The Government of Ghana has temporarily suspended processing of all adoption cases, including intercountry adoptions, pending Ghana's review of its current adoption procedures. All adoption cases which have not received final approval by the Ghanaian Department of Social Welfare are subject to this suspension.
At this time, adoption cases which have completed processing with the Ghanaian Department of Social Welfare, and are either before a Ghanaian court or have a completed adoption order, are unaffected by the suspension. Urgent or emergency cases subject to the suspension can be referred directly to the Ghanaian Director of Social Welfare in Accra for consideration.
The U.S. Embassy will continue accepting orphan petitions and approving qualified visa applications of those cases not subject to the suspension.
The Department of State will continue providing updated information on adoption.state.gov as it becomes available. If you have any questions about this notice, please contact the 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 AdoptionUSCA@state.gov.
Notice for Individuals Seeking Further Information Following the Department of State's May 14 Conference Call
The Department of State has received information that a number of adoption service providers and prospective adoptive families were unable to join the conference call on adoptions from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on May 14, 2013. We regret that not everyone was able to participate in the call and are exploring options for future outreach.
During the call, we reviewed the information available on the Department’s website in the May 2 Adoption Alert regarding the suspension of exit permit issuances, the April 30 clarification Adoption Notice, and the March 15 Adoption Notice concerning the removal of children from orphanages by purported birth family members. Please note that any new developments will be published on Adoption.State.Gov as information becomes available.
Individuals who are seeking information on the process for adopting from the DRC or further clarification regarding a specific adoption are encouraged to contact the Office of Children’s Issues at AskCI@state.gov or toll-free at 1-888-407-4747.
Please be advised that the Ontario Ministry’s Private and International Adoption Unit will not issue licenses under the Intercountry Adoption Act for the purposes of authorizing an agency to facilitate adoptions from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
This decision is based on concerns raised within the international community dealing with intercountry adoptions. UNICEF, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Confederation of the Red Cross, and international NGOs such as the Save the Children Alliance and International Social Services advise that current socio-political conditions in the DRC raise serious questions about the legitimacy of a child’s adoptability and whether verification of consent can be relied upon.
Civil wars in the DRC have destabilized the region to such an extent that corruption, abductions, forced recruitments, violence against children and displacement of children have become a common occurrence. As a result, DRC authorities are not currently equipped to confirm the legitimacy of documents and verify consent to the degree that Ontario requires.
As a signatory to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Convention), Canada has committed to adhering to principles which support the protection of children and their families against the risk of illegal, irregular, premature or ill-prepared adoptions abroad. To do this, the Hague Convention puts safeguards in place to make sure that all intercountry adoptions are in the best interests of the child, respect human rights, and prevent the abduction, sale of, or trafficking of children.
Further to these concerns, on April 29, 2013 the Congolese Ministry of Interior and Security, General Direction of Migration (Direction Generale d’Immigration, DGM) informed the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa that the DGM has suspended the issuance of exit permits to adopted Congolese children seeking to depart the country with their adoptive parents. This suspension is due to an on-going investigation into an adoption that may not have complied with Congolese law. The suspension of exit permits for adopted Congolese children applies to all intercountry adoptions and is not limited to adoptions by U.S. citizens.
Given all the aforementioned, the Private and International Adoption Unit has determined that the DRC does not currently have sufficient processes in place to establish that a child is adoptable and that necessary consents have been properly obtained – two main principles of the Hague Convention. As such, intercountry adoption from the DRC is not permitted at this time.
Special Advisor for Children’s Issues Ambassador Susan Jacobs will visit Guatemala from May 16-18 to discuss international children’s issues.
Ambassador Jacobs will join Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, to meet with government officials and nongovernmental adoption stakeholders. They will continue their discussions from the October 2012 meetings regarding resolution of pending adoption cases. Ambassador Jacobs will also meet with government officials to discuss resolving issues related to international parental child abduction.