CCAI Featured in Award-winning Documentary Film about International Adoption

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We are proud to announce that STUCK—an award winning documentary about international adoption—features CCAI’s Executive Director, Kathleen Strottman. As Kathleen explains in the documentary, which uncovers the personal, real life stories of adopted children and their parents, “the right to a family is a basic human right and our policies have to start recognizing that.”   The film also features CCA Co-Chair Senator Mary Landrieu, Senator Richard Lugar and Charles Nelson, Co-Principal Investigator of the Bucharest Early Intervention Project.

On March 1st, Both Ends Burning Founder Craig Juntenen will be launching a 60 city bus tour to promote the film and issue a call to action for the United States Government to promote international adoption as a worthy and effective way to find homes for children without families.

To view the trailer for STUCK, follow this link: http://vimeo.com/bebcampaign/stuckthemovie

To learn about how you can help spread the word about STUCK, click here: http://bothendsburning.org/involved/

Update on Russian Ban on Intercountry Adoptions to the United States

 

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Following the January 22, 2013 Russian Supreme Court Letter on Implementation of Federal Law No. 272-FZ, CCAI has continued to work closely with Members of Congress and our partners inside Russia.  In situations like these, CCAI’s priority is to ensure that the U.S. government is aware of all individuals directly impacted and have the information necessary to act on their behalf.  The following are actions that have occurred since our last update:

House Resolution 24: Expressing the deep disappointment of the House of Representatives in the enactment by the Russia Government of a law ending inter-country adoptions of Russian children by United States citizens…

  • Introduced on January 14, 2013 by Congressional Coalition on Adoption Co-Chairs Representatives Michele Bachmann and Karen Bass.
  • House Resolution 24 language matches that of Senate Resolution 628 (introduced in the 112th Congress on Dec. 30, 2012).

January 17, 2013 House Letter to President Putin  

  • Led by Representatives Chris Smith and Michael Fitzpatrick, 46 U.S. Representatives signed a letter to President Putin appealing to him for humanitarian reasons to not apply the January 1, 2013 ban of adoptions of Russian children to the United States to those several hundred adoptions already in process when the ban was enacted.
  • Noted that many of the children who are impacted by the ban on adoptions already know their U.S. adoptive families and have even recently been visited by them.
  • Encouraged President Putin to work together with the U.S. to “ensure that children are moved from institutions to family care.”

January 18, 2013 Bicameral Letter to President Putin

  • Led by Senator Blunt and CCA Co-Chairs Senators Landrieu and Inhofe and Representatives Bachmann and Bass, 72 Members of Congress signed this letter to President Putin requesting that the Russian Federation allow the processing of the pending adoptions of children already matched in 2012 to U.S. families.
  • Noted that many of these children have special needs, and “many believed they were soon going to become a part of a safe, permanent and loving family.”
  • Appealed to the spirit of the bilateral adoption agreement the two countries entered into on November 1, 2012 to provide orphaned children with safe and loving homes.

January 18, 2013 Bicameral Letter to President Obama

  • Led by Senator Blunt and CCA Co-Chairs Senators Landrieu and Inhofe and Representatives Bachmann and Bass, 73 Members of Congress signed this letter to President Obama.
  • Noted that Russia’s Ministry of Science and Education estimates over 110,000 children in Russia are living in institutions, with only 7,400 adopted by Russian families annually.
  • Appealed to President Obama to work to reverse the ban, but also to prioritize in the United States’ discussions with Russia in the coming weeks the estimated 350-500 active adoption cases with Russian children.

January 14, 2013 Russian Response Letter to December 21, 2012 Congressional Letter to President Putin

  • On January 14, Ambassador-at-Large Konstantin Dolgov – Russian Foreign Ministry’s Special Representative on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law – responded to a December 21, 2012 letter from 16 Members of Congress in an immediate response to the news of what was then a potential ban of adoptions from Russia to the United States.
  • Ambassador Dolgov’s letter stated that “[a]ccusations that Russia has violated the [U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child] by adopting the Dima Yakovlev Law are absolutely ungrounded” and are instead aimed at prioritizing domestic adoptions in Russia.  Suggesting that abuse of Russian children by American families has regularly occurred recently, and “the openly inactive attitude of competent U.S. agencies towards these issues has provoked a particular indignation and incomprehension in the public opinion, political and parliamentary circles in Russia.”  In response to appeals to the November 1, 2012 bilateral adoption agreement between the two countries, the letter states, “in practice we see that the U.S. side is actually sabotaging the provisions of the document.”  “The decision taken by the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation to ban the adoption of Russian children to the U.S. was a difficult but necessary measure provoked by a consistently non-constructive position of the U.S. federal and local authorities.”

For more information, please visit CCAI’s Russia Page on our website, see the “Russia Bans Adoptions to the United States” section of our January 15, 2013 Legislative Update,

U.S. State Department Releases FY 2012 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions

As required by the Intercountry Adoption Act, passed by Congress in 2000, the U.S. State Department recently sent its FY 2012 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption to the Hill. According to the report, the total number of intercountry adoptions to the US in 2012 has dropped to 8,668, as compared to 9,320 in FY 2011. This decline, which has been a trend in recent years, is the result of several factors.

First, countries that have been longtime partners with the United States in international adoption have experienced significant reductions in the number of children adopted by United States Citizens.  For instance, in 2005, 14,493 Chinese children were adopted by US families as opposed to 2,697 adoptions in 2012.  Similarly, in 2004 Russian adoptions peaked at 9,425, compared to 748 last year and Korea dropped from 2,287 US adoptions in 2003 to 627 in 2012.

Secondly, several countries, that at one point had significant numbers of children being placed with families in the United States, have closed their international adoption programs altogether. In 2007, the year that the Guatemalan Congress passed its international adoption reform legislation, there were 4,844 adoptions of Guatemalan children by US families and in the same year, Vietnam, which has also since suspended adoptions, placed 1,692 of their children with families the United States.  Cambodia, which has been closed to international adoption since 2001, was at the time one of the top ten countries, with 800 children a year being adopted by US families.

In either case, the declines are attributable to one of two things, or a combination thereof.  First, countries such as Korea, China, and Russia have made sincere efforts to increase the number of children adopted domestically in their respective countries.  There is also some evidence to suggest that the number of children being abandoned in these countries has declined. Secondly, there has been a tremendous amount of pressure put on developing countries to shut down their international programs to prevent or guard against fraudulent or corruptive practices in the adoption process.

There are some other trends that are worth noting. Four out of five of 5 of Hague compliant countries that facilitated the most adoptions, reported having average processing times of over a year, with India reporting 606 days being needed to complete a case.  Given the importance of a strong and reliable connection to a family for a child of any age, it is worth looking at if there are ways to appropriately shorten these timeframes.

And there is a bit of good news.  According to the US State Department, 99 US born children had their dream of a family fulfilled by a family outside of the United States, an increase from last year (73).  The report notes that the majority of these families are in Ireland, Netherlands and Canada.  What this shows is that the United States is committed to looking anywhere in the world to find a safe and loving home for its children.

So what does all this mean?  First off, it is important to remember that there is no such thing as an “ideal” number of international adoptions.  While international adoption is an important tool for countries to use in reducing the number of children living outside of family care, it is not always the best or most appropriate option for every child.  That being said, there is an ideal number of children living outside the care and protection of a family; ZERO.

CCAI hopes that the recently released report and others like it will serve as evidence of the need for the US government to take the lead in the effort to reduce the number of children living outside of family care and will continue to support the efforts of federal policy makers to move us in this direction.

 

FY 2012 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption

The five countries that facilitated the most intercountry adoptions into the U.S. in FY 2012:

Country FY 2012 (# of incoming cases) FY 2011 (# of incoming cases)
China 2,697 (31% of all intercountry adoptions) 2,589
Ethiopia 1,568 (18%) 1,727
Russia 748 (9%) 970
Korea 627 (7%) 736
Ukraine 395 (4.5%) 632

The 5 Countries that comply with the Hague convention that facilitated the most adoptions, average number of days to completion, and median adoption fees per country in FY 2012:

Country FY 2012 (incoming cases) Average days to completion Median adoption fees
China 2,309 267 $15,600
Columbia 180 403 $18,300
India 153 606 $14,600
Bulgaria 121 388 $13,140
Philippines 118 400 $8,500

The Total number of outgoing intercountry adoptions from the U.S. in FY 2012:

FY 2012 FY 2011
99 cases 73 cases

The three countries with the highest number of intercountry adoptions from the U.S. in FY 2012:

Country FY 2012 (# of outgoing cases) FY 2011 (# of outgoing cases)
Canada 41 31
Netherlands 28 27
Ireland 14 5