May 31, 2007. CIS Increases Guatemala Adoption Processing Time Frames. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has announced that it will increasing the time taken by its officials to review orphan petitions from Guatemala, "in light of a number of problems with Guatemala's intercountry adoption process." The CIS office in Guatemala will take up to 60 days to review initial documents and up to four business days to review final documentation offered in support of orphan petitions. U.S. officials stationed in Guatemala review documents from Monday to Thursday of each week, other than Guatemalan and U.S. national holidays. More Information.
May 30, 2007. California's Adoptive Families Protected From Anti-Gay and Lesbian Discrimination. Michael and Rich Butler, a couple from San Jose, California, successfully used the threat of a lawsuit to force the websites Adoption.com and ParentProfiles.com to include same-sex couples in their potential adoptive parents listings. Aided by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, the Butlers obtained an agreement from the two companies that "no Defendant shall Post Biographical Data of California residents seeking to adopt directed to prospective birth parents unless the Service is made equally available to all California residents qualified to adopt in California." As same sex couples are particularly willing to adopt children from foster care, this victory is especially beneficial to the least likely to be adopted segment of the unparented population. More Information.
May 28, 2007. CIS Announces Fee Waiver for I-600A Extension. The Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) has announced that prospective adopted parents can receive one free extension of their I-600A Advance Processing for Orphan Petition if they file for the extension before their I-600A expires. At the same time, many CIS fees are going up as of July 30; the I-600A will cost $750 (including one parent's fingerprints) with additional fingerprints costing $80 for each adult in the household. More Information.
May 24, 2007. May is National Foster Care Month. Over 500,000 children are in out-of-home care in this country; it is estimated that 12 million Americans have been through the foster care system. This month is National Foster Care Month but foster children should never be out of sight, out of mind. With this goal is mind, the Center for Adoption Policy is pleased to announce that its 2008 Adoption Law Conference, scheduled for April 25, 2008 at New York Law School, will focus on Adoption From Foster Care.
May 23, 2007. Guatemalan Congress Reaffirms Hague Convention. In a special session, Guatemala's Congress has passed legislation that reaffirms its status as a country governed by the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. Moreover, the Guatemalan government has requested that other Convention countries as well as the Hague Permanent Bureau aide Guatemalan officials as they prepare legislation to implement Hague standards on the same schedule as the United States, which is slated for early next year. We welcome this progress. More Information.
May 22, 2007. One Child Policy Causes Violence in China. Villagers in Guangxi Autonomous Region took to the streets, rioting and burning government offices to protest a harsh new campaign to enforce Chinese family planning goals. According to some published reports, three officials in the family planning bureau were killed. These clashes came after a two-month long repressive local government campaign to stem the trend of Chinese families having two or three children. For the last decade the one-child policy had been enforced less stringently, with most families merely needing to pay a fine to keep a second or third child. But the rising number of families with larger families has led to a renewed strictness on family size with officials forcing women to endure mandatory medical examinations and forced abortions. More Information.
May 21, 2007. CAP Conference Material Available on iTunes. The Center for Adoption Policy's Fourth Annual Adoption Law Conference, held on May 18 at New York Law School, focused on the United States, the Hague Convention and the Future of Intercountry Adoption. The complete conference proceedings are available as a download from iTunes. Speakers included Katherine (Kemy) Monahan, Chief, Hague Convention/Intercountry Adoption, Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, Tom DiFilipo, CEO of JCICS, Professor Elizabeth Bartholet of Harvard University and Professor Joan Hollinger of the University of California at Berkeley, School of Law.
May 16, 2007. The U.S. and ICA From Guatemala. The State Department has prepared a chart explaining why once the United States ratifies the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, U.S. citizens will no longer be able to adopt from Guatemala until the latter country amends its laws to conform to Hague Convention requirements. This chart can be found at http://travel.state.gov/pdf/T0440HagueAdoptionschart051607.pdf.
May 15, 2007. Nepal Suspends Intercountry Adoption. The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare has informed the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu that it is suspending all Intercountry Adoption until the Nepali cabinet approves a series of adoption process reforms. There is no indication when this restructuring will occur. According to the State Department, the U.S. Embassy has urged Nepali government officials to allow American parents who have already been matched with children to proceed with their adoptions. More Information.
May 14, 2007. Undercover Investigation Focuses on Michigan Adoption Agency. Detroit's Channel 4, an NBC affiliate, conducted a five month investigation into Waiting Angels, a Michigan adoption agency working in Guatemala. The resulting account paint a horrifying picture of the American agency owner discussing baby buying on camera, a secret of stash of over $500,000 in cash and families who gave the agency their life savings and never received that child that they believed they were honestly adopting. More Information.
May 10, 2007. Website Accuracy. The internet has become a prime source of information about adoption. Many adoption agencies now rank their websites as their primary method of reaching potential adoptive parents. However, a survey of agency websites reveals that many of them contain outdated or inaccurate information. We urge agencies to update their websites regularly to avoid misleading any potential clients.
May 9, 2007. Guatemalan Legislation Moves Forward. Yesterday the Congress of Guatemala passed the first reading of a bill to reaffirm the applicability the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption on Intercountry Adoption from Guatemala. Two more readings of the bill are necessary for the bill to become law. We salute the progress that Guatemalan legislators have made in creating the legal framework which will make the continuation of U.S. ICA from Guatemala possible after we ratify the Hague Convention. More Information.
May 8, 2007. More On China's One Child Policy. The newly rich class of Chinese entrepreneurs is igniting a crisis over China's "One Child" policy. This policy, begun in 1979, is responsible for the slow growth of China's population; experts believe that without it, China's current population of 1.3 billion would be 1.7 billion now. However, the 300 million affluent Chinese are flouting the restrictions, willingly paying fines of up to 200, 000 yuan (about $26, 000) in exchange for having two or three children. Statistics indicate that at least 10 percent of this group have families with two or three children. These developments are exacerbating tensions, already raw, between the obviously thriving upper class and the approximately 1 billion people who still live a difficult if not impoverished life. More Information.
May 3, 2007. World War II Hero Accused of Molesting Orphans. To their eternal discredit, the governments of Britain, Ireland and Australia, together with various charitable organizations, created a plan to populate Australia with orphaned and abandoned children in the decades following the Second World War. It has been long known that many of these children suffered sexual abuse in Australian children's homes. Now David Hill, one of these children, and the former chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, has disclosed information, uncovered during his research for a book, stating that Field Marshal Viscount Slim, known as the heroic commander of the "Forgotten Army" that liberated Burma, groped young boys when he made official visits to one of the homes for unparented children, the Fairbridge Farm School, near the village of Molong. These assaults reportedly occurred in 1953 and 1955 while Viscount Slim was serving as governor general of Australia. More Information.
May 2, 2007. California Works to Find Lost Relatives for Foster Children. Faced with a foster child population of 78,000 children, 20 percent of the nation's total, California's social services' staff members are using internet searches and detective work to try to find relatives for children mired in the foster care system. Since this program was started, 3,000 children have found relatives, however distant. The search methods, which are modeled after Mormon genealogical searches, are all the more necessary given the current emphasis on kinship care. More Information.
May 1, 2007. New Chinese Adoption Rules Go Into Effect Today. The new rules promulgated by the China Center of Adoption Affairs go into effect today. These more restrictive requirements, among other things, lower the age limit for parents adopting non-special needs children to 50, mandate a certain net worth for adoptive parents and eliminate adoption by single parents. The revised rules apply to any couple whose papers have not been logged in at the China Center for Adoption Affairs as of April 30, 2007. More Information.
Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)