January 18, 2022The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine issued a Security Alert on January 12 reminding U.S. citizens that security conditions in the region may change with little or no notice. Adoption agencies have been requested by the Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State, to notify them of all prospective adoptive parents who are currently in Ukraine or en route. Agencies are to email ASPAdoption@state.gov
using subject line: Notification of family in Ukraine and include the following information:
- Names of prospective adoptive parents and their contact information
- City/region where they are staying in Ukraine
- Date of their planned departure from Ukraine
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact ASPAdoption@state.gov.
May 5, 2021
The Indian Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) and the U.S. Embassy have in the past months been working diligently to process cases as expeditiously as possible, while following Indian quarantine protocols to combat COVID-19. With the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the situation is changing rapidly and there are multiple cities and states in India under lockdowns. For the latest travel information and health alerts related to COVID-19 in India, please review the information on the U.S. Embassy New Delhi’s website: https://travel.state.
gov/content/travel/en/ international-travel/ International-Travel-Country- Information-Pages/India.html.
On April 30, President Biden signed a presidential proclamation that suspended certain types of travel for non-U.S. citizens present in India. The proclamation does not affect adoptive children, who may continue to travel to the United States and seek entry. Additionally, U.S. Embassy New Delhi continues to process visas for adoptive children. However, CARA has requested that the U.S. Central Authority ask prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) to postpone travel until after the current surge.
There are currently direct flights running from India to the U.S. on United Airlines and Air India. We strongly urge families currently in India to book one of the direct flights back to the United States, as transiting Europe is not an option for Indian citizens (which would include the adopted child(ren)) due to U.S. and European travel restrictions currently in place. We cannot predict whether these or other flight routes will be affected by the pandemic situation in the future. As we do not have a role in travel arrangements, we recommend families stay in touch with ASP representatives.
We all hope this situation eases in the near future so families can continue their plans for adoptions in India without significant further delay.
Office of Children’s Issues
Random testing of passengers arriving from states witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases will be done at the Delhi airport and those found positive will be “mandatorily quarantined”.
“As per the latest government mandate, District Disaster Management Authorities will conduct random COVID-19 testing of passengers coming from the states where the cases are increasing,” Delhi Airport said in a statement on Wednesday.
“After collections of samples, the travellers would be allowed to exit. However, those passengers who are found positive will be mandatorily quarantined as per the protocol of the ministry of health and family welfare,” it added.
The Delhi government had earlier declared that random testing of coronavirus will be held across airports, railway and bus stations.
Over 53,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in India in the last 24 hours, out of which Delhi contributed with 992.
On March 26th, 2021, CARA issued the renewal of International Adoption Net’s license to process inter-country adoption cases from India. IAN has been licensed and working with adoptions from India for 10 years, and we’re pleased to announce this latest reauthorization of our organization.
We look forward to continuing to serve adoptive families and children through our India program!
January 21, 2021
The US Embassy in Bulgaria has confirmed the new testing requirements for travelers to the USA, effective as of January 26.
Beginning January 26, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will require all air travelers, two years of age or older, to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their travel in order to be admitted into the United States. This includes U.S. citizens and adoptees.
Airlines will confirm the negative test result for all passengers before boarding. Airlines will deny boarding of passengers if they do not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery. This requirement is separate from the visa application process.
Travelers should be tested no more than 72 hours before their flight to the US departs. They must be tested with a viral test (NAAT or antigen test) to determine if they are currently infected with COVID-19. They must have documentation of their results (paper or electronic) to show the airline, an attestation to the veracity of the test, or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the preceding 90 days.
U.S. Embassies and Consulates are unable to provide COVID-19 testing to U.S. citizens and adoptees so adoptive families and adoptee children will need to be tested at a Bulgarian hospital or clinic prior to their planned flight to the United States.
IAN’s Foreign Supervised Provider in Bulgaria has already researched the locations in Sofia that can perform Covid testings for the adoptive parents and their children. They will assist all US families traveling back to the USA, so that they can be tested prior to their planned flight to the United States.
According to a November 17, 2020 update from the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues:
In recent discussions with the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA), Chinese officials indicated that CCCWA continues their current policy to not process intercountry adoptions of children from social welfare institutions due to the COVID-19 pandemic in other countries. They stated this policy is needed to ensure the health and safety of those children.
The Office of Children’s Issues is working closely with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing to seek further clarification from the Chinese government. We realize this information and policy continues to have an impact on hundreds of families and potential adoptees in China. We will remain actively engaged with the Chinese government on this issue and provide updates as they become available.
The Immigrant Visa Unit in Sophia, Bulgaria has determined that, while the Bulgarian entry restrictions for American citizens remain in place, the Embassy can issue Article 5 letters in cases where the initial meeting between the adoptive families and the adopted children is conducted online. Adoptive families must still travel to Bulgaria to complete the adoption process, and attend the final visa interview at the Embassy in person. Once the entry restrictions in Bulgaria for American citizens is lifted, or if the Ministry of Justice halts their support for initial online meetings in place of in-person meetings, the Immigrant Visa Unit will cease this exception to the normal process.
For more information, please read this notification issued by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues:
July 24, 2020
In response to multiple inquiries regarding how best to advance intercountry adoption cases in Bulgaria at this time, the Office of Children’s Issues and the U.S. Embassy in Sofia have engaged with Bulgaria’s adoption authorities to seek clarification.
The Bulgarian Ministry of Justice has agreed to temporarily allow online socialization visits and communications between prospective adoptive parents and children. Each case must be assessed by the foreign supervised providers and social service agencies. Decisions about online meetings will be made by the Ministry of Justice on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, physical contact may present a health hazard and the only feasible option would be online socialization. In other cases, for example when the child is in foster care, physical contact may be possible. The circumstances of each case will be taken into account as they are assessed and decisions regarding online communications are made. The Ministry does not, however, support prospective adoptive parents using escorts to bring children to the U.S. at the end of the process. Parents are required to travel to pick up their children at the final stage.
The Director for International Adoptions at the Ministry of Justice informed the Embassy in Sofia that prospective adoptive parents may be admitted to Bulgaria as an exception to entry restrictions even before the court gives them custody of their children on the basis of the humanitarian exception in the order issued by the Ministry of Health. This means that parents may travel to Bulgaria for the 5-day contact depending on the individual circumstances of the case. U.S. ASPs may continue to work through their Bulgarian supervised providers in communicating with the Ministry of Justice regarding exceptions to the entry restrictions.
The Embassy in Sofia will issue Article 5 letters based on an online socialization visit as a temporary emergency measure due to the COVID-19 situation, but prospective adoptive parents will have to travel to Bulgaria to complete the IV application and interview process in-person. Parents may ask the Ministry of Justice for special consideration if there are exceptional circumstances that will prevent travel to Bulgaria to pick up children at the end of the process, and the Embassy will work in cooperation with the Ministry’s decision.
If you have any questions regarding this matter you may contact the Embassy in Sofia at IV_Sofia@state.gov.
The Office of Children’s Issues
India has shut down travel until mid-April. Please read this release for more information. If this affects you or you have questions about how COVID-19 will change the adoption process, your adoption coordinator would be happy to take your call at 303-691-0808. Thank you in advance for your patience with us. Stay healthy!
Let me tell you a little about Leo. I recently came across Leo’s file when I was searching China’s shared list of children available for adoption. My specific search was for “limb differences” because we have several families who are hoping to adopt children with this need. When I saw Leo’s picture, I wanted to learn more. His file specifically states “limb and trunk deformities” while it appears that his true diagnosis is likely dwarfism. I saw the sweet face of eleven year old Leo in pictures of him riding a bike and playing on the slide and wondered how this boy has waited so long for a family.
Little People of America defines dwarfism as “a medical or genetic condition that usually results in an adult height of 4’10” or shorter, among both men and women, although in some cases a person with a dwarfing condition may be slightly taller than that. The average height of an adult with dwarfism is 4’0, but typical heights range from 2’8 to 4’8.” There are several different types of dwarfism, with the most common being achondroplasia , spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia, and diastrophic dysplasia . You can read more about the different types of dwarfism on WebMD .
A concern with adopting a child with dwarfism is what life looks like from a medical standpoint. Little People of America states, “It varies from condition to condition, and with the severity of that condition in each individual. However, the majority of LPs enjoy normal intelligence, normal life spans, and reasonably good health. Many will require surgeries or other medical interventions to address complications and maximize mobility.
Orthopedic complications are not unusual in people with disproportionate dwarfism such as achondroplasia and diastrophic dysplasia, and sometimes surgery is required. A common problem, especially in adults, is spinal stenosis — a condition in which the opening in the spinal column is too small to accommodate the spinal cord. People with this condition suffer from numbness and/or pain. It can be treated with a type of surgery called a laminectomy.”
International Adoption Net recommends that all families talk to a licensed pediatrician or international adoption clinic for all medical advice and information when considering a child for adoption. Families are approved for children with medical conditions on a case by case basis after reviewing the family’s qualifications as best determined by the placement agency.
Now back to Leo! Leo is initially shy with adults or unfamiliar people. He listens carefully, and he is thoughtful about his response. However, he really comes out of his shell around his classmates and peers. He is outgoing around other children, and in his school environment, he answers questions eagerly and loudly. Leo’s fine and gross motor skills are great. He can walk on a balance beam, use his fingers deftly, hold scissors well, and he completes all sorts of tasks such as drawing patterns and folding paper. He enjoys art and origami, but jigsaw puzzles are his favorite. He can use open ended toys such as blocks, legos, and such to create all sorts of things. He is very creative. All of his peers care for him greatly, as he is always met with a hug and teasing from his friends.
Leo’s face is always filled with a happy smile. He is good at hands-on activities, and his painting ability is admirable. After watching an art video, the teacher provides animal pictures, and Leo can imitate the pictures well with careful attention to detail. Leo grasps new knowledge quickly, and his concentration
and learning ability are greater than his peers. Leo is a team leader in class, and he enjoys assisting the teachers. Over the years, his language skills and confidence have grown greatly.
Want to learn more about Leo? Email Brandie . We have several pictures of Leo to share with families who are considering adopting him!
Little People of America offers a $1,000 retroactive grant to families adopting a child with dwarfism, and a $5,000 retroactive grant to families adopting a boy with dwarfism age 11 or older. You can find a wealth of medical information and support, as well as links to regional skeletal dysplasia clinics, at Little People of America .
More changes were announced this week for the China adoption program. Just two weeks ago, agencies and families learned that the CCCWA placed tighter restrictions on adoptive families, including limiting the number of children in the home and requiring the youngest child in the home to be at least three years old before proceeding with another adoption. You can reference the complete list of changes here .
Yesterday, we learned that the CCCWA will end One to One orphanage partnership programs that allowed orphanages and adoption agencies to form partnerships for direct referral of children. This is effective December 31, 2017. Previously, based on other announcements from CCCWA, we believed that as orphanage partnerships expired, they would not be renewed, but this is no longer the case. Instead they will just all end at one time at the end of this year, no matter the time remaining in the contract. In addition, hosting programs for waiting children will also end.
From the CCCWA:
July 18, 2017
Relevant government departments and adoption agencies in receiving countries,
Following the enactment of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Administration of Activities of Overseas Non-Governmental Organizations within the Territory of China (hereinafter referred to as Administration Law) since January 1, we would like to notify as follows on relevant issues about the programs carried out by adoption agencies such as the One-to-One Assistance Program, Journey of Hope Program, and Summer/Winter Hosting Program based on the regulations of the Administrative law and conclusions of competent authorities:
All activities concerning the One-to-One program, Journey of Hope Program, and Summer/Winter Hosting Program will be terminated. For children who have been assessed by adoption agencies through the One-to-One program before the enactment of the Administrative Law and whose reports have not been submitted to CCCWA, if their reports are submitted through the provincial department of civil affairs to CCCWA before December 31, 2017 (subjected to the approval date of the provincial department), CCCWA will post these files to the specific list of the original adoption agency. Agencies are requested to look for children within required deadline, otherwise the files will be withdrawn by CCCWA when the deadline is closing.
Foreign adoption agencies should abide by the business scope specified in the registration when working in China. No activities with inter-country adoption as the purpose are allowed when agencies work in welfare and charity related activities.
Adoption agencies should look for adoptive families according to the requirements outlined in the Review Points for Decision on the Eligibility of Foreigners Adopting from China and avoid hasty placements without discretion within the deadline.
-China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption Center
So, what does this mean for agencies and adoptive families?
Agencies will no longer receive agency designated files from their previous partnership orphanages as they have in the past. Any children that Agencies are holding from one-to-one programs must be turned over to the CCCWA. Our hope will be they will eventually all be released to the database of waiting children. This could mean that their will be an increase in children available to all agencies to reserve and match with their families. This will make the process more consistent across the board for Agencies and Families, as well as more exposure for children who may have been waiting with one agency for some time. Prior to One to One partnerships, agencies requested all files from the shared list to match with potential families, so that will be the only way to match moving forward.
For adoptive families, this could mean a longer wait time for a referral of a young, minor needs child since those referrals generally came directly from orphanages. However, this is being seen across the board for all agencies. Overall, we have seen a decline in the number of young children with minor correctable needs being placed for international adoption. The culture in China appears to be changing, as more Chinese families are adopting domestically, which is great news for the children, as they are able to maintain their birth culture. Keep in mind that “minor and correctable needs” mean different things for different families. While one family would consider multiple surgeries for cleft lip and palate minor and correctable, another family could view surgeries and years of speech therapy as a long-term challenge that they could not undertake. There are thousands of children in China with varying medical and special needs waiting for families that are ready to be adopted internationally. Now with healthier children being placed in the general database just like those with special needs, it could mean more matching opportunities. As files are returned to CCCWA and hopefully submitted to the database, we will know more of what to expect. Overall adoptive families considering China need to go into the program flexible in gender, age and prepared to adopt a child with medical needs.
An obvious downside is the cessation of hosting, which has been crucial in years past to placing older children and those with more complex special needs. Hosting has helped hundreds of children be exposed to a wonderful experience, as well as increased opportunities to find their forever family. This option for children will be sorely missed, and hopefully agencies can work together to advocate for the return of such programs.
What we do know is that the China adoption program remains to be a stable and predictable program for families hoping to adopt internationally. The China program has encountered changes throughout the years and is still a strong program that places many beautiful children in loving families. We will continue to work diligently to unite children with their families as we navigate these recent changes.
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