Joint Council staff and Board of Directors met with the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Monday in conjunction with our quarterly Board meeting. The following update was supplied to us by DOS:
The U.S. Government continues to have concerns about the adoption process in Nepal. Due to both the security situation and Nepal’s difficult geography, the Embassy in Kathmandu has not always been able to conduct the level or number of field investigations we would like. The number of orphanages in Nepal has proliferated during the past two years. Nepalese law regarding paternity claims – under which Nepalese fathers of out-of-wedlock children have up to 12 years to assert paternity – make maternal relinquishments essentially impossible, and thus many children are “found abandoned”. The State Department has been working closely with USCIS and particularly the USCIS office at Embassy New Delhi (which covers Nepal) to review how we might be able to better deal with this environment. Joint Council will continue to work closely with DOS to assess the situation and advocate for the best interest of children in Nepal. We will be sure to update the membership with new information as it is made available to us.
The U.S. Department of State has posted frequently asked questions regarding the current status of adoptions in Nepal on its website. Topics discussed include actions taken by the U.S. Embassy in Nepal to address the current suspension, as well as what it is doing for American parents currently in the process of adopting a child from Nepal.