Update on Nepal Adoptions in US

Hello, Nepal adoption families and supporters,

I wanted to give you an update on the Congressional Petition and on the Nepal Families/Supporters petition.
  • Senator Kerry's Congressional Petition had 19 legislators sign it. It has been presented, and Senator Kerry continues to advocate to the US State Department, and Secretary Clinton, on behalf of the Nepal adoption program.
  • The Nepal Families/Supporters petition is currently at 2,702 signatures. If you haven’t had a chance to sign it yet, here is the link: http://www.gopetition.com/online/34404.html. And please forward this link to friends and family members. We really need more signatures.
  • The US State Department issued another statement on March 4 saying they were concerned about the Nepal program, and suggesting that prospective adoptive parents who haven’t been matched, change countries.
  • We have full support from the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, who are advocating to the US State Department on behalf of the Nepal orphans and American prospective adoptive parents.
  • Nepal has issued several more matches to many prospective adoptive parents in the world, around 62, in the last week. This is incredible since they haven’t made any matches since September 2009. I personally know one of these people that received her match—a beautiful 18-month old girl.
  • The key people in Nepal that oversee Nepali adoptions - State Minister (head of the department) and the Joint Secretary - are meeting with the US State Department today. Please pray for this meeting. It is an important one. Based on the March 4 statement, the US is still concerned and the Nepal program is still at risk of being suspended.
Thank you for your continued support and prayers. They mean everything to us.


Referrals Have Begun Again

I received some fantastic news last Thursday. A dear friend received her Nepali referral (match). She's been waiting over a year for her referral, and the news was so incredibly delightful. Her referral is a beautiful 18-month old girl.

There were many referrals received last week, so it looks like the ball has begun rolling again. Apparently, the Ministry has matched up to number 180, and we're number 500 out of 554 families. The Ministry still has a goal of matching everyone by the end of this month. 374 matches to go! :-)

Nepal Adoptions Petition 2010 (the text)

Here is the petition found at: http://www.gopetition.com/online/34404.html

To: Government of Nepal
Governments of the United States of America, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

From: International Group of Prospective Adoptive Families: 2009 and 2010 Applicants
And Supporters of Nepal Adoptions

Currently over 500 prospective adoptive families from the U.S., Canada and numerous European nations are in the process of adopting orphaned children from Nepal. Many of these families have been waiting faithfully for three years or more to adopt from Nepal.

In 2007, the Government of Nepal (GoN) imposed a protracted suspension of inter-country adoptions to create and implement a reformed system designed to mitigate against fraud and corruption, and to make the process of international adoption more transparent. These reforms are outlined in the Terms and Conditions (T&C) set forth by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare. The Terms and Conditions were approved by the GoN in 2008, enabling Nepal’s adoption program to reopen in January, 2009. In April, 2009, the GoN signed onto the Hague, evidencing its intention to become a member of the Convention.

UNICEF and the Hague Permanent Bureau have recently released reports that are critical of Nepal’s adoption process and call for a renewed suspension until additional reforms are in place; namely the full implementation and ratification of the Hague Convention. In response to these reports and subsequent negative press about Nepal’s adoption program, receiving countries are monitoring the Nepal program closely, and at least two countries have suspended adoptions.

From the time the GoN reopened inter-country adoptions on January 1, 2009 to date, there have been repeated administrative delays, resulting in processing and approval of less than 5% of the more than 500 pending files in the Ministry’s 2009 queue under the new protocols. **

Over forty families accepted child referrals in September, 2009, but have now been waiting more than six months for travel approvals to meet their new children and complete their adoptions. Tens of additional matches were reportedly made months ago, but have not yet been released to agencies or families. Hundreds of waiting families and children remain in limbo, waiting for their 2009 files to be processed and completed.

We support the progress the GoN has made to ensure that its adoption system is aligned with universally accepted standards and safeguards so that each and every adoption is handled in a fair, ethical and transparent manner.

However, denying children who are eligible for adoption their basic human right to a permanent, loving family during a period of reform directly contradicts the Hague Convention’s own principles, and most certainly is not in the best interests of the vulnerable children involved.

Even the best institutions fail to provide the care that young children need; and international law emphasizes and makes central the child’s human right to grow up in a loving family. Prolonged detainment in an orphanage is detrimental to a child’s future capacity to grow, develop and reach his or her full potential. Each month of delay represents a loss that may never be recovered.

We believe that it is possible to process these cases in both a thorough and timely manner with full regard for the necessary protections now in place.

In the best interests of the waiting children, we urge the principal receiving countries to actively maintain their adoption programs with Nepal, and to redouble their efforts to support the GoN in further strengthening its adoption system as it works towards Hague ratification.

On humanitarian grounds, and with mercy towards the children and the hundreds of families who have complied with Nepal’s adoption requirements and waited years to welcome their new children into their hearts and homes:

We respectfully request the GoN sign all pending travel approvals and fully complete processing and approval of all the remaining 2009 applications, with all urgency.

International Group of Prospective Adoptive Families: 2009 and 2010 Applicants and Supporters of Nepal Adoptions.

March 2, 2010

** Applicants, agencies and their representatives have received a variety of explanations for the repeated delays: Unfilled leadership positions, sudden staff turn-over, orientation periods for newly appointed officials, apparent reluctance to convene decision-making meetings, apparent internal discord, extended holiday periods, travel, misaligned schedules, and an uncertain political backdrop. These bottlenecks have been accompanied by a lack of information from the Ministry to receiving country embassies, agencies and their representatives, and waiting families on progress, intention and timelines for adoption-related actions.

Nepal Adoptions Petition 2010 - please sign

Dear Nepal Adoption Families and Supporters,

Adoptive parents from Nepal have put together this information, and a petition that everyone can sign. We thought this information would be helpful for you to know what is going on, and why we’re asking you to sign the petition. Please read this information, but if you don’t have time, you can also just go to the petition – see the link below (under the section called "ACTION REQUESTED"). I’ve also copied the words of the petition in another post. We just found out yesterday that the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys sent a supportive letter to the US State Department regarding Nepal adoptions and this petition. This is great news.

Adoptions from Nepal are under threat. The Hague Permanent Bureau and UNICEF have recently released problematic reports that are critical of Nepal's inter-country adoption process. The reports have called for a renewed suspension until additional reforms are in place. In response to these recommendations, and a subsequent flurry of negative press, receiving countries are monitoring Nepal's adoption program closely. At least two countries have suspended adoptions from Nepal (Sweden and Canada).

The Government of Nepal (GoN) announced the reopening of its adoption program on January 1, 2009. This reopening followed a suspension during 2007-2008, and subsequent reforms to Nepal's inter-country adoption program as articulated in the Terms and Conditions approved in 2008.

Despite these recently implemented reforms, the GoN has processed less than 5% of the more than 500 currently active, 2009 pending files since it reopened adoptions over 14 months ago.

These delays have been detrimental to the hundreds of waiting children, causing them to endure protracted and unnecessary detainment in under-resourced orphanages. The situation has also left hundreds of waiting families in limbo, without any firm information on when, or whether, their cases will be processed.

PURPOSE OF PETITION: An international group of waiting adoptive families has organized an online petition. We need your immediate assistance to:
• Urge receiving countries to maintain active Nepal adoption programs and provide assistance to the GoN to further strengthen its system as the government works towards ratification of the Hague Convention.
• Respectfully request that the GoN issue pending Travel Approvals and clear the backlog of over 500 pending 2009 files, with full urgency.

• Please support the waiting families and children by signing this petition.
• To sign go to: http://www.gopetition.com/online/34404.html
• Please disseminate this notice broadly and ask people to sign the petition.
• Please post a link to this petition on Facebook and other relevant sites.

• Countries with Nepal adoption programs
• The Government of Nepal

• Waiting prospective adoptive families
• Supporters of Nepal adoptions
(e.g., friends, family, your communities, adoption professionals, colleagues)
• This petition is open for signature by citizens of all countries.

Thank you so much for your support!