Set forth below is but a sample of the many policies the Agency drafted and the Board approved to evidence our commitment to abide by the regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of State pursuant to the Hague Convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (the “accreditation regulations”). All references to numbered sections and subsections are to the numbered sections and subsections of the accreditation regulations set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations at 22 CFR Part 96, Subpart F.
1. NO INCENTIVE OR CONTINGENT FEES EVER POLICY! Open Seas is mindful of the proscription, under Subsection 96.34(a), on incentive and contingent fee compensation arrangements. It is the express policy of the Agency to abide by this proscription. Open Seas hereby warrants that individuals who provide intercountry adoption services through the Agency are not and shall never be compensated with an incentive fee or contingent fee for each child located or placed for adoption.
2. FEE-FOR-SERVICE, HOURLY WAGE OR SALARY BASIS COMPENSATION POLICY. It is the express policy of Open Seas, pursuant to Subsection 96.34(b), that its directors, officers, employees, and supervised providers who provide intercountry adoption services shall be compensated only for services actually rendered and only on a fee-for-service, hourly wage, or salary basis rather than on a contingent fee basis.
3. ETHICAL PRACTICE POLICY. It is the express policy of Open Seas, pursuant to Subsection 96.35(a), to provide adoption services ethically and in accordance with the Hague Convention’s principles of: (1) ensuring that intercountry adoptions take place in the best interests of children, and (2) preventing the abduction, exploitation, sale or trafficking of children. We hereby warrant that the Ethnical Practice Policy shall inform every aspect of the Agency’s operations.
4. PROHIBITION ON CHILD BUYING POLICY. We strongly endorse Section 96.36 (“Prohibition on Child Buying”). Pursuant to Subsection 96.36(a) Open Seas expressly prohibits its employees and agents from giving money or other consideration, directly or indirectly, to a child’s parents, other individuals, or an entity as payment for the child or as an inducement to release the child. If permitted or required by the child’s country of origin, Open Seas may remit reasonable payments for activities related to the adoption proceedings, pre-birth and birth medical costs, the care of the child, the care of the birth mother while pregnant and immediately following birth of the child, or the provision of child welfare and child protection services generally. Permitted or required contributions shall not be remitted as payment for the child or as an inducement to release the child.
5. REINFORCEMENT THROUGH TRAINING OF THE PROHIBITION ON CHILD BUYING POLICY. It is the express policy of Open Seas, pursuant to Subsection 96.36(b), that all of our employee training programs (and those for affiliates) and any manuals used in connection with the training of employees (and other affiliates) reiterate, reinforce and emphasize in the most urgent terms the prohibition on child buying. Additionally, every person affiliated with Open Seas in any capacity, be it an employee, volunteer, board member, consultant or any other agent, however characterized or described, is expected to be conversant with the requirements and procedures imposed by the Hague Convention, particularly as applies to the ethical practices and responsibilities of agencies and their employees engaged in the provision of adoption services consistent with the Convention.
6. NO PREFERENTIAL ADOPTION PLACEMENTS POLICY. Open Seas is mindful of the proscription, under Subsection 96.39(c), on giving preferential treatment in the placement of children for adoption. It is the express policy of Open Seas to abide by this proscription. The Agency hereby warrants that no preferential treatment is or shall ever be given to its board members, contributors, volunteers, employees, agents, consultants or independent contractors with respect to the placement of children for adoption.
7. INTERNET USE POLICY. It is the express policy of Open Seas to abide by the detailed strictures set forth at Subsection 96.39(f) on the Agency’s use of the Internet in the placement of individual children for adoption. Our Personal Service Policy reiterates one of the strictures on the use of the Internet and expresses our commitment to abide by it especially.
8. PERSONAL SERVICE POLICY. It is the express policy of the Board of Directors, consistent with Subsection 96.39(f), that all employees and other paid and unpaid affiliates endeavor to remember that the emphasis in the Agency’s delivery method is to be on dialogue and personal service in a one-on-one, face-to-face setting, rather than virtually, via the Internet or other indirect means. The Agency’s Web site and e-mail address are intended to supplement and not substitute for direct, personal and frequent human contact between the Agency and our prospective adoptive and adoptive families.
9. LIMITED USE OF DATA AND SAFEGUARDING OF SENSITIVE INDIVIDUAL INFORMATION POLICY. It is the express policy of our Board of Directors, pursuant to Subsection 96.42(c), to ensure that personal data gathered or transmitted in connection with an adoption is used only for the purposes for which the information was gathered and, further, to facilitate the safeguarding of sensitive individual information in the Agency’s possession.
10. HOME STUDY PREPARATION POLICY. Open Seas acknowledges its obligation, pursuant to Subsection 96.47(a), to conduct through a licensed social worker a thorough home study and draft a corresponding report on each prospective adoptive parent. It is the express policy of the Agency to honor this obligation. We hereby warrant that we shall use our best efforts to collect and record the requisite information so as to assist the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, and every country in which Open Seas operates, to determine whether a prospective adoptive parent is eligible and suitable to adopt a foreign-born child and, if so, to enable the best possible match to be made between the applicant and a child to be adopted.
11. ADOPTION PREPARATION & TRAINING POLICY. Open Seas acknowledges its obligation to provide each prospective adoptive parent with a training program that includes pre-adoption counseling and guidance. It is the express policy of the Agency to honor this obligation. We hereby warrant that such training as set forth in detail at Section 96.48 shall be so provided.
12. RE-ADOPTION IN NEW YORK POLICY. It is the express policy of Open Seas to encourage all of our New York adoptive parents to readopt their foreign-born children in New York. The advantages are clear and, absent unusual circumstances, the process is simple and straightforward (only one appearance in court is required of the adoptive parents).