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December 2010

December 16, 2010. U.S. Government Updates on Adoption Discussions with Russia. The Department of State has posted an update on the negotiations between Russia and the United States on a bilateral agreement concerning international adoption between the two countries. According to DOS, the fifth round of talks between Russian and American delegates, which took place in Washington D.C. from December 1-3, 2010 were "fruitful and further progress was made." However, "several key issues" remain outstanding but "both sides remain committed to reaching an agreement." No decision has yet been made about whether or when further talks will take place. More Information.

December 15, 2010. Nepal Pipeline Cases. Representatives from USCIS, the Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu briefed the adoption community today. According to U.S. government officials, all 62 pipeline cases have been investigated. Of these, 56 were found to be "not clearly approvable" and were referred to USCIS officials for further action in New Delhi. The families of three children have brought their children home; three more families will return to Nepal and then come home. For the other 56 families, it appears that they will not be able to achieve resolution of their cases prior to the New Year.

December 14, 2010. Help Haiti Act Becomes Law. We are so pleased to post that the Help Haiti Act of 2010 was signed by President Obama on December 9, 2010 and is now officially Public Law 111-293. This law gives Haitian children who came to the United States under the grant of humanitarian parole following the January 2010 earthquake the same green card and citizenship path they would have been entitled to had they been adopted in the normal process. The enactment of Help Haiti was a bi-partisan effort which encapsulates the benefits of adoption: only a limited number of children are helped by adoption but the changes in each child's life are limitless.

December 13, 2010. Ukrainian Parliament Debates New International Adoption Law. The Ukrainian parliament is in the process of debating a bill which would place a moratorium on international adoptions from countries which do not have a bilateral agreement on international adoption with Ukraine. As the United States does not have such an agreement with Ukraine, adoptions to the U.S. would be included in such a moratorium. According to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, however, the current verision of the proposed bill might permit multilateral adoption agreements, in particular the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, as well as bilateral agreements. In the meantime the Ukrainian Adoption Authority is processing international adoptions normally. Potential adoptive parents with concerns should contact the U.S. Embassy Kyiv Adoption Unit.

December 8, 2010. New Surrogacy Law In Australia. The government of New South Wales is enacting a new surrogacy law. This comprehensive measure is intended to render "commercial surrogacy" illegal. Concerns have been raised that the language of the legislation is so broad that it will also cover intended parents resident in New South Wales who go travel from Australia to another country for the purpose of paid surrogacy and may also cover any surrogate who is pregnant when the law goes into effect.

December 7, 2010. Ambassador Susan Jacobs Holds Meetings in Guatemala. Special Advisor for Children's Issues Ambassador Susan Jacobs is in Guatemala this week for meetings with Guatemalan officials as well NGOs working in Guatemala with orphans and vulnerable children. She will discuss the position of the in process U.S. Guatemalan international adoption cases as well as the status of Guatemala's international adoption pilot program. We are very anxious to hear about the results of Ambassador Jacobs' meetings. The pipeline cases were all begun prior to December 31, 2007. More Information.

December 6, 2010. Next Skirmish in California Gay Marriage Battle. Today the Ninth Circuit holds hearings on the quest to overturn Proposition 8, the California initiative that made gay marriage illegal in California. For legal scholars, these hearings are a treasure trove of interesting issues. The procedural question of standing, whether the defenders of Prop 8 have the legal right to be in court to begin with, provides the threshold question. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor-elect Jerry Brown and Attorney-General Kamala Harris, the logical legal parties to defend Prop 8, have all declined to do so. The substantive issue as to the constitutionality of the ban on gay marriage is what people are debating; ultimately most observers believe this case will end at the U.S. Supreme Court. The rights of children hang in the balance. More Information.

December 1, 2010. A Great Two Days for Children of U.S. Parents Adopted Internationally. Today Congress passed the Help Haiti Act of 2010. Yesterday the Adoption Simplification Act was signed by President Obama and went into effect. We are so grateful to the many people who worked so hard to get this done. On Help Haiti, let us quote House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who was instrumental in making today's vote happen:

"Following the earthquake, more than 1,000 Haitian orphans were brought to the United States by adoptive American families; the bill we passed today ensures that those children, just like all other children adopted from abroad, will have permanent resident status. For the adoptive parents who generously took Haitian orphans into their homes, the guarantee of permanent resident status means that their children will enjoy a full range of legal protections and will no longer be stuck in legal limbo. The adoption of more than 1,000 orphans has been in proud keeping with America's tradition as a welcoming refuge. I am happy that this bill, which is now ready for President Obama's signature, gives full legal recognition to these adopted children and paves the way for what I am sure will be their important contributions to our country."

Urgent Call for Action: Let's Get the Help Haiti Act of 2010 Passed! The Help Haiti Act of 2010 (HR 5283) will give the Haitian children who came to the United States this year the same green card and citizenship path they would have had if they had come through the normal international adoption route. The House of Representatives needs to vote on the Senate Amendment to H.R. 5283 - Help HAITI Act of 2010 before the "lame duck" session of Congress ends. Everyone in the adoption community: please contact the Democratic House leadership and urge them to bring this bill to the House floor for a vote. Let's finish the job we started in January. There are around 1,200 children who need our help. The people to contact are:

Contact us at adoptionpolicy.org with any questions.

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