ICF Newsletter Jan-Feb 2014


International Child Foundation
Providing International & Domestic “ABC” Adoption Services
Adoption Updates
Issue: No. 1 of 2014 Jan-Feb 2014
In This Issue
Quick Links




National Council for Adoption
PAL Center


BG Center for Cognitive Developmental Assessment


Joint Council for International Children’s Services


Adoption Learning Partners


Heart of the Matter Seminars

Remember ICF Humanitarian Aid in your Giving Budget!


ICF Humanitarian Aid

ICF Staff
Jackie Semar, MEd

Ricardo Gallego, Attorney (MX)

Peggy Bartel, MA

Lori Chang, MSW

Kala Phelps, MEd

Tracy Anderson

Tiffany Ragels

Jennifer Rosenfeld, LMSW

Mariann Rubin, LCSW

Teresa Doud, MSW

Cindy Womack, LMSW

Pierre Nibigira, Attorney (Burundi)


Home Study Services

Contact Us!

520 531-9931

480 751-1015

877 542-8813


Birthmother Counselor

623 692-7913




Child Foundation

11449 N Mandarin Ln

Tucson AZ 85737




Try us, you’ll like us!



US Dept of State
Adoption Statistics

Post Adoption & Post Placement Reports



these reports are mandatory and essential for the continuation of international adoption

USCIS Adoption Forms


Applicants in the United States who are filing an I800a or I600a to adopt an orphan must submit applications and all supporting documents and fees to the following addresses:


via U.S. Postal Service

for I600a — PO Box 660088 Dallas TX 75266

for I800a — PO Box 660087, Dallas, TX 75266

via Express Mail & Courier
ATTN: Adoption
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

USCIS has dedicated a toll-free NBC Adoption telephone line, 1-877-424-8374 and an Orphan Home Study Tip sheet (Form M-760) to aid adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents.


For more information on orphan adoptions visitwww.uscis.gov/adoptions


Other Resources


National Council for Adoption


Joint Council on International Children’s Services


Beyond Consequences Institute


Tapestry Adoption Books


Center for Cognitive-Developmental Assessment


Care for Children International Dr Ronald Federici, PsyD


Pediatricians with Specializations in International Adoption Medical Issues




Dear Families & Adoption Advocates,

Happy Valentine’s Day!  We have had a very busy start for 2014, with one baby coming a bit early and another placed just last week!  Plus, the international adoption programs are growing!
Big news! We are applying to be approved in Kyrgyzstan again… but are unsure if we can be registered in time, which we must do prior to submitting our application to the Ministry of Social Development.  Working on it!
Other news… Kala Phelps is now writing the Adoption Updates with me!  We are very excited to have someone who can really work on our media communications.  She is also creating a new Facebook page for ABC Infant Adoption…. be sure to visit and like us!
Jackie Semar


Tiffany is working our “La Fiesta” Fundraiser, which is scheduled for the Saturday after Mother’s Day.  Plan to come!  This is our 10th year anniversary and we really want to celebrate.  Tickets will be available in about two weeks. There will be many great items in the silent auction.

We are hoping to open an Adoption Education Center in Oro Valley next month, where we can do seminars and training events.  Stay tuned!

We’ve got our new database and we are all having lots of fun learning how to use it… kind of.

Let me introduce Kala…

“I am very excited to be helping Jackie with the ICF and ABC Infant Adoption newsletter.  Working with families on many levels is wonderful, whether walking a family through the home study and finalization process or helping them in dealing with issues that come with child development and adoption.

My years of teaching are a valuable tool in helping families through their adoptions. I am Mom to a little boy and girl who joined our family through domestic adoption.  I am familiar with the emotions and the bumps of the adoption journey.”

Welcome aboard, Kala!


What we focus on expands.

Jackie Semar, MEd

Kala Phelps, MEd



Mexico is going strong! 
We finished two more adoptions last month, and that means four more children went home!
Another family is finally finishing their adoption from Baja, another is on the cusp of completing their adoption in Chihuahua, and two others are about to complete in Coahuila!
Ricardo is VERY busy!  We are happy to be busy and that these adoptions are getting completed!

If you have any questions about Mexico adoption, the ICF website has a good overview and a link to the US Dept of State for further information about regulations governing adoptions between the US and Mexico… MEXICO ADOPTION 

Burundi Adoption

We have 9 families in process, hurrah and congratulations!  Tiffany will be traveling in March or possibly April; we have to wait for the court date.  And again in July and again next fall.  We are optimistic that when families travel to Bujumbura and meet with the Ministry of Solidarity with either Pierre, our Burundi attorney, or Tiffany, they will be able to receive referrals quickly.  Meeting the families means a lot to the officials, and then they are more dedicated to helping with your adoption.

The logistics of traveling to Burundi are lots of flight time, and then settling in to Bujumbura for a week or so.  (This is so different from Mexico, where families are all over the map, usually traveling between cities in one state and then to Mexico City, as well.)  We encourage families to allow time for some sight seeing, and also caution families that tourism is not exactly the same in Burundi as it is in the US.  There are no life boats, if you are crossing Lake Tanganyika, the second largest freshwater lake in the world, and heading into the mountains to see the chimpanzees and baboons.  There are no guardrails along the mountain roads.  And for these reasons, we do not allow families to bring children with them on their trips with ICF.

Tiffany will be focusing on medical and technical aid over the course of this year, and we will be alerting you as to ways you can help or donate.  The shelters in Burundi vary — some provide very good care and others are poorly equipped.  We work with the shelters recommended by the Central Authority.  Many children in shelters have sBurundi kidsiblings.  It is good to consider adopting siblings.


Please let us know if you are interested or review the program on the website…www.childfound.org


Adopting parents should be at least age 30, at least 15 years older than the child to be adopted and, if married, have been married five ears, although these requirements can be waived.

The process can easily take a year.


“ABC” Domestic Adoption

The first baby of 2014 is happily home! To date, we have placed 30 babies. The domestic program is growing.  Tracy and Kala have been  busy meeting with birthmothers.  This is often a 24/7 job and can be very demanding on the counselors.  Urgent medical issues always come first — such as a delivery or birthmom having medical problems.  But we try to be available to families and birthmothers throughout the week during business hours, and after hours for emergencies.   If you have questions and you cannot reach the birthmother counselor, you are welcome to contact the office and we will endeavor to help!


Our waiting family list is always short (under ten families) and we talk with at least three potential birthmothers every month.  Some decide on adoption and others do not, usually because boyfriends or family members urge them to keep the baby.


We are happy to give you updates on how many waiting families we have and what to expect from our program.  We are committed to taking very good care of our birthmothers and this helps mitigate risks common to domestic adoption — but there is always the risk that a birthparent will change her or his mind.  Every birthmother has second thoughts throughout her pregnancy.  That’s just normal — having an unplanned pregnancy is emotionally complicated and stressful.


Birthmothers cannot sign consents until at least three days after delivery, birthfathers can pop up and create confusion, baby medical issues can come up, legal issues can come up — adoption is rarely predictable , either domestically or internationally.


Every adoption is unique!

Adoption Book Review
There are many books about adoption, some are easier to read then others!

One of the easier ones is The Connected Child by Karyn B. Purvis Ph.D., David R. cross Ph.D. and Wendy Lyons Sunshine share insights into raising children who experience behavioral issues or have had troubled backgrounds.  This resource addresses the needs and behaviors facing children while offering encouragement for the journey ahead.  The tools that are given in the book at manageable for any parent and leave the reader feeling as though they have a toolbox to refer to.  The Connected Child is valuable in preparing for bringing home your child(ten) as it covers a variety of scenarios one may face in parenting. This book is a quick, easy read and as you flip through pages you will feel empowered to help your child(ren).


Every child misbehaves. Time-outs are a common form of discipline to distance a child from their unwanted behavior.   The concept of “time-out” could be damaging for a child who has been adopted or may have special needs.  Many adopted children face attachment and by separating a child from parents it may reinforce to the child that they are alone.  Instead the “think-it-over” place allows the parent and child to sit together, cool off, and discuss the unwanted behavior. After a short period of sitting, a conversation between the parent and child happens, while establishing eye contact and discussing the desired behavior.


The Connected Child gives an overview of many behaviors that children have and how we can help a child to connect to their family and to the world. I highly recommend this book.  It will leave you feeling confident in your parenting. The wonderful thing about parenting is that you can learn from your mistakes and try again.  The Connected Child authors are kind enough to remind the reader that parenting takes practice and each day is a new one.

Happy Parenting!


I would love to hear what books you are reading about adoption. Please share on our International Child Foundation or ABC Infant Adoption Facebook pages.  Thanks! Kala


In other news…
We always suggest you check with the US Dept of State for current messages about adoption from any country you are interested in.
Check with DOS for country alerts and adoption information…
Also, there is an alert and instructions for submitting the online DS 260 form.  Very important!  If you are nearing the end of your international adoption, please visit the Dept of State website and read.
Waiting Kids
There are lots of waiting kids in the world!  It used to be customary to promote a match by sharing information about waiting children.  However, that reaching-out strategy has been curtailed to protect the privacy of children.  If you are interested in waiting children, contact agencies that have waiting child programs!  Children’s Home Society and Family Services of MN has a nice waiting list for US kids that need families — visit their website CHS&FS Waiting Kids

Adoption Education  
Check out the seminar opportunities at Adoption Learning Partnershttp://www.adoptionlearningpartners.org/
They have several new classes., too.
Heart of the Matter Seminar has adoption training, too.
National Council for Adoption has adoption education resources too.
They all have courses for pre and post adoption, international, domestic and foster-adoption, and other kinds of adoption-related topics.  Heart of the Matter Seminars recently announced a course on Open Adoption and we’d love to get your feedback on it.
As always, we recommend that you continue your adoption education throughout your parenting experience.  There is always something new to learn!  We all want to be the BEST possible parents for our kids!

Lori’s Story
Lori Hetzel,
Adoptive Mother & Author
To be continued…
We welcome your comments and input.  Please share the newsletter with friends in the adoption community!
International Child FoundationBlue
We invite you to contribute to our humanitarian programs, which benefit kids in shelters in Mexico, Burundi, Haiti and Ghana and displaced families.  Your donations are tax-deductible.