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June 2011

June 30, 2011. Government Notices and Alerts Focus on Haiti. The Department of State has issued an alert on independent adoptions from Haiti. DOS correctly states that adopting through accredited adoption agencies is a far more reliable process: "Non-licensed facilitators may lack experience in navigating the complex Haitian adoption process, and this could lead to delays and critical mistakes in processing the case." Moreover, not mentioned in the DOS update, are the recent comments of the new president of Haiti, Michel Martelly, as reported by the French semi-official news agency that "he would issue a presidential decree to tighten up Haiti's adoption procedures and ensure all applications go through authorized entities" which would therefore eliminate independent adoptions. Martelly's comments came during the second round of meetings among donor countries to Haiti concentrating on adoption in general and Haiti's accession to the Hague Convention in particular. Ambassador Susan Jacobs represented the United States during these meetings which were held in Haiti from June 22-24. More Information on Haitian adoption.

June 29, 2011. The Scientific War Against Girls. Recent articles and books have added new evidence to the tragedy facing girls in many parts of the world. Worse than the institutionalized discrimination which blights the lives of girls in scores of countries is the dramatic effect of advances in science on gender imbalances. In her new books, Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, Mara Hvistendahl details how the availability of ultrasounds and easy access to abortion, abetted by first world intellectual encouragement, has radically skewed the gender imbalances, particularly in the developing world. Now we have a newspaper report that doctors in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have surgically transformed up to three hundred girls into boys throughout the world. Ranjana Kumari, from the Center for Social Research called this surgery indicative of India's growing "social madness..."The figures are getting worse. In 2001 there were 886 girls born to every 1,000 boys in Delhi. Today there are only 866. The more educated and rich you are, the more there is killing of girls," she said. More Information.

June 16, 2011. Government and Other Updates. The Department of State has issued two updates this week. Its Guatemala notice states that the Office of Children's Issues has delivered a letter of understanding to the CNA pertaining to the U.S government's role in the CNA's proposal for completing the transition cases - the adoption cases which had begun prior to the shutdown of adoption from Guatemala on December 31, 2007. Prospective adoptive parents who have waited over four years for their children to come home can only hope that this development will not be another false dawn.

The Vietnam notice is both an update and a warning. ASPs and PAPS are cautioned that "Intercountry adoption is not possible from Vietnam at this time. Adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents should not seek or accept new (or potential) adoption referrals from Vietnam until an announcement is posted that the United States Citizenship and Information Service (USCIS) is again processing new I-600 or I-800 petitions for intercountry adoption in Vietnam." We hope that all members of the community will take this warning to heart. DOS also states that Vietnam is planning to ratify the Hague in July; it would then become effective in November 2011. However, as DOS makes clear, the Vietnamese decisions do not guarantee that the US central authority - DOS - will make the necessary finding that Vietnam's adoption program comports with the standards set forth in our Intercountry Adoption Act. Only after that finding is made can adoptions with Vietnam resume. More Information.

June 9, 2011. Government and Other Updates. The Department of State has issued a new update on Cambodia. As Office of Children's Issues officials previously have stated, on her trip to Asia, Ambassador Susan Jacobs met with Cambodian officials in March 2011 and encouraged them to delay their contemplated re-opening of International Adoption, having explained what protections must be in place from the U.S. perspective before we will be able to resume adoptions between our two countries. She also urged Cambodian officials to do everything necessary to become a Hague convention country. In response, the Cambodian government has now announced that the receiving of adoption petitions will not begin until April 1, 2012. We observe that posted dates such as this generally slip further in months to come. More Information.

June 8, 2011. Adult Adoptions Seem to be On the Rise. Adult adoption, although still relatively uncommon, appears to be increasing. Adult adopters include foster parents at long last adopting children they have raised, gay partners who wish to solve inheritance of medical access issues and people who adopt younger people who do not have a family relationship. One adoption that falls into the last category is profiled in the below article. As that story shows, no one ever outgrows the need for a permanent, loving family. More Information.

June 6, 2011. British National Health Starts Ban on ARTS for Men who Smoke. British National Health Service practices have instituted a policy of giving breathalyzer tests or mouth swabs to men who wish to father a child using NHS programs. This ban on male donors who smoke follows a similar ban on providing ARTS services for potential genetic mothers who smoke. While there is evidence that smoking before conception can reduce the chances of a successful donor implantation and can harm the fetus, there is very little proof that smoking can damage sperm. In the opinion of a spokeperson for Infertity Network UK (similar to the U.S. Resolve), "If they are basing this on medical evidence, then I don't think couples would have an argument with it. "But if they are doing it simply to ration treatment, then that would be wrong." More Information.

June 2, 2011. Department of State Updates. This week the Department of State has issued updates on Ethiopia and Guatemala. Both make for very depressing reading. As regards Ethiopia, the U.S. embassy in Ethiopia has reported that the processing of cases which had passed court prior to March 8, while proceeding, is being delayed further than previously indicated. Cases which had not been through court at that time are being processed at the rate of 5 cases a day and "there is no indication that these numbers will increase in the short term." The Guatemalan notice reiterates the lack of progress in the pipeline cases. More Information.

June 1, 2011. Kyrgyz President Signs Law Allowing International Adoption. Roza Otunbaeva, the president of Kyrgyzstan signed a law, previously approved by Parliament, allowing for international adoption. This law ends a two year moratorium. Over 60 orphans are trapped in Kyrgyzstan waiting to join U.S. families who were in the process of adopting them. Tragically, two pipeline children have died. We salute this decision by the Kyrgyz government as well as the efforts of the U.S. government officials who worked on this issue. We also send our appreciation to NGOs such as Joint Council which also devoted so much time to these unparented children. Our hope is that the in-process children will be allowed to join their potential adoptive parents as soon as possible. More Information.

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