Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays for Chinese families and is also celebrated by other East Asian countries like Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and Japan. This year is the 25th anniversary of Spence-Chapin’s China international adoption program and over 40 years of international adoption. Lunar New Year is a chance to wish family and friends a lucky and prosperous new year. Here are some ways you can celebrate the year of the Rooster:
Enjoy Time with Family
Holidays are a great way to get together with family. New Year’s Eve dinner is called “reunion dinner” and is believed to be the most important meal of the year. Yum!
Red is the main color of Lunar New Year and is believed to be lucky. Bring your family good fortune by filling your home with red décor.
Attend a Cultural Event
Festivals, parades, and fairs are arranged in many cities and towns both nationally and internationally. At these events, families can see traditional dragon dances and other performances. Organizers might even hand out traditional Chinese products and snacks. Check out what’s happening in NYC on Lunar New Year: http://betterchinatown.com/upcoming-events/
Eat Lucky Foods
Certain foods bring symbolic meaning. The Chinese word for fish sounds like the word for surplus. It is believed that eating fish will bring a lucrative new year.
We hope that you and your family have a happy and healthy 2017 and we wish all of our families that celebrate Lunar New Year Gong Xi Fa Cai/Saehae Bok Mani Badeuseyo!
We’ve known for many years that there are children in South Africa who need adoptive families, but it took many years for the governmental permissions to grant Spence-Chapin as an accredited adoption provider in South Africa. Adoptions opened to American families in 2013 and Spence-Chapin has been actively finding families ever since! South Africa is signatory to the Hague so adoptive families have the benefits of the Hague Treaty, which is designed to ensure that international adoption is a transparent, ethical process with an established infrastructure to protect and support children and families.
We made many visits to our partners in Johannesburg, Johannesburg Child Welfare, to visit with their social workers and the children. It became clear that the children in need of international adoption are toddlers and young children with medical needs. JCW shared their proud history of a robust domestic adoption program and finding families for healthy infants. Their social workers noted that even other international adoptive families were not open to adopting children with special needs – and this is where Spence-Chapin knew we could make a difference.
It’s a simple focus: the kids who are the most vulnerable and are in need of adoption. We are their advocates.
The children are living in JCW’s care in the Johannesburg metro region. They are cared for in nurseries with caring staff. JCW partners with a Thusanani Children’s Foundation to provide safe and modern medical care to ensure each child receives the medical care they need – HIV testing and treatment, occupational therapy, physical therapy, antibiotics, surgery, well-baby visits, etc.
Spence-Chapin finds families for the most vulnerable children – the children who are ready for adoption and need an international adoptive family. These are kids from 18 months – 8 years old with an identified medical diagnosis. It’s this medical diagnosis that’s been a barrier for domestic adoptive families and other international adoptive families.
There are millions of children around the world living with HIV who are waiting for a family. Years ago, immigration laws prohibited HIV+ children from being adopted into American families. After advocacy, legislation was passed allowing for the intercountry adoption of these children. There are many families open to adopting a child who is HIV+ and have the resources to provide the medical care and love an adoptive family can provide!
Spence-Chapin is an advocate for all types of parents to adopt – single men & women, married and unmarried couples, and LGBTQ parents. It’s exciting for us to partner with JCW who is also open to all types of parents! All types of parents can adopt from South Africa – married couples, unmarried couples, LGBTQ parents, single women, and single men. The South Africa government is committed to a practice of non-discrimination and we’ve seen this be true in our adoption program as married couples, LGBTQ parents, as well as single parents have adopted! It truly is about finding the right parent(s) for a child!
We knew we had to reduce barriers to special needs adoption so we have eliminated our professional service fees. Families should consider fees for application, home study, USCIS, and country fees. Our rough estimate is that these adoption fees will total about $10,000. We know that by removing barriers to adoption we can find the families these children are waiting for!
Spence-Chapin sponsors a “Granny Program” at JCW to help the children develop the important socioemotional bonds that needs to accompany childhood. This program brings local women from the community into the nursery everyday. Each granny volunteer is matched with a child and the granny visits everyday and plays with the child – like a surrogate grandparent! We see an incridble progress made by children who are matched with a granny. In South Africa the children call their grannies “gogo”!
Listen to the gogos sing a song!
Are you considering adopting a child with special needs? Children in South Africa are waiting for you! It takes a special type of parent to adopt a child with medical needs. We’re here for you before, during, and after your adoption to provide information and support to your family!
Spence-Chapin partners with FANA for our Colombia host-to-adopt program. This program allows families interested in adopting an older child the opportunity to host a child in their home for three weeks before committing to the adoption.
Children in the program, who are matched with a family, gather at FANA, an adoption home in Bogota, for two weeks to prepare for their trip to the United States. This two-week preparation process is essential in helping the children navigate their fears, expectations, and excitement about traveling to a different country and living with host families. Even before the children embark on their flights to the U.S., many of them fly into Bogota from other cities within Colombia. In most cases, this is the child’s first time on a plane which is both thrilling and nerve-racking!
Many emotions can accompany this excitement. The staff at FANA help the children make sense of these emotions. Some children are apprehensive about leaving their home. Some may fear being rejected by their host families and not finding an adoptive family. Staff members do their best to empathize with these concerns, knowing that this transition is hard and that each child experiences this process through his or her own personal experience. The staff also discusses how to balance the hope of possibly being adopted while maintaining realistic expectations. The goal is to prepare the children in order for the host-to-adopt experience so that the children can enjoy their time with their American host families.
Listen to Adraina Chavez, head of Clinical Psychology at FANA.
Children have simple questions about what to expect in New York. They want to know what food they will eat, what games they will play, where they will live, and what their host families will be like. Each host family mails a photo album to the child or children with pictures of their family, the child’s room, bed, and toys. Because extended family is such an important component of Latin American life, children enjoy looking at the pictures of their extended host family.
FANA has found families for over 9,000 children through this process, so we know the host-to-adopt program is a successful way to connect families and older children while giving each child a voice in the adoption process.
We are seeking host-to-adopt families for next summer!
Documents That Generally Serve as Evidence of U.S. Citizenship for an Adopted Child
Issued by U.S. Department of State (DOS)
Visit travel.state.gov for more information, including full instructions, current fees and application.
U.S. Certificate of Citizenship
Issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Visit uscis.gov for more information including full instructions, current fees, and application.
*All passport applicants must prove their U.S. citizenship and identity to receive a U.S. passport. A Certificate of Citizenship is generally sufficient to apply for and obtain a U.S. passport for an adopted child. If the adopted child has not received a Certificate of Citizenship, you must submit other proof of acquisition of citizenship, including a certified copy of the final adoption decree (and translation if not in English) and evidence the child met all the conditions in section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) while under the age of 18.
Note: Some federal agencies may check immigration systems to verify citizenship status. USCIS systems will not be updated with a child’s citizenship status unless the family obtains a Certificate of Citizenship.
Lawful Permanent Residence or Citizenship Upon Admission into the U.S.
Under section 320 of the INA, an adopted child will automatically acquire citizenship upon admission to the United States if he or she satisfies these conditions before turning 18:
Qualifies as an “immediate relative” under INA 101(b)(1)(E), (F), or (G),
Is admitted as a permanent resident, and
Is residing in the United States in the U.S. citizen parent(s)’ legal and physical custody.
INA section 320 became effective on February 27, 2001, when the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA) was signed into law. The child must have been under the age of 18 on the effective date in order to have benefited from the CCA.
Note: If a child does not acquire citizenship from the original prospective or adoptive parents, the child may still be eligible to acquire citizenship if later adopted by different U.S. citizen parent(s), provided they meet all the requirements in section 320 of the INA.
If the child is not eligible for automatic citizenship upon admission to the United States, they will become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) and may become a U.S. citizen once all the conditions of INA 320 are met. If the requirements are not met, the child will still be an LPR and may apply for naturalization under INA 316 once eligible to do so. The chart below outlines the visa classifications, process to obtain evidence of an adopted child’s U.S. citizenship, and the documents that generally serve as evidence of U.S. citizenship for an adopted child.
Obtaining a Certificate of Citizenship
If the adopted child does not qualify for a Certificate of Citizenship upon admission, you may still apply for one if your child satisfies the eligibility requirements. You must follow different processes to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship, depending on whether the adopted child will reside inside or outside of the United States with the U.S. citizen parent.
General Eligibility: (Please refer to the chart below for more specific guidance.)
The adopted child meets the definition of child under INA Section 101(b)(1)(E), (F) or (G);
The child is under 18 years of age when all conditions are met; and
The child must have at least one U.S. citizen parent (by birth or naturalization).
The child is residing in the U.S. in the legal and physical custody of the citizen parent after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence.
Note: Please refer to the Form N-600 filing instructions for information about required evidence, fees and where to file. If the adopted child received an IH-3 or IR-3 visa and met all of the INA 320 requirements upon admission to the U.S., the child will receive a Certificate of Citizenship automatically and it is not necessary to file Form N-600.
The U.S. citizen parent (or a U.S. citizen grandparent, if applicable) meets certain physical presence requirements;
The child is residing outside of the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent (unless the parent is deceased);
The child is temporarily present in the United States after being lawfully admitted, and maintains such status; and
Child under age 18 takes the Oath of Allegiance before a USCIS officer, unless waived.
Note: On the Form N-600K, petitioners may request a specific USCIS office or preferred city and state for interview, as well as a preferred interview date that is at least 90 days after filing the Form N-600K. After USCIS receives and processes the form, USCIS will send an appointment notice to the family to appear for an interview at a domestic USCIS field office on a particular date. The family may apply for a B-2 visa or other available nonimmigrant visa for the child to travel to the U.S. and must pay the required fee. A nonimmigrant visa is not needed if the child obtains an immigrant visa, and is admitted as an LPR, but will not be residing in the United States. The family may apply for the visa at the same post that processed their adoption case or apply at another post if they currently live in a different country.
Children of Armed Forces/Military Service Members and U.S. Government Employees
The adopted child of a U.S. citizen armed forces member who is accompanying their parent abroad on official orders may be naturalized without having to travel to the United States for any part of the process if he or she qualifies under INA 322.
Additionally, a U.S. citizen parent who is a member of the armed forces may count any period of time they resided abroad on official orders as physical presence in the United States.
An adopted child of a member of the armed forces or U.S. government employee issued an IR-3or IH-3 will be eligible for automatic issuance of a Certificate of Citizenship upon admission even if he or she intends to return abroad; provided all of the other conditions under INA 320 are met.
An adopted child of a member of the armed forces or U.S. government employee issued an IR-2 visa will not automatically be issued a Certificate of Citizenship but the parent may file a Form N-600 after admission or Form N-600K (even if they intend to return abroad), provided that all of the other conditions under either Section 320 or Section 322 of the INA are met.
*NOTE: The information on this page is meant to be a general guide. The charts provide an overview of citizenship issues related to adopted children and this page is not a definitive policy document. The facts of individual cases will be reviewed and adjudicated on a case-by-case basis. This page is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or by any individual or other party in removal proceedings, in litigation with the United States, or in any other form or manner. Last Revised 9/2/2016.
We have heard the following “rules of thumb” from adoption therapists and families who have successfully adopted out of birth order:
Pay particular attention to the displacement of the eldest child.
There is less disruption if the eldest children, who will be displaced, is under the age of 3 since they haven’t settled into the power of being #1.
The feeling of displacement is less if the new eldest child is a different gender than the previous eldest child. Your son will still be the eldest boy, even though he now has an older sister.
Larger families (4+ kids) experience the disruption of birth order less. So many different relationships are already going on that this change is less noticeable. This general rule does not apply if you change the order of the eldest child.
Success depends on the personality of the child being displaced and the new child coming in.
Success depends on the parent’s ability to emotionally support each child in the family.
Success depends on the parent’s willingness to get help early and often post adoption.
Anticipate the constant question that your family will generate and the inevitable “Are they twins?” Decide how you are going to answer the question. It is best to have a couple of different responses depending on the circumstances (grocery store produce aisle vs. dinner party)
Highlight the uniqueness of each child. Your goal should be to nurture them as individuals. Just because you are driving to Taekwondo for one kid, doesn’t mean that the other should take as well.
Carve out time from your schedule to spend with each child individually. Make it a priority for both parents to establish a special separate relationship with each child.
Talk with your extended family, friends, and teachers about some of the downsides of the inevitable comparisons that will happen, and ask them to work against comparing the children.
As tempting as it might be, do not dress them the same.
Do not always refer to them as a unit: the boys, the kids, and certainly not “the twins.”
Celebrate birthdays separately.
Do not hold a child back in school just because you want them in different grades. If, however, one child sits on the cusp of the cut-off date and would benefit from an extra year in preschool, then it might make sense, especially if the child is smaller in stature. If they are in the same grade, put them in different classes.
If at all possible, one parent should stay at home for at least the first year post adoption.
Go into this adoption knowing that you will feel overwhelmed the first year. Plan for this in advance by saving money for extra household help and by lowering your expectations of what you will accomplish.