Center for Adoption Policy
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March 2018

March 27, 2018. Something Everyone Can Do to Help Save International Adoption. We know that many in the adoption community feel the need to try to do something to arrest and reverse the decline in international adoptions. The link below represents an action which concerned individuals can take which is to sign the petition to the White House which urges President Trump to take steps to change his administration's policy on international adoption. To sign the petition, please click here.

March 26, 2018. International Adoptions to U.S. Now at Lowest Number Since 1973. The Department of State has released its figures on international adoptions to the United States in Fiscal Year 2017 (October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017). The total number of children internationally adopted children was 4,714, a drop of 12 percent from FY 2016. This figure is the lowest number of international adoptions to the United States since 1973. Even this low number is likely to drop because Ethiopia, the second largest sending country, has since banned international adoptions. China is still the largest sending country to the U.S, with 1,905 adoptions, down 15 percent from the previous year. To read all the dismal statistics, please click here.

March 22, 2018. Message from Assistant Secretary of State, Carl Risch. The Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, which has jurisdiction over international adoption, has circulated a message to the international adoption community. In the message, Mr. Risch assures families, agencies (ASPs), and stakeholders that the Department of State "is committed to maintaining intercountry adoption as an option around the world for children who cannot find permanent families in their countries of birth. He also states that DOS policy is a shared responsibility and not driven by one person and that if the transition to IAAME as the new accrediting entity (AE) is not successful, "the Department could be left with no AE, and accreditation and approval of ASPs would cease until a new AE could be found, absent a change in the legislation governing intercountry adoption. Such an outcome would almost certainly result in the interruption of intercountry adoption to the United States." More information.

March 20, 2018. New Article Discusses Department of State's Position on International Adoption. We draw your attention to an excellent article about new Department of State policies which will negatively affect international adoption. The article features Professor Elizabeth Bartholet, National Council for Adoption President Chuck Johnson, and other individuals with long experience in the field of international adoption. To access the article please click here.

March 19, 2018. State Department Guidance on "Soft Referrals." The Department of State has issued guidance on the practice by countries of origin or adoption service providers of issuing so called "soft referrals," which DOS defines as "the act of matching a child to a family before confirmation of the child's eligibility to be adopted through the intercountry process and /or approval of the perspective adoptive parents' home study and associate background checks." The China Special Needs program, the largest international adoption program, has made it a practice to provide Preliminary Approval (PA) to families for specific children although the families does not yet have an approved home study, a procedure which will not pass muster now. However, the DOS announcement does not ban photo listings in and of themselves. More Information.

March 15, 2018. What Were They Thinking: Twins and Triplets Separated For Adoption For a Medical Study. We have been horrified to learn that in the 1960s a prominent adoption agency, Louise Wise Services, separated twins and triplets who were then placed in different adoptive families. None of the adoptive families knew their child had a biological twin or triplets. The families were also told that their children would be part of a child development study. In reality the study was designed to test nature over nurture, using separated children as test cases. Clearly neither the adoptive parents nor the children gave informed consent. Some of the now adult children only learned about their twins' existence from the producer of a new documentary. The victims still cannot get access to the unredacted study, the documents for which are at Yale University but sealed. More Information.

March 14, 2018. Protecting Frozen Eggs and Embryos. Over the weekend two fertility clinics, one in Cleveland and one in San Francisco, reported that their freezing systems for preserving client's eggs and/or embryos had failed. In response, the New York Times has prepared a basic outline of what steps clients should take to ensure, as far as possible, the safety of their eggs. The article may be found by clicking here.

March 13, 2018. Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2018 Introduced. On March 8, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.), together with Senators Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduced, yet again, an Adoptee Citizenship bill. This legislation, if passed, would provide citizenship for adoptees whose American citizens parents failed to complete the necessary steps to make their children U.S. citizens. As Senator Hirono said: "International adoptees who were adopted by American parents and raised as Americans should have the same rights of citizenship as biological children," We wholeheartedly urge every adoptee to contact their legislators and urge swift passage of this bill. More Information.

March 12, 2018. Kansas Parents Will Serve Prison Sentences For Child Abuse. Jim and Paige Nachtigal, Kansas missionaries, pleaded guilty to child abuse for the cruel mistreatment of the three children they adopted from Peru. While the Nachtigals were known in their community for their involvement in their church and their foreign missionary work, they were secretly abusing the three children they had adopted. School staff and others had contacted Department of Children and Families officials as early as 2014 but it took until 2016 for any investigations to begin. While two of the children appear to be doing well, the younger daughter is clearly struggling. More Information.

March 7, 2018. Washington State Enact Uniform Parentage Act. Washington state is the first state to enact the new Uniform Parentage Act. The law addresses crucial issues related to surrogacy, same-sex marriage, the right to genetic information, the status of children conceived as a result of sexual assault and updates other parentage laws. It also permits paid surrogacy in Washington state. Prior to the enactment of the new law, paying for surrogacy in Washington state was a crime. To review the law, please click here to download PDF.

March 6, 2018. Update on Ethiopian International Adoption. The Department of State has informed the adoption community since the Ethiopian suspension of international adoption, 66 in-process cases have been completed with another 128 cases still outstanding. The Ethiopian government has taken further action to ensure the closure of Ethiopian international adoption. DOS officials have reached out to Ethiopian counterparts but can provide no indication when, if ever, international adoption from Ethiopia will resume.

March 5, 2018. USCIS Is Now Accepting Credit Cards For Its Fees. USCIS is now accepting credit card payments for the I-600/A fees, I-800/A fees as well as fingerprinting costs. The Department of State does not yet accept credit card payments for passport fees although you can use a credit card for the payment of the execution/processing fee. USCIS currently believes that using a credit card will not affect the timing of processing through the lock box.

March 1, 2018. UK High Court Rules Sperm Donor's Parents Have Right To Contact With Their Biological Grandson. In a landmark ruling, the British High Court has allowed a boy's biological grandparents to have mandated visits with their grandchild. The sperm donor was a friend of the two mothers. He was the donor for their five year old son; the women used a different donor for the other son. After the baby was born the two mothers and the sperm donor had different views of his role in the boy's life: the women thought he would see the boy on the same basis as any friend's child while he thought he would have be known to the boy as his biological father. Initially contact was normal and amiable and the boy's grandparents also saw him. But as time went on, and after the women split up, the mothers found the continued contact "burdensome" and sought to limit it. The donor went to court and was granted visitation, with his parents allowed to participate occasionally. The women sought to block the grandparents from gaining mandated rights because they maintained such a grant would interfere with their freedom to parent. The lower court disagreed and the High Court affirmed the lower court's ruling with an opinion which stated that the "order made by the judge was one that she was plainly entitled to make on the evidence before her." This landmark case illustrates three factors: the new world of family relationships, the large discretion family court judges have, and the importance of donors and intended parents obtaining sound legal advice before proceeding. More Information.

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