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September 2010

September 29, 2010. "Adoption Season for Evangelicals." In a Wall Street Journal op-ed page piece last week, columnist Naomi S. Riley demonstrated the truth of the above-quoted title. From Grace Chapel in Denver, to the cover of Christianity Today magazine, to the efforts of Focus on the Family, evangelical Christians are increasingly living out the view that Christians are called on to adopted because, in the words of Russell Moore, dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, "everyone of us who follows Christ was adopted into an already existing family." The results of this movement are clear - in the numbers of children, both international and domestic, whose adopting parents cite evangelical Christianity as a prime motivating factor. The public policy effects if this worldview can also be seen, for example, by looking at the six state government which have formed partnerships with Focus on the Family to increase the numbers of children adopted from foster care.

September 23, 2010. Government Updates and Bulletins. The Department of State has issued another update on international adoption from Nepal, this one concerning extensions of Nepal's 60-day travel authorization permission. According to DOS, the Nepalese government is a "caretaker government": all ministries are currently headed by officials who will be replaced as soon as a permanent government has been formed. While the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare gave U.S. officials a verbal promise to extend these travel documents several weeks ago, the Ministry is, according to DOS, not focusing on adoption issues and has been unwilling to give written confirmation of the extensions of travel authorization. This puts potential adoptive families in a very difficult position because the U.S. government is advising them not to travel to Nepal until the I-604 investigation is complete but the families do not have written permission from the Nepalese government to delay their travel. More Information.

September 22, 2010. CAP's Letter to Representative Zoe Lofgren. This is the letter we have sent to Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, the Chair of the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law:

Dear Chairwoman Lofgren,

We write in support of the Help Haiti Act of 2010 (HR 5283).

In the aftermath of the tragic earthquake which hit Haiti on January 12, 2010, the United States government, through its humanitarian parole program, allowed over 1100 Haitian children who were in the process of being adopted by U.S. families to come here.

But the job is only half done: these children need permanent legal status. The Help Haiti Act will give them that status. This bill has broad support; it is important that we get this done as soon as possible for the children who have suffered so much, and whose lives will be immeasurably benefited. Please help make this bill a reality before Congress adjourns.

September 21, 2010. Let's Get Help Haiti Act of 2010 Enacted. The Help Haiti Act of 2010 is designed to regularize the immigration status of Haitian children who came to the United States with humanitarian parole in the months following the tragic earthquake of January 12, 2010. The House of Representatives has passed its version of the bill (HR 5283); the Senate has passed a somewhat different bill (S. 3411). We urge Congressman and Senators to reconcile their differences in order to send a final bill to President Obama for signature as soon as possible. To this end we are listing on our government bulletins page a list of contact information for various key Senators and Congressman. We ask that adoptive families contact the legislative offices as soon as possible to explain how important this bill is, to their individual families in particular, and to the adoption community in general.

September 20, 2010. HHS Awards Major Grants for States to Increase Adoptions. The Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that it was giving $39 million in adoption incentive grants to 38 states and Puerto Rico. Each state will get $4,000 for every child adopted above their previous best year's total (from 2007 and later), together with $8,000 for every child 9 and older and $4,000 for every special needs child adopted. These grants are in line with HHS' policy of encouraging adoption for children in foster care. We certainly agree with HH Secretary Kathleen Sibelius who said: "All children deserve loving, safe and permanent homes." More Information.

September 16, 2010. U.S. Government Updates and Alerts. The Department of State has issue an Adoption Alert for Kazakhstan warning potential adoptive parents that the Kazakh government has implemented an new passport requirement which will create processing delays for all passports, including those of adopted children, of about three months. Also, the expediting service for passports has been discontinued. Therefore PAPs should consult with their adoption service providers on the best way to cope with this extended wait period. More Information.

September 15, 2010. Pius Bannis Is Federal Employee of the Year. Pius Bannis, USCIS Field Office Director in Haiti, has been honored as Federal Employee of the Year for his work in Haiti in the aftermath of January 12th's tragic earthquake. We are so proud to be able to join in the congratulations to Mr. Bannis whose work on behalf of the Haitian children who came to the United States with humanitarian parole has already made him a legend in the adoption community. His work exemplifies government service at its finest.

September 28, 2010. Contradictory Report on China's One Child Policy. We previously wrote about discussions in Chinese and Western media speculating the China's economic miracle would lead to revisions in China's thirty year old one child policy. However according to China Daily this week, Li Bin, head of the National Population and Family Council, stated that: "We will stick to the family planning policy in the coming decades." This three decade-long approach contributed both to China's economic success and to the growth of international adoption from China but brought with it a significant gender imbalance. However, Zhang Feng, the director of Guangdong's family planning commission, predicted some loosening in the policy after 2015 and predicted: "After 2030, any Guangdong couple could have a second child. That's just my personal view." Obviously, clarity on China's population program has not yet emerged. More Information.

September 27, 2010. A Victory for Children. Florida's Third District Court of Appeals last week unanimously ruled in favor Martin Gill, a gay man who sought to overturn Florida's statute which banned gays and lesbians from adopting children. This excellent decision which stated that there was "no rational basis" to this discrimination also set forth that the law violated Florida's State Constitution pledge of equal protection. The decision will allow many more children to find permanent, loving homes as well as end a heart-wrenching discriminatory practice. The Center for Adoption Policy is proud to have joined the amici brief in this case.

September 14, 2010. One-Child Rule in China Weakens Further. We are reading various reports that confirm the trend against the one-child rule in China. This rule contributed to a striking imbalance in the number of children born in Chinba who are boys rather than girls. Over thirty years ago, when the one child policy was first implemented, China was a poot agricultural society. The Communist government having presided over food shortages and famines, clamped down on population growth. Today the Chinese population is rapidly aging, gender imbalanced and increasingly affluent. Families are willing to pay huge fines to have more children while the leadership's fears of an eroding worker class now trump food concerns. The one-child policy also contributed to the rise in international adoption from China; its decline parallels the fall off in non-special needs adoption referrals from China.

September 13, 2010. Missouri Adoption Case May be Heard by State's Supreme Court. Encarnacion M. Bail Romero, in the United States illegally, was arrested in 2007 during a raid on a poultry processing plant. Shortly thereafter her infant son was placed in the custody of Seth and Melina Moser who then proceeded to adopt the boy in 2008 after the court first found that the child had been abandoned by Ms. Bail Romero, who was serving a two year prison sentence. Ms. Bail Romero, who will not be deported until this case is finally adjudicated, appealed and the adoption was overturned by the Missouri appellate court on July 21. The Mosers have filed a petition with the state Supreme Court on the grounds that the reunification of the child with his birth mother would take the boy from the only family he has every known and remove him from the United States to Guatemala, a country where he has never been and where he cannot speak the language. More Information.

September 9, 2010. Government Bulletins This Week. The Department of State this week has informed prospective adoptive parents with pipeline cases in Nepal that the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu has only received verbal approval from the government of Nepal to extend the travel authorization period for more than the current 60 days. For that reason the Department of State and USCIS will prioritize I-604A investigations of documents of PAPs who have already received their GON travel authorization. For More Information please contact LincolnRA@state.gov.

September 8, 2010. Update on Legislation Pertaining to Haitian Children with Humanitarian Parole. The House of Representatives and Senate have each passed a version of The Help Haiti Act of 2010, (H.R. 5283, S. 3411). This bill is intend to ease the process of obtaining legal permanent resident status for the Haitian children who came to the United States through the humanitarian parole program in effect for new applications from January 12, 2010 until April 15, 2010. For this bill to be passed by both houses of Congress, one of the following actions must occur: the House passes the Senate version, the Senate passes the House version or a conference committee decides on a third version which both houses then vote on affirmatively. We eagerly await the actions which will make the Help Haiti Act law.

September 7, 2010. Reminder on ABA/CAP/AAAA Webinar on Finalizing Adoptions of Haitian Children who came to the United States with Humanitarian Parole. The free webinar sponsored by CAP, the American Bar Association and the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys for lawyers and professionals and parents who want to learn more about the procedures for finalizing the adoptions of Haitian children here with humanitarian parole will be held tomorrow at 2:00 pm EST. The call-in information and links to important materials may be found at: http://new.abanet.org/child/Pages/Haiti.aspx.

September 2, 2010. Government Alerts and Updates on the Bulletin Page. We will be endeavoring to update the Government Bulletin page every Thursday and summarizing any new bulletins posted during the week, including links to the DOS posts. This week the Department of State has posted alerts (the more serious category) on Nepal and Rwanda. New updates were posted on Ethiopia and Liberia. The appropriate information and links can be found by clicking here.

September 1, 2010. Contemplating Adoption: Documentary Series and New Book. P.O.V., a documentary series on PBS is screening a series of films on adoption. Wo Ai Ni Mommy, which focuses on the adoption of an older child from China, is on public television stations this week (check local listings). Off and Running recounts the story of a girl adopted by a lesbian family in Brooklyn who searches for her birth parents. In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee, which ends the series, tells the story of an adoptee's investigation into her Korean life before her U.S. adoption. NPR host Scott Simon has written Baby We Were Meant for Each Other. This book is both an account of Simon and his wife's adoption of two daughters from China and a refreshing rejoinder to anti-adoption preachings.

Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)
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