September 30, 2015. International Adoption of Special Needs Children From India Provides Positive Influence Within India. As foreign couples adopt increasing (although still small) numbers of special needs children from India, Indians are taking notice. "According to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (Cara), 190 children with special needs were adopted in 2012-13. This number rose to 283 and 253 in the next two years respectively." Social workers in India are in favor of international special needs adoption because they believe that children with varying medical needs will receive better medical and greater social acceptance abroad than at home. Lessening the stigma for differently abled or medically challenged children in birth countries is another benefit of international adoption. More Information.
September 29, 2015. Weakening Enforcement of China's One Child Policy. Officials in Guangdong province, one of China's major provinces, have taken a major step back from enforcing the one-child policy. From now on, parents who seek to register their child's birth under the "hukou"/family registration system, will no longer have to produce a family-planning compliance certificate. This major policy shift has lead numerous parents to seek registration for older toddlers and children who never had the hukou. Without the hukou, a child is a non-person who cannot attend school or otherwise have a public existence. Authorities in the provinces of Shandong and Hubei had previously taken this step which some attribute to China's concern about the paucity of female births as well as the declining potential work force. More Information.
September 28, 2015. Professor Elizabeth Bartholet on the "Baby Bella" case. The story of the unidentified body of a little girl which washed up on a Boston Harbor beach drew much attention this summer. Baby Bella, as she has since been identified, was a two and half year old girl whose mother and her boyfriend were heroin addicts who had previously come to the attention of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. Professor Elizabeth Bartholet of the Harvard Law School, a world recognized expert on children and family law, has been deeply involved in subsequent public discussions on fixing this catastrophic systemic failure. Professor Bartholet told the Boston Globe that DCF is clearly prioritizing keeping families together over the best interests of the child. "According to Professor Bartholet, Massachusetts has an inadequate "two-track" system which "puts children either on a track where they are closely monitored by child-welfare agencies or puts them on a second "low-risk" track, in which parents have a choice of whether to accept state services." Bartholet has concluded that: "Even on the traditional track, there is not enough intervention, there is not enough surveillance, there's not enough protection for kids," she told WRKO. "I think we ought to be moving in the direction of beefing up that traditional track. And to move in this other direction is simply a matter of a deliberate policy of putting children at greater risk. We have a system that does not value the child's welfare even though it keeps claiming to." More Information.
September 24, 2015. Alabama Supreme Court Denies Lesbian Mother Parental Rights. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that it does not have to recognize a lesbian mother's Georgia adoptions of her ex-partner's children. The Alabama justices concluded that the Georgia court was wrong to allow the adoptions because Georgia law does not permit such second parent adoptions. The second mother adopted the three biological children of her then partner in 2007. Cathy Sakimura, a leading lawyer in this field responded to the decision by saying that it was not only personally devastating for the second mother because she had helped raise the children since birth but did not follow the law because Alabama was required to recognize the adoptions, rather than re-consider them. CAP has worked with Cathy on previous gay rights cases. More Information.
September 23, 2015. Ohio Will Issue Revised New Birth Certificates. Officials from Ohio's Department of Health, responding to outraged adoptees, will re-issue the "original birth certificates" it recently issued under the state's new law unsealing birth records for adoptees whose adoptions were completed in Ohio between 1964 and 1996. Some three dozen adoptees complained after they received so-called original documents which had their birth names redacted as well as, in some cases, hospitals, addresses and other identifying information. Under the new law, birth parents must affirmatively file documents with the Department of Health if they wish to remain anonymous. More Information.
September 22, 2015. Post-Placement Reports: Kazakhstan. Many countries require that international adopting parents file post-placement reports concerning their children. This requirement can pose a problem for adoptive parents whose agency has gone out of business or whose adoption was completed without an adoption service provider. The government of Kazakhstan has now informed the Department of State that U.S. parents who face these difficulties can directly email their post placement reports to the Kazakhstan Central Adoption Authority at: Manshuk.Abdikarim@edu.gov.kz. These reports do not have to be translated from English. All adoptive parents with Kazakh born children must file reports every six months for the first three years after their adoptions and thereafter, annually, until the child reaches the age of 18. More Information.
September 21, 2015. Government and Other Notices: Bhutan. The Government of Bhutan has ended its suspension of international adoption. U.S. citizens may apply to adopt a Bhutanese child "if suitable Bhutanese prospective adoptive parents cannot be found within Bhutan." Detailed information on Bhutan's rules and regulations are found on Bhutan's National Commission for Women and Children website.
September 17, 2015. GAO Releases Report on Unregulated child custody transfer. The General Accountability Office has issued a report on the regulation or lack thereof of Unregulated custody transfers of adopted child (UCCT), frequently referred to as "rehoming." Among the GAO's conclusions are that no one knows how many adopted child are transferred to other people outside of a legitimate legal framework because these transfers 'happen without any oversight, these transfers are difficult to track and no federal agency keeps statistics on their occurrence." But the GAO also found that there had been an increase in state laws regarding UCCT and that the federal government had responded by creating an interagency working group to study this problem. CAP made a presentation to the interagency working group and was interviewed by GAO officials for its report. To download a copy of this report, click here.
September 15, 2015. Hugh Jackman Speaks Out about Australia's "Anti-Adoption Culture." Actor, adoptive father and adoption advocate Hugh Jackman has given a thoughtful interview to the London Guardian newspaper where he discusses what he and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness view as Australia's inbred negative attitude to adoption. With anti-international adoption movements increasing in strength, his words are timely and well worth listening to. The interview may be accessed by clicking here.
September 14, 2015. International Adoptee Searches on the Increase. As international adoptees grow up, they are increasingly creating links with their birth countries. Many adoptees, with or without their adoptive parents, take heritage trips to their birth countries. International adoptees also frequently participate in service activities and university study in their birth countries. The ever-present social media/smart phone revolution has also aided adoptees who wish to find their birth families, something that would have been inconceivable when college age adoptees were born. While the article linked here focuses on Guatemala, Russian adoptees are using Russian social media to connect with birth families as well. More Information.
September 10, 2015. Government and Other Notices: Haiti. The Department of State has posted an adoption alert regarding Haiti. The Haitian Central Adoption Authority, L'Institut du Bien-Etre Social et de Recherches (IBESR), has advised the U.S. government that Haiti's 2013 adoption law requires that all international adoptions completed after November 2013 must be "completed as plenary (full) adoptions." IBESR has explained that under the 2013 law, "simple adoptions may not terminate all of the birth parents' legal rights and might be subject to revocation at the request of the birth family at any point before the child turns 18" and therefore may need to be converted into plenary/full adoptions to be eligible for international adoption purposes. More Information.
September 9, 2015. DRC Adoptees Remain Stuck. Over 1,300 children who were born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and legally adopted by U.S. or European parents remain mired in the DRC. For two years the DRC government has refused to give them the exit permit which is a prerequisite to leaving the country. So these children and their parents remain in limbo. On the one hand, they have legally recognized parents. On the other, the children may not join their parents outside the DRC. In August Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Amy Klobucher, D-Minn., sent a letter, co-signed by 136 lawmakers from both the House of Representatives and the Senate, which called on the Congo's government to expedite the resolution of this tragic impasse: "Due to the delay in processing the outstanding adoption cases, we understand that at least one child has unnecessarily died despite already possessing a valid visa with which to immediately enter the United States. Other children remain in unstable conditions. Furthermore, some of our constituents have put their lives in the United States on hold, relocating to the Democratic Republic of Congo to be closer to and properly care for their adopted children." But no progress has been made. Some knowledgeable persons speculate that the delay is in retaliation for the opposition expressed by the American and French governments to the idea that Present Joseph Kabila be permitted to extend his presidential term, in violation of the DRC constitution. More Information.
September 8, 2015. What Will the Numbers Be This Year? Federal Fiscal Year 2015 ends in just 22 days. As readers know, international adoption statistics are calculated according to fiscal years so 2015, for IA statistical purposes, has almost finished. Although we will not receive the actual numbers for several months, it is worth speculating on how low the number of children brought home to the United States will be. In FY 2014 the number was 6,441. Will this year's total dip below 6,000? If so, by how many? We are not optimistic.
Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)