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January 17, 2018. The Effects of the Government Shutdown on Families. Because of the federal government shutdown local departments of families' and children's services will soon run out of money for federal support programs which provide food and nutritional support to pregnant women, children and families. For families in the process of international adoption, however, there would be no interruption in the Department of State and USCIS processing of required forms and documents.

January 16, 2019. Happy Foster Care Adoption Story. This column so often talks about the difficult issues in foster care and adoption so it is nice to highlight this story about the foster mother who found out that her foster child was the biological half sister of her adopted son. To read the story, please click here.

January 15, 2019. Chinese Court Sentences Canadian to Death. Robert Schellenberg, a Canadian citizen, was originally to a 15 year sentence for drug smuggling. Recently a Chinese court decided that Schellenberg's crime merited the death penalty. This draconian decision highlights the Chinese judicial system's lack of predictability and accountability. Equally seriously, Chinese officials have indicated their support for Schellenberg's sentence. Travelers to China must understand exactly how the Chinese domestic system work. To read more, please click here.

January 14, 2018. Ukraine Becomes Surrogacy Hub. The United States, Georgie and Ukraine are three of a very few countries that currently allow commercial surrogacy for non-citizens. Thailand and India, formally also surrogacy centers are now off limits - Thailand has banned commercial surrogacy and India restricts surrogacy to citizens. British citizens have increasingly turned to Ukraine, the fees are less and the journey shorter than traveling to the U.S. Typical fees for the all-inclusive package run $35,000 with an extra $3,000 fee for twins. The package includes transportation and hotel accommodation. Some clinics offer purchasers of the deluxe package the option to choose the sex of their child. More Information.

January 10, 2019. Department of State Posts Senegal Warning. The Department of State reports have received recent warnings pertaining to adoption from Senegal. Since February 2012, Senegal has suspended international adoption. While DOS has discussed reopening Senegal adoption with that nations, DOS emphasizes intercountry adoptions are not possible between the United States and Senegal at this time. More information.

January 9, 2019. China Tries to Promote Two-Child Policy. After almost four decades of enforced one-child population control, the Chinese government is now trying to reverse course. The gradual move to a two-child policy has not worked demographic wonders so the Beijing leadership is now contemplating completing scrapping family planning restrictions. The problem facing China is that the successful implementation of the previous one-child policy has led to a demographic crisis: not only is China's population aging as younger people postpone have children and limit the number of children to one, but the cultural preference for boys caused a huge disparity in the ratio of boys to girls. As a result: "by the end of 2014, China had 33.76 million more males then females." To access the article, please click here.

January 8, 2019. Department of States Updates Kyrgyzstan and Latvia Information. The Department of State has posted new information about two international adoption programs. The Kyrgyz government has informed DOS that "it has suspended the accreditation of all foreign Adoption Service Providers (ASPs) operating in the country. " Latvia has clarified how it will treat in process cases during the transition period for its new adoption laws and regulations. Both of these notices have major, concerning effects for potential adoptive families who should read the notices in full as well as speak to their adoption service provider. To see the notices, please click here.

January 7, 2019. Families of Children Adopted From China Take Note: Department of State Issues Stern Warning About Travel to China. We have been warning about the increased risks for Chinese adoptees who wish to travel to China. Last week the Department of State issued s sober warning about this issue, posting that "Chinese authorities have asserted broad authority to prohibit U.S. citizens from leaving China by using 'exit bans,' sometimes keeping U.S. citizens in China for years. China uses exit bans coercively." Any person who was born in China and is intending to travel to China should read this notice carefully and consider cautiously whether or not they should travel to China at this time. To read the DOS notice, please click here.

December 20, 2018. Holiday Reading. With the long winter holiday break upon us, we wanted to draw readers' attention to Tapestry Books, an online store for books on both domestic and international adoption. Anyone involved in adoption will find fascinating books here, both fiction and non-fiction (do read the descriptions fully-some of the books are mislabeled as fiction or non-fiction). As this is our last post of the year, we wish everyone Happy Reading and Happy New Year. To access the books store go to https://tapestrybooks.com/.

December 19, 2018. Why Birth Mothers May Prefer Gay Men to Lesbian Women. This very interesting article discusses why Gay men may have an easier time in domestic adoption than Lesbian women. According to what one adoption attorney: speculated: "[A] birth mother may choose a gay male couple as the adoptive parents so as to remain the only mother in the child's life." Another advantage for gay men is "their portrayal in pop culture as cultured, wealthy, and educated, with a special affinity for straight women." Call it the "Will and Grace effect." To read this article, please click here.

December 18, 2018. At Risk Teenagers Sex-Trafficked. Federal prosecutors last week charged 19 people with sex trafficking girls placed in a residential treatment center in New York. At least 15 of the victims were known to the child welfare system. According to one prosecutor, this conspiracy was especially predatory "because the defendants sought out minors in the social services system, often children with behavioral or emotional problems who had become wards of the state." These teens were among the most vulnerable; they should have been protected, not abused. To read the article, please click here.

December 17, 2018. The Soft Stigma Against Adoption. Elizabeth Kirk has written an thought-provoking article on the prejudicial way adoption is discussed and presented. She quotes these sorts of statements: "What kind of mother would give her child up for adoption?" "The thought of my baby being out there, with total strangers, creates a lot more guilt than the thought of an abortion! "I don't know if I could love an adopted child like my own child." "Adopted children are more likely to struggle in school - both in terms of academics and behavior - than children from other types of families." Her important point is that even if we are discussing real problems adoptees, we have to be careful as to what language we use to describe the issues, so that the very reports meant to help actually cause harm. To read the article, please click here.

December 13, 2018. Trump Administration Hardens Stance Towards Vietnamese Non-Citizens. Refugees including adopted children from Vietnam who arrived in the United States before 1995 have been protected from deportation under a 2008 agreement between the United States and Vietnam. However, the Trump administration is now indicating that it wants to withdraw this protection. We worry for (former) children adopted from Vietnam between 1963 and 1975 whose adoptive parents did not naturalize them. To read more, please click here.

December 12, 2018. COA's Role as an Accrediting Entity Ends. The Department of State has posted a notice concerning the termination of the role of the Council on Accreditation as follows: "The Council on Accreditation's (COA) designation as an accrediting entity under section 202(a) of the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 terminated on December 6, 2018. As of that date, COA is no longer a designated accrediting entity. The Department thanks COA for its decade of service as an accrediting entity and wishes them well in their future endeavors." To access the notice, please click here.

December 11, 2018. Minnesota Lawmakers Draft ICWA for African-Americans. A group of Minnesota lawmakers want to enact the Minnesota African American Family Preservation Act. Senator Rena Moran, the bill's co-author, defends this legislative initiative as follows: For years, black families in Minnesota have expressed frustration that county staff were not treating them equally. Since at least 2013, we've had clear evidence that it is mathematically the case," Unfortunately, Moran's solution, which would make it much harder to remove African American children from abusive families and raise the barriers to placing these children with non-family members, is unconstitutional and violates various federal laws. More information.

December 10, 2018. An Important Anniversary. Today marks the seventieth anniversary of signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document, drafted by Committee Three of the United Nations General Assembly and largely led by Eleanor Roosevelt, provides the foundation for the revolution in human rights law, policy and practice that we have witnesses ever since. Much progress has been made; much more remains to be done. To read the UDHR, please click here.

December 5, 2018. First Baby Born From Uterus Deceased Donor Transplant. The Lancet medical journal has reported that Brazilian doctors have helped a woman born without a womb to have the first successful pregnancy and delivery using a uterus transplanted from a deceased donor. The mother, 32 years old, conceived through IV. The deceased donor was a 45 year old woman who had three children and died of a stroke. This success has important consequences for infertile women. To read more, please click here.

December 4, 2018. Important Article on Adoption Stigma. Elizabeth has written an important article on "Countering the 'Soft Stigma' Against Adoption." As Kirk says so much currently written, both by academics and in general media too often present and frame information that paints adoption in negative ways and also fails to distinguish between "adoption itself from the circumstances leading to the need for adoption." To access the article, please click here.

December 3, 2018. Fifth Circuit Stays ICWA Ruling. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed (put on hold and stopped the application of) the enforcement of the ruling by the Northern District of Texas's decision finding ICWA unconstitutional. There is a strong possibility this case will go up to the Supreme Court. To access the ruling, please click here.

November 29, 2018. Links for CAP/Duke Law Foster Care Conference Materials. We are delighted to say that all the materials from our November 16 conference on Foster Care and Foster Care Adoption are now available at https://law.duke.edu/conferences/2018/adoptionlaw/materials/. The video record of the proceedings may be accessed by obtaining a password by contacting us at our website contact address.

November 28, 2018. Another International Adoption Agency Is No Longer Accredited. The Department of State has announced the Options for Families and Youth agency did not re-apply for accreditation as an accredited adoption service provider. Under the rules now in effect no agency can be a primary provider of international adoption services without being accredited by DOS through its the Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity. Any one working with OFY agency must now work with another accredited agency or provider. This is just the latest of many agencies that have left the ranks of accredited international agency this year. More Information.

November 27, 2018. American Citizens Denied Exit Permits by Chinese Government. Cynthia and Victor Liu went with their mother to visit a family member in China last June. The Chinese government has prevented any of them from returning home. Mother Sandra is being held in a secret Chinese prison. Children Cynthia and Victor have been denied exit permits and cannot leave China. What makes this case especially alarming is that while Cynthia and her mother are naturalized U.S, citizens, Victor was born in the United States so it is indisputable that his first (and only) citizenship is from the United States. This case demonstrates the perils that can await any American in China, especially people, adopted or not, who have or have had Chinese citizenship. To read the story, please click here.

November 26, 2018. Foster Care Conference: A Great Deal Learned. We are proud to say that we have successfully concluded our 2018 CAP/Duke Law School Conference, this year on Silent Victims: Foster Care and Foster Care Adoption. We thank all the wonderful presenters who raised crucial issues relating to children in foster care and new and changed approaches to their care. We will be posting links to the audio recordings as well as materials in the near future.

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