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December 2011

December 15, 2011. And Now to Next Year. As this is our last post of 2011, we would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday and joyous new year. We think of all the children who are with permanent, loving families at this special time of the year. We remember also how many fewer children were able to be joined with a forever family this year and hope that 2012 will see a reversal of the current dismal trend. We would like to thank everyone who helped the Center for Adoption Policy in 2011 and look forward to our Annual Conference, to be held on March 2, 2012 in New York on International Adoption: the Evolving Terrain.

December 14, 2011. Act for Adoption Newsletter. We urge everyone to read the Act for Adoption newsletter posted below. Act for Adoption is co-sponsored by the Center for Adoption Policy and the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School.

The Waning of International Adoption

Numbers Don't Lie

UNICEF Continues to Undermine International Adoption

    A powerful new film documentary demonstrates the harsh impact on unparented children of the elimination of Guatemala's former international adoption system. This film does an extraordinary job of documenting the problematic role UNICEF plays in international adoption policy. Abandoned in Guatemala

    Andrea Poe urges people not to buy UNICEF holiday cards given the destructive role that UNICEF has played in denying unparented children homes in international adoption. Why I Won't Buy UNICEF Cards

Is There a Better Way Forward

    The Separate Statement on international adoption policy was issued as part of the recent Way Forward Project led by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. This Way Forward Project is designed to encourage the reduction in the use of institutions as a method of addressing the needs of unparented children in six African nations. An important Separate Statement promoting international adoption as a key method of serving children's needs was incorporated in the Way Forward Project's Final Report. This Statement was signed by: Elizabeth Bartholet, Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law, Harvard University, Dana E. Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, Tendai Masiriri, International Services Manager for Africa Programs, Bethany Christian Services International, Inc. and Elizabeth Styffe, RN MN, Director HIV/AIDS & Orphan Care Initiatives, Saddleback Church. Promoting Permanency through Adoption

December 13, 2011. USCIS Invites Stakeholders on Guatemalan Adoption Call. USCIS has schedule a call on Friday, December 16 at 1 pm (EST) concerning international adoption from Guatemala. The main purpose of the call is to discuss new procedures for pending Guatemalan adoption cases which are under the authority of the Guatemalan National Council on Adoptions (CNA). The CNA has compiled a list of cases which it believes may be eligible for its new processing; USCIS and the Department of State are contacting those families individually. However, USCIS believes that more cases may be eligible in the future for this new form of processing. We commend USCIS for its excellent outreach program. The procedure to join the call is to respond to USCIS's invitation by contacting the USCIS Office of Public Engagement at public.engagement@dhs.gov by Thursday, December 15, 2011 referencing "Guatemalan Adoptions" in the subject line of your email and including your full name and organization. To join the call on Friday, use:
        Toll-free Number: 1-888-390-1187
        Toll Number: 1-517-308-9074
        Passcode: Adoption

December 12, 2011. The Hague Convention and Pre-Adoption Contact. The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption governs adoption between the United States and other Hague Convention countries, notably China, India and the Philippines. Article 29 prohibits early stage contacts between children and prospective adoption parents unless the "adoption takes places within the family" or "the contact is in compliance with the conditions established by the competent authority of the State of origin." We urge all adoption service providers as well as PAPs to be mindful of these treaty obligations to which the United States is bound. More Information.

December 8, 2011. Stakeholder Call with USCIS Concerning Ethiopian Adoptions. USCIS has issued the following information pertaining to international adoptions from Ethiopia:

As a follow up to the October 28, 2011, Ethiopian Stakeholder call, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of State would like to invite you to attend a stakeholder call on Friday, December 9, 2011 at 10 am EST to discuss USCIS' November trip to the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa to adjudicate "not clearly approvable" adoption petitions.After the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, identified a number of adoption petitions (Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as Immediate Relative) that it determined were not clearly approvable (NCA), and thus, must be referred to USCIS for adjudication, USCIS dispatched a team of officers to go Addis to adjudicate the petitions. USCIS and the Department of State would like to discuss the results of the NCA Team's trip, lessons learned, and the way forward for Ethiopian adoptions.

To Participate in the Session
Any interested parties may participate in this event by telephone. All participants must respond to this invitation. Please contact the USCIS Office of Public Engagement atpublic.engagement@dhs.gov by Thursday, December 8, 2011 referencing "Ethiopian Adoptions" in the subject line of your email. Please also include your full name and the organization you represent in the body of the email.

To Join the Call
On the day of the engagement please use the information below to join the session by phone. We recommend calling in 10 minutes prior to the start of the teleconference.
Call-in Number: 1-800-779-1424
Overseas Toll Number: 1-630-395-0144
Passcode: Adoption

December 7, 2011. Chinese Officials Make More Than 600 Arrests in Trafficking Investigation. The Chinese government has announced that its officials have disrupted two large child trafficking rings which operated in 10 Chinese provinces. Over 600 people were arrested and 178 children were rescued. The reports which we have seen indicate that these alleged criminals were selling the children they had bought to childless Chinese couples or to Chinese couples who wanted more children. In November police in Shandong province arrested a group of alleged traffickers who sold babies and children for $8,000. This sum exceeds the Chinese adoption costs of international adoptions (exclusive of travel). More Information.

December 6, 2011. In Depth Look at the Over-Medication of Children in Foster Care. The ABC news program 20/20 aired a shocking report last week on the over-medication of children in foster care. Take seven year old Brooke for example - in four months she was given 10 different prescriptions. Recent reports have confirmed that foster children are much more likely to be given serious medications for mental illness (real or alleged) than other children, alarmingly so since there is little research on the effects of this medication on children. It is hard not to conclude that the foster care system is using medication as a method of crowd control - the same tactics we rightly criticize other countries for. The only bright spot in the report is the fact that several of the children were adopted and the adoptive parents weaned them off medication. That is the difference a permanent, loving family can make. More Information.

December 5, 2011. Why Post-Placement Visits Are Essential. On paper Deborah Mark seemed the perfect potential adoptive mother of a Chinese child with special needs. Asian-American herself, Mark was a pediatrician who was already raising a biological daughter with her husband Stephen. Appearances can be deceiving. On Friday night a Tennessee jury found Mark guilty of first degree murder of her daughter Kairissa who, at the time of her death, was four years old. The jury also found Mark guilty of four counts each of aggravate child abuse and child abuse. Mark was sentenced to life imprisonment. Her husband goes on trial for child abuse next year. More Information.

December 1, 2011. Government Notices and Alerts: Romania Changes its Adoption Law. In 2004 the Romanian government enacted a draconian law forbidding international adoption. Recently the Romanian government passed new legislation which for the first time in seven years will allow Romanian citizens resident abroad to adopt children from Romania. Secretary of State Bogdan Pandit, who heads the Romanian Office for Adoptions, reported that there are about 67,000 children in the child protective system and approximately 1,700 families seeking to adopt. The new adoption law is intended not only to widen the pool of possible adoptive families but to speed the adoption process. We welcome this change. Information source: Actmedia.

Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)
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