September 29, 2011. Can You Change Your Child's Citizenship Certificate? There are times when adoptive parents find out after their child is home that the birthday of their child as listed on the adoption documents and certificate of citizenship (COC) is wrong. Under state law APs in this situation are generally able to change their child's state certificate of birth details. However, USCIS policy is that the COC must use the age of the child reflected in the documents used to support the I-600 or I-800 process which were presented to the U.S. Embassy, consulate or USCIS office. USCIS will only change the date of birth if it determines that the COC's date does not match the underlying documents because the U.S. government office processing the adoption made a mistake in its processing. More Information.
September 28, 2011. Update from DOS on Guatemala Pipeline Cases. The Department of State has issue a notice clarifying the processing framework which the Guatemalan Central Adoption Authority (CNA) will use to review the small number of pending U.S. adoption cases under CNA's jurisdiction. Most of the pending cases are "notario" cases and therefore are not affected by these new procedures. The CNA has now stated that it will require, for these cases, additional information from potential adoptive parents in order to make its determination as to whether the adoption should go forward. Furthermore, these cases will only proceed on an individual basis when CNA informs the U.S. Embassy that the CNA is ready to proceed with the specific case. More Information.
September 27, 2011. New Policies for Child Leave From the Top. The White House and National Science Foundation have announced new policies for greater flexibility in workplace procedures. The 10 year plan, entitled NSF Career-Life Balance Initiative will allow academics who received NSF fellowships to postpone taking up these grants for up to one year so that they can care for new-born or newly adopted child. The NSF will also encourage universities to "stop the tenure clock" for academics with young children. The goal is to end the tenure gap. Women receive near half of all Ph.Ds in science, technology, engineering and math but constitute only a little more than a quarter of all tenure-track professors. More Information.
September 26, 2011. CAP Letter Published in New York Times on September 23 Concerning Adoption From China. What follows is the text of the letter from the Center for Adoption Policy responding to the article, "For Adoptive Parents, Questions Without Answers."
To the Editor:
September 22, 2011. Government and Other Notices: USCIS Teleconference: "Bringing Your Internationally Adopted Child to the United States" (Final Steps in the Adoption Process). The National Benefits Center of USCIS is holding a teleconference on October 13, 2011 at 1:30 CST/2:30 EDT. This call will give information on the steps adoptive parents should take once they return to the United States to ensure that their child receives citizenship and all other benefits to which they are entitled. The call is open to adoption service providers as well as adoptive parents and potential adoptive parents. Please click here to participate in this valuable telephone conference.
September 21, 2011. Dave Thomas Foundation Announces 2011 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces List. The Dave Thomas Foundation, whose mission is to ensure that "every child will have a permanent home and a loving family", has posted its annual list of the most adoption-nurturing workplaces. The selection process emphasizes companies that make adoption an affordable option for working families by the creation and preservation of adoption benefits policies. We congratulate the 100 companies that have made this year's list and hope that other companies will join it next year. The Foundation has made a free Adoption-Friendly Workplace toolkit available on its website. More Information.
September 20, 2011. UNICEF's Latest Statement on Adoption. Eileen Bates's daughter is one of the U.S. families whose adoption of a child in Kyrgyzstan has been stalled for the last three years. In desperation Eileen wrote to UNICEF asking for the organization's help. This is the reply she received:
Sent: Mon, July 18, 2011 10:22:08 AM
Krystina has been waiting in an orphanage for over three years. Isn't it time for the "last resort" to become the first priority? More Information.
September 19, 2011. Chinese Adoption in Broader Perspective. The New York Times yesterday contained an article which discussed the reaction of U.S. adoptive parents of children from China to reports about Chinese family planning illegally confiscating children. A link to the article can be found below. We have written a letter to the editor responding to the article which we will post at a later date (after we find out whether the Times printed it). However, we thought we would place some numbers in perspective today. Between 1999 and 2010, U.S. families adopted approximately 64, 000 children from China. During the same period of time, around 187 million Chinese babies were born. Even if all 64,000 adoptions were of children between 0-12 months, U.S. adoption from China would affect only .33 of 1 percent of children born in China during the period in question. That U.S. parents increasingly adopt older children dilutes the impact of adoption on Chinese children's welfare even further. More Information.
September 15, 2011. State of California to Issue Early "Parenthood Paroles" to Female Inmates. California prison officials are set to release thousands of female inmates who were convicted of what are termed non-serious and non-violent crimes and have under two years on their sentence remaining and allow them to serve the remainder of their prison term at home. State prisons Secretary Matthew Cate defended the decision by stating that this will be a "a step in breaking the intergenerational cycle of incarceration." But victim rights advocate Harriet Salerno argues that given the issues prevalent in many of the families in question, children might be better off in foster care. The Supreme Court ruled in May that California's overcrowded prison system violated the U.S. Constitution. This early release program is a response to that ruling. More Information.
September 14, 2011. Should the U.S. Further Regulate Assisted Reproductive Technology? The New York Times in its on-line symposium, Room for Debate, has posted a very interesting discussion on the limited amount of U.S. regulations of ARTS procedures and practices. The federal nature of U.S. government combined with this country's free market approach to fertility has led to a much looser (or freer, depending on your point of view) regulatory environment than in other countries. High profile cases detailing abuses and the current "Wild West Approach," to quote the title of one contribution, has increased support for a stricter legal approach. On the other hand, a broader legal framework could work to foreclose potential parents from choosing this method of family formation. More Information.
September 13, 2011. North Carolina Adoption Agency Sues to Block COA's Accreditation Suspension Decision. St. Mary's International Adoptions, a North Carolina based international adoption agency, sought a temporary restraining order in federal court today seeking to block the Council on Accreditation from suspending St. Mary's Hague accreditation. According to newspaper reports, COA issued the 30 day suspension on the grounds that St. Mary's failed to communicate and support emotionally a family attempting (ultimately unsuccessfully) to adopt a sibling pair from Poland in 2010. On its website the Department of State reports that St. Mary's accreditation was suspended because of its "failing to maintain substantial compliance with the Hague accreditation standards." St. Mary's specializes in adoptions from Eastern Europe. More Information.
September 12, 2011. Murder Trial for Nathanial Craver's Parents Begins in Pennsylvania. Seven year old Nathanial Craver died in August 2009. He had been adopted, together with her twin sister, from Russia at the age of 18 months. Nathanial's death was one of the well-publicized cases involving Russian-born adoptees which led up to the signing of the Russian-American international adoption agreement in July. The prosecution alleges that Nathanial died of injuries intentionally afflicted by his parents. Michael and Nannette Craver, who are represented separately in the trial, maintain that Nathanial died of self-inflicted injuries. On Friday, the defense lawyers called five pre-school teachers to testify to the positive relationship between the Craver parents and Nathanial as well as the boy's self-harming propensities. More Information.
September 8, 2011. International Review III - Asia and Africa. The special needs and special focus programs for adoption from China continue to allow children to find families in short periods of time. We still lack answers from DOS concerning questions we raised in March concerning new pre-placement and post-placement requirements created by CCCWA. Vietnam, Cambodia and Nepal all remain closed to international adoption with no definitive word as to when any of these nations will reopen. CARA, the central adoption authority of India, announced new guidelines for international adoption and temporarily suspended accepting new dossiers until it completes processing its application backlog. CARA predicted that it would lift the suspension in September although no definite date has been posted.
The Democratic Republic of Congo verbally informed the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa that prospective adoptive parents would be required to travel to Kinshasa to pick up their child in person. No further updates have been posted. We note that more agencies are offering new adoption programs in Rwanda. As with any new adoption program, PAPs must assess the program carefully including examining the question of country risk presented by the government as well as the political and economic situation of the country involved.
September 7, 2011. International Country Review II - Eastern Europe and Ethiopia. After nearly eighteen months of negotiations, the bilateral agreement between Russia and the United States governing international adoption between the countries was signed on July 13, 2011. We have been told by the Department of State about the major provisions, expanding requirements for adoption service providers and increasing pre and post-placement [rules] but as yet DOS has been unwilling to make public a draft or final copy of the agreement, which has not yet gone into effect. This agreement is an important step in retaining that unparented children in Russia can find permanent homes in the United States. It also provides an excellent precedent for preserving orphan-process adoptions in a safe and ethical manner. Discussions between DOS and Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan can and should be modeled after the U.S.-Russian accord.
The tragedy of international adoption from Ethiopia continues. This summer the Ethiopian government revoked the licenses of orphanages in two provinces; a partial listing can be found by clicking here. We know that the children have been transferred to other orphanages but the U.S. embassy in Addis Ababa has been unable to ascertain what the status will be of children from closed orphanages who were previously referred to potential adoptive parents and are in the process of being adopted. These developments violate the understandings that were given in the spring when the great Ethiopian processing slow-down began. That the USCIS/DOS report on U.S. international adoption from Ethiopia discussed publically in March 2011 exonerated the Ethiopian program from the accusations previously leveled against it only deepens the sense of sadness and injustice we feel about this completely avoidable calamity.
September 6, 2011. International Country Review I - Central and South America. The variety of developments affecting international adoption over the summer has prompted us this week to post an overview of international adoption programs. Today we focus on Central and South America and start with Haiti. The Haitian parliament has approved the Hague Convention but no date is set for its effectiveness. The Haitian government has indicated that it will continue to support international adoption programs as long as they are processed through approved agencies. Haiti has in the past permitted independent adoptions but President Michel Martelly declared this summer that he will issue a presidential decrees banning independent adoptions. The Haitian government is still in flux so the precise nature of its international adoption program going forward cannot be stated.
U.S. potential adoptive parents have been unable to initiate new adoptions from Guatemala since December 2007. At that time there were 900 grandfathered families. Now almost four years later there remain around 390 such families. In August the Guatemalan government issued a decree which might speed processing for some of these families. Senator Mary Landrieu has been very active in seeking a positive resolution of these cases. Another development relating to Guatemala concerns the ruling, also during August, by a Guatemalan judge ordering a U.S. family to return their adopted daughter to Guatemala on the grounds that the child was trafficked for adoption. We understand the Department of States and USCIS are now involved in this matter.
The Council on Accreditation and the Department of State have both announced that COA has taken Adverse Action against Joshua Tree Adoptions Inc. This is the first such action since COA began accreditating most U.S. Hague accredited adoption agencies. Joshua Tree operates in Ecuador. At this time Joshua Tree is prohibited from providing any adoption services in connection with Hague Convention services but may continue to operate in non-Hague cases.
September 1, 2011. Government Notices and Other Alerts. CCCWA, the Chinese central adoption authority, has definitely sent referrals for potential adoptive parents in the non-special needs program whose dossiers were logged in with CCWA between July 12 and July 14, 2006. The wait for NSN PAPs is now considerably above the five year mark. As the NSN program winds down with no new applications, the special needs China program continues to draw interest from U.S. and international families. The time from application start to travel in the special needs program is around six months.
Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)