What You Need to Know; What You Can Do
Oversight of adoption is important. It is vital to ensure best practices, maintain integrity, and for accountability regarding our work in the best interests of children. At WACAP, we welcome this accountability, because, like so many adoptive families, we want what is best for children, a permanent family: hopefully a biological family or one who will adopt from within their country of origin. But for the many children who wait in orphanages around the world, intercountry adoption is their only remaining lifeline. It is what motivates us at WACAP, creating a world in which there is a family for every child. To do this well, accountability is needed, and transparency is vital.
Therefore, WACAP is proud of our accreditation by the Council on Accreditation (COA) through January 24, 2021. Last fall, however, COA announced their intent to cease serving as an Accrediting Entity (AE) for the Department of State (DOS). Therefore, during calendar year 2018, we will transfer from COA to Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity, Inc. (IAAME), which was named by DOS as a new Accreditation Entity in August of 2017.
On February 1, 2018, the Department of State posted a notice of the accreditation fee schedule for IAAME, followed by a conference call on February 5th with Adoption Service Providers (ASPs). As we at WACAP have engaged with other adoption providers and the National Council for Adoption, we find that there is very little clarity in communication regarding this change. We do know that this new fee structure is a drastic increase in accreditation fees for ASPs and, ultimately, for families pursuing Intercountry Adoption. The new fees will go into effect on February 15, 2018, giving us very little time to notify families.
The most significant increase is a “per adoption” monitoring and oversight fee of $500, which must occur at the time of a family’s acceptance into an adoption program. If the family is ultimately matched with a sibling group, additional fees of $500 per additional child will be applied. According to the Department of State and IAAME, these fees are nonrefundable, even if a family withdraws or if their process does not end with a finalized adoption. At WACAP we embrace accountability for everyone and are disappointed that such a significant fee increase was imposed without time allotted for public comment or clarity.
The cost of adoption is already so significant. Why are we increasing fees for families?
DOS has estimated that this reflects only a 1.4% increase in fees for families. WACAP acknowledges that any fee increase puts an increased strain on families working to change the lives of vulnerable children through adoption. WACAP has no control over these fees.
Why is WACAP transitioning from COA to IAAME?
We have no choice. COA’s announcement that they are ending their Memorandum of Agreement with DOS leaves only one Accrediting Entity (AE): IAAME. While WACAP does not currently have a working agreement in place with IAAME, DOS has advised that, in order to provide adoption services, WACAP and all ASPs must work with them.
I have already started the adoption process. Will this affect me?
Unfortunately, this new fee will affect many families who have already begun the adoption process. The fee must be assigned at the point when a family is accepted into an intercountry adoption program. For WACAP, this occurs after a home study is approved and once a family submits signed contracts and pays their first fees related to their specific intercountry adoption program. Please feel free to contact your adoption Program Manager or Case Manager at WACAP if you have questions about your specific case.
How can families get involved?
Advocate. Use Your Voice.
We will be participating in advocacy days on February 7 and 8, in conjunction with the National Council for Adoption (NCFA). If you would like to join us in contacting your US Senators and House Representatives, find more information, including talking points and further instructions, on the NCFA website.
Get Informed. Join Our Conference Call for Families.
In an effort to provide as much transparency and information as possible, I will be hosting two calls for interested families, to provide an overview and allow for Q&A.
These calls will be at:
- 2 p.m. on Friday, February 9th (PST)
- 5:30 p.m. on Monday, February 12th (PST)
To join either call:
- Dial 641-715-3640, using participant code 187278.
About WACAP’s CEO, Greg Eubanks: Greg joined WACAP as CEO in December 2014. Serving children and families has been the focus and passion of his 20-year career in nonprofit executive leadership and business administration. With an extensive background in international adoption and foster care, Greg is committed to bringing hope to the children living without a family … and helping them home.