Center for Adoption Policy
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October 2013

October 31, 2013. Why My Children Don't Trick or Treat for Unicef. Halloween is a day which has been linked with Unicef fund raising. Trick or Treat for Unicef was something many of us did as children and thought we would continue with our own children. We don't at our house and when you read "Unicef's Unethical War Against International Adoption," your children might not either. For this important article, which draws much from the work of Professor Elizabeth Batholet at Harvard Law School, click here.

October 30, 2013. Government and Other Notices: Vietnam. The Department of State reports that all U.S. adoptees from Vietnam adopted before July 1, 2009 must register with the Government of Vietnam if they or their parents want the child to retain his or her Vietnamese citizenship. Registration takes place at overseas Vietnamese diplomatic missions and must occur before July 1, 2014. Any child not registered by July 1, 2014 will lose his or her Vietnamese citizenship. The tiny number of children adopted from Vietnam after July 1, 2009 retain their Vietnamese citizenship automatically. More Information.

October 29, 2013. Nightline Focuses on International Adoption. ABC's award winning Nightline news program will focus on international adoption issues tonight. The reporters will speak with the STUCK documentary team from Both Ends Burning. By examining the plight of children who were trapped in institutional care overseas within the process of international adoption, Stuck asks "how the global community can take care of these children, safeguarding them from the very real dangers of child trafficking and corruption while also answering their need to move from institutions into loving homes and a normal life." Please watch and spread the word. More Information.

October 28, 2013. CHIFF Introduced in House of Representatives. On October 24 Congresswomen Kay Granger (R-TX) and Karen Bass (D-CA) introduced the Children in Families First (CHIFF Act) in the House of Representatives. As Representative Granger said, "Every child deserves a family. Parents looking to adopt internationally are already at the mercy of complicated adoption bureaucracies abroad. They shouldn't have to deal with similar costs and delays here at home. Without increasing spending, the Children in Families First Act helps loving families navigate the adoption process and welcome new additions into their homes." For her part, Representative Bass stated, "Sadly, millions of children around the world are living without the support of a safe and loving family. As we strive to improve the child welfare system here in the United States, it's essential that we also help other countries establish and expand their child welfare programs so that every child has a chance to have a supportive family full of unconditional love. I proudly support the Children in Families First Act because it goes a long way to support nations around the world in their efforts to preserve, reunify, and create the safe, loving, and permanent families that children around the world so desperately need." CHIFF had been previously introduced in the Senate by Senators Mary Landrieu and Roy Blunt. More Information.

October 24, 2013. Government and Other Alerts: Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Department of State has posted an update about international adoption from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The DRC's government has provided more information on the limited grandfather exceptions to the suspension of exit permits for internationally adopted children which was announced in September. Secondly, the DRC informed the U.S. government that it will permanently ban all single persons from adopting internationally unless the potential adoptive parent falls into the very limited exception described above. Finally, DOS alerts U.S. potential adoptive families that "questions related to this alert or a specific adoption to the Department of State, Office of Children's Issues at 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or 202-501-4444 from outside the United States. Email inquiries may be directed to AskCI@state.gov." More Information.

October 23, 2013. Adoptive Families: Mobilize for CHIFF. The Children in Families First Act, introduced last month in the Senate by Senator Mary Landrieu, will help children around the world. As Whitney Reitz, a senior advisor to Senator Landrieu explained, "CHIFF is about international adoption but CHIFF is much more than a bill about international adoptions. CHIFF is about recognizing that we need to do a better job at making sure all children grow up in loving, protective families. CHIFF prioritizes preservation, reunifying families, kinship care, and domestic adoption." Adoptive families need to help by contacting their senators and congressional representatives and asking them to support CHIFF. Please look for more information to see what you can do by clicking here.

October 22, 2013. Domestic vs. International Adoption: An Instructive Article. Craig Juntunen, founder of Both Ends Burning, has written an excellent column for the Huffington Post. Entitled "Revealing a Dichotomy," Juntunen focuses on the different level of respect accorded domestic as compared to international adoption. As Juntunen points out: "We have developed a distinctive arrogance of what is right and wrong for a child seemingly based on borders and geography. Many argue taking a child out of one culture to join a family in another culture is robbing a child of the birth heritage and should never happen. We have a hard time accepting cross-pollinating race and heritage as a cultural asset, and view it instead as a personal liability." More Information.

October 21, 2103. Government and Other Notices: Kenya. The Department of State has posted a communication from the Kenyan Adoption Committee which is meant to remind prospective adoptive parents and adoption service providers of "Kenya's strict prohibition against pre-selection of children by prospective adoptive parents." According to the Deparetment of State, Kenya's central adoption authority, the Kenyan National Adoption Committee, will most likely turn down the referral of a child to PAPs who have had prior contact with a child, the child's guadian or "individuals with power to determine a child's eligibility or placement for adoption." Mission trips and volunteering at orphanages falls within this prohibition. Only adoption by "blood relatives" is exempt. More Information.

October 16, 2013. ARTs Numbers Soar as Reproductive Assistance Becomes Mainstream. Scientists estimate that there are 5 million children who have been born through assisted reproductive technology, also known as IVF. Moreover, half of the children born through these procedures, which have only been in use since 1978, have been born in the last six years. This information comes from new research presented to the International Federation of Fertility Societies and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. More Information.

October 15, 2013. Baby Veronica Case Concludes. The court cases surrounding "Baby Veronica," the child whose adoption became a matter for the Supreme Court last spring, is now over. Dusten Brown, Veronica's biological father, announced on October 10 that he will no longer contest the custody and adoption decisions which upheld Veronica's adoption by Matt and Melanie Capobianco. The Supreme Court held that the Indian Child Welfare Act did not apply to this case. Subsequent South Carolina and Oklahoma decisions followed. More Information.

October 10, 2013. Angels in Adoption Celebration Honors Individuals and Organizations. The Fifteenth Annual Angels in Adoption Celebrations culminated in a Gala which was held in Washington last night. The National Angels honored were Deborra-Lee Furness and Willie and Korie Robertson. Of equal importance, the Gala highlighted the many families and professionals who have contributed to children's lives through adoption and foster care. Angels honorees also had the opportunity to meet with members of Congress and their staffs to discuss CHIFF and other legislative priorities. More Information.

October 9, 2013. AdoptUSKids - A Website for Domestic Adoption and Foster Care. The AdoptUSKids is a very important website for anyone interested in adoption and foster care. It contains information for adoption professionsals, adoptive parents, lists of services for families and very importantly, photo-listings of children available for adoption or foster care (some children described on the site are not legally allowed to be adopted.) The transformation of international adoptees from a large, non-special needs group of children to a restricted waiting children group means that international and domestic adoption programs are growing more and more similar. For that reason the information on the site is relevant to adoptive parents of international children as well. More Information.

October 8, 2013. South Korean Adoption Law's Unintended Consequences. Last year South Korea passed the "Special Adoption Law" which permitted adoption only if a birth mother had both registered her baby with the government and had remained with her newborn baby for a minimum period of seven days. The law was intended to reduce international adoptions and it has succeeded - the SAL has contributed to a drastic fall in international adoption from South Korea to the United States from 755 in 2012 to an estimated 300 in 2013. However, the new law has also prompted an increase in abandonments of Korean infants as single mothers, faced with the still significant stigma that surrounds unwed parenthood, choose anonymity over legal recognition. More Information.

October 7, 2013. Making Adoptions Work. Good adoption practice is the same whether adoptions are domestic or international in origin. Education and preparation before the adoption are crucial, especially now that such a high percentage of adoptions by U.S. parents are of special needs or older children. Support after adoptions are complete is also critical. The services families need are not always expensive. Having buddy families with children the same age, for example, can be accomplished without appropriated funds. The suggestions in this report, "Keeping the Promise - Joint Policy Recommendations," by a broad coalition of groups, is an excellent place to start rethinking post-adoption services. To download the report, please click here.

October 3, 2013. Government and Other Alerts: Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Department of State has announced that the Democratic Republic of the Congo has effectively suspended international adoption. We quote: "effective September 25, 2013, the DGM suspended issuance of exit permits to adopted Congolese children seeking to depart the country with their adoptive parents. The DGM reports the suspension will last up to 12 months. This suspension is due to concerns over reports that children adopted from the Democratic Republic of the Congo may be either abused by adoptive families or adopted by a second set of parents once in their receiving countries. The suspension of exit permits for adopted Congolese children applies to all intercountry adoptions and is not limited to adoptions by U.S. citizens. These exit permits are required in addition to U.S. immigrant visas in order for children to travel to the United States." It is not known at this time whether the DRC will allow pipeline cases to continue. More Information.

October 2, 2013. USCIS Clarifies Status During Government Shutdown. USCIS has issued a letter which we know will be of interest to our community. It states: "USCIS operations continue despite the Federal Government shutdown, because fee-for-service activities performed by USCIS are not affected by a lapse in annual appropriated funding. Therefore, all USCIS offices worldwide are open for interviews and appointments as scheduled. E-Verify is an exception and is unavailable during the shutdown. For more information about how the shutdown is effecting E-Verify please visit www.dhs.gov/e-verify."

October 1, 2013. What Could Pavel Astakhov Have Meant? Russian Children Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov has been a leading advocate of banning U.S. adoptions of Russian children. So why did he say yesterday: "If Americans were allowed to adopt every single child on the planet, they would. It is their mentality. That is something Russians could learn from." Of course we are glad that Mr. Astakhov recognizes the virtues of American families. But why couldn't he have realized this sooner. More Information.

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