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No record of US adoption agency here; US couple must come to adopt child

Director of the Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA), Ann Greene

In the wake of reports that an American couple is hoping to raise US$20,000 to adopt a Guyanese girl through an adoption agency, Guyana’s Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) on Tuesday said that is not possible.

CCPA Director Ann Greene said her ministry has no record of any application or information about the Texas-headquartered Children of All Nations (CAN) adoption agency.’

Greene ruled out anyone being overseas and adopting a child and more so through an agency. “It (application) can’t come from the agency. It has to come from the person,” she told Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com).

“Before a child is adopted, you have to see the child and identify the child- the application has to be made for a child with a specific name,” said the CCPA Director.

The couple intends to name their adoptive daughter Willow.

The couple- Allen and Stephanie Harden- acknowledged understanding that they have to travel to Guyana and explained that CAN told them that have to make two trips to Guyana. She said, according to CAN, the first trip would be 10 days and the second would be for six weeks.

The intended parents said the CCPA does not have a record of them yet because they are awaiting approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) approval. “Once we receive approval from USCIS, we will be submitting all out paperwork to your government,” they said.

The CCPA Director confirmed that a check showed no records of the agency or an application by the Hardens. While Greene said “we don’t have any set of children on a list to be adopted,” Stephanie told Demerara Waves that CAN said it was working with Guyanese orphanages to find an appropriate child.

“From what I understand, the agency works with the local orphanage(s) to “soft match” us with a child. From what we understand, they make sure that the child is a “true orphan” and within the age range we were approved. The reason for the “true orphan” statement is that we are trying to conform to all if The Hague rules regarding international adoption,” she said. Guyana is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) but applies its principles, said Greene.

Greene emphasised that the Guyana government does not charge for adoptions, the only money being legal fees payable to a lawyer.

Annual foreign adoptions are very small, numbering four for 2012. She said foreign adoptions are usually done on a case-by-case basis but the emphasis is often “for care”. She added that the child has to be cared if he or she is vulnerable.

The Hardens said they are required to pay a total of US$20,866 including $3,188 with a signed adoption service agreement; a further $3,188 as second payment; $5,000 for the First In-country Adoption Fee; a second in-country adoption fee of $2,000; a Foreign Adoption Programme Fee of $4,500 and then $600 for Adoption Report Commitment. They also have to pay $2,100 to have a home study done by a local, Hague-certified agency. They said they have to submit a form I-600A for approval of the USCIS. The total cost for this form and associated materials is $890.