October 28, 2010. Thursday Updates. This week the Department of State's updates concern Nepal and Kazakhstan:
DOS has informed the adoption community that Kazakhstan will become a party to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption on November 1, 2010. The Kazakh government has informed DOS that it will not accept any new international adoption applications until it has put into place a Hague compliant system, estimated to be in March 1, 2011, at the earliest. Prospective adoptive parents wishing to adopt from Kazakhstan may file a I-800A form with USCIS after November 1, 2010. But DOS strongly warns PAPs "not to enter into any agreement, implied or stated, regarding the prospective adoption of a child in Kazakhstan until such a time as the Government of Kazakhstan establishes the requirements and regulations governing the intercountry adoption of its citizens." Furthermore adoption service providers are reminded "that they should not offer or appear to offer adoption services in Kazakhstan (other than for those transition cases still being processed under the former regulations) until the Government of Kazakhstan authorizes specific adoption service providers." We hope both PAPs and ASPs will take these warnings seriously.
DOS has informed PAPs who are in the Nepal pipeline that this week Secretary Shrestha of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare has provided Ambassador DeLisi with written assurances that the Ministry is granting 60 day extensions (limited to a total of 120 days) to PAPs who are in process and awaiting DOS/USCIS determinations. In adoption the Secretary indicated that the Government of Nepal will look with favor on further extensions, should they be necessary. For More Information on updates and alerts please see http://adoption.state.gov/news/notices.html.
October 27, 2010. Haiti Faces Cholera Epidemic Threat. An outbreak of cholera has already killed over 250 people and affected more than 3,000 other people. Cholera is an extremely contagious, vicious illness which is associated with lack of clean water and proper sewage systems. Aid workers have long been concerned that poor conditions in Haitian tent cities could lead to an epidemic; now the frst signs of that dreadful reality have come true. We know, however, of 1,150 children who are not at risk for cholera: these are the Haitian children who came to the Unied States to be reunited with their potential adoptive families under the grant of humanitarian parole. More Information.
October 26, 2010. Foster Care Appropriations Cut in the United States, Too. The dramatic cuts in government support for foster care are not only occurring in other parts of the world; children's benefits are fair game in the United States as well. To take one example, before he signed the bill providing for the state budget, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger used his line item veto to slash nearly $1 billion of appropriations. These cuts mainly came out of special education, welfare and childcare programs, including financial support for foster children. As was the case in Romania, as is the case in Britain, as is the case in many U.S. states, the appropriations for children are considered the budget "excess" that can be most palatably be eliminated. More information.
October 25, 2010. What Happened to the Some of the Children Who Could Not Be Adopted in Romania. International adoption from Romania ended in 2004, largely at the behest of anti-international adoption ideologues. The most influential was Emma Nicholson who, as the committee chair of Romania's application to join the European Union, was able to use the promise of EU membership as a carrot. Appropriations of EU funds for Romanian foster care program provided a further incentive. Now that the EU and Romanian financial incentives have been turned off by the global recession, the unparented children of Romania are suffering by the hundreds. Foster parents cannot afford to keep the children they previously sheltered; the children are being once again abandoned. Furthermore, the bulk of institutionalized children in Romania are of Roma origin and they are doubly stigmatized in orphanages because of their background. These developments once again illuminate the difference between a permanent, loving family and all other kinds of care.
October 21, 2010. Government and Other Updates. The Department of State has not issues any adoption alerts or notices this week. The DOS conference call on Guatemala will be next Monday, October 25 at 11am EDT. (See October 18 Newscap entry for details.) The case of Nathaniel Carver continues to travel through the judicial system. Nathanial, born in Russia and adopted at a young age by a Pennsylvania couple, was seven when he died on August 25, 2009. His adoptive parents, Michael and Nanette, have been charged with first and third-degree murder. They face the death penalty if convicted. The publicity surrounding Nathaniel's death was one of the motivating forces behind the current negotiations between Russia and the United States over a bilateral agreement on international adoption.
October 20, 2010. Updates on China Special Needs Adoption Program. The China Special Needs Adoption program continues to expand and is currently allowing adoptive parents to bring home children within months. Last night the China Center for Adoption Affairs released a new set of children's files to the shared list. Children as young as nine or ten months with medical issues have already been placed today. Potential adoptive parents who wish to adopt a child on the special focus list have more time to complete their paperwork; the number of PAPs choosing this list continues to increase. Agencies which have participated in the Hope Journey camp programs are still working to find homes for these older children who U.S. social workers hosted at designated events in China. For example ASIA has files for a number of children which are due to go back to CCAA at the end of October if families are not found for these children. More Information.
October 19, 2010. International Adoptions Increasing from Ethiopia. While overall the number of international adoptions to the United States continues its sharp decline, adoptions from Ethiopia continue to rise. Six years ago, at the height of U.S. international adoption, fewer than 300 adoptions occurred in Ethiopia. This year, the number will rise to approximately 2,500. A Congressional delegation, accompanied by Department of State officials, recently visited Ethiopia and were favorably impressed by the quality of the adoption program. In the words of Ambassador Susan Jacobs, DOS' special advisor for children's issues, "What's encouraging is they want to work with us, they want to do it right... Other countries should look at what Ethiopia is trying to do." More Information.
October 18, 2010. Department of State Schedules Conference Call on Guatemala. On Monday, October 25, the Office of Children's Issues of the Department of State, will hold a conference call on international adoption from Guatemala. The call is open to prospective adoptive parents, adoption service providers and adoption stakeholders on Monday, October 25, at 11:00 am EDT. The focus of the call is DOS' recent decision to withdraw the United States application for selection as one of the countries to participate in the pilot adoption program to be launched by the Guatemalan government.
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October 14, 2010. Government Announcements and Alerts. USCIS has announced fee increases for immigration services, effective November 23, 2010. I-600/A and I-800/A fees will rise from $670 to $ 720 and the fingerprint fee (biometrics) goes up to $85 to 80. Other increases are detailed on the USCIS.gov website.
The Department of State has communicated with Nepal pipeline families concerning the 60 day Nepalese travel authorization issue as well as the general status of the- in process families. Any Nepal prospective adoptive parent who has not received these updates should check with their adoption service provider or contact us.
DOS has also announced that immigration visas for international adoption from Mexico are now being processed at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. Formerly they were processed in Ciudad Juarez. Prospective adoptive parents should plan accordingly.
October 13, 2010. Do Child Protection Services' Visits Make a Difference? A new study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, appears to show that the investigations of Child Protective Services did not help the future outcome of children and families under scrutiny. The study looked at close to 600 families and compared the case studies of families which had been investigated by CPS with those that had not. The outcomes for children were not any better in the group that had been investigated; indeed the only difference in the groups was that mothers in the investigated group exhibited more signs of depression. Since 1974, when Congress passed the Child Abuse and Treatment Act, investigation of child abuse reports has been a major area of child protection policy. In 2007 across the United States CPS departments investigated over three million cases of child abuse. More Information.
October 7, 2010. Government Notices and Bulletins: U.S. Government Decides to Pull Out of Guatemala Pilot International Adoption Program. The United States withdrew its letter of interest in the Guatemalan pilot international adoption program this week. The Department of State explained this decision as follows: "The U.S. decision to withdraw its letter of interest is based on concerns that adoptions under the pilot program would not meet the requirements of the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention. Specifically, the United States believes that more safeguards for children should be in place before the CNA could start processing new intercountry adoptions." DOS has also posted a FAQs sheet on this decision regarding IA from Guatemala which can be accessed through the link below. More Information.
October 6, 2010. Haitian Refugees Losing Their Tent Homes. As the reconstruction effort in Haiti lags, Haitians who sought refuge in tent cities are increasingly facing eviction from the fragile shelter they have. Landlords view the earthquake victims as squatters who destroy their property and sabotage the chance for profitable land sales. Almost 150,000 people have faced threats of eviction and about 30,000 have actually been forced to leave, according to NGO reports. The political process in Haiti remains largely on hold, in anticipation of the Presidential elections set for next month; foreign governments are demonstrating a wait and see attitude about assistance grants until then as well. The evicted remain homeless with nowhere to go. More Information.
October 5, 2010. Nobel Prize in Medicine Goes to Biologist Who Developed IVF. Dr. Robert G. Edwards, an English biologist who, together with Dr. Patrick Steptoe, discovered the process of in-vitro fertilization, was awarded this year's Nobel Prize for Medicine. The first "test-tube" baby was born in 1978 and since then approximately four million children have been born using this process. Dr. Steptoe has died and because of health reasons, Dr. Edwards, who worked for many years at Cambridge University, will apparently not be able to appreciate the significance of the Nobel Prize. Usually the Nobel Committee does not take over 30 years to recognize scientific achievement. No doubt the initially controversial nature of assisted reproductive technology delayed this award. In recent years IVF has become increasingly accepted as a method of family creation so that we forget how widespread the objections and questions were in the 1970s. More Information.
October 4, 2010. New Non-Special Needs Referrals from China. The China Center for Adoption Affairs has sent referrals for Non-Special Needs children to prospective adoptive parents whose dossiers were logged in with CCAA between May 16 and May 18, 2006. As is true each month, the wait for children from the NSN program continues to increase: it will be close to five years from when these families started the adoption process to when the PAPs meet their children. However, the Special Focus program, which was only begun on September 1, is proceeding extremely fast. There are families participating who adopted earlier this year and are now planning to bring home two special needs or special focus children in the first half of next year.
Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)