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May 2013

May 30, 2013. Department of State Issues Alerts on El Salvador, Guatemala and South Korea. The Department of State issued alerts concerning international adoption from El Salvador, Guatemala and South Korea this week. Concerning El Salvador, DOS discussed the long delays U.S. citizens have in adopting from this Hague Convention country; it has taken some families eight years to bring home their children and cautions U.S prospective adoptive parents about starting an adoption from that country. The Guatemala alert focused on the pipeline families. These are families which were in the process of adopting their children when international adoption to the United States from Guatemala shut down on January 1, 2008. Finally DOS announced that South Korea has signed the Hague Adoption Convention. There is no word on when the South Korea will become a Hague-effective country. More Information.

May 29, 2013. Washington State Gives Adoptees Access to Birth Records. Governor Jay Inslee of Washington has signed a law giving adoptees who were born in that state greater access to their birth records. This bipartisan law was, in part, the work of Representative Tina Orwell, an adoptee who wanted more disclosure and Senator Ann Rivers, a birth mother, who did not want greater access. The legislation permits adoptees who were born prior to October 1993 to obtain a copy of their original birth records unless a birth parent has filed documents to prevent the release of records. All adoptees will be able to obtain knowledge of their birth parents' medical history. More Information.

May 28, 2013. Senate Committee Holds Hearings on Helping Children Around the World. Last week the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs held a hearing on the U.S. government's Action Plan for Children in Adversity. APCA, launched in November 2012, represents the first coordinated policymaking effort by the U.S. government which recognizes that children in adversity need families in order to develop to their full potential. Indeed the second of the three APCA goals is to find families for the millions of unparented children. For the benefit of the children, international adoption must be utilized as a viable solution for unparented children. More Information.

May 23, 2013. Government and Other Notices: Ghana. The Department of State has issued an adoption alert for Ghana. To quote DOS, "The Government of Ghana has temporarily suspended processing of all adoption cases, including intercountry adoptions, pending Ghana's review of its current adoption procedures. All adoption cases which have not received final approval by the Ghanaian Department of Social Welfare are subject to this suspension." As of the time of the DOS Alert, adoption cases which have a finalized adoption order or are before a Ghanian court are still proceeding. The Ghanian Director of Social Welfare will consider applications for exemption for "urgent or emergency cases." More Information.

May 22, 2013. Minnesota Enacts New Law on Indian Adoption. Last week Governor Mark Drayton signed into law SF 250. This bill gives any registered tribe the presumption of transfer of an adoption proceeding from U.S. court to a tribal court. The bill also terminates the right of a birth parent to object to the transfer. This law was passed over the objections of the Minnesota State Bar Association, the Minnesota Country Attorneys Association and the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. More Information.

May 21, 2013. Speaker Boehner Asks President Obama to Help Trapped Russian Children. Representative John Boehner has asked President Obama to personally appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin on behalf of the hundreds of Russian children trapped in Russia and denied the right to their American adoptive parents by the Russian ban on intercountry adoption to the U.S. which went into effect on January 1, 2013. It would appear that only a president to president appeal will unite these children, all of who were matched with U.S. families who met and bonded with their children before the ban became law. More Information.

May 16, 2013. U.S. Government Updates: China, Ghana and Serbia. There are Department of State alerts for China, Ghana and Serbia this week. The US. Consulate adoption processing unit in Guangzhou is closed through Friday because a suspicious white powder was found in the building. If you are in China for to your adoption now or planning to be there soon, please go to the link and follow the directions. The government of Ghana has suspended all international adoption. DOS is seeking clarification. DOS is also warning that potential adoptive parents interesting in adopting from Serbia may have received misleading information. For more information on all these programs please click here.

May 15, 2013. Stuck. As developers of the prize-winning documentary Stuck complete their nationwide cinema showings of this adoption-themed movie, we are pleased print a link to a column on international adoption and Stuck in particular which appeared in USA Today. As syndicated columnist Steve Deace puts it, international adoption "shouldn't be a partisan issue. Here's a chance for government to truly show it wants to help, not fixing problems it creates with "solutions" that only make those problems worse." The pipeline children in Russia, the children caught in the new slowdown in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the children trapped in Guatemala for over five years: they all deserve this much and more. More Information.

May 14, 2013. Guangzhou Highs and Lows. The U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou has a special place in the hearts of American parents who have adopted from China. All U.S. families need to go to the Consulate in order to complete their U.S. documentation to obtain U.S. visas for their newly adopted children. The original U.S. Consulate was on Shamian Island, the area originally designated for foreigners in the 19th Century. The U.S. Consulate moved off the island in 2005 but is soon to move in to a impressive modernist structure pictured in the link. However, the current U.S. consulate has been closed for the past two days because of an anthrax scare, forcing around 80 U.S. families to extend their stay in China. More Information.

May 13, 2013. U.S. Families Caught in Russian Adoption Will Hold Washington Press conference on Tuesday, May 14. US. families whose children have been trapped in Russia due to that country's ban on U.S. adoption of Russian children are holding a conference tomorrow at 9 am at the National Press Club. Hundreds of Russian children who have already met and bonded with their American potential adoptive parents remained in Russian orphanages. The pipeline families will announce possible solutions to this humanitarian crisis. Speakers at the Press Conference include Kathleen Strottman, Executive Director of CCAI, child psychologist Dr. Maria Kroupina and Jack Thomas, an 8 year old Russian adoptee whose biological brother is one of the children trapped in Russia. Senator Mary Landrieu has sent a message of support as has Representative Steve Israel. More Information.

May 9, 2013. Step Forward for Orphans March on Washington, Friday, May 17. Both Ends Burning, an organization that "exists to create a culture of adoption and to help facilitate changes in the current system," has organized a march in Washington on Friday, May 17, to promote international adoption as a viable method of permanent family creation. This march follows on BEB's successful nationwide tour of its documentary Stuck which depicts the plight of children and their potential adoptive parents who have were mired by the negative changes in international adoption policy both in the United States and abroad. To learn more about the Step Forward for Orphans March, please click here.

May 8, 2013. Secretary of State Kerry Travels to Russia: Will Children Be on the Agenda? Secretary of State John Kerry is in Moscow, making his first trip to Russia as Secretary of State. He has met with human rights advocates, toured the Kremlin and had official meetings with Russian officials. We hope that he raised the issue of the pipeline Russia children, who are stuck in Russian orphanages while U.S. potential adoptive families wait anxiously to hear if there will be any reprieve from the current Russian law forbidding international adoption to the United States. More Information.

May 7, 2013. CCAI Reflections on Visit from Guatemalan Officials. Child Welfare officials from Guatemala were hosted last week by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) last week. The program included presented by Dr. Charles Zeanah and Commissioner of the Administration of Children and Families (HHS) as well as visits to family courts and talks by officials from Texas child welfare system. Guatemalan officials professed themselves delighted and impressed by the range of information offered. In the words on one delegate member, "I strongly believe that the 14 people that had the opportunity to spend this week in United States, had an experience that changed their minds, beliefs and hearts for the good of the children." More Information.

May 6, 2013. DOS and Irish Central Authority Reach Agreement on Outgoing Adoptions. The Department of State and the Adoption Authority of Ireland have successfully concluded negotiations on an agreement which will govern outgoing adoptions from the United States to Ireland. The adoptions will be governed by the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption and therefore subject to Hague procedures on outgoing adoptions from the United States. Among other things, the agreement covers eligibility issues for both prospective adoptive parents and adopted children. More Information.

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