Friday, August 6, 2010

MEDIA: U.S. suspends new adoption from Nepal (The Himalayan Times)

U.S. suspends new adoption from Nepal

The Himalayan Times

KATHMANDU: The U.S. government authorities have decided to suspend adjucation of new adoption petitions and related visa issuance for children who are described as having been abandoned in Nepal from Friday.

Issuing a press statement on Friday, the Embassy of the United States Public Affairs Office in Kathmandu said the Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) jointly took the decision in order to protect the rights and interests of certain Nepali children and their families, and of U.S. prospective adoptive parents.

The Department of State’s recent interactions with the Government of Nepal and its efforts to review and investigate numerous abandonment cases, including field visits to orphanages and police departments, have demonstrated that documents presented to describe and “prove” the abandonment of children in Nepal are unreliable, read the statement.

“Civil documents, such as the children’s birth certificates often include data that has been changed or fabricated. Investigations of children reported to be found abandoned are routinely hindered by the unavailability of officials named in reports of abandonment.”

The Embassy said the police and orphanage officials often refuse to cooperate with consular officers’ efforts to confirm information by comparing it with official police and orphanage records.

"Because the Department of State has concluded that the documentation presented for children reported abandoned in Nepal is unreliable and the general situation of non-cooperation with and even active hindrance of investigations, the U.S. Government can no longer reasonably determine whether a child documented as abandoned qualifies as an orphan," the Embassy said.

Without reliable documentation, it is not possible for the United States government to process an orphan petition to completion.

Any petition filed for a child who has been presented as found abandoned and who was matched with a prospective adoptive parent prior to the date of this announcement, as evidenced by an official referral letter from the Government of Nepal, will continue to be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis and in light of the totality of the evidence available, according to the Embassy.

However, the Department of State will reach out to prospective adoptive parents who meet this criteria. Petitions that continue to be adjudicated will only be approved if they are supported by reliable evidence. Every effort will be made to process their cases as expeditiously as possible with the best interests of children in mind.

The Himalayan Times:

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

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