UPDATE II [March 21, 2012]: The April 2012 goal has been pushed back again. According to a US government source, petitions won’t be accepted until January 1, 2013.

UPDATE [May, 5, 2011]: As expected, the Government has postponed until April 2012 the acceptance of foreign adoption applications.

An article in today’s Daily reports on the unlikelihood of the 2009 inter-country adoption law being fully implemented next month as originally indicated. Although the government plans to start accepting inter-country adoption applications next month, the law requires that before this can take place, the Inter Country Adoption Administration in Cambodia must conclude agreements with its foreign counterparts.

To date, no such agreements have been concluded. Many foreign governments may be waiting to see how successful the implementation will be. At least one government has indicated it is reluctant to initiate such an agreement until the registration procedure for adoption agencies has been clarified.

The law currently calls for adoption agencies to “apply for authorization and approval by and recognition of” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but no further information is available on how to instigate this application process. Approval may be automatic if the agency has recognized NGO status from the Ministry, but NGO status requires an address (including lease agreement) within Cambodia, both for the NGO office and for foreign and local staff.

This would require an agency to commit to a presence for NGO purposes in Cambodia well in advance of any certainty as to their chances of successfully applying for registration as an adoption agency. Until this issue is ironed out, the situation remains in a catch-22.