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February 26, 2015. Korean Program Still Open; More Boys Than Girls Available. The drastic slowdown in the Korean international adoption program has led potential adoptive parents to shun this option. While the program is both smaller and of longer duration than previously, there are non-special needs babies and toddlers available for international adoption. The majority of these children are boys. Domestic adopters in Korea prefer girls because they are thought to be more docile, better carers of elderly parents and because adopting girls will not interfere with inheritance through the male (blood) line. More Information.

February 25, 2015. Thailand Bans Surrogacy for Foreign Citizens. The Thai government has passed a law that forbids foreigners from using Thai surrogates to bear their children. This law comes in the light of a widely publicized case where Australian intended parents took one of their Thai born twins home but abandoned the second twin, who had Down's syndrome. The new law allows surrogacy only for married Thai couples or couples with one Thai partner who have been married for three years. More Information.

February 23, 2015. China Adoption. The Chinese special needs adoption program continues on. Many agencies have established one-to-one relationships with Chinese orphanages which enables these agencies to have access to children prior to listing them. Agencies are then better placed to understand the special needs of each particular child. Over half of the last (small) waiting children list were children with Down's Syndrome. A recent non-special needs referral group was for potential adoptive parents whose papers were logged in with the Chinese government in December 2006. All the referred children were boys, aged 12 to 36 months.

February 19, 2015. District Court Stops DHS From Implementing New Immigration Policy. A Texas Federal District Court has enjoined the Department of Homeland Security from implementing the changes to U.S. immigration policy announced by President Obama. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson explains: "I strongly disagree with Judge Hanen's decision to temporarily enjoin implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The Department of Justice will appeal that temporary injunction; in the meantime, we recognize we must comply with it. Accordingly, the Department of Homeland Security will not begin accepting requests for the expansion of DACA tomorrow, February 18, as originally planned. Until further notice, we will also suspend the plan to accept requests for DAPA. . .The Court's order does not affect the existing DACA. Individuals may continue to come forward and request initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA pursuant to the guidelines established in 2012. Nor does the Court's order affect this Department's ability to set and implement enforcement priorities.

February 18, 2015. Disruptions/Dissolutions Occur in Birth Country Adoptions Too. With so much focus this past year on U.S. adoption disruptions/dissolutions, we thought it important to highlight birth country adoption dissolution/disruptions to add needed perspective to the discussion. For example, according to a Russian journal, Ria Nosvoti, as of 2010, around 30,000 Russian children had been returned to orphanages by their Russian adoptive parents in the previous two year period. This phenomenon also occurs in China; for example a recent description of a child available for international adoption stated: "This sweet girl was adopted by a local family who...could no longer parent her." The problem exists worldwide; we are glad that a high level of attention is being paid in the United States to ensure that adoptions are ethical, transparent and accountable as well as permanent.

January 29, 2015. What Dr. Charles Nelson Really Said About Child Brain Development. We have been highlighting on this page, on our site and during our conferences, reports about the work done by Dr. Charles Nelson and his colleagues in the Bucharest Early Intervention Project. BEIP has clearly demonstrated the catastrophic effect of neglect on early childhood brain development. Recently the prestigious journal JAMA Pediatrics published an article about BEIP which has received wide publicity. Unfortunately the articles that are appearing in the press misrepresent Dr. Nelson's findings. This headline from the Time.com article is typical: "Kids Put In Institutions Have Different Brain Compositions Than Kids In Foster Care." The BEIP contrasted institutionalized children with children who lived in carefully designed and monitored foster care which far more resembled parent/child relationships than foster care. It has little relevance to the typical foster care that is available. What the BEIP actually shows is that children who have the care of permanent, loving families as soon as possible have the best chance to realize their full potential. More Information.

January 28, 2015. Government and Other Notices: Nepal. The Department of State has clarified that children abandoned in hospitals in Nepal may not be adopted into the United States. This statement was necessary because the Government of Nepal would allow children abandoned in hospitals to be adopted internationally but, as DOS states, "While children reported to be found abandoned at a hospital are not within the scope of the [Government of Nepal] ban, these cases are within the scope of the U.S. abandonment suspension on the adjudication of adoption petitions for children in Nepal reported as having been found abandoned, unless a birth parent can be identified and proper relinquishment procedures have been followed." The reasoning behind the DOS decision is that "Nepalese hospitals currently do not have mechanisms in place to verify the true identity of a baby's parent(s) during the hospital admission process. Under Nepali law, birth parents cannot relinquish a child directly to the hospital. Therefore, children reported to be found abandoned at Nepali hospitals generally would not be eligible for U.S. intercountry adoption processing at this time because the origin of these children is uncertain, and the identity of the birth parents cannot be sufficiently ascertained." More information.

January 27, 2015. International Adoption Reforms in Australia Mean More Homes for Unparented Children. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced that Australia will open a new national bureau, the International Adoption Support Service, to help Australian families navigate the difficult bureaucracy surrounding adoption. The Abbott government also announced that it is working to open up international adoption to Australia from the United States, Vietnam and Poland. New South Wales Australian of the Year Deborah-Lee Furness Jackman, who has been very active in adoption issues, advocates "for more work to be done on supporting families adopting from war zones and other traumatic backgrounds." More Information.

January 26, 2014. The Supreme Court Will Rule on Same-Sex Marriage. Emily Dudak Taylor, a partner in the firm in The Law Center for Children and Families in Madison, Wisconsin, has written this excellent summary of what is at stake now. "On Friday, January 16, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court accepted review of four same-sex marriage cases. The cases come from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio. On November 6, 2014, the Sixth Circuit had upheld the marriage bans in those four states, calling same-sex marriage a political and electoral issue. The Supreme Court's decision to review the Sixth Circuit's decision comes after the Supreme Court decided not to review Wolf v. Walker in October 2014. That made Wolf the law of the land in Wisconsin. The Supreme Court's decision on Friday to review the same-sex marriage cases does not affect the finality of Wolf, at least not during the pendency of the Supreme Court case. The Supreme Court has ordered that all briefs be filed by March 27th and oral argument is scheduled for April 17th. A decision is expected in June 2015. The majority of legal observers seem to believe that the Supreme Court will find that the marriage bans at issue violate the concepts of equal protection and/or substantive due process. Others, more cynically, worry about the chaos that would ensue if the marriage bans were upheld somehow, possibly on the basis of federalism (each state should be able to decide which marriages it will allow and recognize). What would happen to all the adoptions, Social Security benefits, income tax refunds, etc., that have occurred or been paid out in the meantime? It seems unlikely that the Court would deny review in Wolf in October, and allow benefits to start flowing, knowing it might uphold a ban later. After oral arguments in April, we should know more about what each Justice is thinking. For better or worse, this will be it, once and for all."

January 22, 2015. Will Reality TV Help Finds Families for Russian Orphans? The number of Russian orphans has risen over the last two years as Russia intensified its shutdown of international adoption. Domestic adoption has not been sufficient to solve this problem. Now Public Chamber member Yulia Zimov has proposed a Russian reality show as a solution. Her idea is a program called "Special Forces for Adoption". Cameras would follow Russian adoptive parents and foster parents as they go about their daily life, in the hope of convincing Russian families to consider adoption as a method of family creation. Russian Public Television's General Director Anatoly Lysenko however has raised concerns about funding and worries that there is no audience for such a show. More Information.

January 21, 2015. A Wonderful Discussion on International Adoption. Steven Conn, a historian at Ohio State University, has written an excellent article on International Adoption. He wrote this piece in response to the New York Times magazine negative story on Korean adoptees which appear last week. Conn writes from both a historian's perspective but also as the brother of a sister adopted from Korea and the father of a daughter adopted from China. The whole article is very much worth reading; I am quoting from the final paragraphs: There is a throw-away line in Jones' piece that brought me up short. "The new anti-adoption law has been successful in reducing the number of children adopted from South Korea, Jones reports, and then she off-handedly notes "since the law was passed, the number of abandoned babies has increased -- though whether that's a direct result is unclear." In an article sub-titled "the ethics of international adoption" that seems remarkably cavalier. In fact, the results are quite clear elsewhere around the world. According to a 2009 study, after the cessation of international adoption in Vietnam: "Now we have... a 'tide of unwanted newborns' overwhelming health care centers in Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in the country. Those who object to international adoption and are working to end it have failed to tell us just exactly what the better alternative would be. They have not, because they cannot address the ethical questions that come in the form of those abandoned children and their diminished futures. More Information.

January 20, 2015. USCIS Information on Executive Action on Immigration. USCIS has now posted on its website two important fliers dealing with the recent Obama administration executive actions on immigration. The first is describes the requirements for eligibility for the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) and the new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanant Residnts (DAPA) and second gives advice on avoiding immigration scams and offers instructions on how and when to file under these programs. These fliers may be accessed at uscis.gov.

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