The Real Problem of Intercountry Adoption

Source: http://www.adoptioncouncil.org/

By Paulo Barrozo

Adoption.

The real problem of intercountry adoption is that there is too little of it.

Adoption is the only institution whereby unparented children become legal daughters and sons by force of a deliberate decision of a judicial or other state authority.

Where the unparented child and the prospective parent reside in the same country, domestic laws alone govern adoption. However, both national and international laws must work together to constitute the filial-parental relationship when the unparented child and the prospective parent reside in different countries, whatever their nationalities. The Hague Convention of 1993 on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption—misguided in its interpretation and enforcement—is the principal international law devoted to intercountry adoption.

Some years ago, a joint report by UNICEF and other agencies estimated the number of double orphans to be sixteen million in Africa, Asia, and Latin America alone.1 Since then, conflict and disease will almost certainly have increased this number. But, of course, the number of children who are unparented is much greater than the number of double orphans. And of the tens of millions of unparented children globally, an estimated 10–14 million are committed to institutions. Whether or not institutionalized, the unparented are subjected to life-altering, and often life-ending, deprivations.

The predicament of unparented children around the world is the greatest humanitarian and human rights crisis of our time. The legal institute of adoption is a marvelous gift to humanity, for it is the only permanent solution to this crisis. And intercountry adoption is an essential component of this solution.

Indeed, in light of the rise in intercountry adoption throughout the latter half of the last century and up until about 2004, there was hope that every year increasing numbers of unparented children would become daughters and sons through intercountry adoption. It was also hoped that as with other fine ideas, a vibrant culture of adoption would take root around the world under the example of intercountry adoption. The much hoped for resulting scenario would be that of family unifications (rather than the limited, genetically reductionist, and potentially child-endangering notion of family reunification) on a global stage, with in-country and intercountry adoptions providing homes for all unparented children.

Who would oppose this ideal?

Adoption Prejudice

Who would have adoption prejudice?

Only those prepared to pay an immense intellectual and moral price can be oblivious to the harmful exclusion, deprivation, and humiliation of unparented children. Unfortunately, too many in government, international organizations, and in the child welfare arena more broadly are willing to pay this price. Behind their attitude lies adoption prejudice.

Adoption prejudice explains the still prevailing global resistance—when not an all-out opposition—to adoption in general and intercountry adoption in particular.2 A resistance often found even where one would reasonably expect to find enthusiastic and committed support for adoption.

Of course, prejudice against adoption is not new, having plagued the ancient versions of the institution. In the modern era and up until a few decades ago, adoption, when disclosed outside the private realm of the family, amounted to a public confession of infertility on the part of parents, and carried the stigmas of rejection and second-class status for adopted children. In comparison, adoption prejudice today is stealthier, but its prints are everywhere in adoption law and attitudes.

The newest version of adoption prejudice is stealthier because it hides under charitable sensibilities and truncated human rights rhetoric. I return to this point later, but first consider two examples of adoption prejudice manifestation.

In one example, it is positively affirmed as a source of status and success that healthcare corporations and professionals worldwide profit from their reproductive services and products. It is estimated that they will reach combined revenues close to 20 billion dollars this year alone.3 In contrast, it is widely considered a moral wrong and a source of social harm if professionals and organizations held to the highest standards of conduct provide fee-based intercountry adoption services and prosper doing so.

In another example of adoption prejudice, despite the much greater risk of abuse and neglect of children by biological as compared to adoptive parents, no one advocates for a moratorium on biological reproduction as an acceptable means of addressing the millions of cases worldwide every year of neglect and abuse of children by their progenitors. In contrast, one negative headline is often enough to lead to calls for adoption delays (under the favored language of “additional adoption safeguards”) or adoption shutdowns (under the favored language of “adoption moratorium”). One could go on and on with examples of contemporary adoption prejudice.

History and the prevailing paradigm of thought about adoption explain the power, resilience, and surreptitiousness of contemporary adoption prejudice.

Historically, population was considered the most important natural resource of nation-states and other independent political units. Polities sought to draw soldiers and laborers from the largest possible population. The more children, the greater the population; the greater the population, the more powerful a polity. Post-colonial sensibilities reconceived of this natural resources approach to children by reducing them too often to carriers of race, religion, ethnicity, or culture. It took a couple of decades for this new objectification of children as natural resources to catch up with the hopeful growth of intercountry adoption, but when it did, it wrought havoc on children whose only chance to be parented was adoption.

However, that regress in the progress of adoption might had been averted were it not for the paradigm of thought that to this day presides over the institution of adoption.

For most of its history, adoption developed under the uncontested influence of adult-centered and community-centered utilitarian outlooks. (Adoption is to serve the interests of adults—birth parents, adopters, and their communities—including their economic, political, and psychological interests. This was occasionally tempered by charitable impulses: the welfare interests of adoptees are to be sought when compatible with the interests of adults and communities.) I have elsewhere named this paradigm of thought in adoption the consequentialist-cum-charity paradigm.4

A major problem of this paradigm is that it fails to fully consider the child as a person, as a full-fledged subject of fundamental rights. I return below to this problem and its solution.

The delusion of contemporary opposition to intercountry adoption is that the charitable impulses in adoption history have finally conquered the consequentialist promotion of the interests of adults and communities. The contrary is true. In the current adoption paradigm, the interests of adults and communities conquered from within the charitable impulses in adoption. The mechanism of this conquest-from-within was the mobilization of the language of human rights to cover the operation of attitudes, policies, and laws that maximize the interests of adults and of political, ethnic, and cultural communities against the inherent dignity of each unparented child as a subject of fundamental rights.

People get away with intercountry adoption prejudice and its nefarious consequences for children because the consequentialist-cum-charity paradigm is encapsulated into a narrative which uncritical acceptance has made widely predominant.

Thus here we are. Adoption prejudice tragically leads to the condemnation of unparented children to institutions, the streets, and to abusive domestic or quasi-domestic relations. Institutions and the streets are bad for children. Bad also is the existential limbo of uncertain status in which children often find themselves in extended family or community placements. Around the world, this kind of placement tends to mean no more than unprotected domestic labor under parental-like authority.

The Current Narrative

Adoption prejudice manifests as local variations of a global constant. The current narrative, reflecting the consequentialist-cum-charity paradigm mentioned above, is the official discourse of the global constant. It preaches:

Led by subconscious or unconfessable liberal selfishness or religious proselytism, the white middle-classes of wealthy North-Atlantic nations roam and ravage the world eastward and southward in search of children to adopt. The individual zealousness and combined financial resources of these colonial trophy-collectors taint all they touch. Birth parents are defrauded, suborned, or coerced; children are robbed of their opportunity to grow where and with the human group they belong in by birth; cultures are deprived of precious subjects to carry them further; and poor countries are depleted of their most important resources. The domestic political clout of the trophy-collectors and the geopolitical clout of their respective governments make it so that most countries east and south must put up with intercountry adoption, but the institution must be contained everywhere and dismantled anywhere an opportunity to do so arises. Those in the forefront of intercountry adoption containment and dismantlement are human rights and state sovereignty champions.

We would be hard-pressed to imagine the scale of the current humanitarian and human rights crisis of unparented children without the ascendancy of this factually false, morally wrong, and cruel in its effect narrative.

Facts, Moral Clarity, and the Suffering of the Unparented

Let us concede that in far too many cases families (again, much more so in the case of progenitors) fail miserably in the discharge of their fiduciary duties toward children. Yet, the fact—amply confirmed by social, developmental, and bio-medical sciences as well as ordinary experience—remains that no other type of institution compares to a good family (and good families come in different shapes and from different socio-economic strata) when it comes to the care and nurturing of children.

The reason why this is the case tends to elude anyone taking a materialistic approach to the requirements of successful upbringing. Indeed, other types of institutions, including well-funded orphanages, sometimes provide better access to food, shelter, healthcare, safety, and sundry conveniences than the typical family in many parts of the world. What sets good families apart and makes them easily superior to even the best among other kinds of institutions, and explains their success in upbringing, is that they parent. That is, in good families, the tasks involved in upbringing are mediated by love. As G.W.F Hegel insightfully pointed out, “the family has as its determination the spirit’s feeling of its own unity, which is love.”5

Love matters because it counter-balances the vulnerability of children vis-à-vis those who control what they need to grow and flourish. Ultimately, it is on adults close and far—whether acting in their capacities as parents, extended family, or agents of the state or broader society—that children depend.

Unless and until parental love intervenes, children’s dependence translates daily into the unmediated experience of vulnerability—a crushing psychological predicament for anyone. The point is not that love sugarcoats dependence, although it certainly does that too. Rather, love alters the experience of vulnerability by changing, on one side, the motivations and considerations of the adults that control the resources children need and, on the other, the way children concretely experience their dependence.

When loved by a good parent, objective vulnerability is subjectively experienced by children as care, protection, trust, and affection. This subjective experience offers the best environment for the expansion and development of children’s potential. Not a small accomplishment for love.

In other words, parental love transmutes caregiving into parenting. Love creates the kind of conservatory in which the share of human capabilities each person is endowed with can have a fair chance of flourishing. It is in the experience of profound and unconditional love that children find the terra firma that assures them of their place in the world, and where their own sense of limitation and vulnerability is transformed into self-confidence and an appetite for the future as an inviting frontier of open possibilities.

We all come to the world embodied—that is, as biological structures. There is of course a deep kind of unavoidable vulnerability that comes with that. Individuals and many societies respond to this unavoidable vulnerability by placing the minimum requirements for life maintenance at the top of their priorities. That conceded, it is essential to acknowledge that biological embodiment does not exhaust who and what persons are; that there are human endowments that can and should be protected and nurtured. When that happens, individuals, and humanity as a whole, experience the kind of transcendence upon which the meaning of each person’s life depends. Because of their importance in placing love at the center of the experiences of biological embodiment and corresponding vulnerability, it is understandable why good families occupy a privileged position in the biographical as well as the sociological dimensions of life.

Relatedly, children’s potentials entrusted to families condition the personal meaning in and conscious enjoyment of fundamental rights during an individual’s lifespan. Hence, fundamental rights’ meaning and enjoyment have one major presupposition: that individuals possess at a minimum the evolutionary endowments of reason, normativity, love, creativity, judgement, communication, play, hope, plan, and enthrallment. When these capacities fail to be present minimally for any individual, meaning in and enjoyment of fundamental rights become deeply challenging even where the provision of those rights is in principle secured.

Sometimes the frugal possession of human capacities is not attributable to human fault. In other cases, however, that dearth is the result of human action and omission, as in the case of institutionalization of unparented children. When the latter occurs, it constitutes one of the first and deepest forms of disrespect a person can suffer of her human rights.

It is not difficult to connect my arguments. By interjecting a buffer of love between children and the harshness of the world, good families parent, thus creating the best milieu for children to grow and flourish in. Hence, obstacles to growing up in good families attributable to individuals and organizations constitute a serious breach of children’s human rights.

Now we come full circle. For the unparented, the only access to parenting is through adoption. This fact gives rise to negative and positive human rights obligations. Negatively, states and international organizations are under the obligation not to create unjustifiable obstacles to adoption, domestic and intercountry equally. Positively, those entities are under the obligation to vigorously promote urgent access for the unparented to family unification concomitantly through intercountry and domestic adoption. Morally, these negative and positive obligations bind everyone everywhere.

For law, morality, and policy, it makes a world of difference to approach the humanitarian and human rights crisis of global unparenthood from the discerning perspective of the human rights of the child rather than from the consequentialist-cum-charity adoption paradigm. The consequentialist-cum-charity adoption paradigm and its narrative turn the unparented into an instrument of blood, soil, race, culture, heritage, or politics in the name of saving them. Thus instrumentalized, children are separated and treated unequally in what amounts to a global apartheid of the unparented. Family unification through adoption as a human right is their only hope.

The Human Rights of the Unparented

The consequentialist-cum-charity adoption paradigm and its narrative about intercountry adoption summarized above must be set out of the way of intercountry adoption and into the annals of shame that history fills with other types of prejudices and their consequences. In its place, the human rights of the unparented paradigm will rise, and with it a new narrative of the dignity of each child in intercountry adoption:

There is too little intercountry adoption in the world. Millions of unparented children worldwide need and long for permanent family unification. Ready to encounter them are prospective parents who have broken free from genetic and tribalist reductionisms. This is a global movement of family unification. Crossing nations and continents, this movement claims the human right of the unparented to urgent adoption facilitation and vigorous adoption promotion, a human right that serves also as a vessel for our hopes for a future of understanding and solidarity around the world. Those in the forefront of intercountry adoption facilitation and promotion are champions of the human rights frontier to dismantle the global apartheid of the unparented.

References

  1. Children on the Brink 2004: A Joint Report of New Orphan Estimates and a Framework for Action. Available here: https://www.unicef.org/publications/index_22212.html
  2. Even in countries like the United States where in-country adoption now enjoys general support in the population, intercountry adoption is still a taboo for a critical mass of the population and institutional actors in the public and private sectors.
  3. https://www.bccresearch.com/market-research/healthcare/human-reproductive-technologies-hlc017d.html
  4. Finding Home in the World: A Deontological Theory of the Right to be Adopted, 55 N.Y. L. Sch. L. Rev. 701 (2010–11). Available at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1839477
  5. G. W. F. Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), p. 199.
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USCIS Message: Update – Certificates of Citizenship for Internationally Adopted Child

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Buffalo Field Office, Child Citizenship Act Unit, prepares Certificates of Citizenship for certain internationally adopted children who enter the United States and are eligible to receive a Certificate of Citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act (CCA). The USCIS Buffalo Field Office processes these certificates for newly arrived children with IR-3 and IH-3 immigrant visa classifications.

The Buffalo Field Office is updating its current process for CCA cases to ensure that it continues to issue Certificates of Citizenship in a timely manner.

Issuing Certificates of Citizenship

Eligible Child under age 14 when they enter the U.S.

Certificates are mailed within 60 days from the date the child enters the U.S.

Eligible Child age 14 or over when they enter the U.S.

The Buffalo Field Office will transfer cases to a local field office where the process will be completed.  In most cases, the local field office will schedule the child to appear for an oath ceremony. The child will take the Oath of Allegiance and receive the Certificate of Citizenship.

Clerical errors on certificates

The child’s information on the certificate should be the same as the information on the child’s legal documents and the immigrant visa issued by the U.S. Department of State.

If the Buffalo Field Office issued the certificate and you notify the office of a clerical error within 10 business days from when the certificate was postmarked, USCIS will address the error.  

If the local field office issued the certificate and you notify the office of a clerical error within 3 business days from when the certificate was issued, USCIS will address the error.

See the Child Citizenship Act Fact Sheet for instructions on how to contact your local field office.

If you have not contacted the field office within the above noted time frames, you will need to file Form N-565, Application for Replacement of Naturalization/Citizenship Document, to obtain a replacement certificate. This form may be filed online with USCIS.

Replacement certificates

Please refer to the Form N-565 application and instructions on the USCIS website  for where to file the form. Do not file the form directly with the USCIS Buffalo Field Office as it no longer accepts the form.

For more information on the CCA process, please visit the Certificate of Citizenship for Internationally Adopted Child webpage.

If your child was admitted into the United States with an IR-3 or IH-3 visa, but has not yet received his or her Certificate of Citizenship and it has been more than 60 days since the date of entry into the United States, please write to:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Buffalo Field Office (CCA Unit) 306 Delaware Avenue Buffalo, NY  14202

or email childcitizenact@uscis.dhs.gov.

Bipartisan Senators Introduce Law to Improve Intercountry Adoption Information Reporting

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U.S. Senators

Richard Burr, Roy Blunt, Ben Cardin, Roger Wicker, Sherrod Brown

North Carolina, Missouri, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio

Bipartisan Senators Introduce Law to Improve Intercountry Adoption Information Reporting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Thursday, June 28, 2018

CONTACT:

Caitlin Carroll (Burr) 202-228-1616
Katie Boyd (Blunt) 202-224-1403
Sean Bartlett (Cardin) 202-224-0779
Rick VanMeter (Wicker) 202-224-6253
Jenny Donohue/Rachael Hartford (Brown) 202-224-3978

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) today introduced the Intercountry Adoption Information Act of 2018 which would help remove information barriers Americans frequently face while seeking to adopt children from other countries. The bipartisan legislation is co-sponsored by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

“American families trying to adopt a child from abroad should have robust and relevant information needed to navigate the adoption landscape,” said Senator Burr in a statement. “This bill will help remove some of the frequent informational challenges families face when trying to learn the status of intercountry adoption policies. It will also shine a light on unnecessary and detrimental barriers some countries have put up to thwart adoptions, and require the State Department to provide information on what they are doing to address those barriers. I hope the Senate will work to pass this commonsense legislation as soon as possible.”

“It’s disappointing that certain countries have enacted restrictive adoption policies that deny children the opportunity to grow up in a safe, loving home,” said Senator Blunt. “By providing parents with information on the status of adoption policies, they’ll have an important resource to help them navigate the complicated process of intercountry adoption. In addition, the information required will aid our ability in Congress to support diplomatic efforts and help assist families.  I urge my colleagues to support this bill and, as co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, I’ll continue working to promote policies that make it easier for families to open their homes to a child in need.”

“Over the years I have heard from numerous Maryland families and adoption groups who rightly complain that the lack or quality of access to information on foreign adoptions adds confusion and frustration to what should be a deeply personal and meaningful process,” Senator Cardin said. “We should be making it easier, not more difficult, for Americans to receive all the necessary information to make a real difference in a child’s life and enrich their families in the process. I’m proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation.”

“Families adopting children from abroad display the generosity, compassion, and heart of the American people,” Senator Wicker said. “I am proud to join my Senate colleagues on this meaningful legislation, which would make it easier for these families to navigate the international adoption process and welcome children in need into a forever home.”

“We need to make sure Ohioans have access to all the information they need to build their families and provide loving, stable homes for children,” Senator Brown said. “I urge my colleagues in Congress to support this legislation to help people navigate this complicated process.”

Background:

Currently, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA), requires the U.S. State Department to provide an annual report on intercountry adoptions, delivered to the House Committees on International Relations, Ways and Means and Judiciary, as well as the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations, Finance and Judiciary. A copy is also made publicly available online.

The report includes information on topics such as the number of intercountry adoptions involving immigration to the United States and the country from which each child immigrates, the time required for completion of an adoption and information on adoption agencies. The Intercountry Adoption Information Act would amend the IAA to require the State Department provide additional information on:

  • All countries that have enacted policies to prevent or prohibit adoptions to the United States;
  • Actions the State Department has taken which have prevented adoptions to the United States;
  • How the State Department has worked to encourage the resuming of adoption in both cases.

This information is critical for American families looking to adopt from countries that have established barriers to adoption, such as Russia or Ethiopia, or areas where the State Department has suspended intercountry adoption, as of abandoned children in Nepal.

Text of the bill can be found here.

Take Action Today to Save International Adoption

Save Adoption and Keep Adoption Affordable!

Greetings!

It’s time for the adoption community to wake up and take action about the decline of inter-country adoption.

If the trend continues, inter-country adoptions will reach Zero in 4 years.

The new accrediting entity, IAAME, set their budget based on a decline of 20% from the previous year. Adoptions have declined by at least 1,000 cases every year since 2004. In 2016, there were only 5,200 adoptions. If the 1,000 per-year decline trend continues, inter-country adoptions will reach zero in just 4 years.

Take Action to Voice Your Concern

The National Council for Adoption is asking you to call your Senators and Congressmen to voice concern about the changes in inter-country adoption. Click here for more information about the Feb 7-8 call-in day to congress, the small business administration, and the media.

$500 Monitoring Fee Per Adopted Child

With new Dept of State regulations, families can expect to pay $500 extra per child they expect to adopt. This is a mandatory oversight fee that takes effect Feb 15, 2018. Adoption agency clients should expect fee schedules to change soon and reflect these new charges.

Read more here.

Survey of Agencies Shows Bleak Future

In 2006 there were 255 Hague-accredited agencies. In 2017, there were only 167. On average, one adoption agency per month goes out of business, or loses or forfeits its accreditation. If the trend of 1 agency losing or leaving behind its accreditation per month continues, one would conclude that there will be no Hague-accredited agencies left in 13 years. However, a recent survey of all Hague agencies shows a much bleaker future. Given the stifling regulation and more than tripling of accreditation fees, one-half of the Hague- accredited agencies have indicated that they plan not to seek accreditation at all with IAAME. This means they will either stop providing international adoption services, or yjey will merge with another agency that does. 

Accreditation Budget Increases by 1700%

The budget for COA, our previous accrediting entity, was about $170,000 per year. With new government regulation, the budget for IAAME, the new accrediting entity, will be $3.5 Million dollars.  Obviously, all of this cost will be passed on to adoptive families, representing about $1000 per family.  

Why is this happening?

For a simple answer to why inter-country adoption is on the decline read this blog post.

What Do We Want? 

Although there are many things the Department of State could do to increase adoptions, here are 4 simple requests which have been denied:

  1. Set a goal for the number of adoptions to increase. Goals matter. The Office of Children’s issues celebrates the number of adoption agencies closed down. This seems to be their goal and the accomplishment they advertise. Adoptions have declined from 24.000 annually to 5,000 annually. Would OCI like to see 4000 next year, or 6000 next year? We have no idea, but can only presume they want a decrease.
  2. End the US DOS self-imposed moratorium on adoptions from Guatemala, Cambodia, and Nepal. These counties want the US to participate in adoption, but the US won’t allow it.
  3. Abandon the concept of Country specific authorization in the September, 2016 proposed regulations
  4. Abandon the foster-style training requirement proposed in the September, 2016 regulations.

See more about these efforts at www.saveadoptions.org

Please take action to help save inter-country adoption.

Sincerely,

Robin E. Sizemore
Executive Director
Hopscotch Adoptions, Inc.

Ethiopia’s Parliament votes to end intercountry adoption: Listen to NCFA’s Ryan Hanlon of BBC

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Ethiopia’s parliament has passed legislation banning intercountry adoption.

NCFA’s Ryan Hanlon joined BBC World Service Radio to discuss how this decision places unparented children at risk. NCFA believes that a global child welfare continuum should prioritize reunification, kinship adoption/guardianship, and in-country domestic adoption options, all before intercountry adoption is considered. Unfortunately, Ethiopia’s reunification and kinship placement efforts are limited, and there are not enough Ethiopian adoptive homes available to meet the needs of thousands of unparented children. This ban will leave them to languish in long-term institutional care or life on the streets, and many with special needs face death.

Since 1999, more than 15,000 Ethiopian children have been adopted by American families. Adoption has given them a chance to thrive, despite unfathomable trauma and loss at a young age. In recent years, the global community has taken great strides to improve the safety and transparency of intercountry adoption, and diplomacy and dialogue is leading to stronger safeguards against corruption, exploitation, and abuse. We know this to be true; we’re part of that diplomacy in action. Every year NCFA meets with international child welfare leaders who are vigilantly and passionately committed to the children in their nations who need safe, loving homes. Children deserve families, and Ethiopia’s children deserve better. We will continue to advocate on their behalf. You can join us. Start by listening to our interview with BBC Radio here.

IF YOU BELIEVE EVERY CHILD MUST HAVE A PERMANENT FAMILY TO BE LOVED AND PROTECTED, YOUR VOICE MATTERS TODAY!

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“We are called for such a time as this and we won’t give up until every child has the opportunity to be loved and cared for in a forever family.”

Show Support NOW!

  • We believe in the goals of Save Adoptions
  • Every child deserves a safe, loving, permanent family
  • For children without parents due to death, abandonment or termination of rights, adoption should be readily available in their own country or, if not possible within their own country in a reasonable period of time, through intercountry adoption.
  • Adoption should be available for every eligible child with as few obstacles as possible, through a transparent, ethical and honest adoption system.
  • The government’s role in intercountry adoption should be to support the human rights of a child to a permanent family and to encourage other countries to develop adoption systems that are transparent, ethical and honest and protect the rights of a child.
  • Institutionalization of children should be a last resort for children for whom a permanent family is not available.

Click here if you: SUPPORT THE GOALS OF SAVE ADOPTIONS

Please share and ask your family and friends to do the same.

New Contact Information for the National Benefit Center

Dear Adoption Community,

We would like to share the following information we received from the National Benefits Center:

Effective today, the National Benefits Center will consolidate our public email boxes into one box. We will only use NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov and have deactivated NBC.Hague@uscis.dhs.gov.

We are in the process of updating our contact information on https://www.uscis.gov/adoption/uscis-adoption-contact-information.

In the meantime, messages received to the NBC.Hague mailbox will be automatically redirected to the NBC.Adoptions mailbox through a system ‘rule’ for one year, expiring on May 1, 2018.

We would appreciate your assistance in directing your staff and our customers to NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov going forward. Our contact telephone number remains the same (877-424-8374).

Sincerely,

The Office of Children’s Issues
Official 
UNCLASSIFIED

New Intercountry Adoption Statistics Continue Decline: Now available

Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions Narrative

The 2016 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption, as required by Section 104 of the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000, provides data and other information on intercountry adoptions to and from the United States from October 1, 2015, through September 30, 2016. The report is released after a thorough review of the available data to ensure the information is accurate. In addition to the actual data, this review includes a summary of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Children’s Issues, Adoption Division’s efforts for the fiscal year.

Continue reading (PDF)

Save Adoptions — Phase II

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Dear families,

Less than 5 months ago, we were facing the imposition of new regulations from the Department of State which would have raised the cost of adoptions for our client families, created financial and operational obstacles for our agencies and guaranteed the continued decline in intercountry adoptions.

Eighty-eight agencies and other adoption service providers stepped up and signed an open letter to the Department of State urging that these proposed regulations be withdrawn.  In addition, almost 28,000 adoption supporters joined us and signed our Petition to the Department of State.  On April 4th, our collective voices were heard and the proposed regulations were withdrawn.

Whether you supported our efforts or not, we urge you to continue to fight the attack on intercountry adoptions.  We have tasked our SaveAdoptions.org web site to continue the fight.  For the next 4-6 weeks, we will be highlighting the travesty in Nepal.  Whether you have, or would like to adopt from Nepal, or maybe you just care about suffering children, you can’t be happy about the blanket suspension of adoptions from Nepal which has been in place for over 6 years, despite no proof of the fraudulent documentation alleged by USCIS.

First, take a look at the updated www.saveadoptions.org web site.  Second, please use your mailing lists to urge your family and friends to sign the plea to lift the Nepal suspension.  We had 27,949 signatures before updating the web site, so we will know how many adoption supporters sign on for this next phase of intercountry adoption support.  Your signature will Support the Cause of Nepalese orphans. If you have already signed the original petition, know that this is a new petition and your signature is vital. 

Thank you for considering this important issue and getting involved.  (Share, re-tweet, or send an email)

Adoption Notice – Poland Restructure of International Adoption Process

unnamedDear Adoption Community,

Adoption Notice: Poland – Restructure of international adoption process on March 6, 2017

“The Government of Poland is revising its policies on intercountry adoptions under the Hague Adoption Convention. Poland has indicated its intent to prioritize domestic adoptions, except in the case of intercountry adoptions of siblings related to children already adopted through intercountry adoption, intrafamily adoptions, and adoptions by Polish citizens living abroad. It is unclear how these intended changes will impact intercountry adoptions from Poland sought by U.S. citizen families that are already in process, but in cases in which referrals have not yet been received, parents may see extended delays. The actual impact and form of these changes is still to be determined, and we will continue to update this page as more information becomes available.”

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