November 30, 2009. HHS Releases National Compendium of Facts and Data on Adoption in the U.S. We have always regretted the lack of statistics on adoption and adopted children. So many times questions that should have an answer, do not. So we are delighted that the Department of Health and Human Services has just published: Adoption USCA: A Chartbook Based on the 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents. The report is rich with information on the identity of adopted children, birth parents and adoptive parents as well as data in the motivations of adoptive parents and the mechanics of adopting. Anyone interested in the field of adoption should download or order a copy. More Information.
November 24, 2009. CDC Sets New Standards for Healthcare for Intenrationally Adopted Children and their Families. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new recommendations on Hepatitis A and B. Concerning Hepatitis A, the CDC now urges all family members, babysitters and childcare workers who care for children who are adopted from countries where Hepatitis A is common to have the Hepatitis A vaccine. At the same time the CDC is recommending to families with internationally adopted children that these parents of newly arrived children from countries where Hepaitis B is common have their children screened for Hepatitis B. At the present time, adoptions processed under the I-800/A rules require such vaccinations and screening. More Information.
November 23, 2009. Guatemalan Central Authority Takes First Steps Towards Reopening International Adoptions. The Guatemalan National Council of Adoptions (CNA) has announced that it is beginning the process of reopening international adoption from Guatemala. Consonant with the requirements of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, CNA, the Guatemalan central authority, will be in charge of a new system which will not resemble the old notarial method of IA. In it official invitation to other central adoption authorities, the CNA has also made it clear that the new Guatemalan adoption program will be far smaller than the previous program and will consist of "children who are older (around first years of school age and older), groups of siblings, children with health, mental or emotional issues and children that they haven't been able to place in national families." We have not yet heard from the State Department concerning any talks U.S. officials have had with their Guatemalan counterparts since this new announcement. We have heard that the Austrian Central adoption authority has been in contact with CNA.
November 19, 2009. We Say to ABC: Go Back to the Drawing Board! ABC will air a sneak preview of "Find My Family" next Monday. The creators of this show, who are responsible for Extreme Makeover-Home Edition believe that there is an audience who wants to participate in soap opera style birth family searches. The promo is cast is the most sensational way possible -- "Some people have spent their whole lives searching for the one thing that matters most... Their wish will now come true. Let's find your family." It seems to have escaped the notice of the producers that those who grow up in families formed by adoption already have families - real families. While we support any adult who wishes to search for his or her family, we believe that it is equally necessary to recognize that adopted men and women have strong bonds with their adoptive families. Just as previous generations made a mistake in disregarding birth families, we should not now disparage or disrespect adoptive families. More information.
November 18, 2009. New USCIS Procedures for International Adoptions. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services has updated its procedures for filing I-600/A and I-800/A forms. We urge all involved in International Adoption to take notice of these changes. The new procedures are listed under the "Bulletins" button to the left.
November 17, 2009. We Salute Dr. Jane Aronson: Woman of the Year. We are delighted that Dr. Jane Aronson, founder of World Wide Orphans Foundation, international adoption pioneer physician and a speaker at CAP's Annual Adoption Law and Policy Conference has been named a Woman of the Year by Glamour Magazine. Dr. Jane has been responsible for helping thousands of internationally adopted children and their parents. She was practicing adoption medicine practically before it existed. Her Worldwide Orphans Foundation has raised millions of dollars for assistance and for unparented children who remain in their birth countries. WWO's Orphan Rangers have aided children in Bulgaria, Vietnam, Ethiopia and Serbia. Congratulations, Dr. Jane.
November 16, 2009. Australian Prime Minister Apologizes to "Orphans of Empire". Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd today apologized on behalf of the Australian government for its part in the post-World War II resettlement program which involved sending British children to be raised in Australia. The cash-strapped, blitz-ravaged British government thought sending children whose parents had died or who had left their children in orphanages to Australia would better the children's lives (and save the British taxpayer money) while underpopulated Australia welcomed the idea in order to buttress its white-Australia policy which aimed at populating Australia with people of British and Irish heritage. But instead of receiving schooling and kind treatment, the children were shunted to orphanages where many were abused. Worse still, these children were told that their parents were dead when many parents were not only alive but wanted to retain connections to their birth children. More Information.
November 12, 2009. New York Case Illustrates: Adoptive Parents Be Careful. A 69- count indictment against Long Island lawyer Kevin Cohen illustrates how potential adoptive parents can be swindled out of their hopes and dreams, as well as money. Cohen allegedly took $300,000 from 13 couples in order to place non-existent children. "We can't find you a baby. We can tell people how to place ads where the birth mother can contact them, whether it's Penny Savers, or college newspapers. But we can't go and say, 'Oh, I know a girl who's a sophomore at Oneonta and she's pregnant, and she'd be perfect for you'," said Benjamin Rosin, a partner in Manhattan's Rosin Steinhagen Mendel and a former speaker at CAP's annual conference. But Cohen's misdeeds allegedly went far beyond crossing the line of proper practice. Cohen was also accused in a separate indictment of real estate fraud. The accounts given by PAPs in the New York Law Journal (November 10, 2009) also make it clear that Cohen's activities should have set off warning bells far earlier than was the case.
November 10, 2009. Adoptions Not Being Processed in Ukraine and Guatemala. International adoptions are not being processed currently in either Ukraine or Guatemala. In the case of Ukraine, the existence of the H1N1 virus has motivated the Ukrainian State Department for Adoption and Protection of the Rights of the Child (SDAPRC) to ban vists by potential adoptive parents (both foreign and domestic) from making orphanage visits. Effectively this prevents adoptions from going forward. SDAPRC estimates that this ban will be in effect for three to six weeks. The problem in Guatemala is that the U.S. embassy is currently not administering the second of the two required DNA tests for children who will be adopted by U.S. citizens. From what we understand, the Department of State and the U.S. embassy in Guatemala City are reevaluating its methods of DNA testing. Guatemala is generally closed to international adoption; the cases under discussion here are grandfathered ones dating from December 2007 or earlier. More Information.
November 9, 2009. New Report on Adult Transracial Adoptees Provides Much Information. The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute has just released a study entitled, Beyond, Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation In Adoption." This work, based on interviews with 179 adults adopted from South Korea with two Caucasian parents, presents us with important information which is relevant to the over 500,000 Americans adopted internationally since 1953. The key recommendations of the report include: "Expand parental preparation and post-placement support for those adopting across race and culture, develop empirically based practices and resources to prepare transracially and transculturally adopted youth to cope with racial bias, and educate parents, teachers, practitioners, the media and others about the realities of adoption to erase stigmas and stereotypes, minimize adoption-related discrimination, and provide children with more opportunities for positive development." While it should be noted that the survey respondents grew up in a very different, that is to say, much more homogenous population than what represents the United States today and also that the adult adoptees were born at the end of the repressed and closed era of adoption, we salute this report and its recommendations. More Information.
November 5, 2009. Legal and Medical Experts to Testify Before InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights in Support of International Adoption. We are pleased to announce that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will hold a hearing regarding the "Human Rights of Unparented Children and International Adoption Policies" in the Americas on Friday, November 6, in Washington, D.C. The hearing, requested by the Harvard Law School's Child Advocacy Program and the Center for Adoption Policy, will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the Organization of American States, Ruben Dario Room, GSB Building, 1889 F St. N.W., Washington, D.C. Professor Elizabeth Bartholet of Harvard Law School will be making the presentation. More Information.
November 4, 2009. Maine Voters Defeat Gay Marriage. Voters in Maine supported a measure to repeal provisions allowing gays and lesbians to marry yesterday. With 84 percent of the precincts reporting, the opponents of gay marriage obtained 53 percent of the vote. This result, however, should not be seen as decisive. Rather, looking at it from the other direction, it is astonishing that almost half of the voters in Maine supported gay marriage-something that would have been anathema a generation ago. The battle for the right of women to vote took 70 years; the fight for race-blind civil rights took even longer. The victories won for gay civil rights will continue. More Information.
November 3, 2009. Obama Adminstration Ruling on Travel to U.S. by People Who Test Positive for the HIV Immigration Will Help Unparented Children. Last Friday President Obama announced that his administration was ending the 22-year old prohibition on travel to the United States by people who test positive for HIV. According to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius, the change will go into effect on January 1, 2010. While this decision applies to all those who seek to travel to the United States, it has particular import for potential adoptive parents; among other things, this change means that PAPs adopting children with the HIV virus will not have to obtain 601 waivers before their children can come home. We hope this change will make it easier for HIV affected children to find permanent, loving homes. More Information.
November 2, 2009. Number of International Adoptions to the U.S Plummets. We have received preliminary totals for international adoptions to the United States for fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009). As expected the number of children adopted through IA to the United States has dropped precipitously - the total of 12,700 represents a decline of 27 percent since FY 2008. While IA from China ranked first, the total number of 3,000 adoptions to the U.S. in FY 2009 is the smallest since 1995. Ethiopia was the second largest sending country; the number of internationally adopted children reached 2,275, a 25 percent increase over FY 2008. Given the fact that approximately 10 percent of the children adopted internationally in FY 2009 were from countries that are now closed to IA (Guatemala and Vietnam), the number of children who will be adopted internationally in FY 2010 is set to decline again.
Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)