Articles Posted in Adoption

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The number of foreign children adopted by american citizens dropped significantly last year. Countries that were affected by this decline included Russia, Ukraine, China, and South Korea. There were, however, an increase in foreign adoptions in Liberia, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and Haiti.

According to the U.S. State Department, international adoption figures dipped from 22,728 in 2005 to 20,679. For the 15 years prior to last year, these numbers had been dramatically increasing.

In China, the number one source of foreign adoptions for Americans, figures there fell from 7906 to 6493 last year. In Russia, previously the number two place for adoptions, the rate of foreign adoptions from there dropped to 3,706. Romania has banned adoptions by foreign parents, unless they are related to the child. Kazakhstan and Ukraine are now making it mandatory for foreign parents to turn in regular reports about their adopted children.

Guatemala, now the number two spot for adoptions by U.S. parents, saw their number of foreign adoptions grow to 4135. This figure, however, may change this year. The US is scheduled to ratify the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions. The pact has tough standards that Guatemala doesn’t meet and adoptions from there could be suspended.
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China, the number one source of international adoptions by Americans says it will tighten its rules on foreign adoptions. People who are single, older than 50, obese, or fail to meet certain physical, psychological, or emotional benchmarks will not be allowed to adopt Chinese babies.

The new rules are a result of the increase in adoptions by foreign-born parents-the number of applicants are far larger than the amount of available babies. In the fiscal year of 2006, the U.S. State Department granted 6,493 visas to Chinese orphans adopted by American parents. The new regulations, to be officially announced by the Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs, will take effect on May 1, 2007.

According to U.S. adoption agencies, the guidelines are intended to have Chinese babies adopted by families that they believe possess the qualities and values essential to making sure that the babies are raised in stable, healthy environments. Adoption agencies are having to turn down applications who don’t fit the criteria.

Criteria for applicants include:

· A body-mass index of less than 40.
· No criminal record.
· A high school diploma.
· Being free of certain health problems.
· Being married for at least two years.
· Having no more than two divorces between a couple; a couple with a divorce in their history must be married for at least five years.
· A combined net worth of at least $80,000.

Since 1991, American have adopted over 55,000 Chinese babies.
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More than 75 babies and teenagers were officially adopted by families in Alameda County Superior Court on Saturday, November 18. Some of these children had already been living with these families as foster children, while others were arriving at new homes for the very first time.
A spokeswoman for the Alameda County Social Services says that there are almost 3000 children in the county who belong to the foster care system.

National Adoption Day, celebrated every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, is a day when thousands of children across the United States are formally adopted by families. Like Adoption Awareness Month, National Adoption Day takes place every year to raise awareness that there are more than 100,000 children in the U.S. who are waiting to find permanent homes.

National Adoption offers the following statistics about adoption:

· There are an estimated 523,000 children in foster care in the United States, and more than 119,000 of them are waiting to be adopted.
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Across the United States, adoptive parents, adoptees, and adoptive families are celebrating National Adoption Awareness Month.

The annual commemoration, established in 1990, is designed to raise adoption awareness and bring attention to the tens of thousands of children in foster care that are still waiting to be adopted.

This year, national adoption day will be on November 18, when courts across the country will finalize thousands of adoptions of children from foster care.

Goals of National Adoption Day 2006:
· Finalize adoptions from foster care in all 50 states.
· Celebrate and honor all families that adopt.
· Raise awareness about the 114,000 children in foster care waiting for adoption.
· Encourage others to adopt children from foster care.
· Build collaboration among local adoption agencies, courts and advocacy organizations.
· Through research, learn more about families wanting to adopt and the children waiting to be adopted,
· Find more permanent, loving homes for children in foster care.
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In the United States, more than 10 years after signing the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, the U.S. is finally close to implementing the global treaty. The treaty, which hopefully will be ratified next year, will govern all adoptions that take place in the countries that have ratified it. While it will be against the law for Americans to adopt a child from countries that have ratified the treated but are not obeying its rules, Americans can still adopt children from countries that have not signed the treaty.

The Hague Convention is seen as a major step for making international adoptions safer for children, as well for biological and adoptive parents.

Countries will have to follow specific procedures and guidelines, including:

· Adoption agencies being required to work harder to collect health information about the children, as well as information about a child’s biological parents.
· Establishing a central authority to monitor all of a country’s adoptions.
· Ensuring that any person or agency that arranges an adoption is accredited. The Council on Accreditation and the Colorado Department of Human Services will take care of the accreditation process in the U.S.
· Requiring agencies to disclose the full cost of adoption at the start of the process.
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A Malawi Court has scheduled a November 15 hearing for the resumption of pop superstar Madonna’s international adoption case. The Human Rights Consultative Committee is asking the court to ensure that no Malawian laws have been violated during the adoption process. They are also asking to be involved in the process to evaluate the singer’s capacity to bring up the baby according to his best interests. Attorneys for Madonna say no Malawian laws have been broken.

International adoption is essentially a private legal matter between a private individual (or couple) who wishes to adopt and a foreign court, which operates under that country’s laws and regulations. Should any issues or complications arise during the adoption process, U.S. authorities are unable to intervene on behalf of prospective parents with the courts in the country where the adoption is taking place.

What the U.S. State Department Can Do:
· Provide information about international adoption in countries around the world.
· Provide general information about U.S. visa requirements for international adoption.
· Make inquiries of the U.S. consular section abroad regarding the status of a specific adoption case and clarify documentation or other requirements.
· Ensure that U.S. citizens are not discriminated against by foreign authorities or courts in accordance with local law on adoptions.
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The Bay Area Heart Gallery Exhibit is currently showcasing photographs of 50 Bay Area foster kids who are waiting to be adopted. The traveling exhibit can be seen at the Berkeley Public Library, Central Branch and the Downtown Berkeley YMCA from October 2-31. The exhibit, which began touring on April 26, will eventually have been experienced by people in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sonoma Counties.

According to statistics collected through 2001 and provided by the California Department of Social Services Reporting System:

· Approximately 102,000 children are in foster care in California. Almost one third of foster children are under 6 years old. Over half the children in foster care are under 11 years old. Many of these children are waiting to be adopted.

· Almost half of the children in foster care have siblings who are also in foster care.

· 31% of children in foster care are White, while a majority (69%) are of minority backgrounds. Of these, 32% of all children are Black, 33% are Hispanic, 1% are American Indian, and 3% are Asian/Pacific Islander.

· In the decade between 1983 and 1993, the number of children in foster care increased 154% in California.
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The court of appeals held that Prob. Code 1516.5 , which authorizes a trial court to declare a child free from parental custody and control if the child would benefit from adoption by a legal guardian who has had custody for at least two years, is constitutional. It futher held that Probate Code 1516. 5 is retroactive, and applies after two year of guardianship, regardless of whether part of the two year period occurred before the statue became law.
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