Tuesday, November 9, 2010

USCIS Updates Nepal Pipeline Q & A Page

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has posted new Questions & Answers regarding Form I-600A approvals, significant change requests, the validity of fingerprint clearances, and requesting extension of an I-600A approval for Nepal pipeline cases. The new information can be found at the link below:


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Monday, November 8, 2010

USDOS: Response to Petition2Congress Nepal Adoption

Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
Response to Petition2Congress on Behalf of the American Families Pursuing Adoptions from Nepal

November 5, 2010

The Department of State appreciates the interest of the American public and Members of Congress in the status of intercountry adoptions in Nepal and the concerns of U.S. citizens who are pursuing the adoption of a Nepali child.

The decision to suspend adoptions in Nepal of children “found abandoned" was taken jointly with the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) after extensive investigations in which U.S. Embassy staff observed pervasive problems with the reliability of documentation in Nepal’s adoption system. The level of these problems has made it difficult, if not impossible, to determine whether the children being placed for adoption have, in fact, been abandoned and could be considered orphans under U.S. law. The United States was the last country to suspend adoptions in Nepal.

Starting in February 2010, the Office of Children’s Issues began to warn prospective adoptive parents about potential problems they might encounter when attempting to complete an intercountry adoption in Nepal.

The publication of an independent technical analysis of Nepal’s adoption procedures by the Hague Conference on Private International Law’s Intercountry Technical Assistance Program (ICATAP) in February 2010 solidified our concerns. This report detailed 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.

In early August 2010, a joint assessment team from the Department of State and USCIS travelled to Nepal and performed a detailed analysis of the evidence being presented to document the abandonment of children in Nepal. The team found that information presented in support of orphan petitions included vague and self-contradictory testimony and documents. Local officials were often uncooperative or appeared to be attempting to purposefully mislead or deter investigations.

Embassy Kathmandu is working as quickly as possible to investigate the pending adoption cases. Embassy Kathmandu and USCIS are mindful of the effects that any delay might have on children. However, the unreliable documentation, vague information provided in the documents, and lack of cooperation by some parts of the Government of Nepal is slowing down investigations. Most of the pending cases for which the Embassy has completed investigations have been referred to USCIS New Delhi as “not clearly approvable.” USCIS conducts a review of the cases referred to it in order to make a final determination as to whether a petition is approvable or not. In many cases, USCIS asks for additional information from the petitioner before making a determination.

The U.S. government, in cooperation with other countries that are active in intercountry adoptions, has consistently over the past several years encouraged the Government of Nepal to ratify and implement the Hague Adoption Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Convention), to which Nepal is a signatory. We have also urged the Government of Nepal to implement the recommendations made by ICATAP. The Convention incorporates the best practices in intercountry adoption, which are intended to protect the rights of children and families.

U.S. Embassy officials first met with Nepali officials in early August to request an extension of the 60-day completion requirement when we announced the suspension of new adoption cases for children found abandoned. At that time, the Ministry gave the Embassy a verbal commitment to extend the deadline. After many meetings and official requests going up to the highest levels of the Government of Nepal, the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare agreed in writing to extend the 60-day timeline by an additional 60 days, for a total of 120 days. The Ministry also indicated that it would favorably consider additional requests for extensions.

The Department has been engaged with Congress. On October 5, 2010, U.S. Ambassador to Nepal Scott DeLisi personally briefed staffers from both Houses. Ambassador Susan Jacobs provided a similar update a week earlier to interested Senate staff. We will continue to work closely with Congress and with interested offices whose constituents are affected by the decision to suspend adoptions in Nepal.

Our Office of Children’s Issues is engaged in daily outreach to prospective adopting parents, adoption service providers, Congressional staffers, and adoption advocacy and stakeholder groups. The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu is in frequent and direct contact with many of the prospective adopting parents and has made itself readily available to all of the prospective adoptive parents. This outreach includes conference calls, briefings, group emails, and updates on individual cases. Our officers respond promptly to letters, calls, and emails from staffers, Members of Congress, prospective adoptive parents and their advocates. We also post regular updates on adoptions in Nepal through our website, http://adoption.state.gov/.


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Minister Sarwadev Prasad Ojha's Opening Speech at Euradopt

The following transcript of Minister Sarwadev Prasad Ojha's speech at the Euradopt meeting in Oslo on October 30, 2010 was provided to PEAR by an interested party in Nepal:

Distinguished Participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen!


First of all, on behalf of the Government of Nepal and myself, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the President of EurAdopt Madam Pia Brandsnes for providing me this opportunity to express our views and concern on Inter-country adoption of Nepal in front of you.

As you all know that the history of inter-country adoption in Nepal has been started 3 decades back. A lot of changes have been made during these period regarding the policies, laws and practices. We are always concerned with the children of Nepal and our policies and laws have always directed towards the path of the child first. We are also aware that children should grow up in the family environment and should receive all the rights guided by the national and international standards.

At present the new law - Terms and Conditions and Process for Granting Approval for Adoption of Nepali Child by Alien 2008 is prevailed for processing inter-country adoption of Nepal. We all know that development is a continue process and there is always room for improvement in every aspects. However, the new Terms and Conditions 2008 is also flexible in this matter.

After the report in regard to inter-country adoption of Nepal prepared by Hague Secretariat on 4 February 2010 and the following meeting of Hague Secretariat on June 2010, some negative messages and misunderstandings have been spread out in international community which affected the process of inter-county adoption in Nepal. We do honor the sensitivity and seriousness of the report. We are always sincere to improve the weaknesses and gaps existed in our inter country adoption process.

We know international community is watching keenly the further steps to be taken by Nepal, as some of the countries have suspended inter-country adoption from Nepal at the moment. We are observing the international trend of inter-country adoption system. In this regard, I would like to assure you that the Ministry has started to reform the existing process and policies and for this we need your technical support and valuable suggestions.

To improve the existing Terms and Conditions we have already started necessary steps. A High Level Committee has been formed consisting government and non-government stakeholders. This Committee is working for providing suggestions to the Ministry for reviewing existing law to make it compatible with Hague Convention.

Nepal has already signed the Hague Convention in 28 April 2009 and now we are in a process to ratify it. The High Level Committee as I mentioned above is working in this guide line.

At present, malfunctioning children homes/orphanages have been penalized and they are banned for working on inter-country adoption. We are strictly monitoring the activities and process of documentation of the children homes/orphanages involved in Inter-country adoption.

We know there are more corrective steps yet to be initiated by the Government of Nepal for which we need valuable suggestions and technical support from the international community.

We are here today once again to show our commitments towards the welfare of children and willingness to work together with all of you.

Thank you very much for your warm welcome and the hospitality provided to us during our stay in OSLO.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

MEDIA: 4,000 children await rescue from inferior orphanages


KATHMANDU, Nov 2: Two and half years ago, the government itself pointed the need to rescue children living in group "D" category orphanages. But more than 4,000 children living in such orphanages are yet to be rescued.

In June 2008, the Central Child Welfare Committee (CCWC) had conducted a survey on the conditions of the orphanages across the country. After the survey we have rescued more then twelve hundred children living in various children´s homes, but we are unable to rescue more in the lack of budget,” Dharmaraj Shrestha, executive director of CCWC, said.

According to Shrestha, the survey categorized orphanages under four groups on the basis of their conditions and facilities they provided. “The children living in group "D" category orphanages were in pitiable condition and in dire need of rescue,” he said, adding. There are 198 orphanages under group "D" category. CCWC had warned orphanages under category "C" improve the conditions to graduate to category "B".

The CCWC has put 192 orphanages under category "C", 56 under category "B”, and only six orphanage meeting all requirements are under categroy "A".

“Most of the orphanages have to work a lot to upgrade their standard,” Umakanta Chaudhary, monitoring officer at CCWC, said . After the survey ten orphanage were shut. Due to the lack of sufficient budget and transit home CCWC cannot rescue the children living in the vulnerable condition, he said. The CCWC doesn´t see rescue as ultimate solution. “They should be rehabilitated back in their homes. This is the only solution,” Chaudhary said.

Most of the children rescued before were sent back to their homes and few were sent to better orphanages.

The survey also showed that only 27.51 percent children living in orphanages were real orphans while 72.49 percent children had father or mother or both. Some children were found admitted to orphanages because their parents were too poor to provide for their children, the survey found.

There are 11,969 children living in 434 orphanages across the country, according to the survey.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.