9 Mar 2007

Samoa officials stunned by US allegations over adoptions

2:55 pm on 9 March 2007

The chief executive of Samoa's ministry of justice and courts administration is upset by claims that Samoan babies were smuggled to the United States, and says he believes all adoptions were above board.

The Samoa Observer reports that Masinalupe Tusipa Masinalupe is puzzled by the charges laid against the adoption agency, Focus on Children, by United States federal authorities.

They allege fraud and conspiracy in the adoption by US couples of Samoan children through the Utah-based agency.

Masinalupe says as far as the Samoan side of the adoption process goes, there have been no illegalities.

He supports the comments made by the Focus on Children lawyer in Samoa, Patrick Fepuleai, that the adoptions were all above board and there was no smuggling involved.

Masinalupe says birth parents are given explanations in Samoan of what the full implications would be if they adopt out their children.,

The CEO says the adoption process in Samoa is a lengthy one taking two to three months and paramount in the Court's consideration is the best interests of the child.