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106th Congress                                            Rept. 106-691
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                      Part 1

======================================================================



 
                   INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION ACT OF 2000
                                _______
                                

 June 22, 2000.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Gilman, from the Committee on International Relations, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2909]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on International Relations, to whom was 
referred the bill (H.R. 2909) to provide for implementation by 
the United States of the Hague Convention on Protection of 
Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, 
and for other purposes, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill 
as amended do pass.

    The amendment is as follows:
    Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu 
thereof the following:

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.--The 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) agencies accredited and persons approved under 
                title II, accredited agencies and approved persons 
                whose accreditation or approval has been suspended or 
                canceled, and accredited agencies and approved 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 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 accredited agencies and approved persons 
        temporarily or permanently debarred from accreditation or 
        approval 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 by an accrediting entity 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 entry 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 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. To the fullest extent 
                        practicable, an English-language translation of 
                        such records is provided.
                          (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 corrective 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 
                decifiencies 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.

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 Adoptions Finalized in the United States.--
          (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 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, a State court 
may not issue an order declaring the adoption final 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.--A State court shall not enter 
an order declaring an adoption to be final or granting custody for the 
purpose of adoption in a case described in subsection (a) 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 
        child's best interests.
  (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 comparableservices 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 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.).

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).

                         Background and Purpose

    Over the course of the last ten years, U.S. families have 
increasingly been built through intercountry adoptions. Between 
1989 and 1999 the number of children being adopted by U.S. 
families doubled, from nearly 8,000 to more than 16,000 
annually, with a total of over 85,000 children from other 
countries being adopted during that period. Most intercountry 
adoptions result in the successful placement of happy, well 
adjusted children with parents who will love and care for them, 
and the majority of leading international adoption agencies 
maintain high ethical and professional standards.
    As intercountry adoptions have increased, however, abusive 
practices have become more prevalent. Abuses by less reputable 
agencies range from the charging of exorbitant fees by so-
called ``facilitators'' in some countries to even cases of 
child kidnaping and coerced parental consent. They include 
situations in which adoptive families are poorly prepared for 
their parenting responsibilities, and instances in which 
information has been improperly withheld from these families 
with regard to the child's medical or psychological condition.
    During a staff fact-finding trip to Paraguay, for example, 
consular officials at the U.S. embassy at Asuncion described 
cases from the mid-1990's involving coaching of women to 
fraudulently represent themselves as birth mothers and even 
murders of birth mothers by criminal organizations after birth 
mothers changed their minds about placement. During some years, 
fully half of all applications for an immigrant visa related to 
an intercountry adoption were rejected by the Embassy because 
of suspected fraud.
    Abuses are not limited to Latin America. Stories in the 
press and relayed by prospective adoptive parents also 
described the deceptive practices of so-called ``facilitators'' 
in countries of Eastern Europe. Medical records are often not 
given to the prospective adoptive parents before they travel, 
or are incomplete, and the parents only learn upon arrival of 
significant medical problems. Other times, upon arrival, 
prospective adoptive parents are told that the child they 
thought they were adopting had already been adopted, but that 
another child (often with undisclosed medical or developmental 
problems) is ``available.''
    To combat these abuses, representatives from countries 
around the world gathered under the auspices of the Hague 
Conference on Private International Law to draft a treaty to 
establish internationally agreed upon norms and procedures for 
international adoptions. The goal of the negotiations was to 
adopt a convention to protect the children, birth parents and 
adoptive parents involved in the intercountry adoptions.
    Over 65 countries participated in the negotiations, among 
them the United States and virtually all major states of origin 
and other major receiving states. The final text of the 
Convention was adopted on May 29, 1993, and the Convention 
entered into force on May 1, 1995. The United States signed the 
Convention on March 31, 1994.
    The Convention provides a formal approval process for 
intercountry adoptions; establishes a minimum set of standards 
governing international adoptions; establishes a central 
authority in each Convention country that can provide reliable 
information regarding international adoptions; creates 
reasonable certainty that an adoption decree from a foreign 
court will be recognized in the receiving state; and creates a 
system that will allow tracking of children who leave the state 
of origin for adoption by persons resident abroad.
    Between 1994 and 1998, the Clinton Administration convened 
an interagency group which drafted implementing legislation for 
the Convention, with input from various elements within the 
adoption community.
    The Administration submitted implementing legislation on 
June 11, 1998, and resubmitted it on May 12, 1999. Congress 
took an immediate interest in this issue and the legislation. 
After extensive discussions, Chairman Gilman introduced, on 
September 22, 1999, H.R. 2909, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 
1999, a bipartisan measure with 36 original cosponsors 
representing all points on the ideological spectrum. (An 
additional 15 members cosponsored the bill by the time of the 
filing of this report, for a total of 51 cosponsors.)
    The Committee took extensive testimony and received 
numerous communications regarding the legislation, voicing both 
support and concerns regarding the text as introduced. In an 
effort to move this legislation expeditiously, a working group 
was formed representing members from the Committees of 
jurisdiction in both the House and the Senate to try to achieve 
convergence between H.R. 2909 and the legislation introduced by 
Senators Helms and Landrieu, S. 682. The result of these 
discussions was an agreement to bring amendments to the 
relevant committees in both chambers that would revise both 
bills with substantially identical text. The guiding principle 
for these discussions was to write legislation to implement 
only the requirements of the Convention and not to reach beyond 
those obligations.
    Prompt U.S. ratification and implementation of the Hague 
Convention is of enormous importance to many thousands of needy 
children throughout the world who cannot be placed for adoption 
in their countries of origin. U.S. ratification will signal to 
other nations our willingness to help provide homes for these 
children through intercountry adoption and U.S. commitment to 
creating a legal framework that will better protect them and 
their families from the various abuses that gave rise to the 
Convention. By requiring greater disclosure to adoptive 
families and mandating tough, more uniform standards for those 
who provide international adoption services, the Convention 
will help eliminate these problems and enable both birth 
parents and adoptive families to participate in the 
intercountry adoption process with confidence and a greater 
sense of security. Indeed, these protections are deemed so 
vital that some countries that have ratified the Convention 
will only allow placements with citizens of other countries 
that have ratified the Convention.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 2909 was introduced by Representative Gilman on 
September 22, 1999, with 36 co-sponsors.The bill was referred 
to the Committee on International Relations, with additional referrals 
to the Committees on the Judiciary, Education and Workforce, and, 
subsequently, Ways and Means.
    On October 29, 1999, the Committee took testimony from the 
Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs in the Department of 
State, from the Department of Health and Human Services, and 
from private witnesses representing adoption agencies, adoptive 
parents, international adoptees, medical experts, and an 
organization responsible for accrediting social service 
agencies.
    The Committee on International Relations marked up the bill 
in open session, pursuant to notice, on March 22, 2000. During 
its consideration, the Committee agreed to an amendment in the 
nature of a substitute offered by Mr. Gilman (for himself, Mr. 
Gejdenson, Mr. Burr, Mr. Delahunt, Mr. Ballenger and Mr. 
Pomeroy). The amendment was agreed to by voice vote. 
Subsequently, the Committee agreed to a motion offered by Mr. 
Bereuter to favorably report the bill, as amended, to the House 
of Representatives by a vote of 28-0.

            record votes on amendments and motion to report

    Clause (3)(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires that the results of each record vote 
on an amendment or motion to report, together with the names of 
those voting for or against, be printed in the committee 
report.

     description of amendment, motion, order, or other proposition

           (Votes during markup of H.R. 2909--March 22, 2000)

    Vote No. 1.--Bereuter motion to favorably report to the 
House of Representatives H.R. 2909, as amended.
    Voting Aye: Gilman, Goodling, Bereuter, Smith, Ballenger, 
Manzullo, King, Chabot, Sanford, Salmon, McHugh, Burr, Gillmor, 
Cooksey, Tancredo, Gejdenson, Payne, Hastings, Danner, 
Hilliard, Sherman, Rothman, Davis, Pomeroy, Delahunt, Lee, 
Crowley, and Hoeffel.
    Voting No: none.
    Ayes, 28. Noes, 0.

                             Other Matters


                      committee oversight findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee reports the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this 
report.

                committee on government reform findings

    Clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires each Committee report to contain a 
summary of the oversight findings and recommendations made by 
the Government Reform Committee pursuant to clause (4)(c)(2) of 
rule X of those Rules. The Committee on International Relations 
has received no such findings or recommendations from the 
Committee on Government Reform.

                      advisory committee statement

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act were created by this 
legislation.

                applicability to the legislative branch

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

                   constitutional authority statement

    In compliance with clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee cites the 
following specific powers granted to the Congress in the 
Constitution as authority for enactment of H.R. 2909 as 
reported by the Committee: Article I, section 8, clause 1 
(relating to providing for the common defense and general 
welfare of the United States); Article I, section 8, clause 3 
(relating to the regulation of commerce with foreign nations); 
and Article I, section 8, clause 18 (relating to making all 
laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution powers 
vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United 
States or in any department or Officer thereof).

                        preemption clarification

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 
requires the report of any committee on a bill or joint 
resolution to include a committee statement on the extent to 
which the bill or joint resolution is intended to preempt State 
or local law.
    In general, requirements in the Act are in addition to any 
requirements in State law, but do not displace them. States may 
not adopt laws inconsistent with the Act, however, in areas 
where the Act provides a particular rule. For example, the 
requirements for accreditation of agencies and approval of 
persons in title II will not deprive the States of authorities 
to license adoption agencies, but such agencies will not be 
able to provide adoption services in casesinvolving another 
country that has ratified the Hague Convention unless it has been 
accredited under this Act.
    Sections 301 and 303 place certain limitations on States 
regarding intercountry adoptions subject to this Act and 
requires recognition of adoption decrees issued by foreign 
government authorities if certified by the Secretary of State; 
this also involves preempting otherwise applicable State law.
    These provisions are discussed more fully in the section-
by-section analysis.

new budget authority and tax expenditures, congressional budget office 
             cost estimate, and federal mandates statements

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires each Committee report that accompanies 
a measure providing new budget authority, new spending 
authority, or new credit authority or changing revenues or tax 
expenditures to contain a cost estimate, as required by section 
308(a)(1) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, as amended, 
and, when practicable with respect to estimates of new budget 
authority, a comparison of the estimated funding level for the 
relevant program (or programs) to the appropriate levels under 
current law.
    Clause 3(d) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires Committees to include their own cost 
estimates in certain Committee reports, which include, when 
practicable, a comparison of the total estimated funding level 
for the relevant program (or programs) with the appropriate 
levels under current law.
    Clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the report of any Committee on a 
measure which has been approved by the Committee to include a 
cost estimate prepared by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office, pursuant to section 403 of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974, if the cost estimate is timely submitted.
    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget Act requires the 
report of any committee on a bill or joint resolution that 
includes any Federal mandate to include specific information 
about such mandates. The Committee states that H.R. 2909 does 
not include any such mandate.
    The Committee adopts the cost estimate of the Congressional 
Budget Office as its own submission of any new required 
information with respect to H.R. 2909 on new budget authority, 
new spending authority, new credit authority, or an increase or 
decrease in the national debt. It also adopts the estimate of 
Federal mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act. The estimate and report that has been received is 
set out below.

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, April 7, 2000.
Hon. Benjamin A. Gilman,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2909 the 
Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Sunita 
D'Monte.
            Sincerely,
                                           Steven Lieberman
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 2909--Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000

    Summary: H.R. 2909 would authorize the United States to 
implement the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-
operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption and would 
authorize appropriations for that purpose. CBO estimates that 
those discretionary costs would be less than $500,000 a year 
over the 2001-2005 period, assuming appropriation of the 
necessary amounts. The bill has other provisions that would 
affect governmental receipts (revenues) and direct spending, 
but CBO estimates that those effects would be insignificant. 
Because enactment of H.R. 2909 would affect receipts and direct 
spending, pay-as-you-go procedures would apply.
    Section 4 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
excludes from application of that act bills that would be 
necessary for the ratification or implementation of 
international treaty obligations. CBO has determined that the 
provisions of H.R. 2909 would implement the Convention on 
Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of 
Intercountry Adoption and would thus fall within that 
exclusion.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: For purposes of 
this estimate, CBO assumes that the initial appropriations for 
H.R. 2909 would be provided in fiscal year 2001 and that 
outlays would follow historical spending patterns. The costs of 
this legislation fall within budget function 150 (international 
relations) and 750 (administration of justice).

Spending subject to appropriation

    The bill would provide an open-ended authorization of 
appropriations for the Departments of State and Justice to meet 
the requirements of the bill and would authorize new consular 
fees, which the State Department could spend subject to 
appropriation action. CBO estimates that the net cost of 
implementing the bill would be less than $500,000 annually over 
the 2001-2005 period.
    Department of State. H.R. 2909 would designate the State 
Department as the central authority responsible for 
coordinating and implementing international adoptions under the 
convention. Under current law, the State Department has no 
routine role in international adoptions. When it does act, it 
is usually in response to requests from the adopters. The bill 
would establish an official role for the department and require 
it to:
           Enter into agreements with nonprofit 
        organizations that would accredit and monitor adoption 
        agencies that would provide services under the 
        convention.
           Monitor the performance of accreditation 
        agencies.
           Monitor and facilitate individual cases of 
        adoption under the convention.
           Provide the Congress with an annual report 
        on international adoptions and the implementation of 
        the convention.
           Establish a registry of all international 
        adoptions, and
           Issue certificates when an adoption under 
        the convention has been finalized.
    Based on information from the State Department, CBO 
estimates the department would spend approximately $4 million a 
year to carry out those responsibilities. This estimate 
includes costs for hiring personnel and contractors and 
implementing a computerized tracking system to monitor 
individual adoption cases. To recover those costs, the bill 
would allow the department to charge a new fee for its services 
and to retain and spend any collections on consular services, 
subject to appropriation action. CBO estimates the department 
would charge a $200 fee on approximately 20,000 cases each 
year.
    Civil and Criminal Prosecutions. Violators of the 
provisions of H.R. 2909 would be subject to civil penalties and 
criminal prosecution. As a result, the federal government would 
be able to pursue cases that it otherwise would not be able to 
prosecute. CBO expects that any increase in federal costs for 
law enforcement, court proceedings, or prison operations would 
not be significant, however, because of the small number of 
cases likely to be involved.

Direct spending and revenues

    Because violators of the provisions of H.R. 2909 could be 
subject to criminal and civil fines, the federal government 
might collect additional fines if the bill is enacted. 
Collections of criminal fines are recorded in the budget as 
governmental receipts (revenues), which are deposited in the 
Crime Victims Fund and spent in subsequent years. Civil fines 
are recorded as receipts and deposited into the general fund of 
the Treasury. CBO expects that any additional receipts and 
direct spending would be less than $500,000 each year.
    Pay-as-you-go considerations: The Balanced Budget and 
Emergency Deficit Control Act sets up pay-as-you-go procedures 
for legislation affecting direct spending or receipts. CBO 
estimates that the net changes in both outlays and governmental 
receipts that are subject to pay-as-you-go procedures would be 
negligible.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: Section 4 of 
UMRA excludes from application of that act bills that would be 
necessary for the ratification or implementation of 
international treaty obligations. CBO has determined that the 
provisions of H.R. 2909 would implement the Convention on 
Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of 
Intercountry Adoption and would thus fall within that 
exclusion.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: International Affairs: 
Sunita D'Monte; Immigration Law Enforcement: Mark Grabowicz, 
Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Leo Lex, Impact 
on the Private Sector: Keith Mattrick.
    Estimate approved by: Robert A. Sunshine, Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                         jurisdictional matters

    The Committee has consulted with the Committee on the 
Judiciary which has rule X jurisdiction over certain matters 
within the bill. We have been assured by that Committee that 
the final language in the bill meets their concerns, and that, 
accordingly, they would be willing to forgo formal 
consideration of the bill. The Committee appreciates the 
cooperation.
    In addition, the following letters are included from the 
Committee on Ways and Means and Education and the Workforce.

                     U.S. House of Representatives,
                               Committee on Ways and Means,
                                     Washington, DC, June 19, 2000.
Hon. Benjamin Gilman,
Chairman, Committee on International Relations, Rayburn House Office 
        Building, Washington, DC.
    Dear Chairman Gilman: I write with respect to H.R. 2909, 
the ``Intercountry Adoption Act,'' which was ordered reported 
by the Committee on International Relations on March 22, 2000.
    As you know, the subject matter of adoption is of 
longstanding interest to the Committee on Ways and Means. 
Accordingly, agreement was reached to include in this 
legislation an amendment to Title IV-B of the Social Security 
Act to modify state Child Welfare plan requirements with 
respect to intercountry adoptions.
    Normally, the Committee on Ways and Means would meet to 
consider such legislation. However, in order to expedite 
consideration of H.R. 2909, I did not object to the inclusion 
of this provision as part of a manager's amendment during 
consideration of this bill by your Committee, and, for this 
reason, it was not necessary for the Committee on Ways and 
Means to meet to consider the legislation.
    However, this has been done with the understanding that you 
have agreed to accept no additional changes on matters of 
concern to this Committee during further consideration of this 
legislation. Finally, this action was done with the 
understanding that it will not prejudice the jurisdictional 
prerogatives of the Committee on Ways and Means on these 
provisions or any other similar legislation and will not be 
considered as precedent for consideration of matters of 
jurisdictional interest to this Committee in the future.
    I would ask that you include a copy of this letter in your 
Committee Report on the legislation, as it supercedes previous 
correspondence on the matter. Thank you for your assistance and 
cooperation. With best personal regards.
            Sincerely,
                                               Bill Archer,
                                                          Chairman.
                                ------                                

                     U.S. House of Representatives,
                  Committee on Education and the Workforce,
                                      Washington, DC, May 24, 2000.
Hon. Benjamin A. Gilman,
Chairman, Committee on International Relations, Rayburn House Office 
        Building, Washington, DC.
    Dear Chairman Gilman: I am writing regarding H.R. 2909, the 
Intercountry Adoption Act, which is within the jurisdiction of 
the Committee on International Relations and in addition the 
Committee on Education and the Workforce. I have no objection 
to this bill being scheduled under suspension of the House 
Rules. The Committee on International Relations ordered the 
bill favorably reported on March 22, 2000. Since I support the 
reported bill, I do not intend to call a full Committee meeting 
to consider this bill. However, I do so only with the 
understanding that this procedural route should not be 
construed to prejudice the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce jurisdictional interest and prerogatives on these 
provisions or any other similar legislation and will not be 
considered as precedent for consideration of matters of 
jurisdictional interest to my Committee in the future. As such, 
members of the Education and the Workforce would expect to be 
represented should the provisions of this bill be considered in 
a conference with the Senate.
    I would appreciate the inclusion of this letter in the 
report you file to accompany this bill. I thank you for your 
attention to this matter and look forward to swift passage of 
H.R. 2909.
            Sincerely,
                                             Bill Coodling,
                                                          Chairman.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents

    This section provides the bill's short title and table of 
contents.

Sec. 2. Findings and purposes

    This section describes the purposes of the legislation: to 
implement the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and 
Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the 
``Convention'') (done at the Hague on May 29, 1993), to protect 
the rights of, and prevent abuses against, children, birth 
families, and adoptive parents involved in adoptions subject to 
the Convention, and to ensure that such adoptions are in the 
children's best interests; and to improve the ability of the 
Federal Government to assist U.S. citizens seeking to adopt 
children from abroad and residents of other Convention 
countries seeking to adopt children from the United States.

Sec. 2. Definitions

    This section defines various terms used in the Act. The 
Committee amended the definition of ``adoption services'' by 
deleting the subparagraphs relating to counseling and post-
adoption services. There are a broad range of individuals who 
perform counseling of prospective adoptive parents, adoptive 
parents, and adopted children at various points in the adoption 
process, including after the adoption is finalized. Otherwise 
such individuals do not provide other adoption services, and 
the Committee has determined that there should be no 
requirement for accreditation or approval for anyone engaged in 
such counseling. Similarly, post-adoption services often 
address matters that are not related to the adoption itself, 
such as cultural and educational activities in connection with 
the adopted child's state of origin.

                TITLE I--UNITED STATES CENTRAL AUTHORITY


Sec. 101. Authority of the Department of State

    Subsection (a) designates the Department of State as the 
United States Central Authority for purposes of carrying out 
U.S. obligations under the Convention.
    Subsection (b) provides that the Secretary of State shall 
be responsible for the performance of all central authority 
functions of the United States under the Convention and the 
Act, except as otherwise specified in the Act. It also requires 
that personnel hired by the State Department to carry out these 
new responsibilities have some professional experience with 
consular or child services, or personal or professional 
experience in the field of international adoption. These duties 
are new to the Department of State. Therefore, hiring of 
experienced, motivated staff will facilitate the implementation 
of the new obligations and responsibilities. The Committee is 
interested in the State Department providing the best possible 
service to the prospective adoptive parents and others involved 
in the adoption process.
    Subsection (c) authorizes the Secretary of State to 
prescribe regulations to carry out central authority functions 
on behalf of the United States.

Sec. Responsibilities of the Secretary of State

    Subsection (a) provides that the Secretary of State shall 
be responsible for liaison with the central authorities of 
other Convention countries and the coordination of Convention 
activities by persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction.
    Subsection (b) provides that the Secretary of State shall 
be responsible for providing information, and facilitating the 
transmittal and exchange of information, to and among the 
central authorities of other Convention countries, Federal and 
State agencies (including state courts) within the United 
States, and agencies accredited and persons approved under 
title II of the Act to provide adoption services in the United 
States in cases subject to the Convention.
    Subsection (c) provides that the Secretary of State 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 of this 
Act. It also provides that the Secretary of State may not 
delegate this authority to any other Federal agency. The text 
of H.R. 2909 as referred to the Committee vested this 
responsibility in the Secretary of Health and Human Services. 
In the amendment in the nature of a substitute by the 
Committee, this responsibility was conferred on the Secretary 
of State. This decision reflected the judgment that neither the 
Department of State nor the Department of Health and Human 
Services had any capacity in the area of accreditation of 
adoption agencies and therefore whichever agency received this 
responsibility would have to develop such capacity; the 
Department of State is already the primary agency with regard 
to most other central authority functions; and the assignment 
of responsibilities under this Act to the Departments of State 
and Justice (as opposed to three federal agencies) would create 
a more streamlined interagency coordination process.
    Subsection (d) provides that the Secretary of State shall 
monitor individual adoption cases involving U.S. citizens, may 
facilitate interactions between U.S. citizens and officials of 
other Convention countries in any case in which an accredited 
agency or approved person is unwilling or unable to do so, and 
may provide any other appropriate assistance in other cases.
    Subsection (e) provides that the Secretary of State and the 
Attorney General shall jointly establish a case registry to 
track all adoptions involving immigration of the child into the 
United States (regardless of whether the adoption occurs under 
the Convention) and all adoptions involving emigration of the 
child from the United States to any other Convention country. 
This registry shall be for the purpose of easing administration 
of the Act and the Convention so thatFederal agencies and 
prospective adoptive parents can determine the status of particular 
cases and for the purpose of creating a system to track children who 
leave the United States to be adopted abroad. The information in the 
registry should be tailored to these purposes, and would be subject to 
release to persons outside the relevant Federal agencies only in 
accordance with Federal law regarding Federal records, such as the 
Privacy Act.
    Subsection (f) provides that the Secretary of State may 
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 may carry out such 
functions through grants to, or contracts with, such entities. 
However, this authority needs to be read in conjunction with 
subsection (c), which prohibits the delegation of any 
authorities regarding that subsection to any other Federal 
agency. The Committee does not intend that subsection (f) 
permit delegation of the authorities described in subsection 
(c) to any Federal agency.

Sec. 103. Responsibilities of the Attorney General

    This section provides that the Attorney General shall 
perform the central authority functions specified in Article 14 
of the Convention, which requires prospective adoptive parents 
to apply to the central authority of their country of 
residence.

Sec. 104. Annual report on intercountry adoptions

    This section requires the Secretary of State, in 
consultation with the Attorney General and other appropriate 
agencies, to submit an annual report to House and Senate 
Committees describing the activities of the U.S. Central 
Authority. The report must include information on intercountry 
adoptions involving immigration to and emigration from the 
United States; disruption rates for Convention adoptions and 
certain information provided by the states regarding 
dissolution rates (as required by sec. 205); the average time 
required for the completion of a Convention adoption; a list of 
agencies accredited and persons approved to provide adoption-
related services; the names of agencies and persons debarred 
from accreditation or approval; the range of adoption fees 
charged in connection with Convention adoptions; and the range 
of fees charged for accreditation of agencies and the approval 
of persons engaged in providing adoption services. The purpose 
of this provision is to improve the type of data collected; to 
develop a data base on intercountry adoptions, and to increase 
access to information that may be of interest to the Congress, 
the public or prospective adoptive parents.

      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

    This section provides that no person shall offer or provide 
adoption services in the United States in a case subject to the 
Convention unless that person is accredited or approved under 
this title, or is providing the services through or under the 
supervision and responsibility of an agency or person so 
accredited or approved. This requirement does not apply to: (1) 
a social work professional or organization that provides only 
the background or home study, or the report on such a study, as 
long as the background or home study is approved by an 
accredited agency; (2) an entity that provides only child 
welfare services in connection with a case subject to the 
Convention; (3) a person who provides only legal services 
(rather than adoption services) in connection with a case 
subject to the Convention; or (4) U.S. prospective adoptive 
parents acting on their own behalf, to the extent permitted by 
the law of the State in which they reside.
    The Committee does not intend to alter the current practice 
followed by some prospective adoptive parents of obtaining a 
home or background study prior to the actual selection of a 
placing agency. A home study completed by a social worker or an 
agency who is not accredited or approved under this Act may be 
used during such initial stages of the intercountry adoption 
process. However, at the point where a placing agency is 
selected and a placement is imminent, such a home or background 
study is still required to be approved by an accredited agency.

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

    Subsection (a) provides that the Secretary of State shall 
designate one or more qualified private, nonprofit entities as 
accrediting entities responsible for the accreditation of 
agencies and approval of other persons providing adoption 
services under the Convention. This is a critical 
responsibility under the Convention and this Act, and this 
section provides that the Secretary may select the best private 
or public entity or entities for this purpose. However, the 
Committee is concerned that an accrediting entity designated by 
the Secretary pursuant to this section not use the authority 
granted by this section to, in effect, require an agency or 
person seeking accreditation or approval to use the accrediting 
entity's other services if such services are not essential to 
the accreditation process and the agency is not seeking such 
services. The Secretary of State should ensure that no such 
``leverage'' is used, and the Committee intends to review the 
practices of the accrediting entity or entities carefully in 
this regard.
    Subsection (b) sets forth the responsibilities of 
accrediting entities, including accreditation and approval, 
monitoring of the compliance of accredited agencies and 
approved persons with applicable requirements (including review 
of complaints), the imposition of sanctions for noncompliance, 
and record keeping and reporting.
    Subsection (c) provides remedies for adverse action by an 
accrediting entity. The subject of the action may re-apply for 
accreditation or approval upon demonstrating to the 
satisfaction of the accrediting entity that the deficiencies 
resulting in the adverse action have been corrected, and may 
appeal the adverse action in Federal district court. The 
adverse action is not subject to administrative review, but an 
agency or person who is subject to the adverse action may seek 
judicial review under the standards applicable to a federal 
agency under the Administrative Procedure Act.
    Subsection (d) requires that fees set by accredited 
agencies and approved persons must be approved by the Secretary 
of State, may not exceed the costs of accreditation, and must 
take into account the relative size of, the geographic location 
of, and the number of convention adoption cases managed by the 
agency or approved person. We understand that certain entities 
that provide accreditation services have a sliding fee scale, 
based on the revenue base of the agency being accredited. In 
particular, the Council on Accreditation, which currently 
accredits agencies for international adoption, indicates that 
it charges much lower fees to smaller agencies. The Committee 
believes that the Secretary should carefully review the fees of 
any qualified accrediting entity designated under this section 
to ensure that smaller agencies are not charged fees that will 
make it impossible for them to continue to provide intercountry 
adoption services.
    The Committee is also concerned about the practice by 
certain accrediting entities of providing discounts to agencies 
based on their affiliation with associations or organizations. 
The Committee believes that any fee structure established by an 
entity should not discriminate against agencies that are not 
members of such associations or organizations.
    Moreover, the Committee recognizes that there may be a 
surge in requests for accreditation as the treaty enters into 
force. The Committee believes that smaller agencies should not 
be disadvantaged during this process. The State Department and 
the accrediting entities should develop procedures to minimize 
this risk.
    This provision allows for more than one accrediting entity 
to accredit agencies and approve persons. However, the 
Committee is concerned that if an agency or person fails to 
obtain accreditation or approval it may seek accreditation or 
approval from another accrediting entity. It is the Committee's 
view that regulations should provide that if an agency is 
denied accreditation, or believes it will be denied 
accreditation, it should not be permitted to seek accreditation 
from another accrediting entity.

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

    Subsection (a) requires the Secretary of State to establish 
by regulation standards and procedures to be used by 
accrediting entities in accrediting agencies and approving 
persons to provide adoption services in the United States in 
cases subject to the Convention. In developing the regulations, 
the Secretary of State must consider standards and procedures 
developed by outside experts, provide the opportunity for 
notice and comment (consistent with 5 U.S.C. Sec. 553), and 
consider the views of individuals and entities with interest 
and expertise in international adoptions and family social 
services. The Committee understands that an alliance of 
agencies, lawyers, adoptive parents and adoptee organizations 
and child welfare agencies have already drafted accreditation 
standards that the alliance believes are appropriate for both 
large and small agencies conducting Hague Convention adoptions. 
As the regulations are drafted and prepared for public comment, 
the Committee intends that the Secretary consider these 
standards as well as other relevant material.
    Subsection (b) sets forth certain minimum requirements 
which must be included in the standards for accreditation and 
approval. Many of these requirements, which agencies and 
approved persons must meet prior to accreditation or approval, 
are designed to improve the adoption process and protect 
adoptive parents and children and to ensure that the agency or 
person has the capacity to provide intercountry adoption 
services and meet the other requirements of this Act.
    The standards must require that an accredited agency or 
approved persons: (1) provide a copy of the child's medical 
records, in English if practicable, before the adoption is 
completed: (2) provide prospective adoptive parents with a 
training program that includes counseling and guidance to 
promote a successful intercountry adoption; (3) employ 
personnel providing intercountry adoption services only on a 
fee for service basis; (4) fully disclose its policies and 
practices and disruption rates to prospective adoptive parents; 
(5) have the capacity (either directly or through arrangements 
with others) to perform all adoption services in cases subject 
to the Convention; (6) have procedures in place to ensure that 
social service functions requiring the application of clinical 
skills and judgment are performed only by qualified 
professionals; (7) have the ability to comply with information 
management requirements concerning record retention, reports, 
reviews, inspections, and audits, and the safeguarding of 
sensitive information; (8) have adequate liability insurance; 
and (9) have adequate measures in place to ensure compliance 
with the Convention, the Act, and any other applicable law.
    With regard to that training listed about, the Committee 
expects the regulations promulgated to implement this section 
will provide flexibility to allow appropriate training for 
parents that already have experience, such as a previous 
international adoption. Recognizing that each adoption could 
raise different issues because of the age, health, or 
institutional care of the child, the adoption agencies should 
tailor training or educational programs to the specific 
circumstances of the adoption, even with respect to experienced 
families to be sure they are prepared for the adoption.
    In addition to the above, accredited agencies must be 
private nonprofit organizations licensed to provide adoption 
services in at least one State.
    Accreditation or approval shall be granted for a period of 
not less than three and not more than five years, and may be 
renewed on a showing that the agency or person continues to 
meet the applicable requirements.
    Subsection (c) authorizes the Secretary to establish 
through regulations issued under this section a temporary 
registration system for small community based agencies. An 
agency that is registered under such a system can provide 
adoption services for a period of up to two years even if it 
does not meet the standards in subsection (b) as long as it 
satisfies the following criteria: (1)is a non-profit agency 
licensed in the state where it is located; (2) has been providing 
intercountry adoption services for at least five 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 all information related to the annual report required under 
section 104; (5) has initiated the process of becoming accredited and 
is taking steps to become accredited; and (6) has not been found to be 
involved in any improper conduct relating to intercountry adoptions.
    This provision is intended to ensure that for two years 
after the Convention enters into force, established, small 
community based agencies can continue to provide services with 
respect to Convention adoptions even if they do not meet the 
standards in subsection (b) so long as they meet certain 
standards and are actively seeking accreditation. This 
provision will also have the salutary effect of allowing the 
President to ratify the Convention earlier than would be 
necessary if the President waits for all agencies that conduct 
intercountry adoptions with Hague countries to obtain 
accreditation.

Sec. 204. Secretarial oversight of accreditation and approval

    Subsection (a) requires the Secretary of State to monitor 
the performance of accrediting entities, and to suspend or 
cancel the designation an accrediting entity if the Secretary 
finds the entity to be substantially out of compliance with the 
Convention, the Act, other applicable laws, or the regulations 
prescribed pursuant to the Act.
    Subsection (b) requires the Secretary of State to suspend 
or cancel the accreditation or approval granted by an 
accrediting entity if the Secretary finds that the agency or 
person is substantially out of compliance with applicable 
requirements and the accrediting entity has failed or refused, 
after consultation with the Secretary, to take appropriate 
corrective action. Once the Secretary is satisfied that the 
deficiencies have been corrected, an agency or person whose 
accreditation or approval has been suspended is entitled to be 
reinstated, and an agency or person whose accreditation or 
approval has been canceled is entitled to re-apply to the 
accrediting entity for accreditation or approval.
    Subsection (c) authorizes the Secretary of State to debar 
an agency from accreditation or a person from approval, either 
temporarily (for a minimum of three years, after which time the 
agency or person may apply to the Secretary for withdrawal of 
the debarment) or permanently, if there is substantial evidence 
that the agency or person is out of compliance with applicable 
requirements and 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.
    A provision in H.R. 2909 regarding judicial review was not 
included in the amendment. Rather, the Committee believes that 
the regime generally applicable to the review of adverse 
actions by Federal agencies contained in the Administrative 
Procedures Act is the appropriate framework for review of 
adverse action by the Secretary under this section. Under that 
Act, accrediting entities, accredited agencies, and approved 
persons can seek judicial review of the Secretary's adverse 
actions under standards that are well understood and have been 
subject to extensive judicial interpretation.

Sec. 205. State plan requirement

    This section amends Part B of Title IV of the Social 
Security Act to add a requirement to State plans under that 
title that States describe activities undertaken for children 
adopted from other countries including the provision of 
adoption and post adoption services. This amendment also 
requires States to collect and report information on children 
who are adopted from other countries and who enter State 
custody as a result of a dissolution or disruption of an 
adoption. This provision was added at the request of the Ways 
and Means Committee. Information on disrupted and dissolved 
adoptions should include the aggregate number of children, 
special needs status, the reason for placement into state 
custody, the age of the child, the agency that made adoption 
arrangements, the country from which the child emigrated, and 
the plans for the child.

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


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

    Subsection (a) directs the Secretary of State to issue a 
final adoption certificate if the Secretary receives 
appropriate notification from the central authority of the 
child's country of origin and has verified that the 
requirements of the Act have been met with respect to the 
adoption or prospective adoption. The certificate, together 
with the original adoption decree, shall be treated in the 
United States as conclusive evidence that a final adoption has 
taken place.
    Subsection (b) provides that a final adoption in another 
Convention country, certified by the Secretary of State in 
accordance with the Convention and the Act, shall be recognized 
in the United States as a final valid adoption for the purposes 
of all Federal, State, and local laws.
    Subsection (c) provides that a State court shall not have 
the authority to finalize the adoption of a child who has 
entered the United States from another Convention country for 
purposes of adoption unless the Secretary of State has issued 
the certificate issue under subsection (a).

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

    Subsection (a) amends section 101(b) of the Immigration and 
Nationality Act (INA) to add children adopted in Hague 
Convention countries, or emigrating from such countries, for 
purposes of their adoption in the United States, as new 
categories of children who may beclassified as immediate 
relatives of U.S. citizens for immigration purposes. These children 
would not need to meet the definition of ``orphan'' under the INA, but 
other requirements of current law would continue to apply, including 
those relating to age and U.S. citizenship of the adoptive parents. The 
Committee has been assured that consular officers of the Department of 
State and officials of the Immigration and Naturalization Service will 
continue to be vigilant in identifying cases where there is fraud or 
improper financial inducement related to adoptions. While the 
Convention is intended to help states of origin implement protections 
to end abuses in their countries, the Committee strongly believes that 
both sending and receiving countries must cooperate to guarantee the 
integrity of the adoption process. In particular, the Attorney General 
must be satisfied that the purpose of the adoption is to form a bona 
fide parent-child relationship and that the parent-child relationship 
of the child and the biological parents has been permanently 
terminated.
    Subsection (b) amends section 204(d) of the INA to provide 
that, in the case of a Convention adoption, an immigrant visa 
shall not be issued to a child as an immediate relative of the 
prospective adoptive parent unless the Secretary of State has 
certified that the central authority of the child's country of 
origin has given notice that the child has been adopted, or 
custody for purposes of adoption has been granted, in 
accordance with the Convention.
    Subsection (c) is a conforming amendment to the definition 
of ``parent'' under the INA.

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

    Subsection (a) requires, in regard to a U.S. resident child 
emigrating to another Convention country for purposes of 
adoption, that the accredited agency or approved person 
providing adoptive services, or the prospective adoptive 
parents acting on their own behalf, ensure that (1) a 
background study on the child is completed in accordance with 
the standards set forth in the Convention; (2) the accredited 
agency or approved person has made reasonable efforts to 
actively recruit and make a diligent search for adoptive 
parents in the U.S., but despite such efforts, has not been 
able to place the child for placement in the U.S. in a timely 
manner; and (c) a determination is made that the placement is 
in the best interests of the child. The subsection also 
requires the agency or person to furnish the necessary 
documentation to the U.S. Central Authority and the State court 
with jurisdiction over the case.
    The provision also requires the background report to 
include a criminal background check. While the Committee 
understands that local police records may vary widely, every 
effort should be made to locate any criminal history that may 
exist. The Committee expects that the Secretary and the 
Attorney General will work with other central authorities to 
improve the quality and timeliness and uniformity of such 
checks.
    Subsection (b) provides that a State court shall not 
finalize an adoption or grant custody for the purpose of 
adoption in the case of a U.S. resident child emigrating to 
another Convention country for purposes of adoption unless the 
court has received and verified the documents required under 
the Convention, made the determinations required of the country 
of origin by the Convention, and determined that the placement 
is in the best interests of the child. The appropriate 
authorities should closely review the background or home study 
to be sure it meets the standards set forth in the Convention 
under Article 15.
    Subsection (c) requires the Secretary of State to issue a 
certificate of adoption, or a declaration of custody for 
purposes of adoption, in each case in which the requirements of 
this section have been met.
    Subsection (d) requires accredited agencies or approved 
persons or others to file information as required by the 
registry provision (section 102(e)) on non-Convention 
intercountry adoptions involving emigration from the U.S.
    H.R. 2909 as introduced included a provision that would 
have limited the ability of State courts to void a foreign 
decree related to an intercountry adoption and would have 
required State courts to recognize a foreign decree voiding an 
adoption decree issued in that country. This provision was 
deleted by the Committee because it was determined that the 
Convention does not require such a provision, and the Committee 
believes that the enforcement of foreign decrees, and their 
invalidation, should be left to current law regarding 
recognition of foreign judgments.

                TITLE IV--ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT


Sec. 401. Access to Convention records

    Subsection (a) requires the Secretary of State, in 
consultation with the Attorney General, to issue regulations, 
following notice and comment, that establish procedures and 
requirements for the preservation of Convention records 
(defined as information about a Convention adoption that has 
been preserved by the Secretary of State or the Attorney 
General). Records that are required to be preserved pursuant to 
this subsection should be limited to only those records 
necessary to implement the Convention and this Act.
    Subsection (b) permits the disclosure of a Convention 
record maintained under the authority of the Immigration and 
Nationality Act (INA) to the adopted child or the adoptive 
parents under applicable federal law. This subsection also 
provides that unlawful disclosure of a Convention record will 
be punishable under applicable federal law.
    Subsection (b) further provides that access to a convention 
record is permitted among the Secretary of State, the Attorney 
General, central authorities, accredited agencies and approved 
persons to the extent necessary to administer the Convention or 
this Act.
    Subsection (c) provides that access to non-Convention 
records including records of State adoption proceedings shall 
be governed by applicable State law. Penalties for unlawful 
disclosure of a non-convention record shall be governed by 
applicable State law.
    In recent years, the issue of access to adoption records 
has been extensively debated in the States, with ballot 
initiatives and court cases providing the battleground. The 
Committee takes no position with respect to that debate, and 
does not intend to affect the extent to which access is 
provided to adoption records pursuant to Federal or State law. 
Under current law, Federal records that contain information 
regarding intercountry adoptions are subject to Federal laws 
regarding disclosure and access to information maintained by 
the Federal government (such as the Privacy Act and the Freedom 
of Information Act). Records regarding intercountry adoptions 
that are in State custody or in the files of adoption agencies 
are governed by applicable State laws. State laws regarding 
access to adoption records vary from jurisdiction to 
jurisdiction: some States have a restrictive regime with 
respect to such records, others have an open regime, and yet 
others take a variety of approaches in between. Under section 
401, Federal records will continue to be governed by applicable 
federal law, while non-federal records, including records of 
adoption proceedings conducted in the United States, will 
continue to be governed by applicable State law. No State is 
required by this provision to change its laws regarding access 
to and disclosure of adoption records or is precluded from 
doing so.

Sec. 402. Documents of other Convention countries

    This section provides that documents originating in another 
Convention country and related to a Convention adoption shall 
require no authentication or legalization to be admissible in 
U.S. courts, 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

    Subsection (a) authorizes appropriation of such sums as may 
be necessary to agencies of the Federal Government for the 
purpose of implementing the Convention and the Act, and 
provides for such sums to remain available until expended.
    Subsection (b) permits the Secretary of State, subject to 
appropriations, to charge and retain a fee prescribed by 
regulation for new or enhanced intercountry adoption services 
undertaken to meet the requirements of the Act. These fees may 
not exceed the costs of such services.

Sec. 404. Enforcement

    This section provides for the Attorney General to seek in 
an appropriate Federal district court civil money penalties of 
not more than $50,000 for a first violation and not more than 
$100,000 for each subsequent violation against any person who 
(1) provides adoption services in the United States in 
connection with Convention adoptions without proper 
accreditation or approval; (2) provides false statements or 
improper inducements to obtain consent to adoption or the 
relinquishment of parental rights or to influence a decision of 
an accrediting entity or any entity performing a central 
authority function, or (3) engages another person as an agent 
in the United States or abroad who takes any of the actions 
described in (1) or (2) within the scope of such agency. H.R. 
2909 as introduced provided for waiver of civil penalties. 
However, the Committee determined that since this is a 
discretionary responsibility, no express waiver authority was 
required. The Committee believes that in the exercise of that 
discretion the Attorney General should not seek civil money 
penalties 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. The section 
also provides for criminal penalties of not more than $250,000, 
imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both, for knowing and 
willful violations of paragraphs (1) or (2) of subsection (a).

                      TITLE V--GENERAL PROVISIONS


Sec. 501. Recognition of Convention adoptions

    This section provides for the recognition in the United 
States of Convention adoptions concluded between two other 
Convention countries before the date the Convention enters into 
force for the United States.

Sec. 502. Special rules for certain cases

    Subsection (a) authorizes the Secretary of State to 
establish by regulation alternative procedures for the adoption 
of children in Convention cases by individuals related to them 
by blood, marriage or adoption. The Committee's adoption in 
this list recognizes that there is and ought to be no legal 
distinction between family relationships established through 
the act of adoption and those derived from blood or marriage.
    Subsection (b) provides that notwithstanding any other 
provision of the Act, to the extent consistent with the 
Convention, the Secretary of State may, on a case-by-case 
basis, waive applicable requirements of, or regulations issued 
under the Act, in the interests of justice or to prevent grave 
physical harm to the child. This authority may not be 
delegated.

Sec. 503. Relationship to other laws

    Subsection (a) provides that the Convention and the Act 
shall not be construed to preempt any provision of State or 
local law except to the extent that any such provision is 
inconsistent with either the Convention or the Act, and then 
only to the extent of the inconsistency.
    Subsection (b) provides that nothing in the Act shall be 
construed to affect the application of the Indian Child Welfare 
Act.

Sec. 504. No private right of action

    This section provides that the Convention and the Act shall 
not be construed to create a private right of action to seek 
administrative or judicial relief, except as expressly provided 
in the Act.

Sec. 505. Effective dates; transition rule

    Subsection (a)(1) provides that specific provisions of the 
Act are to become effective immediately upon enactment, so that 
various preparatory steps can be taken before the Convention's 
entry into force for the United States, including the 
establishment of the U.S. Central Authority and a case tracking 
system, designation by the Secretary of State of accrediting 
entities, and issuance by the Secretary of State of regulations 
to establish standards and procedures for accreditation and 
approval.
    Subsection (a)(2) provides that the remaining provisions of 
the Act shall take effect upon the entry into force of the 
Convention for the United States, and that the substantive 
provisions of the Act will govern Convention adoptions that are 
finalized after that date.
    Subsection (b) provides that the Convention and the Act 
shall not govern adoption cases (1) initiated by the filing of 
an orphan petition or petition to classify an orphan as an 
immediate relative before the Convention's entry into force for 
the United States, or (2) involving foreign nationals seeking 
to adopt children resident in the United States, where the 
prospective adoptive parents initiated an adoption application 
in their home country before the Convention's entry into force 
for the United States.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

                 SECTION 422 OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT


                 STATE PLANS FOR CHILD WELFARE SERVICES

  Sec. 422. (a)  * * *
  (b) Each plan for child welfare services under this subpart 
shall--
          (1)  * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (11) contain a description, developed after 
        consultation with tribal organizations (as defined in 
        section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and 
        Education Assistance Act) in the State, of the specific 
        measures taken by the State to comply with the Indian 
        Child Welfare Act; [and]
          (12) contain assurances that the State shall develop 
        plans for the effective use of cross-jurisdictional 
        resources to facilitate timely adoptive or permanent 
        placements for waiting children[.];
          (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.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                              ----------                              


                    IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            TITLE I--GENERAL

                              definitions

  Section 101. (a)  * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (b) As used in titles I and II--
  (1) The term ``child'' means an unmarried person under 
twenty-one years of age who is--
          (A)  * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (E)(i) a child adopted while under the age of sixteen 
        years if the child has been in the legal custody of, 
        and has resided with, the adopting parent or parents 
        for at least two years: Provided, That no natural 
        parent of any such adopted child shall thereafter, by 
        virtue of such parentage, be accorded any right, 
        privilege, or status under this Act; or
          (ii) subject to the same proviso as in clause (i), a 
        child who: (I) is a natural sibling of a child 
        described in clause (i) or subparagraph (F)(i); (II) 
        was adopted by the adoptive parent or parents of the 
        sibling described in such clause or subparagraph; and 
        (III) is otherwise described in clause (i), except that 
        the child was adopted while under the age of 18 years; 
        [or]
          (F)(i)  * * *
          (ii) subject to the same provisos as in clause (i), a 
        child who: (I) is a natural sibling of a child 
        described in clause (i) or subparagraph (E)(i); (II) 
        has been adopted abroad, or is coming to the United 
        States for adoption, by the adoptive parent (or 
        prospective adoptive parent) or parents of the sibling 
        described in such clause or subparagraph; and (III) is 
        otherwise described in clause (i), except that the 
        child is under the age of 18 at the time a petition is 
        filed in his or her behalf to accord a classification 
        as an immediate relative under section 201(b)[.]; or
          (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.
  (2) The term ``parent'', ``father'', or ``mother'' means a 
parent, father, or mother only where the relationship exists by 
reason of any of the circumstances set forth in (1) above, 
except that, for purposes of paragraph (1)(F) (other than the 
second proviso therein) and paragraph (1)(G)(i) in the case of 
a child born out of wedlock described in paragraph (1)(D) (and 
not described in paragraph (1)(C)), the term ``parent'' does 
not include the natural father or the child if the father has 
disappeared or abandoned or deserted the child or if the father 
has in writing irrevocably released the child for emigration 
and adoption.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                         TITLE II--IMMIGRATION

Chapter 1--Selection System

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                procedure for granting immigrant status

  Sec. 204. (a)  * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (d)(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and 
(b) no petition may be approved on behalf of a child defined in 
[section 101(b)(1)(F)] subparagraph (F) or (G) of section 
101(b)(1) unless a valid home-study has been favorably 
recommended by an agency of the State of the child's proposed 
residence, or by an agency authorized by that State to conduct 
such a study, or, in the case of a child adopted abroad, by an 
appropriate public or private adoption agency which is licensed 
in the United States.
  (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.