NCFA Responds to the Department of State FY 2021 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption

Source: adoptioncouncil.org

The U.S. Department of State has published its annual report on intercountry adoptions completed between October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021. During this time, there were 1,785 intercountry placements.  By way of comparison, in fiscal year 2020, there were 1,622 intercountry placements; in fiscal year 2019, prior to the pandemic, there were 2,970 placements. The Department rightly notes the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on placements during both the FY2020 and FY2021 reporting periods, with countries such as China still not processing adoptions due to the pandemic.

We note that many of the countries among the top ten sending countries in FY21 have had longstanding adoption partnerships with the United States. We encourage the Department of State to work with accredited providers to establish new country partnerships as well.

Concern for Delays in Adoption Processing

The Department’s report contains a table displaying the average number of days to completion of a Hague Convention country adoption. The ten Convention countries with the most placements in FY21, are listed in the table below:

As dire as these numbers are, this table significantly underestimates the actual timeframe an adoption takes, because it does not account for the time a family has spent before the prospective adoptive parents file their adoption paperwork with USCIS.  It nonetheless shows a staggeringly long span of time for an adoption to be completed. Measured in terms of child’s life, this timeframe discloses that so often years of a child’s life are spent living outside of permanent family care. Social scientists, neuropsychologists, medical doctors, and child development specialists all agree that the length of time a young child experiences institutionalization can having lifelong impacts. We should – and we can – do better to reduce the processing timeframes so that children spend less time in institutions and more of their childhood in a family.

While some delays are outside the control of U.S. adoption professionals and the U.S. government, oftentimes, a large part of the timeframe delays are due to inefficient systems and processing of the U.S. government. We have previously worked with adoption professionals to identify where there are stuck points and problems in our current system – findings that have been shared with U.S. government adoption authorities. Unfortunately, this has not been taken seriously – and the problem only seems to be getting worse. NCFA calls upon – and pledges to work cooperatively with – the Department of State and USCIS to reduce systematic processing delays of intercountry cases.

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Best Books on ADD & Learning Differences – brought to you by our friends from Creating A Family!

Source: creatingafamily.org

Here are our 8 top books for adults on ADD and learning differences.

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Labeling Kids with Special Needs – How Much to Share – brought to you by our friends from Creating A Family!

Source: creatingafamily.org

I have a love-hate relationship with labels. They can help our children get the help they need and can help us find the support of others in a similar situation, but they can also come with the baggage of stigma and preconceived ideas. I worry about the long-term impact of labeling kids.

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Establishing Daily Routines for a Child with Prenatal Exposure – brought to you by our friends from Creating A Family!

Source: creatingafamily.org

Parenting a child with prenatal exposure often requires additional scaffolding to help them learn the daily routines we take for granted. Establishing consistent daily routines for your child with prenatal exposure gives repetitive experiential learning that supports him as he acquires the skills to grow to adulthood.

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Practical Tips for Parenting a Child with ADHD – brought to you by our friends from Creating A Family!

Source: creatingafamily.org

Parenting a child with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) can be challenging. Your child’s behavior, lack of focus on tasks, and struggle to follow your family’s daily flow feel overwhelming and draining. What more can you implement in your home to ease the frustration and set your child up for success in his everyday life?

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The Dreaded Family Tree Assignment in Adoption – brought to you by our friends from Creating A Family!

Source: creatingafamily.org

While many schools are catching on quickly to the perils of assigning a project that defines “family” or digs into a child’s history, many families still face difficulty when their child is asked to bring in a baby picture or write family names and relationships on a hand-drawn oak tree. Any non-traditional family is subject to the triggers, but certainly, our kids who have come to us through adoption or foster care can really struggle with these assignments.

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When the School System Feels Like the Bully – brought to you by our friends from Creating A Family!

Source: creatingafamily.org

ARGHH! Nothing in parenting has caused me such frustration as working with the school system to help my kid who struggled at school. I have felt so helpless and frustrated at times that it has brought me to tears. Of course, it’s no walk in the park for the kid with the challenges either, but make no mistake, parenting a child who struggles in school is hard, hard work.

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Advocating for Your Foster or Kinship Child at School – brought to you by our friends from Creating A Family!

Source: creatingafamily.org

If you don’t have experience with the jargon of educational supports, IEP’s and 504’s prior yet, advocating for your foster or kinship child in school can feel intimidating. It might sound like a whole new language at first. However, learning how to advocate for your foster or kinship child in school is an extension of the care you’ve been offering this child already.

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A Letter to My Adopted Child’s Teacher – brought to you by our friends from Creating A Family!

Source: creatingafamily.org

Adopted parents may feel uncertain about the messages kids receive in school about their family, their unique story, or the child’s individual needs or experiences. If you are like many adoptive parents in our community, you might find it helpful to start the school year with a letter to your adopted child’s teacher.

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7 Tips for Adoptive Parents at Beginning of School – brought to you by our friends from Creating A Family!

Source: creatingafamily.org

In most respects the beginning of the school year is no different for adopted kids than for kids born into their families. We buy the school supplies and new clothes, fill out reams of paperwork, and sent them off with a kiss and a prayer. But adoption can add complications at school.

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