Center for Adoption Policy
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September 2013

September 30, 2013. On International Adoption by Evangelical Christians. There has been much media discussion about the role of Evangelical Christians in international adoption. Jedd Medefind, President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, wrote an excellent letter in today's New York Times. Medefind said: "International adoption carries real risk of moral hazard and unintended consequences. This is true of any effort to address deep human need and demands great discernment and care. The growth in action by Christians to aid orphans amplifies these hazards. Whenever efforts to aid the destitute increase, both positive and flawed outcomes tend to increase also. But these important truths must never obscure the reality that millions of children today live without the love and protection of a family. Many can be reunited with relatives. Others can find other welcoming homes nearby. And for some, the only hope of a permanent family lies with foreign adoption." More Information.

September 26, 2013. DOS Introduces DS-260 Online Immigrant Visa Application and Registration. The Department of State has posted instructions for its new DS-260 ONLINE form which applies to all immigrant adoption visa applications, effective now. The online form replaces the paper DS-230 form. Anyone filing an immigrant visa form must use the new DS 260. Anyone filing a choice of agent or address form must use the new DS-261 Choice of Address or Agent online form. The DS-261 replaces the DS-3032 Choice OF Address and Agent form. Please consult if these changes apply to you. Among other things, there is specific information for families adopting two children. The instructions given on the DOS site are very detailed but are a necessary part of the process of bringing an adoptive child home.

September 25, 2013. Senator Landrieu Tells Russia the Truth. The fate of the unparented Russian children who were blocked from coming to their U.S. adoptive parents by a vindictive and calculating Russian government last year has become yet another invisible tragedy. Not so to Senator Mary Landrieu. Talking to RFE/RL after the launch of the CHIFF legislation, Landrieu said "I don't know if Russia is serious or not...But I know the United States is very upset -- both our people and the government are upset about this [ban] -- and we want to continue to try to work and move forward." As for Russian Children's rights Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov, an ardent supporter of the ban, the Senator put it this way (and quite rightly so), "He doesn't want to hear the truth. He's an ass. You can write that: He's an ass!" More Information.

September 24, 2013. Baby Veronica Goes Home To Parents. "Baby Veronica", the four year old child who was at the center of a Supreme Court case decided last spring, has finally gone home with the parents who adopted her (with the consent and blessing of her biological mother) and took custody of her as a newborn. The case raised major issues about the Indian Child Welfare Law, South Carolina and Oklahoma law and full faith and credit doctrine. Veronica lived with her adoptive parents for her first 27 months until, under an erroneous interpretation of ICWA by the South Carolina Supreme Court, was sent to live with her biological father who had rejected anything to do with her. It would have been far easier for all involved, especially Veronica, had this case been properly decided originally. More Information.

September 23, 2013. Adoptive Families: Keep Track of Your Adoption Agency. After adoptive families come home with their children, they understandably may not follow the fortunes of their adoption agencies. But families should monitor their agency's status. If your agency goes out of business, contact the successor agency and request your file. Otherwise personal information can end up anywhere. The fate of records from New Life Adoption Agency illustrates exactly how this process works . New Life was a popular agency which worked in upstate New York for two decades. It closed in 2011. Now Robert Lahm, a lawyer in Syracuse, has custody of 1,000 files because the files were left in his office building. Lahm wants to give the files to a New York state agency but none will take them. Neither will any adoption attorney. So Lahm has invited any family which adopted through New Life to contact him at 315-472-3434, make an appointment and bring proof of identity and then reclaim its files. More Information.

September 19, 2013. CHIFF - The Best Chance in a Decade for Unparented Children - Is Introduced into the Senate. We are proud to announce that Senator Mary Landrieu and 13 other colleagues have introduced the Children in Families First Act (S. 1530). CHIFF provides U.S. leadership for orphans and vulnerable children, strengthens international adoption, focus U.S. spending on children's assistance programs and increases ethical, transparent and accountable protection for unparented children. Full information can be found by clicking here. Please read up on this legislation and call your Senator and ask her to support this bill.

September 18, 2013. Vietnam's Department of Adoptions Issues Timetable and Review for Next Step in Program to Reopen Internatioanal Adoption. The Government of Vietnam has previously announced that it will accredit two U.S. adoption service providers which will be permitted to place special needs and older children for international adoption to the United States. Yesterday the Department of State reported Vietnam's timetable: 1) acceptance of ASP applications ends 9/21; 2) from 0/22 to 12/21, the GOV will pre-screen and review ASP applications, and 3) from 12/22 into the early part of 2014, the GOV will assess the capacity of short-listed ASPS. ASPs should not try to contact the GOV during phase 1) or 2). More Information.

September 16, 2013. CNN Running Series on International Adoption. Today CNN has posted a number of new articles on international adoption. These articles provide statistical information, contain interviews from grown international adoptees and also highlight the work of various organizations who have worked to continue international adoption as a method of creating a permanent loving family (and those who oppose it as well). This in-depth examination is far more measured and balanced than previous media reports and we welcome the information. To access these articles, please click here.

September 12, 2013. The Overwhelming Teenage Crisis. As a community this week we have been discussing the tragic cases of adopted children, mainly adolescent or pre-adolescent, whose adoptive parents seek to place outside their parental homes. The confirmed number of these case is lower than 260. The focus on adopted children, important that it is, misses the real crisis: there are between 1.5 and 2 million homeless teens in the United States. Half of the teens in shelters have reported that their parents either threw them out from their homes or didn't care that they left. The crisis for teens is a crisis which affects all teenagers, of which adopted teens form a small subset. More Information.

September 11, 2013. Today Show (NBC News) Tries to Discredit Its Own 2012 Reporting. On August 1, 2012 the Today show ran a story called "When it takes more than love: What happens when adoption fails." The piece sympathetically focused on noted author and Today show guest Joyce Maynard who, with great fanfare, had adopted two girls from Ethiopia in 2010 and then (to use Today show terms) re-homed them to a different U.S. family in 2011. The earlier story also included expert opinion which correctly put adoption disruption into overall context and offered support to Maynard and the other family mentioned. And the 2012 story contained much less alarming statistics on adoption disruption/dissolution than the current reports. To see the original Today show segment report, please click here.

September 10, 2013. How Institutionalization Destroys Childrens' Rights to Permanent, Loving Families. The life-destroying effects of prolonged institutionalization on children have been dramatically demonstrated by this week's NBC News and Reuters reports on disruptions and dissolutions of children adopted internationally. ("Disruption" is when an adoption placement breakdowns; "dissolution" is the legal termination of a finalized adoption.) The reality is that children who have been institutionalized and deprived of a normal childhood are also robbed of later chances to find a permanent loving family. The abuse that these children tragically suffer in their birth countries often makes them unable to live in a normal family, when they are finally able to be adopted. As a community we welcome disclosure-disclosure of issues in international adoption before families adopt, disclosure of the best ways to parent formerly institutionalized children and disclosure of better pre-adoption education and post-placement support. But most importantly, we embrace legislative and political solutions to end the criminal effects of prolonged institutionalization on unparented children, wherever these children are.

September 4, 2013. Breaking News: Baby Veronica Isn't Going Back to Adoptive Family Yet. Notwithstanding a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision and a ruling by the South Carolina Supreme Court, 4 year old Veronica is still in the custody of her biological father. Because all parties are under a gag order, full details of court proceedings are sketchy. What we know is that last week the Oklahoma Supreme Court stayed the ruling of the Soiurth Carolina Supreme Court last week which had given custody of Veronica to her adoptive family, under a transition plan. The Oklahoma Supreme Court had scheduled a full hearing for yesterday. No information has yet appeared. This case involved landmark adoption issues as well as full faith and credit concerns. More Information.

September 3, 2013. What Happened To U.S. Adoption from Russia. In the middle of the catastrophic decline of U.S. international adoption in general, the particular closing of Russian adoption is both its own story and a way of looking at the issue in general. Today we start a series examining this issue. This article gives an excellent overview of the arc of U.S.-Russian relations in the last three years and depicts where the banning of U.S. adoptions from Russia fell in the interwoven events of this bilateral relationship. More Information.

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