~ URGENT – CALL TO ACTION ~

To those of you who care about the orphans of the world…

The orphan crisis is massive.  It is hard to comprehend.  But, we do what we can to put faces to the astronomical numbers.  We meet these orphans.  We fall in love.  And we introduce them to you, in hopes of making them orphans no more.  It is tireless work.  It is exhausting and draining, yet fulfilling and so worthwhile.  It becomes more than work.  It is our heart.  The children…are our heart.

We are writing to you today, because the orphan crisis just got bigger.  We are now fighting a force we never thought we would have to.  We are fighting a force who should be our allies, who should be with us, who should be with the children.  Our own United States Department of State. Though we understand and appreciate the critical nature of regulating and oversight, the reality is that OVER regulation has been killing adoptions, putting agencies out of business, and most importantly, hindering children entering families for a long time now.

During the past several months, we have shared with you the shifting of accrediting entities from COA to IAAME.  As this shift continues to progress, we were recently made aware on February 1, of the new accreditation fees that will be implemented by IAAME, beginning as early as February 15, 2018.  These fees, which the Department claims will not have a significant impact on Adoption Service Providers and families, show an increase of unfathomable proportions.  One said fee (and, these are not ‘proposed’ fees – they have already been approved by DOS) is a $500 fee (per adopted child), required to be paid by the adoptive family, due at time of contracting with the placing agency.  Effective February 15, 2018.  The purpose of this fee, as stated by IAAME and USDOS, is to fund the startup costs of IAAME.  In 2016, there were 5,370 international adoptions to the US, as reported by DOS.  5,370 x $500 = $2,685,000!!!  This is just ONE fee that IAMME will soon be receiving in one year!  And this does not even factor in the additional excessive accreditation fees that they will charge all adoption service providers.  In looking at preliminary numbers, it appears MAA’s accreditation costs will increase more than 400%!   This is an insane amount of money that will now be subsidized by adoptive families!

Of course, having an accrediting entity is absolutely necessary to oversee the work that we do.  It ensures transparency, ethical practices, and ultimately protects the children.  We fully support the role of an accrediting entity.  However, we must be heard.  An immediate, hasty fee increase like this, which has not been thought out or discussed with adoption service providers (those who understand and are DOING the work on the ground) will no doubt prevent more orphans from having families and put more good agencies (the advocates for the most vulnerable) out of business.

How will this affect me?
If you are thinking of adopting, please apply here now:  MAA Application

If you are on board, please get your contracts in now!  After February 15th, the additional fee of $500 (per child you are adopting) will apply to every family.   Though we hope and pray for this to be reduced or overturned, we need to be proactive and proceed now so less families will feel the effects.

What can you do to help?

Although we have to move forward, we are not giving up the fight!  Increasing costs and over regulation are hurting children!  Families and agencies should not be subsidizing start-up costs for accrediting organizations!

Here’s how you can help save international adoptions:

  • The National Council for Adoption and Families has coordinated All Call days to Congress people on February 7th and 8th to protest. Call Wednesday or Thursday! Find your Senators and Representatives HERE. A huge wave of calls from like-minded individuals with a common goal is the best way to be heard and effect change.
  • Read these TIPS to make your call as effective as possible. Also, request that the Small Business Association investigate an approximate fee increase of 3000%+.
  • Share this email with your friends, your relatives, and anyone who believes that all children have the right to a permanent, loving family – without extra financial burdens from the Department of State.

Visit http://www.adoptioncouncil.org/intercountry-advocacy for more details on how to participate. See the press release HERE.

PLEASE make the call.  Make your family make the call.  Make your friends make the call.  Make your voices heard.  Because your voice, and our voice, is the voice of the orphan – they have no voice without us.

We thank you for doing all you can.  And please know, we will continue to fight.  For you, our adoptive families, and ultimately for the children, who need us now more than ever.

Madison Adoption Associates