Both Ends Burning fielded an investigative team, led by our Counsel, Kelly Dempsey, to conduct a six-month systematic examination into the circumstances surrounding the Department of State’s decision to suspend adoptions from Nepal. Our investigation uncovered:
1. The deliberate decision by the Department of State to suspend adoptions from Nepal despite any evidence to back up their allegations of “serious irregularities” and “indicators of fraud.”
2. Incompetent and incomplete field investigations undertaken by the Department of State to determine the orphan status of the children who had already been matched with American families, resulting in rejection of 90% of the “pipeline” cases that were adjudicated after the suspension.
3. The determination by the Department of State that 55 of the “pipeline” cases were not approvable, causing these American families to hire lawyers and investigators to overcome the Department of State’s conclusion that the children were not eligible for US immigration benefits.
4. The American families were able to submit additional evidence provided by their investigators and proved the validity of the child’s orphan status in every case, thereby proving that none of the allegations made by the Department of State were true.
5. On average, the children had to endure over 200 additional days in orphanages before they could come home to their adoptive families and the families spent an additional $25,000 proving the orphan status of their children.
6. Despite the absence of any serious irregularities or fraud, the Department of State steadfastly refuses to reopen adoptions from Nepal, causing hundreds, if not thousands, of children to remain subject to the neglect and abuse of institutionalized care that would otherwise have found homes in loving families.
Both Ends Burning calls for the Department of State to lift the suspension of adoptions from Nepal. We also ask Congress to investigate these events and to enact legislation that will end the bias against international adoptions within the Department of State.