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June 2007

June 28, 2007. New CIS Fee Structure Still Unclear. As previously discusses, fees for fingerprints and visas for adopting parents will increase on July 30. Various Citizenship and Immigration Services offices are giving different answers as to whether the new "one time free renewal fee" benefit applies to potential parents who paid the older, lower fees or will only apply to parents who apply for visas after the fee increase goes into effect. Some potential adoptive parents registered in China programs will have to apply for one visa renewal but two fingerprint renewals because visas are currently valid for eighteen months but fingerprints expire after fifteen months. The cost of these documents can now run into the thousands of dollars so a clarification by CIS is certainly in order.

June 27, 2007. State Department Announces Hotel Crunch in Guatemala Next Week. The State Department has warned that because Guatemala City will play host to a meeting of the International Olympic Committee during July 2 -7, it will be very difficult for adoptive parents to find hotel rooms during that week. The Consulate will still conduct visa interviews but American oiffcials warn that adoptive parents should be very cautious about where they decide to stay, especially in Zone 1 of Guatemala City, which is off limits to American government employees. The Consulate is offering to reschedule visa appointments for families which cannot find suitable accommodation. Affected parents or their agencies should email AdoptGuatemala@state.gov and put "Reschedule Appointment," in the subject line. They should give the parents' original visa appointment day and suggest at least three alternative dates for a new appointment.

June 26, 2007. CCAA Review Room Statistics. The China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) has updated its website to state that it has completed reviewing dossiers submitted to it prior to April 30, 2006. These dossiers, logged in between April 1 and April 30 of last year spent over three months in the review room, a new (sad) record. The previous high had been 71 days for dossiers logged in during November 2005. Possible reasons for the long delays are the depletion of review staff because of the giant jump in new adoption dossiers before the change in rules for Chinese International Adoption on May 1, 2007 or the general increase in China dossier numbers. More information.

June 25, 2007. Guatemalan Fraudulent Referral. We have learned that a Guatemalan intermediary is offering a referral of twin baby girls, born in June 2007. If anyone is approached, please be wary-this referral is apparently a fraudulent attempt to extort money from putative adoptive parents. Adoption agencies and lawyers always need to exercise caution, never more than now, as we approach U.S. ratification of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption.

Newscap, June 11, 2007. Immigration Fee Schedule Changes Create Puzzlement. The impending increase of immigration fees, which will go into effect on July 30, has left agencies and parents involved in international adoption pondering whether the waiver for the first renewal of the I 600 visa will apply to all applicants or only to those applicants who submitted their paperwork after the fee increase goes into effect. CIS employees around the country have been giving different answers. We await clarification.

June 11, 2007. Discussions Concerning U.S. Agency Accreditation in Russia Continue. As of now no U.S. adoption agencies are accredited in Russia. However, the State Department is making re-accreditation a high priority. Part of the problem is that multiple Russian ministries are claiming jurisdiction over foreign adoptions. Another issue is that some U.S. agencies have been asked to provide letters from their states of incorporation attesting to the applicability of U.S. law to internationally adopted children. The State Department has already delivered a diplomatic note containing a statement reiterating these principles to the Russian government. We sincerely hope that the re-accreditation process will begin shortly and commend the efforts of our government officials.

June 7, 2007. CCAA Referrals for Month Out-Numbers Low Again. The China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) has sent out its monthly batch of referrals. This time the referrals cover six calendar days (four business) days of logged in dates: November 2 through November 7, 2005. Therefore referrals for non-special needs children from China are taking about nineteen months from logged in date. The steady increasing wait has been apparent for the last year and a half. According to some sources, this month's referrals contained a higher than typical percentage of referrals for boys.

June 6, 2007. IVF Increases Among Over-40s but Success Rate Remains the Same. The Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) which regulates all fertility treatment in Great Britain has reported that IVF cycles for women aged 40-45 rose from 596 in 1991 to 6,174 in 2006. The percentage of treatment for women aged 40-45 as a proportion of all cycles has risen during that time from 9.2 percent to 15.5 percent. However, for women using their own eggs, the success rate for the over forties has not appreciably improved; it was 11.5 percent in 1999 and11.8 percent in 2004. By contrast the success rate for a 35 year old woman using her own eggs is 20.3 percent. This disparity gives older women a great incentive to use donor eggs. More Information.

June 5, 2007. U.S. Negotiations with Vietnam On Course. We are pleased to report that negotiations for the renewal of the U.S. bilateral agreement with Vietnam concerning Intercountry Adoption are on course and no obstacles are foreseen to its renewal. Because Vietnam is not now contemplating joining the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, American plans to ratify the Hague Convention will have no affect on these negotiations.

June 4, 2007. Ethiopian ICA on the Rise. Americans are adopting from Ethiopia at an ever increasing rate. While U.S. citizens adopted 82 children from Ethiopia in 1997, by last year the number had increased nine fold to 732. The factors responsible for this surge include the publicity given to Ethiopian adoption by Angelina Jolie, the curtailing of popular adoption programs in such countries as China, Russia and Guatemala and the excellent care orphans from Ethiopia receive while they remain in country. More Information.

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