Adoptive Families Still Stranded Abroad

Under normal circumstances, Americans adopt an average of 300 foreign children every month. But as the novel coronavirus spreads across the globe, American adoptive families have found themselves stranded overseas.

While it’s difficult to collect exact numbers, the National Council for Adoption (NCA) said members of dozens of families are marooned in places like China, India, Ukraine, South America, and various African countries, struggling to obtain paperwork or transportation to make it to the US safely.

“These are families that have completed their foreign adoptions and are waiting on the US Department of State to complete their visa process,” NCA vice president Ryan Hanlon told Insider. “Before the pandemic hit, processing visas was taking too long. Now with borders being shut down and threats of violence in foreign countries, these need to be more urgently prioritised.”

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A Huge Selection of FREE Books for Kids and Teens, Thanks to Audible Books!

From our great friends, #CreatingaFamily, how about another wonderful resource to entertain kids/teens without a screen and without parental involvement?  Audible Books has made a huge selection of their books for preschoolers to teens available for free during the coronavirus shutdown.

#Adoption #HopscotchAdoptions #SpecialNeeds #DownSyndrome #ForeverFamily #HelpUsAdopt #AudibleBooks

Please do not hesitate to reach out if your family is in need of support.  Hopscotch is here for you!

 

Couple Told By Administration To Ditch Adopted Child!

Last month when the World Health Organization dubbed the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, State Department officials gave Robin Gallite and her husband Alli, both 41, a choice: Return to the U.S. from Lagos, Nigeria, quickly before the country’s airports closed and the health-care system deteriorated, or stay with their 16-month-old daughter, Nike, and risk getting stuck in the country.

After applying for her adoption in 2018, Robin and Alli took home Adenike-Rae—“Nike” for short—in August from Cross River, a Nigerian state bordering Cameroon. The couple planned to stay with Alli’s family in Lagos for several months while they waited for Nike’s adoption to be finalized by local officials and until they received a U.S. visa for their daughter. They had wanted to spend time with Alli’s family before returning home to the U.S. so Robin could introduce Nike to her own mother. The couple had heard from other parents that obtaining a visa for adopted Nigerian children took months, but they were optimistic about being able to fly back to the U.S. with their daughter in the spring of 2020.

That confidence quickly faded.

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Trapped Overseas, Adoptive Families Beg The U.S. To Let Them Return

As the COVID-19 pandemic began engulfing the globe last month, the U.S. State Department issued a Level 4 travel advisory for Americans — its strongest warning. Besides advising U.S. citizens “to avoid all international travel,” the State Department said, “U.S. citizens who live abroad should arrange for immediate return to the United States.”

That’s exactly what Lyndsey Voss is trying to do. The 30-year-old Florence, Alabama native has been living in Uganda for nearly two years, pursuing the adoption of a young boy we’ll call “Alex.” As many other Americans have evacuated and Uganda has closed its borders, it’s been the U.S. State Department keeping Lyndsey and her 7-year-old son from going home.

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USCIS Temporary Office Closure Extended until at least May 3

On March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services temporarily suspended in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and application support centers (ASCs) to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). USCIS offices will begin to reopen on May 4 unless the public closures are extended further. Employees in these offices are continuing to perform mission-essential services that do not require face-to-face contact with the public.

USCIS will continue to provide limited emergency services. Please call the Contact Center for assistance with emergency services.

USCIS field offices will send notices to applicants and petitioners with scheduled appointments and naturalization ceremonies impacted by the extended temporary closure. USCIS asylum offices will send interview cancellation notices and automatically reschedule asylum interviews. When the interview is rescheduled, asylum applicants will receive a new interview notice with the new time, date and location of the interview. When USCIS again resumes normal operations, USCIS will automatically reschedule ASC appointments due to the temporary office closure. You will receive a new appointment letter in the mail. Individuals who had InfoPass or other appointments must reschedule through the USCIS Contact Center once field offices are open to the public again. Please check to see if the office in your jurisdiction has been reopened before reaching out to the USCIS Contact Center.

Education and precautions are the strongest tools against infection. Get the latest facts by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 website. Continue to practice good health habits, refrain from handshakes or hugs as greetings, and wash hands and clean surfaces appropriately.

USCIS will provide further updates as the situation develops and will continue to follow CDC guidance. Please also visit uscis.gov/coronavirus for updates.

Teachers Share Their Favorite Free Learning Websites And Apps For Kids

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, kids across the country are home from school. Some kids have schoolwork to complete, but there’s still a large chunk of the day that needs to be filled with activities and scheduling.

Who better to help us parents fill in the space than teachers? So we asked the teachers of the HuffPost Parents Facebook community for their favorite free educational apps and websites for kids to continue learning while they’re out of school.

With Travel Bans, Adoptions Grind To A Halt

By Mary Jackson of WORLD NEWS

An email sent to Nightlight Christian Adoptions staff members on Tuesday urged everyone to pray for 17 parents and their adopted children in various foreign countries. Amid the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic, many are stranded, separated from family members, quarantined, or unable to obtain the necessary paperwork to travel back to the United States with their adopted children.

“We’ve done everything we know to get them home, and we continue trying,” wrote Lisa Whitaker, international program coordinator at Nightlight, which has locations in 10 states.

COVID-19 has virtually halted international adoptions with lockdowns, travel bans, and visa restrictions, leaving dozens of families in dire circumstances.

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USCIS Expands Flexibility for Responding to USCIS Requests, March 30, 2020

USCIS

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it adopted measures to assist applicants and petitioners who are responding to certain Requests for Evidence (RFE) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID). This message clarifies that this flexibility also applies to certain Notices of Intent to Revoke (NOIR) and Notices of Intent to Terminate (NOIT) regional investment centers, as well as certain filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.

Notice/Request/Decision Issuance Date

This flexibility applies to an RFE, NOID, NOIR, NOIT, or appealable decision within AAO jurisdiction and the issuance date listed on the request, notice or decision is between March 1, 2020 and May 1, 2020, inclusive.

Response Due Date

Any response to an RFE, NOID, NOIR, or NOIT received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice will be considered by USCIS before any action is taken. Any Form I-290B received up to 60 calendar days from the date of the decision will be considered by USCIS before it takes any action.

For More Information

Education and precautions are the strongest tools against infection. Continue to practice good health habits, refrain from handshakes or hugs as greetings, and wash hands and clean surfaces appropriately.

USCIS will provide further updates as the situation develops and will continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance. Please visit uscis.gov/coronavirus for the latest facts and other USCIS updates.

Child Abuse Hotline Calls Plunge

Child abuse hotline calls plunge during coronavirus pandemic. Here’s why it’s a concern #coronavirus

Missouri officials warned Wednesday that the safety of the state’s most vulnerable children may be at risk after abuse hotline calls plummeted since the onslaught of the coronavirus.

Calls have dropped by 50 percent since March 11, according to the Missouri Department of Social Services. Thousands of kids are home during this pandemic and not at school, which means they are seeing fewer people who may notice signs of abuse and neglect and report it.

“This drastic drop we’ve had in March, it’s scary,” Sara Smith, deputy director for Missouri’s Children’s Division, told The Star Wednesday. “We need to be there, community members need to be there for kids.”

Kansas has seen a similar drop in calls.

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“Ruby Finds A Worry” by Tom Percival: A Read Aloud Story For Your Family!

A big thank you to our friends @guilfordnonprofitconsortium for sharing this perfect video from @kellinfoundation at just the right time when our kids could use a message like this the most, “Ruby Finds A Worry.”

Grab the kids and take a seat together, talk about how your own family is managing the changes and the inevitable worries all of us are experiencing, young and old alike.  We would love to hear your ideas, too!

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