Korea Begins Implementing Special Adoption Act

Little Miracles International | Friday, January 25, 2013 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
On August 5, 2012, the Republic of Korea (ROK) Special Adoption Act, which governs intercountry adoptions from South Korea, went into effect.  This law prioritizes domestic adoptions and endeavors to reduce the number of South Ko­rean children adopted abroad.  Under the Special Adoption Act, each intercountry adoption requires the approval of the ROK Family Court.  We anticipate other significant changes from previous intercountry adoption procedures and require­ments.  The ROK government has not yet given public notice of the details at this time.
The ROK’s Ministry of Health and Welfare recently informed the U.S. Embassy in Seoul that adoptions that were in process but not completed by August 5, 2012 will be processed under the new law.  Adoption agencies in Seoul have con­firmed that the files of all children under last year’s quota who had not received Emigration Permits prior to the effective date of the new law are now being sent to the Family Court for approval once Emigration Permits are issued.  Prospective adoptive parents who believe their case may fall under the new law should contact their adoption service provider for more information.  The ROK is accepting new adoption applications; however, prospective adoptive parents should not expect rapid processing of these cases until the ROK’s new procedures are in place.
We will continue to keep you updated through as additional information is received.

FY 2012 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption

Little Miracles International | Friday, January 25, 2013 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
January 2013

Pursuant to Section 104 of the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA) (Public Law 106-279), the U.S. Department of State submits the FY 2012 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption. You may download and view the report here.

We are not shocked at these statistics, however it continues to worry and disturb us how many children have not received services we believe should be and could be provided to them by international adoption.

Universal Accreditation Act, 2012 Becomes Law

Little Miracles International | Friday, January 18, 2013 | Links to this post | 0 Comments

On January 14, 2013, the President signed The Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), one of the last bills passed in the final days of the 112th Congress. The effective date of the UAA is July 14, 2014, 18 months after the President's signature.

The UAA has broad implications for all U.S. adoption service providers (ASPs) active in intercountry adoption. It affects currently accredited or approved ASPs and those ASPs with programs only in non-Hague Adoption Convention countries of origin, where federal accreditation or approval was not previously required.

The purpose of the UAA is to apply the provisions of the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA) concerning the accreditation of ASPs to agencies and persons providing adoption services in cases involving children described in Immi­gration and Nationality Act (INA) section 101(b)(1)(F) and adopted through the orphan process. By requiring all ASPs handling cases under 101(b)(1)(F) and 101(b)(1)(G) (concerning children habitually resident in Hague Adoption Conven­tion countries) to receive the same accreditation under federal standards, families adopting internationally will have the assurance that regardless from where they adopt, the ASP they choose to work with will be in substantial compliance with the same ethical standards of practice and conduct.

Previously, the conduct of accredited agencies in non-Convention cases did not generally fall under the oversight and monitoring responsibilities of the Department of State-designated accrediting entities (AEs). Such conduct is now subject to the oversight and monitoring by AEs. The UAA also extends the enforcement provisions of the IAA to ASPs providing adoption services in orphan cases.

The UAA provides for transition cases (grandfathering) in certain situations; ASPs providing adoption services in grand­fathered cases do not need to be accredited.

A copy of the UAA is available in pdf format at this link.

Additional information on the UAA is available  UAA FAQ.  Please review the FAQ materials before contacting the US State Department for additional information.  

The DOS welcomes your questions – email them at and watch the Notices section of their website for additional general information.

With Russia closing we are hearing from many, many families who are looking to switch their adoptions to one of our Hague programs (Hungary, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria or Colombia; click here for a full list of Hague countries).  Families with approval from USCIS for Russia, or any other non-Hague country, must revise their home studies and get a new approval in order to move forward.

Home Study 

For all country changes the first step is to revise your home study to reflect the new country.  Be sure you know the protocols in your new country for age range of children, gender requests, health expectations of children and any particular information the country requires in the home study and revise the home study accordingly.  A Hague home study varies slightly in format and content from a non-Hague home study so discuss the Hague home study requirements with your social worker.  Most home study agencies will charge a fee for revising your home study.  You will need a full, revised home study for the new program, as opposed to using your previous home study with a one-page update.

To go from a non-Hague country to a Hague country

An approval in a non-Hague country (for example Ethiopia, Russia, Congo, Uganda, South Korea, Ukraine and Taiwan) can not be transferred directly to a Hague country.  If you filled out the I-600A for your adoption then you are adopting from a non-Hague country. If you have I-600A approval, in addition to revising your home study you will need to file the I-800A form with USCIS and pay the fee of $720.  If your fingerprints from the I-600A have not expired CIS will transfer those to your new process at no charge.  You will send USCIS the completed I-800A form, a copy of your revised home study, the fees and copies of proof of citizenship.

To go from a Hague country to a different Hague country

If you already have an approved I-800A for a Hague Convention country you can use I-800A Supplement 3 (Request for Action on Approved Form I-800A) to change to another Hague country. You will check Part 2(d) and enter your new country in item 3: “Indicate Change of Country.” You might also need to check the box in item 3 indicating an update in the number of children, age of children, etc. if that information has changed in your home study.

You should send in your revised home study along with Supplement 3 to USCIS.  The first request for a change between Hague countries is free. If you have a change in any other parts of the document, other than country, the fee is $360.

To go from a non-Hague country to a different non-Hague country

If you already have an approved I-600A for a non-Hague country you can use the I-824 form to move to another non-Hague country.  Check Part 2(b) and write in the embassy or consulate location that should receive the approval of your application.  You should send in your revised home study along with the I-824 form to USCIS.  The first request for a change between non-Hague countries is free.
Planning to adopt in 2013? Join our teleconference! On Wednesday, January 9th, 7:30 pm CST, you can dial-in from the comfort of home, and learn about: 

1. Age of children available for adoption in each country - where can you adopt a baby, toddler, older child, or sibling set? 

2. How children are referred to families from the different countries?   Each has its own process!

3.  What's the current timeline for each country?   It fluctuates, of course, and we update you along the way.  We can go by what we see today (as adoptive parents, we really do understand and wish we had a crystal ball for you :).

4.  Are there programs you can rule in/out based on parent criteria?
5.  How do we manage travel required, especially if it's a program that's perfect for us?

6.  How can we plan for finances for a 2013 adoption?

Ten years ago, my husband and I started on our first adoption journey....the research was so overwhelming!  This teleconference is designed to help you prioritize, and get going toward your child.    

 Email:, subject: Teleconference

Adoption Alert: Cambodia

Little Miracles International | Friday, January 04, 2013 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
On January 2, 2012 the U.S. Dept of State, Office of Children’s Issues released the following alert regarding the status of intercountry adoptions between the United States and Cambodia. The update can be found on their website here. Notice: Update on Status of Intercountry Adoptions between the United States and Cambodia The United States has determined that it will not be able to process intercountry adoptions in Cambodia at this time, under the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Convention). 

Despite Cambodia’s initiatives to strengthen its child welfare system and improve the integrity of its domestic and intercountry adoption processes, it does not yet have a fully functional Convention process in place. We caution adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents that important steps, consistent with the requirements of the Convention, must take place before intercountry adoptions between the United States and Cambodia may resume. 

Adoption service providers should neither initiate nor claim to initiate adoption services in Cambodia for prospective adoptive parents in the United States until they receive notification from the Department of State.

US Senate Responds to Russian Law Banning Adoption

Little Miracles International | Thursday, January 03, 2013 | Links to this post | 0 Comments

January 2, 2013
Elle Hogan

US Senate Responds to Russian Law Banning Adoption of Russian Children by American Families

Late last night, the United State Senate unanimously passed S. Res. 628, a resolution expressing the body’s disappointment over the recent passage of a Russian law banning the adoption of Russian children by American citizens. This resolution, the most recent step in a long series of actions taken by Members of Congress, expresses the Senators’ deep concern with the law, which would deprive a significant number of Russia’s 740,000 institutionalized children their chance of finding a permanent, loving family.

“Given the immensity of the challenges facing the Russian government, one would think they would be taking every possible action to decrease the number of Russian children living without families,” said Kathleen Strottman, Executive Director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). “Sadly, it is the Russian children, many of whom have spent their entire childhood in institutions, who will suffer the most because of this law.”

The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Senate Co-chairs, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), echoed Strottman’s sentiments.

"Whatever issues our two governments may be facing, there is no political reason to put vulnerable children in the middle of political posturing," Landrieu said. "Children should be raised by parents, not in orphanages, institutions or alone on the street."

"It is extremely unfortunate and disheartening that the Russian Duma and President Putin would choose to deprive the children, the very children that they are entrusted to care for, the ability to find a safe and caring family that every child deserves,” Inhofe said. “As a grandparent of an internationally adopted child, I know that this new law is against the interests of the Russian people, in particular Russian children. The law continues the disturbing anti-American trend that has been taking place in Russia for the past several years. It is nothing more than a political play against the United States that ultimately leads to greater hardships and more suffering for Russian children who will now be denied a loving family.

Since learning of the possible ban, CCAI has been deeply engaged in supporting this and other opposition efforts by Members of Congress. Earlier this month, CCA Members of Congress sent a bi-partisan letter to President Putin urging him to veto the legislation. “We fear that this overly broad law would have dire consequences for Russian children,” they wrote. “Nothing is more important to the future of our world than doing our best to give as many children the chance to grow up in a family as we possibly can.”

Now that the ban has been enacted, CCAI continues to work with the State Department and Members of Congress to urge the Russian government to grant clemency for cases already in progress. In situations like these, CCAI’s priority is to ensure that US government officials are not only aware of the personal circumstances of all American families directly impacted but also have the information necessary to effectively advocate on their behalf. CCAI strongly encourages families that are affected to accommodate the State Department Office of Children’s Issues request for information regarding where they are in the adoption process. The State Department has requested that families email with the subject line: “Intercountry adoption in Russia – family update.”

The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute ( is a non-governmental, nonprofit organization that strives to be an objective, educational resource for information critical to advancing the efforts of federal policymakers on behalf of children in need of homes.