NCFA Conference! Presentation on Mexico and Burundi

We did it!  Ricardo, Tiffany, Bruce and I went to Orlando and presented at the National Council for Adoption annual conference.  Was a very exciting moment for all of us!  It was a great conference, wonderful presentations on both domestic and international adoption, lots of people.  This is a snapshot of our presentation overview.

New Frontiers: Program Development in Emerging Hague Convention Countries

National Council for Adoption Conference June 2013

The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption has introduced challenges and complexities to establishing new adoption programs.  Intercountry adoption has declined dramatically over the past eight years, in part due to these complexities.  Adoption Service Providers (ASPs) struggle with understanding the dimension of their role as accredited bodies; how that differs from a traditional adoption agency; and how their role defines and shapes relationships with foreign Central Authorities.

This presentation explores the historical and legal context of intercountry adoption; how the identity of ASPs has been reframed; how the Convention has created a new platform for legitimacy; the legal framework of Articles of the Convention; and how to implement the power of the Convention to forge collaborative relationships with Central Authorities.

The future of intercountry adoption depends upon our ability, as ASPs, to master the principles in the Convention and create a common language that engages Central Authorities to work with us to provide permanency for children, in accordance with this important treaty.  

Presented by:

C. Jackie Semar is the Executive Director of International Child Foundation (ICF).  Jackie’s background includes social services, business and non-profit administration, marketing and education.  She has authored adoption education materials, presented seminars on international and domestic adoption and is a highly sought-after adoption resource.  She is the recipient of a Leadership Award from the U.S. Dept. of State Bureau of Consular Affairs for her work as a Commissioner for COA.  Jackie is also an adoptive mother. 

Ricardo Gallego Felix is a Mexican attorney and serves as ICF’s Mexico Program Director and Inter-governmental Liaison.  His background includes child welfare and adoption services in Sonora, Mexico.  He also co-founded a shelter for abused and exploited children in Sonora in 2005.  Ricardo was key to ICF being authorized to provide adoption services in Mexico in 2011.  His expertise includes a broad knowledge of the Hague Convention, as well as how it is implemented in conjunction with State law throughout Mexico.  Ricardo works at ICF in Tucson. 

Bruce A. Walker is a co-founder and Board Chair of ICF.  His background includes business administration and educational technology.  Bruce has worked the U.S. Dept. of Education and State of Georgia to train teachers, and presented international seminars for Microsoft to develop a global platform for technology education and support.  He has played a vital role for ICF in program development in Guatemala, Thailand, Mexico and, most recently, in Burundi. 

Tiffany C. Ragels serves on the Governing Board of ICF in areas of international program development and fundraising.  Tiffany’s background includes small business ownership, international program administration and education.  She is also a student of social work with a focus on adoption policy.  In January, she traveled with Bruce Walker to Burundi and secured authorization for ICF to provide adoption services.  Tiffany is also an adoptive mother.

Resource Materials & Recommended Reading

Intercountry Adoption

The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption aka Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, 

The Guide to Good Practice No. 1: The Implementation and Operation of the 1993 Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention, 2008

The Guide to Good Practice No. 2: Accreditation and Adoption Accredited Bodies: General Principles and Guide to Good Practice, 2012

Gonzalez Martin, Nuria.  Adopcion Internacional: La Practica Mediadora y los Acuerdos Bilaterales

Gonzalez Martin, Nuria & Rodriguez Jimenez, Sonia.  El Interes Superior del Menor en el marco de la Adopcion y Trafico Internacional

Adoption History 

Pertman, Adam.  Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming our Families and America.  Second Edition 2011.

Sachs, Dana.  The Life We Were Given: Operation Babylift, International Adoption, and the Children of War in Vietnam.  2011.

Kim, Eleana J.  Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging.  2010.

Cross-Culture Business Communication

Solomon, Charlene & Schell, Michael.  Managing Across Cultures.  2009. 

Travis, Tom.  Doing Business Anywhere.  2007.

Livermore, David.  The Cultural Intelligence Difference.  2011.

Friedman, Thomas L.  The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization.  Updated 2012.

Cohen, Ed.  Leadership without Borders: Successful Strategies from World-Class Leaders2007.

Business Presentations

Booth, David, Shames, D. & Desberg, P.  Own the Room: Business Presentations that Persuade, Engage and Get Results2010.

While You are on the Plane

Fifield, Adam.  A Blessing over Ashes: the Remarkable Odyssey of My Unlikely Brother2001.

Greene, Melissa Fay.  There is No Me without You: One Woman’s Odyssey to Rescue Africa’s Children.  2006.

Release date October 2013:

Choy, Catherine Ceniza.  Global Families: A History of Asian International Adoption in America.