Friday, January 30, 2009
Liberia, Moldova Halt International Adoptions
The countries of Liberia and Moldova announced bans on international adoptions this week pending invesitgations into allegations of fraud and child mistreatment.
The African News reported the following excerpt from the address of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the National Legislature on Monday, January 26, 2009:
"The gross mismanagement of the adoption program (which aims primarily at placing orphans in homes in the United States), by both Liberian and U.S. personnel in the concerned NGO is the subject of a report by a Special Committee which I appointed for this purpose. Essentially, we have discovered that many of the children in these orphanages are not in fact orphans but children taken from their living parents on the promise of support and a good life in America. Moreover, we found that young children were being sexually abused at some of these orphanages, while others including officials of government, have used the program to extort money from potential adoptors. We have thus suspended the adoption program until laws, policies and proper guidelines have been established and we have asked our concerned friends and partners in the United States to be patient as we try to correct the serious malpractices which exist. We expect the National Social Welfare
Policy and National Adoption Act which will be submitted to you during the course of the year, will provide guidance and prevent such abuses in the future." http://www.africanews.com/site/list_messages/22858
Acccording to prospective adoptive parents in the process of adopting from Liberia, adoption agencies are informing clients that the suspension is immediate and the US Embassy has been requested to cease processing visa applications for adopted children. There has not been an official announcement by the US Embassy or the US Department of State on the Liberian situation. PEAR has requested clarification from both organizations on behalf of adopting families.
On January 28, 2009, Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin announced his plans to
temporarily ban the adoption of Moldovan children by foreign couples. The announcement was published today by RFE/RL's Moldovan Service. Purportedly, the ban follows the arrest of a Moldovan adoption official,Svetlana Chifa, who is accused of being involved in an illegal child adoption in 2006. http://www.rferl.org/content/%20Moldova_To_Temporarily_Ban_International_Adoptions/1376803.html
Again, there have been no official announcements from the US Department of State or the US Embassy in Moldova. PEAR is requesting clarification and confirmation from both organizations on behalf of adopting families.
Please check with the DOS website: www.adoptions.state.gov, the Embassies and PEAR for further developments.
UPDATE US State Department Issues Statement on Liberia
Government of Liberia Suspends Intercountry Adoptions
The Government of Liberia (GOL) suspended processing of adoptions on January 26, 2009, on the recommendation of the President's Special Committee on Adoption. According to the Liberian President's statement, processing of adoptions was suspended due to mismanagement. The GOL expects to resume adoptions this year after its adoption law, policy, and guidelines have been established.
American citizens are alerted that the Government of Liberia suspended adoption services provided by the agencies West African Children Support Network (WACSN) and Acres of Hope (AOH) on January 22. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare announced that it is investigating WACSN and AOH to ensure that the children in their care are properly cared for and that adoptions are conducted in accordance with Liberian adoption law. American citizens who have pending adoption applications with either agency should contact the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia at firstname.lastname@example.org before traveling to Liberia.
Please continue to monitor adoption.state.gov for updated information.