As part of an effort to end child trafficking, a new law will take effect with stricter rules when it comes people in the United States adopting children internationally.
Stephanie Adams and her husband adopted two children in the United States and two from China.
"Either way they have their ups and downs. Either way it’s not easy, but in the end they are equal and they are amazing,” Adams said.
She said adoption is amazing but also challenging.
Now it could be tougher for people in the future.
The Florida Department of Children and Families said all international adoption agencies in the U.S. must follow new rules starting July 2014.
According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the Department of State:
The President signed the Universal Accreditation Act into law on January 14, 2013. The new law takes effect 18 months thereafter on July 14, 2014. The State Department is actively involved in promoting ethical and transparent interocuntry adoptions in the best interests of children around the world, and believes that the UAA adds important protections for families and children in the adoption process.
In most cases, they previously only needed a state license to operate.
But now they need to get approval for Hague Accreditation if they want to continue conducting international adoptions.
“The Hague Accreditation puts some basic safety and standards in place,” said DCF spokeswoman Carrie Proudfit.
In order to meet standards, the federal government will look at the agency's prior history and ethical practices among other categories.
DCF said ending child trafficking in only one of several reasons for the changes in the law. They said, "It was also an effort to have standards in place in the host country, as well as the U.S. to improve the system of international adoptions, which includes reducing the potential for wrong doing, such as potential trafficking oversees."
Thousands of children need a good home like the Adams' have provided for their children. But there are many children not so lucky.
“This was such a booming industry in the last couple of years," Proudfit said. "The number of international adoptions at least coming here to the U.S. really skyrocketed in recent years and a lot of children have come to the U.S. through that process, and we are seeing some changes as far as which countries are working with agencies and which are not.”
Adoptions then virtually stopped in Guatemala after problems were reported in the country. There were only seven in 2012, compared to the more than 4,000 children brought here in 2008.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo does not allow gay people to adopt their children and just recently announced single parents are no longer allowed to adopt children from their country.
“Their culture may vary in terms of what is acceptable and what is not, in a foreign country verses here,” said Proudfit.
DCF said Florida is one of the top states for international adoptions.
They said the changes in procedures are an effort to keep kids safer, but it will force more agencies to do extra work when it comes to following the rules.
According to the federal government, currently there are over 70 countries recognized by the United States as Hague Adoption Convention countries.
"I think families have a better opportunity to have an easier experience through the adoption process,” said Proudfit.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo suspended international adoptions for several reasons. DCF said they were concerned children were being adopted by homosexuals among other reasons.