Anil Giri – AHN News Correspondent
Anil Giri – AHN News Correspondent
Feature Story, Nepal (AHN) – Last September, American couple Haydn Hilling and his wife Edvige desperately wanted to take home their adopted Nepali child, Kailash. Though the American couple that hails from Louisiana spent more than one-and-a-half years getting the necessary paperwork required for the adoption, the process has come to a standstill following the United States’ decision to halt adoptions of abandoned children from Nepal.
The U.S. administration halted the adoption of Nepali children due to growing allegations of child trafficking and falsification of documents, often in connivance with government authorities.
A joint statement issued by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the first week of August said the step was taken to protect the rights and interests of Nepali children and their families after field visits to orphanages and police departments showed that documents describing children up for adoption as abandoned were often unreliable.
Another 10 countries–Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom–have also halted inter-country adoptions from Nepal.
According to Nepal’s Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, new rules were put in place last December and some stern measures have been added to the process.
“The Hague Secretariat also wants the smooth resumption of child adoption here,” chief of the ministry’s legal section, Sher Jung Karki said. The new set of policies allows local placement agencies to charge US$5,000 to adopting parents, while the government charges US$3,000.
Any foreign placement agency must set up a liaison office in Nepal and pay the government US$10,000 that will be handed over to an organization working for the welfare of children. Subsequently, the process of inter-country adoption of street children is subject to widespread abuses, the government has banned the adoption effective from Jan. 5.
The new policy also allows Nobel laureates, heads of states/governments, foreign ministers, celebrities, or a couple with an annual income of over US$300,000 to become foster parents, while others cannot.
Largely, a vulnerable adoption process that had been taking place in Nepal since several years has compelled the US government more alerted and posed a ban. That was the reason that they could not adopted two – year – old Kailash which made them running from pillar to post that their call will be heard.
Now the list is long. As many as 56 American families are facing heartbreak due to the US Government decision to ban child adoption from Nepal until Nepal’s legal provision ensures that adopted children were not fraud and claim genuine.
These desperate 56 parents have instituted an alliance and had registered a petition in US Congress. “We respectfully request that the Right Honorable members of the US Senate and House petition the Department of State and USCIS within the Department of Homeland Security to assist the “Nepal Pipeline families” in obtaining visas to bring their children home immediately,” the petition reads.
In response to the petition, 14,398 letters and emails were sent far to support their campaign. Moreover they have internet campaign through blog, http://theywaitnepal.blogspot.com/. One can find the photos of to be adopted Nepali child and their US mother. “These families are struggling to bring home their legally adopted children who are stuck in Nepal awaiting visas that will allow them to enter the US,” they write in their blog.
Many anxious parents are waiting in the US also. Many are stranded since August, 2010.
It seems that child adoption in Nepal has been turned into a profitable business as dozens of websites and privately organizations have claimed that there were many advantages of adopting children from Nepal. “There are many advantages for adopting from Nepal. Even though Nepal is an economically poor country, children are cared for very well with few incidences of abuse or neglect. If you like the idea of adopting a baby or toddler, it would be an excellent country to consider,” claims, adoptionark.