New regulations make international adoption harder than ever for Americans

By Andrea Poe

June 10, 2011 / washingtontimes.com

NEW YORK — The past month has been ripe with changes for Americans interested in international adoption.  Three countries—Ukraine, Mexico and the Democratic Republic of Congo—have issued new regulations that are expected to dramatically restrict and reduce intercountry adoption.

Ukraine

Adoptions in the Ukraine are set to radically change this summer with the May 19 passage of an amendment to the Ukrainian government’s Family Code.  The amendment requires all orphans to be registered on the central adoption registry for one year and to be at least 5 years old before they are eligible for intercountry adoption.  This means that no infants or toddlers will be eligible for adoption by Americans with the exception of children with certain special needs and sibling adoptions.

The proposed amendment took effect on June 1 of this year.  The U.S. Department of State reports that it is working to encourage the Ukrainian government to allow pending adoptions regardless of the age of the children are uninterrupted as the Ukrainian Family Code is amended and is implemented. 

There are 139 U.S. families who have pending applications, several of them already in country and waiting to complete their adoptions.

Mexico

Families considering adopting from Mexico should be mindful that major Hague-related changes are underway. As of May 19, 2011 the Mexican Central Authority (MCA) has provided the U.S. Central Authority with information describing how it will only authorize Hague accredited adoption service providers in the United States.

These new regulations require that all prospective adoptive parents work with an adoption agency that has been approved by the Mexican government.  Currently that means there is only one American adoption agency—Carolina Adoptions-- that can assist with adoptions in twenty-nine Mexican states, plus the Federal District. 

There are two notable exceptions. The state of Jalisco will not accept Carolina Adoptions, but has authorized Across the World Adoptions to operate there. The state of Nuevo Leon indicates that it will not process any intercountry adoptions.

Recent statistics indicated that about 80 Americans a year adopt from Mexico.  It’s believed that the exclusion of most American agencies facilitating adoptions that this number will be significantly reduced.

 Democratic Republic of Congo

As of May 13, 2011, the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa has been verbally informed by the Direction Generale de Migration in Kinshasa (Immigration Office) that a change in regulation will now require prospective adoptive parents to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo to pick up their children in order to receive exit clearance. This change has not yet been confirmed in writing, which the U.S. Embassy has requested.

Although this is a major change, it is likely to affect few Americans since the most recent statistics show that only 13 children from this country have been adopted by parents in the U.S.

Andrea is an adoptive mother and a journalist. She is at work on a book, "The Red Thread," a collection of stories told by families united through adoption. She is also owner of Media Branding International, a public relations/media consulting firm.

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