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February 19, 2019. Department of State Warns Against Haiti Travel and Evacuates Visa Processing Staff. The Department of State has announced that due to the deteriorating safety situation ion Haiti, all adoption visa processing staff in Port-au-Prince are being evacuated. Haiti is now subject to a level 4 warning-the same level as has been given in Afghanistan. Americans are cautioned not to travel to Haiti and if they are in Haiti now, to leave as soon as possible. We so regret that Haitians are suffering such political unrest and fear for children in orphanages. To read the warning, please click here.

February 14, 2019. What Will the International Adoption Numbers for 2018 Be? In fiscal year 2009 over 12,000 children born abroad were adopted to the United States. In fiscal year 2017 the number had plummeted to 4,714. (It has been over four months since fiscal year 2018 ended). We await FY 2018 numbers which we have reason to believe will be less than 3,000. We wish we could say that the decline in international adoption came because children throughout the world no longer face the prospect of life without permanent loving parents. Unfortunately this is not the case.

February 13, 2019. Instant Family: A Movie About Foster to Adopt That Works. Last year director Sean Anders switched topics. Instead of doing comedies, he cast Mark Wahlberg as a character based on himself who, with his wife, adopts three children from the foster care system. Most reviews were very positive, both in the autumn when the movie was released in the U.S. and in Britain, where the movie debuted last week. As a writer in Psychology Today noted, "Instant Family doesn't sugarcoat the problems of inexperienced foster parents dealing with damaged and disruptive foster children. Trying to make a comedy out of the chaos that ensues doesn't really work. More effective is the depiction of how love gradually grows between foster parents and children." The movie is available to stream starting February 19; the Psychology Today article can be found here.

February 11, 2019. Active Presidential Race Will Impact Citizenship Bill's Chances. We were very hopeful last year that the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2018 would pass. Unfortunately, this legislation, which would have extended citizenship to thousands of international adoptees whose adoptive parents did not complete the requirements for naturalizing them, failed to become law. Our hopes for this year are dimming because three of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senators Booker, Harris and Klobuchar, have all announced that they are presidential candidates. In our experience, running active campaigns tends to push aside legislative matters.

February 7, 2019. Children of Same Sex Couples Perform Better in School. A study by three economists of all children born in the Netherlands since 1995 has found that children raised by same sex couples performed better in elementary and secondary schools and had a seven percent higher chance of graduating high school than children raised by different sex couples. What made this study unique is that it followed all children in the Netherlands born since 1995 which included 1,200 children raised by same-sex couples and more than 1 million kids raised by different-sex couples. When controlled for income and wealth, children of same sex couples still had higher scores, although the difference was much narrower. To read the article, please click here.

February 6, 2019. Three Identical Strangers: A Must-See Movie. The documentary Three Identical Strangers is an excellent movie and very enlightening for anyone who wants to know about some of the practices of adoption agencies in the years of closed adoption. In the 1950s through 1980s best practices surrounding adoption decreed that adoptive parents not be told very much about their adopted children's biological family and that adopted children not be told that they are adopted. These ideas have been soundly rejected in recent decades. The movie is available to stream on Netflix and Amazon.

February 4, 2019. Good Article on Transracial Adoption. In its monthly newsletter the National Council for Adoption has posted a very informative article, "Transracial & Transcultural Adoption: Preservation, Policy, and a Personal Perspective. Social worker Alexis Oberdorfer has made a very useful contribution to all members of the adoption community with her very timely perspective. To access the article, please click here.

January 31, 2018. Finding Sperm Donor Raises Negative, Surprising Consequences. Danielle Teuscher conceived her daughter using sperm from an anonymous donor. When her daughter was five, Danielle decided to find out about her daughter's genetic heritage using 23 and Me. She found her daughter's immediate relatives, contacted them and was rebuffed. What happened next was the shock. The sperm bank, Northwest Cryobank contacted Danielle and by contacting the donor's family Danielle had violated the terms of her contract, was subject to liquidated damages and, worst of all for Danielle, had lost her right to the other four vials of donated sperm Danielle had already purchased from the same donor. The Cryobank said that Danielle had "contractually agreed to not independently seek the identity or attempt to contact these individuals" Danielle said she did not realize what she had agreed to online. It is a surprising new world. To read the story please click here.

January 30, 2019. Support Human Rights For Unparented Children. A coalition of advocates for a child's right to parents have established a website to voice their opinions. The core belief is that "children have a right to a family as citizens of our global community." The ask is that "if you believe that children's right to parenting is a fundamental right, your support of the legislation described here is an extraordinary opportunity to help move children out of the institutions that systematically destroy their human potential and into the loving families all children deserve." Please go to https://www.legislation4childrights.org/ to see how you can help.

January 29, 2019. Another Adoption Agency Has Closed. The Department of State has announced that La Familia, Inc. has relinquished its accreditation to provide international adoption services on December 31, 2018. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, (December11, 2018 report) La Familia, one of New Mexico's largest private foster care agencies, closed because "the 30-year-old nonprofit failed to properly vet foster parents for abusive behavior, placing children in environments that in some cases led to severe child abuse." In-process families should refer to the DOS notice linked to below to obtain replacement agency services. This information may be found by clicking here.

January 28, 2019. Barrier to Gay Families Broken in Britain. The British government has announced that Britain's National Health Service will offer IVF treatment to married Gay couples. Previously the government had limited IVF treatment to heterosexual couples. In the case in point, the NHS will pay for a surrogate as well as for the embryo transfer. The Scottish government, which runs its domestic policy separately from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, began permitting all couples to have free fertility treatment without distinction for Gay, Lesbian or Transgender couples. To read more, please click here.

January 23, 2019. Chinese-Australian Disappears in China. Yang Hengjun, a Chinese writer with Australian citizenship, traveled to China last Friday. After landing in Guangzhou, he vanished. There is serious concern that he has been taken by the Chinese police, perhaps one of the "black Jails." When younger Yang had written material critical of the government, in recent years he has stayed a way from controversy. Yang appears to be another former Chinese citizen who has disappeared after returning to China. What is especially concerning is that Guangzhou is a major transit hub were many foreigners land to enter China and most adoptive parents leave China through Guangzhou. Clearly the Chinese police are watching carefully. More Information.

January 22, 2019. Nightlight Adoptions in Ukraine is Temporarily Suspended. The Department of State has announced that "On January 15, 2019, the Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (IAAME) required Nightlight Christian Adoptions (Nightlight) to temporarily cease providing adoption services in Ukraine. IAAME determined that it was necessary to take this action due to Nightlight's failure to maintain substantial compliance with relevant accreditation standards. Nightlight's adoption programs in other countries are not impacted by this action." Any family that is working with Nightlight in Ukraine is urged to read the notice linked to below in full and to contact Nightlight directly. To access the notice, please click here.

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.

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