By Giff Johnson.
An American adoption agency has had its accreditation suspended after a Honolulu media outlet revealed its involvement in illegal Marshallese adoptions.
It is the first known intervention by a US department to halt the flow of adoptions that involve flying Marshallese mothers and babies directly to the US for adoption.
The suspension of the accreditation of Adoptions International of Texas was announced late last month by the department.
In a statement, it said Adoptions International must cease to provide all adoption services in connection with inter-country adoption cases.
It has ordered the agency to transfer its cases to another adoption service provider.
An article in the Honolulu Civil Beat in mid-June was titled: "This Texas lawyer flies Marshallese women through Hawaii for black market adoptions".
It said lawyer Jody Hall, who runs the Dallas-based adoption company, "is arranging adoptions that involve birth mothers flown from the Marshall Islands to the US in defiance of a treaty between the two nations, and has told US clients she has done it repeatedly."
Honolulu Civil Beat published a series late last year on black market adoptions involving lawyers and local fixers arranging to fly Marshallese women to the US to adopt their babies.
The Compact of Free Association treaty between the US and the Marshall Islands provides Marshall Islanders with visa-free access to live, work and study in the US.
But it specifically forbids use of the immigration status for the purpose of adoption.