Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Adopted Children always in disputes! (Voice of Children)

Some disturbing allegations from Voice of Children.

An official at the ministry says - "This fund has been created just to embezzle the money by the minister in the partnership of other individuals from the NGOs."

The founder of CNFN Mr. Sharad Sharma says - "Had I known at that time that this would create such a mess later on, I would have never put effort to establish this Federation."

Adopted Children always in disputes! (Voice of Children)

Rajesh Sharma


Voice of Children Monthly -- March 2010

(Translated from Nepali)

Real parents of a child were found at the last minute when the child was made ready to be adopted by an American family. This child was a paper orphan. The parents from Nuwakot were searching their lost daughter. At last they found their daughter at a children home called Helpless Children Home, Ranibari. After finding the child, she was prevented from adoption by proving her not being a real orphan with the help of journalist, police and INGOs.

A drama was then made to punish the children home. Mrs Sabitri Basnet is the owner of this Children home who is also a member of the coordination committee of the CNFN. Her children home was then suspended by the Ministry of Women and Children but only for 2 years. For cases of similar nature other children homes had been dismissed earlier. Why this children home was given the negligible penalty? An authority at the ministry says that the lobbying of CNFN to safeguard the case had reached to the minister. The nominal action taken by the ministry is just to bear the external pressures and the recently publicized Hague Report on Adoption in Nepal; otherwise the children home would have remained without any penalty.

This is simply an example of how children are brought to children home and are sent abroad in the name of adoption. Several incidents of similar nature have already come to the light and still there's no sign of improvement, why? Mr. Sherjung Karki, Co-secretary at the Ministry of the Children and Social Welfare says - "Children homes which are producing paper orphans are punished" but when asked "why the Helpless Children Home was only suspended for 2 years?" he replied - "My decisions can't be the final one, what can I do alone on this?" It seems that there must have been a big play behind the curtain to protect the children home. It is obvious that, to resist the pressures outside, the ministry only took a nominal action against the children home just to keep the public in delusion. An owner of another children home says that if fake papers were found from other children home, not only the children home would be punished but also the owner would have to go underground. Authorities of the ministry also agree on the above statement. Co-secretary Karki says - "Yes, we have to bear external pressures but the ministry cannot compromise to such things."

There have been several incidents in the past that the children were adopted with fake documents. After many organizations and concerned parties raised the issues that the existing laws were not sufficient to do a legal adoption here, Nepal government published an amended law in 2065 Jeth 6. According to "The Hague Conference on Private International Law," an inter-government agency, though Nepal had signed the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption in Jeth 2066, it was not fully implemented here. According to a report prepared by Jennifer Degeling, a high level officer of Hague Conference, Nepal has insufficient laws in the Adoption sector. Degeling had earlier visited Nepal in November and interacted with many children homes, police, government officials and other stake holders.

The Drama of CNFN!

The meeting of coordination committee of CNFN held on 4th Falgun 2066, decided to cancel the membership of those children homes which were actively involved in the Adoption process. According to a report prepared by Hague it has been advised that the CNFN should not be in the "Investigation, Monitoring and Recommendation Committee for Adoption" of the ministry because this could add pressure to the committee in the decision making process ("conflict of interest"). The report also states that CNFN itself is the head of the network of the children homes which is completely against the international concept and practice. In response to The Hague report, CNFN immediately cancelled the membership of such suspected children homes. These actions came in reaction to defend itself from the allegations of the Hague report. But it is obvious that the decision will be reactive to itself. Mr Ganesh Bhakta Shrestha, former General Secretary of CNFN says - "The act of CNFN to punish the children home is just a new drama to remain in the recommendation committee thereby continuing to earn the allowance. CNFN has been raising money from children homes in the name of conducting its daily operation, another 5000 Rupees for each adopted child and 10% service fee at the time of publishing the notice for claiming the children. Are the authorities of CNFN not involved in the adoption process? How can these people say that they are innocent while they are operating children homes themselves in the name of their wives and relatives?"

CNFN had been protecting the children homes, raising money from them and kept them under tight control but amazingly it is now punishing them, why? Mr Prachanda Raj Pradhan, chairman of the CNFN says - "CNFN is an organization working for the welfare of children. We cancelled the membership of some children homes on the basis of a provision of CNFN not to provide the membership to those children homes which are working in Adoption. When asked about why the same children homes were given the membership and protection earlier? He has no logical answer. He just admits - "I don't want to go into the details of the decision made by the former coordination committee; we just want to solve the current disputes." But according to the children homes there is a big flow of money behind this drama of membership cancellation. The ministry has permitted 38 children homes which can involve in the Adoption program and 36 out of them were members of the CNFN.

Tussle for money!

The exact amount of fee was not entitled to any conditions and process of Adoption. The right to fix the amount of fee "according to the need and situation" has been given to the minister. The minister does it in coordination of other individuals who are active in the adoption business. In 2065 Asadh, the ministry took a decision by which USD 3000 has to be paid to the ministry and another USD 5000 to the children home for each adoption. Earlier, individuals were involved in starting the adoption process in between the foreigners and children homes but later this was done by the adoption agencies after their registration. The agencies had to pay USD 10,000 in the name of the welfare of children through the children home.

Altogether 79 adoption agencies registered in the ministry. The flow of USD 10,000 from these agencies to the children homes was tried to be drawn into the CNFN but was not successful. It is after this incident that the drama of membership cancellation was plotted according to a member of CNFN. He said - "After the denial from the children homes to give the money to CNFN, the drama of punishment was started but now I don't think the children homes too will remain silent over this issue."

Recently an illogical provision has been made to draw the money into the ministry instead. The new provision called "Financial Aid Mobilization and Management 2066" contradicts itself to the act 11 and 20 of the "Rules and Procedures of Adoption Law." According to the act 11, a fixed amount of fee can be charged to renew the membership of agencies and according to the act 20, there is a provision for the right of clearing the "stoppage" rising during the process of Adoption. There is no such provision in the act 20 to make any "Financial Procedure" while clearing the "stoppage/Interruption" during the adoption. On the basis of this illegal and illogical "Financial Procedure," a fund called "National Child Rights Fund" has been created. This "Financial Procedure" was supposed to come into effect from14th Magh 2066 and it is operated by a board which consists of the chairman of CNFN, a member-secretary and a representative of the foreign Adoption Agency as the board members. More surprisingly, the money in the fund can be withdrawn just by the signatures of the member secretary and one of the members. Now the question to be raised here is that "Can any non-government person operate a Government Fund?" An official at the ministry says - "This fund has been created just to embezzle the money by the minister in the partnership of other individuals from the NGOs." According to the "Financial Procedure Act of Nepal Government," whenever a new source of revenue is found, it should be collected at the government's fund. But quite contrary to this law, a new bank account was opened for this Fund at the Nepal Investment Bank, Putalisadak in 6th Falgun 2066. What is more interesting here is that CCWB a government body working in the children sector has not even been made a member of this Fund.

Why numerous Agencies?

A rumor was created that Nepal had floods of orphan children who could be easily adopted. Following the spread of rumor, 79 agencies were registered in the ministry. Many of them had record of being legally punished even in their own country and were denied already to work for adoption. But Nepal government didn't care about their background and opened the door to all the adoption agencies. An agency named "Florida Home Studies and Adoption" in USA was already dismissed in 2008 saying that it was not following the Child Rights Treaty. Despite this, Florida Home also appeared in the list of the Ministry because this Home is owned by a person who had access to the officials of CNFN.

Interest of the Embassies!

In 27th of Magh 2066, after circulating a message to various diplomatic missions in Nepal, Embassy of Germany in Nepal declared that it wouldn't accept the Adoption process from Nepal any more. In the similar manner US Embassy in Nepal said that it would abandon the adoption process in Nepal if the process didn't go forward on the basis of the Hague Treaty. The notice issued by the US Embassy said that Embassies of Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and UK had also supported the step. After expressing a concern over the non-transparency of Adoption process in Nepal, Denmark, Sweden and France has announced that they won't accept any Adopted child from Nepal.

Why is CNFN a member of the Fund?

According to the "Condition and Procedures on Adoption" formulated in B.S. 2057, the then chairman of CNFN Mr. Upendra Kesari Neupane has been representing in the ministry. Previous rules and regulations were easier for the children homes than the new ones formed in 2065. An owner of a children home says - "CNFN had admitted that there was no need to worry for the adoption process since CNFN had its own representative in the Recommendation Committee of the Ministry. For this purpose, children homes had given bribes several times at the ministry." The adoption program was stopped when Urmila Aryal became the minister. Then the children homes began to complain that the CNFN didn't carry its task effectively in the ministry. Though they agreed to start the process of forwarding the pending files, CNFN couldn't agree upon the amount of money to be taken from the children homes. A few disputes came into light when the panel of Mr Ganesh Bhakta Shrestha and Liladhar Bhandari weren't elected in the coordination committee of the CNFN. But all of them wanted to remain silent since this breakout would stop their money making business. The founder of CNFN Mr. Sharad Sharma says - "Had I known at that time that this would create such a mess later on, I would have never put effort to establish this Federation." The owners of children homes say that CNFN had done its representation in the ministry just to prevent the ministry from making objection over any fake documents. When one of the Adoption files was not forwarded ahead till 11 months from the CCWB, Mr Upendra Kesari Neupane denied signing the other files in the meeting of Recommendation Committee. He didn't involve in the decision making process of the Recommendation Committee saying that the file number 1 should be forwarded first and only after that the committee could consider about file number 25. Due to this, there rose a cold war between the CNFN and the children homes. This tussle was sensed by the officials of Hague Treaty who were in Nepal to prepare a report. Afterwards the Hague Report clearly stated that the CNFN be kept away from the Recommendation Committee. It also made it clear that the USD 10,000 taken from the Adoption Agencies is also not lawful according to the International Rules. Owners of children homes say - "A MOU was prepared to allow Agencies to work with children homes in a condition that the children homes would give CNFN a sum of money at the latter's demand. When children homes didn't pay the exact amount to the CNFN, a new fund called "National Child Rights Fund" was created. This statement seems to be true because it is backed by a fact that the responsibility to prepare the MOU was handed over to the CNFN later. But it is still not clear as to why CNFN tried to be the member of Recommendation Committee. Chairman Pradhan challenges - "It's not important what the third parties say and we are ready to quit the Committee if anyone comes forward with solid proof."

New Federation!!

The children homes whose memberships were cancelled by the CNFN are now trying to establish a new Federation similar to the CNFN. In this new federation named "Confederation of NGOs for Child Integration-Nepal" (CONCIN) Mr Ganesh Bhakta Shrestha will be the chairman, Mr Liladhar Bhandari - secretary general and Mr. Hemanta Rijal the treasurer. According to these individuals, after the formal registration, its first task will be to disqualify the CNFN from the membership of Recommendation Committee of the ministry.

Why Nepal has been targeted by the foreigners?

Due to the complexities roused by the illiteracy and poverty in the villages of Nepal, it's been easier to prepare paper orphans. After paying some money to the children homes, foreigners can easily adopt children. That's why Nepal is at the top of the list of many foreigners according to a representative of an Adoption Agency. On the basis of the previous Adoption Law active till 2065, 2247 and thereafter additional 22 children have been taken to abroad. There are still around 500 Adoption files pending at the ministry.

English translation by Purushottam Lamsal for Voice of Children.

(Voice of Children is a leading child rights magazine in Nepal.)

One clarification -- Voice of Children wrote:

"An agency named 'Florida Home Studies and Adoption' in USA was already dismissed in 2008 saying that it was not following the Child Rights Treaty."

This is probably a reference to the fact that Florida Home Studies & Adoption was denied Hague accreditation (May 2008):

For more on Florida Home Studies & Adoption (FHSA) and Prachanda Raj Pradhan, see PEAR Nepal:

Ethics, Transparency, Support~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Trust’s money goes to Minister’s account (People's Review Weekly)

Trust’s money goes to Minister’s account (People's Review Weekly)




Kathmandu, 22 April: Minister of Women, Children and Social Welfare Sarwadev Ojha has been putting the money given by the donors in the name of Children’s Rights Trust into is own bank account, reports Nepal Samacharpatra daily.

The Commission for Investigation for Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has labeled such account illegal. It has directed the Nepal Investment Bank Ltd not to allow use of money from the account without its permission.

Minister Ojha has said that the Children’s Rights Trust was established as per the Economic Support Mobilization and Management working statute-2066.

According to a high level source at the CIAA, Minister Ojha holds the chairman’s post of the Trust. The interesting point is that there are no government officials in the ranks of the Trust. According to the information, the Trust’s ranks are occupied by the Minister’s relatives and friends.

As per legal provisions, when an individual, who takes allowance and wage from the state coffer, plans to establish a Trust the permission of the Finance Ministry and the parliament is imperative. Minister Ojha needs to take the permission has the provision allows.

The CIAA had consulted the parliament and the Finance Minister if permission had been taken for opening an account in the bank in name of the Trust. A source said, "We seized the Trust’s bank account on ground that permission had not been taken from either of the bodies." According to the source, the Minister has been running account with the number 001010102 in NIBL in name of the Children’s Trust. Although there are no details of the amount of the money in the account, speculations are that there is aplenty. A CIAA official said that the details of the account have been sought. CIAA has already seized the documents relating to the Trust formed by the Minister after entering the Ministry on Tuesday.

People’s News/Uttam Shrestha

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Minister Ojha in CIAA soup (Kantipur)

Minister Ojha in CIAA soup



KATHMANDU, APR 22 - Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare Sarba Dev Ojha and other officials at the ministry are under scrutiny of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on charge of misusing money collected for Child Rights Fund.

The CIAA has taken the original documents relating to the newly-established fund and blocked its bank account (001010102) at Nepal Investment Bank Limited (NIBL). The account has Rs 11,343, 960.

"Procedures followed while establishing the Child Rights Fund and opening the bank account were illegal," said a CIAA source.

However, Under-Secretary Sher Jung Karki said the ministry tried to ensure the utilisation of the funds received from the national and international donors.

Revising the Inter-country Adaptation Policy, the ministry introduced Regulations on Financial Aid Mobilisation and Management in 2009. The ministry had formed a five-member Child Fund Committee headed by the minister and opened the bank account.

The aid that the ministry receives from donors for adopting Nepali children is being deposited in a bank account, which is operated through Minister Ojha’s signature.

"Although the regulation came into effect now, processes on it were initiated during former minister Pampha Bhusal’s tenure," said Karki. "We simply intended to integrate the funds received for child rights promotion."

The regulation stipulates that international donor community willing to adopt Nepali children deal with the ministry directly. Earlier, foster homes could approach the donors and spend the money on their own.

"Although 62 memoranda of understanding (MoU) were signed for inter-country adoption in the past year, the ministry has no details of what is spent on child rights protection as a donor pays $10,000 before signing an MoU," said Karki.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Adoption Fund Frozen

CIAA freezes Minister Ojha's relief fund, bank account

Himalayan News Service


KATHMANDU: The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) today directed Nepal Investment Bank to freeze the account of the financial relief fund being operated by Minister of Women, Children and Social Welfare Sarvadev Ojha.

Suspecting misuse of the fund after initial inquiry, the anti-graft constitutional body seized the related file of the fund and froze the bank account.

According to a source at CIAA, Minister Ojha operated the account while making appointments to the board. "The minister neither took consent from the Finance Ministry nor from parliament to operate the fund," the source added. Not a single public officer was appointed board member.

Ojha has been depositing amounts received from foreign donors and also using the account according to his discretion," he added.

A press release issued by the ministry today stated that CIAA had sought explanation as to why he had been operating the bank account without approval from the ministry or parliament. It has also asked Ojha to clarify under whose direction he had been operating the fund and the bank account in Nepal Investment Bank. The anti-graft body has directed the ministry to submit the file immediately.

Responding to a complaint that challenged the operation of the bank account and the setting up of the fund, the CIAA directed the minister to submit his explanation.

Ojha had recently taken action against member secretary of the Women Children and Social Welfare Council Chewang Namgel and transferred him. As Ojha had defied the Supreme Court order reinstating Namgel, he has been summoned by the apex court on Thursday. Failing to present himself, he will be held in contempt of court.

The Himalayan Times:

For more on the controversy, see Eyes on Money at PEAR Nepal:

And Prachanda Raj Pradhan -- head of the Child NGO Federation Nepal (CNFN) at PEAR Nepal:

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Umbra over child fund (Kathmandu Post)

Umbra over child fund (Kathmandu Post)

Kathmandu Post

April 20

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has questioned the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCSW) over the reported anomalies in the newly established Child Rights Fund.

In its directive issued on Tuesday, the constitutional anti-graft body has asked the MoWCSW to come up with original documents explaining the procedures that were followed while establishing the children fund and opening its bank account.

The directive comes in response to a report about irregularity and abuse of authority while instituting the fund.

The report mentioned that the ministry established the fund illegally, formulating Regulation Financial Aid Mobilization and Management 2009.

The ministry has opened the fund’s bank account (001010102) at Nepal Investment Bank.

The directive has not revealed whether the report implicated incumbent Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare Sarbadev Prasad Ojha.


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Prospective parents try to get Nepal adoptions back on track (Canwest News Service)

Prospective parents try to get Nepal adoptions back on track

Ewa and Vincent Welland thought their prayers were answered last year when, after the death of their premature newborn son in 2001 and years of unsuccessful attempts at having children, their application to adopt a child was accepted by the government of Nepal.

In May, the Kamloops, B.C., residents were expecting to welcome home an orphaned Nepalese girl they have been calling “Pumpkin.”

But the Canadian government has halted all adoptions from Nepal after an international report released in February condemned that country’s adoption program.

The report from The Hague Conference on Private International Law recommended the international community cease adoptions from Nepal after learning that children from remote areas of the country had been falsely declared to be orphans and put up for adoption without their parents’ knowledge.

The report’s author, Hague secretary Jennifer Degeling, visited Nepal in late 2009 and found the falsification of documents about Nepalese children’s origins, age and family status was “occurring regularly in order to declare a child adoptable.”

The report from The Hague conference — which governs international adoptions — also cited “a lack of transparency and accountability for the money coming into Nepal (to the government and institutions) from intercountry adoptions.”

Ewa Welland acknowledged that adopting a child whose documents have been forged is a real concern in poverty-stricken countries like Nepal. But she feels it is the Canadian government’s responsibility to confirm the identities of the adopted children rather than cancelling all pending adoptions from the country.

“The problem is, I think, that Canada thinks that the adoptions are not transparent but it’s not willing to review the files to make sure that the children that are proposed to us are actually true orphans,” said Welland. “We are willing to pay someone to review the files, to scrutinize them, to make sure the children are orphans, but they just closed the program. It’s unfair.”

The Wellands are among several would-be adoptive parents of Nepalese orphans across the country who have banded together through letter-writing and now legal action to pressure Canada’s federal and provincial governments to lift the international restrictions.

Last week, the parents retained Vancouver-based immigration lawyer Catherine Sas to help them in their efforts.

They want to turn up the heat on Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) which, responding to directives from provincial governments, halted Nepalese adoptions due to the identity and transparency concerns.

Each Canadian province has its own adoption laws that apply to both domestic and international adoptions, but Citizenship and Immigration Canada ultimately decides whether to issue residency visas, said Sas.

“But they won’t issue the visas unless the provincial governments give them an approval for the adoption,” said Sas. “In March, the B.C. government suspended the adoption program based on the report.”

Sas is representing the Wellands and nine other families and individuals calling themselves the “Parents for Nepal 2009” — so-called because they put in their adoption applications last year — from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec.

They want Canada to follow the example of the U.K. and Sweden and “put people on the ground to verify the actual adoptions they have processed,” said Sas.


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

MEDIA: Baby dearth snags adoption (Kantipur)

Baby dearth snags adoption (Kantipur):

KATHMANDU, APR 12 - Despite government measures to make inter-country adoption foolproof and hassle-free, the prospective adoptive parents are unlikely to get the children of their choice if the present situation persists.

The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCSW) is facing shortage of children who are eligible for inter-country adoption. As a result, adoptive American parents, who have submitted applications seeking babies of their choice, will probably have to return empty-handed.

The problem occurred after most adoptive American parents, who make a large chunk of adoptive foreign parents, sought little Nepali children.

According to MoWCSW officials, almost 90 percent of the prospective adoptive parents from America have shown interest in adopting children under the age of one and a half years. Over 250 American parents have already submitted their documents wishing to adopt Nepali babies.

“The adoptive American parents won't get babies of their choice as most of the children registered at the ministry are above three years old,” said an MoWCSW official. This means adoptive families either have to shelve their plans to adopt Nepali babies or opt for older ones.

The second option is time-consuming, as adoptive parents should obtain new approval from the concerned authority of their native country.

MoWCSW spokesperson Tilak Ram Sharma expressed hope that the matching committee would do its best to meet the demands of the adoptive American parents. The matching committee, however, has no alternative to matching with the available children.

Records show that 534 foreign parents have registered their applications, while only 520 children are available for adoption. Out of this, 20 children have already been handed over to adoptive parents.

Many American parents want to adopt infants, according to officials, to prevent cultural shock and ensure their transition smooth. In addition, they want to bring up the adoptive children in the native environment.

Meanwhile, the ministry has cleared files of 38 parents who can fly with babies of their choice soon, while other cases are under matching committee's scrutiny.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Department of State -- Adoption Alert Nepal

Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues

Caution About Pursuing Adoption in Nepal


April 9, 2010

The U.S. Department of State strongly discourages prospective adoptive parents from choosing adoption in Nepal because of grave concerns about the reliability of Nepal’s adoption system and the accuracy of the information in children’s official files. The Department also strongly discourages adoption service providers from accepting new applications for adoption from Nepal until reforms are made, and to be vigilant about operating in an ethical manner under the current adoption system.

The Hague Conference on Private International Law recently released a report on its Intercountry Adoption Technical Assistance Program, based on a visit by a delegate from the Hague Conference’s Permanent Bureau to Nepal in November 2009 (http://www.hcch.net/upload/wop/nepal_rpt09.pdf). This report is the result of an independent analysis of Nepal’s intercountry adoption system under the new Terms and Conditions put in place in 2008. The report details a number of weaknesses in Nepal’s adoption system, including ongoing concern about the falsification of documents, improper financial gain, and lack of a child protection system.

Although the U.S. Embassy in Nepal has only seen a handful of adoption cases since the new Terms and Conditions went into effect, we share many of the concerns outlined in the Hague report. As a case in point, in one of the first cases processed by the Government of Nepal after the revision of the Terms and Conditions, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu found that the adopted child was not a true orphan and that the birth parents were actively searching for the child.

We encourage parents who have filed an application with the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MWCSW) in Nepal, but have not yet been matched with a child or received an Adoption Decree issued by the Government of Nepal, to consider a change of countries. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allow one change of country to be made in connection with one’s I-600A application without fee. A request to change countries should be made in writing to the USCIS Field Office where the I-600A was originally filed. More information about how to request a change of country can be found on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov (Any subsequent request for a change of country would require a fee.).

Hague-accredited U.S. adoption services providers, and adoption service providers that may apply for Hague accreditation in the future are reminded that their actions in facilitating and/or processing adoptions in any country (whether Hague or non-Hague) will be evaluated during the Hague accreditation or accreditation renewal processes in accordance with the accreditation regulations (22 CFR Part 96), including whether, among other things, the provider has established and rigorously followed ethical adoption practices and operates in the best interest of prospective adoptive children.

Prospective adoptive parents who currently have active files at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare and who may already have an approved I-600 (Petition to Classify an Orphan as an Immediate Relative) from a USCIS Domestic Field Office may experience significant difficulties and delays. When an I-600 is adjudicated by USCIS in the United States , consular officers must then conduct an I-604 investigation once the approved petition reaches the Embassy in Nepal to verify the child’s orphan status prior to immigrant visa processing. Depending upon the circumstances of a case, this investigation may take up to several months to complete, even if the I-600 petition is already approved. We generally rely upon the host government’s diligence to protect the safety and interests of their own children through careful administration of their national adoption process and use the I-604 investigation to confirm that this process has been followed. Because the Nepali adoption process is questionable, it can be very difficult to satisfy the requirements of the I-604 investigation. When we cannot do so, we must return the case to USCIS with a recommendation that the I-600 approval be revoked.

Both DOS and USCIS recognize that it would be preferable for the I-604 investigations to be completed earlier in the process. However, under current procedures, the U.S. Embassy cannot begin the I-604 investigation until the prospective adoptive parents have a signed Adoption Decree issued by the Government of Nepal, and the Government of Nepal will not issue an Adoption Decree until the prospective adoptive parents are in Nepal. Thus, prospective adoptive parents are currently faced with the need to either make two trips to Nepal or to spend an extended period in-country while awaiting the results of the I-604 investigation. DOS and USCIS are currently in discussion about possible ways to revise the procedures under U.S. Government control to mitigate this problem.

The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu continues to meet with officials within the Government of Nepal and with other foreign missions concerning the current status of adoptions in Nepal. The February 25, 2010 joint statement issued by the International Adoption Working Group (an ad hoc group of Embassies in Nepal who have an interest in intercountry adoption issues) http://nepal.usembassy.gov/pr-2-24-2010.html.

Adoptive parents may contact the Embassy at adoptionsnepal@state.gov if they have questions about the status of their case.

Please continue to monitor http://adoption.state.gov for updated information as it becomes available.


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Monday, April 5, 2010

UK Order on Adoptions from Nepal

Order currently before Parliament awaiting approval:

Statutory Instruments
2010 No. 951
Children And Young Persons, England And Wales
Children And Young Persons, Northern Ireland

The Special Restrictions on Adoptions from Abroad (Nepal) Order 2010

Made: 24th March 2010

Laid before Parliament: 29th March 2010

Coming into force: 3rd May 2010

The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families makes the following Order in exercise of the powers conferred by section 9(4) of the Children and Adoption Act 2006(1):

In accordance with section 9(5)(a) of that Act, he has consulted the Welsh Ministers(2) and, in accordance with section 9(5)(b) of that Act, he has consulted with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland:

Citation and commencement

1. This Order may be cited as the Special Restrictions on Adoptions from Abroad (Nepal) Order 2010 and comes into force on 3rd May 2010.

Declaration of special restrictions

2. Special restrictions are to apply for the time being in relation to the bringing of children into the United Kingdom from Nepal in the cases mentioned in section 9(2) of the Children and Adoption Act 2006.

Delyth Morgan

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

Department for Children, Schools and Families

24th March 2010


(This note is not part of the Order)

Section 9(4) of the Children and Adoption Act 2006 provides for the Secretary of State by order to declare that special restrictions are to apply for the time being to the bringing of children into the United Kingdom from a country or territory outside the British Islands in certain cases involving adoption. Section 11(1) and (2) of that Act provides that those special restrictions are that the appropriate authority is not to take any step which might otherwise have been taken in connection with furthering the bringing in of children in those cases unless the prospective adopters satisfy the appropriate authority that it should take those steps despite the special restrictions.

By article 2 of this Order, the Secretary of State declares that special restrictions are to apply to Nepal.


By virtue of section 9(5)(a), the Secretary of State must consult with the National Assembly for Wales before making an order under section 9(4). The functions of the National Assembly for Wales were transferred to the Welsh Ministers by virtue of section 162 of, and paragraphs 30 and 32 of Schedule 11 to, the Government of Wales Act 2006 (c.32). Back [2]


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

United Kingdom to suspend adoptions from Nepal (order subject to Parliament's approval)

United Kingdom to suspend adoptions from Nepal (order subject to Parliament's approval):



2010 No. 951

1. This explanatory memorandum has been prepared by the Department for
Children, Schools and Families (“the Department”) and is laid before
Parliament by Command of Her Majesty.

This memorandum contains information for the Joint Committee on Statutory

2. Purpose of the instrument

The Special Restrictions on Adoptions from Abroad (Nepal) Order 2010 imposes a statutory suspension on the adoption of children from
Nepal by British residents.

3. Matters of special interest to the Joint Committee on Statutory



4. Legislative Context

Section 9 of the Children and Adoption Act 2006 (“the Act”) enables
the Secretary of State to impose special restrictions on intercountry
adoptions from a country or territory outside the British Islands (the
other country) where the Secretary of State has reason to believe that,
because of practices taking place in the other country in connection
with the adoption of children, it would be contrary to public policy to
further the bringing of children into the United Kingdom by British
residents for the purposes of adoption or within 12 months of the
adoption in the other country.

Section 9(4) of the Act provides for the Secretary of State to declare by
order that special restrictions are to apply for the time being in relation
to a country or territory. Section 9 (5) requires the Secretary of State
to consult with the Welsh Ministers and the Department for Health,
Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland before such an
order is made.

The Secretary of State must publish reasons for declaring a country
‘restricted’ and a list of restricted countries (“the restricted list”).
These are to be published in whatever way he thinks appropriate to
bring them to the attention of adoption agencies (defined in section 2
of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 as local authorities and
registered adoption societies) and members of the public. Section 10 of
the Act requires the Secretary of State to keep each restricted
under review to determine whether it should
remain a restricted
country. The provisions in section 9 apply equally to adoptions from
countries in which the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of
Children and Cooperation in respect of Intercountry Adoption (“the
Hague Convention”) is in force and those that are not. Nepal has
signed, but not yet ratified, the Hague Convention. As such, the Hague
Convention is not currently in force between Nepal and the United

Section 11(1) of the Act provides that the special restrictions in 9 (4)
are that the appropriate authority is not to take any step which that
authority might have taken in connection with furthering the bringing
of a child into the United Kingdom by a British resident for the
purposes of adoption or within 12 months of an adoption in that
country or territory. Annex A contains an outline of the intercountry
adoption process.

Section 11(2) of the Act permits the processing of cases involving
adoptions from countries that are the subject of an order under section
9(4) where the relevant authority (see 7.1 below) is satisfied that the
case should be processed despite the special restrictions.

Section 11(3) of the Act enables the Secretary of State to make
regulations providing for the procedure to be followed by the
‘appropriate authority’ or, as the case may be, the Secretary of State in
determining whether a case should be treated as an exception to a
general suspension and the procedure to enable this to be made. The
‘appropriate authority’ is defined in section 11(4) of the Act as
meaning (i) in a case under the Hague Convention, the central
authority in relation to England, to Wales or to Northern Ireland as the
case may be (i.e. the Secretary of State, the Welsh Ministers and the
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern
Ireland respectively) and (ii) in a non-Convention case, in relation to
England and Wales, the Secretary of State and, in relation to Northern
Ireland, the Secretary of State for the purposes of steps which he takes
and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in
Northern Ireland for the purposes of steps which it takes.

Section 12(1) of the Act permits the Secretary of State to make
regulations providing for the imposition of extra conditions in certain
cases. The Adoptions with a Foreign Element (Special Restrictions on
Adoptions from Abroad) Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/1807) have been
made under sections 11(3) and 12(1).

5. Territorial Extent and Application

This instrument applies to England and Wales and Northern Ireland.

6. European Convention on Human Rights

As the instrument is subject to the negative resolution procedure and
does not amend primary legislation, no statement is required.

7. Policy Background

The Special Restrictions on Adoptions from Abroad (Nepal) Order 2010
provides that special restrictions are to apply for the time being in relation
to the bringing of children into the United Kingdom from Nepal in the
cases mentioned in section 9(2) of the Act (see 4.1 above). This amounts
to a suspension of intercountry adoptions from Nepal as it prevents the
appropriate authority from taking any step which it might otherwise have
taken in processing such cases, unless it is satisfied that a case should be
treated as an exception. The main step in the process is the issue of a
Certificate of Eligibility confirming to the Nepalese authorities that the
prospective adopters have been assessed as suitable to adopt. Nepal is a
non-Hague Convention country and the Certificate is issued by the
Secretary of State in relation to English, Welsh and Northern Irish
prospective adopters.

The Order is being made in response to evidence in a report published by
the Hague Bureau in February 2010 following their Technical Assistance
mission to Nepal. The Report found that Nepal has insufficient procedures
in place to establish whether a child is adoptable. It also found evidence of
a lack of support for birth parents about the legal effects of relinquishing
their child for adoption and no procedures in place for the finding of a
permanent family in Nepal for the child. The specific areas of concern

• failure to adhere to the key principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, such as the complete absence of the principle of best interests of the child;

• an inadequate legal framework (despite recent legislation). The Report specifically recommends that Nepal suspend adoptions temporarily whilst it puts new legislation and improved procedures in place;

• falsification of documents;

• lack of transparency and accountability for the money brought into Nepal from intercountry adoptions.

In 2007, Nepal introduced a moratorium on intercountry adoptions whilst
it made changes to its processes, intended to resolve serious issues of
malpractice, and specifically the introduction of a new adoption act.
UNICEF subsequently collected information on intercountry adoptions in
Nepal and their findings published in 2008, were intended to assist Nepal
in improving its procedures and legal framework. The findings of the
UNICEF report were similar to those of the Hague Bureau’s Report.

Nepal reopened intercountry adoptions in November 2009, having
signed the Hague Convention in April 2009

The Hague Bureau’s technical support programme is to assist countries that wish to comply with Hague Convention standards. The Hague Bureau’s Report found that most of the problems identified by UNICEF in 2008 had not been resolved.

8. Consultation Outcome

The Special Restrictions on Adoptions from Abroad (Nepal) Order
2010 relates to the processing of intercountry adoption cases by the
Secretary of State, the Welsh Ministers or the Department of Health,
Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland and will
therefore impact primarily on central government rather than the public
or businesses, charity or the voluntary sector.

In accordance with section 9(5) of the Act, the Secretary of State has
consulted the Welsh Ministers and the Department of Health, Social
Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland in relation to the
making of this Order. Both Welsh ministers and ministers in Northern
Ireland agree that a statutory suspension in this case is appropriate. The
Secretary of State has written to the Scottish Executive to inform them
of the making of the Order. The provisions of the Act do not extend to
Scotland but Scottish Ministers have similar powers under the
Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 to suspend intercountry
adoptions from a particular country.

The Department has also written to the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office and the Home Office. Their responses indicate that they support
the suspension.

9. Guidance

A letter will be sent to all adoption agencies in England and Wales that
deal with intercountry adoptions to inform them of this Order. The
Department will include a note on its website informing prospective
adopters about the suspension and how it will affect both current and
future applications.

We will write to the Nepalese Government to ask them how they
intend to respond to the to the Hague report and to notify them of the

10. Impact

The impact on the public sector of this change is minimal: some local
authorities, in their capacity as an adoption agency, process
intercountry adoption applications by applicants for approvals as
prospective adopters, but most such applications are processed by non-
profit making voluntary adoption agencies.

An impact assessment has not been prepared for the instrument
because the impact will be minimal. We are aware of less than ten
applications to adopt from Nepal made between 2007 and 2009.

11. Regulating small business

The Order does not impose an additional burden on small business.

12 Monitoring and Review

The Act requires the Secretary of State to keep under review whether a
country should continue to be on the restricted list. The Department
will do this through regular contact with Foreign Office officials in
Nepal and with international organisations such as the Hague Bureau.

13 Contact

Veronica Berti at the Department for Children, Schools and Families,
Tel: 0207 7340 7180 or email veronica.berti@dcsf.gsi.gov.uk to
answer any queries regarding the instrument.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.