The new amendments to the adoption laws do not allow foreigners to adopt Solomon Islands children although the old Act did allow it.
The amended 2016 Adoption Bill which Parliament had passed also stipulates the requirements to be more strict and for extra material to be available to the courts in order to decide applications for adoption from non-residents.
And most importantly, the courts must be satisfied that there are no other suitable arrangements for the children in Solomon Islands and that the adoption is in the children’s best interests.
The amended Adoption law says people who are not residents may apply to the courts to adopt Solomon Islands children.
But the amended Adoption Law will require non-residents wanting to adopt Solomon Islands children to apply to the courts for adoption or interim orders.
And the amended adoption legislation will require applications to be accompanied by reports from relevant adoption authorities in their countries of ordinary residence and the applicants’ suitability to adopt children.
The legislation says the courts must request reports from Social Welfare Officers because they cannot consider giving adoption and interim orders unless they are satisfied all the requirements are followed, and that no other suitable arrangements are available in Solomon Islands for the children’s care, support and welfare and that the inter-country adoption is in their best interests.
Meanwhile, the adoption legislation puts restriction on the removal of children for adoption outside Solomon Islands.
And adopters, who breach Section 25 of the Adoption Act 2016, commit an offence if they send out Solomon Islands children to places outside the country and if they do so with the intention that they are adopted by persons who are not parents, guardians and relatives.
The maximum penalty for the offense is 100,000 penalty units or 10 years imprisonment or both.
By George Atkin for OPMC Press