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April 26, 2016. Please Do Your Post-Placement Reports. Many Countries of Origin require adoptive parents to file post-placement reports with them for years after the adoption of a child. We now learn that Kazakhstan officials are actively seeking out missing PPRs from U.S. parents who adopted from that country between 1999-2010. One adoptive parent writes: "There are hints that at least some of the officials are interested in the possibility of opening up again to US adoption, but the PPRs have become a symbolic stumbling block." Although this effort can be difficult, adoptive parents must remember that they did agree to provide PPRs and the lack of PPRs remains a (not the) reason why Kazakhstan adoption to the United States has not resumed. For more information please go to the FRUA Facebook page.

April 25, 2016. State Department Warns Families Against Adopting From the Congo (DRC). The Department of State has issued an alert strongly urging new families not to begin the process of adopting a child from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. While some pipeline families have been able to bring their children home, the exit permit suspension for children adopted by foreigner remains in effect. While DOS has pledged to continue to work with the DRC on creating a viable international adoption program, there are no guarantees that such a program will be created. More Information.

April 21, 2016. Government and Other Notices: Haiti. On March 31 the Haitian Central Adoption Authority, L'Institut du Bien-Etre Social et de Recherches (IBESR) informed the Department of State "that it intends to process to completion any transition dossier filed by February 15, 2016, because IBESR has provisionally matched or plans to provisionally match, children with these specific U.S. families but final processing steps are still necessary before IBESR can issue an official referral." DOS has interpreted this announcement as raising the possibility that some U.S. families with provisional matches or who will be provisionally matched but who did not receive an official match form IBESR by April 1, 2016 may still be eligible to have their cases proceed as transition cases. DOS promises further updates but any family that may be affected by this development should email DOS's Office of Children's Issues at Adoption@state.gov. More Information.

April 19, 2015. How to Help the Adoptee Citizenship Act Move Forward. This year we have a real chance to get the Adoptee Citizenship Act passed. This bill will give retroactive citizenship to internationally adopted children for whom American citizen parents failed to obtain citizenship (not an automatic procedure before the Child Citizenship Act of 2000). This year we really have a chance to get the bill passed. Maureen Flatley has written an excellent guide to what needs to be done:

  1. Lead sponsors should be on committee of jurisdiction aka Judiciary Committee. (In case of ACA only one Senate sponsor, Sen. Klobuchar is on Judiciary but she is in minority.)
  2. Make sure Committee Chairs in House and Senate are onboard. (Goodlatte (R-VA) in House, Grassley (R-IO) in Senate. As Mr. Goodlatte was part of original ACA carve out, expect stiff opposition from him.)
  3. Work to ensure House and Senate leadership understand and support the issues. In the case of ACA, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) would be critical to obtaining a vote.
  4. Ensure bipartisan sponsorship. (Senate bill has four sponsors, one Republican. Proposed House bill has one Democrat to date.....not nearly enough to move.)
  5. Build inclusive coalitions. Every bill - regardless of topic - needs every possible supporter it can have.
  6. Engage in affirmative Member education answering questions, not launching attacks.
  7. Be realistic and understand the process. ACA has four Senate sponsors and one House sponsor w/ no support from Committee Chairs or leadership. 530 Members of Congress remain to be persuaded.
  8. Keep writing letters and reaching out w/ special emphasis on Leadership and Judiciary.

April 18, 2016. Lawsuit Alleges Sperm Bank Completely Lied About Donor. Canadian couple Angela Collins and Elizabeth Hanson used Georgia sperm bank Xytex for the first child. They were very impressed by Donor #9623 whose profile stated that he had a master's degree in neuroscience, was pursuing a PhD and had no health problems. In reality that Donor, #9623 had a history of schizophrenia, and narcissistic personality disorder, had not graduated from college and had been convicted of burglary. This lawsuit, which eerily reassembles mystery writer Lisa Scottoline's new book Most Wanted, illustrates the lack of verifiable screening of sperm donors, as opposed to egg donors and surrogates. More Information.

April 14, 2016. International Adoption Numbers Fall to Lowest Point in Three Decades. The Department of State has released its FY 2015 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions. During the period October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015, U.S. citizens adopted 5, 648 children internationally, a significant decline from 6, 4441 in FY 2014. The top five sending countries were China, Ethiopia, South Korea, Ukraine and Uganda. The nature of international adoption has changed drastically as well. As DOS points out, in China, our largest sending country for many years, " the profile of Chinese adoptees changed from 95 percent healthy girls in 2005 to more than 90 percent special needs children today, with boys constituting one third of adoptees to the United States." Numerous factors have contributed to the decline in IA numbers; we believe that country of origin domestic progress sufficient to make international adoption unnecessary as a viable option for unparented children is not one of them. To download more information, click here.

March 23, 2016. Book Shelf: One Child: The Story of China's Most Radical Experiment. Author Mei Fong has written a very important book about China's "one child" policy: One Child: The Story of China's Most Radical Experiment. She discusses the reasons for the policy, its effect on China's people and what the policy, now officially being modified, means for the future of China. Mei Fong's book is unusual in the scope of its coverage and the range of people who were willing to speak that she includes. U.S. parents who adopted children from China will be especially interested in what Mei Fong discusses. More Information.

March 22, 1016. ICWA Strikes Again. Once again, the long arm of a law, in this case, the Indian Child Welfare Act, has snatched a helpless child from a loving family. Six year old Lexi was removed from her birth parents at 17 months; her mother had serious drug problems and her birth father had an extensive criminal record. Since she was two, she has lived with the Page family, who wish to adopt her. The California court ruled that because she is 1/64 th Choctaw, she cannot be adopted by the Page family but must instead go to biological relatives of her father in Utah, in accordance with Choctaw approval. In its decision, the court said, "the Page family 'had not proven by clear and convincing evidence that it was a certainty the child would suffer emotional harm by the transfer.'" The true certainty here is that the best interests of an individual child were ignored in favor of righting a national wrong decades old. More Information.

March 21, 2016. Get to Know CCAI. As it describes itself, The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the millions of children around the world in need of permanent, safe, and loving homes and to eliminating the barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic right of a family." CCAI is a major liaison between Congress and members of the adoption and foster care community. Its Angels in Adoption and National Adoption Day programs, among others, are well known. To find out what else CCAI does and to see its new website, please click here.

March 17, 2016. Foster Care Devastates Children's Schooling. Although birth family issues may create the necessity for a child to be placed in foster care, the damage to a child's education that results is heartbreaking. According to one study, "only 50 percent of the 400,000 foster care children in the United States complete high school by age 18. . . by the time they age out of the system, over one third will have experienced five or more school moves." Each moves costs a child around half a year of educational progress which means that the education deficit keeps growing. For children who have already lost so much, it is tragic that the ability to access education is damaged as well. More Information.

March 16, 2016. Bookshelf: New Book on International Adoption. Susan Silverman has written, Casting Lots: Creating a Family in a Beautiful. Broken World. Silverman, an Israeli-American rabbi, has three biological children and two children adopted from Ethiopia. It is a funny book as well as an inspiring and important book and should be read by anyone interested in the rights of the best interests of the individual child. We are seeing a growing bibliography of books on international adoption. Some are scholarly works, others are books written by adoptive parents. Given that the Post-Cold War era of international adoption began in 1990, we expect that soon adoptees will add to this growing literature.

March 15, 2016. Ohio Domestic Adoptees Celebrate One Year of Open Records. One year ago a law went into effect in Ohio that opened up birth records to most adopttees whose adoptions had been finalized in Ohio between 1964 and 1996. (Records before 1964 were already available; records after 1996 were seldom sealed.) As of March 5, 2016, Ohio's Department of Health had answered 7, 284 requests for adoption records. Adoptees, their birth families and adoptive families report that the availability of records has been a wonderful thing; as one birth father put it: "Being able to meet Allison is the best thing that's ever happened to me. . . She's got a little room for me in her life, so I'm tickled to death." More Information.

March 14, 2016. Fiscal Year Clarification for DOS Haitian Adoption Alert. Last week we posted about the quota for intercountry adoptions from Haiti, which is determined for each Haitian government fiscal year. We have contacted the Department of State and can confirm that the Haitian government fiscal year is the same as the U.S. government fiscal year, running from October 1 through September 30.

March 10, 2016. Critical Update on Haiti Adoptions. The Department of State, having returned from meetings with Haitian officials, is holding a series of telephone calls with interested parties on new procedures and interpretations of existing procedures for intercountry adoption from Haiti. In addition, DOS alerts prospective adoptive parents and adoption service providers to various crucial factors which may affect PAPs. One topic is transition cases, on which the new DOS alert contains crucial information. A second factor to bear in mind is that ASP Haitian authorizations to work in Haiti expire in September 2016. IBESR, the Haitian Central Authority, is planning to issue an invitation for new applications in April. Only 18 U.S. agencies will be authorized to operate in Haiti; there is no guaranty that these will be the same ones currently working in Haiti. Finally, IBESR has informed DOS that its quota on Hague adoptions will be strictly enforced as of October 1, 2016. The quota limits each agency to no more than 22 adoptions (a formula of NSN, special needs and relative adoptions) in each fiscal year for a total of 396 adoptions each year. In the words of DOS, "The Department and USCIS caution PAPs who have already submitted or are planning to submit Form I-800A applications seeking to adopt from Haiti that the quota may result in delays of months or longer in dossiers/applications being submitted to IBESR." To read the DOS alert, please click here.

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