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January 2020

January 29, 2020. Bethany Decides to End its International Adoption Program. Bethany Christian Services has announced that it will be ending its international adoption program, which has been in existence for almost forty years. This is a sign of the times: we have been writing a string of columns recording the end of program after program, agency after agency involvement in international adoption. All trends can be reversed. We hope this one will be as well. To access Bethany's announcement, please click here.

January 28, 2020. Important Warning for China Potential Adoptive Parents. The Centers for Disease Control yesterday increased its travel warning concerning China travel to a level 3, its highest warning. The CDC warning states that because of the coronavirus Americans should avoid all nonessential travel to China. The warning further specifies that Americans should avoid any travel to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, and urges Americans who are in China to avoid all contact with sick people, animal markets and products that come from animals. More Information.

January 27. 2020. Small World Adoption Agency Suspended. The Department of State announced that the Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (IAAME) has suspended the accreditation of Small World, Inc. for "failing to maintain substantial compliance with accreditation standards." Any potential adoptive parents working with Small World should read the linked notice. More Information.

January 23, 2020. Another Suspension - Joshua Tree Adoptions: PAPs Please Check. The Department of State has posted the information that the accreditation of Joshua Tree Adoptions has been suspended by IAAME. Given the number of suspensions, mergers and closures of adoption service providers, we urge all potential adoptive parents to check the DOS website before deciding on an adoption service provider. PAPs should use their own best efforts to ascertain the past and current performance of their potential adoption agency. More Information.

January 22, 2020. Suspension of International Adoption Services, Inc. IAAME, the Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity, has suspended the accreditation of International Adoption Service, Inc. (IAS) for "failing to maintain substantial compliance with accreditation." Affected families should review their information about Case Transfer Responsibilities and the "If Your Agency is No Longer Accredited/approved" posts on the Department of States and USCIS websites. DOS has also clarified its role in these types of situations, which is worth noting, "The Department of State does not review or approve case transfer plans and has a limited role in their execution. The Department communicates with competent adoption authorities about the accreditation status of agencies and persons and case transfer plans, as needed. The Department also facilitates communication to the public about the outcome of accrediting entity determinations" More Information.

January 21, 2020. Barriers Block Potential Foster Parents. A powerful article details the unfortunate roadblocks which prevent otherwise qualified potential foster parents from helping the children who need the care. One of the highlighted problems is the rigidity of the foster care system rules. Designed for stay-at home caregivers, it blocks working women and men from becoming foster parents, even if they have arranged qualified alternative carers. The article also discusses the work of You Gotta Believe, an organization whose leadership has spoken at Center for Adoption Policy conferences. More Information.

January 16, 2019. New York's New Adoptee Access Records Law Goes into Effect. Yesterday New York now has become the tenth state to allow adoptees to obtain access to their original birth certificates. The law permits any adoptee once he or she turns 18 to apply to his or her local or state health department office to obtain an original copy of his or her birth certificate. Adoptees will therefore be able to learn the identity of their biological parents and as well as learn about their medical history. In the words of New York's governor Andrew Cuomo, "Where you came from informs who you are, and every New Yorker deserves access to the same birth records - it's a basic human right... For too many years, adoptees have been wrongly denied access to this information and I am proud to sign this legislation into law and correct this inequity once and for all." More Information.

January 15, 2020. Department of State Issues Notice on Adoptions by Non-U.S. Citizens Living in the United States. The State Department (DOS) has replied to inquiries concerning the processes whereby non-U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) living in the United States can adopt children from another country. This detailed notice should be read by any non-U.S. citizen living in the United States as well as by adoptive service providers. To access the notice, please click here.

January 14, 2020. California Legislators Debate Ban on Intersex Surgery. California state legislators have held hearings on a bill which would ban intersex surgery for children under the age of six unless it is medically necessary. A very small percentage of children are born with ambiguous genitalia, chromanones or reproductive organs that do not fit general definition for females or males. In the past, surgeries were commonly performed on infants with this condition. While the United Nations has condemned such surgery, the California Medical Association opposes this legislation on the basis that it interferes with the rights of parents to make decisions on behalf of their children. More Information.

January 13, 2020. The Democratic Republic of Congo Accedes to Hague; DOS Considers Next Steps. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) deposited its instrument of accession to the Hague Adoption Convention on December 11, 2019. The Convention will enter into force in DRC on April 1, 2020. However, the State Department reminds adoption service providers and potential adoptive parents that it is "determining if the United States may process Convention adoptions with Republic of Congo pursuant to U.S. law." Until DOS has made a positive determination, neither ASPs not PAPs should begin adoptions from DRC. More Information.

January 9, 2019. Making A Family the Internet Way. The Wall Street Journal has published a fascinating article about websites such as PollenTree.com and Modafamily. These sites match women and men who want to create a baby together in a more personal way than the sperm and egg donor route, with parental commitments but without romantic commitments. The sites claim to have matched hundreds of potential parents. While the Wall Street Journal article is behind a paywall, anyone interested in learning more information, please click here.

January 8, 2019. Sign of the Times: BAAS Merges with Adoption International; BAAS Relinquishes Its Hague Accreditation. The Department of State reported on December 31, 2019 that Bay Area Adoption Services relinquished its accreditation. This announcement conveys the now routine way case transfers are handled as over the years we have grown accustomed to agencies going out of business. While BAAS staff and expertise will still be available under the AI label, this consolidation is just another example of the changes in the international adoption world. More Information.

January 7, 2020. DOS Clarifies Rules Relating to Soft Referrals. The Department of State has issued important clarifications on the rules concerning "soft referrals," the common name for informal matches between potential adoptive parents and eligible children, made prior to the PAPs' completed home studies. We urge ASPs and PAPs to consult this notice, particularly if they are interested in adopting from China. To access the DOS notice, please click here.

January 6, 2020. The New Year Brings a New Special Advisor for Children's Issues. Happy New Year and welcome to the various holiday updates we will be posting this week. We start today with the Department of State's announcement that Michelle Bernier-Toth is the new Special Advisor for Children. She comes with a great deal of experience, having been the Director of the Office of Children's Issues as well as the Managing Director for Overseas Citizens Services. Toe read more about the new special advisor, please click here.

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