The Importance of the Post Adoption Report

At least when the adoption is done, I won’t have any more paperwork!

Wait…there’s more???!!!

By the time adoptive parents are granted legal custody of their child, they have completed pages and pages—and what seems like books—of paperwork. Contracts, medicals, financial statements, letters of intent, employment documents, picture pages, THE HOMESTUDY, and so, so, so much more. Whole reams of paper, pens of ink and cartridges of toner are committed to the adoption process. It seems like a never ending battle to get that one last document finished. By the time the adoption is done, you are ready to just move on with life and never, EVER do another piece of paperwork as long as you live (or at least until your next adoption).

However, the point of adoption is actually the beginning of a whole other set of paperwork for many adoptions and especially so for those who internationally adopt. Most countries require at least one post-adoption report with many requiring multiple reports over the span of time. In most cases, the country has a set amount of required reports as determined by the country, but some cases may require more reports, especially in countries where a birth parent is involved in the process. Some countries even require reports until the child is 18 years old (that’s a lot of reports for kids who are adopted as babies or toddlers!). Even if the country does not require post-adoption reports, most placing agencies or at least home-study agencies require reports per agency or state policies.

Post-adoption reports are an important part of a country’s decision to move forward with their adoption program. Reports allow a country to measure the success of the program and the outcomes for children. It also allows them to know that the children are alive and still in the original adopted home, or in the case that they are not, where they are and whether the new adoption/placement was done correctly. (Note: post-adoption reports need to be honest and never cover up any issues. No one expects everything to be perfect and even knowledge of issues can be enlightening for change.) In some countries, birth parents/family and/or the orphanage that cared for the child have the right to review the reports in order to maintain knowledge of the child’s well-being.

At the onset of an adoption, parents are informed about the expected post-adoption reports (to the best of the agency’s ability as things do change over time), and parents sign documentation stating they understand the requirements and will abide by them. In addition, most countries require the adoptive family and/or placing agency to submit documentation as part of the dossier stating they will complete the reports as required. Unfortunately, not all parents fulfill this obligation to their child’s country and adoption agency. When that happens, there can be dire consequences for the children remaining in the country and/or for the children that could be placed by the agency in the future.

The Department of State recently published the 2016 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions. DOS reports that it met with 30 countries in 2016 regarding intercountry adoption. In these meetings, three main concerns were presented by countries as concerns—prominent among them was post-adoption report compliance. “Even after adoption, countries maintain a strong interest in knowing how children from their countries fare. Officials become concerned when they receive no reports about a child after adoption, often fearing that the adoption has disrupted or dissolved, or that the child has been harmed. When parents fail to fulfill the obligation they agreed to, it reflects badly on U.S. adoptions and may impact the country’s willingness to continue to engage and partner with the United States.” Countries have shut down over non-compliance in the past (for example, Ukraine closed for some time in October 2005 due to missing reports— link ) which hurts remaining orphans and potential parents in the short-and-long-run. “Several countries have conditioned the resumption of intercountry adoptions on receiving post adoption reports from parents who previously adopted children from that country.” (Quotes taken from the above mentioned report.)

The Department of State has since issued further notices regarding the importance post-adoption reporting. A May 8, 2017 notice states “Missing or delinquent post-adoption reports can negatively impact adoption service providers seeking authorization in affected countries, as well as U.S. citizen parents seeking to adopt in the future. The consequences of failure to comply with post-adoption reporting requirements are significant, particularly for thousands of children in need of permanency who would be adversely impacted if intercountry adoption programs are suspended or closed.” ( https://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/about-us/newsroom/Post-AdoptionReportingOverview.html .)

It’s understandable that parents get busy and life moves on. In addition, it is clear to agencies that the vast majority of adoptive parents are devoted to the cause of the orphan and to the orphans and vulnerable children that remain in their child’s country. Agencies often see parents fundraise for or even create projects of humanitarian aid in their child’s country of origin. It is important for agencies and even countries to recognize these efforts made on behalf of the children. However, it is also important for adoptive families to realize that one of the most important things an adoptive parent can do to help orphans in their child’s country is to complete post-adoption reports on time and encourage others to do the same.

If you are an adoptive parent who has fallen behind on your reports, please contact your placing agency today to find out how you can help adoption remain a viable option for children in your child’s country of origin by catching up on missing reports. Please share this article and/or the Department of State’s notices in any way you can to encourage other adoptive families to do the same. If you have adopted a child after the dissolution of an international adoption, please contact your child’s original placing agency regarding reports as the countries still require them even if you are not legally bound to provide them. If your placing agency has closed, please contact the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues for information on how to comply with reporting.

Transfer of EACI India and China adoption cases to IAN

As many of you know, EACI adoption agency lost it’s Hague status in December of 2016. As a result they had to move all their programs to other agencies. IAN was identified to take on India and China Cases. We have spent the last month or more working to make this transfer as smooth a possible and welcoming these families to IAN. It has been a difficult time for all those families involved, but we are happy that the transfer is completed and we can focus on serving our new families and their prospective adoption children!

The State Department issued more information for those transfer families on Friday, and we are posting that here so that our new families can stay informed! Please be sure to read this carefully, and follow up with our office as needed. Thanks to all our families’ patience, current and new, as we have worked on this. We are so thankful to be serving our growing network of families and children.

Click here for the State Department Update Concerning EACI transfer cases

Here is the full text of the update from the State Department:

EAC Case Transfer Approval Information

February 3, 2017

The Department of State confirms that the Council on Accreditation (COA) reviewed case transfer plans for the following European Adoption Consultants, Inc. (EAC) intercountry adoption programs. If you have been working with EAC to adopt a child from a country that is not listed below, COA is currently reviewing EAC’s case transfer plan for that country. We will update this site with new information as it becomes available.

Country

Agency

Date Plan Finalized

Bulgaria

Global Adoption Services, Inc.

January 13, 2017

China

International Adoption Net

January 13, 2017

Colombia

Little Miracles International Inc.

January 20, 2017

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

1:17 Center for Global Adoption

January 18, 2017

Haiti

All Blessings International Inc., dba Kentucky Adoption Services

January 18, 2017

Honduras

Little Miracles International Inc.

January 18, 2017

India

International Adoption Net

January 13, 2017

Poland

Global Adoption Services Inc.

January 20, 2017

Tanzania

Little Miracles International Inc.

January 20, 2017

Uganda (families without referrals)

Little Miracles International Inc.

January 20, 2017

Ukraine

Creative Adoptions Inc.

January 20, 2017

Please note that EAC clients are under no obligation to work with the adoption service provider (ASP) named in EAC’s case transfer plan. EAC is required to execute a plan to transfer their in-process adoption cases to a designated agency, however, some families may instead request that the case be transferred to an alternate primary provider. COA has advised that in those cases, prospective adoptive parents should send a request to EAC indicating a preferred ASP to which EAC should transfer the case. COA should be copied on this correspondence.

COA has also advised that EAC reports they will be reaching out to clients to obtain written consent to release records. Such consent should comply with the guidance provided here . COA expects EAC to execute their case transfer plans within 10 days of receipt of COA’s letter confirming its review of EAC’s case transfer plan.

The state of Ohio, where EAC is licensed, has informed the Department of State that under Ohio law, if a prospective adoptive parent submits a request to have their case transferred, the agency must act upon that request pursuant to Ohio Administrative Code 5101-2-48-19. Prospective adoptive parents may wish to copy the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, fostercare_licensing@jfs.oio.gov , on email communications with EAC regarding case transfers. Please include “EAC” in the subject line if you do so.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has also informed us that families experiencing difficulties getting EAC to transfer their file, or experiencing any other issues with EAC, may wish to submit a statement to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/about-ag/file-a-complaint , or call the hotline at 800-282-0515 or 614-466-4986. The hotline takes complaint calls Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. EST. Prospective adoptive parents who submit concerns in writing should include “EAC” in the subject line.

REVIEW OF CASE TRANSFER PLANS

When reviewing the transfer plan, COA verifies that the ASP selected to receive the adoption cases meets the following criteria:

  • the ASP is currently accredited or approved;
  • the ASP’s accreditation is valid for a sufficient period of time or the ASP has an application for renewal of its accreditation or approval pending and has made significant progress through the renewal process;
  • the ASP is not currently subject to an adverse action compromising their accreditation status; and
  • the ASP is authorized to work in the country they will receive cases for if such authorization is required.

COA’s review of the transfer is limited to the criteria listed above. It is important to note that while COA has verified that the ASPs are eligible at this time to receive EAC’s cases, there is no way to guarantee the new primary provider will remain eligible to provide adoption services.

POST-PLACEMENT AND POST-ADOPTION REPORTING

EAC is prohibited from providing adoption services, including “monitoring a case after a child has been placed with prospective adoptive parent(s) until final adoption”, and therefore EAC is prohibited from providing post-placement services, including post-placement reporting. Prospective adoptive parents who obtained custody or guardianship of a child and have not yet finalized the adoption need to find an accredited or approved ASP to provide any remaining services, including completing post-placement reports as required by the child’s country of origin.

The prohibition on providing adoption services does not apply to completion of post-adoption reports, which are required after an adoption has been finalized, to the extent allowed by state law and the country of origin’s requirements. Please be aware, that a foreign government may choose not to accept post-adoption reports from a debarred adoption service provider.

Families should be advised that the government of India has informed us that they will not accept post-adoption or post-placement reporting from EAC. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.

FEES

Federal regulations require EAC to complete the refund of fees paid for services not yet rendered within 60 days of the debarment. EAC should provide prospective adoptive parents with information on any refunds they may be eligible for or details of any fees that have not yet been expended for providing services that can be transferred to a new agency.

THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE’S ROLE

The Department of State’s role with case transfer plans is limited. As stated in the Notice regarding Case Transfer Responsibilities of Intercountry Adoption Service Providers , under 22 CFR 96.87, the agency or person’s execution of its transfer plans is under the oversight of the Accrediting Entity, the Council on Accreditation. The Department of State does not review or approve case transfer plans. The Department does, however, communicate with foreign Central Authorities and competent adoption authorities about the accreditation status of agencies and persons and case transfer plans, as needed.

Please continue to communicate directly with EAC and COA regarding specific questions related to your adoption case transfer.

India Waiting Kids: Special Need Spotlight on Ambiguous genitalia

This Blog post is written by one of our Adoption Coordinators, Angela.

As an experienced international adoption specialist for 11 years, I’ve seen a variety of medical conditions with children available for adoption with various international programs. However, a recent agency change has opened my eyes to a country I had always been interested in, but never had the opportunity to serve through adoption: India.

As I search the waiting child list issued by India, I am amazed and perplexed at the number of children available with conditions that are either correctable or manageable. Some of the conditions are even sought after in other countries as a humanitarian choice in adoption. Babies, toddlers, young children and older children with HIV, club foot, cleft palate and/or lip, heart defects, limb differences and other such conditions have waited years for families on the India list. One condition I had not previously seen appears quite often on the India list: ambiguous genitalia or other gender disorders. Of the 82 children ages 0-2 currently listed on the India waiting child list, at least three have some type of gender condition. The Mayo Clinic defines ambiguous genitalia as-

“Ambiguous genitalia is a rare condition in which an infant’s external genitals don’t appear to be clearly either male or female. In a baby with ambiguous genitalia, the genitals may not be well-formed or the baby may have characteristics of both sexes. The external sex organs may not match the internal sex organs or genetic sex.Ambiguous genitalia isn’t a disease. It’s a sign of a condition that affects sexual development, and it’s referred to as a disorder of sexual development.” http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ambiguous-genitalia/basics/definition/con-20026345

More information about ambiguous genitalia, including causes and treatment, can be found at the above referred-to link. There are many options for corrective treatment for a child born with ambiguous genitalia, all that is needed is the right family that is able to care for the child. With the medical resources in the USA, many children with this condition get proper treatment, and thrive with their families. In India, where conditions like this carry heavily negative social stigmas, these children may never get the care or love they deserve, and for many is the sole reason why they are in the orphange.

Due to privacy regulations, India does not allow children to be photolisted on such sites as RainbowKids. While I understand the reasons for the privacy of the children, these limitations can decrease the chances that these beautiful children will find homes, simply because they do not have the exposure as children with other programs may have. However, if more people knew about the India program and the wonderful children that are available, more people would open their hearts and homes so these little ones would be orphans no more.

To adopt from India, parents must be physically, mentally, and emotionally stable with no threatening medical conditions, as well as be financially stable. Married couples must have been married at least two years. Single women can adopt children of either gender, while single males are only allowed to adopt boys. India does impose age limits as follows:

Families are not allowed to already have more than four children in the home. As always, USCIS and state regulations also apply with regard to qualifications of adoptive parents.

Families must first complete their adoption paperwork and obtain USCIS approval before being eligible to be matched with a child. However, once a family’s paperwork is complete, their agency can immediately start searching the waiting child list for a child that meets the family’s desired and approved criteria. The more open a family is with regard to age, gender and special needs, the more likely they are to be matched with a child quickly and start the official adoption process.

To find out more about this program, please contact International Adoption Net, info@internationaladoptionnet.org , or by calling 1-877-672-2971 .

Child in the photo is a stock photo and not available for adoption. International Adoption Net suggests all families talk to a licensed pediatrician 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.