NewsCAP is now on a summer schedule and will only be posting sporadically.
June 19, 2017. CAP Partners with Duke Law School on New Conference. We are delighted to announce that the Center for Adoption Policy, together with Duke University School of Law is presenting a conference on "The Rights of the Child in a Globalized World." The Conference will be held at the Duke Law School Campus in Durham, North Carolina on Friday, November 17, 2017. We will post more details soon.
June 16, 2017. Department of State Update on Ethiopia. What follows is the State Department's update on the Ethiopian adoption suspension which we received today. "Since June 1, Ethiopia's Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWA) resumed issuing documents to allow some adopted children with Federal First Instance Court (FFIC) approval to initiate their U.S. immigration processes. Those adopted children were able to obtain Ethiopian passports. The State Department has not received information from the Ethiopian government about which additional cases may be allowed to continue. To date, the Ethiopian government has not released an official statement on the suspension or the future of intercountry adoption from Ethiopia. The State Department will continue to advocate for intercountry adoption as an option for Ethiopian children in need of permanent homes. However, given the uncertainty of the future of adoptions in Ethiopia, we strongly encourage prospective adoptive parents to consider other countries. If you have questions about your pending case, please contact your Adoption Service Provider."
June 14, 2017. Supreme Court Rules Unwed Mothers and Unwed Fathers May Not Be Treated Differently As Regards Citizenship Rights of Their Children. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the majority said: "The scheme permits the transmission of citizenship to children who have no tie to the United States so long as their mother was a U.S. citizen continuously present in the United States for one year at any point in her life prior to the child's birth," ...The transmission holds even if the mother marries the child's alien father immediately after the child's birth and never returns with the child to the United States... [but] "the legislation precludes citizenship transmission by a U.S.-citizen father who falls a few days short of meeting the law's "longer physical-presence requirements, even if the father acknowledges paternity on the day of the child's birth and raises the child in the United States." Ironically, the effect of this decision will be to make it more difficult for non-citizen children to become citizens because until Congress acts, children of citizen mothers will no longer receive preference and will have to meet the higher burden imposed on children of citizen fathers. More Information.
June 13, 2017. Vulnerable Children and Family Legislation Reintroduced. We are delighted to report that Senators Roy Blunt and Amy Klobuchar and Representatives Kay Granger and Brenda Lawrence have introduced the Vulnerable Children and Families Act. This bipartisan legislation will help children without permanent loving families or living in institutional care around the world by increasing U.S. diplomatic child welfare initiatives to maintain international adoption as a viable option for unparented children. As Senator Blunt (Republican, Missouri) explains: " Every child deserves a permanent, safe, loving home no matter where they are born... Unfortunately, there are millions of children across the world who are growing up without the security and stability that comes with family-based care. This bill will help connect more children in need of permanent homes with families in the United States and around the world that are eager to adopt." Senator Klobuchar, (Democratic Senator, Minnesota), concurs: "I have seen firsthand the power of adoption...We can and must do more to help countries abroad develop their own domestic adoption programs while also strengthening opportunities for international adoption." We proudly support this bill. More Information.
June 12, 2017. Ethiopian Adoption Situation Remains Perilous. We were delighted to learn last week that U.S. families who had legally adopted their Ethiopian-born children are receiving the documents necessary to bring their children to the United States. However, we have also learned that the Ethiopian government has decided to prioritize domestic adoption and has not yet indicated what its stance will be on pipeline PAPs who have not yet passed Ethiopian court. For these reasons we urge families who have not yet begun an intercountry adoption process to consider the tenuous nature of the Ethiopian adoption program at this time. We also suggest that adoption agencies advise any process families of the serious issues putting the future of intercountry adoption from Ethiopia into question.
June 7, 2017. "How Many Infants Were Relinquished to Adoption?" Today's headline comes from a blog post by Rudy Owens, adoptee and author. His essay highlights something that those of us who work in the field of adoption are well aware of: the limited amount of statistics about adoption in this country. The only numbers we can be sure of are the numbers of internationally adopted children who enter the U.S. each year because their visas are recorded by USCIS. As for domestic adoptees, which long and still are the majority of adoptees, there are no reliable statistics. A 1984 paper by Penelope Maza for the U.S. Children's Bureau covers the years 1944 through 1975 but those statistics are clearly outdated. The U.S. Census only began counting adoptees in 2000 and the questions lack precision and reliability. It is difficult to understand social issues when you don't know the size of the population that you are discussing. More Information.
June 6, 2017. Adoptee Citizenship Act: Honor the Promise. While most internationally adopted children who arrive in the United States today are automatically citizens, this was not always the case. There are thousands of international adoptees, usually over 30 but not always, who are not citizens. For years the Center for Adoption Policy, alongside other groups, has been urging Congress to rectify this situation. Children adopted by U.S. citizens should be citizens. The fact that many did not become citizens is largely due to ignorance, misinformation, or deliberate action by adoptive parents. These adoptees should not be punished for their parents' omissions. Please read the material cited below and support retroactive international adoptee citizenhip. More Information.
June 5, 2017. Ohio Attorney General Files Suit Against EAC. The state of Ohio has filed suit against European Adoption Consultants, Inc., charging the agency with violating Ohio's consumer protection laws and its statutes governing charitable organizations. The suit seeks dissolution of the agency as well as restitution for clients. This past December, the Department of State banned EAC from accreditation for intercountry adoption for a period of three years. More Information.
June 1, 2017. Mississippi Case Shows Gay Parents Face Legal Perils. An appeal has been filed to the Mississippi Supreme Court on behalf of Christina Strickland. Christina is the non-biological lesbian mother of two sons whose ex-wife Kimberly Day has now denied Strickland's rights as a parent. Day is listed as the adoptive mother of the first son and is the biological mother of the second son. Christina had a close and caring relationship with both children who also had her last name, as did Kimberly. After Christina and Kimberly divorced, Christina continued to parent the children until Kimberly remarried and cut off all contact. The trial court denied Christina's status as a parent, ruled that the anonymous sperm donor's rights overrode Christina's but ordered that Christina receive visitation and pay child support. As Beth Littrell, Lambda legal counsel says, "The court carved out an exception to the rule that a child born to a married couple is the legal child of both spouses, ruling that children born as a result of assisted reproduction are the children of the mother and the anonymous sperm donor, ... The lower court's decision is demeaning and destabilizing, marking Chris and her children as unworthy of the usual protections married families rely on when adult relationships fail." More Information.
May 31, 2017. Risks of Surrogacy. A recent story from the Netherlands illustrates one of the many risks of gestational surrogacy. A gay couple in the Netherlands found a gestational surrogate online. She agreed to carry a baby for them, using their sperm and her eggs. She gave birth to a healthy girl and the couple were elated. However everything changed when it was discovered through DNA testing that that the girl was the biological daughter of the surrogate's husband. The surrogate and her husband decided to keep their daughter, which they have every right to do. More Information.
May 30, 2017. Update on Ethiopian Adoption Suspension. On May 26, the Department of State issued an update on intercountry adoption suspension from Ethiopia last week that is a "must read" for all prospective adoptive parents who are involved in Ethiopia. As of that date, the Ethiopian Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWA) was set to reopen but only for the issuance of negative/denial letters. DOS also reports that the Prime Minister's office has been unresponsive to U.S. government requests for high level meetings. Of very great importance are the following two warnings. The first is that PAPs who have not yet committed to Ethiopia should carefully consider other countries. The future viability of adoption from Ethiopia is unknown at this time. PAPs already in process in Ethiopia must consider this second warning: "during the suspension of adoptions from Ethiopia, individuals in Ethiopia may approach prospective adoptive parents or adoption service providers offering to assist with their adoptions and/or obtain related documentation (such as birth certificates and passports). These individuals might not be employed by, or supervised by, a U.S. accredited adoption service provider. We would like to remind you that under the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA) and the Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), any non-governmental agency or individual providing or facilitating adoption services in an intercountry adoption to the United States must in general be accredited, or supervised by an accredited U.S. agency. Individuals who provide adoption services in an intercountry adoption to the United States without being accredited, approved, supervised, or exempted may be subject to civil or criminal penalties. Any attempt by adoptive parents or adoption service providers to circumvent Ethiopia's process or regulations may result in dangerous situations for adoptive families and/or negatively impact the future of adoptions from Ethiopia, and may also result in delays in processing of your adoptive child's petition and/or immigrant visa." More Information.
May 25, 2017. Government and Other Notices: Adoption Service Provider Accreditation/Approval Expiration or Relinquishment. The Department of State, which is the U.S. Central Authority for International Adoption, has posted a list of adoption agencies which whose approval to perform primary services as an adoption provider has either lapsed or was relinquished. All potential adoptive parents should consult this list because these agencies may now only work in the field of adoption services if they do so with an accredited provider. To access the list, please click here.
May 24, 2017. Foster Parent Crisis As Drug Overdoses Increase. The combination of the availability of synthetic heroin and creation of closer monitoring of prescription drugs has caused an epidemic of opiod addiction which has, among other things, led to a nationwide-increase in the number of children needing foster care. The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) believes "that the opioid crisis could exacerbate child abuse and neglect given that we're seeing a link nationally. State child welfare systems have reported that they are experiencing an increase in families coming to their attention with substance use problems impacting their ability to safely parent." In a time of decreasing budgets for health care and family services, children are ever more at risk. More Information.
Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)
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