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US Department of State releases updates on intercountry adoptions

In recent weeks, the US Department of State (DOS) has released updates on intercountry adoptions to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Haiti, and Kyrgyzstan that may affect Americans wishing to adopt children from those countries. The Democratic Republic of Congo

The DRC embassy in Washington informed the DOS that Americans applying for visas to visit the country with the intent of adopting should be prepared for increased scrutiny and that visas may be denied in “some cases”. The DRC cites reports of children being taken from the country without proper documentation as cause for the new restrictions. Furthermore, the DRC notes that several American families that have adopted or attempted to adopt children from the DRC were not following Congolese law. For example, some US families already had two children in the home while others did not attend all the Tribunal pour Enfants (Children’s Court), which is required under law in the DRC. The DOS states that the requirement that prospective adoptive parents attend the Tribunal pour Enfants is new and that not all adoptions are required to meet all Congolese standards under Congolese law. As the DOS mentions, intercountry adoptions are an extremely sensitive issue for the Congolese people. The DOS recommends all Americans adhere to best practices and all aspects of Congolese law.

Haiti

According to reports from the US Embassy in Haiti, many prospective adoptive parents were asked to pay substantial fees to adoption service providers (ASPs), who claimed that the fees were charged by Haitian authorities to speed up the adoption process. However, the US Embassy has contacted Haiti’s adoption authority and confirmed that the Haitian Government does not charge such fees. Likewise, the US Government does not charge any additional fees for visa services. The DOS recommends that prospective adoptive parents should not pay fees in cybercafés, banks, or anyone outside the Embassy who is claiming to work on behalf of the US Government. Anyone who is asked to make payments should immediately notify the DOS at PAPFraud@state.gov.

Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Social Development, the country’s adoption authority, has authorized the following US accredited adoption service providers to assist in adoptions in Kyrgyzstan: World Adoptions America World Adoption Lifeline Children’s Services Nightlight Christian Adoptions Premier Adoption Agency, Inc World Links Association, Inc. These agencies are responsible for submitting applications on prospective parents’ behalf and are knowledgeable of adoption procedures in Kyrgyzstan. This recent step is part of the Government of Kyrgyzstan’s efforts to update their adoption procedures to comply with the Hague Convention. As of now intercountry adoptions in Kyrgyzstan are operating under non-Convention standards. In the three years following the adoption, Kyrgyzstan requires families to submit four post-adoption reports.