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March 31, 2021. State Department Addresses Discrimination and Racism. We print in full the Office of Children's Issues message to adoptees: "At this moment in our history, the news is full of reporting about discrimination and racism, and social media is full of personal stories about the impact of this on individual human lives. In the past several months, there has been a spotlight on hatred and violence against Black and Asian-Americans, and we know that others have long experienced these behaviors as well. In particular, Yahoo News and NPR both published articles last week about adoptees from Asian countries and the challenges many have faced in processing and responding to this. Many of you spoke to us in November at the virtual town hall about your experiences with racism. We know the problems are systemic, and we want to convey a message of concern and support. We want to acknowledge your experience and assure you that we heard you and that we care. If you would like to tell us more about your personal experience in this regard, we will listen.

March 30, 2021. Nebraska Supreme Court Recognizes Rights of Lesbian Mothers. The Nebraska Supreme Court unanimously reversed a lower court ruling and ruled in favor of a married, same sex couple who sought to adopt the three-year-old child they had raised from birth. Dixon County Judge Douglas Luebe had refused to permit the adoption because "his law dictionary defines 'wife' as "a woman who has a lawful living husband." Furthermore, Luebe said that law's "plain ordinary language" of the law banned "wife and wife" from adopting. Adding insult to injury, Luebe added that any court that disagreed with him was an "imagination station." More Information.

March 29, 2021. Anti-Asian Violence and Asian Adoptees. This linked story discusses the reaction of Asian-American adoptees to the recent Asian-American violence. Kimberly McKee, a professor at Grand Valley State University in Michigan who specializes in Asian American and Critical Adoption studies, observes that in her experience, "If your parents applied a color-blind philosophy and said that they only see you as you, they don't see you as Asian, you may just lack the language to have certain kinds of conversations," More Information.

March 25, 2021. Senate Bill for Adoptee Citizenship Reintroduced. We are delighted to share that Senators Roy Blunt, Mazie Hirono, Lisa Collins, Amy Klobuchar, Lisa Murkowski, and Tammy Duckworth have reintroduced the Adoptee Citizenship legislation we have long sought. As we stated today: For too long thousands of American international adoptees have been denied rightful U.S. citizenship. While the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 granted automatic citizenship to most foreign-born adoptees, it failed to cover all international adoptees. We must seize this opportunity to pass the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2021 which would give all adoptees who were lawfully brought to the United States by U.S. citizen parents the U.S. citizenship which, as the sons and daughters of American parents, they are rightfully owed.

March 17, 2021. Surrogate's Bill of Rights. The New York Child-Parent Security Act which legalized compensated surrogacy in New York state includes, among other things, a "Surrogate's Bill of Rights." Among other things, it gives the surrogate the right to make all health and welfare decisions both for herself and for her pregnancy, gives her the right to independent counsel, paid for by the intended parents and gives her the right to psychological counseling, also paid for by the intended parents. More Information.

March 16, 2021. In Memory of Tsega Lemma. Members of the adoption community will remember the case of the Ethiopian siblings who were adopted by the Bradshaw family in 2006. The agency, Christian World Adoption, which went out of business after an investigation into its process, had told the Bradshaw family that the girls were double orphans and were seven, six and four. In reality Tarikuwa, Meya, and Tsega were 13, 11 and six and had a father who had cared for them in Ethiopia. The Bradshaw family had sought to adoption small children and could not accommodate itself to the older daughters. The Bradshaw family ultimately sent Tarikuwa to live with her adopted grandmother; later both Tsega went to live with the Day family in Vermont. This past Friday, Tsega committed suicide. We have urged transparency, ethical practices, preadoption training, and postadoption support for every member of the adoption relationship. For Tsega, it is too late. More Information.

March 15, 2021. Sri Lankan Birth Mothers Reach out for Reunion with Adoptees. During the two decades between the 1960s and 1980s, thousands of Sri Lankan children were adopted by European families, including hundreds to the Netherlands. These adoptions were highlighted in the recent Dutch report that triggered the Netherlands' international adoption ban. By contrast, the BBC story linked below highlights the stories of Sri Lankan birth mothers who knowingly made adoption plans for their children because of Sri Lanka's poverty as well as the devastating civil war that wracked the country for over three decades. More Information.

March 4, 2021. Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2021 Introduced. Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), and Congressman John Curtis (R-UT), introduced the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2021. The Center for Adoption Policy is proud to have endorsed this bill. We have long advocated for this bill which will give adult international adoptees who, through no fault of their own, are not American citizens because their adoptive parents failed to complete the necessary steps to make their children U.S. citizens. We look forward to seeing the Senate take up a similar measure. More Information.

March 3, 2021. Dutch Government Report Which Prompted Dutch Shutdown. As we previously discussed, the Dutch government has now closed international adoption, the first Western government to ever issue such a blanket ban. The report that prompted this decision sums up its conclusions as follows: "The current system of intercountry adoption cannot be maintained... Not only have there been many abuses in the past, the system of intercountry adoption is still open to fraud and abuses continue to this day. The committee therefore recommends suspending intercountry adoptions. [Further] the committee has serious doubts about whether it is possible to design a realistic public-law system under which the abuses identified would no longer occur." Download the Press Release.

March 2, 2021. Bethany Christian Services Announces It Will Provide Adoption and Foster Care Services to LGBTQ Community. For decades Bethany Christian Services, the nation's largest Protestant adoption and foster care agency, has restricted its services to Christian, heterosexual couples. Yesterday, Chris, Palusky, Bethany's President and Chief Executive Officer, announced a major national policy shift, writing to all 1,500 staff members, "We will now offer services with the love and compassion of Jesus to the many types of families who exist in our world today....We're taking an 'all hands on deck' approach where all are welcome." In 2019, Bethany oversaw 1,123 adoptions and 3,406 foster placements. According to a report from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, 20 percent of same-sex couples have adopted, as opposed to three percent of straight couples. More Information.

March 1, 2021. Friends from Work, Both Internationally Adopted, Learn They are Biological Siblings. Cassandra Madison, 32, and Julia Tinetti, 31, worked together at the Russian Lady Bar in New Haven in 2013. They found a connection-they were both adopted from the Dominican Republic, and became friends. Their adoption papers listed different information but in 2018 Madison took a DNA test and in 2021 Tinetti took one; they discovered that they were full biological siblings. Their birth mother had died but they have contacted their birth father and siblings. Their birth father explained that they were relinquished for adoption because the family could not afford to feed nine children. Read the Story.

February 25, 2021. Virtual Round Table Discusses New York's Compensated Surrogacy Law. The Coalition Against Trafficking for Women ("CATW") sponsored a virtual round table today on New York's new commercial surrogacy bill. CATW opposed the new surrogacy law and the presentation, which is available at the link below, featured speakers who also opposed the new law. The speakers included Jessica Allen, whose story we featured in this column. Jessica was a surrogate for Chinese intended parents. When one of the twins she delivered turned out to be her biological child, the intended parents abandoned the child to the agency which for months refused to give Allen back her child. More Information.

February 24, 2021. Sweden Announces Probes of Historic International Adoption. Swedish Health and Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren announced on Monday that "We are going to need to investigate how adoption practices functioned in Sweden between the 1960s and the 1990s. According to the Swedish newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, Swedes internationally adopted about 60,000 children from various countries around world, beginning in the 1950s. In 2000 Swedes adopted around 1,000 children; the number was less than 400 in 2019. More Information.

February 23, 2021. Netherlands Suspends International Adoption. The Netherlands announced earlier this month that it has decided to suspend all international adoptions. As the Dutch government explained, "They made this decision based on recommendations from the Committee Investigating Past Intercountry Adoption, which was tasked with investigating adoptions from abroad and possible illicit practices from 1967-1998. The Committee determined that during that period, the adoption infrastructure was not sufficient to prevent illicit practices and to safeguard the interests of adoptees." The Netherlands is one of the top destinations for outgoing adoptions from the United States. More Information.

February 22, 2021. Debate Over Foster Care Continues. Naomi Schaefer Riley, whose work we have mentioned in the past, has co-authored an article defending the structure of the current foster care system. Reacting to current calls to greatly change, if not abolish, the foster care system, Riley cities four "myths" about foster care: that most reports of child mistreatment result in children being placed in foster care; that most of what is called "neglect" is really poverty; that foster care makes a bad situation worse; and, that with enough money, we would not need foster care. Read the article.

February 18, 2021. Government of Cambodia Announcement on Intercountry Adoptions. The Cambodian government has informed the Department of State that Cambodia intends to reopen international adoption. The State Department cautions, however, that it has no further details on international adoption from Cambodia. Moreover, "At this time, intercountry adoptions from Cambodia to the United States are still not possible. The United States suspended processing adoptions from Cambodia in 2001, due to fraud and irregularities in the adoption process in Cambodia. The United States reconfirmed the suspension in 2013." More Information.

February 17, 2021. New York Allows Compensated Surrogacy. On February 15, New York lifted its ban on compensated surrogacy. According to the New York Attorney for Adoption and Assisted Family Formation ("NYAFF") association, "This is "the nation's most progressive legislation addressing the parentage of those needing the assistance of medical technology to form their families." NYAFF also stated that this law represents "an urgently needed predictable legal and ethical framework for recognizing the parentage of children created through assisted reproduction."

November 30, 2020. National Adoption Month. November is National Adoption Month but this year, of course, has been different. Usually judges in family courts throughout the country sit in special adoption sessions gathering children and families for joyous finalizations. This year, it is all Zoom, all the time. But the sentiments are the same: as the State Department's Special Advisor for Children's Issues Michelle Bernier-Toth wrote: "Intercountry adoption brings families together, but it also brings countries together." To read her article, please click here.

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