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April 18, 2019. Department of State to Issue New Regulations on International Adoption. The Office of Children's Issues of the Department of State has served notice that it will be issuing new regulations pertaining to international adoption in the very near future. We understand that draft regulations are already circulating among Departments. Readers of this column may remember that previous DOS regulation, were issued for comment in the autumn of 2016 but then were withdrawn, following extensive (and negative) comments from stakeholders, adoption service providers and families.

April 15, 2019. Vancouver Island's Last Adoption Agency Closes. Citing the declining number of international adoptions, Vancouver's only adoption agency, Choices Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling, is shutting its doors. The drastic fall in international adoptions has driven many adoption agencies out of business. In turn the cascade of closures results in worse services for potential adoptive parents which makes international adoption less safe for children which leads to more failed adoptions. To read about how the closure has affected a Canadian family, please click here.

April 10, 2019. New York State Debates Child - Parent Security Act. New York legislators are debating a new bill which would definitely alter the New York assisted reproductive technology legal landscape. The proposed legislation would accomplish two main goals: it would clarify and protect parental rights when a sperm donor, egg donor, or embryo donor is involved in conception, and it would legalize compensation for gestational surrogacy for the first time in New York. To read more about the bill, which has the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, please click here.

April 9, 2019. Department of State Updates Many Country Pages. The Department of State announced today that it has updated the country pages for 20 countries which include Belarus, Estonia, Moldova, South Korea and Zambia. The statistical information on the country pages, however, has not yet been updated. To access these new country pages, please click here.

April 4, 2019. Article Assesses Condition of International Adoption. Author Jayme Metzgar has written a passionate article decrying the perilous state of international adoption to the United States. Titled "New Report Shows International Adoption Edging Closer to Extinction," this article attributes much of the blame for the catastrophic decline of international adoption to overregulation. Anyone interested should read this article to assess this dismal situation.

April 3, 2019. A Story With A Happy Ending. Liz Smith, Director of Nursing at a Massachusetts hospital, met baby Gisele two years ago. Gisele, who was born with neonatal abstinence syndrome because her birth mother had used heroine, cocaine and methadone during pregnancy, was a ward of the state. Gisele was developmentally delayed and needed extensive hospital care, for her weakened lungs and a feeding tube. No one ever visited Gisele except Ms. Smith who spent long hours with her. Gisele's birth parents lost their parental rights and Gisele was placed in foster care, with Ms. Smith, who successfully sought to adopt her. Fast forward 553 days and Gisele is now the adopted daughter of Liz Smith. To read this story, please click here.

April 2, 2012. "I Was Adopted, My Friend Was Not." Please read this moving article written by Ming Canaday, a young woman who was adopted from China as a pre-teen. Ming and her friend Chunchun both had polio and scoliosis. Once in the United States Ming had the necessary surgeries and therapy to thrive - she is now getting her Master's degree at the London School of Economics. Chunchun was not as fortunate. She never was sent to school, has gotten progressively more disabled and lives in a Chinese welfare institution. To read the article, please click here.

April 1, 2019. Dismal Reading. We have post the numbers from the Department of States Intercountry Adoption Annual Report for the Fiscal Year 2018. As ever, it makes dismal reading. The numbers are down and poised to go lower since several countries, such as Ethiopia and Poland,that had open international adoption programs last year have closed their programs, in whole or in part. To read our summary and access the Report, please visit our Facts and Figures page.

March 27, 2019. Sierra Leone Suspends International Adoption Until April 30, 2919. Last week the government of Sierra Leone informed the Department of State that "it has temporarily suspended the processing of all intercountry adoption cases until April 30, 2019, pending an internal review of its current process and the implementation of new adoption procedures and policies." In-process adoptive parents should communicate with their adoption agencies regarding the status of their adoption. Families should also monitor adoption.state.gov and if they have specific questions, should email the Office of Children's Issues at adoption@state.gov.

March 26, 2019. French Case on Surrogacy Procedure. We have learned about a new French case concerning surrogacy, A court in France has ordered a Spanish website hosting service that offers to match hopeful intended parents with gestational surrogates to shut off access to its services in French territory. The court found that the matching service was providing an "illicit service" which was aimed at French intended parents and as such was violating French law. Perhaps the reason for the ruling is that a French, not Spanish, company owned the company.

March 25, 2018. Kyrgyzstan's Reauthorization of Adoption Service Providers. The Department of State has informed the adoption community that Kyrgyzstan has reinstated the accreditation for three U.S. adoption service providers but has not reauthorized the operations of four other adoption agencies. The agencies that are re-authorized are Lifeline Children's Services, World Links International Adoption Agency, and Across the World Adoptions. Families in the process of adopting from Kyrgyzstan should consult the DOS announcement.

March 21, 2019. Trump Administration Plans to Shut Overseas USCIS Offices. In what USCIS has labeled an efficiency move, the Director of USCIS, L. Francis Cissna informed senior USCIS officials that the international division will close down at the end of 2019. The international division has operations in 20 countries and is the best conduit for potential adoptive parents to process their adoptions in-country. These shutdowns will affect not only potential adoptive parents but students, U.S. military personnel, and applicants for legal immigration. To read more on the plan, please click here.

March 20, 2019. AAAA Assails Decline in International Adoptions. The American Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys has issued a statement highlighting the 82 percent drop in international adoptions to the United States since 2004, and the 13 percent drop in international adoptions from 2017 to 2018 to the small number of 4,059. As the statements points out: "The majority of orphans denied intercountry adoption are not finding equal or better solutions in their country of birth; on the contrary, they are living and dying in institutions in ever-growing numbers. Research conclusively shows that the majority of those who survive the orphanage experience will experience permanent emotional and physical harm and will age out into a world that will exploit them in horrible and degrading ways."

March 19, 2019. Indian Authorities Investigage Embryo Smuggling Ring. A man from Malaysia was arrested at Mumbai airport after a human embryo was discovered in his luggage. The man told the police that he had smuggled embryos into India before and directed officials to a "high end" IVF clinic in Mumbai. Authorities are said to have also found text messages backing up his claim. The owner of the clinic denied the allegations. To access the story, please click here.

March 18, 2018. To Increase Birth Rate China Considers Single-Motherhood. China's leaders are convinced that the nation is facing a demographic disaster with a declining birth rate and increasing numbers of older people. Allowing each family two children, after thirty years of draconian - one child policies, has not produced the bump authorities sought. Now an idea getting serious attention is to treat single mothers the same as married couples. China has long penalized single mothers, making them face severe financial penalties as well as, in some provinces, denying the child the all-important "houkou" residence permit that is required for school, work and official residence. Even if these proposals are implemented, it will take a major societal change to break down the traditional disapproval. More Information.

March 14, 2019 Intercountry Adoptions to the United States Continue to Drop. The Department of State has released its Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2018. As expected, the number of international adoptions to the United States has continued to decline, this year down to 4059, a ten percent decline from FY 2017. The Department of State attributes the decrease to better domestic economic and social conditions in China as well as concerns over adoptive parent actions by the Ethiopian government. We have other explanations as well. To read the Annual Report, please click here.

March 12, 2019. Residence Requirements Potential Adoptive Parents From Sierra Leone. The Department of State has announced that in order to adopt from Sierra Leone, prospective adoptive parents must reside in and foster the child in Sierra Leone for six consecutive months. The Sierra Leone Attorney General has further confirmed that courts cannot waive this requirement nor can PAPs meet this requirement by proxy. DOS advise in process families to contact their adoptive agency immediately to make sure that their cases will be the Sierra Leone rules. More Information.

March 11, 2019. USCIS Issues Adoption Guidance. USCIS has issued guidance concerning the interpretation of its memo of November 9, 2018 memorandum on the suitability of prospective adoptive parents. This new information supplements and explains the earlier memorandum and attempts to answer various stakeholder questions which have come to the fore since then. It is important reading for agencies and prospective adoptive parents. To read the latest information, please click here.

February 28, 2019. Demographic Crisis Hits China. Two scholars of China, Wang Feng and Yong Cai, have written a fascinating article about China's demographic crisis: the continued fall in the number of births annually, together with a healthier population living longer means that fewer young people will support an increasingly large population of elderly citizens. In 2018 there were 1523 million new births, a decrease of over 11 percent from 2017. The attempt by the Chinese government to inspire families to have more than one child appears to have been a dismal failure. To read the article, please click here.

February 27, 2019. U.S. Embassy in Haiti Resumes Adoption Visa Processing. On Monday, February 25, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince resumed processing of adoption visas. However, because non-essential Embassy staff were evacuated prospective adoptive parents should expect delays. Any PAP planning to go to Haiti should both review the February 14 Haiti Travel Advisory about the current security issues in Haiti and contact the DOS Office of Children's Issues to finalize travel plans. To read more, please click here.

February 26, 2019. Posthumous Reproduction: A New Frontier. Posthumous reproduction, a form of assisted reproductive technology, involved using the sperm of a deceased man, either collected before his death or shortly thereafter, to fertilize an embryo which continues the genetic line of the deceased man. The science is relatively simple while the legal and ethical issues are not. This article does an excellent job of discussing all aspects of posthumous reproduction. To access it, please click here.

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