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January 2011

January 31, 2011. Eighth Annual Adoption Law and Policy Conference Registration Begins Later This Week. Registration for the Eighth Annual Adoption Law and Policy Conference, sponsored by the Center for Adoption Policy and New York Law School, to be held on March 4, 2011 at New York Law School, will begin at the end of this week. This year's topic is "The Federal Government and Adoption: How International Law and Domestic Policies Are Transforming Adoption." Speakers include Ambassador Susan Jacobs, the Special Advisor for Children at the Department of State, J. Wally Bird of USCIS and Susan Bissell, representing Unicef. Look for the registration on this site very soon.

January 26, 2011. European Union Parliament Adopts Resolution on International Adoption. The legislature of the European Union last week adopted a resolution calling for "consideration to be given to the possibility of coordinating at European level strategies concerning the instrument of international adoption, in accordance with international conventions, in order to improve assistance in the areas of information services, preparation for inter-country adoption, the processing of applications for international adoption and post-adoption services, bearing in mind that all international conventions relating to the protection of the rights of the child recognise the right of orphaned or abandoned children to have a family and to be protected." This resolution is a milestone for those of us who believe that IA must remain a method of family creation for unparented children. In the past EU money has been used to help close IA programs, most notably in Romania. Now we are so pleased to welcome the EU Parliament's vote in favor of including IA in the arsenal of pro-children remedies. Moreover, the acknowledgement that all children have a right to a family in the context of this resolution is an important victory in the on-going effort to make the right to a permanent, loving family part of the civil rights of every child the world over. For the full text of the resolution, click here.

January 25, 2011. Public Law 109-95: Assistance for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children. USAID has just released its Fourth Annual Report to Congress on Public Law 109-95, The Assistance for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children. Titled, "A Whole-of-Government Approach to Child Welfare and Protection", the publication details the interagency cooperation under this legislation which was passed in 2005. This report contains a wealth of information on the plight of children worldwide and the ways in which American assistance is allocated. We urge members of the adoption community to review this important publication.

January 24, 2011. Ukraine Prospective Adoptive Parents Urged to Contact DOS. The Department of State has urged Ukraine prospective adoptive parents to make sure that they have given their contact information and case status to the U.S. Embassy Kyiv Adoption Unit. A family's case status usually falls under the following categories: registered, received referral, received match or in court. Such information is particularly crucial since Ukraine's parliament has been considering a moratorium on international adoption to the U.S. According to DOS, there are approximately 180 in process families. The address for the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv is: kyivadoptions@state.gov.

January 18, 2011. International Adoption From China Today. During 2010 the China Center for Adoption Affairs placed children from the non-special needs adoption program with prospective adoptive parents whose dossiers had been logged in between April 3 and April 29, 2006. Given the time it takes for PAPs to prepare dossiers to be sent to China and the wait after referral for travel approval and actual travel, NSN adoption from China to the United States took over five years by the end of 2010. At the same time CCAA has accelerated placement and travel of children on the special needs list and created an even more more stepped up "special focus" program which allows PAPs to bring two unrelated children home from China simultaneously. CCAA is also permitting PAPs in the special focus program to re-use dossiers submitted within the previous year. We urge all adoption service providers to communicate clearly the current realities of the China international adoption program to all clients, current and prospective.

January 13, 2011. Government Updates and Alerts. The Department of State reports that the Ukrainian parliament has postponed action on a proposed bill to place a moratorium on intercountry adoption. The U.S. Embassy Kyiv requests that prospective adoptive parents with cases in Ukraine contact U.S. Embassy Kyiv Adoption Unit detailing the details and time line of their pending adoptions. The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal has announced that if the fingerprints of Nepal pipeline parents currently in Kathmandu are expiring, these PAPs may be re-fingerprinted at a U.S. embassy abroad. PAPs may request a one-time no-fee re-fingerprinting. Thereafter the charge of $85 applies. When at all possible, USCIS recommends that PAPs do their fingerprint updates prior to traveling to Nepal.

January 11, 2011. Crucial Medical Journal Article Linking MMR vaccine to Autism was a Hoax. In 1998 an article by Dr. Andrew Wakefield in the highly regard British medical journal, The Lancet, linked the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to an increase in autism. This report started an avalanche of negative publicity destroying confidence in the safety of the MMR shot and causing many parents to refuse to have their children vaccinated. However, Dr. Wakefield's work has been totally discredited; last year he lost his license to practice medicine in Britain. Now the British Medical Journal has reviewed the six million word transcript of the Medical Council hearings. Dr. Fiona Godlee, the editor of the Journal announced this week that there were huge disparities between Wakefield's "findings" and the actual case histories of the children he supposedly based his work on and has concluded that Wakefield perpetrated one of the major hoaxes in British medical history. More Information.

January 10, 2011. Department of State Request For Updated Information from Guatemala Grandfathered PAPs. Following the December meetings of Ambassador Susan Jacobs with Guatemalan officials, including President Alvaro Colom, the Department of State is asking potential adoptive parents with grandfathered cases in Guatemala to notify DOS as to the PAPs name, the name and date of birth of the child to be adopted and the date that the family filed its I-600/A petition with USCIS. This email should be sent to ASKCI@state.gov and the subject line should read "Guatemala Master List." Having the most current information will help DOS and USCIS work toward resolving these cases, some of which reach back for more than three years. More Information.

January 6, 2011. Process Under Help Haiti Act Gets Rolling. We are delighted to say that the process for Sponsor/Adoptive Parents of Haitian Children who were granted humanitarian parole in the wake of last year's earthquake to apply for legal permanent residence and have a pathway to citizenship under the Help Haiti Act of 2010 is underway. USCIS has sent letters to Sponsor/Parents informing them of the new process. In addition, the requirements are set out on the USCIS website referenced below. Applications under Help Haiti must be filed on or before December 9, 2013. Please note that this road to permanent status only applies to children who came to the United States pursuant to the specific Haitian humanitarian parole program in effect as to new applications from January 18, 2010 through April 14, 2010. The swift implementation of Help Haiti is an important achievement for USCIS. More Information.

January 5, 2011. Assisted Reproductive Technology and Adoption in the News. The New York Times featured a long-first person account concerning assisted reproductive technology in the Times magazine on January 2,2010. The author, Melanie Thernstrom, discussed in detail her open egg-donation and surrogacy arrangements which resulted in the birth of "twiblings:" two children who were conceived by using eggs donated by the same woman but who were born days apart with the assistance of two different gestational carriers. Times Columnist Ross Douhat weighed in on adoption, abortion and ARTS the next day; his article may be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/03/opinion/03douthat.html?_r=1&ref=rossdouthat. Well over four hundred comments have been posted by readers since Douhat's article appeared two days ago.

Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)
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