U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
February 17, 2010
The Hague Conference on Private International Law has recently released a report on its Intercountry Adoption Technical Assistance Program, based on a visit by the Hague delegate to Nepal in November 2010 (http://www.hcch.net/upload/wop/nepal_rpt09.pdf). This report is based on an independent analysis of Nepal’s inter-country adoption system under its new Terms and Conditions 2008. The report details a number of weaknesses in Nepal’s current system, including the falsification of documents, improper financial gain and lack of a child protection system.
The U.S. Department of State shares many of the concerns outlined in the Hague report. In one of the first cases processed by the Government of Nepal after the revision of the Terms and Conditions, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu found that the child in question was not a true orphan and that the child’s biological parents were actively searching for the child.
We caution prospective adoptive parents who have yet to choose a country that the intercountry adoption system in Nepal is not yet reliable. For prospective adoptive parents who currently have active files at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, we remind you that consular officers are required by law to conduct an orphan investigation (I-604) to verify the child's orphan status prior to the issuance of an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa. Depending on the circumstances of a case, this investigation may take up to several months to complete and some matched children may not be found to be adoptable under U.S. immigration law. Prospective adoptive parents should therefore carefully consider whether to file their Form I-600 Petition to Classify an Orphan as an Immediate Relative with the Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in the U.S. or at the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, as the Embassy’s I-604 investigation cannot begin until the I-600 has been filed and the documents have been reviewed by a consular officer.
The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu continues to meet with officials within the Government of Nepal and work with the Office of Children’s issues to provide updated information to the public as it becomes available.
Cross posted on PEAR's Nepal Blog
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