Saturday, January 21, 2017

Proposed Adoption rules could gut already low adoption numbers

Proposed rules
A sweeping set of proposed State Department regulations on foreign adoption have encountered opposition from international adoption agencies and others who fear they will dramatically reduce the number of adoptions to families in the United States. Here are the proposals that are causing the most concern:
  • Agencies would effectively be prevented from charging prospective adoptive parents for the cost of caring for their child in the period between getting matched with a child and taking him or her home. Families say because they are adopting from impoverished countries, they feel obliged to pay for food, clean water and medical care during that time, but advocates of the change say it offers protection against financial fraud.
  • A second level of authorization would be required to adopt from a specific country on top of the existing accreditation process already in place. Adoption agencies say this creates yet another layer of bureaucracy, requiring more staffing and more potential hurdles to adoption.
  • Parents pursuing international adoptions would be required to participate in their state’s foster care training. Critics say some states don’t offer the level of training required by the new regulations, and that the foster training doesn’t provide the specialized training that adopting a child from a foreign country might require.

Complete Article Here

Intercountry adoption of children falls sharply

Intercountry adoption of children falls sharply Rising costs and drop in poverty rate among reasons for decline FT Data Read next China steps up censorship for Trump inauguration © AP Twitter Facebook LinkedIn 1 Save DECEMBER 6, 2016 by: Valentina Romei Up to the mid-2000s, intercountry adoption had grown into a popular way of caring for abandoned children. But in 2014, all 24 of the major receiving countries reported a 70 per cent drop in the number of adoptees over a 10-year period — a steep trend which continued in 2015. Sample the FT’s top stories for a week You select the topic, we deliver the news. Select topic Enter email addressInvalid email Sign up By signing up you confirm that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions, cookie policy and privacy policy. The US remains the world’s largest intercountry adopting state, but while 23,000 children were adopted in the US in 2004, this figure had fallen to 5,000 in 2015. This steep global decline raises questions. Are better alternatives available? Is it the result of fewer abandoned children globally? An array of theories has emerged, ranging from rising costs and political tension to burgeoning bureaucracies that have made it more difficult for children to settle with a family. Professor Peter Selman, a leading international adoption specialist and the man behind The Hague’s annual adoption statistics report, has been observing this phenomenon for a number of years and has identified two main trends: “Fewer children are being abandoned and domestic adoption is rising”. Declining poverty and better child care systems Poverty is a driving factor in a family’s decision to abandon their child. A rise in living standards in the past decade in some of the main countries that send children — China, Russia and South Korea to name a few — is a plausible explanation behind the decline.

Complete article on Financial Times here

Why have international adoptions become so agonizing ? movie "Lion"

Baby Girls in China Need Loving Home.”
That was the headline in a church bulletin that suburban New Yorker Lisa remembers reading around 2006. She went to an informational meeting, met some families who had adopted children from China and decided with her husband to go ahead. It was a two-year-long, $40,000 process to bring 10-month-old Abby to the United States, but nothing compared to the process she went through in 2014 to adopt 9-year-old Gabriel.
That three-year experience she describes as “harrowing.”
“Just thinking about the paperwork makes my head spin . . . the piles of documents, the medical clearance, the reference letters and everything had to be authenticated by the county and the state,” she says.
Between Lisa’s first and second adoptions, the United States began to enforce the provisions of the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.
While the desire for greater accountability and transparency in international adoption is understandable — even and perhaps especially to adoptive parents in the US — the result has been a bureaucratic morass and a steep decline in the number of such adoptions each year. According to new data from The Hague, there were only 5,000 international adoptions by American families in 2015. That’s compared with 23,000 in 2004.
But that doesn’t mean there are fewer orphans. The Christian Alliance for Orphans estimates there are close to 18 million children globally who have lost both of their parents.
Experts say there are many reasons for this drop in international adoptions, not least of which is that a number of countries have simply stopped allowing foreigners to adopt. Guatemala, which was one of the biggest sources of adoptive children, turned out to have an incredibly corrupt system where children were regularly kidnapped. Russia’s ban on foreign adoption took effect in 2014, a response to an American law banning certain Russian officials from entering or holding assets in the United States.
No one wants to be the policymaker or bureaucrat to facilitate more adoption and then a kid gets abused or killed.
When Josh and his wife were looking for a child to bring into their Texas home, he says, he saw “kids listed as special needs that may have things that are correctable. Kids get abandoned for cleft palate or club foot or heart murmur” — conditions that are easily monitored or corrected in the United States. It took them two years and almost $50,000, even though there are plenty of children in China waiting to be adopted.
Lisa, whose son has a moderate heart defect that doesn’t interfere with his daily activities, says that she knew of kids who were abandoned for a birthmark, hernia or because their grandmother thought they brought bad luck to the family.
In the US there are thousands of middle-class families who would gladly welcome such children into their homes. Josh says he knows of a number of families who went into debt to cover what can be as much as a $50,000 bill for such adoptions — and that’s before any medical bills are paid.
But they are faced at every point with bureaucrats in the US who seem to make the process more arduous. In November, the Obama administration proposed a new set of regulations requiring an extra layer of accreditation for agencies working with certain countries and increasing the legal liability of anyone working on international adoption.
“No one wants to be the policymaker or bureaucrat to facilitate more adoption and then a kid gets abused or killed,” Josh says.
He thinks there’s also a belief among the country’s elites and policymakers “that there is something flawed about predominantly Anglo couples adopting Asian or African children.” You can see this in the reaction to the recent movie “Lion,” in which an Indian orphan is adopted by a loving Australian couple.
A reviewer on Vox noted, “The stickiest narrative point that ‘Lion’ has to navigate is the matter of international adoption, especially white families adopting brown children, which brings with it a whole wicket of ethical issues, from white-savior complexes . . . to kidnappings.”

The movie involved neither of these things, but just the image of light-skinned parents and a brown-skinned boy was enough to provoke concern. For the people making adoption policies, these sensibilities may matter more than helping orphans. As Josh says, “Forming families is not priority number one for them. If it were, we’d have a different system.”

Is America creating hardships on the world's children? Adoption the answer to worlds problems

America creates the problem then the solution .  If America would make the world safer for children we would not have International Adoptions which stem from: famine, war, genocide, and invasions.  Great Job America create the problem then create the solution. Destroying villages, neighborhoods with bombs, destroying their schools and hospitals ...creating safe environments for children would be the best solution.  
- - Wednesday, January 4, 2017
The outgoing and incoming administrations are battling over pending regulations and appointments. The Obama administration wants to solidify its policies, and the transitional Trump team wants a free hand implementing new policies. Understandably, there is little room for agreement on many of these issues.
But there is one area where the president and the president-elect should be able to unite — protecting children globally against the horrors of institutional life, and enabling prospective parents to bring those children into their homes and hearts. The general public and politicians on both sides of the political aisle tend to agree that adoption is a good option for the world’s orphaned, abandoned and relinquished children. Yet, a small number of officials in the current Department of State have hijacked U.S. adoption policy, promoting positions never authorized by Congress and positions that it is unlikely President Obama would endorse were they brought to his attention.
In 2008, Congress named the U.S. Department of State as Central Authority under The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption and delegated to it the responsibility of providing oversight for adoption. Without question, the State Department has failed miserably in carrying out the fullness of their responsibilities to implement policies and practices that allow the United States to serve this very vulnerable population of children through intercountry adoption. The policies enacted by the State Department have helped create a human rights crisis of historic proportions.
Since 2004, the numbers of children adopted from other countries into U.S. families has plummeted — down now by a total of two-thirds. The result is a disaster for children, most of whom have no alternative but to live, and die, in institutions. The social and brain science has conclusively demonstrated that institutions destroy human potential, imposing lifelong mental and emotional harm on those who survive physically. Adoption, whether domestic or international, is the only hope for some of these children and enables them to overcome much of the damage suffered and, when adopted early enough, to thrive in their new families.

European Human Rights Court rules that Russia is to pay loss to would be adoptive parents

Its highly unlikely that the EU courts can determine who or what would be adoptive parent suffered a loss. The article cites American would be adoptive parents as suffering the most., how does EU have jurisdiction in USA or Russia.  What Russia chooses to do with their children is their business and it's not the concern of American Adoption Service Providers who suffered financial loss over Russia closing down their program effectively 2013.  Americans have a sense of entitlement over Russia's children while 1 in 5 American children lives below poverty.  Notice this is EU courts and not the US State Department or US courts.  Why is that?  

Europe's human rights court ruled on Tuesday that Russia must pay damages and legal costs to Americans who were barred from adopting Russian children.
Russia, which immediately denounced the decision by the European Court of Human Rights, now has three months to appeal.
The panel of seven judges, including one Russian, ruled unanimously that Russia's application of a 2013 law that banned Americans from adopting Russian children was discriminatory.
The case was brought by 45 Americans who had been in the final stages of the adoption process. Many of the children they planned to adopt had serious health issues.
The human rights court said it awarded 3,000 euros ($3,180) in damages plus $600 (565 euros) in legal costs to each pair of prospective parents, according to a news release.
Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian foreign ministry's envoy for human rights, told the Interfax news agency on Tuesday that the ruling ignored "numerous arguments of the Russian side, substantiated by concrete evidence" of adopted Russian children being abused in American families.
Dolgov also refuted earlier reports that Russia might scrap the ban after Donald Trump is sworn in as U.S. president.
More than 200 U.S. families were in the midst of trying to adopt children from Russia when the ban was rushed through Russia's parliament and signed by President Vladimir Putin in December 2012 in retaliation for a U.S. law that sanctioned Russians said to have violated human rights.
The ban also reflected Russian resentment over the 60,000 Russian children adopted by Americans in the past two decades, about 20 of whom died from abuse, neglect or other causes while in the care of their adoptive parents.
By the Russians' count, the ban halted the pending adoptions of 259 children.
The court ruled that banning only American adoptions was disproportionate and discriminatory. It noted that prospective parents had visited children they wanted to adopt in orphanages and bonded with them before the ban abruptly cut short the process.
Russia's government "failed to show that there had been compelling reasons to justify such a retroactive and indiscriminate blanket ban on all prospective U.S. parents," the court said.  

Read more here:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

State Department Assailed for New Rules on Foreign Adoptions

adoption trends
NEW YORK (AP) — The State Department, which oversees the adoption of foreign children by American families, is under fire from scores of adoption agencies for drafting new regulations that critics depict as overly rigid and potentially budget-busting.
More than 80 agencies have co-signed a letter to the department, urging the regulations to be withdrawn. The agencies say more than 27,000 people have signed a petition supporting the request.
“We have seen the number of intercountry adoptions decline by 75 percent since 2004,” the agencies’ letter says. “The proposed rules would further restrict adoptions, leaving hundreds of thousands of children who may otherwise be adopted with no hope for a family.”
Among other complaints, the agencies say the proposed regulations would require an extra level of accreditation in order to operate in certain countries, further boosting costs for adoptive families. They also say the rules are overly rigid in regard to required training for adoptive parents, and in regard to fees charged to these parents for services provided in the country they’re adopting from.
The State Department acknowledged that it has received negative feedback about the regulations, as well as some positive input, and declined to offer specific responses at this stage.
In light of the comments, the department said it is working on a supplemental notice seeking to clarify the purpose of the new regulations, and how they would work in practice. Further public comment will be accepted during this process.
The dispute marks a low point in a long-running debate in the U.S. over the dramatic decline in the number of international adoptions. The State Department’s latest report, for the 2015 fiscal year, tallied 5,648 adoptions from abroad, about 75 percent below the high of 22,884 in 2004. The number has fallen every year since then.
The State Department says factors out of its control are responsible for most of the decline — including an increase in domestic adoptions in China, Russia’s suspension of adoptions by Americans, and corruption scandals that shut down international adoptions in several countries.
Susan Jacobs, the department’s special adviser for children’s issues, said she and her colleagues had been working hard to reopen the adoption systems in some of those countries, and expressed optimism about progress in Guatemala, Vietnam and Kyrgyzstan, among others
“I’m very proud of the record we have,” she said.
There’s a contrasting view at the National Council for Adoption, which represents many of the agencies upset by the proposed regulations.
Chuck Johnson, the council’s CEO, described the department’s adoption policies as “disastrous” and says there has been an explicit effort to make international adoptions more difficult.
“I don’t see any way of fixing intercountry adoption unless we have a complete shake-up in staff and policy,” Johnson said in an email.
Johnson said it was possible that under the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump, the State Department might adopt policies more to the liking of the adoption agencies. But he expressed frustration at the possibility that the proposed regulations, first made public last September, would be in place before a new secretary of state could reconsider them.