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December 2012

December 28, 2012. The Russian Tragedy and What Comes Next. Now that President Putin of Russia has signed the ban on international adoption of by U.S. citizens of Russian children, which will go into effect on January 1, we will be following a two-pronged strategy: to see if this law can be reversed but also to help formulate a plan which would allow pipeline Russian children who are in process to be adopted by U.S. families to come home to the United States.

We believe that families who have received and accepted referrals of specific children from Russia should be grandfathered and therefore allowed to bring their children home. We think it is crucial for all branches of the government to become involved. In-process families should not hesitate to contact their Representatives and Senators for guidance and support. Congress has been a bulwark in previous similar situations.

How tragic for unparented children in Russia.

December 20, 2012. Senator Mary Landrieu to Speak at CAP/NYLS Conference. We are honored to announce that Senator Mary Landrieu (D. La), the foremost advocate for children in the U.S. Congress, will be speaking at the Tenth Annual Adoption Law and Policy Conference, to be held on March 1, 2013 at New York Law School. In this past year Senator Landrieu, Co-Chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, has successfully sponsored the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 and Senate Resolution 595 which supports the goals of National Adoption Month and National Adoption Day. Thank you, Senator Landrieu, for all you do and for agreeing to speak at the CAP/NYLS Conference. Registration information will be available here in January.

December 19, 2012. The Russian Crisis Expands. Russian police took 15 demonstrators into custody today for demonstrating in front of the Russian Duma (Parliament) against the proposed ban by Russia of all international adoption to the U.S. Lev Kukhovyesky, 28, a historian and demonstrator, explained the protest by saying "They [the deputies] are committing an awful act against our people... We would like to show that we are not indifferent." Years of patient diplomacy by U.S. and Russian negotiators are being disregarded and once again, children who have no voice at the table, are being used as pawns in a dispute having nothing to do with children. We hope that President Putin, who originally made favorable comments about this bill, will signal his strong disapproval and prevent this bill from becoming law. More Information.

December 18, 2012. Will Russian Parliament Vote to Ban U.S. Adoption from Russia? Following up yesterday's post, we have now learned that the Duma (Russian Parliament) may voted this week on a bill which would ban all Russian adoption by U.S. citizens and ban all U.S. adoption agencies from working in Russia. Deputy Speaker of the Duma Sergei Neverov told the official Russian news agency that "I think it will be approved." The adoption ban would be attached to the Yakolev bill discussed in yesterday's post. More Information.

December 17, 2012. Russian President Supports Penalizing U.S. Adoption Judges in Retaliatory Move. President Vladimir Putin gave his backing for proposed Russian legislation which would place sanctions on U.S. judges who presided over criminal cases involving U.S. adoptive parents of Russian born children. The potential Russian law is payback for the Magnitsky amendment which Congress attached to a bill improving U.S.-Russian trade relations. It places sanctions on Russian citizens accused of human rights abuses and is named for Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who perished in prison. The Russian proposed legislation would be called the Yakovlev bill; Dmitri Yakolev was a Russian born toddler who perished of heat stroke when his adoptive father left him in a car for nine hours. President Putin explained his support: "As to the death of our children adopted by American families, this is also a tragedy. It is the reaction of the authorities that revolts us. They whitewash these crimes and relieve these people from responsibility." More Information.

December 13, 2012. Government and Other Notices: Guatemala. The Department of State has posted an update on various developments relating to pipeline adoptions from Guatemala. These adoptions involved families who had in- process adoptions as of December 31, 2007. From May 2012 through this week, the U.S. embassy in Guatemala has issued five visas for children to come home to the United States. Guatemalan authorities have informed the U.S. embassy of approximately 85 children who were in the adoption process but are no longer available because they have been reunited with their birth families or have been adopted domestically. There is no word when Guatamala will reopen international adoption. More Information.

December 12, 2012. Valuable Guide to Adoption From U.S. Foster Care. Adoption from U.S. foster care is an option increasingly used by U.S. adoptive parents who seek to create their families by adoption domestically. But how to start? The linked article provides basic information on such topics as: how long it takes to adopt from the U.S., the cost of foster to adoption programs, available adoption subsidies and the process of foster care to adoption. Click here.

December 11, 2012. Unicef TV Blames International Adoption for Breaking Up Families in Ethiopia. Not content with written criticism of international adoption, now Unicef is producing television reports which blame international adoption for separating families in Ethiopia. We wonder how many television stations show this report without mentioning or indeed knowing that Unicef works against international adoption remaining a viable option for unparented children. To see the video go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnHvuh80-Cw.

December 10, 2010. Russian Court Blocks Adoption of Russian Deaf Child by U.S. Deaf Parents. A Russian Regional Court in Veronezh in Southwest Russia has denied the adoption of a deaf toddler by U.S. potential adoptive parents because the PAPs are deaf. U.S. agencies and social workers had previously approved the PAPs' application. The PAPs promised to seek medical care and intervention which could reverse the child's hearing impairment but, according to the published reports, the court signed with the Russian prosecutor who maintained that the couple's deafness was an insurmountable obstacle to adoption. More Information.

December 6, 2012. India Puts Moratorium on New International Adoption Cases. The Department of State has issued a notice stating that: "Effective December 1, 2012, India will not accept new applications for intercountry adoptions from the United States or other foreign adoption service providers until further notice, in order to clear a backlog of existing cases." According to DOS, CARA, the central adoption authority, will process applications which were "registered prior to December 1, 2012." Potential adoptive parents who are not sure if they are grandfathered should contact DOS at 1-888-407-4747 or e-mail them at adoptionUSCA@state.gov. More Information.

December 5, 2012. Evolution in Haitian Orphanage, Child Welfare and International Adoption Policies. As the Haitian government evolves its child welfare policies to conform to international norms such as the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, the Haitian ministry in charge of child welfare, IBESR is making major changes to its international adoption programs. "We don't want poverty to be the only motivation [for birth parents to place for international adoption]," said Arielle Jeanty Villedrouin, who took charge of Haiti's child welfare services last year. "For many cases in the past, that was the only motivation." As part of its new policies, IBESR will offer relinquishing birth parents counseling as well as job placement advice. The government is also inspecting orphanages and closing the worst facilities. More Information.

December 4, 2012. International Adoption from Cambodia. The Cambodian government has communicated to the Department of States its intent to reopen international adoption as a Hague country as of January 1, 2013. DOS is reviewing the Cambodian program but as of this time "has made no decision as to when intercountry adoptions between the United States and Cambodia will resume. . . important steps must still take place to ensure that adoptions between Cambodia and the United States comply with the Convention, the U.S. law, and implementing regulations before intercountry adoptions between the United States and Cambodia may resume." We join DOS in cautioning prospective adoptive parents and ASPs not to begin an adoption from Cambodia until DOS has announced that it is processing Hague adoptions from that country. More Information.

December 3, 2012. Michigan Legislature to Consider Bills That Would Allow Adoption Agencies to Discriminate. A pair of bills have been introduced in the Michigan state legislature which would permit adoption agencies in that state to discriminate against clients on the basis of religion, gender and presumably race. Faith based agencies such as Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Charities support this legislation on the grounds that it would protect their religious liberty. Adoptive parent Kent Love-Ramierz holds the opposite view: "I don't buy into the fact that this is about religious liberty, it's about giving someone a choice or an option to discriminate against another person, based solely on their personal beliefs." More Information.

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