Certificate of Citizenship fee is doubling on December 23rd for adopted children. If
your child is still in need of their Certificate of Citizenship, we
encourage you to act now to get this permanent document of their U.S.
Citizenship. In the following video, NCFA chats with McLane Layton
and Christine Poarch, experts in the Child Citizenship Act and
immigration law for adoption. They share why the Certificate of
Citizenship is important and why you should act now to get yours before
the price increase. You’ll also find answers to some FAQs that can help
you complete the N-600 form for the Certificate of Citizenship yourself.
A huge thanks to Christine Poarch and McLane Layton for joining us and sharing their expertise!
Strictly speaking, Nata Janberidze and Keti Toloraia began their
creative collaboration in a vacuum. When they started designing objects
and interiors a decade ago, fresh out of art school, their hometown
Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, a small country on the Black Sea that
spent much of the 20th century as part of the Soviet Union, had no
creative community for two young designers to gain inspiration from, or
any local market for the one-of-a-kind groundbreaking pieces they
designed under the distinctly Western, purposefully plain name Rooms.
She peered out from the baby carrier and immediately ducked back in,
petrified by the sparrow flitting above. I hadn’t yet told Guyana we
were at a zoo, with even scarier animals than sparrows. Of course, I
couldn’t fault my new daughter’s reaction to outside experiences too
much; nearly all her five years had been spent in five rooms at an
We strolled around the zoo in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital city, trying
to get used to each other. Guyana’s 24 pounds barely registered with
me, though I was intensely aware of her deadweight legs smashed crooked,
all thrown out of whack by her many physical challenges.
Natives stared with beautiful dark eyes. It isn’t normal to see
people with disabilities in public in this corner of the world,
especially not a miniature, halfway-paralyzed spitfire kangaroo-pouched
against an American woman. I felt as if we were a zoo exhibit ourselves.
But then an old lady stopped us, asked Guyana in Armenian who I was.
My daughter stopped shrieking over the terrifying ducks and deer long
enough to proudly announce, “My mama!”
Yes, I thought in awe. I am your mama, and you are my girl. Forever.
An intoxicating blend of ancient and modern, Tbilisi is bursting with
architectural gems, tucked-away eateries and late-night hangouts.
Little wonder then, that visitors are flocking there. Here’s our edit of
the city’s finest attractions.
Keep making calls – there are some new names coming in, but we could still use many more. Just a reminder that offices now have until MONDAY to get signatures on that letter. So, keep up that polite persistence.
Some news you may have already heard is the Small Business
Administration letter and comments have been publicly shared. A
tremendous amount of gratitude for their advocacy and support in
opposing these overreaching and detrimental proposed changes. This
might be info that is helpful to your Members of Congress to hear!
Attached is a sample letter (thanks to MLJ Adoptions) using that
resource. Check it out and consider using it yourself if you find it
Finally, these are the names who have signed onto this letter as of a
few hours ago… If yours aren’t on here, another outreach might be
helpful. And a quick thank you to the staffer is always remembered, if
they did sign on. Share, share, share!
On Tuesday, we asked you to call Congress
and ask them to sign a letter expressing concern about the Department
of State proposed intercountry adoption regulations. So far, even though
several Congressional offices have called the co-chairs of the
Congressional Coalition of Adoption with questions, the letter only has signatures from three Senators and four Representatives. If you made a call, send a reminder email to your office’s staffer today (click here to see our sample follow-up email).
If you haven’t made a call yet, it’s not too late. Make a call today –
all signatures must be in by Monday, November 21st, but calls should be
done sooner so Congressional staff have time to take a look and get it
approved by the Member of Congress. before the deadline to sign.
Being an advocate is easy! We chatted with Ashlie H. and Lydia T. who both called their Members of Congress this week. Here’s how it went!
You made some calls on Advocacy Day. Can you tell us about those?
Ashlie: I made calls on Advocacy Day to the offices of
Congresswoman Susan Brooks and Senator Daniel Coats. Before this, I
hadn’t been passionate about something enough to call my representatives
in office so this was my first experience. While calling Susan Brooks’
office, I was caught off guard because someone actually answered the
phone. I was expecting a machine. They were very nice and asked
questions about the reason for my call and we joked about how I was
flustered at first because I wasn’t expecting a live person. They were
very nice. For Senator Coat’s office, I did leave a lengthy voicemail
but I was a pro by this point so it was easy to state the reason for my
call and why I was concerned.
Lydia: I am first an adoptive mother and second an adoption
professional. I called Congressman Todd Young’s office and while I
didn’t speak directly with someone, their office did take my name and
information and promised I would hear back from them. I also left a
message with Senator Joe Donnelly’s office about the current issues.
Lydia and her family pose for a pic.
Why was it so important to you to call your Members of Congress?
Ashlie: I have the privilege of being called "Mommy" by two of
the most beautiful children from Bulgaria. Adoption has grown and
completed our family. I feel strongly that all children belong in a
loving, forever home and the Bible calls us all to advocate for those
who have no voice. When I was calling, I was calling for the children without a voice.
I feel that adoption is already so hard, so lengthy, so expensive… it’s
easy to turn your back on the idea. Unfortunately, turning your back on
that idea will rob so many of the greatest joys. International
adoptions have decreased by 75% since 2004 AND over 80% of people who
have thought about adoption did not follow through because of the
expenses and time involved. I cannot fathom why our government deems it
necessary to add more time, fees, and regulation to an already long and
expensive process. This will deter even more families from following through, and it’s the children who suffer.
I wish those sitting behind a desk thinking up these new regulations
would go and visit orphanages all over the world. Then they would see
the need. They would ask why it was so hard. Why these children do not
know the love of a family. It’s heartbreaking and we must do something.
Lydia: It was important to me, again, as an adoptive parent to
create an awareness of the proposed changes because I know from
firsthand experience what a family means to children who are waiting
around the world. Also, as an adoption professional, I wanted my
representatives to understand what an impact this could make to the
future of adoption, and what is in the best interest of a child.
If I sit back and do nothing children will suffer, my job could be at
risk and even worse children could lose what the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child has legally determined as their
right to a family. Because I have witnessed what neglect, abuse, and
trauma have done to impact my children, I can’t sit back and not do all I can to protect children who do not have the love, security and protection that a family offers.
Ashlie and Mr. H. with their two children.
What are you going to do next to help bring change for intercountry adoption?
Ashlie: I have been sharing links and ways to advocate for
children on my social media pages, as well as within adoption forums and
groups with other adoptive parents. I have sent emails to my State Rep
and State Senators and have made phone calls on behalf of the orphans
all over the world. In the meantime, I will continue to tell our story
in hopes that it inspires another family to grow their family through
adoption. As a family we will donate to families in-process when we can
and we will continue to help other families in-process with questions
and help in whatever way we can post-adoption.
Here is a photo of our family. Our adoption from Bulgaria took just
shy of two years from start to home. We have been home since Oct. 30,
2015. Our children are healthy, silly, happy, doing well in school,
making friends and are constantly keeping us on our toes. Life is good
and I pray that many other families will be able to know the joy of
adoption. It’s miraculous.
Lydia: I have shared with my family, friends and client
families how anyone can make a difference in the life of an orphan – by
speaking up and giving them a voice. While international adoptions have
been on a significant decline, sadly the number of orphans continues to
grow. We have a responsibility to children everywhere to give them
opportunity to their right to a family.
If you called your Congressional offices, take a moment to follow-up
with them via email to remind them to sign the letter to Secretary Kerry
by Monday, November 22nd. Keep your follow-up quick and concise!
Below is a sample email. If you don’t have the email address of the
staffer who handles international adoption issues, no worries! Just the
call the Congressional office again and ask for an email address.
Dear [name of the staffer you spoke with]:
I was just checking back to see if you’d had a chance to ask Senator/Representative XXX about signing the letter
expressing concern about the Proposed Intercountry Adoption
Regulations. We really hope to have his support on this issue. Let me
know if I can provide any information that might help.
Please contact any of the following offices by Monday, November 22nd to sign on to this important letter.
As you may know, the U.S. Department of State has proposed new
regulations that may significantly impact international adoption. While
National Council For Adoption supports some of the themes these proposed
regulations set out to address, the impact of these rules is worrisome
to adoptive families and adoption professionals.
That’s why we need your voice on November 15th for a special Adoption Advocacy Day!
What’s it all about?
“If adoptive families had any idea of what was going on, I think
they would be outraged … We’re so busy just doing paperwork for
adoptions that frankly we barely have time to fight this.” – Lucy Armistead, Adoption Professional
We have an opportunity to provide feedback on these regulations. This week, Congress drafted this letter
to the Department of State expressing their concerns. In order for this
letter to have maximum impact, we need as many Representatives/Senators
to sign it as possible!
Make a difference on 11/15!
During National Adoption Month, help us celebrate adoption by using
your voice to create a better future for children living outside of
family care. Call your Senators and Representative TODAY and ask them to
sign their name to the Congressional letter by Friday, November 18th.
Here’s how to be an awesome adoption advocate:
Step 1. Call your Representative and both Senators. (Yes! All three! Find contact information for your Members of Congress here.)
Step 2. Ask to speak with the person who handles international adoption issues.
Step 3.Make it personal! Introduce yourself and your
connection to adoption. Educate the staffer about the Department of
State’s proposed regulation changes that will impact intercountry
adoptions. Staffers juggle dozens of issues every day, so they may not
have heard about these regulations. This is your opportunity to inform and educate! (Here is an example of what to say on your phone call.) Remember staff time is limited, so be clear and concise.
Step 4. Ask their office to sign the congressional letter to Secretary Kerry expressing concerns by Friday, November 18, 2016. They can contact any of the following Congressional offices to sign on:
Step 5. Ask for the staffer’s email address! This way, you can:
Thank them for talking to you. Kindness Counts!
Forward them the letter with written instructions. (See our follow-up email template below!)
Dial the phone first! Then use social media to boost the impact!
The BEST way to make your voice heard is by calling. It’s easy and
only takes minutes! Social media posts are largely ineffective and
emails or letters can be overlooked in a mountain of messages. Here are
tips from former staffer Emily Ellsworth on how to be an effective advocate, and why phone calls are the best method of communication. Social media is a great way to educate your friends and family about this issue. Get the word out by sharing this Adoption Advocacy Day post TODAY. Tell Congress why adoption matters to you!
Sample Follow-Up Email
Dear [name of the international adoption staffer],
Thanks for taking my call today! I hope Representative/Senator XYZ will support this letter to prevent the Department of State’s proposed regulations from negatively impacting adoptive families.
Join Senators Blunt and Klobuchar and Representatives Franks and
Lawrence (the Congressional Coalition on Adoption co-chairs) and others
in this important effort to support adoptive families.
Please contact any of the following offices by Friday, November 18th to sign on to this important letter.
Creating A Family Podcast:
Our guests to talk about sibling adoption are Kimberly Offutt, a social
worker at Bethany Christian Services and Erin Q. Nasmyth, a licensed
clinical social worker with Hopscotch Adoptions, who has spent spent the
last ten years working with families and children in the foster care
system, in child mental health, and supporting families in adoption.