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July 15, 2016. New Legislation, Which Will Help Children Find Homes Through Adoption, and Which Is Supported by the Center for Adoption Policy, Introduced.

We are delighted to post today's press release:

"U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), co-chairs of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, yesterday introduced the Vulnerable Children and Families Act. The measure would help more children living without families or in institutional care find permanent homes by enhancing U.S. diplomatic efforts around international child welfare and ensuring that intercountry adoption to the United States becomes a more viable and fully-developed option.

"Every child deserves the opportunity to grow up in a safe, loving home regardless of where they are born," Blunt said. "Sadly, millions of children living without families throughout the world are denied that opportunity, leaving them at greater risk than children living in family-based care. There are many families in the United States and around the world that are fighting for the chance to welcome a child into their homes. This bill aims to provide more children in need with the permanent care and stability that will help them grow into healthy, productive adults."

The United Nations Children's Fund estimates that 13 million children across the globe have lost both parents and as many as eight million children are living in institutional care. Despite the clear need for more permanent homes for these children, the number of international adoptions into the United States has decreased by 72 percent since 2004.

Klobuchar added, "As Hennepin County attorney and as the Senate co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, and from a state with a strong tradition of adoption, I know the power of adoption. We can and must do more to provide vulnerable children, especially those who have been in institutional care, with the opportunity to be adopted into safe and nurturing homes. This bipartisan legislation will strengthen our relationships with nations across the world, while also making a difference in the lives of many families."

Rep. Kay Granger (Texas) plans to introduce the House companion bill.

The Vulnerable Children and Families Act:

  • Ensures that international child welfare and efforts to provide permanent and safe homes for vulnerable children are a central part of international diplomacy and U.S. foreign policy within the State Department.
  • Replaces the current U.S. Department of State Office of Children's Issues with an Office of Vulnerable Children and Family Security. This office would build international capacity to implement effective child welfare systems, with particular focus on family preservation and reunification, domestic adoption, and intercountry adoption.
  • Requires that data on children living without families or in institutional settings be included in the Department of State's annual human rights report.
  • Creates a new annual report to Congress on the technical assistance being provided to foreign countries to promote family-based permanence under the Act.
  • Strengthens coordination between the Office of Vulnerable Children and Family Security and the Special Advisor for Children in Adversity at the United States Agency for International Development, and ensures the two offices are working together to implement the objectives outlined in the 2012 Action Plan on Children in Adversity.

The legislation is supported by the National Council for Adoption, American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, Christian Alliance for Orphans, Saddleback Church, Harvard Law School Child Advocacy Program, Bethany Christian Services, Nourished Hearts, Center for Adoption Policy, and Gladney Center for Adoption.

May 16, 2016. Coming Legislation. We hope to have news soon of new legislative initiatives which will help better the situation of unparented children without permanent, loving homes. We look forward to being able to share this information with you as soon as we can.

May 12, 2016. Government and Other Notices: Mexico. The Department of State has informed the adoption community that the Mexican National Welfare System, or Sistema Nacional para el Desarollo Integral de la Familia (DIF Nacional), which is in charge of authorizing U.S. accredited Adoption Service Providers (ASPs) to provide adoption services in intercountry adoptions involving Mexico, is drafting new ASP authorization regulations. Furthermore, the DIF Nacional's offices are being restructured which will affect the timing of the new regulations. An ASP must have a valid authorization for it to provide services involved in an intercountry adoption with Mexico. However, DIF has stated that this restructuring will not affect DIF's review of prospective adoptive parents' dossiers. More Information.

May 11, 2016. The Good News About Transracial Adoption. A new study has confirmed what parents of transracially adopted children long have believed: children who are adopted transracially "are capable of developing a solid sense of identity and family regardless of the racial composition of their families." Moreover this study found that parents of transracially adopted children were more likely to speak about race, which is generally alleged not to be the case and that Asian adoptees were more likely to help others than white adoptees. More Information.

May 10, 2018. Bill to Remove the term "Oriental" heads to President Obama. Legislation originally sponsored by Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) which would remove the inappropriate word "Oriental" from federal laws has passed both houses of Congress and heads to President Obama's desk. The President is expected to sign the measure shortly. References to "Oriental" still appear in U.S. laws and as Meng says, "The word 'Oriental' is a derogatory and antiquated term and the passage of this legislation will soon force the United States government to finally stop using it," In 2009, when Meng was a member of the New York state legislature, she was instrumental in getting a similar law passed which changed official New York terminology. More Information.

May 9, 2016. Adoptee Citizenship Bill Needs Support. As we have been discussing, S.2275, the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2015, needs more Congressional Sponsors. Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced into the Senate but the legislation needs to be introduced into the House of Representatives. This is not an immigration bill nor does it have anything to do with children who have not been adopted by U.S. parents. This is a bill designed to fix a glitch in the procedure which enables foreign born children adopted by U.S, parents to achieve U.S. citizenship. Supporters of the bill include Kevin Vollmers with the group Gazillion Strong, a multimedia storytelling organization in Minneapolis. "This is a human rights issue," said Vollmers, who is a Korean adoptee with U.S. citizenship. "There are folks who are tying this in with anti-immigration sentiment ... Regardless of what people think about anti-immigration or immigration, this question is fundamentally about adoptions. Vollmers' organization and others are holding a national day of action later this month in support of the bill. More Information.

May 5, 2016. Indiana Installs First Baby Boxes. The first two safe haven baby boxes have been installed in Indiana. These are climate controlled environments with security systems next to fire departments. If a baby is left there, emergency workers will know immediately and can get to the baby in minutes. Every state has a "safe haven" law which allows birth mothers to leave their babies in police stations, fire departments or hospitals without fear of criminal penalties. More Information.

May 4, 2016. Gay Adoption Now Legal in All Fifty States. The deadline has passed for Mississippi to appeal a federal court ruling which struck down Mississippi's ban on gay adoption. While this result was expected, as it follows from the Supreme Court's 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges which held that banning gay marriage is unconstitutional, we want to celebrate the fact that all qualified parents may adopt children who need a permanent loving family. What a wonderful revolution we have witnessed. More Information.

May 3, 2016. International Surrogacy Options Decline. During the last decade increasing numbers of would-be parents traveled to Nepal or India for surrogacy procedures. Sometimes home countries banned surrogacy, making international options the only possible ones. Other times, the motivation for interantional surrogacy was cost--the expense of surrogacy in either country was far less than in the United States. But following a number of controversial cases, Nepal and India have banned foreign surrogacy. Same-sex couples have the hardest time since they are banned from some of the few open international surrogacy programs, such as Ukraine. More Information.

May 2, 2016. Disappointed. We were disappointed to learn that the Intercountry Adopting Stakeholder Meeting schedule for today was postponed. The topic to be discussed was Supervised Foreign Providers and Forms N-600/N600K. Since the passage of the Universal Accreditation Act in 2012, completing intercountry adoptions for non-Hague adoptions has become increasingly difficult, especially as regards supervising providers. We welcome any Department of State guidance and look forward to learning of a new date for this meeting.

April 26, 2016. Please Do Your Post-Placement Reports. Many Countries of Origin require adoptive parents to file post-placement reports with them for years after the adoption of a child. We now learn that Kazakhstan officials are actively seeking out missing PPRs from U.S. parents who adopted from that country between 1999-2010. One adoptive parent writes: "There are hints that at least some of the officials are interested in the possibility of opening up again to US adoption, but the PPRs have become a symbolic stumbling block." Although this effort can be difficult, adoptive parents must remember that they did agree to provide PPRs and the lack of PPRs remains a (not the) reason why Kazakhstan adoption to the United States has not resumed. For more information please go to the FRUA Facebook page.

April 25, 2016. State Department Warns Families Against Adopting From the Congo (DRC). The Department of State has issued an alert strongly urging new families not to begin the process of adopting a child from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. While some pipeline families have been able to bring their children home, the exit permit suspension for children adopted by foreigner remains in effect. While DOS has pledged to continue to work with the DRC on creating a viable international adoption program, there are no guarantees that such a program will be created. More Information.

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