July 31, 2007. Popularity of Vietnam Adoptions Causes Delays. The re-opened Vietnam Intercountry Adoption program has rapidly found favor among U.S. potential adoptive parents. Vietnam allows singles and married people to adopt and does not have stringent age restrictions. During the first half of 2007 referrals also came very rapidly. For these reasons, and because of the changes and delays in China's ICA program, agencies have seen great demand for places in their Vietnam programs. The result: some reputable agencies are now closing their Vietnam programs to new applicants or restricting the programs to new applicants interested in older or waiting children.
July 30, 2007. BBC Reports on Bulgarian Child-Trafficking. The BBC has done a series of reports on child-trafficking from Bulgaria. According to undercover taped conversations which took place in Varna, Bulgaria, a middleman offered a child purportedly for a parent who could not legally adopt a child due to the man's criminal past. The price: about $50,000. The alleged trafficker said he would use the same routes he used for prostitutes. No coercion was involved; as the reporter said, "The toddlers were brought to street cafes by relatives or other adults. It appears that their families were complicit and there was no evidence of them being coerced." Bulgaria does not have a working International Adoption program. Perhaps if it did, desperate parents would not resort to selling their children. More Information.
July 26, 2007. Hague Convention Update. According to various sources, the United States is on track to ratify the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption sometime in early 2008. After the U.S. ratifies the Hague Convention, all Intercountry Adoptions to or from the U.S. to other Hague Convention countries must follow Hague procedures. The U.S., as well as being a receiving country for ICA, is also a sending country. More Information.
July 25, 2007. Hepatitis A and Children Adopted From Ethiopia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently announced that it has received reports of outbreaks of Hepatitis A in children adopted from Ethiopia and their adoptive families. The CDC recommends that potential adoptive parents intending to adopt from Ethiopia and their immediate More Information.
July 19, 2007. CIS To Test SIMS Pilot Program on ICA Families. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced the beginning of its Secure Information Management Service web-based information system pilot program. It will be used initially on Intercountry Adoption applications filed domestically with CIS offices in Memphis, Tennessee and Newark, New Jersey as well as in Frankfurt, Germany, Bangkok, Thailand and Mexico City. While applicants for orphan visas will continue to submit the same paperwork as before, CIS will create individual client accounts within the SIMS database. Filing deadlines and timelines will remain the same. These ICA applications are the test-cases for the SIMS electronic system which will eventually be implemented throughout the CIS bureau. More Information.
July 18, 2007. Mary Bonn Pleads Guilty. Mary Bonn, the adoption facilitor from Florida at the center of a Guatemalan adoption scandal, pleaded guilty to Harboring an Illegal Alien on July 2; a judge in Federal District Court in Florida accepted the plea on July 9. Bonn had misled potential adoptive parents and caused great hardship to the families with whom she worked Moreover, her activities cast doubt on the ethics of the entire Guatemalan adoption process. More Information.
July 17, 2007. Courts Find Three Legal Parents. A Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled that a child can have three legal parents. The parties to the case were two lesbians and the sperm donor. The court held that all three adults were responsible for child support and had visitation rights. While no American court apparently has reached such a decision before, a Canadian court did so in January, holding that the biological mother, mother's lesbian partner and biological father were all legal parents. These cases constitute a legal revolution in the making; as New York Law School Professor Arthur Leonard said, "I'm unaware of any other state appellate court that has found that a child has, simultaneously, three adults who are financially obligated to the child's support and are also entitled to visitation." More Information.
July 16, 2007. Adoption From China Wait Times. World Association for Children and Parents (WACAP), a large and well know adoption agency has become the first U.S. adoption agency to tell prospective adoptive parents interested in adoption from China that they should expect a referral from China three years after their dossier is logged in at the China Center of Adoption Affairs. This agency's statement is an acknowledgement of current reality and is in conformity with what CCAA officials apparently told U.S. agencies during the CCAA hierarchy's trip to the U.S. this spring. More Information.
July 12, 2007. Ambiguity on USCIS Fee Waivers. Fee increases for I600 visas go into effect at the end of this month. Not only do new potential adoptive parents adopting internationally have to apply for this visa but many people will have to re-apply I600s are only valid for eighteen months and certainly Chinese (and other) adoptions are taking longer than that. To cushion the pinch of this fee, which has doubled in the last years, to $830 for a couple filing to adopt a child, Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) officials have said that the first renewal will be free. However, CIS offices are giving different answers to the question of whether the free renewal applies to all applicants or only to those who file for their first I600 after July 30 and have therefore paid the new, higher fees. We hope that CIS will clarify this question before July 30.
July 11, 2007. "Alien Adoptees." Adopted children who were born outside the United States and came to the U.S. before 2002 under IR-4 visas and non-U.S. born children adopted at any time under IR-4 visas are not automatically U.S. citizens. They do enjoy priority in the queue for citizenship over other immigrants until they are 18. If such a child is not nationalized before he /she is 18, he/she will be treated like every other alien. One possible consequence is that any adoptee will lose his/her rights to become a citizen if he/she is convicted of a felony. Non-citizens are also illegible for certain kinds of student aid or jobs restricted to U.S. nationals. Even more problematic, such an adoptee may be essentially stateless: unable to obtain U.S. citizenship but no longer a citizen of his/her birth country. Therefore it is imperative for all adoptive parents to ensure that their children obtain U.S. citizenship as soon as possible.
July 10, 2007. Colorado Allows Second Parent Adoption. Colorado recently became the tenth state to allow Gays and Lesbians to adopt children together. What makes this legislation so notable is that it came right after Colorado's voters approved a ban on Gay marriage. In some states, such as Michigan, Gay marriage bans have been followed by efforts to restrict benefits to Gay and Lesbian couples. Colorado's Governor and legislature have taken the opposite approach. According to one study, 4 percent of adopted children live in Gay or Lesbian households. Gays and Lesbians are also more likely to adopt hard to place children. More Information.
July 9, 2007. Transit Visas for U.S. Parents Adopting Abroad. U.S. citizens adopting children abroad should check in advance to see whether their newly adopted children need a transit visa to travel through various foreign countries on their way back to the U.S. Because foreign adopted children are never U.S. citizens until they arrive in the U.S., they are subject to the visa requirements imposed by countries on their country of birth. For example, Canada does not permit Chinese citizens to transit through Canada without a visa and the Netherlands may impose visa requirements on Russian citizens who are merely changing planes in Amsterdam.
July 5, 2007. Reaccredidation Of U.S Adoption Agencies in Russia. We are delighted to announce the reaccredidation of U.S. Adoption Agencies in Russia. We congratulate the State Department and all who worked to obtain reaccredidation which will certainly benefit both unparented Russian children and American adoptive parents. Click here for a continuing updated list of Russian-accredited U.S. adoption agencies.
July 3, 2007. China Adoption Statistics. In the first half of 2007, the China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA) has referred forty-one calendar days of Logged-In Dates (LID) for dossiers, from September 27 through November 7, 2005. Obviously, every month the back log is growing and reports from the recent CCAA officials' tour of the U.S. recount that Chinese officials are confirming that soon the wait for potential adoptive parents will increase past two years from LID to referral (and that does not count the six week wait after referral to travel). With the queue of dossiers at the CCAA estimated at between 25,000 and 30,000, a four year wait is certainly arithmetically possible, especially with the looming Beijing Olympics. More Information.
July 2, 2007. Girls Rescued From Circus Slavery. Employees from a British charity, the Esther Benjamins Trust, have rescued more than 200 child acrobats who had been sold into slavery by their parents or who ended up as child slaves because circus workers tricked their parents. In the most recent case, Nepalese girls whose price was about $120 had been forced to work under dreadful conditions and had also been assaulted. This dreadful abuse cries out for attention from the international community. More information.
Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)