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March 20, 2018. New Article Discusses Department of State's Position on International Adoption. We draw your attention to an excellent article about new Department of State policies which will negatively affect international adoption. The article features Professor Elizabeth Bartholet, National Council for Adoption President Chuck Johnson, and other individuals with long experience in the field of international adoption. To access the article please click here.

March 19, 2018. State Department Guidance on "Soft Referrals." The Department of State has issued guidance on the practice by countries of origin or adoption service providers of issuing so called "soft referrals," which DOS defines as "the act of matching a child to a family before confirmation of the child's eligibility to be adopted through the intercountry process and /or approval of the perspective adoptive parents' home study and associate background checks." The China Special Needs program, the largest international adoption program, has made it a practice to provide Preliminary Approval (PA) to families for specific children although the families does not yet have an approved home study, a procedure which will not pass muster now. However, the DOS announcement does not ban photo listings in and of themselves. More Information.

March 15, 2018. What Were They Thinking: Twins and Triplets Separated For Adoption For a Medical Study. We have been horrified to learn that in the 1960s a prominent adoption agency, Louise Wise Services, separated twins and triplets who were then placed in different adoptive families. None of the adoptive families knew their child had a biological twin or triplets. The families were also told that their children would be part of a child development study. In reality the study was designed to test nature over nurture, using separated children as test cases. Clearly neither the adoptive parents nor the children gave informed consent. Some of the now adult children only learned about their twins' existence from the producer of a new documentary. The victims still cannot get access to the unredacted study, the documents for which are at Yale University but sealed. More Information.

March 14, 2018. Protecting Frozen Eggs and Embryos. Over the weekend two fertility clinics, one in Cleveland and one in San Francisco, reported that their freezing systems for preserving client's eggs and/or embryos had failed. In response, the New York Times has prepared a basic outline of what steps clients should take to ensure, as far as possible, the safety of their eggs. The article may be found by clicking here.

March 13, 2018. Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2018 Introduced. On March 8, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.), together with Senators Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduced, yet again, an Adoptee Citizenship bill. This legislation, if passed, would provide citizenship for adoptees whose American citizens parents failed to complete the necessary steps to make their children U.S. citizens. As Senator Hirono said: "International adoptees who were adopted by American parents and raised as Americans should have the same rights of citizenship as biological children," We wholeheartedly urge every adoptee to contact their legislators and urge swift passage of this bill. More Information.

March 12, 2018. Kansas Parents Will Serve Prison Sentences For Child Abuse. Jim and Paige Nachtigal, Kansas missionaries, pleaded guilty to child abuse for the cruel mistreatment of the three children they adopted from Peru. While the Nachtigals were known in their community for their involvement in their church and their foreign missionary work, they were secretly abusing the three children they had adopted. School staff and others had contacted Department of Children and Families officials as early as 2014 but it took until 2016 for any investigations to begin. While two of the children appear to be doing well, the younger daughter is clearly struggling. More Information.

March 7, 2018. Washington State Enact Uniform Parentage Act. Washington state is the first state to enact the new Uniform Parentage Act. The law addresses crucial issues related to surrogacy, same-sex marriage, the right to genetic information, the status of children conceived as a result of sexual assault and updates other parentage laws. It also permits paid surrogacy in Washington state. Prior to the enactment of the new law, paying for surrogacy in Washington state was a crime. To review the law, please click here to download PDF.

March 6, 2018. Update on Ethiopian International Adoption. The Department of State has informed the adoption community since the Ethiopian suspension of international adoption, 66 in-process cases have been completed with another 128 cases still outstanding. The Ethiopian government has taken further action to ensure the closure of Ethiopian international adoption. DOS officials have reached out to Ethiopian counterparts but can provide no indication when, if ever, international adoption from Ethiopia will resume.

March 5, 2018. USCIS Is Now Accepting Credit Cards For Its Fees. USCIS is now accepting credit card payments for the I-600/A fees, I-800/A fees as well as fingerprinting costs. The Department of State does not yet accept credit card payments for passport fees although you can use a credit card for the payment of the execution/processing fee. USCIS currently believes that using a credit card will not affect the timing of processing through the lock box.

March 1, 2018. UK High Court Rules Sperm Donor's Parents Have Right To Contact With Their Biological Grandson. In a landmark ruling, the British High Court has allowed a boy's biological grandparents to have mandated visits with their grandchild. The sperm donor was a friend of the two mothers. He was the donor for their five year old son; the women used a different donor for the other son. After the baby was born the two mothers and the sperm donor had different views of his role in the boy's life: the women thought he would see the boy on the same basis as any friend's child while he thought he would have be known to the boy as his biological father. Initially contact was normal and amiable and the boy's grandparents also saw him. But as time went on, and after the women split up, the mothers found the continued contact "burdensome" and sought to limit it. The donor went to court and was granted visitation, with his parents allowed to participate occasionally. The women sought to block the grandparents from gaining mandated rights because they maintained such a grant would interfere with their freedom to parent. The lower court disagreed and the High Court affirmed the lower court's ruling with an opinion which stated that the "order made by the judge was one that she was plainly entitled to make on the evidence before her." This landmark case illustrates three factors: the new world of family relationships, the large discretion family court judges have, and the importance of donors and intended parents obtaining sound legal advice before proceeding. More Information.

February 28, 2018. Adult Children of Fertility Doctor Discover They Are All Half-Siblings. When Dr. Donald Cline, a fertility specialist from Indianapolis, faced federal charges for denying he has used his own sperm to inseminate patients, the news reports led now-adult children whose mothers had gone to Dr. Cline to contact each other. DNA testing has revealed the existence of at least 30 half-siblings, all in their thirties now, but reports indicate that there are many more. The decisions of the adult children to use 23 and Me testing was what led to Dr. Cline's prosecution. More Information.

February 27, 2018. DOS Meets with CCCWA. U.S. Department of State representatives from the Office of Children' s Issues met with a delegation from the China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) to discuss a number of issues on January 25. Topics included the effect of the NGO Law, ASP activities under the New Law, Foreign Supervised Provider Agreements, Orphanage Donations, waiver requests and post-placement reporting. We are seeking clarification on the brief descriptions of these topics and will report more after we speak with DOS officials on Monday, March 5.

February 26, 2018. Department of State Seeking Information on "Soft Referrals." The Department of State has informed the adoption community as follows: "We have received several questions about soft referrals, which were mentioned in the FAQ, Part 2 for IAAME's Schedule of Fees, posted to our website on February 22, 2018. If you have questions that you have not already submitted, please write to us at no later than Thursday, March 1, 2018. We are in the process of preparing guidance on this issue and want to be sure we understand your concerns so that we may address them as thoroughly as possible."

February 22, 2018. Former Head of Save the Children Resigns from UNICEF After Revelations. Justin Forsyth, head of Save the Children from 2010 to 2016 resigned after admitting that he penned a "barrage" of "unsuitable texts" to female staff. Mr. Forsyth was Deputy Director of UNICEF since he left Save the Children. UNICEF denied knowledge of Mr. Forsyth's behavior. For decades Save the Children and UNICEF have vigorously opposed international adoption, claiming that they provide a better alternative by guiding the creation of in-country care instead of international adoption. The numerous depredations of Save the Children, UNICEF, and Oxfam employees gives lie to this boast. More Information.

February 21, 2018. Measles Cases Surge Four Fold in Europe. European cases of measles rose four times in 2017. The World Health Organization rightly labeled this increase a "tragedy." The worse hit nations were Romania, Italy, and Ukraine. Failure to vaccinate is the cause of a large number of the increased cases. The decline in vaccination rates began when a now-discredited British physician linked the MMR anti-measles vaccine to autism. More Information.

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