditation or approval) for noncompliance with applicable requirements, and notifying the agency or person against whom adverse actions are taken of the deficiencies necessitating the adverse action.

(4) DATA, RECORDS, AND REPORTS- Collection of data, maintenance of records, and reporting to the Secretary, the United States central authority, State courts, and other entities (including on persons and agencies granted or denied approval or accreditation), to the extent and in the manner that the Secretary requires.

(c) REMEDIES FOR ADVERSE ACTION BY ACCREDITING ENTITY-

(1) CORRECTION OF DEFICIENCY- An agency or person who is the subject of an adverse action by an accrediting entity may re-apply for accreditation or approval (or petition for termination of the adverse action) on demonstrating to the satisfaction of the accrediting entity that the deficiencies necessitating the adverse action have been corrected.

(2) NO OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW- An adverse action by an accrediting entity shall not be subject to administrative review.

(3) JUDICIAL REVIEW- An agency or person who is the subject of an adverse action by an accrediting entity may petition the United States district court in the judicial district in which the agency is located or the person resides to set aside the adverse action. The court shall review the adverse action in accordance with section 706 of title 5, United States Code, and for purposes of such review the accrediting entity shall be considered an agency within the meaning of section 701 of such title.

(d) FEES- The amount of fees assessed by accrediting entities for the costs of accreditation shall be subject to approval by the Secretary. Such fees may not exceed the costs of accreditation. In reviewing the level of such fees, the Secretary shall consider the relative size of, the geographic location of, and the number of Convention adoption cases managed by the agencies or persons subject to accreditation or approval by the accrediting entity.

SEC. 203. STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES FOR PROVIDING ACCREDITATION OR APPROVAL.

(a) IN GENERAL-

(1) PROMULGATION OF REGULATIONS- The Secretary, shall, by regulation, prescribe the standards and procedures to be used by accrediting entities for the accreditation of agencies and the approval of persons to provide adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the Convention.

(2) CONSIDERATION OF VIEWS- In developing such regulations, the Secretary shall consider any standards or procedures developed or proposed by, and the views of, individuals and entities with interest and expertise in international adoptions and family social services, including public and private entities with experience in licensing and accrediting adoption agencies.

(3) APPLICABILITY OF NOTICE AND COMMENT RULES- Subsections (b), (c), and (d) of section 553 of title 5, United States Code, shall apply in the development and issuance of regulations under this section.

(b) MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS-

(1) ACCREDITATION- The standards prescribed under subsection (a) shall include the requirement that accreditation of an agency may not be provided or continued under this title unless the agency meets the following requirements:

(A) SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS-

(i) The agency provides prospective adoptive parents of a child in a prospective Convention adoption a copy of the medical records of the child (which, to the fullest extent practicable, shall include an English-language translation of such records) on a date which is not later than the earlier of the date that is 2 weeks before (I) the adoption, or (II) the date on which the prospective parents travel to a foreign country to complete all procedures in such country relating to the adoption.

(ii) The agency provides prospective adoptive parents with a training program that includes counseling and guidance for the purpose of promoting a successful intercountry adoption before such parents travel to adopt the child or the child is placed with such parents for adoption.

(iii) The agency employs personnel providing intercountry adoption services on a fee for service basis rather than on a contingent fee basis.

(iv) The agency discloses fully its policies and practices, the disruption rates of its placements for intercountry adoption, and all fees charged by such agency for intercountry adoption.

(B) CAPACITY TO PROVIDE ADOPTION SERVICES- The agency has, directly or through arrangements with other persons, a sufficient number of appropriately trained and qualified personnel, sufficient financial resources, appropriate organizational structure, and appropriate procedures to enable the agency to provide, in accordance with this Act, all adoption services in cases subject to the Convention.

(C) USE OF SOCIAL SERVICE PROFESSIONALS- The agency has established procedures designed to ensure that social service functions requiring the application of clinical skills and judgment are performed only by professionals with appropriate qualifications and credentials.

(D) RECORDS, REPORTS, AND INFORMATION MATTERS- The agency is capable of--

(i) maintaining such records and making such reports as may be required by the Secretary, the United States central authority, and the accrediting entity that accredits the agency;

(ii) cooperating with reviews, inspections, and audits;

(iii) safeguarding sensitive individual information; and

(iv) complying with other requirements concerning information management necessary to ensure compliance with the Convention, this Act, and any other applicable law.

(E) LIABILITY INSURANCE- The agency agrees to have in force adequate liability insurance for professional negligence and any other insurance that the Secretary considers appropriate.

(F) COMPLIANCE WITH APPLICABLE RULES- The agency has established adequate measures to comply (and to ensure compliance of their agents and clients) with the Convention, this Act, and any other applicable law.

(G) NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION WITH STATE LICENSE TO PROVIDE ADOPTION SERVICES- The agency is a private nonprofit organization licensed to provide adoption services in at least one State.

(2) APPROVAL- The standards prescribed under subsection (a) shall include the requirement that a person shall not be approved under this title unless the person is a private for-profit entity that meets the requirements of subparagraphs (A) through (F) of paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3) RENEWAL OF ACCREDITATION OR APPROVAL- The standards prescribed under subsection (a) shall provide that the accreditation of an agency or approval of a person under this title shall be for a period of not less than 3 years and not more than 5 years, and may be renewed on a showing that the agency or person meets the requirements applicable to original accreditation or approval under this title.

(c) TEMPORARY REGISTRATION OF SMALL COMMUNITY BASED AGENCIES- For a 2-year period after the entry into force of the Convention and notwithstanding subsection (b), the Secretary may provide, in regulations issued pursuant to subsection (a), that an agency may register with the Secretary and be accredited to provide adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the Convention during such period if the agency--

(1) is licensed in the State in which it is located and is a non-profit agency;

(2) has been providing adoption services in connection with intercountry adoptions for at least 5 years;

(3) has provided adoption services in fewer than 20 intercountry adoptions in the preceding calendar year;

(4) has demonstrated that it will be able to provide the United States Government with all information related to the elements described in section 104(b) and provides such information;

(5) has initiated the process of becoming accredited under the provisions of this Act and is actively taking steps to become an accredited agency; and

(6) has not been found to be involved in any improper conduct relating to intercountry adoptions.

SEC. 204. SECRETARIAL OVERSIGHT OF ACCREDITATION AND APPROVAL.

(a) OVERSIGHT OF ACCREDITING ENTITIES- The Secretary shall--

(1) monitor the performance by each accrediting entity of its duties under section 202 and its compliance with the requirements of the Convention, this Act, other applicable laws, and implementing regulations under this Act; and

(2) suspend or cancel the designation of an accrediting entity found to be substantially out of compliance with the Convention, this Act, other applicable laws, or implementing regulations under this Act.

(b) SUSPENSION OR CANCELLATION OF ACCREDITATION OR APPROVAL-

(1) SECRETARY'S AUTHORITY- The Secretary shall suspend or cancel the accreditation or approval granted by an accrediting entity to an agency or person pursuant to section 202 when the Secretary finds that--

(A) the agency or person is substantially out of compliance with applicable requirements; and

(B) the accrediting entity has failed or refused, after consultation with the Secretary, to take appropriate enforcement action.

(2) CORRECTION OF DEFICIENCY- At any time when the Secretary is satisfied that the deficiencies on the basis of which an adverse action is taken under paragraph (1) have been corrected, the Secretary shall--

(A) notify the accrediting entity that the deficiencies have been corrected; and

(B)(i) in the case of a suspension, terminate the suspension; or

(ii) in the case of a cancellation, notify the agency or person that the agency or person may re-apply to the accrediting entity for accreditation or approval.

(c) DEBARMENT-

(1) SECRETARY'S AUTHORITY- On the initiative of the Secretary, or on request of an accrediting entity, the Secretary may temporarily or permanently debar an agency from accreditation or a person from approval under this title, but only if--

(A) there is substantial evidence that the agency or person is out of compliance with applicable requirements; and

(B) there has been a pattern of serious, willful, or grossly negligent failures to comply or other aggravating circumstances indicating that continued accreditation or approval would not be in the best interests of the children and families concerned.

(2) PERIOD OF DEBARMENT- The Secretary's debarment order shall state whether the debarment is temporary or permanent. If the debarment is temporary, the Secretary shall specify a date, not earlier than 3 years after the date of the order, on or after which the agency or person may apply to the Secretary for withdrawal of the debarment.

(3) EFFECT OF DEBARMENT- An accrediting entity may take into account the circumstances of the debarment of an agency or person that has been debarred pursuant to this subsection in considering any subsequent application of the agency or person, or of any other entity in which the agency or person has an ownership or control interest, for accreditation or approval under this title.

(d) JUDICIAL REVIEW- A person (other than a prospective adoptive parent), an agency, or an accrediting entity who is the subject of a final action of suspension, cancellation, or debarment by the Secretary under this title may petition the United States District Court for the District of Columbia or the United States district court in the judicial district in which the person resides or the agency or accrediting entity is located. The court shall review the action in accordance with section 706 of title 5, United States Code.

SEC. 205. STATE PLAN REQUIREMENT.

Section 422(b) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 622(b)) is amended--

(1) in paragraph (11), by striking `and' at the end;

(2) in paragraph (12), by striking `children.' and inserting `children;'; and

(3) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:

`(13) contain a description of the activities that the State has undertaken for children adopted from other countries, including the provision of adoption and post-adoption services; and

`(14) provide that the State shall collect and report information on children who are adopted from other countries and who enter into State custody as a result of the disruption of a placement for adoption or the dissolution of an adoption, including the number of children, the agencies who handled the placement or adoption, the plans for the child, and the reasons for the disruption or dissolution.'.

TITLE III--RECOGNITION OF CONVENTION ADOPTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES

SEC. 301. ADOPTIONS OF CHILDREN IMMIGRATING TO THE UNITED STATES.

(a) LEGAL EFFECT OF CERTIFICATES ISSUED BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE-

(1) ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATES BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE- The Secretary of State shall, with respect to each Convention adoption, issue a certificate to the adoptive citizen parent domiciled in the United States that the adoption has been granted or, in the case of a prospective adoptive citizen parent, that legal custody of the child has been granted to the citizen parent for purposes of emigration and adoption, pursuant to the Convention and this Act, if the Secretary of State--

(A) receives appropriate notification from the central authority of such child's country of origin; and

(B) has verified that the requirements of this Act have been met with respect to the adoption.

(2) LEGAL EFFECT OF CERTIFICATES- If appended to an original adoption decree, the certificate described in paragraph (1) shall be treated by Federal and State agencies, courts, and other public and private persons and entities as conclusive evidence of the facts certified therein and shall constitute the certification required by section 204(d)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by this Act.

(b) LEGAL EFFECT OF CONVENTION ADOPTION FINALIZED IN ANOTHER CONVENTION COUNTRY- A final adoption in another Convention country, certified by the Secretary of State pursuant to subsection (a) of this section or section 303(c), shall be recognized as a final valid adoption for purposes of all Federal, State, and local laws of the United States.

(c) CONDITION ON FINALIZATION OF CONVENTION ADOPTION BY STATE COURT- In the case of a child who has entered the United States from another Convention country for the purpose of adoption, an order declaring the adoption final shall not be entered unless the Secretary of State has issued the certificate provided for in subsection (a) with respect to the adoption.

SEC. 302. IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT AMENDMENTS RELATING TO CHILDREN ADOPTED FROM CONVENTION COUNTRIES.

(a) DEFINITION OF CHILD- Section 101(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(1)) is amended--

(1) by striking `or' at the end of subparagraph (E);

(2) by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (F) and inserting `; or'; and

(3) by adding after subparagraph (F) the following new subparagraph:

`(G) a child, under the age of sixteen at the time a petition is filed on the child's behalf to accord a classification as an immediate relative under section 201(b), who has been adopted in a foreign state that is a party to the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption done at The Hague on May 29, 1993, or who is emigrating from such a foreign state to be adopted in the United States, by a United States citizen and spouse jointly, or by an unmarried United States citizen at least twenty-five years of age--

`(i) if--

`(I) the Attorney General is satisfied that proper care will be furnished the child if admitted to the United States;

`(II) the child's natural parents (or parent, in the case of a child who has one sole or surviving parent because of the death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, the other parent), or other persons or institutions that retain legal custody of the child, have freely given their written irrevocable consent to the termination of their legal relationship with the child, and to the child's emigration and adoption;

`(III) the child is not the grandchild, niece, nephew, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or first cousin of one or both of the adopting parents, unless--

`(aa) the child has no living parents because of the death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, separation from, or loss of, both parents; or

`(bb) the sole or surviving parent is incapable of providing the proper care for the child and has in writing irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption; and

`(IV) in the case of a child who has not been adopted--

`(aa) the competent authority of the foreign state has approved the child's emigration to the United States for the purpose of adoption by the prospective adoptive parent or parents; and

`(bb) the prospective adoptive parent or parents has or have complied with any pre-adoption requirements of the child's proposed residence; and

`(ii) except that no natural parent or prior adoptive parent of any such child shall thereafter, by virtue of such parentage, be accorded any right, privilege, or status under this Act.'.

(b) APPROVAL OF PETITIONS- Section 204(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1154(d)) is amended--

(1) by striking `(d)' and inserting `(d)(1)';

(2) by striking `section 101(b)(1)(F)' and inserting `subparagraph (F) or (G) of section 101(b)(1)'; and

(3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

`(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b), no petition may be approved on behalf of a child defined in section 101(b)(1)(G) unless the Secretary of State has certified that the central authority of the child's country of origin has notified the United States central authority under the convention referred to in such section 101(b)(1)(G) that a United States citizen habitually resident in the United States has effected final adoption of the child, or has been granted custody of the child for the purpose of emigration and adoption, in accordance with such convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000.'.

(c) DEFINITION OF PARENT- Section 101(b)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(2)) is amended by inserting `and paragraph (1)(G)(i)' after `second proviso therein)'.

SEC. 303. ADOPTIONS OF CHILDREN EMIGRATING FROM THE UNITED STATES.

(a) DUTIES OF ACCREDITED AGENCY OR APPROVED PERSON- In the case of a Convention adoption involving the emigration of a child residing in the United States to a foreign country, the accredited agency or approved person providing adoption services, or the prospective adoptive parent or parents acting on their own behalf (if permitted by the laws of such other Convention country in which they reside and the laws of the State in which the child resides), shall do the following:

(1) Ensure that, in accordance with the Convention--

(A) a background study on the child is completed;

(B) the accredited agency or approved person--

(i) has made reasonable efforts to actively recruit and make a diligent search for prospective adoptive parents to adopt the child in the United States; and

(ii) despite such efforts, has not been able to place the child for adoption in the United States in a timely manner; and

(C) a determination is made that placement with the prospective adoptive parent or parents is in the best interests of the child.

(2) Furnish to the State court with jurisdiction over the case--

(A) documentation of the matters described in paragraph (1);

(B) a background report (home study) on the prospective adoptive parent or parents (including a criminal background check) prepared in accordance with the laws of the receiving country; and

(C) a declaration by the central authority (or other competent authority) of such other Convention country--

(i) that the child will be permitted to enter and reside permanently, or on the same basis as the adopting parent, in the receiving country; and

(ii) that the central authority (or other competent authority) of such other Convention country consents to the adoption, if such consent is necessary under the laws of such country for the adoption to become final.

(3) Furnish to the United States central authority--

(A) official copies of State court orders certifying the final adoption or grant of custody for the purpose of adoption;

(B) the information and documents described in paragraph (2), to the extent required by the United States central authority; and

(C) any other information concerning the case required by the United States central authority to perform the functions specified in subsection (c) or otherwise to carry out the duties of the United States central authority under the Convention.

(b) CONDITIONS ON STATE COURT ORDERS- An order declaring an adoption to be final or granting custody for the purpose of adoption in a case described in subsection (a) shall not be entered unless the court--

(1) has received and verified to the extent the court may find necessary--

(A) the material described in subsection (a)(2); and

(B) satisfactory evidence that the requirements of Articles 4 and 15 through 21 of the Convention have been met; and

(2) has determined that the adoptive placement is in the best interests of the child.

(c) DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE- In a case described in subsection (a), the Secretary, on receipt and verification as necessary of the material and information described in subsection (a)(3), shall issue, as applicable, an official certification that the child has been adopted or a declaration that custody for purposes of adoption has been granted, in accordance with the Convention and this Act.

(d) FILING WITH REGISTRY REGARDING NONCONVENTION ADOPTIONS- Accredited agencies, approved persons, and other persons, including governmental authorities, providing adoption services in an intercountry adoption not subject to the Convention that involves the emigration of a child from the United States shall file information required by regulations jointly issued by the Attorney General and the Secretary of State for purposes of implementing section 102(e).

TITLE IV--ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT

SEC. 401. ACCESS TO CONVENTION RECORDS.

(a) PRESERVATION OF CONVENTION RECORDS-

(1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall issue regulations that establish procedures and requirements in accordance with the Convention and this section for the preservation of Convention records.

(2) APPLICABILITY OF NOTICE AND COMMENT RULES- Subsections (b), (c), and (d) of section 553 of title 5, United States Code, shall apply in the development and issuance of regulations under this section.

(b) ACCESS TO CONVENTION RECORDS-

(1) PROHIBITION- Except as provided in paragraph (2), the Secretary or the Attorney General may disclose a Convention record, and access to such a record may be provided in whole or in part, only if such record is maintained under the authority of the Immigration and Nationality Act and disclosure of, or access to, such record is permitted or required by applicable Federal law.

(2) EXCEPTION FOR ADMINISTRATION OF THE CONVENTION- A Convention record may be disclosed, and access to such a record may be provided, in whole or in part, among the Secretary, the Attorney General, central authorities, accredited agencies, and approved persons, only to the extent necessary to administer the Convention or this Act.

(3) PENALTIES FOR UNLAWFUL DISCLOSURE- Unlawful disclosure of all or part of a Convention record shall be punishable in accordance with applicable Federal law.

(c) ACCESS TO NON-CONVENTION RECORDS- Disclosure of, access to, and penalties for unlawful disclosure of, adoption records that are not Convention records, including records of adoption proceedings conducted in the United States, shall be governed by applicable State law.

SEC. 402. DOCUMENTS OF OTHER CONVENTION COUNTRIES.

Documents originating in any other Convention country and related to a Convention adoption case shall require no authentication in order to be admissible in any Federal, State, or local court in the United States, unless a specific and supported claim is made that the documents are false, have been altered, or are otherwise unreliable.

SEC. 403. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS; COLLECTION OF FEES.

(a) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS-

(1) IN GENERAL- There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to agencies of the Federal Government implementing the Convention and the provisions of this Act.

(2) AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS- Amounts appropriated pursuant to paragraph (1) are authorized to remain available until expended.

(b) ASSESSMENT OF FEES-

(1) The Secretary may charge a fee for new or enhanced services that will be undertaken by the Department of State to meet the requirements of this Act with respect to intercountry adoptions under the Convention and comparable services with respect to other intercountry adoptions. Such fee shall be prescribed by regulation and shall not exceed the cost of such services.

(2) Fees collected under paragraph (1) shall be retained and deposited as an offsetting collection to any Department of State appropriation to recover the costs of providing such services.

(3) Fees authorized under this section shall be available for obligation only to the extent and in the amount provided in advance in appropriations Acts.

(c) RESTRICTION- No funds collected under the authority of this section may be made available to an accrediting entity to carry out the purposes of this Act.

SEC. 404. ENFORCEMENT.

(a) CIVIL PENALTIES- Any person who--

(1) violates section 201;

(2) makes a false or fraudulent statement or misrepresentation of material fact, or offers, gives, solicits, or accepts inducement by way of compensation intended to influence or affect in the United States or a foreign country--

(A) a decision by an accrediting entity with respect to the accreditation of an agency or approval of a person under title II;

(B) the relinquishment of parental rights or the giving of parental consent relating to the adoption of a child in a case subject to the Convention; or

(C) a decision or action of any entity performing a central authority function; or

(3) engages another person as an agent, whether in the United States or in a foreign country, who in the course of that agency takes any of the actions described in paragraph (1) or (2),

shall be subject, in addition to any other penalty that may be prescribed by law, to a civil money penalty of not more than $50,000 for a first violation, and not more than $100,000 for each succeeding violation.

(b) CIVIL ENFORCEMENT-

(1) AUTHORITY OF ATTORNEY GENERAL- The Attorney General may bring a civil action to enforce subsection (a) against any person in any United States district court.

(2) FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED IN IMPOSING PENALTIES- In imposing penalties the court shall consider the gravity of the violation, the degree of culpability of the defendant, and any history of prior violations by the defendant.

(c) CRIMINAL PENALTIES- Whoever knowingly and willfully violates paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (a) shall be subject to a fine of not more than $250,000, imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or both.

TITLE V--GENERAL PROVISIONS

SEC. 501. RECOGNITION OF CONVENTION ADOPTIONS.

Subject to Article 24 of the Convention, adoptions concluded between two other Convention countries that meet the requirements of Article 23 of the Convention and that became final before the date of entry into force of the Convention for the United States shall be recognized thereafter in the United States and given full effect. Such recognition shall include the specific effects described in Article 26 of the Convention.

SEC. 502. SPECIAL RULES FOR CERTAIN CASES.

(a) AUTHORITY TO ESTABLISH ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURES FOR ADOPTION OF CHILDREN BY RELATIVES- To the extent consistent with the Convention, the Secretary may establish by regulation alternative procedures for the adoption of children by individuals related to them by blood, marriage, or adoption, in cases subject to the Convention.

(b) WAIVER AUTHORITY-

(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, to the extent consistent with the Convention, the Secretary may, on a case-by-case basis, waive applicable requirements of this Act or regulations issued under this Act, in the interests of justice or to prevent grave physical harm to the child.

(2) NONDELEGATION- The authority provided by paragraph (1) may not be delegated.

SEC. 503. RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER LAWS.

(a) PREEMPTION OF INCONSISTENT STATE LAW- The Convention and this Act shall not be construed to preempt any provision of the law of any State or political subdivision thereof, or prevent a State or political subdivision thereof from enacting any provision of law with respect to the subject matter of the Convention or this Act, except to the extent that such provision of State law is inconsistent with the Convention or this Act, and then only to the extent of the inconsistency.

(b) APPLICABILITY OF THE INDIAN CHILD WELFARE ACT- The Convention and this Act shall not be construed to affect the application of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 U.S.C. 1901 et seq.).

(c) RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER LAWS- Sections 3506(c), 3507, and 3512 of title 44, United States Code, shall not apply to information collection for purposes of sections 104, 202(b)(4), and 303(d) of this Act or for use as a Convention record as defined in this Act.

SEC. 504. NO PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION.

The Convention and this Act shall not be construed to create a private right of action to seek administrative or judicial relief, except to the extent expressly provided in this Act.

SEC. 505. EFFECTIVE DATES; TRANSITION RULE.

(a) EFFECTIVE DATES-

(1) PROVISIONS EFFECTIVE UPON ENACTMENT- Sections 2, 3, 101 through 103, 202 through 205, 401(a), 403, 503, and 505(a) shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act.

(2) PROVISIONS EFFECTIVE UPON THE ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE CONVENTION- Subject to subsection (b), the provisions of this Act not specified in paragraph (1) shall take effect upon the entry into force of the Convention for the United States pursuant to Article 46(2)(a) of the Convention.

(b) TRANSITION RULE- The Convention and this Act shall not apply--

(1) in the case of a child immigrating to the United States, if the application for advance processing of an orphan petition or petition to classify an orphan as an immediate relative for the child is filed before the effective date described in subsection (a)(2); or

(2) in the case of a child emigrating from the United States, if the prospective adoptive parents of the child initiated the adoption process in their country of residence with the filing of an appropriate application before the effective date described in subsection (a)(2).

Calendar No. 523

106th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 682

[Report No. 106-276]

A BILL

To implement the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, and for other purposes.


April 27, 2000

Reported with an amendment

END

 


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