US warns against adopting Nepali kids

KATHMANDU: The United States has warned its citizens against adopting children in Nepal, saying it has “grave concerns” about the reliability of Nepal’s adoption system.

The government urged prospective adoptive parents to choose another country, citing the case of a young Nepali girl placed in the custody of an American couple without the consent of her biological mother and father.

“The US Department of State strongly discourages prospective adoptive parents from choosing Nepal as a country from which to adopt due to grave concerns about the reliability of Nepal’s adoption system,” it said in a statement on its website dated March 4.

Nepal introduced new adoption legislation in 2008 following reports of widespread abuses of the system by unscrupulous agents who were effectively trafficking children overseas for profit. Twenty Nepali children have been adopted by foreign parents since the system restarted last year, seven of who are in the US, but experts say little has changed since the new rules came into force.

The State Department said in one of the first cases processed by the Nepal government, the US embassy in Kathmandu found the birth parents of the adopted child were actively searching for her.

The US government warning follows a recommendation last month from a team of international legal experts based in The Hague that international adoptions of Nepali children be suspended.

Earlier, Germany moved to suspend adoptions from Nepal after the findings of The Hague team’s investigations were made public, and 14

embassies in Kathmandu issued a statement urging the Nepali government to tighten controls over adoption.