May 27, 2010. Excellent Free E-Book for In-Process, New and Experienced Adoptive Parents. EMK press has made available a free e-book entitled Realistic Expectations -The First Year Home. This guide contains articles on such subjects as bonding, attachment, fetal alcohol syndrome, sleep and post-adoption depression. It provides valuable information which will benefit any adoptive parent but is particularly important for potential adoptive parents and those who are recently arrived home. Authors include Bryan Post, Carrie Kitze and Adam Pertman - familiar names in the adoption community. The book can be downloaded at this site: http://www.emkpress.com/realisticexpectations.html.
May 26, 2010. Adoption Alerts for Nepal and Kazakhstan. The Department of State has issued adoption alerts for both Nepal and Kazakhstan. In the case of the Nepal, this is the third in a series of warnings about the perils of adopting from Nepal. This one is the strongest yet: "The U.S. Department of State strongly discourages prospective adoptive parents from choosing adoption in Nepal because of grave concerns about the reliability of Nepal's adoption system and the accuracy of the information in children's official files. The Department also strongly discourages adoption service providers from accepting new applications for adoption from Nepal until reforms are made, and asks them to be vigilant about possible unethical or illegal activities under the current adoption system." In the case of Kazahkstan, DOS has confirmed that the Kazakh government has placed a moratorium on the acceptance of new adoption files but is continuing to process files which had been previously submitted. We would like to add that we have receiving extremely disturbing reports about the refusal of judges in the region of Taraz to grant any international adoption petitions.
May 25, 2010. Update on Legal Status of Haitian Children Who Came to the United States with Humanitarian Parole. The Center for Adoption Policy has been very involved in the process necessary to get children who came to the U.S. under the humanitarian parole process which began on January 18, 2010 and closed to new applications on April 15, 2010 both final adoptions and citizenship. We have been working with Congressmen and Senators and their staffs to get a bill passed which would get these children legal permanent resident status which will convert to citizenship adoption after the child is adopted. That bill, HR 5283, was introduced in the House of Representatives next week and will shortly be introduced into the Senate. We hope for a speedy passage. At the same time, we have been working with representatives of USCIS, the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of Refugee Resettlement and the Department of Health and Human Services to produce the documents necessary for each of these children to obtain full, final and safe adoptions. We are trying as hard as we can to complete this work by mid-June. Anyone with further questions should contact us.
May 24, 2010. CAP Attends Important Conference on Haiti. We were delighted to be part of a conference convened by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute on "Building a Strong Foundation for Children and Families of Haiti", held on May 21, 2010. We were joined by representatives of various NGOs, high-ranking members of the Haitian government as well as delegates from the State Department. Important discussions were held about the future of Haiti and how best to help Haitian elected officials meet their goals for recovery. Among other things, the Haitian government needs assistance on compiled a national registration base - Haiti does not have an extensive system of birth registration. Haiti also lack a clear property transfer procedure which means that obtaining title to property which is necessary to rebuild can be very difficult. We all look forward to helping Haitian officials meet the recovery goals they identified.
May 20, 2010. Audio Podcast of CAP's Annual Adoption Law and Policy Conference Now Available. We are pleased to announce that the audio podcast of our annual conference, this year on Permanency for Children: national and international policies that promote the preservation and reunification of families and the creation of permanent families for unparented children., is now available for no charge on iTunes. Speakers at our conference included Dr. Charles Nelson, Dr. Jane Aronson, Whitney Reitz (USCIS), William Bistransky (DOS), Professor Elizabeth Bartholet and Professor Joan Hollinger. It really is a must listen for anyone who is interested in adoption. For the link please click here.
May 19, 2010. State Department Issues Renewed Warning on Adoption From Nepal. The Department of State has issued another warning about international adoption from Nepal. The immediate cause of the warning was the grave strikes paralyzing the capital. However, DOS took the opportunity to reiterate its previous warnings, in bold face stating that: "We encourage parents who have filed an application with the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MWCSW) in Nepal, but have not yet been matched with a child or received an Adoption Decree issued by the Government of Nepal, to consider a change of countries." Moreover, DOS added that because of issues which have arisen, the required I-604 investigation into the availability of the child might take months to complete. More Information.
May 18, 2010. Help Haitian Adoptees Immediately to Integrate Act of 2010 Introduced into House. A proposed law to adjust the legal status of children who came to the United States under humanitarian parole has been introduced into the House of Representatives. HR 5283 will give the Secretary of Homeland Security the power to change the status of these children from grantee of parole to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence (commonly known as "green card") status. Once adopted, the child will be eligible for citizenship. Unlike the INA orphan regulations, this act will cover children until the age of 18. We are delighted that the House is now considering this bill and hope for its speedy passage.
May 17, 2010. This Round of U.S. Negotiations with Russia concludes; Set to Resume Next Month. U.S. diplomats returned home on Saturday after positive discussions with their Russian counterparts about significant changes to interncountray adoption procedures between the two countries. American diplomats remain very hopeful that a satisfactory accord will be reached soon. Russian diplomats will come to Washington early next month to continue the talks. From what we understand, limiting adoptions from Russia to Hague accredited agencies may be one change in a future agreement. We salute the hard-work of diplomats on both sides of the table. Safe adoptions are in every one's best interests.
May 13, 2010. The Evolution of the China Adoption Program. Websites such as China Adoption Sites and Rumor Queen list the blogs of families who have received referrals from the China program. These lists change after every new referral batch such as the one received last week which covered families with Logged in Dates from April 18 through April 21, 2006. (Note that now the period from LID to referral date exceeds four years.) The dramatic difference in the nature of the China program today from five years ago is vividly illustrated on both these websites because the listing of new families' blogs for children from the waiting child program is much longer than the listing of new families who have received referrals from the non-special needs program. China is now primarily a waiting child program and it behooves every agency to make that clear to its families.
May 12, 2010. Attention: Parents Who Have Recently Adopted From Haiti. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is conducting a survey of the health needs and conditions of children who entered the U.S. in the aftermath of the January 12, 2010 earthquake. The CDC is very eager to learn what is needed for this population. The results are confidential and will allow the CDC and doctors to better serve these children. The survey can be found by clicking here. Parents will have to fill out a separate survey for each child. Although this can be time consuming, we urge all adoptive parents with children who fall into this category to please fill out the survey as soon as possible - the deadline is Sunday, May 16. All adopted children from Haiti, past, present and future, will benefit. For further information please contact HaitianAdoptees@cdc.gov.
May 11, 2010. It Took a Village. Jelani Freeman was eight years old when his mentally ill mother disappeared. Because his father was in prison, Jelani entered the foster care system. For too many children, foster care spells dead end. Jeleani, through his hard work and perseverance, and much good fortune in support and mentors, has now graduated from Howard University School of Law. Along the way there was the manager from Xerox who mentored him as part of a company community outreach program, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute which gave him an internship on Capitol Hill and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who encouraged Jelani to go to law school and mentioned him in the 2006 edition of her book, It Takes a Village. There were other people who reached out to help him and there was Jelani himself who now serves on the board of the Barker Foundation, which runs a foster care outreach program, and himself serves as a mentor. We congratulate Jelani and all the people who helped make his success possible. More Information.
May 10, 2010. U.S. Officials En Route to Moscow as Russian Parliament Defeats Motion to Ban International Adoption. The U.S. delegation, comprising diplomats and experts from the Department of State and USCIS has left for Moscow, in anticipation of Wednesday's bilateral talks with their Russian counterparts. A hopeful sign emerged on Monday when members of the Duma, Russia's parliament, defeated a motion which would have halted all international adoption by U.S. citizens from Russia. Adoption from Russia are continuing but at a much slower pace. We are confident that the two countries can reach an appropriate agreement. More Information.
May 6, 2010. Credit where Credit is Due: Pearl Buck: Nobel Prize Winning Author, Pioneer of International Adoption. American author Pearl S. Buck wrote The Good Earth in 1931, a greatly affecting novel which introduced Americans to the world of Chinese peasant life, and helped win Buck the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first American woman to do so. Buck, who had lived in China, became the mother of children through international adoption. Outraged that adoption agencies did not want to place children who were Asian or bi-racial, in 1949 she founded Welcome House, the first agency that made such placements and (continues to do so). Buck's efforts predate those of Bertha and Harry Holt, who are often erroneously credited for starting the first Asian-oriented international adoption agency. She is the subject of two new books, a biography by Hilary Spurling and a novel, Pearl of China by Anchi Min.
May 5, 2010. Russian Official States International Adoption to the U.S. Remains Open. Andrei A. Fursenko, Russia's education and science minister, and therefore the official directly in charge of Russian international adoption programs, stated on Tusday night that "the Russian government had not formally put in place a legal suspension of these adoptions." Mr. Fursenko's comments, which were conciliatory as well as clarifying, come in the wake of the Artyom case and after an important meeting between Russian and U.S. officials which was held last Thursday in Moscow. The timing of Mr. Fursenko's comments also bodes well for the bilateral Russian-American expert talks which are set to resume on May 12 in Moscow. More Information.
May 4, 2010. New Yorker Article Highlights Story of Haitian Humanitarian Parole Program. The May 10, 2010 issue of the New Yorker contains a lovely article about the granting of humanitarian parole to Haitian children after the January 12, 2010 earthquake, written by John Seabrook, whose daughter was one of the over 1000 children so rescued. There were some errors, however, which we have commented upon and posted on the New Yorker's website: "Dear Mr. Seabrook, I enjoyed your article very much but, as someone who was very involved and continues to be very involved with the Haitian humanitarian parole program, I felt obliged to make some points. First, Whitney Reitz, who played a huge role in the humanitarian parole program is not, as you identify her, a State Department official but rather is the Branch Chief of Programs in the International Operations Division. Your article did not, I believe, make clear that the humanitarian parole program was in the main a CIS not State Department mission--a fact that is clearly evidenced by, as you point, Janet Napolitano, Sec. of Homeland Security (under whose auspices USCIS operates) being the person who made the decision to grant humanitarian parole to the Haitian children who were in process of being adopted. For this reason, the people who worked the most on the grants of humanitarian parole were CIS officers. It was Whitney and her team who decided that Rose was eligible for humanitarian parole. In Port - au -Prince, CIS officials led by Pius Bannis, worked 24/7 to make sure that all the steps necessary to allow Haitian children to leave PAP were taken. Indeed CIS officials are continuing to process applications for humanitarian parole for applicants who submitted papers before April 14. It was Winston Churchill who said after the Battle of Britain, 'never have so many owed so much to so few.' We in the adoption community feel the same way."
May 3, 2010. U.S. and Russian Governments Agree to Negotiate Bilateral Intercountry Adoption Treaty. Last week U.S. and Russian officials had what is described as a "positive" meeting on the international adoption process between the U.S. and Russia. An expert-level delegation from the Department of State and USCIS are returning to Russia to resume these talks on May 12. The apparent aim is a bilateral agreement designed to enhance safeguards in the intercountry adoption process between the two countries, something the Russian government has long sought. We congratulate both governments for making such a fruitful start to what promises to be a new stage in the relationship between child welfare and diplomatic officials of both countries.
Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)