China Waiting Children: Special Needs Spotlight on Dwarfism

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 .

Looking Towards the Future for Chinese Adoptions

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:

Announcement

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

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.

Little Zi waiting for her forever family!

For those of us who are lucky enough to have a loving Father, we know the feeling of love and protection. Little Zi knows this love…and misses it.

In all my years of working as an international adoption specialist, I have heard and seen a multitude of children’s stories—some sadder than others. Yet in all my days, no story has left me wanting a family for a child so badly as I want one for precious 8-year-old Zi.

When Zi was born, her birth mother left her father and much older sister to remarry. When many fathers might choose otherwise, her father raised her and her sister as best he could. In June 2014, the family got into a car accident that left Zi paralyzed from the waist down. Still, even as poor as they were, her father cared for her. Tragically, her father found out that December that he had liver cancer and died the next month. Zi and her sister went to live with a blind uncle while officials contacted their mother who once again refused to care for them. The children were then admitted to an orphanage. Her sister is now 18—too young to care for her and too old to be adopted with her.

When Zi came into care, she was in poor physical condition and would not speak. After being in the care of the orphanage, she is active and cute again, ready to smile, and has a good spirit. The orphanage personnel say she is very smart and cute, introverted and shy, can have a temper, and usually helps the nurturer look after the younger children. She likes writing, drawing, listening to music, watching TV and chatting. Her life is fulfill and happy with the exception of one important aspect—a family.

While single women can adopt from China, International Adoption Net feels this child needs both a mother and a father so she can once again have a Daddy . Could this little girl wrap your fatherly hand around her finger?

Contact Angela regarding this little girl, angela@ internationaladoptionnet.org .

Important Adoption Announcement

Important Adoption Update!!

ast month we were informed by the State Department that they would be enacting yet another round of heavy regulations for international adoptions. We were given only 42 days to process and respond to these new laws that will forever effect all adoption programs. The adoption world is still coming to grasps with the limiting regulations of the UAA regulations that went into effect in 2014. Due to those regulations, the TOTAL number of adoptions to the US last year was 5,647. That is an incredibly low number considering the amount of children living in institutions around the world, or worse. These are not just infant adoptions. Existing laws have already limited the options for relative adoptions, and older child adoptions. In 2015, just 6% of intercountry adoptions were infants, and 72% of intercountry adoptions were children over the age of three. Perhaps most telling is that 13% of intercountry adoptions in 2015 were of children aged 12 or older! Our government should be supporting the permanent placement of older children with approved US families, however now we are faced with another round of overreaching and crippling laws that could result in the mass shut down of even more agencies. The concerns around adoption do not justify this over regulation, and children and waiting families are the ones who will pay the cost. We ask that you help us advocate against these new laws, which are being hidden from the public and put into effect before anyone can realize what is happening. Agencies are working together to get the word out to families who may never get the chance to adopt if these go into effect next year so that you can help us advocate for children in need! Please visit http://saveadoptions.org/ to learn more about how these new rules could impact your ability to adopt, and sign the petition. The State Department can enact these new rules with no oversight, warning or accountability thanks to special allowances given to them by Congress years ago. That means just a few people are deciding these laws and there is no direct representation of the American people, no voting, no popular approval. We ask that you educate yourself and call your Senators and Representatives to stop this unnecessary over reach by the Office of Children’s Issues. Please share with your family and friends and help us save adoption!

Introducing sweet “Matthew”, waiting for his forever family!

“Matthew” is an adorable, HAPPY little boy who happens to have extra lower body parts due to having an incomplete conjoined twin. He has underwent surgery for some of the physical ramifications of this conjoined twin, but he still other malformations that the doctors decided were too dangerous to perform surgery on at the time they were going to do so. He may need continued surgeries to correct the complications.

His China list diagnosis states 1.Tailend duplication malformation (post-surgery conjoined twins); 2.bilateral Undescended testes; 3.retarded growth.

The orphanage personnel and doctors were amazed when he started to walk and play. He is able to coordinate his malformed and conjoined legs to walk steadily and even competes with his friend to slide down a slope riding a swing car with both of his legs slightly hanging in the air. He also enjoys music time where he dances to his favorite song A Small Apple (we have video of him dancing!). He is starting to speak and is said to be a child full of wisdom with his own unique view on things. He does not fight for toys or food as other children does, but will instead walk over to take a caregiver by the hand and show them the child who has taken his toy or food with a grieved look on his face. He seems to be loved by all.

A careful review of his medical documentation should be made by an international adoption specialist and preferably with a specialist in conjoined twin separations to understand the level of surgery he has received, what his current situation is and what he may need in the future. Much information is available, including VIDEOS.

Please consider bringing this delightful boy into your heart and homes! We are all just in love with his simle, and hope we can find him a loving family soon!

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.