What To Do If Your Agency Loses Accreditation

 

 

Today, six Hague accredited agencies lost their accreditation to do international adoption.  In the first 3 months of 2018, eleven agencies (representing 7% of all Hague accredited adoption agencies) have lost their accreditation.  In light of this alarming trend, we wanted to give some insight and advice to people who find themselves in this difficult situation.

First, be aware of what a “case transfer plan” means.  When agencies have their accreditation revoked, refused, or expired, the State Department always sends an email to prospective adoptive parents stating,

“When an agency’s or person’s accreditation or approval expires, they are responsible for transferring cases and records.  Families working with [the agency] should contact the agency directly with questions about case or record transfer. We also encourage families to review the information published by the Council on Accreditation about selecting a primary provider/adoption service provider and the accreditation/approval requirements.  The Department of State does not review or approve case transfer plans and has a limited role in their execution. We do, however, communicate with foreign Central Authorities and competent adoption authorities about the accreditation status of agencies and persons and case transfer plans, as needed.”

It is important to note that the case transfer plan does not mean any agency is required to accept your case. Agencies are becoming more reluctant to take client cases from other agencies, even when they have a case transfer plan in place.  There is fear that if the prior agency had any difficulty supervising cases, and this led to the loss of accreditation, then the new agency may have similar problems with supervision of the case.  Your agency will want to know the following information before agreeing to take your case:

  1. Are you matched with a child?
  2. What circumstances led to that child being orphaned?
  3. Can you give a copy of the official referral?
  4. What type of investigation, done by whom, has substantiated the child’s orphan status?

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that any of the money you have paid will transfer to any other agency.  Our agency has acquired the files and cases of dozens of agencies, and we have never received a penny from other agencies as a result of a case transfer plan.

But the arrangement of a case transfer plan does indicate that another agency has communicated with your agency, and expressed a willingness to review your case and consider taking you as a client.  So the agency with the case transfer plan should be your first choice in your effort to continue your adoption plan.

Second, you are entitled to a refund for post adoption report fees that you may have pre-paid.  But you are probably not entitled to a refund for any other fees.  Adoption fees are generally billed when services are rendered, and are not held in trust, nor are they refundable.  But if your agency required you to pay for post adoption reports which have not been completed, you are entitled to a refund for those fees.

Third, you may be able to receive a courtesy fee waiver from your new agency.  Although this is not a requirement, agencies often try to mitigate the difficulty of having your agency lose accreditation by offering to let you come into their program at the same fee-phase where you currently are at.

Fourth, you are likely to need an answer for “why” this is happening.  It is a complicated question with several answers, and therefore it is difficult to channel the blame in any one direction.  International adoptions have been on the decline since 2004 and agencies which have not diversified to offer many types of services are finding it difficult to stay in business.  With the projected 300% increase in the cost of accreditation for agencies under IAAME, many agencies who have already been operating in the red for several years in a row cannot envision a viable future under the new accrediting entity. Sometimes agencies lose accreditation due to alleged violation of specific Hague standards.  Agencies can fight those allegations in court, but since they are ultimately fighting the Department of State (through the accrediting entity), is often more realistic to just forfeit accreditation.

Fifth, there is a difference between losing accreditation and going out of business.  It is possible that your agency will allow you to switch to another adoption program besides international.  For instance, they may allow you to switch to domestic, foster, or embryo adoption.  As a courtesy, they may even offer to waive part or all of the fees as a result of this change.

Finally, although the word “journey” is often associated with adoption because the experience can be difficult, long, and frustrating, it’s helpful to recognize that many people have been on the same journey with many detours but ultimately God put together the family that they had dreamed.  My wife and I accepted the referral of two girls who then changed their minds and decided to stay in permanent foster care.  Next we accepted the referral of a girl who was placed with a distant relative instead.  We were sad and frustrated, but we knew God placed adoption on our hearts and He had a child in mind for us.  We later adopted a girl from a different country than we had originally intended.  While we know God doesn’t cause bad things to happen on purpose, we do know that God works all things together for good (Romans 8:28).

If you would like more information on the current crisis in inter-country adoption policy please see www.SaveAdoptions.org.  There you can see several articles about the events that have led to the rapid decline in the number of adoption agencies and adoptions, as well as sign a petition asking the White House to address this issue.

Daniel Nehrbass, Ph.D. | President

YOU Can Help Save Adoptions

A message from the former President of Nightlight Christian Adoptions, Ronald Stoddart.

Dear Nightlight Family,

I had the privilege to lead Nightlight Christian Adoptions from 2005 to 2013 and now serve on the Board of Directors. I tried, unsuccessfully, to retire in 2013, but decided to practice law part-time in my new home in Colorado. In 2016, I became active in the fight to Save Adoptions from the over-regulation and anti-adoption attitude of the State Department.

In 1995, Nightlight was the first agency to sponsor an orphan tour to the United States when we brought a group of dancers and singers from Russia to perform in churches, concerts in the park, and Disneyland. That allowed us to find homes for more than 800 school age children from Russia who otherwise may not have had a family. The State Department’s re-interpretation of the regulations threatens to stop photo-listings and hosting programs and diminish the chances of older children to be adopted. I’m sure you share my passion for every child to have a permanent family – and you know we are using every program available to do that (domestic, international, foster care and embryo adoption). We need you to share that passion boldly with your family and friends.

Our White House Petition, accessed easily at SaveAdoptions.org, needs 100,000 signatures to guarantee a response from the White House. No one wants to think that a little extra effort on our part could have gotten us across the finish line. So, I am asking EACH of you, individually, to take responsibility for getting your family, friends, and others to sign the petition. Failure is not an option, and you truly can make a difference. Here are a few ways you can make this happen:

  1. Ask you parents, siblings, spouse, and children over 13 to sign the petition.
  2. Send a personal message to friends asking them to sign – and to share it with their friends.
  3. Share a Post from Nightlight or Save Adoption Facebook page to your personal page

And, be sure to remind everyone that they need to verify their e-mail address when they get the confirmation e-mail from the White House.

Thank you – YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN ONE MORE CHILD’S LIFE!

Ronald L. Stoddart

Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day

 

 

Did you realize that today is World Down Syndrome Day? Why the 21st of March, you ask? The date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.

 

Nightlight has had the privilege of assisting many families to adopt children with down syndrome both domestically and internationally. You’ll love hearing from some of these kiddos family members and reading their thoughts about these precious children. We did!

 

“Being parents to Emalyn and Ryker is a huge joy. Those of us who have a child with Down syndrome consider ourselves the lucky few. Although in most ways people with DS are just like everyone else, they also exude an empathy and kindness that is hard to image unless you’ve experience it. There are sometimes struggles, but there is joy that outweighs any struggles a million times over. Daily I look at these sweet children who happen to have an extra 21st chromosome and feel immensely blessed that I get to be their mom. “—Rachael, an adoptive mom

 

“People with Down Syndrome are so awesome! Zeb has the biggest love tank and pats my back even when I’m fake crying!” – Emma Kate, Age 6

“My brother has Down Syndrome and he is a kid, just like me! I’m bigger than him but he’s cooler!!” – Hendrix, Age 8

 

 

Feeling led to adopt a child with down syndrome? Visit our Child Advocacy Website to view the profiles of children needing a forever home TODAY!

www.AdoptionBridge.org

Tender Hearts Grand Opening Celebration

I am not even sure where to begin.  The trip to Uganda last week and the grand opening of Tender Hearts Baby Home was overwhelming to say the least.  First, I want to thank all the mission team members from Nightlight’s team and Grace Life Fellowship for working so hard to get the final touches complete before the event.  Everyone worked so hard.  Over 200 people attended the event.  A few attendees were from the US, but many were from the local community.  Those in attendance included probation officers, police officers, friends and family of the Ngandas, church members, grandparents of children adopted through Tender Hearts into the US, and families who had been reunited with their children.  All in all, it was a great day and a great celebration!  We all sat back in amazement observing what God has done since 2009, when I made that first trip to Uganda and met Ken and Cathy for the first time.  We want to give God all the glory and honor.  He is able!

Uganda 1

The Entrance Gate to the Baby’s Home

Uganda 2

Twenty-three team members from two teams

In Uganda, when you are excited about something, you dance!

Uganda 4

Ken and Cathy honored all of the Tender Hearts staff.

Uganda 5

A few of the children performed for us.

Uganda 6

Ken and Cathy gave speeches and thanked everyone who had helped bring the Baby Home to this point.

Uganda 7

One story that really touched my heart was of a father whose son had gone missing for 10 months.  He had left his son in the care of relatives while he traveled.  When he returned, the relatives told him they had abandoned the boy because they thought he would not be returning.  He searched for him for 10 months.  He went to radio stations and ran advertisements to no avail.  That young boy is named Alex.  He is 6 years old.  Alex was found by local police and sent to Tender Hearts.  He was old enough to tell his caretakers some things about his family.  The social workers were able to locate his grandfather who called his father.  Alex’s father spoke at the grand opening and said, “Can you believe that these people cared for my son for 10 months, and they did not ask me to pay anything?”

Uganda 8

Alex and his Dad

Their story is one of many reunifications that have happened in Uganda through Tender Hearts.  In 5 years, they have had 90 children come through their doors.  Of those 90 children, 18 have been adopted into loving homes in the United States.  Tender Hearts is currently carrying for 28 children.  Thank you Ken and Cathy for your heart for children and for answering God’s call to care for orphans.

Life is a Gift

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Click to zoom in

Most people rarely consider our very life as a work of God. In fact, we rarely think about life at all (we’re born, grow up and die). Many folks sadly believe an unborn baby isn’t a human life. Atheist Richard Dawkins tweeted back in 2013 that an unborn baby is less human than a pig! [March 13, 2013].

As Christians, we affirm what God’s Word reveals to us about when a baby becomes human life. Scripture tells us that God knows us before He forms us in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5). In Psalm 139:13-16 says,

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed. [New Living Translation]

God clearly instructs us that unborn babies are human at the time of conception. Are some people really more human than others? Of course not! God’s Word is clear: everyone, even unborn babies, are made in the image of God. That’s the message our culture needs to hear as America this month ponders the devastating effects of the 1973 Roe v Wade U.S. Supreme Court Decision which legalized abortion: the loss of over 55,000,000 human lives to abortion. Today join us in prayer and action to create a more life-affirming nation, promoting alternatives to abortion, and changing the culture that sees abortion as necessary.

The Famous, the Adopted

What do Nelson Mandela, Faith Hill, Steve Jobs and Nancy Reagan all have in common? Of course, they’re all famous and have left a mark on the world in one way or another. But there’s one thing that you may not know about them – they’re all adopted.

There’s another person you may have heard of, but you may not know that he was adopted – Bill Clinton. The 43rd President of the United States has been quoted as saying, “Adoption gives children who have been orphaned, abandoned, or abused a precious second chance at happiness; a chance to love and be loved and to reach their full potential in a secure, supportive environment.”

This video, created by CatholicVote shows people that have reached their full potential because of adoption. It’s one of our favorites.

We’ll never know for sure where each of these people would be had they not been adopted, but it’s safe to say that they might not be where they are now. These visionaries, revolutionaries, innovators leaders, communicators, achievers, and thinkers all ended up being the people they are, partially because of the people who adopted them. It makes you wonder, what the estimated 153 million orphans in the world will achieve in their lives. Just imagine.

Nightlight Volunteers turn Tragedy into Hope

Three months ago and on the other side of the globe, a 2-year-old African orphan named Vivian died of bacterial meningitis. While the news might not seem so out of the ordinary considering the continent’s state of affairs, Vivian’s death was a blow to two local residents who had met and come to love the Ugandan toddler.

Temecula residents Kellie Falk and Courtney Atnip had traveled to Uganda last October to visit the orphanage where Vivian lived and deliver supplies and comfort to the toddler and others staying at the facility. There, they fell in love with little Vivian, Falk said.

Adopting the HIV Positive Child, Part II

Because HIV infection is so serious, and children and adults alike are more prone to other infections, keeping a child strong and healthy is very important. And because children do not have the same reserves as adults, good nutrition is especially important for them.  In poorer countries and in orphanages, where children oftentimes receive less than optimum nutrition, their bodies are further compromised and more prone to infection.

That is why in other countries, orphanages dedicated to the care of HIV positive children receive extra funding  and attention so that the children can receive the extra medical and nutritional care that they need.

If you are considering adopting an HIV positive child, most likely you are adopting a child who is a true orphan and you will truly be giving a child the gift of life. We at Nightlight will be featuring children from Eastern Europe and Africa who are HIV positive. There are certainly considerations that need be taken before you and your family decide to adopt a child who is HIV positive and you will want to be well educated regarding HIV and AIDS in general and the issues you and a and HIV-positive child will face. Continue reading

Be Our Guest: Luncheon for Pastors and Laypersons, March 31st

cambodianHelping the Church Help the Orphan

If you are a pastor or a layperson in North or South Carolina starting or involved in an orphan ministry, we want to provide you with tools and resources to assist you. It takes more than a commitment to follow the mandate to care for the fatherless. Prayer, fellowship, awareness of the need and tools to meet the need are all essential. Let us encourage you in the work and give concrete steps to help you further your church’s ministry.

Date: Thursday, March 31, 2011
Time: 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
(arrive anytime after 11:30 a.m.)
Where: Brick Street Cafe
315 Augusta Street, Greenville
RSVP: Laura Beauvais-Godwin, laurag@nightlight.org

Speakers
Dan Cruver
Together for Adoption and author of Reclaiming Adoption

Dr. Rhonda Littleton
A Home for Me, Simpsonville First Baptist Church

We hope you will join us as our guest for this informational luncheon. Included at the luncheon will be many resources along with a copy of Dan Cruver’s new book Reclaiming Adoption.

Carolina Christian Alliance for Orphans Pastor’s Luncheon

Uganda Update (ways to support the team’s work)

As many of you know, we are planning to take a team of missionaries to Uganda October 22nd through November 1st. We currently have about 17 missionaries committed to the trip. In addition to raising their own funds to pay for their trip, we also need to raise funds to complete projects while we are in Uganda. Below is a list of projects that Kenneth (Tender Hearts Baby’s Home Director) has suggested the team could do while in Uganda. Naturally, we can not expect to do every project in 10 days. However, what we are able to do, will likely depend on the amount of support raised. If you or your church would like to contribute to any of these projects, please click the donate button below. Please feel free to pass this e-mail on to anyone you know who may be interested in helping.

  1. Children’s play area; Swings, One slide, climber, Merry go around & see-saw
    $ 1400 USD
  2. Gazebo: Poles, bricks,Iron sheets,cement,sand & stones + labour costs
    $ 2000 USD
  3. Painting;Paint, roller brushes,paraffin (Cost varies depending on area painted)
    $ 900 USD

Click here to donate.

Your support is greatly appreciated!