As the new Inter-Country Adoption Law is to be implemented in early 2011, many potential parents are wondering how it will affect them. One major change from the former adoption practice is that all inter-country adoptions must now be handled by authorized agencies. Unauthorized private companies and orphanages can no longer handle inter-country adoptions directly.

The Cambodian government has already begun to accept applications for inter-country adoption agencies. For more information on how to register as an inter-country adoption agency, please refer to this publication.

A common question that has arisen is ‘what about expats in Cambodia looking to adopt?’ They, too, are required to adopt through an inter-country adoption agency. For the agencies that open abroad, they are required to have a representative office in Cambodia. The expats in Cambodia will then apply with their home country’s office.

The use of inter-country agencies will surely cause the adoption process in Cambodia to take longer and be more expensive. However, it will also ensure that both parents and agencies are thoroughly screened and closely monitored to prevent child-trafficking. After all, the most important interests to look after are those of the children.