Tuesday, August 21, 2012

DOS Adoption Alert: Kazakhstan Suspends Intercountry Adoptions

August 21, 2012

Alert: Kazakhstan Suspends Intercountry Adoptions

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan informed the U.S. Embassy in Astana on August 9 that Kazakhstan is suspending intercountry adoptions to the United States, effective immediately. Ambassador Susan Jacobs, Special Advisor for Children’s Issues, met with government officials in Kazakhstan on August 16 to address the Ministry’s concerns. The Ministry clarified that the suspension involves a pause in adoption referrals, but does not affect Kazakhstan’s ongoing process to authorize U.S. adoption service providers. The Department of State is continuing discussions with Kazakhstan as a Hague Adoption Convention partner, and will provide updated information on adoption.state.gov as it becomes available.


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

COA Substantiated Complaints and Adverse Action Reports

The Council on Accreditation has published the most recent collection of reports of Substantiated Complaints and Adverse Actions for Hague Accredited Agencies and Approved Persons. The Reports are available via the COA's newly revamped website under the category Monitoring and Oversight. http://coanet.org/programs/hague-accreditation-and-approval/monitoring-and-oversight/

The following agencies are listed in the report as having one or more substantiated complaints. Please use the COA link to view the specifics of each report. Also, please note that COA does not publish the specifics of corrective actions, those are considered "confidential" and can only be disclosed by the agency itself.

Adoption Advocates International
Adoption Ark
Adoption Associates
Bethany Christian Services
Building Arizona Families
Huminskas Anioly
Joshua Tree
St Mary International
Small World Adoptions - Missouri
The Datz Foundation
Vista Del Mar

Being that COA takes 12-18 months to investigate complaints and that the specifics of corrective actions and complaint facts are not published, we do not believe the information provided through COA is sufficient to provide protection to potential adoptive parents, families of origin, or children. We suggest that families looking to use the services of a Hague accredited agency thoroughly research every agency and use the COA reports only as a starting point.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

DOS Adoption Notice: Morocco

August 8, 2012 
Notice: Ministry of Justice Plans to Review Kafala Laws and Procedures
On July 25, the Moroccan newspaper Akhbar al-Youm (Today's News) published a story on Justice Minister Mostafa Rahmid's views on the granting of kafala (guardianship) to non-Muslim, non-resident foreigners. The article quotes Minister Rahmid as saying that he has decided to "stop granting guardianship of Moroccan children to foreign families", insisting that "guardianship of abandoned children is for Muslims, and foreign Muslims residing in Morocco." The Minister subsequently stated that kafala guardianship would only be considered for those foreign families who are long-term residents in Morocco.

The status of pending kafala petitions by U.S. citizens is unclear.

U.S. citizens wishing to obtain kafala of Moroccan children should be aware that is unclear at this time whether the courts will accept new kafala petitions.

Please continue to monitor adoption.state.gov for updated information.


PEAR will be closely monitoring any developments concerning this announcement.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

UPDATE: Kyrgyzstan - US Special Advisor for Children's Issues Travels to Kyrgyzstan

The following press release was made yesterday by the Office of Children's Issues. We are assuming this in response to the recent scandal in Kyrgyzstan involving misconduct by US adoption agencies and the subsequent suspension of their accreditation in Kyrgyzstan. We request the US DOS to disclose the identity of the agency alleged to have given bribes to the Kyrg Minister and that the DOS will ensure that the Counsel on Accreditation thoroughly and effectually deals with any agency who has participated in this scandal. The families who have been waiting for years to complete adoptions in Kyrgyzstan need the full assistance of ethical agencies. Further delays caused by the misconduct of US Hague accredited agencies are unconscionable.

Special Advisor for Children's Issues Travels to Kyrgyzstan

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 13, 2012

Special Advisor for Children’s Issues Ambassador Susan Jacobs will visit Kyrgyzstan from August 13-15. As part of the State Department’s commitment to facilitating ethical and transparent intercountry adoptions, she will discuss the protection of children and the intercountry adoption process. This is the Special Advisor’s fourth trip to Kyrgyzstan to discuss these topics.
In 2008, Kyrgyzstan suspended intercountry adoptions, and many U.S. families who began the adoption process prior to the suspension are still waiting for their adoptions to be finalized. As part of her trip, Ambassador Jacobs will urge the Government of Kyrgyzstan to resolve these adoptions as quickly as possible, keeping the best interests of the children in mind. She will also meet with other organizations interested in child welfare issues.
For more information about children’s issues, please visit: ChildrensIssues.state.gov
For updates on Special Advisor Jacobs’ trip, follow her on Twitter: @ChildrensIssues
For press inquiries please contact CAPRESSREQUESTS@state.gov or (202) 647-1488.

*******For further information on this scandal, please see:

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Friday, August 3, 2012

USCIS Revised Country Information for Nepal

USCIS has published an updated version of its country information for Nepal. According to USCIS, "These revisions do not present any significant updates on adoptions in Nepal . Rather, they consolidate existing information and explain the current process for adopting children from Nepal. As this information is intended to help the public, please feel free to share this information."
The revised text of the country information section on Nepal is as follows:

The U.S. Government is currently adjudicating intercountry adoption petitions filed on behalf of Nepali children who have been relinquished by a known birth parent(s) whose identity and relationship can be confirmed.  The U.S. Government is not adjudicating adoption petitions filed for Nepali children who are described as having been abandoned.  On August 6, 2010, the U. S. Department of State and U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) suspended processing of new adoption cases from Nepal involving children claimed to have been found abandoned because documents presented in support of the abandonment of children in Nepal have proven unreliable. 
USCIS and the U.S. Department of State continue to strongly recommend that prospective adoptive parents refrain from adopting children from Nepal due to grave concerns about the reliability of Nepal’s adoption system.  We also strongly urge adoption service providers not to accept new applications for adoption from Nepal.
The U.S. Government continues to encourage the Government of Nepal to work with the international community, including the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, to implement the Hague Adoption Convention and reform its adoption process to protect children and families. 
There are special filing instructions in place for adoption petitions under the orphan system involving Nepali orphans.  For more information, please see the page called “Special Instructions for How and When to File Adoption Petitions on Behalf of Nepali Children.

USCIS and Department of State Roles
USCIS is responsible for the adjudication of the Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.  In overseas locations where USCIS does not have an office, such as Nepal, USCIS has delegated limited authority to Department of State consular officers at U.S. embassies and consulates to accept in-country filings of Forms I-600 in certain circumstances and to approve petitions that are clearly approvable.  Form I-600 petitions found by the consular officers to be “not clearly approvable” are then forwarded to the USCIS office overseas with jurisdiction over that location for adjudication.  The USCIS office in New Delhi, India, has jurisdiction over petitions filed with the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Recent History
On August 6, 2010, the Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services jointly decided to suspend adjudication of new adoption petitions and related visa issuances for children who purportedly were abandoned in Nepal.  
In early August 2010, a joint assessment team from the U.S. Department of State and USCIS travelled to Nepal and performed a detailed analysis of the evidence being presented to document the abandonment of children in Nepal.  The team found that information presented in support of orphan petitions included vague and self-contradictory testimony and documents.  Local officials were often uncooperative or appeared to purposefully mislead or deter investigations.  The U.S. Government committed to complete the processing of the 65 cases where U.S. families had received an official referral of a Nepali child before the announcement of the suspension (these cases are referred to as “pipeline” cases).
On January 5, 2011, Nepal’s Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare announced that children found by the police and considered abandoned will not be available for intercountry adoption until further notice.
In January 2012, Nepal’s Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare announced on its website that there may be children who could be considered eligible for intercountry adoption by the Government of Nepal as relinquishment cases (meaning that the children had become orphans by virtue of having been relinquished by their birth parent(s)).  Due to the concerns regarding the reliability of Nepal's adoption system, any future relinquishment cases received by the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu will require thorough investigations, which may include birth parent interviews and DNA testing.  USCIS cannot estimate the time any investigations may take to complete.  Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that investigations may require significant time and would likely result in an increased financial burden.


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.