28 Nov 2005

US State Department issues warning over adoption process in Samoa

7:18 am on 28 November 2005

The US State Department has issued a warning over the adoption process in Samoa.

The advisory says U.S. citizens contemplating adoption in Samoa are strongly advised to exercise caution before proceeding.

The advisory said the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland examined each case to determine whether completed adoptions met the requirements of U.S. immigration law.

It says as part of this review process, a consular officer will interview the birth parents of children being placed for adoption.

In June this year, Samoa's Parliament amended the country's adoption laws, banning future off-island adoption agencies from setting up in Samoa and prohibiting the adoption of Samoan children by foreign couples.

The only adoptions now allowed would be in cases where the child or children being adopted have blood ties to the adoptive parents.

The changes follow cases widely publicized by Samoa and overseas media where Samoan parents seemed to have been lured into putting their children up for adoption by the promise of money.

They also follow a case where a baby girl, who was at a nanny's house awaiting adoption by an American couple, died of malnutrition.