Saturday, August 7, 2010
Effective immediately, the U.S. government is suspending new adoption petitions and related visa issuances for children from Nepal who allegedly were abandoned by their parents. After investigation, the State Department has determined that documents presented to prove the abandonment of children in Nepal are unreliable. According to the State Department's investigation:
"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. Police and orphanage officials often refuse to cooperate with consular officers’ efforts to confirm information by comparing it with official police and orphanage records. In one case, the birth parents were actively searching for a child who had been matched with an American family for adoption."
The U.S. State Department has therefore concluded that it can no longer reasonably determine whether a child documented as abandoned qualifies as an orphan. Without reliable documentation, the U.S. government cannot process an orphan petition to completion.
The U.S. is not alone in taking this action. It appears that all other countries that had been processing adoption cases from Nepal have stopped accepting new cases due to a lack of confidence that children presented as orphans are actually eligible for intercountry adoption.