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February 16, 2017. Government and Other Notices: Kazakhstan. The Department of State has reminded adoptive parents of children born in Kazakhstan that they promised to provide the Kazakhstan government with post- adoption reports (PARs) every six months for the first three years after the adoption is finalized and then once a year until the child is 18 years old. These reports are crucial, in an of themselves, but also because as DOS puts it, "compliance with Kazakhstan's post-adoption reporting requirements would contribute to an understanding of the positive impact that intercountry adoption has for children from Kazakhstan who are living in the United States. This is particularly important to our ongoing efforts to work with Kazakhstan to resume intercountry adoptions between the United States and Kazakhstan." Details of how and where to provide PARs may be found by clicking here.

February 15, 2017. FBI Raids EAC Offices. The FBI has raided EAC Adoption Agency's office in Cleveland, Ohio as well as one person's house. This FBI action comes after the Department of State's December 2016 decision to ban EAC from operating as an adoption service provider in international adoption for three years. In its investigation, DOS found that the agency and its providers solicited bribes, lied to birth parents, withheld crucial information about adoptive children, and lied to officials concerning the eligibility of children for adoption. In addition "the agency gave preferential treatment to an agency employee when placing a child, after the adoption of the child failed the first time. 'The placement decision, together with other failures related to that placement, resulted in serious harm to a child.'" To read more information, please click here.

February 14, 2017. The Ghastly World of Orphanages for Disabled Children. This article, from last fall, exposes the horrors of orphanages in Mexico for disabled children. It could also have been written about any number of other countries. The writer describes it like this: "time seems to have halted: teaching materials, orthopedic contraptions, and physiotherapy techniques go back 30 years. Even the patient care model, which focuses solely on physical therapy, denies the residents any basic entertainment or volition, and essential personal support." The children have been brought to the orphanage by their families who pay to keep them there although almost half of the children are never visited by family members. To read more, please click here.

February 13, 2017. We Agree: Orphanages Are Not the Right Place for Children. "Orphanage Tourism" has grown in recent years, leading to some bettering of conditions but also providing financial incentives for people to keep children in orphanages. Jeff Ernst worked in Honduran orphanages for twelve years, ultimately opening his own orphanage. What Ernst found, as so many other have concluded, is that orphanages are not as good for children as permanent, loving, families. We agree which is why we are firm proponents of international adoption, not as the only solution for unparented children but as one of a panoply of possible outcomes. To read Ernst's article, please click here.

February 9, 2017. DOS Clarifies General Rules For Case Transfers. The Department of State has posted an updated notice concerning "intercountry adoption case transfer responsibilities of accredited agencies and/or approved persons (collectively referred to as "adoption service providers" or "ASPs") who are subject to one of the following adverse actions: (1) debarment; (2) suspension, if the Council on Accreditation ("COA") has determined that transfer of their cases and records is required; or (3) cancellation of accreditation." All adoption service providers should make themselves aware of their responsibilities in this regard and any potential adoptive parent whose case was transferred should be aware of this notice to understand his/her rights in such a situation. To access the notice please click here.

February 8, 2017. State Department Posts Information for EAC Clients. Families who were in the process of adopting using European Adoption Consultants, Inc. should consult the link below to learn the new COA accredited agencies to learn which adoption agency will handle their case. The assignment of cases differs according to the country from which the prospective adoptive parent was hoping to adopt. Also, as the Department of State points out, "EAC clients are under no obligation to work with the adoption service provider (ASP) named in EAC's case transfer plan. EAC is required to execute a plan to transfer their in-process adoption cases to a designated agency, however, some families may instead request that the case be transferred to an alternate primary provider. COA has advised that in those cases, prospective adoptive parents should send a request to EAC indicating a preferred ASP to which EAC should transfer the case." EAC Case Transfer Approval Information.

February 7, 2017. Dutch Government Will Not Ban International Adoption. State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff has rejected the advice of the Council for Criminal Law and Youth Protection that the Dutch government ban international adoption. The Council's rationale for banning IA was that "the right of children to grow up in a family in the country of origin must come first." In contrast, Dijkhoff believes that a "well-regulated adoption process " offers opportunities for children as well as "an opportunity for people who wish to have a child to fulfill their wish through a legal route". The Dutch government will take steps to improve procedures including limiting the agencies that do IA, and increasing contacts with sending countries. More Information.

February 6, 2017. Troubled NYC Administration for Children's Services Typical of Many States. New York City's Administration for Children's Services is the agency charged with protecting children. However, as several high profiles deaths of children in ACS' purview demonstrate, ACS has proved incapable of meeting its mission. The head of ACS left last week amidst reports that notwithstanding more millions appropriated to the agency, the average caseloads of ACS workers had risen, ACS workers often ignore their own guidelines, and the agency demonstrates "high level dysfunction." The children ACS are meant to protect have been failed once by their families. What a tragedy that they are being failed again. More Information.

February 2, 2017. Government and Other Notices: Uganda. In 2016 the Government of Uganda passed a law requiring non-Uganda prospective adoptive parents to spend a year with their child in Uganda, as foster parent. The Department of State has today reported that some adoption service providers may be engaging Uganda residents to foster potential adoptable children on behalf of American PAPs. For this reason, DOS has issued an alert stating that: "Officials from Uganda's Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development (MGLSD), which has authority over Uganda's adoption process, have told the State Department they are still in the process of drafting regulations to define how the Children Act amendments will be implemented. Therefore, there is limited information available about Uganda's adoption requirements, and no assurance that the Ugandan government will accept proxy fostering as a way to fulfill the one-year residence and fostering requirement for adoption. Moreover, the MGLSD has verbally informed Embassy Kampala that its current intention is for the regulations to require prospective adoptive parents to physically reside in Uganda and foster their adoptive children there for a period of 12 months." More Information.

February 1, 2017. IAC Adoptions Abruptly Closes. Independent Adoption Center (IAC) abruptly closed its door yesterday. Clients were informed that "the Independent Adoption Center (IAC) is declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy and will be closing permanently effective immediately. This was an extremely difficult decision to make, but after much discussion, we have come to the conclusion that immediate closure is our only option." IAC had offices in eight states and was one of the larger adoption agencies. Clients are now left stranded, having paid tens of thousands of dollars with little possibility of seeing the return of their fees any time soon, if ever. Just as bad, IAC apparently made no disposition plan for client records and it is unclear what has happened to the records in various states. We urge IAC clients to contacting the licensing officials in their states to learn what their options for redress are. Please see the Memo to Clients.

January 31, 2017. Simone Biles on Being a Foster Child. Olympic Gymnast Simone Biles, possibly the greatest gymnast ever, recently spoke about her life in foster care, which encompassed the period before she was adopted by her maternal grandfather and his wife. "I recall some of the kids coming to the foster home with only the clothes on their back and a backpack.... It's hard going into the system with hardly anything, because even though foster parents may receive a stipend, sometimes it's not enough to cover all the necessities." Biles has recently partnered with Mattress Firm Foster Kids, an organization which accepts donations of coats, pajamas, suitcases and school supplies for foster children who would otherwise lack these essentials. To learn more, please click here.

January 30, 2017. International Adoptive Parents: Get Your Child the Certificate of Citizenship Now! If your child was adopted internationally and does not have a certificate of citizenship, apply for it as soon as possible. It is the incontrovertible proof that your child is a citizen of the United States. While it is costs $1,170, it is worth the money. Most children who were adopted by two parents who traveled to get them after January 1, 2004 should have received their certificate of citizenship automatically. To apply for the COC, go to https://www.uscis.gov/n-600

January 26, 2017. Michele Bond, the Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Leaves the Department of State. All political appointees are required to submit resignations at the end of each presidential term. Assistant Secretary Bond is known to us because her portfolio includes international adoption. In her departure letter Bond wrote: "It has been an honor to serve with you as the Assistant Secretary for the past 17 months, and to have represented the United States as a Foreign Service officer for 40 years. What a privilege it has been." More Information.

January 25, 2017. British Court Ruling on Rights of IVF Parents. A British court overruled local officials and allow an unmarried British couple to put the intended father's name on the birth certificate even though the twins in question had been conceived with donated sperm. The couple did not want an amended birth certificate because they did not intend to tell their children they were conceived using a sperm donor. Sir James Munby, England's highest family court judge stated: "Put starkly, the state by its actions has denied these parents the right to decide for themselves, within the privacy of the family, what in their view, as devoted parents, is in the best interests of their children." More Information.

January 24, 2017. China's Birth Rate Rises After One-Child Policy Is Abandoned. According to the BBC, in 2016 China had 17.86 million births, an increase of 1.31 million from the previous year. This comes one year after the country jettisoned its one-child policy in favor of a two-child policy. As Yang Wenzhuang of China's National Health and Family Planning Commission stated, "While the total number of women of childbearing age fell by five million, the number of births increased significantly, showing that the family planning policy adjustments were extremely timely and extremely efficient." The NHFPC puts the number of Chinese births in 2016 at 18.46 million births. More Information.

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