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December 2013

December 19, 2013. CAP Joins Child Advocates Requesting Review of Department of State International Adoption Policies. The "Children in Families Working Group", a coalition of nonprofit advocacy organizations including the Center for Adoption Policy, has formally asked Secretary of State John Kerry to conduct a thorough internal review of U.S. Department of State policies that prohibit orphaned children from certain countries from benefiting from international adoption. The letter expressed particular concerns with Office of Children's Issues decisions on adoption from Cambodia and Vietnam and more generally with DOS's implementation of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. As the letter states: "Since 2008, according to the Hague Permanent Bureau website (www.hcch.net), 13 countries have become active Convention partners. And yet, as of the end of FY 2012, not one Hague adoption had occurred from any one of these 13 countries to the United States... By way of contrast, these 13 countries accounted for over 4,100 international adoptions to the United States in 2004." The letter urges Secretary Kerry "to ensure that Hague Adoption Convention compliance determinations are made in a timely, transparent way and subject to regular review. We urge you to ensure that your agency's Hague compliance efforts focus on helping other Hague signatory countries become Hague-compliant rather than simply using alleged and non-specific Hague shortcomings to so that their children are denied the opportunity to find loving adoptive homes abroad." The full text of the letter may be downloaded here.

December 12, 2013. Northern Ireland Ban Lifted on Gay Adoption. The Court of Appeals of Northern Ireland ruling that gay and unmarried couples may adopt as couples will stand. The Court has turned down the challenge from Health Minister Edwin Poots to an earlier Court of Appeals ruling. The earlier Court of Appeal ruling had held that "the ban based on relationship status was held to discriminate against those in civil partnerships and to breach their human rights." The ban had only been in effect in Northern Ireland, not in England, Scotland and Wales. More Information.

December 11, 2013. Department of State/USCIS FAQs on Ethiopia. The Department of State and USCIS have issued a FAQ sheet concerning the transition to the Pre-Adoption Immigration Review (PAIR) program. All families in process in adoption from Ethiopia or considering adoption from Ethiopia should consult this information sheet.

December 10, 2013. Desani's Life: Child Poverty in the United States. The New York Times is writing a heart-breaking series this week about Desani, a 10 year old girl trapped in a New York homeless shelter for years, focussing on Desani's struggles just to live her life amidst the poverty and burdens she needs to cope with. As Arthur Miller wrote, "attention must be paid." Chapters 1 and 2 have appeared yesterday and today. To read the series please click here.

December 9, 2013. Russia's Investigative Committee Targets Re-homing. Reuters News Service reported on December 5 that Russia's Investigative Committee will begin a criminal inquiry into the private "re-homing" of Russian children adopted by U.S. families. According to the Russian statement, "Investigators believe that illegal exchanges have been created in the United States on Yahoo and Facebook to carry out illegal transactions in terms of children adopted by American citizens." The Department of State has responded that the Department is "committed to ensuring that protective services and reliable safeguards for the well-being of all children are in place." More Information.

December 5, 2013. Government and Other Alerts: India. The Department of State has posted a notice reminding U.S. adoption service providers that they have an obligation to inform the Indian Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) when a child adopted through the ASP obtains U.S. citizenship. CARA is concerned about children who enter the United States with IR-4 or IH-4 visas and guardianship status. Some of these children may never received U.S. citizenship. More Information.

December 4, 2013. Russia Permits International Adoption to Italy. Italy and only Italy will be the only country whose citizens may adopt children from Russia. A Russian government official stated that: "It turns out that Italy is currently the only country whose citizens are able to adopt Russian children because, first of all, this country refused to recognise same-sex marriage, which, for its part, does not require Russia to change the existing agreement, and, secondly, (the Italians) abide by the terms of this treaty." Pavel Astakhov, Russian Children Ombudsman, and well known to readers of this page said: "It is not our fault. (Other countries) should work harder if you want international adoption to continue. Our priorities differ from yours. We generally prioritize the adoption of children inside the country." More Information.

December 3, 2013. CCAI Issues Report on Foster Care and Adoption. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute has just issued an extensive report entitled: What Barriers Remain: Areas of Needed Adoption and Foster Care Reform in the 113th Congress. This report covers pending and desirable legislative initiatives covering foster care, foster to adopt programs, domestic adoption and international adoption. It also contains a wealth of helpful and relevant statistics. The report may be downloaded by clicking here.

December 2, 2013. CAP Letter Published in the New York Times. This is the letter which appeared in the New York Times on November 28, 2013, in response to a column by Nicholas Kristof on "rehoming." We salute Nicholas D. Kristof's understanding that a basic American failing is "inadequate child services." Families with desperately troubled children have nowhere to go. Families formed through international adoption make up a tiny subset of this tragic population.

And the number of troubled internationally adopted children is far lower than his column suggests. The Reuters extrapolation of 24,000 foreign-born children no longer residing with their original adopting family applies rates of domestic adoption disruption to an international adoptee population that has historically displayed a dramatically different profile.

Failed adoptions are directly correlated with adoptee age and medical-psychosocial condition. Until recently the population of international adoptees consisted mostly of very young children. For example, before 2007 few adoptees from China were older than 2 at adoption or had identified special needs.

Whatever the numbers, today's internationally adopted child, who more frequently is older and has medical and other special needs, deserves adequate support services, as do all children. More Information.

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