Wednesday, November 23, 2011

GAO Report on Adoption Tax Credit Audits and Delays

Excerpt: As of August 2011, 68 percent of the nearly 100,000 returns on which taxpayers claimed the adoption credit were sent to correspondence audit. However, of the approximately 35,000 returns on which audits have been completed as of August, IRS only assessed additional tax about 17 percent of the time. The equivalent rate for all correspondence audits in 2010 was 86 percent. The time it has taken IRS to audit these predominantly legitimate adoption credit claims has resulted in considerable delays in the payment of the related refunds. For the 2012 filing season, IRS has options that might allow it to reduce the number of costly audits and issue refunds faster while still maintaining a robust enforcement strategy. One option is for IRS to immediately send a letter to taxpayers who submit returns without any documentation requesting it before initiating an audit.

GAO report is available now:

Accounting Today Article, IRS Faulted for Adoption Tax Credit Refund Delays :\

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ethiopia Update Issued by USCIS Office of Public Engagement

The following letter to Stakeholders was issued by the USCIS Office of Public Engament on November 21, 2011:

Dear Stakeholder:

The USCIS team in Addis Ababa completed its site visit. We are pleased to report that the team was able to complete its review of all of the “not clearly approvable” cases that were awaiting their review. The following provides an overview of the results of their work. It is important to note that approximately 50 percent of the cases approved received additional evidence between the time Department of State referred the case to USCIS and the team’s review, which addressed concerns raised by the Department of State in their referral of the case.

Total # of Cases Referred to USCIS as NCA: 65 (one case that was on the list to be referred was subsequently approved by Embassy Addis Ababa upon completion of the field investigation.)

Approvals Issued: 49

Requests for Evidence Issued: 15

Notices of Intent to Deny Issued: 1

We are aware that a number of families have expressed concern or inquired as to why cases with RFEs or NOIDs will be processed further from USCIS District Office Rome. The USCIS team determined that the District Office in Rome would be a better central location for the ongoing USCIS processing of the cases because that office has more staffing and equipment and better communications connectivity than does USCIS Field Office Nairobi. In an effort to ensure the timeliest processing of all of the outstanding cases, Rome will handle the RFE/NOID responses and share them with the team members so that the cases can be completed. Going forward, as Embassy Addis Ababa identifies new cases that are “not clearly approvable,” those cases will be transferred to Field Office Nairobi unless/until resource constraints again arise such that we determine that we can provide more timely responses by transferring the cases to another location.

Kind Regards,

Office of Public Engagement

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nepal & India -- Dal Bahadur Phadera & the suppressed UNICEF report

Dal Bahadur Phadera & the
suppressed UNICEF report

UNICEF Nepal's suppressed Humla report is now available on the web.

The reason UNICEF Nepal suppressed (i.e., never published) their 2005 report is unclear.

Nor is it clear why trafficked Nepali children were left at the Michael Job Centre,
Tamil Nadu,
for over six years.

UNICEF FWLD Displacement of Children From Humla 2005:
Here is an extract (one case from the report):

Bikram Bhandari, Thehe VDC

"Bikram Bhandari informed the team that his son (Machche Bhandari now changed to Manish) was sent 6 years ago (Date: 1998) with Kali Bahadur Bhandari from Humla to Katmandu. Ram Bahadur and Gam Singh where 2 other children also sent with Machche Bandari -- they are also now missing however the team did not meet with their parents. Once in Katmandu. Chakra Bahadur Shahi (ex-parliamentarian member) arranged addmition of the children to Bal Mandir (a government organization)

From Katmandu, Machche was sent to a foreign country though Bal Mandir. This information was relayed to Bikram, 3 years ago (Date: 2001) by a member of Bal Mandir when Bikram came to Kathmandu looking for his son.

When Bikram came to know that his child was sent to another country he reqested to meet with his son but the staff of Bal Mandir said that Bikram had to pay 2 lack rupies [lakh rupees]
for this to be arranged.

Bikram explained to the team that the CDO and VDC had prepaired a recommendation letter stating that Machche Bhandari's (Bikrams son) parents where Dead. This was false information.

Bikram would like to meet with his son but is unable to -- he expressed anger about this situation.

Only Kali Bahadur had the information on Bikrams son, however Kali is now dead and Chakra dose not know the information so there is no way of finding out about the child."

For background, see:

On Children's Homes -- Lonely Planet:

Read the full thread -- a horrific, first-hand account of D.B. Phadera.

Here are two extracts (from a Western volunteer):

"The orphanage I Managed was registered, but not once did I ever see anyone check up on it. My orphanage being registered also did not make it a good place. My job was to run the home and do everything I could to protect the children from the owner and his goons. The owner was a known childtrafficker who was above the law. The NGO ISIS had conducted and investigation that traced over 530 girls that he had sold to brothels in India. They turned the investigation over to UNICEF who promptly leaked it giving him time to pay off the right people. He spent all of 2 nights in jail. I really prefer not to get into how horrible this man is to children, but he is just one of many respectable businessmen who have registered orphanages that are just ways for him to earn money through exploiting children. Like at many homes, the term "owner" only means that he had custody over the children, not that he paid for anything or did anything to care for the children. I actually had to stop a group of swiss tourists from handing over 2000 USD directly to one of his goons (who was himself a pedophile)."


"DB Phadera...was the owner of my orphanage. He lived just across the path from me. Words cannot fully describe how horrible this man is. My job involved documenting the hell out of each of the kids in order to try to keep them safe from him- and it wasn't always enough. He is truly the most despicable person i have ever met. When an 8 year old girl disappeared from the home, he smiled at me as he told me she was only there on vacation. When he had disputes with the organizations that funded the home, he would cut off their ability to bring the children food. He literally would starve the children as a bargaining tool. When I first arrived at the home, he was allowing his goons free reign and many would come and demand to sleep in the beds with the kids at night. It took everything I had to put a stop to that practice. He forces children to beg, sells them into servitude, or worse, into brothels. For him it's all an equation of how he can make the most money. The lucky children are the ones he just abandons. Many good organizations in the valley have rescued kids from DB. All of the ones I listed in my previous post are among them. their efforts are noble and deserve support. But DB is a politically powerful man. As long as he remains free, he will continue to bring in more Humli children and subject them to cruelty, abuse, and in the best case scenario simple neglect.

Having to deal with him on a daily basis was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. My kids needed me there as my foreignness did give them some level of protection and the alternative would have been a manager of his choice, but I couldn't rock the boat too much- he had threatened to kill a previous volunteer and she had to leave the country.

Corruption in Nepal creates this culture of impunity which allows traffickers to operate."

See also:

Lt. Col. Philip Holmes explains why his charity rescued Nepali girls from the Michael Job Centre (video) -- PEAR Nepal:

"After the girls' return to Nepal the trafficker who had been involved, DB Phadera, orchestrated a vicious media campaign against the charity."

The Indian preacher and the fake orphan scandal -- Daily Telegraph:

On the Western supporters of the Michael Job Centre (Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India).

Long journey home -- The Nepali Times:

On The Esther Benjamins Trust's rescue of 23 Nepali girls (Tamil Nadu -- September 2011).

A trafficker remains scot-free -- The Kathmandu Post:

On trafficker D.B. Phadera & the Michael Job Centre.

Paper Orphans documentary posted on the web -- PEAR Nepal:

The Terre des Hommes/Image Ark documentary on adoption trafficking in Humla (the NCO/Bal Mandir kidnappings). Some Humli children ended up in India -- others in the inter-country adoption trade.

How our media helps sell children (by asking the wrong questions) -- Ushaft's Blog:

Andrew Undershaft on the media allies of trafficker Dal Bahadur Phadera.

Adhocism and the culture of press-release journalism (part one) -- Ushaft's Blog:

Andrew Undershaft on Anuradha Koirala's curious support of the traffickers.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

DOS Adoption Notice: Ethiopia Procedure for Processing Adoption Cases

November 16, 2011
Notice: Procedure for Processing Adoption Cases

This notice provides supplemental information to the adoption notice of October 7, 2011, adding additional details on the process applicable to orphan petitions filed with a U.S. Embassy Consular Section overseas. While the description has been tailored to answer inquiries specific to Ethiopia, the steps described in this explanation apply to all non-Hague countries. This notice only describes the process for Forms I-600 filed with U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa. For processing information on cases filed domestically with USCIS through the National Benefits Center (NBC), please refer to the USCIS website at

Once adoptive parents are in possession of the final adoption decree from the Federal First Instance Court, approval letters from the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, the child’s birth certificate and Ethiopian passport, and all other required Form I-600 supporting documentation, they (or their authorized agent) may file Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, with the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa if they have met the physical presence requirements for filing a Form I-600 petition overseas.

Upon receipt of the Form I-600 and accompanying documentation, the U.S. Embassy begins the Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption, orphan status investigation – the process to determine if the child meets the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law. The time frame for completion of the Form I-604 determination depends on the circumstances of each case, but can take up to several weeks or months. During this time, additional information or documentation may be requested by the U.S. Embassy for cases with insufficient or deficient supporting evidence to determine orphan status.

In certain cases it may be necessary to interview the child’s Ethiopian birth parent(s) or guardian, or the individual who found an abandoned child, to resolve errors or discrepancies discovered in the case file. The U.S. Embassy conducts such interviews for cases in which the consular officer deems interview(s) necessary to make a determination on the child’s orphan status. Birth relative and other interviews are often an integral part of the Form I-604 determination.

The U.S. Embassy must then determine whether the case is clearly approvable. If a case is clearly approvable, the U.S. Embassy approves the Form I-600 petition and issues an immigrant visa. If there are questions regarding the child’s orphan status or the information is insufficient to make a determination, federal regulation requires that the U.S. Embassy forwards the case as “not clearly approvable” to the USCIS Field Office in Nairobi, Kenya, for further processing. When this occurs, the U.S. Embassy sends out a transfer notice to the petitioners when the case is physically forwarded to USCIS Nairobi, and provides contact information for further questions.

Upon receipt of a petition identified as “not clearly approvable,” the USCIS Nairobi Field Office notifies the parent(s) that the case has been received and issues requests for additional evidence and other notices, if necessary. Upon review of all available evidence including any response to a Request for Evidence or Notice of Intent to Deny, USCIS issues a decision and notify the petitioners. For details of the USCIS process, please visit USCIS’ Ethiopia Q&A page. If the case is approved, USCIS Nairobi returns the case to the U.S. Embassy for visa processing.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

DOS Office of Children's Releases FY 2011 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption Statistics

The DOS has published it Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption. A copy of the report can be downloaded on the DOS Adoption website: by clicking the link under "Latest News" on the left hand side of the screen.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

UPDATE on USCIS and DOS Updates on Ethiopia Processing

The following letter was received today at PEAR today addressed to all Stakeholders on Ethiopia Adoptions:

Dear Stakeholder-

A USCIS team of four officers arrived in Ethiopia and began working at Embassy Addis Ababa on November 7, 2011. As of the date of this notice, the team has received 63 “not clearly approvable” cases from Embassy Addis, and expects to receive at least 1 more case before they depart on Friday, November 18, 2011. The following provides a summary of the results of the team’s review of the cases as of November 15, 2011:

Approvals Issued: 36

Requests for Evidence Issued: 9

Notices of Intent to Deny Issued: 1

Under USCIS Team Review 9

Pending Birth Relative Interview 8

Pending Physical Transfer 1

During the team’s first days in Addis, they began reviewing the cases, and established procedures necessary for completing adjudication and issuing notices. Embassy Addis is providing the resources necessary for USCIS to be able to adjudicate the not clearly approvable cases. Although the team has encountered some technological challenges, the team has been issuing decisions and notices as soon as they are able.

All cases that the team is able to approve before they depart from Addis Ababa will stay with the Consular Section in Embassy Addis Ababa, for immediate scheduling of immigrant visa processing. Families that receive an approval notice will be contacted directly by the U.S. Embassy within three business days. We strongly recommend that families wait to be contacted regarding an immigrant visa interview before making travel arrangements. Cases that require a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny will be sent to the USCIS Rome District Office for further processing.

Each family that received a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny should carefully read the instructions regarding where to send additional evidence to avoid delays in processing that could be caused by sending the evidence to the incorrect USCIS Office. USCIS has decided to utilize additional resources at the Rome District Office in the ongoing processing of some of the affected cases in an effort to ensure that they are processed to completion as quickly as possible.

In the coming weeks, USCIS and DOS will schedule another stakeholder call to provide a briefing on the team’s work in Addis Ababa, and an update on how processing will proceed going forward for any new cases identified by Embassy Addis Ababa as not clearly approvable.

Kind Regards,

Office of Public Engagement

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

USCIS and DOS Updates on Ethiopia Processing

At it's Ocotber 28 Statkeholder Meeting on Ethiopia, USCIS promised to post Notes form the meeting to its website for parents unable to attend the teleconference. The notes were published this week, but leave a lot of room for improvement:

"U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invited stakeholders to call and discuss USCIS processing of Ethiopian adoption cases which the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is referring to USCIS as "not clearly approvable". Recently, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia, has identified a number of adoption petitions (Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as Immediate Relative) that it has determined are not clearly approvable (NCA), and thus, must be referred to USCIS for adjudication.

USCIS explained what “not clearly approvable” means and how the processing of such cases will unfold once the cases are referred to USCIS."

Today, DOS, Office of Children's Issues released a definition of "Not Clearly Approvable"

"Consular officers at U.S. Embassies and Consulates have limited, delegated authority from the United States Citizen and Immigration Service to approve Form I-600 petitions that are found to be clearly approvable. Clearly approvable means that the petition and supporting documentation clearly establish that the child is an orphan as defined by U.S. immigration law; all criteria identified on the Form I-600A approval regarding the child and any state pre-adoption requirements are met; and there are no concerns of fraud, child buying or other inappropriate practices in the adoption process.

In cases where the evidence is insufficient to establish that the child is an orphan or that the I-600A criteria have been met, the consular officer will allow the petitioner to respond to issues and questions that can be quickly and easily resolved. If issues and questions can be quickly and easily resolved and the case is clearly approvable the consular officer will approve the petition.

All non-Hague cases require an I-604 investigation to determine orphan status. In many instances this is a simple review of the documents and facts in the case. However, in some cases, an investigation by consular staff may be necessary to clarify doubts related to documentation presented or concerns of inappropriate practices. Investigations may include, but are not limited to, visits to the child's town of origin; interviews with birth relatives, orphanage staff, or social workers; DNA testing; and/or a field investigation.

If additional clarification and evidence does not fully resolve the issue quickly, the consular officer must send the petition to USCIS for review and adjudication. USCIS is the only agency with the authority to adjudicate NCA cases. If a case is identified as "Not Clearly Approvable", the consular officer sends the petitioner notification of the transfer to USCIS and provides contact information so that further inquiries may be directed to USCIS."

PEAR would like to suggest that USCIS and DOS publish a statement on how cases will unfold and what adoptive parents can expect if cases are referred to USCIS.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Special Advisor for International Children's Issues Ambassador Susan Jacobs to Travel to The Hague

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
November 15, 2011

Special Advisor for International Children’s Issues Ambassador Susan Jacobs will travel to The Hague November 17 – 18 for meetings on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

While in The Hague, Ambassador Jacobs will lead meetings with foreign representatives from Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, and Switzerland to discuss ways to further promote The Hague Adoption and Abduction Conventions and assist signatory countries to meet their responsibilities under the conventions.

For press inquiries please contact or (202) 647-1488.

For updates from Ambassador Susan Jacobs, follow her on twitter: @ChildrensIssues.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Call to Action: Citizenship for all persons adopted abroad

One of the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA 2000) was that the adoptee be under the age of 18 its effective date, February 27, 2001. Transnational adoptees 18 and older were not granted citizenship under its provisions.

Korean Focus has created a petition to Congress to amend the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 to include all persons adopted prior to 2001. Please consider reading the petition and if you wish to help intercountry adoptees obtain automatic citizenship, consider signing it. This would have a profound effect on thousands of children and adults adopted abroad prior to 2001.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Friday, November 11, 2011

DOS Adoption Notice: Vietnam Ratifies Hague

November 2011

Notice: Vietnam ratifies the Hague Adoption Convention

The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption will enter into force in Vietnam on February 1, 2012, following Vietnam's ratification on November 1, 2011.

The United States recognizes Vietnam's initiatives leading to this significant development and applauds the Government of Vietnam's renewed commitment to strengthen its child welfare system and the integrity of its domestic and international adoption process. We continue to caution adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents that, to ensure that adoptions from Vietnam can be compliant with the Convention, important steps must still take place before intercountry adoptions between the United States and Vietnam resume. We further caution adoption service providers against initiating, or claiming to initiate, adoption programs in Vietnam until they receive authorization from the Government of Vietnam.

The Department of State will provide updated information on as it becomes available. If you have any further 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.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

National Adoption Month: Raising Awareness & Rights

Today is the 1st of November, the first day of National Adoption Month, an event centered around raising awareness about adoption. When adoptive families, and legislators, and social workers, and agencies talk of adoption they talk of putting the child's best interests first, of adoption being centered around the rights and needs of children.

If we truly believe this, then we, as adoptive parents, need to put our child's rights first. Are we aware that in 44 US States, people who were adopted have no right to their original birth certificates? No right to their personal history? Are we doing anything about this injustice? Stand up for your children. Take a few minutes to visit the Adoptee Rights Coalition , write a letter to your state legislators, donate a few bucks to the cause. Put the best interests of the adoptee first.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.