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September 2007

September 27, 2007. New ICA From Guatemala Will Close on Monday, October 1. Today Joint Council on International Children's Services and the National Council for Adoption jointly called for all adoption agencies and others who provide Intercountry Adoption related services for Guatemala "cease issuing referrals for Guatemala-born children, effective Monday, October 1, 2007." JCICS and NCFA also recommended that "potential adoptive parents not accept any referrals issued by adoption service providers who choose to ignore this recommendation." These advisories follow a similar recommendation from the State Department. All those involved in ICA from Guatemala hope that potential adoptive parents with children remaining in Guatemala will be able to completed pending adoptions but as yet any grandfathering provisions have not been guaranteed. More Information.

September 26, 2007. State Department Issues FAQs on Transition Cases and the Hague Convention. The State Department has issued a guide to how it will handle Intercountry Adoption Cases that were started under pre-Hague United States rules but are still pending when the United States ratifies the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, set for early next year. The most important statement is that for American law purposes, any potential parent who filed an I-600 before the Hague is ratified, and whose CIS papers have not expired, will be grandfathered under the pre-Hague rules. However, according to the State Department's previous announcement, the grandfather provisions will not aid parents adopting from Guatemala because they will not be exempted under Guatemala's pending legislation. More Information.

September 25, 2007. Do Not Adopt From Guatemala, Says State Department. The State Department has issued its strongest warning yet on adopting from Guatemala as it "urges American citizens not to commence an adoption process from Guatemala at this time." According to the news release, Guatemalan officials have advised the State Department that Guatamala will become a Hague Convention (on Intercountry Adoption) country on January 1, 2008. All adoption cases pending or filed after December 31, 2007 will have to meet what Guatemala considers to be Hague standards, even if the cases had begun earlier. In other words, Intercountry Adoptions from Guatemala to the U.S. that are begun now will not be grandfathered under the old requirements and may not meet the new requirements. Therefore any potential adoptive parent beginning an adoption from Guatemala at this time risks having their child unable to come home, caught in legal limbo. More Information.

September 24, 2007. New Co-Chair of CCAI. Senator Norm Coleman (R-Minnesota) has become the new Co- Chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) as well as the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCA). Senator Coleman is currently a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, the Committee on Homeland Security and the Governmental Affairs Committee. He is therefore well-versed in the diplomatic issues that influence Intercountry Adoption. The other Co-Chairs of CCAI and CCA are Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Florida) and Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN). More Information.

September 20, 2007. If It Seems To Good To Be True... It is imperative for anyone looking to adopt, domestically or internationally, to do his/her research about the agency he or she is comtemplating working with. There are, unfortunately, many agencies which promise more than they can deliver and charge higher fees than are the norm. The internet allows agencies to reach far more potential clients and in the case of bad actors, to entice eager parents to be. On the other hand, the internet provides potential parents with a very helpful research tool which they can use to judge the accuracy and appropriateness of agency claims. One of the best questions for any potential adoptive parent to ask is: am I hearing something that is too good to be true? Because it usually is.

September 19, 2007. A Bright Hope In Intercountry Adoption. One current exception to the gloomy news about Intercountry Adoption is China's waiting child program. Designed by the China Center of Adoption Affairs to place children with medical issues, this program allows parents to identify specific children from lists CCAA has given to selected agencies and to bring them home much more rapidly. CCAA is currently increasing the numbers of children flowing into the program. Families (CCAA now prohibits singles not already in the China program from adopting) are able to bring a child adopted under the waiting child program home in around ten months. More Information.

September 17, 2007. Donor Sibling Registry Shows Impact of Internet and Culture of Openess. A woman who conceived her son through anonymous sperm donation and the son who is the product of that choice started the Donor Sibiling Registry in 2000. Wendy and Ryan Kramer began the internet site because, in their words, "no public outlet exists for mutual consent contact between people born from anonymous sperm donation." According to the website, 9,316 people are active members and there have been 3,817 matches between half-siblings and/or donors. The Kramers have expanded their site to children who are the product of assisted reproductive technology either through sperm, egg or embryo procedures. Other families have found matches through dedicated Yahoo groups. More Information.

September 13, 2007. Child Mortality Deaths Drop to Record Low. According to statistics compiled by Unicef, child mortality deaths have dipped below 10 million children each year, for the first time since records began to be kept in 1960. The actual improvement is even greater because the published statistics, dating from 2005, reflect neither the effect of Bush administration programs nor the path-breaking work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Unicef executive director Ann M. Veneman attributed this notable advance to declines in measles, malaria and bottle-feeding as well as rising economic growth in Asia. However, with 9.7 million children still dying each year, it important that all choices for children, including Intercountry Adoption, remain an active part of the world arsenal. More Information.

September 11, 2007. Chinese Waiting Children Program. In December 2006, the China Center of Adoption Affairs posted new rules for Non-Special Needs children. At the same time it suggested that it would revise its Waiting Children program. But ten months later the CCAA has not yet changed the Waiting children program -- selected agencies are currently receiving lists of children with minor and less minor medical issues. These adoptions are still taking under a year, and therefore are much quicker than NSN adoptions. Agencies with current Chinese waiting children programs include Hawaii International Child, Harrah's and Alliance for Children. Those interested should contact these agencies directly.

September 10, 2007. Agencies Weighing Guatemala Adoption Programs. Several factors have combined to cause U.S. adoption agencies to rethink their Guatemala programs. These include: the State Department's warning to U.S. parents to avoid Guatemalan Intercountry Adoption, the uncertainties caused by yesterday's Guatemalan presidential election and the thoughtful posting by the Joint Council on International Children's Services highlighting problems besetting Guatemala ICA programs. The one thing we are sure of is that Guatemala's unparented children are suffering. More Information.

September 6, 2007. Foundling Hospital Records Will Be Available. The Sisters of Charity founded the New York Foundling Asylum 137 years ago. Before there was government sponsored foster care and adoption services, private charities filled a role taking care of children whose birth parents could not care for them. Now the Foundling, which remains active as a child welfare agency, will soon make its records, including the notes left by birth parents, available on its website. These poignant documents show that the need for adoptive homes for unparented children, then as now, remains a vital interest of society. More Information.

September 5, 2007. Urgent Call for COA Site Evaluators. The Council on Accreditation is currently vetting the applications of agencies who are applying to be accredited under the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. However, there is an urgent need for qualified site evaluators who can perform the peer examinations which are a pre-requisite for accreditation. The State Department has stated that it does not foresee pushing back its target date of February 15, 2008 as the date when the U.S. ratifies the Hague Convention.

September 4, 2007. New Chinese Referrals. The China Center of Adoption Affairs has referred children to waiting parents with Logged-In Dates for Dossiers from November 21 through November 25, 2005. These parents have waited over 21 months. Through last twelve months, the CCAA referred four calendar months of LIDs. The waiting time for parents in the Non-Special Needs China program grows longer by the month. More Information.

Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)
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