International Child Foundation Newsletter April 2014

International Child Foundation
Providing International & Domestic “ABC” Adoption Services
Adoption Updates
Issue: No. 2 of 2014 March-April 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

Kala Phelps, MEd

Lori Chang, LMSW

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


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,


In Arizona we are enjoying the wonderful weather and staying very busy working with so many wonderful families!
Jackie Semar
We are applying to be approved in Kyrgyzstan again and waiting to hear of progress.  So far we know we are now registered as an NGO but no word on approval to provide adoption services.  Stay tuned!.

Our “La Fiesta” fundraiser was planned for spring but we are going to reschedule for fall, so we have a more time to prepare.  The date is tentatively October 18th.  Pencil it on your calendars!

Tiffany is back from Burundi and recovering from jet-lag.  It was a great trip!  Some details and updates below..

We opened the new Adoption Education Center in Oro Valley, at 10445 N. Oracle Rd, Suite 111.  Our administrative office and mailing address is remains the same, at 11449 N. Mandarin, Tucson, 85737.  The space is really nice and we already have our first adoption education event scheduled!

Let us know if there is anything special you would like us to discuss in the newsletter or on the FB page, or particular training topics for seminars.

Please “like” us on FB!

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 recently returned from a trip to Chihuahua, Mexico to provide technical training on inter-goverment adoption processing. This was an excellent opportunity to work with with the DIF and the judiciary. We are committed to sustaining out programs by providing this kind of collaboration on a regular basis in all of the countries where we work.
Ricardo has provided this training in several states and he has been invited to three more. Mexico is positive about the adoption process. The trainings help us to ensure that the adoptions are transparent and ethical and that everyone has open and positive communication.

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 nine families in process, hurrah and congratulations!  Tiffany just returned from a great trip.  She is working on updating the program guide with more details about the steps in the adoption process.


She met with the Ministry of Solidarity and the Central Authority Directors, and with other people who are central to the adoption process.  They had a capacity building workshop and… good news… the result is that the Central Authority is going to assign more judges specifically to adoption casework.  This should, we hope, get all the families currently process completed sooner – ALL the families, from the US, Spain and France.  Burundi IS completing adoptions and in fact, Tiffany accompanied two families from Spain who had just completed their adoptions and were taking their kids home, on her flight home.


Spain has been working in Burundi much longer than US agencies and, important to note, lots of Africans immigrate to Spain.  There is a sense of familiarity between those countries that does not exist between Burundi and the US.  We think that, because they know Spain and have met many, many Spanish families, that as time passes, and they meet more US families, the Central Authority will grow more confident about placing children with US families. Forging relationships takes time; time to get to know each other, build trust, define common values and goals. We really appreciate our families — those of your who are looking forward to traveling to Africa and those who have traveled to Burundi and other African countries earlier in your lives. We are happy that so many of our families have already experienced traveling in Africa.  This is a good thing to include in your home studies and even in the photos you send with the dossier.  Let them know that American families care about Africa and are eager to learn about Burundi culture, cuisine, politics, landscape, wildlife, economics and history!!


We are thinking about adoption workshops called “It’s Your Country, Too!” for adoptive families, to focus on how, while their adopted child becomes an American, every adoptive family becomes honorary citizens of their child’s country of origin.  Promoting cultural connections and a sense of commitment to the child’s country is an important component in intercountry adoption.  It is  essential to a child’s identity development for their parents’ to cultivate that connection and honor the child’s cultural heritage.


All of our efforts in Burundi, and Mexico and wherever we work, focus on building collaboration.   This is part of our work with the Burundi Central Authority, to help build collaboration, transparency and successful adoption processing…. because it is in the best interest of children to grow up in families!


Tiffany will be focusing on medical and technical aid over balance of this year; medical aid especially for kids with special needs.  The shelters in Burundi vary — some provide very good care and others are poorly equipped.  The Central Authority is stepping up its activities to support the shelters and develop a database of abandoned children.  This, too, will help keep adoption ethical and transparent.  All referrals come through the Central Authority in Burundi; not from the shelters, as in some other African countries.


Like Mexico, many of the children in Burundi have siblings.  It is important to consider whether adopting siblings would be a good choice for your family, or if you have resources to care for a child with special needs.  Things to think about!

Burundi kids


Please let us know if you are interested in learning more.  We would be happy to schedule you for a call with Tiffany.  She would be happy to tell you about Burundi food, families, culture, hippos and, of course, adoption!



“ABC” Domestic Adoption

The domestic program is growing.  Our waiting family list is always short (under ten families) and we talk with at least three potential birthmothers every month.


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.


Creating an Adoption Profile

When adopting domestically, a family has to provide an adoption profile, which will  be shown to potential birth parents. We recommend that you keep it under seven pages.  Creating a profile can often feel overwhelming since this document will be such an important tool to represent you; almost like a resume.  Feel free to reach out to us with questions about creating an adoption profile. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep it upbeat!
  • Start with “Dear Friend” or a simple “Hello”
  • Show a glimpse into your family activities.  Show your holidays gatherings with photos of family laughing, eating, and enjoying the company of one another.  Show the quieter times as you knit or scrapbook.
  • No wedding photos — they tend to look too staged or glamorous.
  • The birth family wants to see the real family you are! Your laughter, smiles, the fun environment that your future child may grow up in.
  • Make sure your pictures are large and clear and colorful.
  • Don’t forget the captions: Keep the captions upbeat.
  • Keep the words simple and limit the writing to a 1-3 short paragraphs on each page.
  • Have fun, be warm and cheerful!

“STAR” Communication 

Wondering how to talk to your child about adoption? The resources out there can be overwhelming.  Using this STAR model can be a great start to opening doors of communication.


S - Start at young age talking about adoption using age appropriate language and information.  You never want to have a “big sit down” conversation with your child when they are older.


T - Take time to create a memory book for your child.  This can be done for children adopted at any age.  In place of a “baby book” create an ABC book based on your child’s life. Start off with “A” is for adoption… Customize a book with your child’s photos.  If you are not adopting an infant you might opt to have your child create their own books, discussing milestones of their journey to you.  Having a book to that is unique to them can help create a natural dialogue with your child.


A - Allow your child to ask questions, keeping dialogue open and truth based.  Always keep answers age appropriate.  Children 2-4 years of age might understand they grew in another’s “tummy” but will not understanding reasons behind why their birth family created an adoption plan.  Children who are 5-11 years of age might want to know more information about their birth families and be able to understand information.  As children grow into preteens and teenagers they will want to know more information. Keeping your relationship with your child open to discussion will allow your child to feel secure and give them the self-esteem many adolescents need.  Don’t forget to listen to your child’s questions before answering.


R - Read and Relax! Reading about adoption opens doors to discussions abut also helps your child academically.  There are many children’s books about adoption.  So hit the bookstore snuggle up on the sofa and read a book.  The discussions will naturally follow as child begins to think about his/her own story.

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


Adoption Tax Credit
On February 26, Chairman Camp of the Ways and Means Committee released his much anticipated  tax reform proposal and it eliminates the adoption tax credit. This breaking news makes our advocacy efforts that much more critical. Now that an actual legislative proposal has suggested eliminating the credit altogether, we need to ensure that every single Member of Congress  hears from us about its importance. Members will only be compelled to fight for its protection if they hear real stories from all of you.



Key Message: Outreach to your legislators is the only way to protect the adoption tax credit. 

Members of Congress want to hear from you – their constituents – about what matters to you.  Legislators only need to hear from 20 constituents about an issue before it becomes important to them.  Remember, Members of Congress are people and oftentimes it is a personal story about why a law is needed that motivates them to act.  They also understand that they are there to represent the people of their district.  They want to know how a particular policy will affect those they are called to serve.


Highlighted FAQ: When will Congress vote on the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act (H.R. 2144/S.1056)?

*      An individual vote on this bill is unlikely to happen. However, the adoption tax credit will remain part of the broader tax reform discussions and is now particularly vulnerable given the proposal to eliminate it. The more Congressional co-sponsors these bills have, the more likely the adoption tax credit will receive favorable attention in these discussions in Congress. Members of Congress are hearing daily from paid lobbyists about other tax related interests, and will have to make tough decisions about which tax policies are their ultimate priorities. Let’s not let the adoption tax credit become a victim because Members of Congress haven’t heard enough about its importance to their constituents! Don’t delay. Ask your Members of Congress to cosponsor H.R. 2144/S.1056 and share their responses here:

For more advocacy tips visit:


Call to ActionInitial Emails to Your Members of Congress - Figure out who your three Members of Congress (2 Senators and 1 Representative) are by using and  Using their websites, figure out the best way to contact each of them (often it will be through an email or a form on their website). Email each of them and explain the importance of adoption and ask for their support in protecting the credit.  Speak from the heart and share your story about why the ATC is important to children, your family, or others in your life. Provide the link to  in your email so they can find additional information.


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 Partners
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!
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.