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February 2013

February 28, 2013. Tenth Annual Law and Policy Conference. Tomorrow is the Tenth Annual Law and Policy Conference, sponsored by the Center for Adoption Policy and New York Law School. We look forward to posting highlights in the days ahead.

February 26, 2013. Who is Pavel Astakov? Pavel Astakov is the face of the Russian Anti-U.S. Adoption Ban. Astakov, a lawyer and former host of a television reality show called "The Hour of Trial with Pavel Astakov, is Russia's Commissioner for Children's Rights and the spokesman for the Kremlin's anti-U.S. adoption policy. A flavor of Mr. Astakov's world view is seen in his comment on the fate of the adoptive parents of Russian children who died in the United States: "Well, the presumption of innocence, you know how it is - sometimes it becomes so rigid." More Information.

February 25, 2013. Preparing for Adoption Costs. The Wall Street Journal has an illuminating article about the costs (expected and unexpected) of adoption. Financial adviser Christopher Parr, "recommends clients budget for costs to be at least 20% higher than they originally estimated," while attorney Mark McDermott suggests that prospective adoptive parents prepare a realistic budget. Fortunately there are sources of funding for adoption. Of great importance is the adoption tax credit, which as McDermott points out, is $12,960 for 2013. Taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of $194,580 are eligible for the entire tax credit; the tax credit phases out completed for taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $234,580. More Information.

February 20, 2013. Department of State Requests Information From Russian Potential Adoptive Parents. In anticipation of a possible meeting on international adoption from Russia, the Department of State has requested that any potential adoptive parent who was in the process of adopting from Russia prior to January 1, 2013 send an email to DOS at RussiaAdoption@state.gov with the following information in six separate lines:

  • the name of the PAPs,
  • the name of the adoptive child or children
  • the region or oblast where the child is living,
  • whether or not the child has special needs,
  • the number of visits the PAPs had with the child and
  • a privacy act waiver, signed, scanned and sent as part of the email.

The DOS server cannot accept documents greater than 3 megabytes so PAPs are asked to adjust their scanners appropriately.

DOS has made the same request of PAPs by email. If you are a PAP and have not received an email from DOS, you should send this information to RussiaAdoption@state.gov and also send a separate email requesting to be put on DOS' Russia adoption email list.

February 19, 2013. What Vaccines Have Meant. Vaccines save lives. This chart shows the difference between how many cases of serious illness occurred in the United States before vaccinations for serious illnesses and how many cases occurred since children and adults were vaccinated. It is persuasive. More Information.

February 14, 2013. Government and Other Notices: Haiti. The Department of State has posted an update on the changed adoption law in Haiti which applies to all adoptions filed with the Haitian government on or after November 5, 2012. Of great importance is that the method of matching a child to an adoptive parent has changed: "Haiti's new procedures prohibit adoptions in which arrangements are made directly between the biological parents or custodians and the prospective adoptive parents (i.e. private adoptions). . prohibit adoptions in which prospective adoptive parents seek a match with a child without the assistance of IBESR or an ASP authorized by the Haitian government and ...adoptions where the child's biological parents or legal representatives expressly decide who will adopt their child, unless the adoption is of a spouse's child, is an intra-family adoption, is by a child's foster family, or the child is the sibling of a child who has already been adopted." Haiti's adoption authority, IBESR, has now authorized a number of U.S. adoption agencies to work in the country. The list of Haitian accredited agencies and other details about the new law may be found by clicking here.

February 13, 2013. Itinerary for Stuck. The screenings of Stuck, the documentary on international adoption, has been released. The Stuck tour begins with a Washington DC kick off on February 28, 2013 and then travels down south, west and to New York on May 10 and ends back in Washington on May 16th. The tour organizers hope that the film will bring the hope of a family for children and the crisis in international adoption to a wider audience than just the adoption community. The precise dates for the Stuck tour and volunteer opportunities can be found by clicking here.

February 12, 2013. This is Not an International Adoption Case. The South Korean government is attempting to ensure that a baby born in South Korea who was apparently improperly brought to the U.S. for the purpose of adoption is returned to South Korea. From all available reports, the Duquet case is not about the rights and wrongs of international adoption. From the published facts it appears that the couple, who wished to parent a second Korean child (having previously adopted from South Korea), would not have met South Korea's rules for international child adoption. The procedures for international adoption from South Korea to the United States are clear and are set forth on the Department of State's website as well as on various adoption agency websites. The South Korean government is correct to insist that its laws and procedures be followed - not as a question of adoption but as a pillar of the rule of law. More Information.

February 11, 2013. Stuck - the Documentary. Please go to the link and preview Stuck, a documentary which portrays the agonizing international adoption process. The film follows a child from each of Haiti, Ethiopia and Vietnam as well as their prospective adoptive parents. The film will be screening in cities around the country-information can be obtained from the Both Ends Burning website. See Stuck.

February 6, 2013. Senator Mary Landrieu Briefs Adoption Community on Her Meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. What follows is Senator Mary Landrieu's report on her meeting with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. "Last week, Sen. Roy Blunt and I led a group of 10 senators to meet with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador to the United States. This was the first meeting between members of Congress and a senior Russian official to discuss its law enacted at the end of 2012, preventing American families from adopting Russian children. During the hour-long meeting, we expressed our concerns and conveyed our commitment to work with the Russian government so American parents matched with Russian children prior to the law's enactment can complete their adoptions. Ever since Russia passed its law banning the adoption of Russian children by American families, I have marshaled support in Congress to make our objections known, spoken about what this means for Russian children and written letters to President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin." Thank you Senator Landrieu for all you do.

February 5, 2013. British Study on Trans-Racial Adoption Illustrates the Need for Up-to-Date Information. A British longitudinal study Asian women adopted by white British parents was published last week. The research, conducted for the British Association of Adoption and Fostering, looked at how 72 women abandoned in Hong Kong and adopted by white parents fared over the last 50 years. The study concluded that the adoptees experienced "some form of racism or prejudice in both child and adulthood and the transracial orphans are "deeply affected by cultural and racial differences." But wait. The subjects of the study were adopted decades ago when to be British meant to be white, immigrants were few and far between, mixed race families rare and open, unthinking racism was the order of the day. Even in the 1980s educated people would use a racial slur for a Chinese meal or a shade of brown or the corner deli. The fact that a Conservative government in Britain is today discussing gay marriage is a mark of how far society has come in such a short time and how out of date studies like this one are. More Information.

February 4, 2013. Bravo to Mary Anastasia O'Grady. Today's Wall Street Journal has an excellent column by its Latin American special correspondent, Mary Anastasia O'Grady, entitled "Guatemala's Inhuman Adoption Law." Ms. O'Grady details the plight of Guatemala's unparented children who since the end of 2007 have been denied the human right to a family and instead are intolerably suffering in institutional care. We salute Ms. O'Grady for her work and recommend that anyone interested in the human rights of children watch her interview which is can be found by clicking here.

Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)
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