Center for Adoption Policy
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August 2011

August 31, 2011. CAP Co-Sponsors Forum on Current Issues in International Adoption. We are proud to announce that we are co-sponsoring a forum in Washington D.C. together with the Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia, to be held on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at the offices of Vinson & Elkins (2200 Pensylvania Avenue, NW). The speakers are Lynda Zengerl, Karen Law and Diane Kunz of the Center for Adoption Policy. We will speak about recent developments in international adoption, practical implications of the new legal environment and considerations for potential adoptive parents. For registration, please go to www.wbadc.org.

August 30, 2011. How We Wish it Could Be. Today we received an email which began as follows: "Colleagues, I am writing this message as one of the Section's liaisons to the U.S. State Department, which is seeking feedback from practicing lawyers regarding the following questions relating to the domestic implementation of the Hague Convention..." We were delighted to think that the Department of State was soliciting comments from the adoption community on the way in which the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption has been implemented. However, we were crestfallen to learn that DOS was requesting input on a different Hague treaty, the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements, rather than the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. We urge DOS to follow the lead of officials in its other divisions and increase input and knowledge acquisition between and among all adoption stakeholders. Only then can we make international adoption work in the best way possible for the people who matter most-children without permanent, loving families.

August 29, 2011. Court Case Shines Spotlight on Case Where the System Failed In the Worst Way Possible. For almost 30 years, Judith Leekin grew rich by exploiting the child welfare system. Despite having been investigated and censured in 1980 for scalding a foster child in her care, Leekin was able to adopt 11 disabled New York foster children, move to Florida and then torment and torture these children, yet collect almost $1.7 million in subsidies from New York city. While Leekin used four aliases to adopt the children, she always used the same address. Had officials ever checked their files, Leekin's culpability would have come to light far earlier. The 10 children still alive suffered horrendous permanent damage; one child is missing, presumed dead. More Information.

August 25, 2011. Government and Other Updates:
DOS Issues Notice Concerning Background of Children Adopted From China.
As reported in this column during the spring, the U.S. media has again picked up on articles in the Chinese media detailing alleged seizures of Chinese children from their birth families by local Chinese family planning officials in 2005. These children may have been sent to orphanages and ultimately adopted internationally. (We also discussed possible domestic Chinese political factors which might explain why these allegations, which had been reported by Western journalists years ago were permitted to appear in the highly regulated Chinese media in 2011). Responding to U.S. adoptive parents' questions, the Department of State reminds APs that DOS and USCIS officials investigate the documentation presented by all PAPs prior to issuing I-600s or I-800s. DOS also reports that the U.S. Embassy Beijing has been in touch with CCCWA and finally, that APs should direct their questions on this subject to their adoption service providers. More Information.

August 24, 2011. An Ethics Journal Looks at International Adoption. The most recent issue of Carnegie Ethics Online, published by the Carnegie Council, "the Voice for Ethics in International Affairs," contains an excellent article about international adoption. Entitled, "Love and Legislation: The International Politics of Inter-Country Adoption," this article, by Alison M.S. Watson, examines the attack on international adoption. As Ms. Watson puts it, "Policymakers might make better use of their time if they actually tackled the root causes of inter-country adoption that continue to exist in developing countries - the searing poverty and inequality, and the soaring levels of HIV infection - rather than spending so much time trying to legislate it out of existence. Whilst no one is denying that adoption needs to be transparent, ethical, and in the best interests of the child, I would argue that when done right, inter-country adoptions can be beneficial for all concerned - because the real story of inter-country adoption can be seen in the thousands of children who have received better life chances as a result, and the thousands more who have been denied that possibility." We heartily concur.

Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)
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