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April 8, 2014. DOS Invites Adoptive Familes, ASPs and Stakeholders to meet with Representatives from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Officials from the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be visiting the United States from April 16-26 to meet with adoptive families who have successfully adopted from the DRC, adoption service providers and stakeholders to discuss international adoption between the United States and the DRC as well as U.S. social welfare programs for unparented children. DOS says that "The visit is designed to address the Congolese authorities' concerns regarding the welfare of children adopted from the Democratic Republic of Congo by U.S. citizen parents. Addressing these concerns could have a significant impact on Congolese authorities' perspectives on intercountry adoptions to the United States, and on the future of intercountry adoptions from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the United States." The dates, times, locations and attendance confirmation information for these meetings can be found by clicking here.
April 7, 2014. Croatia Becomes a Hague Effective Country. The Department of State has announced that the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption became effective in Croatia on April 1, 2014. As DOS views Croatia's procedures as in accordance with the Hague Convention, the United States government will process international adoptions from Croatia. However, DOS points out that "Croatian law generally restricts intercountry adoptions to Croatian prospective adoptive parents. Croatia permits foreigners to adopt a Croatian child only under exceptional circumstances, with prior approval of the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth, and when that placement is particularly beneficial for the child." Also, U.S. adoption service providers are not permitted to work in Croatia because adoptions can only be processed through the Croatian Central Adoption Authority, the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth. Families with specific questions are urged to contact the Office of Children's Issues at 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or 202-501-4444 from outside the United States or by email at AdoptionUSCA@state.gov. More Information.
April 2, 2014. Good News Concerning International Adoption From Haiti. The Department of State has announced that Hague adoptions from Haiti have begun. The Hague Convention entered into force in Haiti yesterday, April 1, 2014. However, DOS cautions that "delays may occur while Haiti's adoption authority, the Institut du Bien-Štre Social et de Recherches (IBESR), implements a Convention-consistent adoption process, including finalizing the schedule of in-country fees." IBESR has authorized selected American ASPs to provide adoption services under the Hague in Haiti but DOS appears to believe that some agencies might lose their accreditation in order that IBESR better "manage their caseload." In process U.S. families will be pleased to know that IBESR has agreed "to process as a transition case, any case in which a Form I-600 or I-600A was filed before April 1, 2014, as long as matching occurs by April 1, 2016 and no I-600A extension is required." Any family with questions should contact DOS at Haitiadoptions@state.gov. More Information.
March 27, 2014. The DOS FY 2013 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption. The Department of State released its FY 2013 annual report last Friday. We noted the total dismal number of adoptions into the United States - 7,094 - in the analysis we posted on Monday. Here are some of the key numbers: Adoptions from China down to 2,306 (2,696), adoptions from Ethiopia down to 993 (1,567), adoptions from South Korea down to 138 (627), and adoptions from Taiwan down to 94 (177). The numbers in parentheses are the figures for FY 2012. Why these precipitate drops? We know at least part of the answer. Download the report.
March 26, 2014. Brave New World: Three Genetic Parents? California, in January, enacted a new law which permits a child to have more than two legal parents. Now the Food and Drug Administration is considering human clinical trials for an assisted reproductive technique call mitochondrial replacement, which would cause the child to have DNA from three parents. As the authors of an op-ed on this procedure explained: "The technique would enable women who carry harmful mutations in their mitochondria to have a child without those harmful mutations. As with all human reproduction, the child would carry a combination of genes from one male and one female. However, in this technique, the nucleus of the mother's egg would be injected into a "third parent's" nucleus-free egg containing healthy mitochondrial DNA. As a result, the child would inherit the characteristics of the original male and female but have healthy mitochondria from a third person." Whether or not approval is given now to this procedure, one thing is clear: our legal system has a lot of catching up to do. More Information.
March 24, 2014. International Adoption to the U.S. Plummets to Barely 7,000 in FY 2013. Here Is Why. Over the last five years the USG has taken a consistently negative approach on international adoption. The Department of State has adopted UNICEF's policy which is that international adoption is to be shunned. It is DOS and UNICEF which advance the proposition that countries should reject international adoption as a method of family formation. When speaking at international forums such as the Fifth International Policy Conference on the African Child: Intercountry Adoption: Alternatives and Controversies (May 29-30, 2012; http://www.africanchildforum.org/ipc/), DOS and UNICEF speak with one voice, defining international adoption as cultural genocide, a sign of national failure or as a cover for fraud. As the USG has funneled billions of dollars of aid through UNICEF in the last five years, it is no surprise that developing countries are following this prescription. Read more...
March 20, 2014. Updates on Adoption from Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Department of State reports it has been told that that prospective adoptive parents wishing to adopt in Armenia are being given erroneous information about adoption service providers in Armenia and concerning children who are eligible for international adoption. PAPs are urged by DOS to contact the Armenian Ministry of Justice for accurate information. We have received information that the Azeri government has made changes to the international adoption process from Azerbaijan. The information we have seen is sketchy and not yet confirmed by DOS. More information.
March 19, 2014. Adoption Subsidies. Not everyone is aware of the very large role adoption subsidies play in domestic and foreign adoption. These subsidies can be in the form of adoption assistance payments for parents adopting children from foster care or for families whose children have behavioral, emotional or physical disabilities. Subsidies can cover medical assistance, tutoring, therapy, special equipment and other tools which will enable at risk children to reach their full potential. The Adoption Tax Credit is a major financial subsidy for adoption and is available to qualifying adopting families for both domestic and international adoption. For extensive information on various programs click here.
March 18, 2014. A True Advocate for Children is Gone. Miki Stebbing passed away on March 6 at the age of 71. Miki's whole career was dedicated to serving children, as a social worker, as a lawyer and as an officials at the Department of State. Miki didn't come to her important career easily. Not many people knew that Miki was born in one of the U.S. government-administered Japanese relocation camps in 1942. Her family lived and worked in the United States when Pearl Harbor catapulted the U.S. into World War II and Miki and her family were collateral damage. Miki was also born with a cleft lip and palate which in those days was more difficult to treat. But Miki transcended these hardships. She dedicated her life to helping children without families, in Washington D.C. working with the Administration for Children and Families, and in her work at the Office of Children's Issues. Recently she had been working with the families of children who had been wrongfully adopted from American Samoa. Miki was kind, caring and brave. We will miss her greatly.
March 17, 2014. CHIFF Answers the Questions Asked. Professor David Smolin has just released his latest article on international adoption: "The Corrupting Influence of the United States on a Vulnerable Intercountry Adoption System: A Guide for Stakeholders, Hague and Non-Hague Nations, NGOs, and Concerned Parties." While we do not agree with many of the things Professor Smolin says, we do concur with his idea that protection for unparented children is the first and foremost goal of an sound international child welfare program. We also agree that international adoption should be part of a panoply of timely, ethical and transparent child welfare solutions. We believe that the Children in Families First Act accomplishes these goals. Professor Smolin's article will be published under the joint auspices of the Journal of Law and Family Studies and the Utah Law Review and may be found by clicking here.
Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)
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