Center for Adoption Policy
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March 2019

March 27, 2019. Sierra Leone Suspends International Adoption Until April 30, 2919. Last week the government of Sierra Leone informed the Department of State that "it has temporarily suspended the processing of all intercountry adoption cases until April 30, 2019, pending an internal review of its current process and the implementation of new adoption procedures and policies." In-process adoptive parents should communicate with their adoption agencies regarding the status of their adoption. Families should also monitor adoption.state.gov and if they have specific questions, should email the Office of Children's Issues at adoption@state.gov.

March 26, 2019. French Case on Surrogacy Procedure. We have learned about a new French case concerning surrogacy, A court in France has ordered a Spanish website hosting service that offers to match hopeful intended parents with gestational surrogates to shut off access to its services in French territory. The court found that the matching service was providing an "illicit service" which was aimed at French intended parents and as such was violating French law. Perhaps the reason for the ruling is that a French, not Spanish, company owned the company.

March 25, 2018. Kyrgyzstan's Reauthorization of Adoption Service Providers. The Department of State has informed the adoption community that Kyrgyzstan has reinstated the accreditation for three U.S. adoption service providers but has not reauthorized the operations of four other adoption agencies. The agencies that are re-authorized are Lifeline Children's Services, World Links International Adoption Agency, and Across the World Adoptions. Families in the process of adopting from Kyrgyzstan should consult the DOS announcement.

March 21, 2019. Trump Administration Plans to Shut Overseas USCIS Offices. In what USCIS has labeled an efficiency move, the Director of USCIS, L. Francis Cissna informed senior USCIS officials that the international division will close down at the end of 2019. The international division has operations in 20 countries and is the best conduit for potential adoptive parents to process their adoptions in-country. These shutdowns will affect not only potential adoptive parents but students, U.S. military personnel, and applicants for legal immigration. To read more on the plan, please click here.

March 20, 2019. AAAA Assails Decline in International Adoptions. The American Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys has issued a statement highlighting the 82 percent drop in international adoptions to the United States since 2004, and the 13 percent drop in international adoptions from 2017 to 2018 to the small number of 4,059. As the statements points out: "The majority of orphans denied intercountry adoption are not finding equal or better solutions in their country of birth; on the contrary, they are living and dying in institutions in ever-growing numbers. Research conclusively shows that the majority of those who survive the orphanage experience will experience permanent emotional and physical harm and will age out into a world that will exploit them in horrible and degrading ways."

March 19, 2019. Indian Authorities Investigage Embryo Smuggling Ring. A man from Malaysia was arrested at Mumbai airport after a human embryo was discovered in his luggage. The man told the police that he had smuggled embryos into India before and directed officials to a "high end" IVF clinic in Mumbai. Authorities are said to have also found text messages backing up his claim. The owner of the clinic denied the allegations. To access the story, please click here.

March 18, 2018. To Increase Birth Rate China Considers Single-Motherhood. China's leaders are convinced that the nation is facing a demographic disaster with a declining birth rate and increasing numbers of older people. Allowing each family two children, after thirty years of draconian - one child policies, has not produced the bump authorities sought. Now an idea getting serious attention is to treat single mothers the same as married couples. China has long penalized single mothers, making them face severe financial penalties as well as, in some provinces, denying the child the all-important "houkou" residence permit that is required for school, work and official residence. Even if these proposals are implemented, it will take a major societal change to break down the traditional disapproval. More Information.

March 14, 2019 Intercountry Adoptions to the United States Continue to Drop. The Department of State has released its Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2018. As expected, the number of international adoptions to the United States has continued to decline, this year down to 4059, a ten percent decline from FY 2017. The Department of State attributes the decrease to better domestic economic and social conditions in China as well as concerns over adoptive parent actions by the Ethiopian government. We have other explanations as well. To read the Annual Report, please click here.

March 12, 2019. Residence Requirements Potential Adoptive Parents From Sierra Leone. The Department of State has announced that in order to adopt from Sierra Leone, prospective adoptive parents must reside in and foster the child in Sierra Leone for six consecutive months. The Sierra Leone Attorney General has further confirmed that courts cannot waive this requirement nor can PAPs meet this requirement by proxy. DOS advise in process families to contact their adoptive agency immediately to make sure that their cases will be the Sierra Leone rules. More Information.

March 11, 2019. USCIS Issues Adoption Guidance. USCIS has issued guidance concerning the interpretation of its memo of November 9, 2018 memorandum on the suitability of prospective adoptive parents. This new information supplements and explains the earlier memorandum and attempts to answer various stakeholder questions which have come to the fore since then. It is important reading for agencies and prospective adoptive parents. To read the latest information, please click here.

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