Chicago Journal of International Law

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In the context of adoption, subsidiarity is the principle that children should remain with their birth families whenever possible, and whenever not possible, that in-country placements should take precedence over intercountry adoption. This Comment looks at the specific meaning of subsidiarity in the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. It highlights that the convention does not require intercountry adoption be a last resort, but rather that “due consideration” be given to placements “within the State of origin.” Then, the Comment looks at the domestic law of India, Colombia, and South Korea, three of the main sending countries in intercountry adoption, as case studies to see how these countries have implemented subsidiarity over time. It reveals a broad trend of these countries implementing stricter and stricter conceptions of subsidiarity over time and concludes that presently all three countries go far beyond what the convention requires, potentially in ways that undermine the best interests of the child.

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