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* Australia has closed its international adoption program with Ethiopia citing long waits for prospective adoptive parents and an "increasingly unpredictable, complex and uncertain"environment in the adoption forum.
* November. 9 2012: The Ministry of Women, Children, and Youth Affairs in Ethiopia has temporarily suspended services to US adoption agencies International Adoption Guides and Adoption Advocates International. This suspension follows reports of abuse to Ethiopian adoptees placed with U.S. families by these agencies. This suspension of services applies to new cases only.
While court hearings may be assigned, the suspension of services may prevent a final decision from the Federal First Instance Court, or a final decree from the Ministry, from being issued. The Ministry indicated that this action is temporary, and that a final determination will only be made once the Ministry has sufficient opportunity to investigate the abuse cases and to review the actions taken by the agencies to address the situation. Check the the US Department of State's website for additional information.
* In January, April and September, 2011, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, the Office of Children’s Issues of the Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducted public meetings to address concerns about the quality and completeness of intercountry adoption cases presented in Ethiopia.
Around 80% of I-600 petitions submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa in recent months were incomplete, contained inconsistencies or errors, or did not contain sufficient evidence to document the child as an orphan under U.S. law. In addition, the Embassy continues to see cases which involve abandoned children but do not include sufficient evidence to document the abandonment and/or evidence of appropriate efforts to locate a child’s birth family. The Embassy also has received evidence of unethical recruitment of children from birth relatives and cases involving known birth parents from whom parental rights have not been severed by the Ethiopian courts. In these cases, consular officers in Addis will need to take additional measures to confirm that a child meets the legal definition of orphan, which could delay processing by several months. Read more on the PEAR website.
* The Ethiopian Government has revoked Better Futures Adoption Services’ registration to operate in Ethiopia, including its ability to perform intercountry adoptions.
* U.S. Embassy Kyiv has learned the proposed bill to place a moratorium on intercountry adoptions in the Ukrainian parliament has once again been postponed. There has been no announcement of a rescheduled date. In order to best prepare for all possibilities in Ukraine, Embassy Kyiv encourages any prospective adoptive parents with cases currently open in
Ukraine to contact the U.S. Embassy Kyiv Adoption Unit with their case status and contact information.
* There have been cases in which adoptive parents have been asked to pay a fee for an exit clearance letter in Liberia. Liberia’s Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization does not charge a fee for the exit clearance letter. Any requests for such fees should be immediately reported to your embassy.
* The US Embassy Moscow does not require a power of attorney notarized by a U.S. notary for IR-3 cases. However, if only one parent is present at the visa interview, proof that both parents have met the child (a photograph of the absent parent with the child) is required. A power of attorney is required for IR-4 cases if the petitioner is not present at the interview.
* The USDOS and USCIS has announced a decision to suspend processing cases of anonymously abandoned children in Nepal. The process has been halted because children who were temporarily placed in orphanages by their parents were being offered to prospective adoptive families in the US. Adoptions from Nepal were also suspended by the governments of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, England and Italy. Cases already underway as of this decision are being processed to conclusion. Learn more here.
* The U.S. Embassy Kyiv (Ukraine) now requires advance appointments for all adoption cases. The process takes 2 days and includes document intake on the first day and a full visa interview on the next business day. Barring any problems, the visa will be issued the end of the second day. No adoption processing will take place on the last Friday of the month. The Consular Section is closed on Ukrainian and American holidays.
* Parents For Ethical Adoption Reform (PEAR) has assembled a free "Guide to Researching US Adoption Agencies." Download it here.
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