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January 2013

January 31, 2013. Speakers at the Tenth Annual Center for Adoption Policy Conference on Adoption Law and Policy to be held on March 1, 2012 at New York Law School. We are pleased to announced that representatives from the Department of State and USCIS will be speaking at our conference on March 1, 2013 as well as Professors Elizabeth Bartholet and Joan Hollinger and Drs. Charles Nelson and Jane Aronson. The Adoption Law conference gives all members of the adoption community an opportunity to learn and to ask questions of government representatives who play a large role in the process of domestic and international adoption. The cost to register is $50 but the fee may be waived on request. CLE credit for lawyers is available. To register, please click here.

January 30, 2013. Statistics of Shame. The Department of State has released its numbers for international adoption for fiscal year 2012. Continuing an eight year downward trajectory, the total number of international adoptions to the United States fell to 8,668 last year. In 2004, 22,991 internationally adopted children came to the United States. The largest sending countries were China (2,697), Ethiopia (1,568) and Russia (748). With Russia now closed, the number of children finding permanent loving families in the United States will, in all likelihood, decline in 2013 as well. If all the world's children had parental care in their birth country, we would be celebrating. Unfortunately the opposite is the case. More Information.

January 29, 2013. Baby Veronica Case Before the Supreme Court. Professor Joan Hollinger has written an eloquent summary of the position she has advocated in the petition for certiorari which she wrote in connection with the Baby Veronica case. The Supreme Court granted the petition which in this cases which involves the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 and the balance between parents' rights and tribal rights. The Center for Adoption Policy has is a party to the brief filed by Professor Hollinger. Please click here to read.

January 28, 2013. Register Now for Our Tenth Annual Adoption Law and Policy Conference. We are delighted to announce that registration is open for the Center for Adoption Policy's Annual Law and Policy Conference which will be held at New York Law School (our co-sponsor) on March 1, 2013. The topic is Ten Years Together: A Retrospective and Prospective Look at International and Domestic Adoption. The convening speaker will be Senator Mary Landrieu; President Debora Spar of Barnard College will give the keynote address. To register, please click here.

January 24, 2013. Government and Other Notices: State Laws on Post-Adoption Contact Agreements. The Child Welfare Information Gateway, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, has published an information guide to state laws governing post-adoption contact agreements made between birth and adoptive families. As adoption from foster care and older adoption increase, there is more reason and more embrace of the concept of continued birth parent contact, on all sides of the adoption triad. This survey, which may be reproduced, provides a guide to the different state laws that may apply. To download the survey click here.

January 23, 2013. Russian Supreme Court Allows A Limited Number of Adoptions to the United States to Proceed. Yesterday the Russian Supreme Court issued a ruling that: "Children whose adoptions by US nationals were approved by courts before January 1, 2013, and have come into force, including after January 1, 2013, must be turned over to their adoptive parents." This ruling appears to clear the way for the approximately fifty families whose Russian adoptions were in the final stages to bring their children home. It was silent about families who have made one trip, met their children, and were waiting for Russian authorities to make their second trip. More Information.

January 17, 2013. Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 Becomes Law. President Obama signed "The Intercountry Adoption Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA) earlier this week. The UAA becomes effective on July 14, 2014, eighteen months after it became law. The UAA applies Hague standards for accreditation to all adoption service providers who work in the area of international adoption. It removes the distinction between Hague and non-Hague ASP requirements, other than the limited grandfathering permitted under the UAA. CAP has long supported the UAA and we congratulate the many people who worked for it to become law. More Information.

January 16, 2013. Supreme Court will Review ICWA. The Supreme Court will consider the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 as it reviews the South Carolina Supreme Court's decision in what has become known as the "Baby Veronica" case. This is the first time that the Supreme Court will consider the effects of the ICWA law which gives Indian tribes jurisdiction over the adoption of children of registered members. The Center for Adoption Policy is an amici in this case. More Information.

January 15, 2013. Opportunity for Members of Congress to Sign Letters to Presidents Putin and Obama. Members of Congress have a short window of opportunity to sign on to two letters regarding Russia's recent decision to ban adoptions to the United States. The first letter is to President Vladimir Putin of Russia and the second is to President Obama. Both letters appeal to each leader to recognize the basic human rights of these children and all children in Russia to a family and to work to resolve both the pending cases of children who were in the adoption process prior to the January 1, 2013 ban.

Senator Roy Blunt and Congressional Coalition on Adoption Co-Chairs Senator Landrieu, Senator Inhofe, Representative Bachmann and Representative Karen Bass are currently circulating these letters for signature by their colleagues, with a deadline to sign on to these letters of tomorrow, Wednesday, January 16 at 12pm EST. Please contact your Senators and Representative today and urge them to sign on to these letters and lend their support to Russia's children. Offices interested in signing on should contact Libby Whitbeck in Senator Landrieu's office or Kristina Weger in Senator Blunt's office.

January 14, 2013. Russia: The Latest. The Department of State Issued an Alert yesterday highlighting the difficulties of U.S. adoptive parents who had January court dates. The PAPs are encountering different road blocks depending on the region but we have seen no reports of any family receiving their child and being able to return to the United States after the ban on adoption by U.S. citizens from Russia. DOS officials last week said that USCIS is still accepting I-600As for Russia but we must caution any U.S. family that Russian law now forbids any U.S. citizen from not only adopting a Russian child but even from communicating with Russians for the purpose of U.S. adoption. More Information.

January 10, 2013. Russian Spokesman Weighs In on Adoption Ban. President Valdimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov today said that the bilateral agreement between Russia and the United States pertaining to international adoption "is in force at the moment...It will be in force over the course of the year." What is unknown is whether Peskov was referring to the fact that the agreement's terms require one year notice for termination or whether he was implying that pipeline cases would still be allowed to proceed until January 1, 2014. We look forward to clarification in the days ahead. More Information.

January 9, 2013. U.S. Will Not Process International Adoptions From Cambodia. The Department of State has announced that the U.S. government will not process adoptions from Cambodia on the basis that Cambodia does not meet the requirements of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. We have received word that Cambodian authorities were interested in intercountry adoption to the U.S. However, DOS states that: "Adoption service providers should neither initiate nor claim to initiate adoption services in Cambodia for prospective adoptive parents in the United States until they receive notification from the Department of State. The Department of State will provide updated information on adoption.state.gov as it becomes available." More Information.

January 3, 2013. The Terrific 112th Congress. Yesterday the 112th session of Congress concluded with a flurry of articles about Congressional failures. We would like to write about Congressional successes. The past two years have seen a great deal of legislation and support for adoption and foster care. The accomplishments of the House and the Senate (in some cases one not the other) have:

  • made the adoption tax credit permanent
  • voted to require the Department of State to investigate the status of North Korean unparented refugee children
  • approved universal accreditation of adoption agencies
  • condemned the Russian ban on international adoption from the United States
  • passed the Uninterrupted Scholars Act which will make break down barriers to education for foster youth.

We say Bravo.

January 2, 2013. Senate Passes Resolution Decrying Russian Adoption Ban. Last night the Senate unanimously passed Senate Resolution 628 which expresses the deep disappointment of the Senate in the enactment by the Russian Government of the law banning international adoption from Russia to the United States and urges the Russia Government to reconsider the ban. We offer our congratulations to Senators Mary Landrieu and Roy Blunt, who co-sponsored this resolution. To download the text of this resolution, please click here.

Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)
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