Monday, October 6, 2014

DOS Alert: The Department of State Strongly Recommends Against Adopting from the DRC at this time


In light of the DRC’s September 26, 2014 announcement that its exit permit suspension for adopted children remains in effect indefinitely, the Department of State has asked all adoption agencies to cease referring new DRC adoption cases for U.S. prospective adoptive parents at this time. The Department of State strongly recommends against initiating an adoption in the DRC at this time, as adoptive children cannot leave the DRC without an exit permit issued by the DRC’s Directorate of General Migration, even with a finalized adoption.  Congolese courts continue to issue adoption decrees under existing Congolese law, despite the exit permit suspension.
We continue to press the DRC government on lifting the suspension so that Congolese children with finalized adoptions waiting for an exit permit can join their adoptive families as soon as possible.We are committed to working with the DRC government to address their concerns and continue to advocate for opportunities to engage on long-term adoption reforms in the DRC. 


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.
http://www.pear-now.org/

Thursday, September 25, 2014

USDOS Office of Children’s Issues Announces New Chief of the Adoption Division


Welcome Trish Maskew, New Chief of the Adoption Division

The Office of Children’s Issues is pleased to announce the appointment of Trish Maskew as the new Chief of the Adoption Division. 
Trish joins the Department of State from the Department of Justice where she worked in the Civil Division for almost six years.  Before joining the U.S. government, she held several positions in the intercountry adoption field: as a program coordinator for an adoption agency; a board member and interim administrator for the Joint Council on International Children’s Services; the founder and President of Ethica, a non-profit organization dedicated to ethical and transparent adoptions; and as an expert consultant to the Hague Conference on Private International Law.  She is the author of “Our Own: Adopting and Parenting the Older Child” and numerous articles on adoption ethics and practice.  She earned her J.D. from American University.


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.
http://www.pear-now.org/

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

American Families Caught Attempting Illegal DRC Exit


According to reports from the Democratic Republic of Congo ("DRC"), officials intercepted an attempt by three American adoptive families to remove their children from Congo without proper authorization (http://radiookapi.net/actualite/2014/09/14/trafic-denfants-la-dgm-demantele-un-reseau-dirige-par-un-citoyen-americain/).  This news story has been reported as "child selling" or trafficking by DRC news outlets (http://youtu.be/Ym4kecKFvIM).  PEAR understands that the three families in question had legally adopted the seven affected children according to DRC regulations, that they had US visas, and that they were attempting to take the children from the country without the permission of the Congolese government in the form of the mandatory exit letter from Congolese immigration (known by its acronym "DGM").  The seven children are all believed to be in the custody of the Congolese government; the American adoptive parents had all left the country prior to the police operation.  Congolese news has reported that one American, M. Jessy Samuel, was implicated in the scheme.

In September 2013, the Congolese government announced a one-year suspension on the issuance of exit permits.(http://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/country-information/alerts-and-notices/DRC9-27-13.html).  In April 2014, the US Embassy stated that the Congolese government was aware that at least five American adoptive families had taken their children out of the country without exit permits (http://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/country-information/alerts-and-notices/DRC4-28-14.html).  We have been informed that many more than five adoptive families have taken their adopted children from Congo without the proper authorization during the suspension, which may have happened with agency complicity and/or through the payment of bribes. In the present case, it is not believed that any adoption agencies were involved in the attempted illegal exit. 

Given that the Congolese government has officially stated that no exit letters will be issued until such time as the suspension is lifted, PEAR does not believe that the United States Embassy in Kinshasa should be issuing any entry visas, as this deliberately contravenes current DRC policy and puts prospective parents in the difficult position of having children that are “legally” adopted in DRC and permitted to enter the U.S., but are unable to leave the country under until such time as the suspension is lifted.  

As such, PEAR calls on the US Embassy in Kinshasa to immediately cease the issuance of entry visas until such time as the suspension is lifted.  Continuing to issue visas during the suspension will only encourage adoptive parents to attempt to circumvent Congolese laws to remove their adopted children from the country.  

We also call on members of the adoption lobby, DRC prospective parents, adoption bloggers, and adoption agencies to be truthful in their knowledge of the issued exit letters, of any “underground” routes that may have been used to illegally remove adoptees from DRC, and to advocate for a fully transparent and legitimate adoption process. We would also remind all adoptive parents with legally adopted children in DRC of the risks of attempting an illegal exit from DRC, and that a valid exit letter from DGM in Kinshasa is required in order for your children to legally exit Congo.


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.
http://www.pear-now.org/

Friday, July 11, 2014

DOS Alert: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Announces End to Exit Permit Exceptions Until New Law is Promulgated


On July 10, Ambassador James Swan met with Director General Beya of the Congolese General Direction of Migration (DGM) to seek clarification on the DGM’s decision to no longer issue exit permits to any adopted Congolese children until a new adoption law is promulgated. DGM Beya stated that his office will not accept any cases for consideration in the interim, even those involving children with medical conditions or those cases that met the DGM’s October 2013 exception criteria.
During the meeting, the DGM stressed that it considers no intercountry adoptions from the DRC to be completely free of fraud. The DGM said it believes all the bordereaux letters it recently reviewed to be falsified or back-dated and therefore invalid for purposes of seeking an exit permit.
Over the July 4 weekend, the Second Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, raised the exit permit suspension and all the pending cases with Congolese parliamentarians and the Minister of Gender and Family, all of whom emphasized their concerns about problems in the adoption process. The parliamentarians further cautioned that they consider many Congolese judges to be corrupt and that few government officials have confidence in completed adoptions.
The Department of State deeply regrets that families are once again forced to wait indefinitely for exit permits. On July 3, the DGM accepted 8 medical cases from the U.S. Embassy for humanitarian consideration;of which four received exit permits. However, at that meeting, the DGM refused to accept 29 grandfathered cases received from adoptive families in response to our June 13 Adoption Alert.
The Department of State will continue to engage the DRC government on ways we can address its concerns about intercountry adoptions. Our offers to provide technical expertise, and to bring a delegation of Congolese officials to the United States, remain on the table and will be reiterated at every opportunity. We will also continue to strongly emphasize our message that all children whose adoptions were completed in Congolese courts should be allowed to obtain exit permits and join their adoptive families in the United States.
Please direct questions related to this alert or a specific adoption from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Department of State, Office of Children’s Issues at 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or 202-501-4444 from outside the United States. Email inquiries may be directed to ExitPermitSuspensionDRC@state.gov.

http://adoption.state.gov/country_information/country_specific_alerts_notices.php?alert_notice_type=alerts&alert_notice_file=democratic_republic_of_congo_10

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.
http://www.pear-now.org/

Thursday, July 10, 2014

DOS Alert: Haiti announces re-registration period for Adoption Service Providers

The Institut du Bien-Etre Social et de Recherche (IBESR), Haiti’s central adoption authority, recently announced updated information related to its Hague Adoption Convention intercountry adoption procedures. The announcement is available, in French, on IBESR’s website. Among other clarifications, IBESR announced that the registration period for re-authorization of international adoption service providers will be from July 14, 2014 until August 14, 2014. The list of supporting documents required is available on IBESR’s website in French. For more information on intercountry adoptions in Haiti you may contact adoptionUSCA@state.gov, or contact IBESR directly at adoptionibesr@gmail.com.

http://adoption.state.gov/country_information/country_specific_alerts_notices.php?alert_notice_type=alerts&alert_notice_file=haiti_6


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.
http://www.pear-now.org/