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US, Cambodia to Resume Child Adoptions

Cambodian orphan is fed formula milk by a nanny at Chrey Chao commune orphanage on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, May 12, 2004.
Cambodia announced Monday that it has agreed to resume child adoptions with the United States beginning next year.

Cambodia's secretary of state for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Long Visalo, announced the move, a decision that reverses a ban on foreign adoptions that has been in effect since 2009. He said after a meeting in Phnom Penh with the U.S. special advisor for children's issues, Ambassador Susan Jacobs, that adoptions will resume on January 1.

Long Visalo says that only 200 Cambodian children at most will be allowed to be adopted each year by U.S. families.

“We have now set on a quota, like for instance, we allow the U.S. to adopt between one hundred up to two hundreds children, annually. No more than that," said Visalo.

Visalo said Cambodia has put regulations in place to ensure safe adoptions. He said his country passed a law in 2009 to better regulate adoptions, following criticism that some children were being sold to adoption agencies and others were ending up in human tracking rings.

“We pay great attention to the future of those kids and we also take into consideration those who wish to adopt a child. Some don’t have a child and wish to adopt one, and they meet our legal requirement so we have to do it," Visalo said.

Ambassador Jacobs is on a trip through Asia to discuss international adoptions as well as child abductions.