Incorrect birthdates on Certificate of Citizenship: please share your story

I’m passing this request on from another adoption agency. If you have a friend who has faced this problem, please point them here. Personal adoption stories are an extremely effective force for policy change.

Please help me collect stories of families who have had difficulties changing incorrect birthdates on Certificates of Citizenship.

If your child was assigned an incorrect birth date in their country of origin and you have had difficulty having it corrected on their Certificate of Citizenship, I would appreciate hearing from you. I would also appreciate hearing from you if you were successful in having it changed by CIS. I am collecting stories so that I can garnish congressional support for remedying this problem. Having stories from real families will help illustrating the magnitude of this problem. Please send your story, concerns, input to me at anne + @ + I can also be reached by phone or U.S. mail at numbers below.

Anne M. Johnson, M.S.W./L.C.S.W.
Children and Families First, Inc.
583 D’Onofrio Drive Ste 220
Madison, Wisconsin 53551

Readoption -vs- domestication: finalizing an international adoption in South Carolina

The following information is adapted from the post-adoption support files here at Carolina Hope. Note that this information is directly applicable only to SC residents who have adopted from overseas. The information provided here should not be construed as legal advice, for which you should see a qualified attorney.

Once you are home with your child, it is important to get a State-issued birth certificate for him or her. Here in South Carolina you have a choice between doing a domestication of the adoption — which you can do without an attorney — or readoption, which requires the help of an attorney. Both domestication and readoption will give you a South Carolina-issued birth certificate.

If you came home on an IR-3 visa, your child became a U.S. citizen as soon as your plane landed in the States. So why choose readoption rather than domestication? The main reason is that readoption terminates under South Carolina law any rights of your child’s birth parents over your child. Carolina Hope has had more than one incident in which an overseas orphanage was shut down, and the orders of adoption for children from that orphanage were nullified. While this is not common, it is a very serious thing, and readopting your child here in the U.S. will strongly affirm the legality of your child’s adoption and help prevent its being called into question. Continue reading

Department of State issues Guatemala adoption warning

On January 11 the U.S. Department of State issued a warning (dated January 9) about the status of Guatemala adoptions. (As mentioned in a previous post, Carolina Hope has put its Guatemala adoption program on hold pending new standardized procedures for adoptions in Guatemala. Of course, cases registered under the old system are still being processed.)

Particularly gratifying is the DOS’s commitment (see below) to all Guatemalan adoption cases that were registered under the old law. Here is the text of the statement in full:

Warning: Adoptions Initiated on or after December 31, 2007 in Guatemala

January 9, 2008

The Department of State advises potential adoptive parents and adoption service providers not to initiate new adoptions from Guatemala because of the great uncertainties surrounding implementation of Guatemala’s new adoption law.

We do not know when the Government of Guatemala will be prepared to process cases under the new system set forth in the new Guatemalan adoption law that went into force on December 31, 2007. Continue reading

Guatemala 5000 update: status of transitional adoption rules

Today the Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCICS) issued an update regarding its Guatemala 5000 initiative:

Joint Council Update

Program: International Relations Initiative
Date: January 14, 2008
Regarding: Guatemala 5000

Dear Colleagues,

As part of our ongoing Guatemala 5000 Initiative, Joint Council has maintained dialogue with USDOS and USCIS and met with them most recently on January 7 and again on January 10, 2008. Meetings were also held with UNICEF on December 18, 2007, and on January 9, 2008. Similar dialogue was held with Guatemalan Congressional representatives and government officials along with members of the US Congress over the past three weeks.

Based on these meetings and in consultation with the Guatemala Caucus Co-chairs, the following represents Joint Council’s understandings and advocacy efforts.

Processing of Transition Cases

On January 1, 2008, PGN stopped the processing of all pending adoption cases including the acceptance of new cases, acceptance of cases with previos and the review of cases previously submitted. PGN has however continued to release those cases in which reviews/approvals had been completed as of December 31, 2007. The processing of pending adoptions will begin with the registration of those cases with the Central Authority no later than 30 business days after January 1, 2008 (approximately February 11, 2008). Continue reading

Guatemala adoption legislation update

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis morning the Joint Council on International Children’s Services issued the following announcement about newly proposed adoption legislation in the Guatemalan congress. Although this legislation hasn’t passed, this is a good step in the right direction, and it’s encouraging to adoption agencies and adoptive families. More importantly, it’s good news for Guatemalan children in need of adoption.

Joint Council Update

Program: International Relations Initiative
Date: November 7, 2007
Regarding: Guatemala – New Legislation Introduced

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As you know, Joint Council has continued to advocate for a rational and child centric transition to the Hague Convention in Guatemala. During our recent presentation with at the Adoption Ethics and Accountability Conference, we called for the completion of adoptions in-process, the implementation of the Conventions core elements, an effective implementation date of April 2008 and funding for capacity building. We have continued to work with our colleagues in Guatemala along with members of the Guatemalan Congress in developing a functional child welfare system.

We can now report that members of the Guatemalan Congress, including numerous party chiefs, have submitted Continue reading

Guatemala 5000: U.S. Congressional letters available to view

The Joint Council on International Children’s Services has posted copies of the letters sent by the U.S. Congress to Guatemalan President Oscar Berger and to UNICEF. If you participated in lobbying your congressmen to sign the letters, thank you. The announcement (and link) from JCICS are below.

Dear Colleagues,

Joint Council has posted copies online of the two Congressional letters which were submitted to the President of Guatemala and to UNICEF earlier this week. Over 200 Members of Congress signed each letter!

To download a copy of the letters from the U.S. Congress, please visit our Guatemala 5000 Page.

The Guatemala 5000 Initiative was successful in securing congressional support largely because of your encouragement and advocacy. Again, we thank you for all of your efforts. Have a wonderful weekend!

Best regards,
Adam Schlicht
Child Advocacy Program Manager, Joint Council

Guatemala 5000: U.S. Congressional letters garner 203 signatures

This morning, Thomas DiFilipo, President of JCICS, sent out this update of the Guatemala 5000 initiative. (I’ve previously blogged about this initiative here and here.)

Joint Council Update

Program: International Relations Initiative
Date: October 31, 2007
Regarding: U.S. Congressional Letters – 203 Signatures

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Through our collective efforts, the Guatemala 5000 Initiative has resulted in 203 Members of the United States Congress supporting the completion of all in-process adoptions via their signature on letters being sent today, October 31, 2007, to Guatemalan President Oscar Berger, UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman and UNICEF Guatemala Director Manuel Manrique. [esvignore]The 203[/esvignore] Senators and Representatives represent the largest number in the 22 year history of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption and the first time the Coalition has addressed UNICEF. Continue reading

USCIS press release: new rule governing Hague adoptions

In a press release yesterday USCIS announced an interim rule that will govern adoptions under the Hague. The announcement, which is reproduced below, essentially states that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has formalized the procedures that will govern international adoptions from countries that are party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children.

The interim rule will take effect on November 5, but it won’t actually be governing any adoption cases until the U.S. becomes a party to the Hague and the treaty enters into force in the U.S. (probably sometime late winter, 2008). If you have an interest in offering input, consider offering input to the government. The comment period ends on December 3. Information about how to comment Continue reading

Make Adoption a Wonderful Choice!

This article was written by Laura Godwin, Director of Carolina Hope, and originally published by The Greenville News on September 11th, 1997.  Since adoption law has not changed too much since then, we thought we would recirculate this thought-provoking article to encourage lawmakers to make state laws more pro-adoption.

placing for adoptionMake adoption wonderful choice, not humiliating ordeal
By Laura Beauvais-Godwin

Recently, The Greenville News published an article and cited the number of U.S. children in foster care: more than half a million. Most children who enter foster care do so as a result of neglect, not abuse. And this neglect is often because a single mother cannot properly care for her child due to limited resources as well as alcohol and drug abuse.

Long before these children became statistics, each mother could have increased the child’s opportunities, for each mother had a choice. In fact, each woman who becomes pregnant unexpectedly has three choices: To parent her baby, abort her baby or place her baby for adoption. Each choice is mutually exclusive, each choice is essentially permanent, and each choice will have society’s blessings, except one:  adoption. Continue reading