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October 1, 2014. Democratic Republic of Congo Continues Exit Permit Suspension for Adopted Children. The Department of State has reported that "on September 26, 2014 Director General of the Directorate of General Migration, Francois Beya, announced the DRC's official policy that the exit permit suspension for adopted children will remain in place until further notice. The Congolese government initially issued the exit permit suspension for adopted children on September 25, 2013, indicating that the suspension would be in effect for up to 12 months. " We are saddened that DOS' efforts to have this ban lifted has come to nothing. We are told that prospective U.S. parents are still submitting immigrant applications for adopted and prospective adoptive children from the DRC and that some DRC courts are issuing adoption decrees. U.S. parents must be understand that a DRC adoption does not, in and of itself, permit a family to leave the DRC. For that, the PAPs need an exit permit and the DRC is not at this time issuing them. Any questions on this alert or on a DRC pending adoption should be addressed to the DOS Office of Children's Issues at 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or 202-501-4444 from outside the United States. Email inquiries may be directed to ExitPermitSuspensionDRC@state.gov.

September 30, 2014. China Sets Stricter Rules For Foster Parents. In recent years the Chinese government has tried to place increasing numbers of unparented children in foster care, rather than in orphanages. Now, recognizing that foster parents need special training, particularly for children with disabilities, the Chinese government has issued a new regulation, which will take effect on December 1. This regulation requires that potential foster parents undergo a five-step screening process and training program. In addition it sets up stricter requirements for foster parent applicants, calls for criminal penalties for foster parents who abuse their trust and limits to two the number of foster children who can be in any home. Chinese officials estimate that there are 30,000 children in foster care nationwide. More Information.

September 24, 2014. Restrictions on Infant Flying. Airlines have very widely differing policies about allowing newborn infants to fly. These restrictions are relevant to adoptive parents who are taking their child home. Here is an updated list that has been furnished to us. Parents should obtain the required documentation from the hospital or physician and certainly re-check with the airlines when booking their tickets.

  • Southwest: 14 days old and under requires medical approval
  • Delta: 7 days old and under need approval
  • United: No infants 7 days old and younger can fly
  • AirTran: 14 days old and under need approval
  • US Airways: Accepts 2 days old and up
  • American Airlines: Infants after 2 days old
  • Frontier: Can't travel until 7 days old
  • Alaska Airlines: No minimum age but states you should check with your doctor
  • Jet Blue: Can't travel under 3 days old. 3-14 days old a physician letter is required.

September 23, 2014. "Room for Debate" Over Surrogacy Raises Important Questions. The New York Times has posted a very important discussion of the multiple issues, legal, ethical, medical and moral, that arise from surrogacy. To access the debate, click here.

September 18, 2014. State Laws on Surrogacy Differ Widely. The federal system of U.S. law has left many issues of family law to the states to decide as each government sees fit. Nowhere is the pattern more varied than in the case of surrogacy law. States have struggle even to catch up with the ever-changing technology, not to mention attempting to come to terms with various ethical dilemmas occasioned by the world of choices made possible by assisted reproductive technology. In this New York Times article, the reporter lays out some of the issues and provides an excellent chart detailing what states consider permissible, from California, which has been labeled the "Wild West of reproductive law" to New Jersey where the effects of the 26 year old "Baby M" case have left the state with very restrictive case law. For the article, click here.

September 17, 2014. UNICEF Executive Board Meets in New York--What Topic is Omitted? Unicef's executive Board met in New York last week with its attention focused on child protection. We wholeheartedly agree with the emphasis on the importance of a family to the well being of children and endorse the statement of UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake that: "[N]o matter how good the staff or how modern the institution, children need more than what any institution can give them . . . They need homes. They need a family - not just people who care about them, but people who are physically there, giving them the individual attention they need and a constant presence that reminds them they're more than cared for: they're loved." But what was Mr. Lake's solution: "The better solution . .."is to place children in loving foster homes, and the best solution is to return them to a responsible family member." Neither domestic nor international adoption is an answer that Mr. Lake considers appropriate. Here we have a roadmap for unparented children to be victimized twice over. More Information.

September 16, 2014. Gay Parents Face Special Challenges in Custody Battles. A New York ruling the past June demonstrated that the Marriage Equality Act does not grant parental status to a non-biological parent of a child, even though a heterosexual partner would probably have had his or her rights recognized in similar situations. In this case the judge ruled that the non-biological mother had no standing to seek custody because the law did not recognize her as a parent. Judge Judge Edmund M. Dane acknowledged "inequity" and "imbalance" in the law but ruled against the mother anyway. Had the non-biological mother adopted her son as a second parent adoption, her rights would have been protected. "I always like to say to my clients, they have to think 1950s," says lawyer Carol L. Buell. . ."The only way your family will be protected is if you think like the 1950s: Make an honest woman of your partner, marry her before you have children. I sound like a very conservative person every time I give advice. But there's a whole category of children who are now illegitimate." More Information.

September 15, 2014. Vietnam Reopens Tomorrow for Special Needs Adoption to the United States. Starting tomorrow, September 16, 2014, the Department of State will process Hague Convention adoptions for U.S. citizens from Vietnam. These "Special Adoption Program" placements will be of children with special needs, children five and over and biological sibling groups. Vietnam's Ministry of Justice, which is its central authority, has designated only two U.S. agencies to work in Vietnam. These agencies are Dillon International, Inc. and Holt International Children's Services, Inc. DOS will only process adoptions from Vietnam that fall within the guidelines of the Special Adoption Program and are done using one of these two authorized agencies. More Information.

September 11, 2014. Government and Other Notices: UAA In Effect. The Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA) went into effect on July 14, 2014. Put simply, UAA means that the accreditation requirements and standards applying to Hague Convention adoptions now also apply to international adoptions from non-Hague countries. Potential adoptive parents who are in the process of adopting from non-Hague countries should check with their agencies to make sure that the adoptions are either grandfathered under the old rules or meet the new requirements. This is a matter of vital importance since non-compliant adoptions will not be approved by the Department of State. More Information.

September 10, 2014. Parental Kidnapping Accusation Diverts China Bound Fight. A United Airlines flight bound for Beijing was returned to the United States last week after the father of a child onboard convinced U.S. authorities that his former wife was defying a custody order by removing their son from the United States. It is a federal crime for one parent to removed a child from the U.S. in violation of a court order. The United States is also a signatory to the Hague Abduction Convention which governs international abduction issues but like the Hague Adoption Convention, the Abduction Convention only applies if both countries involved are signatories. China is not a signatory to the Convention. More Information.

September 9, 2014. South Korea Changes its Adoption Law. South Korea has amended its adoption law in many important ways. For the first time the law states: "The Government shall endeavor to reduce the number of Korean children adopted abroad, as part of its duties and responsibilities to protect children." Since the Korean War ended in 1953, over 160,000 Korean children were adopted internationally. Many of those children are grown with strong views about international adoption, both in favor of it and against it. A number of them have had significant input into the writing of this new legislation. For an excellent summary of the debate within the Korean adoptee community, click here.

September 8, 2014. Summer Vacation is Over and We Return to Newscap with a Wonderful Story about Adoption. Jennifer Bricker is a 26 year old acrobat and aerialist who has performed around the world. Jennifer was born without legs but that has not stopped her from being a great success at her chosen career. Adopted as a newborn, Jennifer was given steadfast support and love from her parents who believed that Jennifer could do anything she determined to accomplish. As a child Jennifer's idol was U.S. Olympic gymnast Dominique Moceanu. How amazing then that at 18 Jennifer discovered that Dominique was her biological sister. Watch Jennifer's account by clicking here.

June 16, 2014. Important Information for Potential/ Adoptive Parents with Children in the DRC. Families who are in the process of adopting children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo must look at the important alert sent by the Department of State yesterday. DOS reports that the Congolese officials (DGM) have agreed to review documents for children whose cases appear to meet the requirements for exceptions set out in DOS's October 23, 2013 Adoption Alert. For a case to be reviewed, the family must provide the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasha with a long list of documents by June 25, 2014. Families should immediately go to the website below and follow the very specific instructions given. Click here.

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