September 30, 2008. Guatemala's National Council on Adoption Gives Update. The State Department yesterday announced that Guatemala's adoption central authority (CNA) has confirmed that it will not now accept any new adoption cases. This decision applies not to new applicants, as Guatemala is currently closed to intercountry adoption, but to the 833 families who were grandfathered under the old process but who have not submitted paperwork to the CNA. The CNA further revealed that those cases will now be sent to the Guatemala courts as abandonment cases. The President of the Directive Council of the CNA further stated that she expects that the CNA will be able to complete the requirements for Guatemala to be a Hague compliant country by January 2009. We certainly hope that this prediction comes true. More Information.
September 29, 2008. News From Vietnam. Almost one month has passed since the Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Vietnam expired. We have had no news about a possible interim MOU or whether Vietnam will reverse its position that all dossiers from potential adoptive parents without a referral as of September 1 will be returned to their respective agencies en route back to PAPs. However, we do know that four families with referrals from Thanh Hoa province have received their approvals. We salute this progress and hope that all so-called blocked regions will be re-opened so that, at the very least, all PAPs with referrals can bring their children home.
September 25, 2008. Some Issues in Adoption and Foster Care Can Be "Quick Fixes." Especially in this current environment we are very used to assuming that all solutions to major problems require large amounts of money to fix. However, in the area of adoption and foster care there are simple legislative or administrative cures that will resolve major difficulties without any increased expense. For example, why isn't Medicaid for foster care children easily transferable from state to state? What is the reason that different counties in the same state refuse to recognize each other's foster care training? Why do some children adopted across state lines lose tuition benefits? Why can't CIS and the State Department follow the letter and spirit of the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000? Ameliorating these problems is high on CAP's current agenda.
September 24, 2008. Poisoned Chinese Formula Affects Tens of Thousands of Babies. Over 50,000 Chinese babies have been sickened after drinking Chinese-made baby formula laced with melamine. Those in the formula food chain adulterated the milk with this chemical, used for making plastic, to mask watered down dairy products. Four babies are confirmed to have died while serious kidney illnesses have developed in surviving babies. Of the many horrifying aspects of the scandal, one stands out: company employees and Chinese government officials apparently colluded to hide the facts from Chinese parents. More Information.
September 23, 2008. USCIS Changes Procedures for Filing I-800/A Forms. As was announced earlier, USCIS has extended its Direct Mail lockbox program to include I-800/A forms. Starting September 25 all I-800/A forms and supplementary documents need to be sent to:
P.O. Box 805695
Chicago, IL 60680-4118
This change does not cover I-600/A filings. Everyone involved in U.S. intercountry adoption should be aware of this change because CIS (after a brief transition period) will not forward wrongly filed documents.
September 22, 2008. Angels in Adoption. The Center for Adoption was priviliged to be able to attend the gathering of the 2008 Angels in Adoption last week. We salute all those who also were selected-we feel honored to be in their company. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), which organizes the annual tribute to members of the adoption community, arranged appointments for honorees to and their legislators to discuss adoption priorities. In our case we met with staff members for North Carolina Senators Richard Burr (who had nominated the Center for Adoption Policy), and Elizabeth Dole as well as staff members for Representative Louise Slaughter (New York) and Denis Cardoza (California). We were welcomed by all we met and were able to discuss the important matters pertaining to adoption that are on our legislative agenda. Now we intend to follow up.
Newscap will be on hiatus next week: Executive Directors Diane Kunz and Ann Reese will be in Washington in connection with the Angels in Adoption award that will be presented to CAP. We welcome this recognition, not just of us, but of all the people we have worked with over the past six years and most of all, for the unparented children on whose behalf we work.
September 11, 2008. Florida Circuit Court Rules Gay Adoption Ban Unconstitutional. A judge in Monroe County, Florida has ruled that the state's 31-year old ban on adoptions by gays and lesbians is unconstitutional. The openly gay foster couple had been caring for a now 13 year old boy with learning disabilities and special needs since 2001. The social worker who prepared the home study had been enthusiastic about the qualifications of the couple to adopt and the boy himself, known as John Doe in court papers, had wanted to be adopted so he could have a father. Judge David J. Audlin, Jr. declared the adoption in child's best interest and ruled that "the Florida law forbidding gays and lesbians from adopting children is contrary to the state constitution because it singles out a group for punishment." Only Mississippi and Florida ban gay and lesbian adoption. We welcome this ruling. More Information.
September 10, 2008. Truth in Guatemalan Adoption. We are greatly dismayed to learn that some adoption agencies are apparently telling potential adoptive parents that intercountry adoption from Guatemala might reopen this year. The State Department has long opined that ICA from Guatemala would not resume in 2008 and this fact has been confirmed by the Guatemalan Central Adoption Authority. Agencies who state otherwise should be ashamed. PAPs should also be aware that referrals of children from Guatemala made after December 31, 2007 are not valid. More Information.
September 9, 2008. CCAA Referral Update. The China Center for Adoption Affairs sent referrals last week to potential adoptive parents whose non special need dossiers were logged in with CCAA from February 1 through February 9, 2008. This referral batch was cheering because it arrived only 22 days after the previous referral batch and covered nine calendar days (although only four business days). The children referred ranged in age from six months to three years. The wait for LID to referral is now two years, seven months so NSN China adoptions will now take over three years in total. However, referrals of waiting children from China continue to be processed in record (short) time with some families returning home with their new child within four months from LID date.
September 8, 2008. State Department Official Position on ICA from Vietnam. On Friday, September 5, the State Department released an official position paper on intercountry adoption from Vietnam. Officials confirmed that the Vietnamese Department of International Adoption (DIA), had continued to issue formal referrals to prospective U.S. adoptive parents until September 1. These PAPs will be permitted to continue their adoption from Vietnam. PAPs who have not received such a referral will receive their dossier back from their adoption service provider, once the DIA has returned these dossiers to the respective U.S. adoption agencies. The State Department cites a number of 600-700 families who will now not receive a referral. We are saddened by this conclusion and hope that Vietnam will soon begin a Hague process which will permit ICA from Vietnam to the U.S. to resume. More Information.
September 4, 2008. I-600/A and I-800/A Crisis. The Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 clearly mandated that potential adoptive parents who had previously filed an I-600A in connection with an adoption from a Hague country prior to April 1, 2008 would be allowed to continue to follow the I-600/A procedures and use the I-600/A forms. The 2007 State Department Frequently Asked Questions document reiterated this commitment. However, Citizenship and Immigration Services and the State Department have now changed their minds. Officials have instead declared that PAPs may have one free renewal of the I-600A and then must switch to an I-800/A process. Such a postion is contrary to the letter and spirit of the IAA. Moreover, it puts in jeopardy thousands of in-process adoptions, particularly from China. We are doing everything we can to reverse this decision. Grandfathered must mean grandfathered.
September 3, 2008. CAP Receives Angels in Adoption Award. We are delighted to announce that the Center for Adoption Policy has received a 2008 Angels in Adoption award. This award, given by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, after nomination by a Senator or Representative, recognizes organizations and individuals which have made a significant contribution in the field of adoption policy or practice. CAP was nominated by Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina; Executive Director Diane Kunz lives in Durham, North Carolina. More Information.
September 2, 2008. ICA from Vietnam to U.S. Suspended Indefinitely. The Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Vietnam expired yesterday. Therefore Vietnam is now closed to new intercountry adoption by U.S. families. According to the latest information that we have received, prospective adoptive parents who have received official referrals from Vietnam's Department of International Adoption will be grandfathered. Dossiers without official referrals will be returned to the adoption agencies which are then to return the dossiers to the PAPs. We fully appreciate the tragedy of this development, both for unparented children and for PAPs. We hope that ICA from Vietnam will resume as soon as possible, under the framework of the Hague Convention which is now our governing framework. Until that day, however, we urge all involved parties, including the U.S. government, the Vietnamese government and adoption service providers, to follow the Hague principles of transparency and accountability. More Information.
Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)