February 13, 2009
On February 12, 2009, Consul Valerie Chittenden met with the newly-appointed Deputy Minister of Education (MOE), Umutkhan Tynalieva. This was the first official discussion we have had with Kyrgyz officials since the halt in adoptions.
The Kyrgyz Government has formed an adoption commission that includes officials from the Vice Prime Minister’s office, the Ministries of Education, Social Protection and Labor, Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs, and Justice, as well as the General Prosecutor’s office. This commission is responsible for drafting new adoption policy and legislation, with special emphasis on clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the different agencies involved. The commission will recommend whether the Kyrgyz Republic should join the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. According to the Deputy Minister, the commission plans to report to Parliament by March 20. The Parliament will then choose what action it will take on these proposals. New legislation Parliament may pass will NOT affect existing cases other than to allow the Ministry of Education to resume processing adoption dossiers again. New adoption cases would be subject to any new requirements established by Parliament.
If Deputy Minister is correct, this is not good news for families who are hoping that their cases will soon move forward.
The Kyrgyz government does not intend to process any adoption cases, new or pending, until the adoption commission issues its report, expected March 20, and Parliament acts on these recommendations.
It is our understanding that:
It is unlikely that families with cases already pending will have to re-apply or pay additional fees.
The new adoption commission may consider waiving or shortening the thirty day waiting period for those pending cases.
Only children with urgent medical care or special needs (medical conditions not treatable in Kyrgyzstan) can be considered for expeditious processing, that is, before the new regulations have been promulgated. (Developmental delays and related conditions are considered treatable in Kyrgyzstan.) So far, only one case among the 65 pending cases has met this definition, and that case has been approved for processing. Additional cases would be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Families who believe that their children have urgent medical condition that cannot be treated in Kyrgyzstan should have their local adoption agency contact the Ministry of Education directly. The Embassy is aware that some local agencies have already started this process for some cases.
Adoptive parents who have been matched with children are allowed to receive updates on their children from the orphanages and to visit.
The Embassy is seeking additional meetings with other officials, many of whom are also newly-appointed to their positions in order to learn more about the Kyrgyz Government’s plans and to urge that the children who have been matched with adoptive families be allowed to join their permanent families as soon as possible.
Following the conference call with the Dept of State and prospective adoptive parents with referrals from Kyrgyzstan, Joint Council has initiated a call for Kyrgyz adoptee stories. This will be a part of Joint Council’s continued Global Awareness Campaign which aims to show the plight of children in need and the successes of children who have been placed in permanent care. If a family has adopted from Kyrgyzstan and would like to share their story as part of the Campaign they should send their story to Cindy LaJoy at cyndiLJ@aol.com. Cindy is an adoptive mother of three children, one of who was adopted from Kyrgyzstan. The stories can be a maximum of 250 words and must have photos included. Families will need to submit an electronic release of information with their story. Stories must be submitted to Cindy by Monday, February 23rd. Joint Council would like to thank Cindy for the donation of her time for this Campaign.