Re-Aligning U.S. State Department Policy to Support Child Rights to Family

Source: https://chronicleofsocialchange.org

by Elizabeth Bartholet and Chuck Johnson

The current State Department has developed policies that have been disastrous for children languishing in institutions abroad. There are many millions of such children, some of them orphaned, some abandoned by or removed from their birth parents.

Most of these children have no likelihood of finding a family in their country of origin. International adoption provides their best prospect for a family, and the social science shows that such adoption works extremely well for children, helping repair damage done prior to adoption and enabling children adopted at early ages to thrive. By contrast the brain and social science shows that institutions cause mental, emotional and physical damage destructive of a child’s potential.

Despite this evidence, the State Department has joined with other forces to help shut down international adoption as a meaningful option for institutionalized children, bowing to claims that equate such adoption with first-world imperialism, child trafficking and cultural genocide. As a result, the number of children adopted into the U.S. has dropped by two-thirds since 2004.

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Who Are The Children Hopscotch Adoptions Serve?

While Father Christmas visited all the children of the world, these children may be some of the most beautiful and hope-filled children he visited. We happen to think so. Only, he could not yet bring the gift most wanted by all children… a forever family of their very own.
While many are touched by adoption, it is often forgotten that adopting a child is but only one way to help an orphaned child.

Of equal importance is your willingness to advocate for them by sharing positive adoption information, financially supporting others that are called and prepared to parent a child through adoption or simply   by being the friend, neighbor or family member that cheers an adoptive family on in their journey.

Make no mistake about this journey. The journey is difficult and long. The child waiting at the end of the family’s journey is worth every sacrifice necessary to bring them home.
Some of the faces in this video are home already, or soon to be, but most are still waiting.

Thanks for taking a moment to watch this video and share in their joy. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers that they too find their forever families.

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Click here to see video.

Are You Thinking About Summer Already?

Source: http://www.adoptioncouncil.org

By Erin Bayles and Sarah Alger

crazy%20wild%20summer%20ride%20team%20family%20adventure%202016 “The camps are a lot of fun for me because I grew up in a pretty small town where there was not a huge Asian population, so it was a very special experience to get together with so many other Asian kids who were also adopted.”
– Nora Burgess, reminiscing about her experiences at adoption culture camps

Introduction

After being adopted from China as an infant, Nora Burgess and her mother, Phebe, attended two different culture camps. When Nora was in preschool they attended a three-day camp in Maine, run by Families with Children from China, where they met other families with adopted children from China. Year later, they went to another camp held at a YMCA facility in Asheville, North Carolina. Nora recalled that the camps heightened her interest in Chinese culture, as “they covered so many different topics: dance, singing, calligraphy, traditional children’s games, cooking, speaking, etc.” One special memory stuck with her: the camp counselors would perform traditional Chinese stories and dances and encourage the children to join in. Her mother Phebe’s favorite memory was the closing ceremony, which included a Dragon parade and performances by the children.

Now twenty-one years old, Nora continues to learn about her Chinese heritage through her studies at college. Overall, she said, she was glad her mother went with her to the culture camps, as they offered extended resources on her birth culture and supplemented her family’s own exploration in a fun, memorable way.

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Hopscotch Adoptions ❤ Make-A-Wish North Texas chapter! Thank you for helping Abigail’s wish come true! Welcome Caroline!! We Love our Families!!

YOU wished for gifts this season. Abigail (adopted from an orphanage in Bulgaria) wished for a sister….her friend left behind in Bulgaria. Thanks to Make-A-Wish North Texas for bringing them together again! Story to come! WFAA-TV Demi Lovato you were the second wish!

Click here to see video.

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Uniting Obama and Donald Trump to save children – Washington Times

Source: www.washingtontimes.com

By Elizabeth Bartholet and Chuck Johnson

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Analysis / Opinion

The outgoing and incoming administrations are battling over pending regulations and appointments. The Obama administration wants to solidify its policies, and the transitional Trump team wants a free hand implementing new policies. Understandably, there is little room for agreement on many of these issues.

But there is one area where the president and the president-elect should be able to unite — protecting children globally against the horrors of institutional life, and enabling prospective parents to bring those children into their homes and hearts. The general public and politicians on both sides of the political aisle tend to agree that adoption is a good option for the world’s orphaned, abandoned and relinquished children. Yet, a small number of officials in the current Department of State have hijacked U.S. adoption policy, promoting positions never authorized by Congress and positions that it is unlikely President Obama would endorse were they brought to his attention.

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IMPORTANT: Adoption Notice-Update on Convention Entry into Force for Ghana

Dear family,

The Department of State has issued an adoption notice regarding adoptions from Ghana after January 1, 2017.  The short of the notice is as follows:

1. Though the country of Ghana has signed the Hague Convention treaty, the government has not yet passed the Children’s Bill of 2016, nor have they installed a Central Authority.  Both of these must be in place before adoptions can proceed after January 1, 2017

2. Families that file an I-800A or I-800 before the Children’s Bill of 2016 and the Central Authority has been installed, will be denied. 

3. Families that have already filed a I-600A or I-600 do not yet have a clear path to be Grandfathered at this time.  The Department of State is seeking clarification from the Ghanaian government if they will permit I-600A and I-600 petitions filed prior to January 1, 2017 to proceed under the non-Hague process.

We will continue to monitor the implementation of the Children’s Bill of 2016 and installation of the Central Authority.  Until then, all cases are in a holding pattern as of today, per the Department of State’s notice to Adoption Service Providers and families.   

With encouragement,
Your Hopscotch Team   

Adoption Notice: Adoption Notice: Adoptions from Ghana after January 1, 2017

January 3, 2016

ghana-flagOn January 1, 2017 the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Convention) will enter into force for Ghana.  However, please be advised that the Department of State has determined that it will not be able to issue Hague Adoption Certificates for adoptions from Ghana that are initiated on or after January 1, 2017 under the Convention because Ghana’s implementing legislation, the Children’s Bill of 2016, has not yet been signed into law, and a Central Authority has not been established.  As a result, consular officers will be unable to issue Hague Adoption Certificates.  Without this certification, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) cannot approve Form I-800 Petitions to Classify Convention Adoptees as an Immediate Relative.

Once the Children’s Bill is signed into law, and the Central Authority is established, the United States will be able to partner with Ghana as a Convention country.  However, until that time, families interested in adopting from Ghana should not file the Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative for a child from GhanaIf a Form I-800 petition is filed on behalf of a child from Ghana, USCIS will have to reject the petition.  Once the Children’s Bill is signed into law, and the Central Authority is established, families will be able to file Form I-800 petitions.  The Department of State will notify USCIS and the public immediately once the bill is signed into law, and the Department is able to confirm that it will be able to issue Hague Adoption Certificates for  adoptions from Ghana.

In the meantime, we are confirming with Ghanaian officials whether Ghana will permit cases in which a U.S. citizen filed a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition, or a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an immediate relative, prior to January 1 to continue under the non-Hague adoption process.  Once we are able to confirm this information, we will post an updated notice on adoption.state.gov.  As of January 1, 2017, families initiating an adoption in Ghana should not file, and USCIS will not accept, a Form I-600A or Form I-600 for a child from Ghana.  Please contact adoption@state.gov with the details of the case if this situation applies to you. 

We are in the process of updating our Country Information Sheet for Ghana.  Please continue to monitor adoption.state.gov for updated information as it becomes available.  If you have any questions about this notice, please contact the Office of Children’s Issues at adoption@state.gov.  You may also reach us at 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or 202-501-4444 from outside the United States.  

The Risks of Simultaneous Multiple Placements in Intercountry Adoption Practice

Source: www.adoptioncouncil.org

By Penny Collins, LMSW

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Introduction

Since the mid-1940s, the practice of adopting orphaned children internationally has experienced peaks as well as periods of decline, driven in part by public interest, world wars, changing regulations and oversight, and politics. Reaching its height in numbers in the early 2000s, with more than 20,000 children adopted from abroad each year, intercountry adoption has been on the decline since its peak in 2004. The number of annual adoptions into the United States dropped to 5,647 in 2015.1 With intercountry adoptions becoming more difficult to obtain, timelines for adoptive families lengthening, and the age range of available children widening, agencies are increasingly met with requests from families wanting to adopt more than one child at a time, adopt children who may be out of birth order with existing children, or adopt children close in age with existing children (often referred to as “artificial twinning”).

While some might look at the situation for many orphaned and institutionalized children and consider these simple, reasonable requests to grant, the reality is far more complex. Regardless of intent, adoption cannot benefit children when they do not thrive in their adoptive homes—and this sad outcome is doubly regrettable when contributing factors, such as the increased stress often caused by multiple unrelated child placements, could have been avoided.

This article seeks to examine the risks and implications of multiple simultaneous adoptions into one family, the ethics surrounding these decisions, and current best practices in this area.

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