June 30, 2010. U.S. Ambassador to Romania Advocates Resumption of International Adoption From Romania. Ambassador Mark Gitenstein told AFP news in Romania that he "would like to see a change in the Romanian law on adoptions, so that children can be adopted more easily and quickly, whether adopted by Romanians or foreigners. Because I believe that it is not a healthy thing that these children are not among their families as soon as possible. My wife is working as a volunteer here at a center in a hospital where they stay during their first year of life. And that is when they should be adopted, as soon as possible. Because the longer they stay in institutions, the greater will be the impact on their emotional and intellectual development." We completely endorse his words. More Information.
June 29, 2010. University of Connecticut Fertility Center Fined for Emplanting Wrong Embryos. The well-known and highly regarded fertility clinic at the University of Connecticut was ordered pay a $3,000 fine for implanting the wrong embryos in a patient. The two women had the same last name; the woman who received the implant chose to take a morning after pill. The correct procedure is to check the medical records and last four digits of the social security number but the lab technician, who has been permanently reassigned, only checked the last name. The fertility clinic, as part of the consent order, agreed to undergo an independent assessment of its laboratory policies and practices. More Information.
June 28, 2010. Department of State's Update on International Adoption from Russia. The Department of State's update consists of two parts. The first reiterates the news we reported last week on the positive outcome of the U.S. - Russian meetings held in Washington. In DOS's words, these were "positive and productive talks that reflected the continuing commitment of both sides to the common goal of increasing safeguards for adoption between Russia and the United States." The second half of the update discusses the status of international adoption from Russia. While IA is still officially open, DOS points out that some regions in Russia are slowing down or delaying adoptions. DOS asks that families inform DOS about any slowdown and also send any questions to a special address: RussiaAdoption@state.gov. Families with a completed Russian adoption needing to have an immigrant visa appointment at the U.S. embassy in Moscow will be reassured to learn that the visa appointments and interviews are operating normally. Anyone needing such an appointment should contact the embassy at MoscowConsularR@state.gov. More Information.
June 24, 2010. China Non-Special Needs Adoption Continues on a Downward Drift. The latest referrals for families in the China Non-Special Needs program were for potential adoptive parents whose dossiers were logged in with the China Center of Adoption Affairs between April 22 and April 26, 2006. Therefore, if we combine the time it took the PAPs to prepare their dossiers and the time it will take for the PAPs to receive travel approval and journey to meet their children, these families will have spent almost five years in process. This referral batch, just like the one last month, was very small in number. Simultaneously the waiting children program for children who are older or with identified medical needs has continued on its brisk pace. Families who are starting out in the waiting children program are coming home in six to ten months from the time they begun the process. Families who are switching from the NSN program are coming home from China in as little as two to three months from the time they requested a waiting child. The message seems clear.
June 23, 2010. President Obama Promises Continued Movement of Gay Rights. President Obama, meeting with gays and lesbians at the White House last night, has promised to continue his push for equal rights for all Americans, no matter their sexual orientation. He pointed to his changes in hospital visitation rights for gay partners and modifications of the "don't ask, don't tell," policy governing gays in the military. Obama also pledged to work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Participants in the meeting lauded the President's actions but urged swifter action of what was called the "big-ticket" items including gay adoption. More information.
June 22, 2010. Department of State Posts Adoption Requirements for U.S. Citizens Abroad. The Department of State has posted an alert for U.S. citizens who are living in another Hague Adoption Convention country. The Hague Convention is effective in the United States which means that its terms bind U.S. citizens if they are adopting from another Hague Convention country such as China but not non-Convention countries such as Russia or Ethiopia but the Hague Convention can also affect U.S. citizens living in another Hague Convention country. Prospective adoptive parents who fall into this category must make sure that they are following not only the rules of the sending country of a child to be adopted and the U.S., but also the rules of the country in wish they are now residing. Moreover, U.S. citizens residing abroad who are adopting from the United States must also follow the rules of the country in which they are residing. The best way for these PAPs to ensure that they are following all applicable rules is to consult the Central Authority of the country in which they are residing. DOS has provided a list of Central Authorities and their contact information on its website. More Information.
June 21, 2010. Talks Between Russian and American Negotiators Conclude in Washington. U.S. and Russian diplomats met last week for extensive talks generally concerning international adoption between the two countries and, specifically, about a new bilateral agreement between the two countries. The talks apparently were productive although not yet conclusive. The U.S. adoption system contains unique challenges that make reaching such an agreement more difficult. Unique among the various governance systems for international adoption, responsibility in the U.S. system is doubly divided-between the federal government and state governments on the one hand, and between governmental agencies and private adoption service providers on the other. Notwithstanding these barriers, we remain confident that an agreement will be reached in a timely fashion.
June 3, 2010. Dr. Phil Show Strikes Right Tone With Wrong Title. Hearing the title of Dr. Phil McGraw's show, "Adoption: Return to Sender" frankly terrified us. We were prepared for a sensationalized treatment of the Tennessee case which sparked the crisis in Russian adoption we still are dealing with. But the episode was actually very good. Dr. Phil kept viewers reminded that the failed or in crisis adoptions are a very small percentage of international adoptions. His families who were featured have all continued to work with their children to provide the best care that they can. And the experts consulted, including Tom Difilipo and Dr. Lisa Albers Prock, gave excellent advice. Tragically the truth is that there are no good answers for certain children, whether adopted or not, who have serious emotional and psychological problems. Once again, transparency and support, the two themes we have emphasizing in international adoption, remain the keys to a successful or at least manageable outcome. More Information.
June 2, 2010. Working on Legal Status of Haitian Children Who Came to the United States under Humanitarian Parole. We are pleased to report that we will be in Washington to continue our efforts on behalf of the Haitian children who came to the United States under humanitarian parole following January's earthquake. We will be meeting with officials from USCIS, the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of Refugee Resettlement and the Department of Health and Human Services. We will also have meetings on Capitol Hill with staffers to discuss the Fortenberry bill which, if passed, will give these children legal permanent resident status and a clear path to citizenship. We look forward to providing updated information on this page and also on our Facebook Group page.
June 1, 2010. Interesting Study of ARTS-Assisted Children. A new study by the Institute of American Values focusing on children who were conceived through sperm donation discloses some very interesting results. First the numbers: experts estimate 30,000 to 60,000 children each year in the U.S. owe their conception to sperm donation while another 6,000 children each year born as a result of donor eggs. The United States is among the most liberal governments in how it regulates assisted reproductive technology. This new study, not surprisingly, find that the adults polled support ARTS. What is surprising is that those polled "are more likely to feel alienated from their immediate family than either biological or adopted children. They're twice as likely as adoptees to report envying peers who knew their biological parents, twice as likely to worry that their parents "might have lied to me about important matters" and three times as likely to report feeling "confused about who is a member of my family and who is not."" These findings, which mirror others in the study, argue for more openness in the ARTS field, especially from parents - a similar progression which families created through adoption underwent in past decades. More Information.
Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)