US Govt. bans adoptions from Nepal

Posted by: Margreta (Maggie) Kerr  /  Comments: 3

No surprise to me that the US State Department recently halted adoptions from Nepal. As I wrote on my website, I am often asked why I don’t facilitate adoptions. My reasons are many. For one, these children have a wonderful, rich culture, and I want them to remain in their home country and give back in some way. The answer to poverty is not adopting children to well off westerners.

However, my main reason for not believing in adoptions from Nepal is the fact that it’s open knowledge that most children adopted from Nepal are not truly orphaned. Sadly, there many corrupt Nepalese involved in running these so called “orphanages” from where the adoptive children come. Its big business. Finally, its also openly known that the foreign (and, yes, many American) adoption agencies know full well the children may have one parent living and choose to ignore this. They are as much to blame as the Nepalese middlemen who run the adoption “factories”.

What I want to know is, why did it take so long for the US Govt to ban adoptions from Nepal? Or the many other countries where adoptions of so called “orphaned” children are going on?

Here is the press release from the American Embassy of Nepal’s website:


August 6, 2010

In order to protect the rights and interests of certain Nepali children and their families, and of U.S. prospective adoptive parents, the Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have jointly decided to suspend adjudication of new adoption petitions and related visa issuance for children who are described as having been abandoned in Nepal.

The Department of State’s recent interactions with the Government of Nepal and its efforts to review and investigate numerous abandonment cases, including field visits to orphanages and police departments, have demonstrated that documents presented to describe and “prove” the abandonment of children in Nepal are unreliable. Civil documents, such as the children’s birth certificates often include data that has been changed or fabricated. Investigations of children reported to be found abandoned are routinely hindered by the unavailability of officials named in reports of abandonment. Police and orphanage officials often refuse to cooperate with consular officers’ efforts to confirm information by comparing it with official police and orphanage records. In one case, the birth parents were actively searching for a child who had been matched with an American family for adoption. Because the Department of State has concluded that the documentation presented for children reported abandoned in Nepal is unreliable and the general situation of non-cooperation with and even active hindrance of investigations, the U.S. Government can no longer reasonably determine whether a child documented as abandoned qualifies as an orphan. Without reliable documentation, it is not possible for the United States government to process an orphan petition to completion.

To the best of our knowledge, all other countries that had been processing adoption cases from Nepal have stopped accepting new cases due to a lack of confidence that children presented as orphans are actually eligible for inter-country adoption.

The suspension of adjudication of new adoption petitions on behalf of Nepali children documented as found abandoned is effective as of the date of this statement. Any petition filed for a child who has been presented as found abandoned and who was matched with a prospective adoptive parent prior to the date of this announcement, as evidenced by an official referral letter from the Government of Nepal, will continue to be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis and in light of the totality of the evidence available. The Department of State will reach out to prospective adoptive parents who meet this criteria. Petitions that continue to be adjudicated will only be approved if they are supported by reliable evidence. Every effort will be made to process their cases as expeditiously as possible with the best interests of children in mind.


Henry Scobie

August 9, 2010

Anyone wanting to understand the U.S. suspension should read:

Nepal Children’s Organization (Bal Mandir) — Victims of Balmandir


Trade of Children (Voice of Children) at PEAR Nepal

laura O'Neill

August 10, 2010

It is so ridiculous that children are used as commodities, sold and taken advantage of. Last semester i read a lot of material from David Smolin, who adopted sisters from india who infact were not eligible for adoption and were sold from an orphanage their poor mother had temporarily placed them in. He uses terms such as ‘child laundering’ ‘harvesting’ ‘kidnapping’ ’stealing’ to describe the international adoption ‘industry’.
His wife, Desiree keeps up a very informative blog on adoption and such issues,

What you have done Maggie, by providing for these children within Nepal, their own country, is a much more holistic and durable solution to international adoption. And to hear the SLC results lately, well I know we have some amazing talent in Nepal!!!

Love laura

Margreta (Maggie) Kerr

September 8, 2010

Thank you so much for passing on the links. Helped me understand a lot more about the situation. Its heartbreaking, for the children and for the waiting potential adoptive parents, but the suspension seems to be the proper course to take until the corruption can be brought under control. Namaste!