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May 2014

May 29, 2014. New Jersey Allows Adoptee Access to Original Birth Certificates. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, on May 27, 2014, signed into law a bill which will allow adoptees to have access to their original birth certificates. The law is a compromise between what legislators had originally proposed and what the governor was willing to sign. It does allow for retroactivity, permits birth parents to redact portions of the original birth certificate for any adoption finalized before August 1, 2015 and includes contact preferences. Under certain circumstances it also requires birth parents to file updated health information. To download the text of the bill, click here.

May 28, 2014. DRC to Issue A Limited Number of Exit Permits. The Department of State has announced that on Monday, the Congolese General Direction of Migration (DGM) told various embassies that it is now prepared to issue exit permits to 62 Congolese children whose cases fully meet the requirements of Congolese law. Of these 62 cases, 15 are children who were adopted by U.S. families. The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasha is contacting those families by email. The DGM further announced that " all other children adopted by foreigners will not be issued exit permits until a new law reforming intercountry adoptions enters into force, even if their cases met the DGM's previous exception criteria (as outlined in the Department's October 23, 2013 Adoption Alert). This new law has not yet been drafted and Congolese authorities are not able to commit to a particular timeframe in which they expect to develop and implement any new law(s).." Furthermore because the new law may include retroactively effective provisions, DOS is warning U.S. PAPs that "While the courts may continue processing adoptions, the children adopted during the suspension will not be able to obtain exit permits to depart the country and are not guaranteed to be eligible for exit permits once any new law is promulgated. More Information.

May 22, 2014. CHIFF Webinar. This week Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA.) and Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) held a Webinar on the Children in Families First Act. (S. 1530, H.R. 4140 ). The legislators spoke a great length on this bill, of which they are key proponents. For those people who are interested in the proceedings, a full recording of the webinar may be accessed by clicking here.

May 21, 2014. UAA Continued. The importance of the application of the Universal Accreditation Act to international adoption, which goes into effect on July 14, 2014 cannot be overstressed. Today we post a link to the initial FAQs on the USCIS website. We have been informed by USCIS that more FAQs will be available on its site in the near future. The current posting may be found by clicking here.

May 20, 2014. FAQs on Universal Accreditation Act. The Universal Accreditation Act pertaining to the accreditation of adoption service providers who work with families in non-Hague countries goes into effect on July 14, 2014. In anticipation of this deadline, the Department of State and USCIS have posted FAQs and links for ASPs, adoptive families and stakeholders. More Information.

May 19, 2014. FREE Webinar on The Children in Families First Act (CHIFF) on Tuesday, May 20, 3:30 Eastern Time. Join the CHIFF Working Group on Tuesday, May 20th, for an informational webinar seeking to protect vulnerable children around the world. Child welfare experts will summarize the need and explain why CHIFF is the answer. U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and Representative Trent Franks, CHIFF sponsors, will be available to answer your questions and explain why CHIFF is a priority for them! Don't miss out! Click here to Register.

Featured Speakers:

  • Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
  • Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ)
  • Terry Baugh, Kidsave
  • Tom Difilipo, Joint Council on International Children's Services
  • Megan Lindsey, National Council For Adoption
  • Pete Leppanen, Both Ends Burning

May 15, 2014. Important Message for DRC Potential Adoptive Parents. The Department of State is holding a conference call tomorrow, Friday, May 16, from 10:00-11:30 for all prospective adoptive families waiting for the suspension on exist permits to be lifted from the Democratic Republic of Congo or PAPs interested in adopting from the DRC. The DOS notice does not include call-in information; so PAPs should call the Office of Children's Issues at 1-888-407-4747 (or 202-501-4444 from outside the US) to obtain this information.

May 14, 2014. Universal Accreditation Act Update and Training Sessions. The Department of State and USCIS will be holding telephone update and training sessions for the Universal Accreditation Act which goes into effect on July 14. There will be two sessions. Adoption Service Providers will have their session on May 20 from 2:00 to 3:30 pm Eastern Time. Dial-in information: 1-888-363-4749, Access code: 6276702#. Prospective Adoptive Parents will have their session on May 22 from 3:30 to 5:00pm. Dial-in: 1-888-363-4749, Access code: 6276702#. No RSVP is needed to participate. All ASPs and PAPs should, if possible, participate in the appropriate call which will answer questions such as new procedures, grandfathering of existing cases, independent adoption and include some specific country guidance.

May 13, 2014. International Adoption from Armenia. The Department of State has issued the following reminder about adoption processing in Armenia. Armenia is a Hague-effective country whose central authority is The Ministry of Justice. Armenian law forbids professional facilatators, adoption agencies or attorneys from providing adoption services in Armenia. Prospective adoptive parents however may "grant a power of attorney to an individual to handle most aspects of the adoption process on their behalf. These individuals can only provide limited legal services and complete the process in Armenia through direct contact with the Ministry of Justice." DOS has received reports that some PAPs have received misleading information about what individuals can and cannot do with respect to Armenian international adoption. More Information.

May 12, 2014. Department of State Warns Americans Not to Travel to Ukraine. The Department of State has issued a warning to U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to Ukraine. Moreover, DOS has warned U.S. citizens not to travel under any circumstances to the following regions of Ukraine: the Crimean Peninsula, the eastern regions of Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk, and the city of Odessa. U.S. citizens resident in Ukraine, particularly in the eastern regions, are asked to consider leaving Ukraine. Crucially, "in light of the ongoing political unrest, the Embassy has restricted Embassy personnel from traveling to eastern Ukraine, the Odesa oblast, and the Crimean Peninsula" so if a problem occurs, U.S. Embassy personnel will not be able to physically offer assistance. More Information.

May 8, 2014. Nigerian Tragedy Puts Spotlight on Child-Trafficking. The vicious kidnapping of hundreds of girls last week from a Nigerian school has drawn unusual attention to the vicious world of child trafficking. Susan Bissell, Unicef's chief of child protection, believes that there are 1.2 million known cases each year "and that's a gross underestimate, because of situations in this context; it's totally clandestine." Ms. Bissell also told The New York Times that "for every 800 victims, one person is convicted. " We salute Ms. Bissell for placing Unicef's focus where it should be--on the millions of children who are in danger of their very lives. More Information.

May 7, 2014. Legislation Pertaining to Infertility. The following bills are now before Congress and will be of interest to our community. The first bill is the Family Act, S 881/H.R. 1851 which provides a tax credit for the out-of-pocket expenses associated with in vitro fertilization or IVF. The second bill is the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act of 2013, S 1056/H.R. 2144: While the adoption tax credit is now permanent, it does not currently contain the refundable provision that was in place in 2010 and 2011. This bill is obviously also of interest to families who may only be considering adoption. Finally, the Women Veterans and Other Healthcare Improvement Act of 2013, S 131/ H. R. 958 requires the : This bill will require the Veterans Administration to provide both IVF and adoption assistance to veterans who are now infertile as a result of being wounded while in serving in the military.

May 6, 2014. Progress on Adoption from Kyrgyzstan. The Department of State has listed the six U.S. adoption agencies which have been accredited by the Kyrgyzstan Ministry of Social Development. These agencies are: Across the World Adoptions, American World Adoption, Lifeline Children's Services, Nightlight Christian Adoption, Premier Adoption Agency and World Links Association, Inc. The Kyrgyzstan government has required that any international adoption to the United State from that country be processed through one of the six agencies. Kyrgyzstan has not become a Hague Convention effective country so international adoptions to the United States will be process by the U.S. government following the I-600/A forms and requirements. More Information.

May 5, 2014. DRC Announces Stricter Scrutiny of Visa Applications from U.S. Adopting Families. The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has informed the Department of State that visa applications from in process or prospective adoptive families will received stricter review and "may be refused in some cases." DOS reports that Congolese officials are concerned about reports that U.S. families are leaving the DRC with their newly adopted children without proper authorization from the DRC's government and intimations that adoptions by U.S. families do not meet Congolese law. DRC officials further stated theat these concerns are motivating the DRC government to continue its hold on adoption processing. More Information.

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