Letter to The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State
Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Congressman Stephen Lynch, along with 23 of their Congressional colleagues, sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging her to remove any unnecessary obstacles preventing adoptions of children from Nepal. Inter-country adoptions have been stalled there due to ongoing concerns over the Nepalese adoption process.
The State Department has suspended processing of adoptions with Nepal for all abandoned children based upon recent UNICEF and Hague Permanent Bureau reports saying that more thorough reform needed to take place. This decision comes six months after the State Department urged caution about pursuing adoptions with Nepal.
Many American families, including one from Massachusetts, are currently in the process of adopting a child from Nepal. Dorothy (Dee Dee) Milton of Revere has been going through the adoption process for three years. She has been living with 4-year-old Bina in Nepal for about six weeks while the adoption is finalized. Bina has a cleft pallet that needs urgent medical attention, which she can receive when she arrives in the U.S.
"Dee Dee's caught in a snag of international red tape trying to do what's right for her family and for an innocent child in need of medical attention. She's played by the rules and our job is to help her," said Sen. John Kerry. "Everyone agrees that the integrity of the process should not be sacrificed, but there's no reason to force families to wait in limbo after Nepal has already approved their travel. Secretary Clinton is a great champion for adoptive families, and I know she will work with us to do whatever it takes to move this process forward and help these families come home with the children they love."
"I am a strong proponent of adoption and I know that the process for foreign adoptions can be stressful and emotional ordeals under the best of circumstances. My heart goes out to these families. I appreciate Senator Kerry taking the lead on this. While I support the State Department's efforts to ensure transparency in all US adoptions, I urge that every consideration be given to expedite these cases. Many of these families have been living in Nepal while they await final approval. They're in a vulnerable situation. I ask that the State Department move these cases as quickly as possible and get these families home," Congressman Stephen F. Lynch said.
The text of the letter is as follows:
September 17, 2010
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Clinton:
We are writing to express our concern with the current status of inter-country adoptions in Nepal. It is our understanding that American families are currently in Nepal awaiting final approval to bring their adopted children home. These families were granted travel authorization by the government of Nepal but have been subsequently delayed by the United States' suspension of new adoptions from Nepal.
We appreciate the efforts to date made by the U.S. Embassy to effectively move pipeline cases forward and strongly urge continued focus on processing the Nepali approved cases- particularly where the American families are already in Nepal waiting to bring their children home. These families are enduring extreme emotional and financial burdens while their children's cases are investigated further. While we support a rigorous and transparent screening process, we ask that additional effort be made to eliminate any potential administrative delays so these families wait only as long as absolutely necessary. While these cases are processed, the children may continue to live in institutions without the care and love they need to thrive.
Again, we support the State Department's efforts to strengthen and improve upon reforms enacted in May 2008. We believe it is not only necessary but possible for the Government of Nepal to establish a system for inter-country adoption that respects the rights of birth parents, adoptive parents and most importantly, the children. However we hope that the utmost consideration be given to American families already in Nepal that are simply waiting for final approval. We appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to working together to unite these families with their children.
Senator John Kerry (D-MA)
Congressman Stephen Lynch (D-9th MA)
Senator Scott Brown (R-MA)
Congressman John Olver (D-1st MA)
Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)
Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-5th WI)
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-2nd WI)
Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Congressman Todd Akin (R-2nd MO)
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Congressman Dan Burton (R-5th IN)
Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-6th MN)
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC)