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April 2007

April 30, 2007. No U.S. Adoption Agency Currently Accredited in Russia. The State Department has posted an update on the difficult situation of U.S. adoption agencies operating in the Russian Federation. Currently there are no U.S. agencies that are accredited to work in Russia. Apparently the Ministry of Education is reviewing applications but has not disclosed a date by which this review will be finished. Furthermore, the applications of adoption agencies are being scrutinized by four other Russian departments: the Ministry of Health, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Each of these departments is taking it upon itself to enter into discussions with the U.S. Department of State concerning the accreditation applications. This situation is obviously of great concern to all members of the Intercountry Adoption community. More information.

April 25, 2007. Waiting Children From China. Contrary to what the Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs stated at its December 2006 meeting with U.S. adoption agencies, lists of waiting children are still being sent as before to U.S. agencies. However, the CCAA has made it clear that potential adoptive parents logged in through one agency may not switch to another agency because they wish to adopt a particular child, as had been previously permitted. Moreover, anyone switching from NSN to waiting child will have to meet the new CCAA adoption requirements that go into effect next month.

April 24, 2007. New Notice by USCIS in Guatemala. The USCIS office in Guatemala has banned the following named persons from involvement with any aspect of the I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, process: Mary Bridget Bonn, Monica Janeth Ruiz González de Castañeda, Rosa Claudia Juárez , Dora Amanda Zavala Navas, Gamaliel Sentes Luna, Aurora González Campo Menes and Lilian Ferrer de Letona. The USCIS office will not accept any paper work from these individuals or anyone working with them. Any U.S. agency or potential adoptive parent working with these individuals must find substitutes. For more information please contact the USCIS Field Office in Guatemala.

April 23, 2007. New York Governor Plans to Introduce Gay Marriage Bill. A spokeswoman for Eliot Spitzer, New York's Governor, announced on Friday that the Governor will introduce a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in New York. Allowing same-sex marriage will have many positive ramifications for unparented children in New York. If passed, New York will be the second state in the country to allow Gay marriage. Indeed, every New York state-wide elected official endorses same-sex marriage. However, there is not much likelihood that a Gay marriage bill will be passed in this legislative session. More Information.

April 16, 2007. Ukraine Suspension of New ICA Dossier Acceptance Scheduled to End Today. The ability of foreigners to begin new applications for Intercountry Adoption from Ukraine, suspended for seven months in 2006, stopped last month after only reopening in January. According to the State Department for Adoptions and Protection of the Rights of the Child (SDAPRC), the current suspension arose from the backlog of submitted dossiers and lack of staff to review the dossiers. Moreover, SDAPRC Director Ludmyla Volynets, her First Deputy Ludmyla Balym, Deputy Director Inna Savchuk and Head of the Intercountry Adoption Unit Olena Remen resigned on March 20. The moratorium on new applications was due to end today. More Information.

April 12, 2007. British Social Services Reject Adoption Applicant Because of Weight. The decision of the Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs to prohibit very overweight applicants from adopting Chinese children has caused much controversy. Social Services departments in Britain have used the same criterion to deny adoption applications as well. Blackburn and Darwen Borough Council in the north of England denied the petition of former nanny Gillian Vose to adopt a child because she weighs 280 pounds and is five feet, three inches. Ms. Vose challenged the department's rationale, that her " weight compromised your ability to be able to meet a child's needs, " maintaining that she had successfully looked after children for 16 years. More Information.

April 11, 2007. Russia Shuts Down Most Intercountry Adoption from the United States. As of tomorrow no U.S. adoption agency will be accredited to work in Russia. The Russian government has not re-accredited any of the approximately 50 U.S. adoption agencies whose licenses expire on a rolling basis. The vast majority of U.S. adoptions from Russia are done through U.S. agencies. While U.S. ICA from Russia fell in fiscal year 2006 from 5,865 to 3,706, Russia remains the third largest sending country for ICA to the United States. Coming on top of the changes in Chinese adoption rules, and the serious issues with ICA from Guatemala, this development marks an especially difficult period in the history of ICA to the U.S. More Information.

April 10, 2007. India to Ease Rules on Intercountry Adoption. Faced with 11 million abandoned babies, 90 percent of whom are girls, the Indian government has announced plans to change drastically its rules on Intercountry Adoption. Among the proposals is a plan to cut to just 45 days the time it will take for an adoption to be completed as well as to increase significantly the number of children adopted abroad from India - just 320 to the United States last year. This announcement will be welcomed by potential adoptive parents who are facing long delays in adoption from China and serious questions about the status of ICA from Guatemala. More Information.

April 9, 2007. CCAA Latest Referrals Only Cover Two Calendar Days. According to reports we have received, the referral batches received by U.S. adoption agencies on Friday from the Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs only cover October 24 and 25, 2005 Logged In Dates (LIDs). It is unclear if this is the start of a greater slowing down by CCAA just a statistical aberration caused by the annual slowdown stemming from Chinese New Year.

April 4, 2007. U.S. Government In Talks with Guatemala about Adoption. Maura Harty, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, met with First Lady Wendy de Berger last month to discuss Intercountry Adoption from Guatemala. Ms. De Berger has taken a personal interest in adoption issues. According to the State Department release, they agreed on the need for reform of Guatemala's adoption practices. Assistant Secretary Harty "expressed appreciation to the First Lady for her leadership regarding the publication of the Manual of Good Practices based on existing Guatemalan laws for the protection of children." She also assured Ms. De Berger that the U.S. would indeed ratify the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption by the end of 2007. Furthermore both women acknowledged that, without changes in Guatemalan law which would make Guatemalan practice conform to the Hague Convention, U.S. citizens will longer be able to adopt from Guatemala once the U.S. ratifies the Hague Convention. More Information.

April 2, 2007. Study Concludes that Singles Make Good Parents. Psychologist Dr. Tony Xing Tan has conducted the first study of singles versus married adoptive parents. He compared 509 girls adopted from China being raised by married parents to 144 girls adopted by 126 single mothers. Dr. Tan concluded that, "Overall, the present study found no evidence that the adjustment of the adoptees from single-parent families differed from their peers from dual-parent families." Unfortunately China, after limiting the number of single parent adoptions for years has now decided to ban all single parent adoptions. More Information.

April 19, 2007. Guatemalan Lawyers Challenge Manual of Good Practices. The Association Defenders of Adoption (ADA) on April 16, 2007 filed a constitutional challenge to the Manual of Good Practices in Guatemala's Constitutional Court. These attorneys are contesting new adoption rules, set forth in the Manual, on the grounds that it's implementation violates Guatemala's constitution, most importantly as an over-reaching of executive branch power. The ADA also hopes that the Manual's rules will be suspended for the duration of the Court proceedings. However, today's Prensa Libre reports that in accordance with the Manual of Good Practice a new "Adoption Registrar" will be established on May 2. Every adoption will require filings with this office disclosing information about the biological and potential adoptive parents. The article states that the purpose of the new office is to make adoption in Guatemala legal, open and transparent. More Information.

April 18, 2007. Pace of Intercountry Adoption Referrals From China. The last referral batch from the Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs, sent earlier this month, encompassed just two calendar Logged In Days, October 24 and 25, 2005. For obvious reasons this tiny number has seriously worried adoption agencies and potential adoptive parents. Adding to worried calculations is the fear that the number of dossiers sent to China apparently grew throughout 2006 and even more in 2007 as families rushed to beat the altered prerequisites for adoption from China which go into effect on May 1. Whatever ones fears for the future of Intercountry Adoption from China, one thing should be clear: children from China are first the responsibility of the Chinese government. While adoptive parents have every right to want to adopt a Chinese child, they should not expect to adopt a Chinese child.

April 17, 2007. Romanian Children Victimized by ICA Ban. Four years ago the Romanian government, at the behest of the European Union, banned virtually all Intercountry Adoption. During that time, according to reports published by the Romanian newspaper Jurnalul National, welfare officials have ejected 15,000 children from orphanages and care centers and returned them to their birth parents. But these unfortunate victims, really pawns in the great game of international politics, did not find permanent loving families. Instead, as these articles painfully illustrate, these children have been sexually and physically exploited, neglected and left to suffer by parents who wanted them, if at all, because of the money the children generated in welfare payments. Romania presents a picture of a world without ICA and it is a tragic sight. More Information.

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