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

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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.

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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providers stepped up and signed an open letter to the Department of State urging that these proposed regulations be withdrawn.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  On April 4th, our collective voices were heard and the proposed regulations were withdrawn.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.”

Your Foreign Born Child: What You MUST Know

Hosting Yu YuYour Foreign Born Child:
A Checklist of All Documentation Needed

 

 

 

 

 

Look What Love Can DoBargaining Chips:
Why Russian Orphans May Become Political Pawns

Adoption Notice Regarding Impact of January 27 Executive Order 01/01/2017

world The Office of Children’s Issues has received inquiries about the January 27, 2017 Executive Order on Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals, and how it may impact intercountry adoptions involving children from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Travelers, including adopted children, who are nationals of one of these countries, are not permitted to enter the United States or be issued an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa for 90 days, beginning January 27, 2017.

The Executive Order provides that “the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.” We are working closely with the Department of Homeland Security to identify exceptions to this Executive Order that are in the national interest.

We will update adoption.state.gov as more information becomes available. Please contact adoption@state.gov with inquiries related to specific intercountry adoptions already in process.

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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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.

Continue reading.

Make-A-Wish Grants First Ever Adoption Wish to Our Hopscotch Family: Abigail’s Wish Came True!

WITH AN UNPRECENTED WISH, A FAMILY IS MADE COMPLETE

Just in time for the holidays, Make-A-Wish® North Texas makes Abigail’s one true wish come true.

dde0e9d0cda1d53c099f21a084f18aa1 IRVING, TEXAS –– Make-A-Wish® is known for moving mountains to help fulfill the most heartfelt wishes for Wish Kids around the world. For Abigail, this was particularly true. Her wish is the first of its kind for Make-A-Wish and has been nearly two years in the making. It required stars aligning in a profoundly moving and certainly life-altering way.

Abigail was adopted from a Bulgarian orphanage by her parents Dorcas and Tony in 2013. She was 13 at the time and while she was obviously elated to join her new family in the United States, it was also bittersweet as she had to leave Caroline, her roommate and closest friend in the world, behind.

But that was not to be the end of their story. Diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis Abigail was granted a wish by Make-A-Wish North Texas. She deliberated only briefly. Would it be a trip to Hollywood or something else…something she had in mind with deep personal meaning? With her parents’ blessing, Abigail wished for them to adopt Caroline, still dreaming of a family. Make-A-Wish North Texas agreed to help facilitate and manage the logistics surrounding this most unusual wish. People around the world got involved to help, including the teams at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth and Hopscotch Adoptions.

Now, just in time for the holidays, Abigail’s wish is coming true. The girls will be reunited, now as sisters. Abigail summed up her feelings when she wrote, “Thank you God for telling me that I needed a sister!”

“How truly wonderful to be able to grant Abigail’s wish and at the same time make dreams come true for Caroline,” said Scotty Landry, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish North Texas. “This unique wish has been life-altering for all involved. We are honored to be able to help bring this family together for the holidays.”

“We were honored when the Grubaugh family chose Hopscotch to help bring their first daughter home from Bulgaria and when we were asked to be their placing agency for their second daughter, we were elated!” said Robin Sizemore, Executive Director of Hopscotch Adoptions,Inc. “We learned later on that their adoption was going to be realized through the support of Make-A-Wish North Texas chapter and that this was the first adoption, much less intercountry adoption, wish ever granted. The Make-A-Wish North Texas chapter is incredibly generous and truly listened to Abigail’s one true wish… to be the sister to her best friend left behind in Bulgaria. We cannot think of a more beautiful wish to be granted. We are ever grateful to everyone that generously supports Make-A-Wish, this is truly one of the most rewarding experiences for everyone involved.”

Update:

On December 21st, the family arrived in Dallas after a very long and exhausting day of travel. As Caroline stepped off the plane, she became a United States citizen and began her new life.

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Facebook:

After two years in the making, Abigail’s wish is now a reality! Click here for photos.

Live from DFW Airport for a heartwarming homecoming! We celebrate Abigail’s wish for her family to adopt her best friend from the same Bulgarian orphanage she was adopted from 3 years ago. Join us in welcoming this new family of 4 home!

Welcome home Abigail and Caroline! We wish everyone a very happy holiday season. We know this will be one to remember for this family!

About Make-A-Wish® North Texas

Make-A-Wish North Texas grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Since our inception in 1982, more than 9,500 wishes have been granted throughout the 161 counties we serve. Our goal is to be a unique part of the treatment process. With doctors providing the medicine, and Make-A-Wish supplying the magic, we strive to create miracles in the lives of some very extraordinary children. For more information on Make-A-Wish North Texas, please visit www.ntx.wish.org.

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