Friday, February 16, 2018

I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THAT!!!

I’d like to thank Associated Press Reporter, David Crary, for his work on this article. Thank you David!!!
I would also like to point out that no one is defending the 1 agency that was debarred over the last 9 years, and in the same breath….. in no way does this one debarment justify a jump from the Council on Accreditation’s 4 full time staff and an annual budget of 147K with 20 volunteer evaluators comprised of adoption agency professionals with vast clinical and agency management experience to IAAME’s budget of over 2.5 million + (in fees paid in by families ultimately since adoption agencies are fee for service based models) and 23 full time staff, without the clinical and agency management experience model Council on Accreditation has
Consider this dollar amount when Hague Accredited agencies have accumulated some 170 substantiated complaints (many are administrative in nature) over a 9 year period: over 87,000 children have come home to American families, of those what is the cost of each complaint.  Under Council of Accreditation, 170 complaints/$147K annual budget = $1,023.53 per complaint vs IAAME’s 170/$2.5 million + annual budget = $14,705.88 per complaint.  You may want to do the math for yourself. In addition, IAAME will assess the agency cost for at least two evaluator’s travel expenses associated with the complaint should they feel an onsite visit or travel to the foreign country is warranted. Add on another $4,000.00 – $40,000.00 Does this sound reasonable to you? 
The public should also know Mr. Stephen Pennypacker, IAAME’s CEO, explained why the $500 nonrefundable client fee is urgently needed to be paid now. Much to Pennypacker’s credit for his honesty, the immediacy is attributed to the need for recouping IAAME’s startup costsYou read that right.
Have you ever heard of any other business sector where a startup nonprofit, designated to be your watchdog, also holds you accountable for paying their startup costs?
Friends, we have entered the Twilight Zone.  Please sign the petition and send a complaint to congress if you feel this is unacceptable. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

International Adoptions Completed from Bulgaria in 2017

Bulgarian shop 2018
*The Bulgarian Ministry of Justice has released the 2017 statistics for intercountry adoptions. As in the past, more than 1/3 of all adoptions were for identified waiting children with special needs. The remaining procedures were direct matches made by MOJ between a registered family and a child cleared for international adoption but not yet entered into the Waiting Child Register. Many of these main procedure referrals likely also had identified special needs. The overall number of completed adoptions from Bulgaria decreased in 2017.*
  • USA – 104 total procedures, including 78 for identified waiting children
  • Italy – 36 total procedures, including 1 for identified waiting children
  • Spain – 22 total procedures, including 1 for identified waiting children
  • France – 21 total procedures
  • Netherlands – 13 total procedures
  • Canada – 7 total procedures, including 2 for identified waiting children
  • Ireland – 6 total procedures
  • Germany – 4 total procedures
  • Denmark – 4 total procedures
  • Norway – 4 total procedures
  • Belgium – 3 total procedures, including 2 for identified waiting children
  • Luxembourg – 1 procedure
  • Cyprus – 1 procedure
TOTAL – 226 total procedures for 306 children, including 84 procedures for 133 identified waiting children

Senator Wicker Has Taken A Bold Stand for Vulnerable Children and American Families!

Senator Wicker has taken a bold step for Vulnerable Children and American Families! We need to make sure we have his back.  Please post the attached letter to your Facebook page and urge your friends to like and share as well.  We need to keep the momentum going!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Message From Hopscotch Adoptions Executive Director

Department of State’s Notice Regarding New Intercountry Adoption Fees
As of February 1, 2018, the U.S. Department of State notified adoption service providers about substantial mandated fee increases associated with obtaining and maintaining accreditation by the federal government, which is required to provide intercountry adoption services. In addition to the increased fee for adoption service providers, adoptive families will also see an extra cost, potentially deterring loving families from welcoming vulnerable children into their homes.
Hopscotch’s primary commitment is, and always will be, to the safety and well-being of children here in the United States and around the world. Thus we are committed to complying fully with the Hague Convention and ensuring that adoption practices protect the rights of children and both birth and adoptive families.
However, the non-refundable $500 fee increase (per child), due at the time of submission of service and fee agreement, amplifies our concern for the negative impact on vulnerable children in wait for a permanent family and the prospective adoptive families who will be unable to step forward to meet the needs of those children.
IAAME, the new accrediting entity, will begin collecting the Department of State’s mandated fees on new applicants for intercountry adoption as of February 15, 2018. We encourage those who have interest to contact your local representative to advocate for a better solution for waiting children around the world.
For more information about how you can help, click here.
With encouragement,
Robin E. Sizemore, Executive Director
Hopscotch Adoptions, Inc
Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Ghana, Guyana, Morocco, Serbia and Ukraine
Pre & Post-Adoption Services available to NY and NC residents
Ph: 336.899.0068
www.hopscotchadoptions.org

Monday, February 12, 2018

Harder to bring them home: Advocates worried over barriers to international adoption

djr-2018-02-11-news-international-adoptionp1
Mitchell and Dustin Shoumaker adopted siblings Gabe, 8, Maisy, 5, Evangeline, 3, and Olivia, 7 from Poland. The Tupelo couple and other advocates are concerned changes in international adoption could make it harder for others to open their hearts and homes.
When Mitchell and Dustin Shoumaker adopted siblings Gabe, Olivia and Maisy from Poland in December 2015, they knew they had unfinished business.
The Tupelo couple found out their three children had an infant sibling the night before they went to court in Poland, but little Evangeline wasn’t yet available for adoption. It took longer to adopt one child than three, even though Polish law favors keeping sibling groups together.
“Our first experience took nine months,” Mitchell Shoumaker said. “The second time, it took a year and a half.”
Some of the delay was specific to issues in Poland, but the Tupelo couple was also impacted by changes in the way intercountry adoptions are handled in the United States.
“It just took longer in America and Poland,” Mitchell Shoumaker said.
The Shoumakers consider themselves lucky. Evangeline was transferred to the same loving foster family that took care of her older siblings, and the Shoumakers were able to remain in contact with them during the process. They were able to bring the 3-year-old home to Tupelo this summer, and she is doing well.
“We are beyond thankful for that family because they loved our children so well,” Dustin Shoumaker said.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Take Action Today to Save International Adoption

Save Adoption and Keep Adoption Affordable!
Greetings!
It’s time for the adoption community to wake up and take action about the decline of inter-country adoption.
If the trend continues, inter-country adoptions will reach Zero in 4 years.
The new accrediting entity, IAAME, set their budget based on a decline of 20% from the previous year. Adoptions have declined by at least 1,000 cases every year since 2004. In 2016, there were only 5,200 adoptions. If the 1,000 per-year decline trend continues, inter-country adoptions will reach zero in just 4 years.
Take Action to Voice Your Concern
The National Council for Adoption is asking you to call your Senators and Congressmen to voice concern about the changes in inter-country adoption. Click here for more information about the Feb 7-8 call-in day to congress, the small business administration, and the media.
$500 Monitoring Fee Per Adopted Child
With new Dept of State regulations, families can expect to pay $500 extra per child they expect to adopt. This is a mandatory oversight fee that takes effect Feb 15, 2018. Adoption agency clients should expect fee schedules to change soon and reflect these new charges.
Survey of Agencies Shows Bleak Future
In 2006 there were 255 Hague-accredited agencies. In 2017, there were only 167. On average, one adoption agency per month goes out of business, or loses or forfeits its accreditation. If the trend of 1 agency losing or leaving behind its accreditation per month continues, one would conclude that there will be no Hague-accredited agencies left in 13 years. However, a recent survey of all Hague agencies shows a much bleaker future. Given the stifling regulation and more than tripling of accreditation fees, one-half of the Hague- accredited agencies have indicated that they plan not to seek accreditation at all with IAAME. This means they will either stop providing international adoption services, or yjey will merge with another agency that does. 
Accreditation Budget Increases by 1700%
The budget for COA, our previous accrediting entity, was about $170,000 per year. With new government regulation, the budget for IAAME, the new accrediting entity, will be $3.5 Million dollars.  Obviously, all of this cost will be passed on to adoptive families, representing about $1000 per family.  
Why is this happening?
For a simple answer to why inter-country adoption is on the decline read this blog post.
What Do We Want? 
Although there are many things the Department of State could do to increase adoptions, here are 4 simple requests which have been denied:
  1. Set a goal for the number of adoptions to increase. Goals matter. The Office of Children’s issues celebrates the number of adoption agencies closed down. This seems to be their goal and the accomplishment they advertise. Adoptions have declined from 24.000 annually to 5,000 annually. Would OCI like to see 4000 next year, or 6000 next year? We have no idea, but can only presume they want a decrease.
  2. End the US DOS self-imposed moratorium on adoptions from Guatemala, Cambodia, and Nepal. These counties want the US to participate in adoption, but the US won’t allow it.
  3. Abandon the concept of Country specific authorization in the September, 2016 proposed regulations
  4. Abandon the foster-style training requirement proposed in the September, 2016 regulations.
See more about these efforts at www.saveadoptions.org
Please take action to help save inter-country adoption.
Sincerely,
Robin E. Sizemore
Executive Director
Hopscotch Adoptions, Inc.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Your Department of State Will Now Take A Non-refundable $500 Fee Per Child. You’re Okay With That, Right?

Dear international adoption families, are you aware the Dept. of State is now requiring an additional $500 fee for every adopted child at the time of application, starting Feb. 15? (non-refundable).