Amid the Silence, Would CHIFF Give Up on Adoption?

It must have seemed like such a slam-dunk when the proponents of the Children in Families First act began to develop their plans for orphans. Who would oppose children needing families?

Since the bill’s introduction many months ago, though, it’s been a slow motion dribble to any movement, never mind passage, and the game clock is ticking loudly.

Recently the website, the Facebook page, and the Twitter account of CHIFF have all been noticeably silent.

Drawing from my time a while back in legislative advocacy, I am guessing that this means they are taking a new tactic, probably still lobbying on Capitol Hill, and probably considering making some concessions.They may have grown tired of having their information countered and questioned by people like me who believe, yes, children deserve families, but, no, CHIFF is not the right approach.

From the start, CHIFF has been silent on these vital issues:

  • Much needed funding for improved pre-adoption and post-adoption resources
  • Federal level legislation on “re-homing” of internationally adopted children
  • Documented cases of fraud and corruption
  • Support from the State Department
  • Support from international adult adopted persons
  • Support from international family preservation organizations
  • Support from international first parents
  • Pre- and post-placement resources, support, counseling, and information for international first parents
  • Citizenship for all international adoptees

That silence on those issues speaks volumes.

CHIFF has a few more cosponsors, but proponents have chosen not to draw attention to them publicly as they had previously done. The recent House Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Africa’s orphans was not a strategic success. The upcoming trial of International Adoption Guides via Department of Justice indictment has not helped. Court cases of adoptive parents for abuse and deaths of their internationally adopted children (Hana Williams, Hyunsu O’Callaghan, and the Barbour children are just a few examples) cast a tragic long shadow. Increasing numbers of internationally adopted children now in the US foster care system is of concern–at least, I hope it is. CHIFF is silent on that.

How about dropping international adoption from the bill, since that has been the main point of contention? CHIFF proponents have argued occasionally that the bill is not really about adoption, though that’s hard to believe, since almost all their endorsers and Executive Committee are adoption-related, and prospective and current adoptive parents are the main supporters.

Would that crowd, and the Congressional staffers and sponsors, rally and promote (through Facebook, Twitter, and their website) family preservation and reunification, instead of adoption? That would mean some $60 million for vulnerable children in adversity, not for a new bureaucracy or a small number of children who would benefit from adoption. Many more children would benefit from remaining with their families and not entering orphanages; many more mothers would not have to lose their children because of poverty.

Then perhaps we could all turn to genuinely overhauling and improving the international adoption process, with input from adult adopted persons and international first parents, not just adoption agencies and adoptive parents, and with a goal of addressing current, real needs in the adoption community.

That is something I could cheer for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Letter to Congressional Reps: Thank You for Not Co-sponsoring CHIFF

The fallout and division that is CHIFF did not have to happen. Tremendous common ground exists: who disagrees that children deserve safe, loving families?

Unfortunately, the folks who crafted CHIFF (Children in Families First, S. 1530 and H.R. 4143) did so in a vacuum, excluding significant constituents: international adoptees and original parents. That short-sighted decision has come back repeatedly to haunt them. Perhaps they felt the rhetoric of “children deserve families” is enough to bring everyone on board. It is not.

Instead, there is an increasing amount of pushback from many corners of the international adoption community, a mounting demand not for shallow rhetoric but for genuine, thoughtful policies that meet currently existing needs.

The legislation, introduced in the House over a year ago and the Senate 6 months ago, has failed to gain traction. It has incurred much controversy, perhaps due to its evangelical proponents, perhaps due to its many supporters who oppose gay people as adoptive parents, perhaps due to its unclear cost (a “modest portion” of $2 billion), perhaps due to its decision to censor those who disagree or question them, or perhaps due to the concern that aid provided by CHIFF to other countries will be tied to the country’s participation in intercountry adoption. For whatever reasons, it has been hammered from many sides, seemingly to the surprise of its supporters.

I’ve been among those criticizing CHIFF. I’m an adoptive parent, and I deeply believe that all children deserve families. I believe in adoption, when it is done in an ethical, transparent way that genuinely meets the needs of all involved, not just at placement, but over lifetimes.

Could this controversy, criticism, and lack of traction have been avoided? Perhaps, had CHIFF proponents reached out to the international adoption community in a meaningful way. Perhaps, had they held hearings on current, glaring needs of internationally adopted adults and children, and of marginalized international first parents. Perhaps, had they insisted on better pre- and post- adoption services, with equity, access, and affordability for everyone.

I am sending a letter to my US Senators and Representative, thanking them for not co-sponsoring CHIFF, explaining my concerns, and providing suggestions for better international adoption policies. Here it is:

As an adoptive parent, I want to thank you for not co-sponsoring the Children in Families First legislation (CHIFF, S. 1530 and
 H.R. 1403). CHIFF’s intent, from their web page, is this: “We protect children by preserving families, reunifying families or creating families through adoption.” Everyone agrees that children around the globe deserve safe, loving families: it’s a laudable goal. Family preservation, domestic adoption, and international adoption are ways to achieve that goal, especially for vulnerable children. I am the parent of four children through adoption: 2 sons from the US, twin daughters from Ethiopia. My children, all in their 20’s now, are my life’s greatest blessings.

CHIFF, unfortunately, ignores many important realities of international adoption.

It fails to include the voices of adult adoptees and of first/original international parents, the people affected most directly by this legislation and the most knowledgeable about international adoption and family preservation.  CHIFF proponents appear to have made no effort in seeking out these groups, especially prior to introducing the legislation. Indeed, the main supporters of the legislation (as listed on the CHIFF webpage) are adoption agencies and adoption attorneys, who have a significant economic stake in increasing the numbers of international adoption, and do not have expertise in family preservation. Internationally adopted adults and international first parents should have a significant place at the table of any international adoption policy. That is not the case with CHIFF.

Several current, glaring problems in the international adoption community must be solved before CHIFF is even considered.

One example is that the US government currently does not provide citizenship for all international adoptees. Adoptees who were brought to the US for the purpose of adoption by US citizens prior to 2000 have been deported to Brazil, Korea, India, Germany, and elsewhere. It is regrettable that CHIFF proponents, especially adoption agencies, have been unable to move the citizenship legislation, which would affect adoptees they placed years ago, and who are now promoting legislation to expand international adoption. I hope that all supporters of CHIFF would be deeply motivated to demand the US citizenship legislation for all adoptees now, in the name of fairness and integrity, and well before advancing an enormous piece of expensive, controversial legislation.

Another example that CHIFF does not address is the huge, gaping need for genuine, rigorous pre-adoption preparation, and for substantive, effective, accessible post-adoption counseling and resources here in the United States. Surely we can craft adoption policy far better than CHIFF, in terms of preparation and counseling of birth/first parents and of adoptive parents prior to adoption, and in terms of post-adoption resources and services for everyone. 

 I’d like to see some degree of equity in counseling and services (before and after placement) for international birth parents as compared to US adoptive parents. One possibility is re-vamping the US adoption tax credit as one means of doing this. No new money–just an equitable, sane distribution of revenue (billions of dollars) that the US federal government is already providing to adoptive parents. So far, the US has given some $7 billion in tax credits, primarily for international and private adoptions, and a fractional amount for the original intent of US foster care adoptions.

 A third example: CHIFF does not address the grim cloud of corruption and fraud over international adoption. Many US families have brought children to the US only to find out the children have families who wanted to keep them, but were trafficked or otherwise brought to the US in unethical circumstances. Adult adoptees have traveled back to their home countries and learned very different stories from what the agencies told their adoptive parents. 

CHIFF minimally acknowledges the corruption that exists in international adoption. The fraud and corruption should be acknowledged, researched thoroughly, and (ideally) eliminated.

 Fourth, CHIFF does not address the tragic and disturbing practice of “re-homing” here in the US, recently cited in Reuters’ articles, which looked at re-homing practices over 5 years. Better preparation and better post-adopt services (including respite, training, access to therapists who understand adoption, trauma, and related issues) surely would have prevented some of these complex cases.

 Fifth, while CHIFF does not meaningfully address current needs here in the United States regarding international adoption policy, it would use USAID and other taxpayer money to increase international adoptions, to create new bureaucracy within the State Department, and to establish new programs around the globe. The CHIFF web page is decidedly vague on the amount: “a modest part of $2 billion” is the amount listed.

Before anything like CHIFF goes forward, before we use additional funds and resources to increase the numbers of internationally adopted children, we need, at a minimum, the following:

▪                Good data, solid research, and substantive information about current realities in the US international adoption community.

▪                Good data, solid research, and substantive information about fraud and corruption in international adoption practices.

▪                Inclusion and buy-in from adult international adoptees and from international birth/original parents, and not solely from adoptive parents, adoption agencies, and adoption attorneys.

▪                Funding and training for pre-adoption and post-adoption resources that are effective and accessible.

▪                Legislation and/or other resources that provides guidance and oversight for families in crisis, with transparency for adoption disruptions and services for children.

 I believe in adoption, when it is done in a transparent, ethical way. I believe in equitable services for all those involved in adoption, including original (birth) parents. I believe we need to address current problems in the international adoption community before undertaking huge new programs around the globe.

 CHIFF excludes vital stakeholders, is expensive, and ignores genuine needs in the US and international adoption community. It should not move forward. Surely we can do far better than this, and truly meet the needs of vulnerable children and families.

 Thank you again, for not co-sponsoring this legislation.

 Sincerely,

Maureen McCauley Evans

 

 

 

 

 

Not Chuffed About CHIFF: Pushing Back On International Adoption Policy

“Chuffed” is British slang for being pleased, mixed with a bit of proud.

CHIFF is the Children in Families First Act. I’ve written here about Why CHIFF Will (and Should) Fail, and here about What CHIFF Lacks, And Why It Must Be Abandoned.

I am not chuffed about CHIFF. Those two posts above explain why.

Not surprisingly, I’ve gotten some pushback from folks at adoption agencies about my views.

Why am I opposed to helping children who need families?

I’m not, it turns out. I believe adoption is a potential, positive option for children in genuine need of families. I agree that children are better off growing up in safe, loving families rather than in institutions. As is often the case, however, this is far more complicated than a warm and fuzzy scenario of homes for orphans. CHIFF is about a new bureaucracy, plus misplaced funding that ignores existing needs, and a blatant failure to include those most affected.

Many years ago, when I was working for the Joint Council on International Children’s Services (I was there from 1995-2000), we worked on several pieces of significant adoption-related legislation. One was the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. Two others were part of the immigration bill in 1996, one requiring immunizations prior to immigration to the US, and the other mandating deportation of non-US citizens who were convicted of a felony. The immunizations issue was settled fairly easily, with prospective adoptive parents having to sign a form saying they would get their children immunized here (or get an exemption for religious reasons, for example).

The deportation issue, though, was far more complex. Adult international adoptees who had not acquired US citizenship and committed a felony were deported, regardless of having been brought here by US citizens for adoption, having been raised here their whole lives, and having no connection (language, family, school, religion, etc.) with their country of origin. This absurdity was part of the impetus behind the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which gave (relatively) automatic citizenship to internationally adopted children. More information is available here, in my posts All They Will Call You Will Be Deportees and Citizenship Isn’t Automatic for Internationally Adopted Children to the US?.

All those legislative issues were complicated, and we are still feeling the implications certainly of the Hague Convention and of the deportation/citizenship law. When I think back of my involvement with both, I am aware of two glaring omissions from the discussions and implementation of both: very few adult adoptees or first parents were involved.

By far, it was international lawyers, adoption agencies’ staff, and adoptive parents who were the forces behind the legislative process: the same (mostly white, well-educated, politically savvy, well-off) demographic of those who are supporting CHIFF.

Had adoptees and first parents genuinely and fully been invited to share their experiences  around adoption, perhaps the Hague Convention would have been more smoothly implemented here in the US. Perhaps the Council On Accreditation would have more effective criteria for the accreditation of adoption agencies under the Hague. Perhaps consultation and input from adopted adults would have been more convincing about the need for appropriate and fair citizenship legislation.

I include myself in falling short on insisting that adoptees and first parents have a place at the table during those legislative processes. That’s why I am speaking out as loudly as possible now.

As I look at the supporters of CHIFF, I see a list comprised almost entirely of adoption agencies. Adoption agencies are not focused on family preservation–let’s be clear about that. Theirs is a different mission and focus. Family preservation is expensive, complicated, and labor-intensive. Adoption work can similarly described, though it requires different staffing, skills, evaluation, and funding than family preservation. It’s also easy to see how conflicts of interest could occur, if an agency pursues both.

Look at this, from the CHIFF Facebook page:

The CHIFF Working Group Executive Committee

American Academy of Adoption Attorneys
Both Ends Burning
Center for Adoption Policy
Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School
Christian Alliance for Orphans
Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute
EACH
Joint Council on International Children’s Services
Kidsave International
National Council For Adoption
Saddleback Church

CHIFF also has the support of dozens of individual adoption agencies. Why is that, if CHIFF emphasizes family preservation?

About the pushback I’ve received: I heard from one of the above agencies, saying I’d rattled a few cages. Good.

Because here’s the deal: Adoptee groups are more common, more vocal, and more effective than when I was at JCICS and other organizations. I’m not excusing my failure to include them at the time. I am saying, though, that there are plenty of organized groups now across the adoptee spectrum. There are amazing, thoughtful adoptees who are Ph.D’s and MSW’s and LCSW’s who could offer great insights into this legislation, but I don’t see their names or their affiliations on the list of CHIFF supporters. That speaks volumes to me, that the CHIFF Working Group Executive Committee and its list of supporters are predominantly adoption agencies and adoptive parents.

Interestingly, the “Likes” on the Facebook page of the Children in Families First group is 2439. The “Likes” on the “Stop CHIFF” Facebook page is 2507. A few years ago, before the empowerment that is social media, the balance would not have been so close. It’s all changing now.

Here’s another important reality that currently is often ignored. There are plenty of adult adoptees who love their adoptive parents, who are grateful to have been adopted, who recognize that their lives would have been totally different (certainly economically and perhaps otherwise) had they not been adopted. These are among the most powerful adopted adults who are speaking out, demanding change in the international adoption process, These adult adoptees love their adoptive families and they had happy childhoods. They are also speaking out about adoption, seeking change in the international adoption process, demanding transparency and integrity, and insisting on a role for themselves and for first/birth parents in the future of international adoption.

As to the notion that some of the adoptee groups don’t play well with others, and so are not invited to this sandbox: Enough. There are many, many adult adoptee groups and adoptee professionals working in adoption. If the adoption agency groups have insights and inroads to the politicians–and it surely looks as though they do–why don’t they share their skills and experience with adoptee groups?

Is anyone else struck by the fact that some adoption agencies and adoption-related organizations don’t want to hear from, talk with, or work with some adopted adults who are now speaking out? These adoptees were brought to the US by these agencies and organizations.  Have the agencies no ethical responsibility to find common ground? Even (or especially) with adopted adults who’ve struggled mightily with loss and grief, who had horrific childhoods, or who view their adoption as a painful life event?

Is anyone else struck by the fact that the international adoption agencies and adoption-related organizations are not reaching out to first parents to provide post-adoption services to them, the way the services are provided (or at least offered) to US adoptive parents? Where is the integrity in that? For that matter, I’d love to see an evaluation of the pre-placement services provided to international first parents. Do the services match what is available to US birth/first parents? If not, why not?

Is anyone else struck by the fact that CHIFF is “about reallocating a small portion of the $2 billion the US Government already spends on assistance programs for children internationally” but doesn’t say how much that “small portion” is? The US government currently provides billions in the adoption tax credit, a fragment for the adoption of foster care children but primarily allocated to international and private adoptions. Your tax dollars are already hard at work reimbursing relatively well-off adoptive parents for travel and hotels overseas. We are talking huge amounts of money here, that could be spent far more responsibly.

Is anyone else struck by the fact that adoptive parents of internationally adopted children are often able, after placement, to quickly find out the true backgrounds of their children, backgrounds that are all too often not what the agency told them? Should we ignore the fact that increasing numbers adult adoptees travel back to their country of origin and find their truth is very different from what the agency told them, their first parents, and their adoptive parents?

Is anyone else heartbroken about the fact that internationally adopted children are “re-homed” in an underground Internet system, that internationally adopted children are showing up in increasing numbers in the US foster care system, and that some internationally adopted children adopted as teens to the US are thrown out of their families when they reach 18?

I am well aware that adoptive parents and adoption-related organizations hold the most power in adoption policy–for now. I am aware that some (though not all) adoptee groups are adversarial, even hostile. But let’s not dismiss the realities experienced by so-called difficult adoptees. (Arguably, we do that all too often as shown by the dearth of appropriate post-adoption services for adopted children and teens. There could be a correlation.) Let’s not hope that they just go away, now that they’ve grown up. Collaboration, not further marginalization, is the only way to move toward well-grounded adoption policy and reform.

Let’s invite adult adoptees and first families to the table, and stop repeating the same mistakes. Let’s not pour more money and time into international adoption policy that does not adequately meet the needs of current adoptees, prospective adoptees, and constantly-marginalized first families.

 

Standards of Practice for Adoptive Parents: It’s Time (Part One)

On May 21, I presented my workshop titled “Standards of Practice for Adoptive Parents: Ethics, Economics, and Responsibilities” at the annual conference of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services in New York City.

(A few disclaimers and a bit of context: I was the first executive director of JCICS, from 1994 to 2000.  I have no connection with them anymore, except insofar as some of the folks from those days are good people and remain good friends.  JCICS has changed a lot since I was there, from an umbrella group of international adoption agencies to a more broadly-focused nonprofit for global child welfare issues. I am guessing most of the conference attendees were adoption agency-affiliated, mostly administrative and executive staff. My workshop was a PowerPoint presentation; if anyone wants the slides, I can share them. My plan here in my blog is to share the main points, providing narrative similar to what I provided at the conference.)

IMG_8426

There is a perfect storm in adoption right now:

* The number of children being internationally adopted has dropped dramatically, but the number of children needing families remains high.

* Adoption agencies are closing, including those certified by the Council on Accreditation.

* There is an increased volume of adult adoptee voices being heard,  and their experiences and insights are becoming better known and respected.

* There is an explosion of Internet postings about fraud in international adoptions.

* There is some assent within the Christian evangelical community–recent big players in the international adoption arena–regarding fraud.

* Increasing numbers of adoptive parents are searching for their internationally adopted children’s first/birth families privately, after adoption, without agency assistance or knowledge, and while their children are little.

* Awareness and connections with birth/first families are increasing.

Given all this, given this perfect storm, where do we begin?

IMG_0283

These are, to me, the minimal Standards:

1. CitizenshipAll adoptive parents–whether they adopted in 1956 or in June 2013–must ensure that their internationally adopted children are citizens of the United States. It is an ethical outrage that this is even necessary to discuss (again and again, still). Read here for more information.

2. Access to Original Birth Certificate. All adoptive parents should make every effort for their children to have access to their original birth certificate. Whether a child is adopted within the US or internationally, they should have access to their original birth certificates. I realize that this is difficult (if not impossible) for genuinely abandoned children. Some children don’t arrive in the US with birth certificates because their birth was not recorded in any official way. Many children however do have birth certificates.  Still. All of them deserve access to this basic, too-often-taken-for-granted legal information: the birth certificate that non-adopted people have, that provides them with basic, vital information about who they are.  It’s a human right.

3. DNA Testing.  All adoptive parents should be aware of options regarding DNA testing, and offer these options to their children. DNA testing is relatively cheap these days, and provides an astonishing amount of information. Most non-adopted people have a decent medical history, a good sense for what runs in the family. Adoptees often do not. DNA testing would fill in some of those missing blanks at the doctor’s office. DNA testing can also connect adopted people to their birth family, or to more distant relatives.  DNA testing also can let people know if they are Sudanese, Irish, German, Colombian, or a combination thereof.

4. Role Models/Mentors.  All adoptive parents should make every effort for their adopted children to have role models around them who look like them, as well as mentors and friends who are adoptees. Real people, real friends, folks who are over to the house for coffee, parties, barbecues. Ideally, these people are in the adoptive parents’ lives and community prior to adoption. Access to role models and to adoptees as mentors can be especially important when kids become teenagers; it’d be great to have them while they’re still in elementary school.

The last two items from my PowerPoint slide above, Guidelines for Connections with First Families and Consideration of New Paradigms in International Adoption, will be the subject of an upcoming post. I will also add additional Standards of Practice.

Citizenship Isn’t Automatic for Internationally Adopted Children to the US? Really?

Children can be brought to the United States by US citizens for purposes of adoption, and the US government (who has to approve all these adoptions) does not provide automatic citizenship to thousands, past and present.

Adult adoptees have been deported. Others are in line to be deported.  Some have committed a crime inadvertently by voting. They have been denied scholarships and lost jobs due to the inability to pass background checks/prove US citizenship.

Citizenship prior to February 2001 was not automatic. And that is a huge injustice to these children (many of whom are now adults), an undermining of the integrity of adoption, and a slap in the face to adoptees.

How did this happen? Adoptive parents failed to follow through on citizenship. Adoption agencies did not impress families sufficiently about why proof of citizenship matters. People got bad legal advice.

Whatever the reason, the bottom line remains: the US government does not provide automatic citizenship to thousands of children brought here legally for purposes of international adoption.

Some sobering statistics: Between 1999 and 2011, approximately 220,000 children arrived to the US from other countries to be adopted. Of those, about 157,000 arrived on IR-3 visas, and about 65,000 on IR-4 visas.

That’s 65,000 internationally adopted children who do not have automatic citizenship, and that’s only since 1999.

Of the 65,000 above, who arrived here on an IR-4 visa, about 40% are from two of the main countries of origin for adopted children. About 8,600 came from Ethiopia and over 18,000 from South Korea. South Korea has been sending children to the US for 50 years: hundreds of thousands of children.

Adoptive parents: If your child came here on an IR-4 visa, s/he must be readopted before s/he turns 18. US citizenship is not automatically granted to them.

If your child came here on an IR-3, after the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, protect that Certificate of Citizenship. It’s incredibly important and valuable, and not to be taken for granted at all.

Hold on carefully and protectively to all adoption-related documents.

The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 provides US citizenship to children who arrive here in the US with IR-3 visas after February 2001, with various paperwork and fees. Children who arrive here (as international adoptees) on an IR-4 visa have different hoops to go through. Information is available here. I wrote about this in additional detail here.

All They Will Call You Will Be Deportees

The thing is: you’re adoptees.

You were brought to the United States from another country to become the adopted child of US citizens. And now you’re an adult, raised in America.  You speak only English. You went to school here and worked here. You know only your American family and friends.

The State Department website tells adoptive parents:

“It is important to ensure that your adopted child becomes a U.S. citizen. If you postpone documenting or obtaining your child’s citizenship, later he or she may have difficulty getting college scholarships, working legally, voting, and enjoying other rights and privileges.”

But wait: there’s more. Adoptees can be deported.

For all its rhetoric and posturing across the political spectrum about the value of adoption, the US Congress has failed miserably in supporting internationally adopted children.

Let’s review here: A child arrives in the US from Korea, India, Brazil, or another far off place with a different language, culture, food, music, customs, holidays, history. The child is adopted by US citizens. So of course the child automatically becomes a US citizen too, right?

Nope. Certainly not if he or she had the poor timing to be adopted prior to 2000, when the Child Citizenship Act became law. That law, which I (along with many other people) worked on and supported, means that (most) internationally adopted children can automatically become US citizens, if they arrived after February 27, 2001. There is still paperwork involved, of course.

Children arriving on IR-4 visas before or after the CCA must follow a different route, and that’s significant. But citizenship is achievable.

For those thousands and thousands of adoptees who arrived here before the CCA, the process was not so streamlined or automatic. Some parents failed to get their kids US citizenship. Some adoption agencies could have done a better job providing information about the value of citizenship. (And this is still an issue now for those IR-4 visas.)

It was a huge oversight.

An immigration law passed by Congress in 1996 had among its many clauses the possibility of deportation for non-US citizens who commit a felony, including non-violent crimes. There have been adoptees who have committed felonies. I’m not condoning the commission of crimes.

But these adoptees were brought to the US for purposes of adoption by US citizens. They most likely thought they were citizens–seems reasonable. And now, after being raised in America, after serving their sentences, they can be deported to their country of origin–where often they know no one, don’t speak the language, have little chance of getting work, and can never return to the United States.

This has already happened to several adoptees.  One died at 26 after being sent back to Brazil, having been raised in Ohio from the age of 8, after a first time marijuana conviction. The plight of others has prompted petitions. Russell Green was the subject of at least one. The most recent in the news was Kairi Shepherd, and there are many more pending. Many folks, especially adult adoptees, have been working very hard to fix this absurd situation. The Adoption Policy and Reform Collaborative has been among the leaders in this movement.

We don’t deport US citizens who have committed crimes, even if we’d like to. Deporting the internationally adopted children of US citizens is an insult to the integrity of adoption and to the reality of adoptive families.

Congress has been (astonishingly? unsurprisingly? shamefully?) slow to rectify this. Consider contacting the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and your Senator and Representative. Ask them to move on legislation that is fair, humane, and overdue: US citizenship for internationally adopted children, regardless of when they arrived.

A nod to Woody Guthrie for the title of this blog  post.