Wednesday, April 30, 2014

DOS Notice - Haiti Expedite Fee Fraud

The U.S. Embassy in Haiti has heard reports from a number of prospective adoptive parents regarding certain adoption service providers requests for substantial additional payments.  These adoption service providers are claiming that these fees are charged by the Haitian authorities to expedite the adoption process.  The Embassy has verified with Haiti’s adoption authority, the Institut du Bien-Être Social et de Recherches (IBESR), that the Government of Haiti does not charge expedite fees in association with adoptions in Haiti.   
Likewise, the U.S. government does not charge expedite fees in any visa cases.  All possible immigrant visa fees are published on  The Department of State and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in Haiti do not charge fees for additional visas services, including any expedite fees.  All visa processing fees are collected on the U.S. Embassy premises at the time of the visa interview. 
If you are applying for a U.S. immigrant visa for an adopted child, do NOT pay any fees at cybercafés, banks, or to anyone outside the U.S. Embassy claiming to act on behalf of the U.S. government.  Prospective adoptive parents who are asked to make payments for expedited visas fees to an adoption service provider should immediately report such behavior
The U.S. government does not require adoptive parents to travel to Haiti at any point during the adoption process, although the Haitian government may have such requirements.  We also remind prospective adoptive parents that the U.S. government is not involved in the local adoption process. 
Contact information for the U.S. Embassy in Haiti is listed below:
U.S. Embassy in Haiti
Consular Section (Adoptions Unit)
Boulevard du 15 Octobre
Tabarre 41
Tabarre, Haiti
Tel: 509-2229-8000 (within Haiti); 1-866-829-2482 (from the United States)
The Department of State will continue to publish updates on intercountry adoptions in Haiti on  Please direct any questions related to Haitian adoptions to, 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or 202-501-4444 from outside the United States.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

DOS Alert: Democratic Republic of the Congo Announces Stricter Scrutiny of U.S. Adoptive Families' Applications for Visas

The Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Washington informed the Department of State on April 24 that applications for visas to travel to the DRC from U.S. adoptive families may be refused “in some cases.”  Congolese officials state that adoptive families should be prepared for increased scrutiny of their visa applications as well as possible refusal of the visa citing the following:
Reports of children adopted by U.S. families being taken without proper documentation out of the DRC: The DRC Embassy informed the Department of State that the DRC government is aware of five U.S. families who removed their adoptive children from the DRC without exit permits issued by the Congolese General Direction of Migration (DGM). The DRC Embassy stated that those cases are raising doubts about U.S. families’ intentions when requesting visas to visit the DRC.
Intercountry adoptions purportedly do not conform with Congolese laws: The DRC Embassy stated that many U.S. families have adopted or attempted to adopt from the DRC even though they already have more than two children in the home and have adopted or sought to adopt more than three Congolese children, contrary to Congolese law. Additionally, Congolese authorities claim that some adoptive parents were attempting to go to the DRC to retrieve their adopted children without first having attended all of the Tribunal pour Enfants (Children’s Court) hearings as required by Congolese law.
Congolese officials have said that the discovery of such irregularities, among others, is part of the reason the suspension must stay in place while they review the adoption process. The Department of State notes that adoption cases are not always required by Congolese authorities, and in particular, the Congolese courts, to meet all Congolese legal standards. As far as the Department of State understands, the requirement to attend all Tribunal pour Enfants hearings is new. The Department of State’s page on adopting from the DRC presents the steps regarding Congolese legal and procedural requirements. Requirements can and do change, so we recommend prospective parents check regularly for updates concerning the legal and procedural requirements for adoption.
The Department of State regrets that U.S. families and their Congolese children are in this predicament. We remain committed to seeking a resolution as quickly as possible so that adopted children can join their families in the United States. However, as noted in the Department of State’s April 16 Adoption Notice, intercountry adoption is a very sensitive subject for the Congolese people and government, and Congolese authorities have reacted negatively when pressured on the subject. We strongly encourage U.S. adoption service providers and adoptive families to adhere to best practices and all aspects of Congolese law. 
Please direct questions related to this notice, or a specific adoption from the DRC, to the Department of State, 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

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

DoS Alert - Adoption Scams and Fraud

Actions U.S. citizens can take in Response to Adoption Scams and Fraud
The Department of State is aware of a growing number of adoption scams in which individuals are offering to match prospective adoptive parents with a child who is allegedly available for intercountry adoption. In Hague Adoption Convention countries, matching is done by the Central Authority, another public authority, and in some cases, by accredited bodies, but not by private individuals. U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents should refer to the relevant country information sheet and fully understand that country’s adoption requirements before sending money to any individual in connection with adopting a child, especially if correspondence with that individual is limited to e-mail.   
In addition to contacting law enforcement, families who believe they may have been affected by such a scam have several options for filing complaints with that information, discussed below:  
Contact U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the Child’s Country of Origin
First, we strongly encourage families with concerns about their adoption process to share this information with the relevant U.S. Embassy or Consulate located in the child’s country of origin, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to your adoption case. When reporting concerns, you may ask the Embassy or Consulate to keep your name confidential and, to the extent possible, redact the information that would permit your identification. The Department of State takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously.
The best way to contact the Embassy or Consulate is by the email address listed on the Country Information Sheet posted at this link: Country Information. Please include all appropriate information, including your name; the name of the child to be adopted; your adoption service provider; the date of the adoption (month and year); and, if possible, the immigrant visa case number for the child’s case (this number begins with three letters followed by several numbers and can be found on any document sent to you by the National Visa Center).
Register a Complaint in the United States
In addition, if your complaint concerns an adoption service provider, we strongly encourage you to register your complaint in the following ways:
  • File a complaint with the state licensing authority where your adoption agency is licensed and conducts business. The Child Welfare Information Gateway, which is maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services, provides such a list.
  • You may file a complaint on-line with the state’s Better Business Bureau.
Register a Complaint in the Hague Complaint Registry
  • If your complaint concerns a Hague-accredited or approved adoption service provider, we encourage you to file a complaint in the Hague Complaint Registry located at on the Department of State’s adoption website. Complaints submitted to the Hague Complaint Registry are made available to the accrediting entity, the Council on Accreditation (COA). The accrediting entity reviews the complaint and, where the complaint raises questions of compliance with the federal accreditation standards, investigates the adoption service provider’s conduct for compliance with those standards. When a complaint is substantiated, the accrediting entity takes appropriate action related to the adoption service provider’s accreditation status.
Register an Internet Crime Complaint
The Department continues to work with the governments of countries of origin to ensure that appropriate safeguards exist to protect prospective adoptive children, birth parents, and prospective adoptive parents. Please continue to monitor for updated information.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.