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Samoan adoptions raise eyebrows

Published: 9:42PM Saturday August 14, 2004 Source: One News

The Samoan government has launched an inquiry into an international agency that arranges adoptions of village children to Americans.

A One News investigation has found the children are not orphans or abandoned. Instead they come from big families.

Auckland has become a staging post for American parents picking up Samoan children. Last year the American consulate in Auckland issued visas for 61 Samoan children.

That figure is expected to grow and that has prompted a Samoan government investigation.

In addition some parents claim they did not know they were signing their children away forever. They say they had no idea that adoption meant permanent seperation from their children.

Focus on Children, the international agency that handles the adoptions, admits there have been problems in the past. A local agent has put together a checklist to ensure parents understand what they are doing.

But some say that is not enough.

Samoan authorities will be looking at whether current legislation is adequate for the new phenomenon and whether the adoptions are legitimate.

See video for full report...