• Updated China Adoption Requirements

    Recently China updated their adoption regulations concerning international families who desire to adopt. There are new qualifications to consider if you are interested in adopting from this program. Some of these have been in place for some time, and are now being reinforced. We are seeing an increase in denials of adoption applications with the CCCWA due to these stricter guidelines. While we are disappointed to see there will be more families who do not qualify, we are understanding that this is a direct result from non-compliance to post adoption reporting, as well as their concerns with placing multiple children with medical needs into the same home. This is still a viable program for the majority of families, and the need is still very great.

    If you have any questions about how this will affect your adoption, or if you still qualify for the program, please contact your coordinator.

    Here is the update from the CCCWA:

    June 30,2017

    Relevant government departments and adoption agencies in receiving states,

    In order to further promote the scientific and standardized level of inter- country adoption, and implement our working principle “everything for the children”, we have refined and improved the review points for deciding the eligibility of foreigners adopting from China, in accordance with the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, and Measures for Registration of Adoption of Children by Foreigners in the People’s Republic of China, as well as the practice of paper review of CCCWA.

    I. Age

    1. The prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) should reach the age of 30, and the age difference between the PAP and the adoptee should be not more than 50 years.

    2. When a couple adopts together, the age difference should be counted based on the age of the younger party.

    II. Marital Status

    1. The PAP(s) should be a couple of one male and one female, or a single female with no homosexual tendency.

    2. In the adoption by a couple (couple adoption), the PAPs should have a stable marital status, either party should have not more than 2 divorces. If one party has no divorce history or 1 divorce, their current marriage should last not less than 2 years. If one party has 2 divorces, their current marriage should last not less than 5 years.

    3. In calculating the marriage lasting time for PAPs, the time living together before their marriage can be included. When calculating the number of divorces, widow and remarriage after divorce are not included.

    III. Health Conditions

    The PAPs should be physically and mentally fit, with the ability to raise and educate the adoptee, but without any of the following conditions:

    (1) Intellectual disability;

    (2) HIV positive, or infectious disease that is actively contagious;

    (3) Schizophrenia;

    (4) Mental disorder including mania, depression, bipolar affective disorder, anxiety and phobia, etc. PAP(s) with minor symptoms and are under good control by taking medicine, assessed by a psychological professional as having no effects on their normal work and life and fit to care and educate the adoptee, will be exempt from this limitation;

    (5) Binocular blindness, binocular low vision or monocular blindness with no ocular prosthesis;

    (6) Severe facial deformation;

    (7) Binaural hearing loss or language function loss; PAPs who adopt children with identical conditions, or with one party of a couple healthy will be exempt from this limitation;

    (8) Non-function or dysfunction of limbs or trunk caused by impairment, incomplete limb, paralysis or deformation;

    (9) Diseases that require long-term treatment, and have bad prognosis which will affect PAPs’ child care ability such as lupus, nephrosis, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, etc.; In a couple adoption, if one party is completely healthy and the other suffers any of such diseases but is under good control after treatment, they will be exempt from this limitation if they can provide a doctor’s note to attest that the illness has no effects on their normal work and life and fit for caring the adoptee;

    (10) Skin cancer, thyroid cancer, breast cancer and testicular cancer that has been cured for less than 3 years; other kinds of cancer or malignant tumor that has been cured less than 5 years;

    (11) Vital organ transplant within 10 years; In a couple adoption, if one party is healthy and the other party had organ transplant within 10 years but has recovered to live a normal life, they will be exempt from this limitation;

    (12) BMI (BMI=weight (kg)/ height2 (m2) )≥40;

    (13) Short stature or dwarfism; PAPs who adopt children with identical conditions will be exempt from this limitation.

    IV Educational background

    The PAPs should have received senior high school education or above, or vocational and technical skills education of the same level. V. Family Financial Conditions

    1. The PAPs (at least one party of a couple in a couple adoption) should have stable occupation and income. The per-capita annual income of a family including the prospective adoptee should reach 10,000 USD; When calculating the family per-capita annual income in an adoption by a single parent, the number of family members should be one more than the actual family member number after adoption

    2. Couple adoption’s family net worth should reach 80,000 USD, and single adoption’s family net worth should reach 100,000 USD.

    3. Welfare allowance such as relief fund, pension, disability benefits, adoption subsidy, foster care subsidy and disabled child subsidy, etc. are not included in the family annual income.

    4. Proper relaxation can be granted to foreigners living in China on the aspects of family annual income and net worth.

    VI Moral Characters

    The PAPs should have no record of criminal penalties, have good moral characters, honorable behaviors and abide by laws and regulations, without any of the following circumstances:

    (1) a history of domestic violence, sex abuse, abandonment/abuse of children (even if they were not arrested or convicted);

    (2) a history of taking drugs including opium, morphine, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, smokable methamphetamine and etc;

    (3) a history of alcohol abuse and have stopped drinking for less than 10 years.

    Adoption application will be given due consideration when the PAPs have had no more than 3 criminal records with minor violations and no severe outcomes, and the time for correction has reached 10 years; or have had no more than 5 records of traffic law violation with no severe outcomes.

    VII Children in the House

    1. The adoption of orphans, disable children, or abandoned infants and children whose parents cannot be ascertained or found, are not subject to the requirement that the adopter should be childless.

    2. The PAPs should have enough time and energy to take care of the minors in the house including the prospective adoptee. In a couple adoption, the number of minors living in the house of the PAPs should be not more than 5; in a single adoption, the number of minors in the house of the PAPs should be not more than 2.

    3. The youngest child in the house should reach 3 years old.

    VIII Adoption Frequency and Numbers

    1. Adopters should submit post placement reports as required after the adoption; There should be a 1 year interval between the second adoption application and the previous one (from the registration date of the previous adoption to the current adoption application date).

    2. In principle, the PAPs should adopt 1 child from China at a time.

    3. In a couple adoption, if adoptee is a twin or multiple births or have siblings, the adoption will be exempt from the limitation of item 2.

    VIII Others

    1. The PAPs should receive pre-adoption training to have a correct cognition and understanding of the possible risks of inter-country adoption, be fully prepared for the adoption and care of the adoptee. The PAPs should promise in the inter-country adoption application letter that they will not abandon or maltreat the child to be adopted, and will submit post placement reports as required.

    2. As for PAPs residing in countries other than their birth country, if they intend to apply to adopt from China, they should reside in countries which have cooperative relationship with China in inter-country adoption, or in contracting states of the Hague Convention.

    3. This document does not apply to stepchild adoptions. As for the adoption of a child belonging to a collateral relative by blood of the same generation and up to the third degree of kinship, relaxation will be granted properly.

    4. Time or age is calculated based on the adoption application dossier’s log-in-date at CCCWA.

    5. This document shall enter into force as of the date of issuance. In the event of any inconsistency between this document and previous CCCWA regulations or notices, the review points of this document shall apply.

    China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption

  • 5 Questions to Ask If You Are Considering Adoption

    /contact/ This is a guest post from our partner Diane Hogan. She is an adoptive parent twice over, adoption and education expert, and President of A Step Ahead Adoption Services.

    Are you a family who want to start or build your family and don’t know if adoption is right for you? If so, you have probably been on the Internet looking at all the choices, options and decisions you would need to make to just take the first step into adoption. Hopefully this article will help you understand your choices, fine tune your options and guide your decision-making process.

    There are 3 primary paths to adopting a child – domestic (US) adoption, international adoption and/or foster-to-adoption. How do you know which path is best for you? Consider the child you see coming into your home and ask yourself these 5 simple questions:

    1) What age is this child? Most domestic adoptions are newborn-to-1 year of age placements; most international adoptions are toddler-thru-school aged; most foster-to-adoption placements are 1-year to 18-years of age (after 18, most children “age out” of the foster care system).

    2) What race or races of child can you consider? In domestic adoption, you have children of all colors of the rainbow and racial combinations; however, the least placed race (in the US) is Asian. For foster-to-adoption, again all the possible racial combinations of children are eagerly awaiting their forever families. International adoptions, you have to be country-specific, thus you will be defining race(s) upon selecting a country. To get an overview of options in this area, see: https://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/adoption-process.html

    3) What timeframe are you considering? Most domestic (US) adoptions can occur in 1-year or less unless you are gender-specific and then that could take up to 2 years. International adoptions are country-specific and will be dependent on how well your US agency or attorney is connected with the foreign country’s embassy, orphanages and laws. Generally speaking allow a minimum of 2 years for the process. For foster-to-adoption, you would need to be able and willing to foster a child until they are eligible for the adoption rolls. That process is often 1-2 years depending on your county’s policy for a birth parents time to attempt reunification – the goal of the foster system.

    4) Are you gender-specific? If so, then focus more on international or foster-to-adoption because it is much easier to select a boy or girl, or both! In domestic adoption, you become dependent on a gender-defining ultra sound or waiting for a born baby.

    5) Do you have a budget defined? Most domestic and international adoptions are running $30,000 -$50,000 for the cost of preparing, adopting and traveling. Foster-to-adoption is more affordable as you may only be asked to pay for legal fees and travel. Remember, we currently do have an adoption tax credit that may assist you after you adopt. For more information, see: https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc607.html

    Still confused? Feel free to send us an email or give us a call. We provide adoption education, guidance, support and resource referrals for many various aspects of adoption. If you are a family desiring a domestic adoption or adoption education, we have consultants across the US to talk with you and discuss the process of domestic adoption. If you are considering an international or foster program, we can connect you with agencies speializing in the programs you are interested in.

    Diane Hogan is an adoptive mom of two “babies” (now respectively 21 years of age and 18 years of age). Along with her husband she adopted domestically and has two open adoptions. She hold BS and MA degrees in education. Worked for 20 years in public education (classroom teacher, curriculum developer, program specialist, teacher trainer). Besides her two children, she is most proud of her 2-years or remission from Hodgkins’ Lymphoma! Diane now owns/operates A Step Ahead Adoption Services for the last 16 years from Colorado Springs, CO. A Step Ahead Adoption Services (ASA), in the big picture, is a consulting services designed to help adoptive parents seeking a domestic adoption through an agency or attorney in the US. We educate, guide, support our client families who are seeking a domestic or international adoption. ASA also provides education for agencies and law firms that work in adoption. They can offer 1:1 classes, workshops and seminars. They have an extensive online adoption & parenting library for client families (over 80 documents), a prerecorded 20-minute class on the domestic adoption procedure and 45 short vignettes of interviews with adoptees, adoptive parents and an occupational therapist. Our ASA clients have access to all of those educational materials. ASA contracts with consultants who work for us across the US to support adoptive families and agencies. If you prefer to go international or foster-to-adopt, we will happily refer you to professionals in your area. ASA website is: www.astepaheadadoption.com .

    If you would like your article posted as a guest on our blog, please contact us.

  • Mexico Hosting Program!

    IAN is excited to announce a new hosting program with our Mexico program!

    Joan recently returned from Mexico where she signed a contract with a specific Mexican State. This means that, in addition to families being able to adopt from Mexico using the National Registry track, IAN now has specific children we can advocate for and place for adoption. IAN currently has photo-listed eight Mexican children on Rainbow Kids .

    What makes this news even more exciting is that these children are also available for hosting in the U.S.! Families interested in adopting a specific child can chose to host that child in the U.S. this winter during Christmas break! While the hosting program is not for the purpose of adoption, it does allow families to give the child the opportunity to visit America while also giving the family and child the opportunity to learn if they are a good match for each other, or advocate for your host child’s adoption in your community. In addition, because the first of the two required trips to Mexico is in order to meet and bond with the child, this first trip can be replaced by the hosting experience. While there is a fee for hosting the child, this fee is tax deductible and also saves the family the expense of traveling to Mexico for the first, generally longer, adoption trip. Hosting a child does not obligate you to adopt that child. This is a great opportunity to share your life with a child, and help them experience more of the world!

    To learn more about adopting from Mexico or the hosting opportunity, please contact IAN today (info@internationaladoptionnet.org)!

  • Uganda Update

    Please see below the latest update from the State Department concerning the new regulations from Uganda (found here- http://www.mglsd.go.ug/laws/ The%20Children%20Amendment% 20Act%202016.pdf (start page 32) and here http://www.mglsd.go.ug/laws/children%20act%20Chapter_59.pdf (start page 22)

    These new regulations went into effect on June 2nd. The Laws were signed in May, but it had previously not been clear as to when it would go into effect, so some had hope that cases this summer would not be impacted. It seems now that this means any referrals made after June 2nd will need to abide by these new laws. IAN will keep its license in Uganda should a family want to adopt under these new regulations, however it seems that as things stand, it would be very difficult for any families living in the US to meet these standards. Here is a run down of the main things you need to know:

    ​A person who is not a citizen of Uganda may in exceptional

    circumstances adopt a Ugandan child, if he or she—

    (a) has stayed in Uganda for at least one

    (b) has fostered the child for at least one year under the

    supervision of a probation and social welfare officer;

    (c) does not have a criminal record;

    (d) has a recommendation concerning his or her suitability to adopt

    a child from his or her country’s probation and welfare office or

    other competent authority; and

    (e) has satisfied the court that his or her country of origin will

    respect and recognise the adoption order.

    45. Restrictions and conditions.

    (1) An adoption order may be granted to a sole applicant or jointly

    to spouses where—

    (a) the applicant or at least one of the joint applicants has attained

    the age of twenty-five years and is at least twenty-one years older

    than the child;

    (b) in the case of an application by one of the spouses, the other has

    consented to the adoption.

    (2) The court may dispense with the consent required under

    subsection (1)(b) if the spouse whose consent is required cannot be found or

    is incapable of giving consent, or the spouses are separated and living apart

    and the separation is likely to be permanent.

    (3) An adoption order shall not be made in favour of a sole male

    applicant in respect of a female child, or in favour of a sole female applicant

    in respect of a male child, unless the court is satisfied that there are special

    circumstances that justify, as an exceptional measure, the making of an

    adoption order.

    (4) The application shall not be considered unless the applicant has

    fostered the child for a period of not less than thirty-six months under the

    supervision of a probation and social welfare officer.

    (5) The probation and social welfare officer shall be required to

    submit a report to assist the court in considering the application; and the

    court may, in addition, require some other person or the local authority to

    make a report in respect of the adoption application.

    (6) Except where the application is by spouses jointly, an adoption

    order shall not be made authorising more than one person to adopt a child at

    the same time.

    The main thing is that these requirements used to be able to be waived by going through guardianship decrees and then finalizing the adoption in the US. However guardianship is no longer an option if you are not a Ugandan citizen under the new amendments, so these residency rules now apply to all international cases. Obviously we understand that most families can not move to Uganda for an extended time. The state department is updating its Uganda adoption information page, and as soon as we have any more information about how this is playing out, we will be sure to let you know.

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Adoption < Adoption@state.gov >
    Date: Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 7:48 AM
    Subject: Notice: Uganda Announces Effective Date of June 2 for Amendments to the Children Act
    To:

    Adoption Notice: Uganda

    July 6, 2016

    Notice: Uganda Announces Effective Date of June 2 for Amendments to the Children Act

    As reported in the Department of State’s June 2 Adoption Alert , on May 20, 2016, the Ugandan president signed into law amendments to the Children Act. The full text of the amendments can be found on the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development’s website . Ugandan officials have informed us that these amendments went into effect on June 2.

    If you have questions about your guardianship or adoption case, please write to adoption@state.gov . We also encourage you to work closely with your adoption service provider.

  • Announcing our Florida Branch Office!

    We are so excited to announce that this month we have been approved for our Child Placement license in Florida ! We are opening our branch office, and will be starting up our programs there in the coming weeks.

    Angela K. Vance, MSW will be our new Branch Director. This office will be able to provide homestudy and post adoption services to families living in Florida, as well be a part of our placement services for our International and Domestic programs. Angela has served hundreds of children and families through international adoption since graduating with a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Central Florida in June 2005. Her love for adoption led her to being the mother of her beautiful daughter, whom she adopted from Ethiopia in early 2012. In her free time, Angela enjoys church activities and spending time with her daughter. Angela is available to assist all IAN Florida clients with a full range of services, and will be heading up our China Program as well. Welome Angela!

  • Ethiopia Program Update and Hosting program!

    Over the past year or so the Ethiopian program has seen many changes, both with the US side of the process as well as the process with the Ethiopian authorities. As many of you know the PAIR process, which went into effect late 2013, has added several months to the processing times for our cases. Some families are unfortunately experiencing a greater wait time than others. Additionally, more and more paperwork is now required to complete an international adoption, both from US Embassy and for the Ethiopian authorities. While we support these measures as a way to cut down on unethical adoptions, we do understand that this is frustrating for families both on the waitlist and in process to see such a slowdown.

    Here are few things to keep in mind as things stand now with Ethiopia:

    • Wait times for referrals are getting longer. While we can’t say exactly how long the wait will be for a referral, we do know that all agencies in Ethiopia are experiencing a slowdown in the process. We can promise you that our staff is working very hard to gather all necessary paperwork and complete investigations in order for us to give referrals. There are several steps a child’s case must go through before they are available for international adoption. First, MOWA has to approve the child for international adoption, then the agency is referred the child, initial paperwork is gathered and then we refer the child to the adoptive family.
    • The process is taking longer. We currently have families that have been in process with a referral for over a year. We are doing everything we can to keep the process moving forward as quickly as possible, but there are several steps that need to happen in the adoption process, and many of these steps are currently taking longer and requiring more to be completed.
    • The process can change at any time. Both the PAIR process and the Ethiopian side of things can add or change requirements at any time. We do our best to keep up with and anticipate those changes, but sometimes they can add significant time to processing time. It is important to be flexible with estimated wait times and to know that your case may hit a bump in the road to extend your overall time in process. These additional changes are out of our hands, but we do the best we can to gather the necessary information as quickly as possible.

    As of now we are still receiving referrals, though on a much smaller scale than a year ago. We are continuously working hard to continue adoptions in Ethiopia because we know there are children that need loving families. We have been assured that Ethiopia has no plans to officially close anytime soon, but it is no longer a quick or easy process. The slowdown, as far as we can tell, is a rather intentional move to minimize the amount of children internationally adopted in order to better regulate the process and verify orphan status.

    We do not share this to be discouraging, but we just wanted to update our families on the current climate of Ethiopia. As always, please feel free to contact your coordinator for more details about any changes in the process or concerns you may have. We know this is not an easy process, and we will continue to work to make improvements to the process where we can.

    In other news, we have learned of a small change that will make the process a little easier on our adoptive families! Now, whenever you apply to update your I-600A fingerprints, you send in your request, and they will send out an updated I-171H form with a new expiration date. You will not need to actually go to the USCIS office anymore to have your fingerprints taken again. So is great news! You will still need to submit an updated homestudy to extend the actual I-600A form, so please keep track of those expiration dates so you can update them when the time is right.

    Finally, as many of you know, we have partnered with Project 143 to start a hosting program for older children in Ethiopia! We have had several families contact us to learn more about hosting and we are so excited to see the involvement from all of you! This is such a great opportunity for these children as they are often overlooked for adoption purposes. By hosting, the child gets to experience American culture while meeting several potential adoptive families in the process. If you decide not to move forward with the child’s adoption, maybe one of your friends will. We hope that through this program, we can promote older child adoption and find some of these children that have been waiting so long wonderful families! For more information about the hosting program and the children available, please visit http://www.projectonefortythree.com/ .

  • Ghana Humanitarian Projects

    IAN is excited to share some news from one of our humanitarian partners! We have joined efforts with Springs of Hope International in Ghana, which works to provide support for orphanages and families in need. Springs of Hope and IAN are working to expand their efforts to reach those facing severe poverty. Recently, Springs of Hope Director Alfred Aidoo and his team held a clothing drive and were able to hand out much needed clothing items to many families in their community. He has shared some pictures with us!

    We are excited to be partnering with Springs of Hope International and supporting them in their efforts to impact the community around them!