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November 2010

November 18, 2010. Government Updates and Alerts. The Department of State has posted a FAQs on international adoption from Nepal for in-process families. This information mirrors the USCIS information previously posted here. The update may be found at http://adoption.state.gov/news/NepalFAQ.html.

November 17, 2010. Webinar on Findings from the National Survey of Adoptive Parents (NSAP). Today Child Trends hosted a fascinating webinar today discussing the complex and multi-layered information compiled from the National Survey of Adoptive Parents (NSAP). The Department of Health and Human Services commissioned this study which is the "first ever nationally-representative survey on the characteristics, adoption-related experiences, and well-being of adopted children and their families in the U.S." The scientifically valid study is of particular importance because so much of the information which is used in the adoption field is anecdotal in nature. The power points discussed in the webinar, as well as a link to the presentation itself, may be found at childtrends.org. We recommend that anyone involved in any aspect of adoption access this survey.

November 16, 2010, Congress Passes the International Adoption Simplification Act. We are delighted to announce that yesterday Congress passed the International Adoption Simplification Act. The act, which awaits President Obama's signature, remedies disparities between Hague and Non-Hague adoption vaccination requirements for internationally adopted children. Adoptive parents from Hague Convention countries will no longer be required to have their child/ren be vaccinated in-country but will be allowed to rely on an immunization affidavit. The act also allows for the concurrent adoption of older siblings aged 16 to 18 when their younger brothers or sisters are being adopted to the United States. We salute this achievement and would like especially to thank Senators Amy Klobuchar, Mary Landrieu and James Inhofe and Representatives Zoe Lofgren and Lamar Smith for all that they did to ensure passage of this important piece of legislation.

November 15, 2010. The Cost of Ideology to Romania's Children. Twenty years ago, following the breakdown of the iron curtain and the collapse of European communism, the world learned about the horrors of life in Romania's orphanages. The children were the littlest victims of ideology then; today they remain captive to a different ideological world view which sees in-country care as the just solution for all unparented children. The plight of the doomed children in Romania is excruciatingly detailed in this article from the British Telegraph newspaper. Let us continue to fight for the right of every child to have permanent, loving home. More Information.

November 11, 2010. Government Updates. International adoption from Nepal once again provided a fertile field for government updates this week. USCIS has posted new FAQs on its website outlining its current position on the processing of international adoption cases from Nepal. We urge every person interested in the current status of the Nepal program to review this post. The link is listed below. At the same time the Department of State has posted on its website a response to the Nepal PAP petition to Congress. This post defends the actions of DOS and USCIS during 2010 pertaining to Nepal adoptions. On the DOS website members of the adoption community and others can also find Secretary of State Clinton's statement marking National Adoption Month. The CIS link may be found by clicking here.

November 10, 2010. Cholera Spreads to Port-au-Prince. The outbreak of cholera in Haiti, which had been mainly confined to the countryside, is now apparently spreading the very crowded, still devastated capital city of Port au Prince. As The New York Times reported: "Cholera is a complex public health emergency under any circumstances," said Jon Kim Andrus, deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization. "In Haiti, the hemisphere's poorest country, the problem is even more complex." The precarious supply of fresh water and proper sanitary facilities in the island nation were dealt another blow last week by Hurricane Tomas. More than one million people were left homeless by last January's earthquake, which killed an estimated 250,000 people. More information.

November 9, 2010. Another Aspect of Adoption. As we celebrate National Adoption Month, it is a good time to remember the tens of thousands of families who, having been touched by adoption, contribute time and effort and money to improve the lives of unparented children. We are speaking of groups like Half the Sky, Love Without Boundaries, the Philip Hayden Foundation and many, many others who do wonderful work for the millions of children who remain in care. There are also the families formed by adoption who become host parents or sponsor parents of students from the adopted child's birth country or who become involved in cultural events reflecting their child's birth country. Adoption, international or domestic, is a continuous process which enriches everyone's life.

November 8, 2010. A Sad and Wrong Story. Kevin Cohen, an attorney in New York, was convicted of stealing over $300,000 from potential adoptive parents for non-existent domestic adoptive placements. Cohen was found guilty of grand larceny, forgery and other charges. He could be sentenced to 92 years in prison. Cohen provided PAPs with fake sonograms and forged hospital records. While Cohen has been brought to justice, we feel for the PAPs who wasted their hearts and minds on this scam artist. More Information.

November 4, 2010. U.S. Government Updates. We are pleased that the Kazakhstan government is now allowing expedited passport services for potential adopted children. This reinstatement will lessen the time the grandfathered Kazakhstan cases take. The Department of State is reporting that a bill is pending before Ukraine's legislature which would suspend international adoption from any country that has entered into a bilateral treaty on adoption with Ukraine. The bill is making steady progress and if it passes it will cause the suspension of all pending and in process adoptions from Ukraine. DOS is negotiating a bilateral agreement on adoption with Russia but the U.S government has strongly expressed a preference for Hague adoptions as opposed to IA governed by bilateral agreements. More Information.

November 3, 2010. Chinese Preference for Sons Eroded; New Non-Special Needs Referrals Reflect This Trend. China's rapidly urbanizing population is shedding its traditional preference for sons over daughters. Contributing factors include the growing unimportance of sons to work as agricultural labor as well as the Chinese government campaign emphasizing the worth of daughters. Also very important is the real estate bubble sweeping China. A family with a son is expected to buy their boy an apartment and fewer Chinese families can afford to do so. China's latest decennial census is expected to reflect the growing percentage of families with daughters. The effect of this attitudinal and actual shift can also be seen in this week's referrals for non-special needs adoption. The number of families referred children, covering LIDs from May 19 through May 23, 2006, was unusually small, even for these times. Again the CCAA is reflecting what seems to be a Chinese government decision to transform the international adoption program into a special needs and waiting children program. More Information.

November 2, 2010. National Adoption Month. November is National Adoption Month. President Obama's proclamation began with these words: "Giving a child a strong foundation -- a home, a family to love, and a safe place to grow -- is one of life's greatest and most generous gifts. Through adoption, both domestic and international, Americans from across our country have provided secure environments for children who need them, and these families have benefited from the joy an adopted child can bring." We agree. More Information.

November 1, 2010. Update for Transition Kazakhstan Prospective Adoptive Parents. Kazakhstan will become a Hague Convention country today. In this regard the official position of the government of Kazakhstan on transition cases qualify as such only if "the Kazakhstani Embassy or Consulate General sent the dossier to the Kazakhstan Ministry of Foreign Affairs on or before May 25, 2010." Cases which fall into this category will be processed as I-600/A cases under non-Hague procedures. However, current Kazakhstan PAPs whose dossiers do not make this timeline will most likely have to file a Form I-800A and follow Hague program procedures. More Information.

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