November 29, 2012. Government and Other Notices: Children of Africa Enterprises/Hope Adoption Agency loses Hague Accreditation. The Council on Accreditation (COA) cancelled the Hague accreditation on Children of African Enterprises/Hope Adoption Agency on November 8. According to the Department of State notice, this agency had failed "to maintain substantial compliance with the U.S. accreditation standards at 22 Code of Federal Regulations Part 96 Subpart F." Because this agency is no longer Hague accredited, it must stop providing any and all adoption services in Hague effective countries. It may however, continute to provide adoption services for adoptions in non-Hague countries. Hope's own adoption program is in Ethiopia which is not a Hague-effective country. More Information.
November 28, 2012. Chinese Non-Special Needs and Waiting Children Program Referrals. The Chinese central adoption authority (CCCWA) has sent referrals to families in the Non-Special Needs program whose dossiers were logged in on October 9 and October 10, 2006. Given the time it takes to prepare a dossier and the time after referral, families in the NSN program have waited over seven years. At the same time, CCCWA continues to work with U.S. agencies to refer waiting children from less than a year to 13 years age. Younger children in the Waiting Child program have identified medical issues; healthy older children over the age of 6 are also referred. Families in the Waiting Children program are returning home with their child/ren in under one year. The CCCWA now allows families in the Waiting Children program to bring home two unrelated children.
November 27, 2012. CCAI Announces 2013 Foster Youth Internship Program. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, "a non-profit organization that works to raise awareness about the needs of children without families and to remove policy barriers that hinder children from knowing the love and support a family provides," has announced that application are now available for its 2013 Foster Youth Internships Program. The dates of the program are May 28, 2013-July 30, 2013. Interns work with CCAI on and with Congressional offices to help secure a better future for foster youth. Graduates have gone on to successful law and government careers. More Information.
November 26, 2012. More on Faltering of Russian Domestic Adoptions. Over the last several years, the Russian government has been encouraging domestic adoption of Russian children as it discourages international adoption. Not only are there no fees to pay for Russian families who adopt, but various regions of Russia offer financial incentives for Russians to adopt unparented children. Now comes more information on difficulties faced by Russian adopting families. Anatoly Vasilyev, director of SOS Children's Village outside Moscow, estimates that 1 out of 10 children adopted domestically in Russia are returned to the orphanage. He wants greater screening and education to ensure that the adopting families are not motivated by money. More Information.
November 19, 2012. 10th Annual Adoption Law and Policy Conference. We are pleased to announce that the 10th Annual Adoption Law and Policy Conference will be held at New York Law School on Friday, March 1, 2013. This year's title will be "Ten Years Together: A Retrospective and Prospective Look at International and Domestic Adoption." As always, continuing legal education credit will be offered. This year's conference is cosponsored by the Center for Adoption Policy and New York Law School's Diane Abbey Law Center for Children & Families. For information on hotels, local parking and directions to the Law School, click here.
November 15, 2012. Government and Other Notices: Ethiopia. The Department of State posted a notice this week that the Ethiopian Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, which regulates international adoption in that country, is not working with the following two U.S. agencies: International Adoption Guides and Adoption Advocates International. This suspension took effect as of September 12 and was applicable only to new cases. DOS reports that, "This suspension follows reports of abuse to Ethiopian adoptees placed with U.S. families by these agencies. This suspension of services applies to new cases only." More Information.
November 14, 2012. Russian Adoptive Parents Disrupted Over 4,500 Children last Year. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has called for better screening and training for Russian potential adoptive parents after learning that PAPs disrupted or dissolved over 4,500 adoptions in one year. This number equals the total number of all children adopted by U.S. parents from Russia in the last four years. Russian policy has focused on increasing domestic adoptions but clearly this emphasis has come at a heavy cost. As Medvedev stated, "the family should be prepared to understand their responsibility and the problems that might arise in an adoption." The U.S-Russian bilateral adoption agreement went into effect on November 1. The increased level of training for U.S. PAPs has yet to be specified in regulations. More Information.
November 13, 2012. How Will Election Changes Affect Adoption: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The 2012 election will have long-lasting effects on domestic and international adoption policy. A very significant development is the up-coming changes on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which reviews U.S. international child welfare and adoption policy. The Chair of the committee, Senator John Kerry, is reportedly being considered for Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense. If Senator Kerry leaves, there will be a new Chair. The Ranking Member on the committee, Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, has been a long-time champion of international adoption. As he lost his Republican primary election Republican leadership on the committee will change. The new committee members will play a significant role in U.S. international child welfare policy.
November 8, 2012. Government and Other Updates: Morocco. The Department of State has posted a notice from the Morrocan Minister of Justice of which significantly narrows the opportunities for kafala guardianship (the Morrocan approximation to adoption) by foreign adoptive parents. Minister El Mostapha Ramid has instructed prosecutors to oppose any judicial positions filed by PAPs who are not resident in morocco. DOS concludes that "The Minister's notice appears to indicate that Kafala guardianship should only be granted to Muslim families who are long-term residents in Morocco." DOS does not know if in process families will be grandfathered. More Information.
November 7, 2012. Election Day: A Triumph for Same-Sex Families. For the first time in U.S. history, voters directly endorsed gay marriage. Voters voted yes on gay unions in Maine, Washington (state) and Maryland. In Minnesota a measure which would have outlawed gay marriage failed to pass. The vote in Maine was particularly interesting because it reversed a gay marriage ballot initiative in 2009. Minnesota was the only state where the vote was close. Before yesterday, gay marriage had been voted down 32 times in state elections. More Information.
November 6, 2012. Paradoxical Effect of New Korean Adoption Law? The government of South Korea passed a new adoption law in 2011 which went into effect in July of this year. Among its provisions is the requirement that birth mothers who wish to relinquish their babies for adoption must first record the babies' birth in their Family Registers. As the Family Register is the crucial repository of information for Korean families, the intent of the new provision is to make it easier for adoptees to trace their birth families. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that the registration requirement is leading instead to an increase in abandonments of infants. If true, this outcome would be tragic since in South Korea abandoned babies are not eligible for adoption, either domestic or international. More Information.
November 5, 2012. November is National Adoption Month. This month federal, state and local governments, as well as adoptees, families and all who care about unparented children, observe National Adoption Month. Proclamations are issued, articles appear in the media and adoption and immigration proceedings take place in a festive atmosphere. We believe that a wonderful way of observing National Adoption Month would be for the U.S. government to declare that international adoption is a policy supported by the U.S. government and then to back up its words with concrete actions.
November 1, 2012. Chinese Think Tank Proposes End to One-Child Policy. The China Development Research Foundation (CDRF) has prepared a report calling for a quick end to the one-child policy which has been in effect for 30 years. The report recommends that all Chinese families be allowed two children by 2015. The official Chinese news agency further quotes the report as stating, "China has paid a huge political and social cost for the policy, as it has resulted in social conflict, high administrative costs and led indirectly to a long-term gender imbalance at birth." While similar calls have been made before, this report stands out for two reasons. CDRF is not only government funded but has close ties with the Chinese government. Moreover, this year marks the once in a decade change in the Chinese government leadership, a traditional time for major policy shifts. More Information.
Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)