Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

Addendum VS Update

Okay, so your address changed, or your job, or you switched to SN, or your referred child is a boy and you initially requested a girl, what do you do when changes occur and you're trying to maintain your I600A/I-171H status?
You do a Homestudy Addendum.
A homestudy addendum is different from a homestudy update.
  1. Costs a lot of money (the same as you usually pay for a homestudy because each time your file a new I600A that's what you have to get, a HS UPDATE.)
  2. Requires you collect all that stuff again, physicals, etc. for the Social Worker
  3. Requires that you refile your I600A, even if the I-171H attached to it is still valid, which includes paying all the fees to USCIS that may apply to such a filing, and switching to I800A if you're out of I600A renewals
  4. And is titled UPDATE

You don't want to do a HS Update when all you need is to report changes. You do that with a:



  1. Is an add-on to your most recent homestudy
  2. Costs a lot less (for us it was a $150 addendum VS a $600 Update)
  3. Does not require you to collect anything (no forms, fingerprints, letters, etc.)
  4. Does not require you to refile anything with USCIS. You simply hand it in and they process it (send it to your consulate office, which, for China adoptions, is Guangzhou, China) for free.
  5. And is titled ADDENDUM

Make sure you know which one you need because your HS agency will give you what you ask for (because it's more $ for them), but they fully understand the difference and should be able to do both an UPDATE and the ADDENDUM. Make sure that your HS agency titles the addendum as ADDDENDUM or you will have trouble with USCIS.

Try to hand in your addendum at least a month before you leave the US on your adoption trip.

Make sure to impress upon USCIS that they need to forward this update on to your consulate office.

Also, if you request a child 2-4 years old (for example) and you accept a referral of a child who is just 4 at the time of referral, you will need an addendum to state that you can handle a child from 2-5 years old, or USCIS will not let you travel. Nit-picky to the end!

Good luck, and post any questions to the comments.



Thursday, January 14, 2010

Joint Council Haiti Call to Action

Sometimes it is more than one can bear. Living in abject poverty. Living in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Living with no mother, no father. And now this.
Yesterday, while the good people of Haiti were literally digging themselves out of the rubble, Joint Council and the members of our Haiti Caucus humbly met with a sense of despair, urgency, concern and resolve. Our phones rang off the hook with offers of help, with questions about the children and orphanages. Emails came in with more questions and more offers of help and financial assistance.
How To Help
While Joint Council always accepts and appreciates contributions, we are asking all those who wish to make a contribution to please make that donation to those organizations who provide direct services to the children of Haiti.
Below is a list of those Joint Council Member Organizations who have active and substantial programs in Haiti and who have the ability to make your donation provide direct assistance in Haiti.
As you have seen on the news, most of Haiti has been impacted by the earthquake including orphanages, schools and medical clinics that serve orphaned children. The organizations listed below are able and willing to provide temporary assistance and to rebuild for long-term service to orphans and vulnerable families. We again urge everyone to make a contribution of any size. If you do choose to make a contribution to Joint Council, please know that your donation will be used to fund our efforts to coordinate emergency relief efforts.
Our hearts go out to the children and families of Haiti and to those American families who are adopting. We understand your concern and fear during this time of uncertainty. And here is were Joint Council can help.While Joint Council does not provide direct services such as housing, clean water and nutrition during emergencies, we can help in other ways. We are preparing a database of adoptive families and the children whom they are adopting with a goal of providing you with the status and location of the children. More information will be published on this effort in the coming days.
Joint Council is also working with the U.S. government to determine the impact of the devastation on the adoption process. Given that the coming days will be rightly focused on rescue efforts, it will take days if not weeks to fully assess the impact on adoptions and develop a plan to move forward with specific cases. Information on the adoption process will be published within the next few weeks.
Adoption During Emergencies
All credible organizations recognize and agree that new adoption cases, including new referrals, are not appropriate in a time of crisis or national emergency. Initiating new adoptions at this time could open the door to corruption and abuse of children. Every effort must be made to identify and find family members for children who are separated or displaced as a result of the earthquake.
Joint Council understands the natural tendency to offer a loving family for children who may be newly orphaned, however we urge all adoption service providers and potential adoptive families to refrain from inquiring or attempting to start a new adoption.
All of us at Joint Council and our Member Organizations are working diligently and ask for your support of the children and families of Haiti.
Joint Council Member Organizations:
Adoption-Link is providing emergency relief through their Haitian partnerships with The Foundation Enfant Jesus and also the Village of Vision.
Adoption-Link works with the Foundation Enfant Jesus in Haiti with a focus on finding families for children with HIV through their Chance by Choice program. Their program with The Foundation Infant Jesus finds families for children including family preservation through strong community development programs.
Heather Breems, MSW International Supervisor/Haiti Program Coordinator Adoption-Link
1113 South Blvd.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 524-1433

Bethany Christian Services
BCS is partnering with Haitian local and national organizations in order to assist with earthquake relief.
In Haiti, BCS currently provides child sponsorship programs, and is piloting a program to teach women a trade, allowing them to provide for their families, hopefully with the result that the family remains intact.
Carolina Adoption Services
Carolina Adoption Services is focusing their emergency relief on housing, food and water for the children who have lost their orphanage.
Carolina Adoption Services currently works in Tabarre, approximately 10 miles outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Carolina Adoption Services reports that the staff and children of the orphanage are unharmed, but that damage was sustained to the buildings themselves.
Susan Fox – or 336-275-9660
Celebrate Children International
Celebrate Children is providing humanitarian relief and mission trips including medical teams and rebuilding projects.
Celebrate Children International provides adoption services, humanitarian aid and medical services to families, children and orphans in Haiti.
Sue Hedberg Angela Vance Tammy Grega 407 977 2810407 625 9192
Holt International Children’s Services
Holt International Children’s Services is working to ensure the safety and health of the children who live in Holt villages and are opening their doors to children in the surrounding area who have no homes to go to. Holt is using everything the have to make sure children are safe.
Holt International has been providing services to orphaned children and at-risk families since 2004. Holt currently operates the Holt Fontana Village orphanage which cares for children who have been orphaned or abandoned.
Bruce Dahl, - 541-687-2202
Kentucky Adoption Services
Kentucky Adoption Services is providing medical assistance, food and clean water. Their team of 10 physicians will transport 2 plane loads of food and water. Donations for food and water are urgently needed. Their emergency relief efforts are in partnership with BRESMA Orphanage and Child Care Center.

Thanks so much~
Rebecca Harris
Joint Council Director of Programs and Services
Join Joint Council today:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Guatemala News!

Joint Council on International Children's Services can confirm
that the U.S. Department of State has submitted a letter of interest to the
Guatemalan government regarding participation in the pilot program announced by
the Central Authority of Guatemala. Check out our website for the full details.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Please Join Joint Council

Right now they are in the Chase Giving Challenge, and they need your help.
No money needed.
Let me repeat that.
No money needed.
Just your Vote:

Please give them a vote. It only takes a minute. First you have to become a fan of Chase, then you have to go back and vote. If you don't see your photo on the page, you haven't voted. It's tricky, but free! And you will help a lot of orphans. At this Tiny-Tim-time-of year, we all want to do that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Should You Update Your HS?

There are good and not-so-good parts to the adoption online community. There is just a wealth of free, kind, fast information to be had.... Good! There is also a wealth of opinions, less good, especially when people give opinions about things that are not opinion-based, but rather are factual.
This week there is a lot of talk about if you need to update your HS when it's past its expiration date but your I-171H is still valid. The answer is NO.
The answer is no, ad it doesn't matter if other people say, "Oooo, I would do it if I were you!"
Updating your HS is no small thing. It takes considerable time, record gathering, and money.
The truth is that once USCIS has approved your HS it stays approved. The only reasons it would need to be redone (even if it is "expired") would be:
  1. You have had a major life change (address, children added, job loss, etc.)
  2. Your I-171H has expired.

You'll notice that HS is expired is not on that list.

Now, there is one state that does things differently, and I think it is Illinois or Maryland, but I am not sure, so check with your local USCIS office for the official word.

However, you can also find the official word here:

Full URL:

Tiny URL:

If you are still uncertain:

#1. Call your local USCIS

#2. Demand that your agency do their job and find out for you.

#3 read this on USCIS' website:

Validity of the Home Study

1. The home study must be submitted within one year of the filing date of the I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition.

2. The home study, or most recent update to the home study, must not be more than 6 months old at the time it is submitted to USCIS.

3. If an update is submitted, a full copy of the original home study must accompany the update.

4. Once a home study is submitted, it will not have to be updated unless there is a significant change (including but not limited to) residence, marital status, criminal history, financial resources, and/or the addition of one or more children or other dependents to the family prior to the orphan's immigration into the United States.

Full URL (May need to copy and paste) :

Tiny URL:

IF YOUR AGENCY is telling you to do this, or your SW, ask WHY? And make them show you something in writing that says you need to do it.

Sometimes you have to go hunt down the facts for yourself.

Save your money, the headache, and your time :)



Thursday, November 12, 2009

Be the Photo!

Joint Council is having a photo contest. Could you be this year's winner?
Who May Enter?
The photo contest is open to all persons interested in child welfare issues related to finding children safe, loving, and permanent homes. Examples of some persons who may want to enter the contest are parents or employees of Child Welfare Organizations.
You have until the last minute of December to enter and win!
Here are all the details:
Good luck!