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Government of Liberia suspends adoptions

January 30, 2009

The Government of Liberia (GOL) suspended processing of adoptions on
January 26, 2009, on the recommendation of the President's Special Committee on Adoption.  According to the Liberian President’s statement, processing of adoptions was suspended due to mismanagement. The GOL expects to resume adoptions this year after its adoption law, policy, and guidelines have been established. 
American citizens have been alerted that the Government of Liberia suspended
adoption services provided by the agencies West African Children Support Network (WACSN) and Acres of Hope (AOH) on January 22. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare announced that it is investigating WACSN and AOH to ensure that the children in their care are properly cared for and that adoptions are conducted in accordance with Liberian adoption law.  American citizens who have pending adoption applications with either agency should contact the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia at   before traveling to Liberia.monroviaadoptions@state.gov
January 29, 2009
It is Joint Council's understanding that the government of Liberia has suspended intercountry adoptions with the exception of special needs cases until new rules and regulations can be put into place.  This follows comments made earlier this week by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: 
"The gross mismanagement of the adoption program, by both Liberian and U.S. personnel in the concerned NGO is the subject of a report by a Special Committee which I appointed for this purpose.  Essentially, we have discovered that many of the children in these orphanages are not in fact orphans but children taken from their living parents on the promise of support and a good life in America.  Moreover, we found that young children were being sexually abused at some of the these orphanages, while others including officials of government, have used the program to extort money from potential adoptors.  We have thus suspended the adoption program until laws, policies and proper guidelines have been established and we have asked our concerned friends and partners in the United States to be patient as we try to correct the serious malpractices which exist.  We expect the National Social Welfare Policy and National Adoption Act will be submitted to you during the course of the year, will provide guidance and prevent such abuses in the future."
July 25, 2008

The U.S. Department of State has released the following update:
The Ministries of Justice and Health and Social Welfare have indicated that they are carefully reviewing all adoption cases submitted to them for approval. As a result, adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents can expect an increase in the processing time.  The Government of Liberia is concerned over the increasing number of cases in which adoptive parents have decided to terminate their parent/child relationship with Liberian adoptive children.  The Ministry learned of two recent cases where Liberian adoptive children were returned to Liberia and abandoned by their adoptive parents, or placed in foster care after being adopted.  Additionally, adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents should be aware that a revised adoption law was submitted to Parliament in November 2007.  If enacted, the new law would provide additional safeguards to protect adoptive children, birth parents, and prospective adoptive parents. 
March 19, 2008
The U.S. Department of State has issued the following update regarding Liberian adoptions:

"On March 14, the director of a U.S. adoption agency and three employees of the agency were prevented from departing Liberia with recently adopted Liberian children.  The children were in possession of lawful adoption decrees and valid U.S. immigrant visas, and their escorts had Powers of Attorney from the adoptive parents of the children which allowed them to act as escorts.  The director of the agency was later told that adoptive children will not be permitted to depart Liberia with an escort unless their travel had been cleared by the Ministers of Justice and Gender.  The U.S. Embassy in Monrovia is seeking confirmation of this new requirement.  The Government of Liberia is currently reviewing its adoption laws and regulations with the aim of strengthening the current system."
To view the actual post, please visit the U.S. Department of State website.
October 5, 2004 -
Changes to Liberian Adoption Requirements
The Liberian Ministry of Health has informed the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia that effective October 15, 2004, adoptive families must obtain a letter from the Ministry of Health approving the adoption of a specific child.  This is in addition to obtaining a Relinquishment (Ministry of Health) and Adoption Decree (Liberian Court).  The U.S. Embassy is seeking clarification as to whether or not adoption cases that began in good faith prior to October 15 will be grandfathered.  This site will be updated as more information becomes available.
September 30, 2003 - The U.S. Department of State issued at travel warning for Liberia alerting U.S. citizens of ongoing safety and security concerns and advises them to defer non-essential travel.
September 18, 2003 - The Office of Children's Issues has released another notice to prospective adoptive parents adopting from Liberia.  Click here to read the notice.
August 26, 2003 - The U.S. Department of State has issued two notices to Prospective Adoptive Parents adopting from Liberia. The first is an update which was issued on 8/26.  The second was issued on 8/29 and addresses humanitarian parole
August 25, 2003 - We have confirmed with the U.S. Department of State that the the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia has resumed investigations and visa processing as conditions permit. At this time, the U.S. Department of State is still recommending against travel to Liberia.
On August 6, JCICS attended a briefing at the U.S. Department of State regarding intercountry adoptions in Liberia.  There are reportedly close to 30 pending adoption cases between U.S. Citizens and Liberian orphans, with hundreds of additional children languishing in orphanages desperate for food and safe shelter (Newsday article).  All parties involved are concerned about the welfare of the children and are hoping for a swift resolution to the current situation.  The Department of State maintains that once the situation is more stable the Consulate Office will work diligently to process the adoption cases.  Currently the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia has ordered the departure of all non-emergency personnel.  The Embassy's consular services investigate the legitimacy of an adoption case in Liberia (to ensure the child meets the U.S. definition of an orphan) and also issues visas for the adopted child to travel to the United States. 

June 19, 2003
The following information is currently posted on the U.S. Department of State website:
Due to the deterioration of the security situation in Liberia, the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia has had to sharply reduce visa services to Liberian citizens. This includes the processing of orphan petitions and visas for adopted children.
The Department of State has ordered the departure of all non-emergency personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia and has issued a traveling warning advising U.S. citizens against travel to Liberia at this time.
2009 Jan 30