With less than 6,000 U.S. families adopting orphans from foreign countries, is it any wonder that our government is not very motivated to clear the obstacles for more families to rescue children from a future without hope. Every child deserves a forever family. Clearing obstacles to intercountry and domestic adoption is the goal of Save Adoptions.
Do you believe that children in orphanages and foster care should have a clear path to a forever family?
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WE CAN HEAR YOU NOW!!
Oct 6, 2017: Crisis Escalates
We are not alone! On September 27th, representatives from Save Adoptions presented a letter to the new Assistant Secretary of State, Carl Risch, describing the assault on intercountry adoptions by the Office of Children’s Issues which reports to him. We urged an immediate suspension of implementation of new, ill-defined requirements placing an unreasonable and unnecessary burden on Hague Accredited adoption entities. The letter was signed by 93 adoption agencies, adoption attorneys, law school professors and other adoption advocates and organizations. THANK YOU to all of those who were willing to stand up for orphans world-wide who dream of a permanent, forever family.
On Friday, September 29th, Save Adoption representatives met with the Director of the Office of Children’s Issues, the Chief of the Adoption Division and the newly appointed Special Advisor to the Secretary on Children’s Issues. Despite the fact that two key individuals with authority and influence over the issue of intercountry adoption are new to their jobs, inaction is not an option. We are urging the Department of State to take immediate and decisive action to restore the implementation of the Intercountry Adoption Act as Congress intended. We also urge Congress to hold the Department of State accountable for making the necessary changes to restore hope to children eligible for intercountry adoption.
The National Council for Adoption, which has been a partner with Save Adoptions since its inception, issued the following press release:
Council on Accreditation Announces Intent to Terminate Their Role as a National Accrediting Entity
October 6, 2017 – Alexandria, VA – The Council on Accreditation (COA) announced today that the organization has notified the U.S. Department of State of their intent to terminate their role as a national accrediting entity—a role that COA has performed since the United States implemented the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption in 2008. COA intends to provide accreditation services during a 14 month transitional period, during which time they will continue to meet with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues (OCI) to work toward a resolution.
This news comes after tumultuous weeks of the Office of Children’s Issues requiring new and burdensome reporting requirements on adoption service providers, and a re-interpretation of the existing regulations that have been in effect for the accreditation of U.S. adoption service providers for almost 10 years. This is the latest in a long series of intercountry adoption policy changes instated by OCI as the Central Adoption Authority, which have resulted in an 80% decline in the number of intercountry adoptions to the United States since 2004.
According to NCFA president and CEO Chuck Johnson, “Every year, Department of State promises stronger leadership and new and better policies that will allow the U.S. to offer the hope and promise of a nurturing, permanent family to a child that is in desperate need, yet every year we see their actions resulting in additional limits on our ability to serve this vulnerable population of children. COA’s departure as a national accrediting entity will cause chaos to the field of accredited agencies and further limit their ability to provide international services.”
NCFA calls upon the leadership of the U.S. Department of State, including Secretary Rex Tillerson, Assistant Secretary Carl Risch, and Special Advisor on Children’s Issues Suzanne Lawrence, to conduct an internal review to assess whether or not OCI’s policies are fulfilling the original intent and promise of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. According to former Senator Mary Landrieu, the original co-sponsor of the Intercountry Adoption Act (IAA) which laid the foundation for the United States to implement the Hague Convention, “Had I known that the Department of State would implement legislation that Congress intended to help create opportunity for children living in orphanages around the world without hope of ever having a family in this way, I never would have supported it. Department of State’s bungling application of the IAA is vastly different than the original intent of the legislation.”
In the intermediate, NCFA calls upon the leadership at OCI to resolve their conflict with the Council on Accreditation and ensure that orphaned children are not adversely impacted by lack of an experienced accrediting entity to evaluate U.S. adoption agencies. For more than 40 years, COA has been the leading accreditor of agencies providing child welfare services, and they are responsible for several tasks that are vital to the United States’ participation in intercountry adoption, including determining whether agencies are eligible for accreditation, monitoring the performance of accredited agencies, and investigating and disciplining misconduct.
Ultimately, the goal of National Council For Adoption, intercountry adoption service providers, and our federal government is the same: to create opportunities for the world’s children to thrive, while ensuring that America’s involvement in intercountry affairs is ethical, transparent, and well-informed. NCFA encourages intercountry adoption professionals to raise their voice to the policymakers in Congress and decision-makers in the U.S. Department of State, letting them know the impact the Office of Children’s Issues is having on their work.
Crisis in Adoption
In September, 2016 the US State Department proposed new rules regulating intercountry adoptions. The response of the adoption community was overwhelmingly opposed to these new regulations. Over 27,000 Americans who care about orphans and adoptions joined 87 Hagues Accredited adoption agencies and 8 other adoption support organizations in urging the State Department to withdraw these proposed regulations.
On April 4, 2017 the State Department announced that the proposed regulations had been withdrawn. One small, but important victory for orphans worldwide.
But the anti-adoption regulations which were proposed last year are expected to be re-submitted later this year. We cannot wait to be heard. Sign up now to SAVE ADOPTIONS!
What’s This About?
- See Letter to the Department of State and list of supporting agencies and organizations.
- Read the Announcement of the State Department’s Notice of the withdrawal of the proposed regulations at
- Harvard Law Scholar – Elizabeth Bartholet’s arguments that unparented children have a human right to international adoptions
- Read Trish Maskew’s 2008 “The Failed Promise” to see why she proposed these new rules to cut down intercountry adoption.
- Read Trish Maskew’s testimony before congress where she says corruption in adoption is the rule, not the exception, therefore it needs to be practically shut down.