Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Nepal: International Adoptions Resume with New, Stricter Rules

(Apr. 27, 2009) It was reported on March 17, 2009, that Nepal's Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MWCSW) is examining a list of Nepali children available for inter-country adoption, after the lifting of an 18-month ban on such adoptions. The central matching committee under the Ministry has been assigned to handle the cases of 115 prospective foreign parents who have applied to adopt Nepali children, having presented a document from their home country that permits them to adopt. It could take two to three months before the children are handed over, but might be delayed even longer because only a few of the 38 registered orphanages have submitted lists of children, due to new, stricter regulations and a lack of funds. (Kids Just Months Away from New Homes, eKANTIPUR.COM, Mar. 17, 2009, available at

The new measures were issued in May 2008 to maintain transparency throughout the country's international child adoption selection process and to preserve confidentiality to ensure that no one influences that process. (MWCSW, Terms and Conditions and Process for Granting Approval for Adoption of Nepali Child by Alien, 2008, 58:6 NEPAL GAZETTE (May 19, 2008), available at,Con.of%20adpn%20of%20Nepali%
.) The 18-month MWCSW suspension of the adoptions came in the wake of press reports of “corruption and rampant exploitation of children” (including cases of the bypassing of regulations by agents “to illegally procure babies for potential parents for large amounts”), and was to remain in place until the loopholes in the system had been plugged. (eKANTIPUR.COM, supra.)

The ban was eased as a result of pressure from the international community and the government's formulation of the new rules. The new measures prescribe that adoptive parents must go through registered adoption agencies from their home country or the country's Nepal-based embassy. In the past, prospective parents dealt directly with orphanages. The adoption fee per child is also now fixed, at US$8,000 dollars; $5,000 goes to the orphanage and $3,000 to the state. Formerly, there was no pre-determined amount for adoptions, and so the adoptive parents often paid huge fees for the child of their choice. (Id.)

The Nepali government has registered 62 international adoption agencies, which have been requested to spend “a certain amount” on children's welfare in Nepal. According to MWCSW records, 2,244 Nepali children have been adopted since 2000. (Id.)