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Programs

Hopscotch is now providing home study, education and post placement services for New York and North Carolina residents. Contact Hopscotch for more details.

 

Executive Director, Robin Sizemore, traveled to Ghana in September and met with our attorney, in-country team and the International Organization for Migration.  Robin was able to visit with many of Hopscotch’s waiting children and deliver aide in the form of food, vitamins, school supplies and bedding.  We would like to thank Kybele for their generous support of the children in Ghana. 

 

 

 

Adoption Finance Coaching

 

 

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Kybele, Inc in action in Ghana

 

The Dept of State, Office of Children’s Issues has issued the following alert regarding adoptions from Ghana. Issued May 13, 2013:

The Government of Ghana has temporarily suspended processing of all adoption cases, including intercountry adoptions, pending Ghana’s review of its current adoption procedures. The U.S. Embassy in Accra is seeking further clarification of the scope and duration of this temporary suspension by the Government of Ghana and how this suspension may effect pending adoptions. The U.S. Embassy will continue processing adoption cases already approved by Ghanaian authorities. The Department of State will continue providing updated information on adoption.state.gov as it becomes available. If you have any questions about this notice, please contact the Office of Children’s Issues at 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or 202-501-4444 from outside the United States. Email inquiries may be directed to AdoptionUSCA@state.gov.

Hopscotch is suspending acceptance of *new* applications until further directed by the Department of State. All cases with court decrees issued at the time of the alert will continue to be processed by the US Embassy in Accra.

Hopscotch supports the temporary suspension, which allows the Ghanaian government to reorganize their adoption processes, ensuring all children are receiving protection and ethical services. Hopscotch continues to advocate for ethical and legal adoption procedures and practices.

In advance preparation of Universal Accreditation Act, set to be implemented in July 2014, non-Hague Convention countries' are demonstrating a serious commitment to child protection and working only with US licensed and Hague accredited adoption service providers.


Country of Ghana Adopting Infants or Children: Available Age Ranges

Hopscotch’s Ghanaian child adoption program has helped many children into families since September 2008. Ghana Adoption Agency: Since the program’s pilot launch, we take joy in sharing that approximately 39 families have completed or are completing the adoption of their children and 48 children have come home to their forever families.

Families interested in this program must be comfortable in knowing that we are reacting daily to the changes in process as they occur, often in real time, and the timing and process may be subject to change without notice. In the Ghana program, unexpected delays may occur, and families should remain open to changes in the process as they move through it.

While Hopscotch’s Ghana program remains vital, the process is unpredictable and can lack continuity case to case. Having the right partner on the ground that successfully navigates the ever changing landscape is paramount to your family’s success. Hopscotch’s Ghanaian partner is highly respected with both the US embassy in Accra, Ghana’s Ministry of Social Welfare, family courts in all regions and among program officers for International Organization for Migration (IOM).

 

The Children

The children available for adoption from Ghana are generally aged 2.5 years and up. Occasionally, infants in need of a family are made known to us. Sibling sets and older children are also in need of forever families. This is not an appropriate program for families who are only open to parenting an infant.

Families interested in adopting children with special needs are encouraged to contact us regarding what special need you feel best prepared to parent. The family that is open to adopting a child with special needs must have their home study approval and USCIS approval reflect the specific special need of the child they hope to adopt, prior to filing the I-600 in Accra.

Children with HIV, Hepatitis and Sickle-cell very much need families.
Malaria and parasites are very common and must be tested and treated upon return home with their new family. Given the limited medical care and resources, children may come home without complete or accurate medical or social histories. To the extent Hopscotch is able to obtain additional information, we will do our best. We ask that each family considering international adoption and adoption from Ghana specifically be aware and set expectations accordingly, in regards to the accessibility and accuracy of children’s information they may or may not receive.

Foster care expenses are billed to the prospective adoptive family and are applicable until the child exits the country. The family will be assessed in 3 month increments, per child. The foster care fees not only support the care of the child you intent to adopt, but also supports the numerous other children in care without legal status or hope of having a permanent family.

 

Eligible Applicants

Married couples may adopt from Ghana. The country does not permit adoption by single parents. Parents must be between the ages of 25 and 50 and at least 21 years older than the child/children they wish to adopt.

 

Program and Process

Once the family has initiated their home study and placement process with Hopscotch Adoptions, they must apply to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for approval to bring an orphan into the United States. Families often create the dossier for Ghana during the home study phase, since many of the same home study documents required can be recycled for the dossier. Ghana is a non-Hague convention Country and therefore, a family will file the I-600A.

Once the family has received USCIS approval and have completed the dossier, the family will send the complete package to Hopscotch for review. Hopscotch will then ship the dossier to our in country partner to begin the process of registering your dossier with the Ministry of Social Welfare (MOSW) office in Accra. Once the dossier is registered the in-country team requests a child referral from the MOSW. Should the appropriate child be matched to the family, a brief medical and social report will be provided. If there is no child that matches the family’s approved criteria, the family must wait until such a child is made known to Hopscotch. Please remember, Hopscotch is a child placing agency and our focus and responsibility is finding families for children. We do not find children for families. This is a very important concept to remember, especially when the wait for a referral is longer than expected for a family.

Upon acceptance of a referral, the in-country team prepares the court paperwork that is required to complete the adoption in Ghana. This can take between 1-3 months. A court date is then scheduled and both parents should prepare to arrive to Ghana for a short stay of around 7 days. Hopscotch has no influence on the court's decision to waive the family's appearance, so plan accordingly with expectation to be present. Once the court hearing is complete, some courts will immediately issue the court decree and some will not. If the court decree is issued immediately, the family may file the I-600 petition with the US embassy on the same trip. If not, every attempt will be made to have the I-600 filed on the family’s behalf by our in country partner. After the petition has been filed, the parents must return home for the interminable wait for the US embassy’s invitation to return to complete the child’s visa interview. This wait can be 3 months or more. Often, the birth family is invited to appear for the interview as well. The birth parent/s or guardians must possess a photo identity card and may be asked to undergo DNA testing at the direction of the US embassy.

After the final interview, the officer will adjudicate the case and a family can likely proceed with picking up their child’s US entry visa (IR-3 or IR-4). Once the family is notified that their child’s visa has been approved and is ready to be picked up, expect about 1 week until the visa can be physically taken from the US embassy. Once the child’s visa in hand, the child may be taken back to the US. In some cases, the family may not have to be present for the final interview and visa pick up appointment, if the family previously appeared before the consul officer, with the child, upon filing the initial I-600 on their first trip. In this case, the adoptive parents would be notified when the visa has been picked up from the US embassy and travel to pick up the child can be scheduled with a minimum stay in Ghana of less than 2 days.

It is important to note, the decision to issue a full and final adoption decree rests with the Ghanaian judge appointed to hear your case. In the event, the judge grants a full and final adoption decree and both parents have met the child prior to court, the child will receive an IR3 visa and will enter the US recognized as a US citizen. Families should know that, on occasion, a judge may issue only a two year interim decree, thus garnering only an IR-4 guardianship entry visa for their child. Ghana will only recognize the adoption as full and final after a two year waiting period or the child is adopted in the US by the adoptive family in their state of residence. Doing so immediately confers US citizenship upon the child without waiting for Ghana to issue a full and final adoption decree.

An adoption from Ghana can usually be completed in two trips, but may necessitate three trips, if so required by the judge. The first trip should average approximately 7-10 days, if required to attend court for the adoption hearing. Both parents would be required to attend in this case. If the court permits the hearing to proceed by proxy, the family can make the first trip to file the I-600 after all of the court documents are collected and prepared for the US embassy with a stay of 5-7 days and only one parent must attend. The wait time between the hearing and filing the I-600 with the US embassy can range up to several weeks. Hopscotch will notify the family when everything is ready for the family to travel.

The second trip should average approximately 7-10 days and will take place after the US embassy has completed the orphan investigation and the final I-600 interview is scheduled. The wait time between filing the I-600 and notice to return to Ghana may take more than 3 months.

If the embassy issues a favorable determination, an appointment to pick up the child’s US visa is scheduled. The embassy may take a week to print the child’s visa. If the embassy permits our in country partner to attend the final interview on the family’s behalf and pick up the child’s US visa, the family will only travel to Ghana to pick up the child and plan a stay of no more than 2 days.

Hosting is organized on the family’s behalf and accommodations are with English speaking proprietors.

Hopscotch no longer permits an adoptive family to make a single trip to complete the adoption and families may not take custody of their children until after the child's US visa has been issued by the US consulate.  The travel restrictions are due to the ever increasing span of time from the date court takes place, the decree is issued, the family files their I-600 with the US embassy, an orphan investigation is completed, final visa interview is conducted and the visa pick up appointment is scheduled. The time frame is unpredictable and is stretching a significant length of time between each step. Foster care expenses are applicable through the date the child exits Ghana with their new family.  The custody restriction is due to the illegal and unwarranted detainment of several families without the assistance or intervention by the US embassy, despite physically possessing legal documentation of the child's legal adoption.  Furthermore, the child's ability to attach to a family is gravely hindered when temporary custody is taken and the child is subsequently returned to foster care in the interim waiting period to finalize the US visa.  Please contact Michelle Moreau if you have further questions regarding this new policy.     

*In the unlikely event the adoption court issues an interim adoption decree, the family will be required to return to Ghana or if permitted, retain a Ghanaian attorney to appear on their behalf after a two year period to obtain a full and final adoption decree.

 

The Country

The ancient and historically significant country of Ghana is one of the five African nations along the northern coastline of the Gulf of Guinea. It is bordered on the west by Cote d'Ivoire, on the north by Burkina Faso, and on the east by Togo. The country consists mostly of low-lying savannah regions, with a central belt of forest.

Ghana's rich history centers on the once-great Ashanti Empire, which rose to power during the late 17th century and continued to prosper as a center of the 18th century slave trade. The Ashanti capital, Kumasi, was one of the finest and most advanced cities in Africa, and the Ashanti state even employed significant numbers of Europeans as advisors and administrators. The European presence in Ghana is also marked by the multitude of colonial forts that dot its coastline--strongholds that anchored the European trade in gold, ivory, and slaves. Although Ghana, then known as the Gold Coast, was largely considered a British territory by the latter half of the 19th century, it wasn't until 1900 that the British succeeded in defeating the Ashanti and the area's other strong kingdoms.

If Ghana was late in coming under European control, it was also the first African nation to win back its independence, in 1957. However, corruption and internal military strife proved to be apparently intractable problems, and Ghana went through an extended period of instability in the 1960s and 1970s marked by military rule. The country has since then been moving steadily toward political and economic stability and is currently one of the most peaceful nations in Africa.  Unfortunately, Ghana’s economy is currently struggling and many of its people live in abject poverty.  Numerous Ghanaian children have been orphaned by the conditions that their families live under, with parents who are unable to feed or clothe their children.

 

Country Post Adoption or Post Placement Requirements

 

Fees

Contact Hopscotch Adoptions, Inc to request a fee schedule at info@hopscotchadoptions.org .

*In the unlikely event the adoption court issues an interim adoption decree, the family will be required to return to Ghana or if permitted, retain a Ghanaian attorney to appear on their behalf after a two year period to obtain a full and final adoption decree.

 

Recommended Websites

Ghana Expeditions

 

Recommended Reading

 

For Children

Why Am I Brown:  A child’s view of multicultural adoption by Jacqueline Meissner

A Mother for Choco Keiko Kasza (also available as a board book)

Is That Your Sister? by Catherine and Sherry Bunin

The Skin I’m In: A First Look at Racism by Pat Thomas and Lesley Harker

 

General

Family Dynamics and Culture of Ghana (PDF)

Culture Keeping: White Mothers, International Adoption, and the Legacy of Cultural Differences by Jacobson $20.65

Weaving a Family: Untangling Race and Adoption by Rothman $18.00

There is no Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene (the story of an Ethiopian woman helping orphans)

Loving Across the Color Line: A White Adoptive Mother Learns about Race by Sharon E. Rush

Beyond Good Intentions by Cheri Register

Cross-Cultural Adoption by Amy Coughlin and Caryn Abramowitz (quick and easy, good for relatives)

Inside Transracial Adoption by Gail Steinberg and Beth Hall

I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race-Conscious World by Marguerite White

In their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell their Stories by Rita J. Simon and Rhonda M. Roorda

 

Not for profit. 
 Just for kids.