Monday, May 15, 2017

Christianity Today Reports on Tragic Guatemalan Orphanage Fire


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Christianity Today – March 2017 reported the following:
Earlier this month, a fire at an orphanage outside of Guatemala’s capital caught international attention. Forty children died of carbon monoxide poisoning and burns; the tragic event drew worldwide condemnation.

But the aftermath of the fire has given hope to those who work with the Central American country’s orphans. As the government turns to evangelicals for help, it seems the tragedy may spark the breakthrough many have been praying for.

In some ways, the tragic blaze—set intentionally by children locked in the overcrowded facility—was not unexpected by evangelical experts. In 2006, Orphan Outreach founder Mike Douris told the Guatemalan government that the orphanage’s design wasn’t a good idea.

The government went ahead and built it anyway—another link in a chain of wrong moves. For decades, Guatemala has had some of the worst child welfare practices on the planet.

In 2015, the country had the second-highest rate of child murders in the world. Of the crimes against children that get reported—including murder, rape, kidnapping—most go unpunished (88%). An estimated 2 in 5 children are malnourished. Among indigenous children, that rises to 4 in 5. Tales of overcrowding, abuse, and malnutrition leak out of orphanages like the one near the nation’s capital, Guatemala City, where dozens died in the recent fire.

The infamous orphanage, the Virgen de la AsunciĆ³n, was built for 400 children but housed about 750. Inside, orphans were physically and sexually abused by staff and by other children. There were complaints about water leaks and poor food quality. Only 3 of the 64 security cameras in the building were working.

The conditions resemble fellow public orphanages, which house about 1,200 children in Guatemala. At least three times as many live in private orphanages (about 4,000), but that’s still a small fraction of the 370,000 orphans that UNICEF estimates live in the country. Since Guatemala has no foster care system and very few domestic adoptions, virtually every child removed from a neglectful or abusive situation is sent to an orphanage. Many more live on the streets.

KEEP THE PROMISE 2017!

The Office of Children’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State has declared May 15th Post-Adoption Report Day. It’s an opportunity to highlight the importance that parents who have adopted through intercountry adoption keep their promises and submit post-adoption reports as they committed to during the adoption process.

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Here are 3 simple reasons NCFA believes Post-Adoption Reporting matters!
  1. You promised!
    As a part of the adoption process, you were entrusted with the care of your child and promised to share about their future experiences. While it is easy to forget about extra paperwork in the important work of caring for your children, we think keeping your promise to report back on the wellbeing of your child is critically important. 
  2. It’s a great opportunity for reflection.
    Post-adoption reports are a good time to do some reflection and assessment. Consider your reporting dates an opportunity, not an obligation.  You can review and celebrate progress and milestones. Take a moment to consider what types of support might help your child (and you!) to grow and thrive. And consider what your goals are for your child and your family between now and the next reporting date. It’s also a terrific time to touch base with your adoption agency or other adoption professionals if you need any support. For some countries, you’re required to connect with your agency at this time anyway. It’s a natural and convenient time to touch base about any questions, concerns, or supports your family might find valuable.
  3. You’re helping to support future adoptions.
    Post-adoption reports are one of the ways countries assess whether children are healthy, safe, and loved as a result of intercountry adoption. This information can be critical to deciding whether future children will have the option to join families through intercountry adoption or might otherwise languish in institutions or other impermanent situations.
So, what exactly is a post-adoption report? While the number and timing of reports required varies, generally the report’s goal is to discuss the child’s development and adjustment to a new family, home, and country. It’s important to pay special attention to the specific requirements in the country a child is adopted from. The type of information, how it should be assessed (through an agency or by parents themselves), and how it should be submitted can vary widely from country to country. Below, we’ve listed some basic information on several countries reporting requirements. If you have specific questions about what your reporting requirements are, we encourage you to reach out to your adoption service provider to learn more. Department of State also provides country specific information and can be contacted if you need more information.
Post-Adoption Report Requirements
We aren’t listing in detail all the country requirements, but wanted to give examples of some common countries of origin and their general guidelines, we’ve also linked through to more specific information at Department of State for each country. Of course, the best way to get information on what is required for your adoption is always to contact your adoption service provider and confirm what was required by the country at the time of your adoption and any other requirements the agency might have that you agreed to during the adoption process.

Bulgaria: 4 reports required. One every six months after adoption for first two years.

China: 6 reports required. Six months after adoption and at 1,2,3,4, and 5 years after adoption. First 3 reports must be prepared by the social workers who prepared the homestudy. Families may write last three reports themselves.

Colombia: 4 reports—signed by social worker—at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months from the date of the final court decree which is signed while the family is in Colombia.

Ethiopia: Post-adoption reports are required at 3, 6, and 12 months post-adoption. After the first year, reports must be filed yearly until child turns 18.

Haiti: 7 post-adoption reports are typically required. The first 4 must be completed with the adoption service provider at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after adoption. The last 3 reports at moths 36, 48, and 60 may be submitted directly to IBESR by adoptive parents.

India: Post-adoption reports are required quarterly in the first year after adoption, and twice a year during the 2nd year. They may be submitted online by the adoption service provider.

Kazakhstan: Post-adoption reports are required every six months for the first 3 years, and once a year until the child is 18. Reports are to be submitted to Kazakhstani diplomatic mission in the country of the child’s residence.

Philippines: During the first 6 months of custody the adoption service provider must conduct bi-monthly reports. After this period, adoptive parents should file a petition for adoption in U.S. court.

Russia: Russia requires children to be registered with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs before they leave Russia or with the Russian Embassy or Consulate upon arrive in the U.S. 4 post-adoption reports are required. The reports should be completed: (1) 5 months after adoption court order and submitted no later than the end of the 7th month, (2) 11 months after adoption court order and no later than then end of the 13th month, (3) 23 months after adoption court order and submitted no later than the end of the 25th month, and (4) 35 months after adoption court order and no later than then end of the 37th month.

Ukraine: Post-adoption reports are required annually for the first 3 years, and once every 3 years thereafter until the child is 18.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Attention Alabama Families: IAC Presents "Adoption Boot Camp" – June 3rd, 2017

The International Adoption Clinic at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham (AL) will be hosting a live seminar entitled “Adoption Boot Camp” on June 3rd, 2017 from 8:30am to 5:00pm in the Bradley Lecture Hall at Children’s Hospital.

The focus of Adoption Boot Camp will be on internationally and domestically adopted children or those children in the foster care setting. Discussed will be the awareness of medical, emotional, and developmental needs to expect once home.

While hosted on the same date, our domestic and international focused seminars are held separately so that the focus is on the specific needs of those families, whether adopting from the U.S. or another country. 

Please forward this flyer to any family going through the domestic/foster care or international adoption process OR families already home with their child who you feel would take great benefit from these topics.

The seminar is also opened to professionals within the field of adoption or who would like further education on these topics. CEUs will be available for both social workers and nurses. If you are a professional seeking to attend, please see the flyer noted “for professionals” flyer and pass along to others that will benefit from this educational seminar.

The deadline to register will be: May 20th, 2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Announcing The New AdoptTogether.org



AdoptTogether has officially partnered with Pure Charity to become:
ADOPTTOGETHER powered by Pure Charity
 
Their new partnership will be official this Wednesday, April 26.
 
All of your basic questions & answers about their new partnership is featured below, but feel free to email Sueann@adopttogether.org with any further questions!

We are so EXCITED!

Here's to a brighter future for all AdoptTogether families, and greater strides towards the vision of a world with a family for every child!
 
Five Changes You May Notice on the New AdoptTogether.org
 
1. A New Look
AdoptTogether.org is going to look far different than before. Essentially, it will have all the same functionality with an upgraded look and feel to make donating and creating a profile just as easy as before. NOTE: All preexisting family profile information and donation history will automatically be transferred to the new site.


2. A Transition Period
Real talk, whenever a website gets a massive overhaul like the one AdoptTogether has gone through, you can expect the occasional hiccup. Things you may notice could be anything from a broken link, a few grammatical errors, and a slight delay in data being transferred over from the old to the new site. For instance, profile changes and donations made after Friday 4/21 will be reflected on the new site by the end of this week. If you have already received an AdoptTogether Grant, it will appear on your Grant Dashboard within the next two weeks.


3. The Grant Submission Process
AdoptTogether.org now features a Grant Request Portal for families to quickly and easily request their funds raised through AdoptTogether. This process is one of the fundamental services AdoptTogether provides families, and it just got a whole lot more efficient!


4. New Tools For Your Profile   
AdoptTogether profiles will now come with a variety of upgraded features, which include an enhanced ability to track your donor activity, view your Grant Request status and history, display a geotag showing the region where you’re adopting from, and upload videos to keep your network informed and engaged with your family's progress!


5. Resources
To aide families in the adoption process, the AdoptTogether team has collected and created over 80 resources full of information about everything from "How to Start the Adoption Process," to "What You Need to Know the First Day Your Child Comes Home." We hope these new resources will be a valuable asset to families for years to come!

If you still have any questions about the new partnership please email Sueann@adopttogether.org.

Cheers!
Hank
CEO & Founder | AdoptTogether

Friday, April 21, 2017

Adoption Alert—Suspension of Adoptions from Ethiopia

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On April 21, an official from Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women and Children (MOWA) informed U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa that it is suspending its processing of intercountry adoption cases, effective immediately. The U.S. Department of State does not yet know how long this suspension will last. The Office of Children’s Issues and the Embassy are working with MOWA to seek more information on the terms of the suspension. We will urge MOWA to complete processing of cases that were in progress prior to this suspension.

If you have questions about your pending case, please contact your Adoption Service Provider. You may also write to ConsAdoptionAddis@state.gov if you have questions about an adoption-related visa application or immigrant petition. You may copy the Office of Children’s Issues at Adoption@state.gov on your email to the Embassy if you wish.

Please continue to monitor adoption.state.gov for updated information on intercountry adoption in Ethiopia.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

New Contact Information for the National Benefit Center

Dear Adoption Community,

We would like to share the following information we received from the National Benefits Center:
Effective today, the National Benefits Center will consolidate our public email boxes into one box.

We will only use NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov and have deactivated NBC.Hague@uscis.dhs.gov.

We are in the process of updating our contact information on https://www.uscis.gov/adoption/uscis-adoption-contact-information.

In the meantime, messages received to the NBC.Hague mailbox will be automatically redirected to the NBC.Adoptions mailbox through a system ‘rule’ for one year, expiring on May 1, 2018.

We would appreciate your assistance in directing your staff and our customers to NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov going forward. Our contact telephone number remains the same (877-424-8374).

Sincerely,

The Office of Children’s Issues
Official  UNCLASSIFIED