Sunday, January 23, 2011

U.S. Adoptions of Nepalese Children in Limbo

"Despite Hurdles, Families Pursue Nepal Adoptions"
David Crary 01/22/11

"[On] Aug. 6 ... the U.S. government suspended adoptions of abandoned children from Nepal due to concerns about unreliable and fabricated documents such as birth certificates. As an example of the problems, U.S. officials cited a case where a child put up for adoption to America was being searched for by her Nepalese birth parents.

Pending adoptions by... about 80... U.S. families were put on hold and subjected to lengthy new investigations requiring the families to provide solid evidence that the children were indeed legitimate orphans. Many felt compelled to hire private investigators to make their case.

Some families abandoned their quest but more than 60 persevered. As of mid-January, 13 of them... had received U.S. visas for their children, but most are still in limbo after months of uncertainty, separations and financial stress...

Other countries – including Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy and Britain – preceded the U.S. in suspending adoptions from Nepal based on similar concerns.

Acknowledging some flaws, the Nepalese government has recently taken several steps to improve its adoption system – banning the adoption of street children, requiring better verification that a given child is an orphan, and tightening the oversight of organizations dealing with orphans. But there's no timeframe yet for when these and other possible reforms might prompt the U.S. and other countries to reauthorize adoptions.

In explaining its action, the State Department has cited one case in which a U.S. couple discovered that the Nepalese girl they were about to adopt from an orphanage was in fact being sought by her birth parents. It turned out that the girl and her brother had been placed at the orphanage by their father for temporary safekeeping and were not supposed to be put up for adoption."

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