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January 16, 2019. New York's New Adoptee Access Records Law Goes into Effect. Yesterday New York now has become the tenth state to allow adoptees to obtain access to their original birth certificates. The law permits any adoptee once he or she turns 18 to apply to his or her local or state health department office to obtain an original copy of his or her birth certificate. Adoptees will therefore be able to learn the identity of their biological parents and as well as learn about their medical history. In the words of New York's governor Andrew Cuomo, "Where you came from informs who you are, and every New Yorker deserves access to the same birth records - it's a basic human right... For too many years, adoptees have been wrongly denied access to this information and I am proud to sign this legislation into law and correct this inequity once and for all." More Information.

January 15, 2020. Department of State Issues Notice on Adoptions by Non-U.S. Citizens Living in the United States. The State Department (DOS) has replied to inquiries concerning the processes whereby non-U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) living in the United States can adopt children from another country. This detailed notice should be read by any non-U.S. citizen living in the United States as well as by adoptive service providers. To access the notice, please click here.

January 14, 2020. California Legislators Debate Ban on Intersex Surgery. California state legislators have held hearings on a bill which would ban intersex surgery for children under the age of six unless it is medically necessary. A very small percentage of children are born with ambiguous genitalia, chromanones or reproductive organs that do not fit general definition for females or males. In the past, surgeries were commonly performed on infants with this condition. While the United Nations has condemned such surgery, the California Medical Association opposes this legislation on the basis that it interferes with the rights of parents to make decisions on behalf of their children. More Information.

January 13, 2020. The Democratic Republic of Congo Accedes to Hague; DOS Considers Next Steps. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) deposited its instrument of accession to the Hague Adoption Convention on December 11, 2019. The Convention will enter into force in DRC on April 1, 2020. However, the State Department reminds adoption service providers and potential adoptive parents that it is "determining if the United States may process Convention adoptions with Republic of Congo pursuant to U.S. law." Until DOS has made a positive determination, neither ASPs not PAPs should begin adoptions from DRC. More Information.

January 9, 2019. Making A Family the Internet Way. The Wall Street Journal has published a fascinating article about websites such as PollenTree.com and Modafamily. These sites match women and men who want to create a baby together in a more personal way than the sperm and egg donor route, with parental commitments but without romantic commitments. The sites claim to have matched hundreds of potential parents. While the Wall Street Journal article is behind a paywall, anyone interested in learning more information, please click here.

January 8, 2019. Sign of the Times: BAAS Merges with Adoption International; BAAS Relinquishes Its Hague Accreditation. The Department of State reported on December 31, 2019 that Bay Area Adoption Services relinquished its accreditation. This announcement conveys the now routine way case transfers are handled as over the years we have grown accustomed to agencies going out of business. While BAAS staff and expertise will still be available under the AI label, this consolidation is just another example of the changes in the international adoption world. More Information.

January 7, 2020. DOS Clarifies Rules Relating to Soft Referrals. The Department of State has issued important clarifications on the rules concerning "soft referrals," the common name for informal matches between potential adoptive parents and eligible children, made prior to the PAPs' completed home studies. We urge ASPs and PAPs to consult this notice, particularly if they are interested in adopting from China. To access the DOS notice, please click here.

January 6, 2020. The New Year Brings a New Special Advisor for Children's Issues. Happy New Year and welcome to the various holiday updates we will be posting this week. We start today with the Department of State's announcement that Michelle Bernier-Toth is the new Special Advisor for Children. She comes with a great deal of experience, having been the Director of the Office of Children's Issues as well as the Managing Director for Overseas Citizens Services. Toe read more about the new special advisor, please click here.

December 12, 2019. New Year's Wishes. This is Newscap's last post of 2019. In January, we look forward to working with the two new officials at Office of Children's Issues as well as reviewing the new draft regulations that we understand will shortly be released. We are following developments in Honduras, Kazakhstan and Guatemala, among other countries. On the domestic front, we await more information as to the implementation of Families First and the different ways in which states are expanding their programs to support family preservation. We wish everyone Happy Holidays and a joyful New Year.

December 11, 2019. DOS Updates China Information on Foreign Supervised Providers and Chinese Hosting Programs. The Department of States has issued a notice covering two topics of interest to the adoption community. On Foreign Supervised Providers DOS reports that: "When U.S. accredited or approved ASPs or their representatives work directly with a publicly administered orphanage in China in intercountry adoption cases, a foreign supervised provider agreement is not required. However, when U.S. accredited or approved ASPs or their representatives work directly with a privately administered orphanage in China in intercountry adoption cases, a foreign supervised provider agreement between the ASP and the orphanage is required." Concerning Chinese hosting programs, the view of Chinese Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption is that "hosting programs an international adoption service. CCCWA will initiate and oversee the program from planning through implementation. ASPs that have an interest in pursuing a hosting program need to contact CCCWA." More Information.

December 10, 2010. Court Awards British Couple Damages in Adoption Discrimination Suit. Sandeep and Reena Mander were awarded nearly 120,000 because they were discriminated against by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead's adoption authority, Adopt Berkshire. The judge found that the defendants directly discriminated against Mr. and Mrs. Mander on the grounds of race." The couple, who are of Southeast Asian ethnicity, had applied to adopt a child of any ethnicity, were turned down on the grounds of their Indian ancestry and advised to adopt from India or Pakistan. As the Mander's lawyer Georgina Calvert-Lee, said : "Today's judgment is a victory for all British children who need loving adoptive homes, and for all the eligible, loving adoptive British families hoping to welcome them into their lives." Judge Melissa Clark, however, denied their claim for discrimination under article 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which covers the right to found a family." More Information.

December 9, 2019. Not A Dry Eye in the Courtroom. A very heartwarming story has come to us from Michigan. When Michael Clark was adopted by his foster parents in Grand Rapids last month he invited his entire kindergarten class to the courtroom. The joy on his face and on his parents faces said it all. How wonderful to see such a wonderful beginning. To read the stories, please click here.

December 5, 2019. Resources on Language Acquisition and Speech Delays in Children Who are Adopted From Foster Care Internationally Adopted. We are linking today to a very helpful PDF on delayed language and speech acquisition in adopted children. As the authors, Ryan Hanlon and Emma Wise point out, the delays in speech acquisition are very prevalent. Therefore adoptive parents should be prepared for these delays and have methods of therapy and counseling prepared prior to traveling. Better communication makes for a smoother transition and bonding for newly adopted children. To read the PDF, please click here.

December 4, 2019. Kentucky Mother Accused of Selling Her Baby. Kentucky police have charged Maria Domingo-Perez with baby selling after school officials reported that a mother was transferring custody of her baby. The couple accused of buying the child for $2000, Catharina Jose Felipe, and Jose Manuel Pascual, were also arrested and charged. To access the story, please click here.

December 2, 2019. Department of State Country Pages' Updates Coming. We have been informed that the Office of Children's Issues will be updating its country pages. We applaud this effort. Many of these pages have not been revised for some time. In this regard, we would hope that DOS will date each update so that prospective adoptive parents and other interested readers will know when the updates were written.

November 26, 2019. National Adoption Month News Report. In honor of National Adoption Month, many local television and radio stations have featured reports this month connected to adoption. We are linking to one of these stories which features an adoption attorney discussing the best ways for potential adoptive parents to be able to meet the needs of their adopted child and to have a successful adoption. To access this story from CBS-TV New York, please click here.

November 25, 2019. Lack of Oversight Over Family Reunification Blamed for Deaths. More than a dozen children across Ohio have died between 2014 and 2018 from abuse or neglect that occurred after children who had been removed from their biological families were returned to their parents or kinship caregivers. Even worse, the county social services departments that had jurisdiction over these children appear, in at least several cases, to have lost track of these most vulnerable children and in the case of one infant, Dylan Groves whose body was found at the bottom of a 30 foot well, to have actively prevented his devoted foster mother from inquiring about his well-being. To access this story, please click here.

November 21, 2019. Saturday is National Adoption Day. Every year the Dave Thomas Foundation sponsors National Adoption Day. On this coming Saturday adoptive families in many cities will gather to finalize adoptions and to celebrate adoptions. Because a special emphasis of the Dave Thomas Foundation is adoption from foster care, many cities are holding events to inform the public on foster care process and available children. We urge families to check the linked site to see if events are being held in their area. To reach the link, please click here.

November 20, 2019. Additional Travel Warnings for Hong Kong. Many families who adopt from China transit to or from Hong Kong. The increasing political unrest in Hong Kong, however, should make families exercise additional caution, particularly since, as the Department of State says, "large scale and smaller political demonstrations have taken place in various areas of Hong Kong, including MTR stations, shopping malls, universities, and at Hong Kong International airport." As this list illustrates, demonstrations, which are generally held without permits and therefore illegal, take place in areas that tourists or visitors frequent. Moreover, DOS also points out that "U.S. citizens, as well as U.S. Consulate General employees, have been subject to a People's Republic of China propaganda campaign falsely accusing the United States of fomenting unrest in Hong Kong." We urge anyone traveling to Hong Kong to consult the linked web page below and follow DOS' recommendation. More Information.

November 19, 2019. Easing the Path for Better Child Care. New York City Councilwoman Farah Louis has introduced legislation which would make it easier for non-profits to provide services to underserved children. Many non-profits operate on a very tight budget which means that the recurrent failure of New York City agencies to make timely payments for services can push these well-qualified organizations into the red. Louis' suggestion, an Office of Not-for-Profit Services, if correctly implemented, could serve as a national model. To read more, please click here.

November 18, 2019. New York Governor Signs Adoptee Birth Certificate Access Legislation. New York governor Andrew Cuomo has signed broad legislation allowing adoptees and their descendants or legal representative to obtain access to their original birth certificate upon reaching the age of 18. As Governor Cuomo said, "Where you came from informs who you are, and every New Yorker deserves access to the same birth records - it's a basic human right. For too many years, adoptees have been wrongly denied access to this information and I am proud to sign this legislation into law and correct this inequity once and for all." More Information.

November 14, 2019. Adoption Tax Credit for 2020. The IRS last week posted information on the amount and qualifications for adoptive parents who wish to claim the Adoption Tax Credit in 2020. The maximum amount allowed per child will be $14,300, an increase for the $14,080 in 2019. The tax credit begins to be phased out for families with modified adjusted gross incomes over $214,520 and completely phases out for families who modified adjusted gross income exceeds $254,520. To read the IRS notice, please click here to download.

November 13, 2019. IAMME Cancellation of the Accreditation of Another Agency. The Department of State announced last week that the Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (IAAME) has cancelled the accreditation of Across the World Adoption (AtWA) for failing to "maintain substantial compliance with accreditation standards. DOS has urged affected families to review the information about case transfer and continuation of open cases by looking at this notice and the links contained in the notice. Moreover, AtWA must issue refunds or reimbursements as required by applicable federal regulations. To read more, please click here.

November 12, 2019. South Carolina Couple Arrested for Taking Nicaraguan Girl and Keeping Her for Years. A federal indictment has charged Michael and Charlotte Taylor of keeping a Nicaraguan girl they brought to the United States on a B-2 visa for medical treatment in July 2005. The federal documents allege that the Taylors gave a forged document to immigration authorities the following year in an attempt to adopt the child. They then allegedly sent her to school under a fake name and refused to obey the Nicaraguan government's demand to return the girl. There was no explanation as to why the indictment was so long in coming. To read more, please click here.

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