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December 2009

Newscap will be on hiatus from December 21 until January 3. We wish everyone a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year. May next year be better for unparented children.

December 17, 2009. The Working People of China Saluted by Time Magazine. While Time Magazine named Fed Chairman Ben Bernake as its person of the year for 2009 yesterday, the magazine also saluted Chinese workers for the extraordinarily large contribution they made this year both to the Chinese economy but also to the world economic recovery. Defying all expectations, China economy grew at 8 percent last year; the target number government officials and academics believe is the vital number to preserve the Chinese social fabric. It is the millions and millions of Chinese men and women who leave their hometown to work in the export driven coastal economies who accomplished this miracle; the world owes them a debt. More Information.

December 16, 2009. Washington D.C. City Council Approves Gay Marriage. The City Council of Washington D. C. has given its blessing to same-sex marriage. Most observers believe that the bill will become law by the spring; because Washington does not have home-rule, any such vote must be reviewed by Congress which can block the measure. While opponents of gay marriage have pledged to lobby Congress against this legislation, Democrats in Congress who support gay marriage believe that they have the votes to make this measure law. Washington D.C. currently gives recognition to gay marriages in the four states it is legal: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont. More Information.

December 15, 2009. State Department Issues Updates on Guatemala; UNICEF Agrees to Meet with Representatives of the Guatemala 900 Group. The Department of State has issued an update summarizing status updates on the Guatemala transition adoptions-those potential adoptive parents whose adoptions in Guatemala had begun prior to December 31, 2007. The most recent update can be found at http://adoption.state.gov/news/guatemala.html. At the same time Guatemala PAPs were cheered to learn that in response to the Guatemala 900 campaign, Unicef officials will meet with their representatives in the near future. More Information.

December 14, 2009. Samoan Adoption Outrage: It Should Never Happen Again. The CBS 48 Hours episode on the Focus on Children adoption agency and its fraudulent adoption program in Samoa put into sharp relief the need for everyone in the field of adoption to work with the highest ethical standards, thereby ensuring that each adoption will be safe, ethical and transparent. However dreadful the pain experienced by innocent adoptive parents and duped birth parents, it shrinks beside the dreadful wrong done to children who were brought to the United States under false pretenses. We must as a community make "never again" a reality.

December 10, 2009. CAP's Annual Adoption Law and Policy Conference to Take Place on March 5, 2010. We are proud to announce that CAP's Annual Adoption Law and Policy Conference will take place on March 5, 2010 at New York Law School. The topic this year is Permanency for Children: national and international policies that promote the preservation and reunification of families and the creation of permanent families for unparented children. The co-sponsors are the Child Advocacy Program of Harvard Law School, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and New York Law School's Justice Action Center and the Center for Children and Families as well as the Safe Passages Program. Registration will open after the first of the year. We urge all members of the adoption community to attend.

December 9, 2009. Liberian International Adoption Will Soon Resume. According to the Department of State, the government of Liberia has stated that it will be issuing exit clearances for internationally adoption children on a case by case basis for children who have full and final adoptions which were completed before January 26, 2009. DOS recommends that prospective adoptive parents who believe that their pending adoption falls into this category should contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia at adoptionsmonrovia@state.gov. DOS also cautions PAPs that each IA from Liberia will require a consular officer to complete a Form I-604 investigation before the child is issued an orphan visa to come to the United States and that this investigation may require DNA testing. More information.

December 8, 2009. CCAA NSN Referrals and China's Waiting Child Program. The China Center of Adoption Affairs sent referrals last week for prospective adoptive parents whose dossiers were logged in with CCAA between March 28 and 31, 2006. That means that these PAPs will receive their children close to four years from the day their dossiers were logged in. This slowdown, although predicted, is unprecedented for Chinese international adoption. It has taken CCAA all of 2009 to refer dossiers with March 2006 log in dates. At the same time, the waiting children program process is speeding up. PAPs who have dossiers previously reviewed by CCAA have taken less than 12 weeks to bring home a child, from the date of the waiting child referral. The average time from referral to arrival home is around six months but currently dropping. Also dropping is the age of some of the children in the waiting child program. We have seen children as young as three months being referred while many babies and toddlers are listed on the shared list. Some waiting children have very minor issues while others have more significant medical issues. This year has shown us a Chinese international adoption program that is being transformed from a non-special needs to a waiting child program.

December 7, 2009. State Department Responds Positively to Guatemalan Central Authority Invitation. The State Department has submitted a letter of interest in response to the Guatemalan Central Adoption Authority's (CNA) invitation to foreign central authorities to declare their willingness to participate in a pilot Hague compliant Guatemalan international adoption program. According to DOS eight countries have submitted such letters; the CNA has stated that four countries will be selected for the pilot program. The represents the first sign of progress in IA from Guatemala since the program shut down to new applicants at the end of December, 2007. We are pleased by this step but it is very important for prospective adoptive parents and agencies to understand what this step means and what it does not mean. Guatemala has not yet established a program that DOS believes to Hague compliant. Until DOS can certify that an IA program from Guatemala is Hague-compliant, no U.S. PAPs will be able to process a Guatemalan adoption to completion. While USCIS is obligated by law to accept I-800As for Guatemala, filing this form with CIS does not mean that PAPs can currently now or at any known time in the forseeable future bring children from a Hague adoption home from Guatemala. We hope that agencies who work with Guatemala will explain these facts very clearly to any PAP who enquires and once again remind PAPs that at this time there is no functioning IA from Guatemala nor is there any reliable timetable for the reopening of IA from Guatemala.

December 2, 2009. Minority-Run Foster Care Agencies Decline in New York City. Twenty years ago New York City made the creation and substance of minority-run foster care agencies a priority. As a result the number of such agencies, which were linked to and located in the communities in which most foster children lived, soared. By last month, when Family Support Services Unlimited lost its city contract, the number of such agencies had declined from 15 to just four. Analysts attribute this change to the stricter performance standards instituted by Mayor Bloomberg and John B. Mattingly, the head of the Administration for Children's Services and also to the recession which has left newer agencies short for funds and without the endowment safety fund older organizations possess. More Information.

December 1, 2009. Unicef Report Apparently Condemns Vietnam's International Adoption Program. We have learned that Unicef, long a foe of international adoption, has released a report roundly criticizing Vietnam's now defunct international adoption program. These accounts of Unicef's findings are coming to us from Irish newspapers. One source quotes the report as stating that "the availability of children who are adoptable in Vietnam appears to be driven more by demands from foreign adopters than the actual needs of 'abandoned' and orphaned children. As a result 'the overwhelming majority of adopted children are under one year of age, the age group most sought after by prospective adopters'. Declarations that the child was 'abandoned' are 'notoriously difficult' to investigate and intriguingly the numbers come in 'peaks and troughs' ". While the United States and Vietnam's bilateral agreement on IA expired in September 2008, the Irish government permitted Irish couples to continue adopting from Vietnam until May of this year. At the time of the cessation there were hundreds of families in process from Ireland; these potential adoptive parents and their referred children remain in limbo. We would like very much to read this report for ourselves but have been unable to procure a copy. More Information.

Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)
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