Center for Adoption Policy
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January 2012

January 31, 2012. Newt Gingrich Proposes Fertility Clinics' Ethics Commission. While campaigning in Florida, Newt Gingrich suggested that the federal government create a study commission to consider the ethics of fertility clinics which work in the field of in vitro fertilization. Gingrich said that it was not that he was against IVF but "...If you have in vitro fertilization, you are creating life; and therefore, we should look seriously at what should the rules should be for clinics that do that, because they are creating life." During the Bush administration federal grants were made for embryo adoption programs. More Information.

January 30, 2012. Former Foster Youth Discusses Cutbacks in Care for Foster Children. Derrick Riggins is a former foster youth who has accomplished much, including being chosen to be CCAI 2011 Foster Youth Inter. His words should have great resonance to all of us. Here is Derrick's interview concerning Florida's debate to cut funding for children in foster care programs. Click here.

January 26, 2012. Government and Other Notices: USCIS Invites Interested Persons to a Teleconference on Grandfathering of Non-Hague Adoption Cases. PAPS in the China program and others with I-600As in Hague countries - as well as stakeholders - should read the attached notice from USCIS.

USCIS invites interested parties to participate in a national stakeholder teleconference on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 2:00 PM EDT. The purpose of this engagement is to discuss changes to the process of "grandfathering" certain adoption cases as orphan cases when the U.S. and another country become Hague partners. The call will focus particularly on cases for Chinese and Guatemalan children as these are the countries from which there are currently "grandfathered" cases.

The U.S. became a Hague Adoption Convention partner with China and Guatemala on April 1, 2008. At that time, there were many U.S. families in the process of adopting children from China and Guatemala under the orphan process. USCIS allowed those U.S. families' cases to be "grandfathered" under the non-Hague process so that they could process their cases to completion as orphan cases. As the second "grandfathered" Form I-600A approvals for many of these cases are now beginning to expire, USCIS has developed an alternative approach that we believe will preserve the standing of the cases in the most effective and appropriate way.

Please join us on this conference call to discuss the options for families that are still in the adoptions process with "grandfathered" cases, specifically involving China and Guatemala.

During the session, USCIS will explain how we plan to proceed for the remaining grandfathered cases from these two countries and address questions and comments from participants.

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 Office of Public Engagement at public.engagement@dhs.gov by Monday January 30, 2012 referencing "Adoption" in the subject line of your email. Please also include your full name and the organization you represent, if any, 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: 1-888-989-6491
    Overseas Toll Number: 1-415-228-3902
    Passcode: Adoption

January 24, 2012. All Adoption Is Becoming Open Adoption. DNA testing, social networking and the internet have revolutionized adoption. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post today have articles on aspects of this enormous change. The New York Times article focuses on DNA testing as recounts the stories of U.S domestic adoptees who find birth families by using private DNA search companies. The Washington Post looks at internationally adopted teenagers who have reconnected with birth families in Eastern Europe. Our Annual Adoption Law and Policy Conference, linked to at the top of this page, will devote a session to this topic. More information.

Ninth Annual Adoption Conference

Friday, March 2, 2012
New York Law School
185 West Broadway in Tribeca
New York City

We are pleased to announce that the ninth annual Adoption Law and Policy Conference will be held at New York Law School on Friday, March 2, 2012. This year's title will be "International Adoption: The Evolving Terrain". As always, continuing legal education credit will be offered.* This year's conference is cosponsored by the Center for Adoption Policy, the Diane Abbey Law Center for Children and Families, and Harvard Law School's Child Advocacy Program.

The conference will be held at New York Law School (185 West Broadway in Tribeca). For directions to the Law School, click here. For information on hotels and parking in the area, click here.

* New York Law School is certified by the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board as an Accredited Provider of continuing legal education in the State of New York. The number of hours and details for this CLE program will be announced in the spring.

Register Now!

January 19, 2012. Government and Other Notices. The Department of State has reported that on December 26, 2011 the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, signed a new Family and Marriage Code into law. Kazakhstan previously acceded to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. Government approval of accreditation of adoption agencies and the processeing of international adoptions now will depend on the Kazakh government acceptance of the Ministry of Education proposals on specific rules and regulations and DOS's determination as to whether the new Kazakh standards meet Hague Convention requirements. More Information.

January 18, 2012. Criminal Justice System and Alleged Child Abuse: An Uneasy Fit. The story of the life and death of baby Annie illustrates the deficiencies in the criminal justice system, especially when children and immigrants are concerned. Annie Li was three months old when she died in October 2007. The district attorney's office maintains she was a victim, at her parents' hands, of shaken baby syndrome. Ying and Hangbin Li have proclaimed their innocence through over three years of incarceration. Their lack of English language skills, together with their non-citizen immigration status and a general decreasing lack of faith in shaken baby syndrome as a reliable diagnosis have added up to a case which seems to have little clarity and less opportunity for justice. More Information.

January 17, 2012. What Would Martin Luther King Say? Yesterday we observed the annual holiday in honor of Martin Luther King. Dr. King, like Abraham Lincoln before him, had the gift of articulating a vision for the future which encompassed not only the particular struggle at hand but the great issues which continue to demand attention. The right of every child to grow up in a safe and loving environment is surely a basic principle for every civilized society. In his "I Have a Dream" speech Dr. King said: "In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Today we ask that this promise be extended to all children, wherever born.

January 12, 2012. The Haitian Children - Two Years On. Today is the second anniversary of the massive Haitian earthquake which killed an estimated 300,000 people and devastated an already impoverished nation. In the aftermath of that tragedy the U.S. government granted humanitarian parole to around 1,150 children who were in the process of being adopted by approved U.S. families. Through the actions of USCIS, the Department of State, and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the Congress and President Obama, these children came to the U.S. , were united with their families, achieved green card status and are on the road to becoming or already are U.S. citizens. We mark the tragic earthquake yet also recognize the wonderful work done by so many people in the U.S. government to help the littlest victims of all.

January 11, 2012. Explaining the Crucial Need for International Adoption. Last month Australian public radio broadcast a two-part program on international adoption by Australians. It featured background information, interviews with Australian adoptive parents and discussions with experts. Two of the discussants are well known in the adoption community. Dr. Jane Aronson has been in the forefront of adoption medicine since the mid-nineteen nineties. As we might expect, Dr. Jane (as she is known) gave an eloquent explanation of the need for international adoption. Unicef's Susan Bissell presented well-nuanced comments which also seemed to support the need for international adoption to remain in the panoply of methods of permanent family creation. To hear the interview and get a link to Part Two of the interview click here.

January 10, 2012. Updated Form for Federal Adoption Tax Credit. The IRS has published a new form to claim the federal Adoption Tax Credit, Form 8839, for the 2011 tax year. At the same time, the IRS has published new instructions for tax credit form. Page 4 contains a table setting forth what documentation is necessary to establish eligibility for the tax credit, for both domestic and international adoptions. This link will also contain IRS technical and substantive updates. More Information.

January 9, 2012. Toxic Stress During Early Childhood and Adoption. The American Academy of Pediatrics is issuing a policy statement exposing the negative effects of toxic stress on children and setting forth the ways affection and love can counter that stress. Dr. Jack Shonkoff, who participated in a conference on international adoption convened at Harvard several years ago by Professor Elizabeth Bartholet (co-sponsored by CAP) is a leader in this crucial field of research. As Shonkoff puts it: "You can modify behavior later, but you can't rewire disrupted brain circuits "We're beginning to get a pretty compelling biological model of why kids who have experienced adversity have trouble learning." More Information.

January 5, 2012. Truncated Domestic Adoptions Illustrate Need for Better Adoption Supervision and Post-Placement Requirements. The last decades have seen government policies emphasizing domestic adoption over foster care. Children adopted from foster care bring with them government financial support, seen as a way to bolster adoption rates and better children's lives. However, sometimes adoptive parents abuse this system: adopting children in order to receive the adoption subsidy and abandoning the children when they turn 18 and lose their eligibility for financial benefits. The heart-rending account of Lamar West's double abandonment, detailed in the linked article, is but one case where adults, who should have known better, denied a child a permanent, loving family twice. More Information.

January 4, 2011. Another Adoption Agency Shuts Its Doors. Adoption Alliance, a well-known adoption service provider in Colorado is closing after 22 years. Executive Director Tracey Blustein explains: "We have been hit really hard with the change in economic climate and international and domestic adoption. . .In previous years, we would be able to place 60 kids per year - now we are down to 25. Our financial resources have diminished." The catastrophic decline in U.S. international adoption to 9,320 in FY 2011 has decimated the ranks of adoption agencies which means existing agencies have more families to service with fewer resources. Moreover, the increase in post-placement reports puts new burdens on agencies to work with families they did not meet during the pre-adoption and adoption period. More Information.

January 3, 2012. "Foreign Adoption Quota Leaves Behind Disabled and Male Children." Several years ago the government of South Korea set a target date of eliminating all international adoption by 2012. Whether or not IA will be completely abolished this year is unclear; what is obvious is the drastic decline in international adoption from South Korea. That domestic adoption in South Korea has increased can only be a positive development. However, as the interviews in the linked article make clear, boys and disabled children have little chance of finding permanent homes. As Lee Myung-woo, director of the post-adoption counseling department at Holt International explains: "Korean people are rather picky in adoption with their own preferences for same blood type, pretty (looks) and health, the education background of birth parents, et cetera...In domestic adoption, more than 70 percent are girls. Boys and disabled children may have to find homes abroad, or may have to be transferred to institutions if we would ever fail to send them for overseas adoptions for the reason of government policy."

Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)
168A Kirby Lane
Rye, New York 10580
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