September 10, 2009 / 1:02 PM / 10 years ago

International adoption resumes for Nepalese children

KATHMANDU, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Three U.S. couples were on Thursday the first to take Nepalese children since the Himalayan nation ended an international adoption suspension, which took effect two years ago amid reports of widespread corruption.

The mountainous country imposed the adoption hold in 2007 amid criticism some children were being sold off, leaving the process in limbo for hundreds of foreign families.

A Maoist-led government last year allowed 63 foreign agencies to start work as “intermediaries” between potential adopting families and the Nepali authorities.

Potential parents can also approach Nepali authorities for adopting children through their respective embassies.

The three couples who were the first to adopt under the resumed process are each taking Nepali girls.

“We are very excited,” said Kyla Blanchard-Romanach, a lawyer from Baton Rouge, Los Angeles, pressing her two-year-old adopted daughter to her chest.

“We are blessed,” said her husband Carlos, 47, also a lawyer.

Blanchard-Romanach said the girl would join the six-year-old son the couple adopted from Korea.

“He is really excited about getting a sister,” she said of the boy.

Nepal started receiving applications from families wishing to adopt in January, but the first lot could be handed over only on Thursday due to lengthy bureaucratic procedures, officials said.

There are about 400 applications from families who want to adopt Nepali children, said Toya Nath Adhikari, an official of the Women, Children and Social Welfare Ministry.

Families from the United States and Western Europe are increasingly interested in adopting Nepali babies. More than 2,200 had been adopted until 2007.

“We chose to adopt from Nepal, because the culture of Nepal is beautiful,” said Teryl Elam, a doctor from Anchorage, carrying in her arms the girl she and her husband were adopting. (Editing by Bappa Majumdar and Jerry Norton)

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