Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Armenian Adoptions 2012 to the United States of America (19)

The count for adoptions in 2012 from Armenia to the USA was 19 adoptions In 2011 it was 22 In 2010 it was 18 The number remains steady and stable with neither a major increase or decrease http://adoption.state.gov/content/pdf/fy2012_annual_report.pdf

Monday, January 28, 2013

Armenian Adoption Adventure, Russia signs ban on all US Adoptions

Where babies in international Adoption use to come from...now the choices are not there for Americans. If you want a baby via international adoption your best option now is Africa where Uganda has just opened up (but Morocco is CLOSED) Here is a map of where the babies in internatonal adoption came from. It is still possible to get a baby 26 months and younger in Armenia. It is about $50,000+ and a 4 year wait. Local Armenians get first choice but non-native Armenians pay more than a local. Remember this is just the USA that is banned from adopting in Russia, other countries are still very active with their Russian Adoptions.
Putin Signs Bill That Bars U.S. Adoptions, Upending Families By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN and ERIK ECKHOLM MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin signed a bill on Friday that bans the adoption of Russian children by American citizens, dealing a serious blow to an already strained diplomatic relationship. But for hundreds of Americans enmeshed in the costly, complicated adoption process, the impact was deeply personal. “I’m a little numb,” said Maria Drewinsky, a massage therapist from Sea Cliff, N.Y., who was in the final stages of adopting a 5-year-old boy named Alyosha. Both she and her husband have flown twice to visit him, and they speak to him weekly on the telephone. “We have clothes and a bedroom all set up for him, and we talk about him all the time as our son.” But the couple fear that Alyosha may never get to New York. The ban is part of a bill retaliating against a new American law aimed at punishing human rights abuses in Russia. The law calls for the ban to be put in force on Tuesday, and it stands to upend the plans of many American families in the final stages of adopting in Russia. Already, it has added wrenching emotional tumult to a process that can cost $50,000 or more, requires repeated trips overseas, and typically entails lengthy and maddening encounters with bureaucracy. The ban will apparently also nullify an agreement on adoptions between Russia and the United States that was ratified this year and went into effect on Nov. 1. The bill was approved unanimously by the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Parliament, on Wednesday, and on Thursday, Mr. Putin said he would sign it as well as a resolution also adopted Wednesday that calls for improvements in Russia’s child welfare system. “I intend to sign the law,” Mr. Putin said Thursday, “as well as a presidential decree changing the procedure of helping orphaned children, children left without parental care, and especially children who are in a disadvantageous situation due to their health problems.” Mr. Putin also brushed aside criticism that the law would deny some Russian orphans the chance for a much better life in the United States. In 2011, about 1,000 Russian children were adopted by Americans, more than any other foreign country, but still a tiny number given that nearly 120,000 children in Russia are eligible for adoption. “There are probably many places in the world where living standards are better than ours,” Mr. Putin said. “So what? Shall we send all children there, or move there ourselves?” United States officials have strongly criticized the measure and have urged the Russian government not to entangle orphaned children in politics. “We have repeatedly made clear, both in private and in public, our deep concerns about the bill passed by the Russian Parliament,” a State Department spokesman, Patrick Ventrell, said Thursday. Internally, however, Obama administration officials have been debating how strongly to respond to the adoption ban, and the potential implications for other aspects of the country’s relationship with Russia. The United States relies heavily on overland routes through Russia to ship supplies to military units in Afghanistan, and it has enlisted Russia’s help in containing Iran’s nuclear program. The former cold war rivals also have sharp disagreements, notably over the civil war in Syria. The bill that includes the adoption ban was drafted in response to the Magnitsky Act, a law signed by President Obama this month that will bar Russian citizens accused of violating human rights from traveling to the United States and from owning real estate or other assets there. The Obama administration had opposed the Magnitsky legislation, fearing diplomatic retaliation, but members of Congress were eager to press Russia over human rights abuses and tied the bill to another measure granting Russia new status as a full trading partner. Mr. Putin loudly accused the United States of hypocrisy, noting human rights abuses in Iraq, Afghanistan and at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and he pledged to retaliate. But he held his cards even as the lower house of Parliament, the State Duma, approved the adoption bill by a large margin, followed by unanimous approval by the Federation Council. Although his decision has been eagerly awaited, Mr. Putin seemed blasé at a meeting with senior government officials on Thursday. When Vladimir S. Gruzdev, the governor of the Tula region, said, “I would like to ask: What is the fate of the law?” Mr. Putin replied, “Which law?” Like Mr. Obama, he can now say he is signing a bill with overwhelming support from the legislative branch — though Mr. Putin holds far more sway over Russian lawmakers than Mr. Obama does over Congress. The adoption ban set off impassioned ideological debate here in Russia, and it opened a rare split at the highest levels of government with some senior officials speaking out strongly against it. Critics said the ban would most hurt orphans already suffering in Russia’s deeply troubled child welfare system, while supporters said Russians should care for their own and pointed at sporadic abuse cases involving adopted Russian children in the United States that have generated publicity and outrage here. The response has been equally emotional in the United States, where three Russian adoptees, including Tatyana McFadden, 23, a medal-winning Paralympics athlete who uses a wheelchair, waited in the snow and rain on Wednesday to deliver a petition against the ban to the Russian Embassy in Washington. Meanwhile, supporters of the ban in the United States said there were more than enough American children in need of adoption, and critics of international adoption generally reiterated complaints that the process is overly profit-driven and sometimes corrupt. But for parents with their hearts set on adopting Russian children, the political discourse has been little more than background noise to their own personal agony. Senior officials in Moscow have said they expect the ban to have the immediate effect of blocking the departure of 46 children whose adoptions by American parents were nearly completed. Adoption agency officials in the United States who work regularly with Russian orphanages said there were about 200 to 250 sets of parents who had already identified children they planned to adopt and would be affected. The State Department has urged American families in the process of adopting from Russia to register for updates and potential assistance. Robert and Kim Summers of Freehold, N.J., have already paid for three seats on a flight home from Russia next month. They are scheduled to pick up a 21-month-old boy whom they consider their son in the city of Kaluga on Jan. 14, after a required 30-day waiting period that began when a judge approved their adoption. They plan to call the boy Preston, and their house is already filled with toys and clothes and pictures of him, said Ms. Summers, 49. “The stroller is in my dining room and the partly assembled crib is next to my bed,” she said. “I’m appalled,” Ms. Summers said of news that the ban would become law. “I can’t even fathom what is happening, something so political that has absolutely nothing to do with children.” One mother from North Carolina who was in Russia on Thursday preparing to return to the United States with her newly adopted son expressed outrage that Russian officials were not adhering to a requirement in the new bilateral agreement on adoptions that called for one year’s notice if either side wanted to terminate it. This mother, who requested anonymity out of fear that her that were family would be blocked from leaving Russia, described how the relationship between parents and children begins long before the children leave the orphanage. She and her husband adopted a boy in Russia in 2009 and returned with him last week to pick up his new brother. “A lot of parents leave little picture albums with the children, with pictures of the new Mama and Papa and siblings and pets and bedrooms,” said the mother, who is in her 30s and works in marketing. “Facilitators help us put labels on the pictures so that the caregivers can help the children get familiar with the new faces,” she said. “I weep to think of them holding those albums and wondering why the people that promised they would be back in a few weeks have never come back. I promised both my boys that I would be back and I have no idea what I would have done if I couldn’t have come.” This mother said her older son, now almost 5, learned about his own adoption by watching his parents adopt again. “He actually said, ‘I’m a really lucky boy that you picked me,’ ” the mother said. In Sea Cliff, Ms. Drewinsky, 44, and her husband, Yvan, 56, an aviation consultant, grew up in Russian families, speak Russian and belong to the Orthodox Church. They speak to Alyosha, 5, every week on the phone in Russian. Alyosha’s birth mother, who suffers from serious psychiatric illness, left him to wander the streets when he was 3; other relatives would not take him. A judge approved the adoption and they planned to go to Russia in late January or early February to bring him home. As the couple got to know the boy in the first of two three-day visits, he held their hands and asked, “Are you going to be my new parents?” Mr. Drewinsky recalled. “We choked up and asked him, ‘Would you like that to happen?’ He said ‘yes’ in such a lovely voice — full of hope — that we melted completely.” David M. Herszenhorn reported from Moscow, and Erik Eckholm from New York The next time an adoption agency tries to sue someone for telling the truth, they should remember their options and inventory is dwindling and that once overflowing of money into countries for babies will no longer be acceptable. Thanks Bennet Kelley for bringing so much attention to the corrupt world of International Adoptions, you did your client a world of good. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/28/world/europe/putin-to-sign-ban-on-us-adoptions-of-russian-children.html?pagewanted=all

Armenian Adoption Adventure International Adoptions lowest in 15 years

The number of international adoptions is at its lowest point in 15 years, the Associated Press reports. Worldwide, the number of orphans being adopted by foreign parents dropped from a high of 45,000 in 2004 to an estimated 25,000 last year, according to annual statistics compiled by Peter Selman, an expert on international adoptions at Britain's Newcastle University. The drop is being attributed to crackdowns against baby selling, a struggling world economy and moves by countries to place more children with domestic families, according to the AP. Some adoption advocates blame the drop on the Hague Adoption Convention, a set of international guidelines designed to ensure transparency and child protection following a rash of baby-selling and kidnapping scandals, the AP reports. Meanwhile, U.S. adoption officials and international agencies such as UNICEF tell the AP the Hague rules, which require countries to set up a central adoption authority and a system of checks and balances, are necessary to safeguard orphans and keep profit-driven players from corrupting the system. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2012/05/international-adoptions-down-worldwide/1 HANOI, Vietnam — The number of international adoptions has fallen to its lowest point in 15 years, a steep decline attributed largely to crackdowns against baby-selling, a sputtering world economy and efforts by countries to place more children with domestic families. Globally, the number of orphans being adopted by foreign parents dropped from a high of 45,000 in 2004 to an estimated 25,000 last year, according to annual statistics compiled by Peter Selman, an expert on international adoptions at Britain's Newcastle University. Some adoption advocates argue the decrease is also linked to a set of strict international guidelines known as the Hague Adoption Convention. Devised to ensure transparency and child protection following a rash of baby-selling and kidnapping scandals, critics say the guidelines have also been used by leading adopting nations, including the U.S., as a pretext for freezing adoptions from some countries that are out of compliance. "It should have been a real step forward, but it's been used in a way that's made it a force for shutting down" adoptions in some countries, says Elizabeth Bartholet, a Harvard law professor who promotes international adoptions. "That affects thousands of children every year." She says places where international adoptions are stopped may ultimately see more children stuck in orphanages or on the street where they could fall prey to sex traffickers. U.S. adoption officials and international agencies such as UNICEF say the Hague rules, which require countries to set up a central adoption authority and a system of checks and balances, are necessary to safeguard orphans and keep profit-driven players from corrupting a system that should be purely about helping children. Alison Dilworth, adoptions division chief at the U.S. Office of Children's Issues and a strong supporter of the Hague guidelines, says they shield adoptive parents from everyone's worst nightmare: "God forbid, that knock on the door ... saying your child that you have raised and loved and is fully integrated into your family was stolen from a birth parent who is desperately trying to look for them." Much has changed from a decade ago, when busloads of would-be foreign adoptive parents flocked to orphanages in poor countries such as China, Vietnam and Guatemala to take babies home following a relatively quick and easy process. Waits have become longer and requirements stiffer, with some countries now refusing obese or single adoptive parents and requiring proof of a certain amount of cash in the bank. Countries embroiled in scandals have pulled the plug on their programs, or been cut off by the U.S. and other countries, leaving hundreds of children in bureaucratic limbo. Sharon Brooks, 56, of New York, knows the story all too well. She waited three and a half years for the release of a little girl in Vietnam after the U.S. froze adoptions there in 2008 amid serious fraud concerns. In January, Brooks learned the child she had named Akira-Li would instead be adopted by a Vietnamese family. "That was my one shot," says Brooks, who now believes she is too old to qualify for most international adoptions. "Everything in my life has been at a standstill." Vietnam joined the Hague convention on Feb. 1, and U.S. officials say they are hopeful adoptions will resume within the next year. Shutdowns in countries such as Guatemala, Nepal and Kyrgyzstan have coincided with efforts to promote domestic adoptions in countries like Russia and China, where foreigners now face tightened restrictions. China, for instance, stopped allowing single women to adopt. In the late 1990s, a third of U.S. adoptive parents fell into this category, Selman says. Advances in fertility treatments and the growing number of couples turning to surrogacy have also contributed to the global drop. The U.S., which historically has received about half of the world's annual international adoptions, saw a decline of more than 60 percent from 2004 to just over 9,000 last year. Dilworth, the U.S. adoption official, says the economic downturn is at least partly to blame, with foreign adoptions typically costing between $20,000 to $40,000. But the U.S. freeze on adoptions from some countries also means there are fewer children available to adopt. Guatemala used to provide up to 4,000 children a year for international adoption at its peak in 2006. But the U.S. will not accept further adoptions from the country until it has fully revamped its system to root out corruption, Dilworth says. "They have incredible problems with fraud," she says. In one recent high-profile case, a Guatemalan court ruled that an American family must return their 7-year-old adopted daughter to her birth mother after allegations surfaced that the girl was snatched from her home five years ago. The child remains in the U.S. Other countries that have seen large drops in the adoption of foreign babies include Spain and France, where international adoption fell 48 percent and 14 percent respectively from 2004 to 2010. Canada remained the same and Italy actually saw a 21 percent increase during that period, according to Selman, who analyzed data from 23 countries that are primary receivers of adopted orphans. Last year's 25,000 international adoptions were the lowest since 1996, Selman said. The global numbers could decline further as South Korea, one of the top providers of orphans for foreign adoption, works to phase out its long-running program. Since the 1950s, more than 170,000 South Korean children were adopted by families overseas, with the majority going to the United States. Despite having one of the world's fast-growing economies and domestic concern about falling birth rates that are already among the world's lowest, South Korea continues to rank as a top destination for international adoption. Experts blame this on a strong cultural stigma against both unwed motherhood and adoption. But pressure has been mounting to reverse the trend. In recent years, South Korean lawmakers have created new incentives to help promote domestic adoption, while quotas have allowed fewer children to leave. If the decline in global adoptions is to be reversed, says Selman, Africa is likely to lead the way. Ethiopia has emerged in recent years as a top source of orphans available for foreign adoption, though it's unclear whether other African countries will follow. "If it's going to go up, it'll be from Africa," he says. "It could be that they set their pace against adoption, and that could have a profound effect." _http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/10/international-adoptions_n_1506442.html Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea, and Romina Ruiz in Guatemala City contributed to this report.