The Secret of Standing by Your Immigration Goals

It’s another new year! Now that we are in February, have you kept up with your goals? As we take our first steps into 2016, we’re setting goals and looking forward to the busy year ahead. You too may have already started planning for the year, mapping out where you want to go and what you want to accomplish. Setting goals can be tricky. It’s not a secret that many of the goals and plans we make at the beginning of the year go unfinished or forgotten. We may become busy with other things, or we need to turn our attention to other matters, so our goals get pushed to the side.

If you look back on 2015 and find that you still have goals you want to accomplish, that’s okay. You can continue to work toward them in 2016, right alongside the new goals you’re ready to pursue. As you set goals and work toward completing them, there are steps you can take to keep yourself on track and not lose sight of them. When you’re thinking about what you want accomplish, remember that your goals should have a positive influence on your life, your family’s life, and even your career. Your goals should make you happy. Then, think about what type of goals you want to set. There are two major types of goals. There are goals that are down to earth and completely realistic. Then there are goals that are much loftier and harder to achieve.

The way you set goals should match your personality and the way you do things

If you’re a person motivated by big, ambitious goals, go for it. If you need smaller, more manageable goals with detailed steps, take that approach. Do what is right for you. Then, write down your goals. Always write down your goals. Putting your goals down on paper is a great way to hold yourself accountable. When you can see and reference what you want to accomplish, you’re much likelier to see it through to the end. When you’re writing down your goals, be as specific as possible. Many people want to lose weight in the new year, so they come up with a simple goal to “lose weight” or “get in shape.” You can’t hold yourself nearly as accountable with vague goals.

Instead, add specific details that will help you realize your goal. “Lose weight” should become “Lose 15 pounds by May 15.” And be sure to include details of how you will accomplish the goal: “Go to the gym every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday,” or “Bike to work.”However, make the process fun and do not let deadlines stress you out.

Once you start working toward your goals over the next few months or years, keep coming back to what you wrote down. Don’t let it leave your mind. Look back over the progress you’ve made and look ahead at what you have left to do to reach your goal. It is very important to integrate your success and acknowledge the progress.

If you have immigration goals, right now is the perfect time to starting planning out your year

Do you want to reunite your family? Take the next step in the migration process? Apply for naturalization? Put together a plan of action, and follow through.

It may take some time to reach your goals, but when you do, you will feel amazing!

Face Your Immigration Law and Life Challenges with Optimism

The immigration process is unquestionably challenging. It takes a long time and communication between government agencies and those who are applying for visas, waivers, a green card, or citizenship, is often unclear. At the Ranchod Law Group, we step in to make this process easier for our client, and we face the challenge with confidence.

A big source of frustration comes from the long, drawn out process—results seem so far away. We have laws, regulations, requirements, and government requests we need to address. When clients come to us frustrated, anxious, or worried, we can assure them that we are doing everything we can on our end. The fact is, decisions won’t happen overnight. Working with the US government is never easy.

We regularly interact with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). By that name alone, you would expect this agency to be prepared to answer questions related to all things immigration. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, and due to that fact alone, one of our biggest challenges at Ranchod Law Group is just in interacting with the USCIS.

It is time consuming to communicate with USCIS. It may take an hour to get through to a representative that has a limited understanding of immigration law. We might call requesting a specific piece of information and their answer may be incorrect, or they may not have the information we are requesting, leading to more delays. We have encountered situations where the USCIS requests documentation we have already provided through RFE, which means we have to go through the process of resubmitting. Occasionally, they are unclear about a request, meaning we have a lot of guesswork on our end.

When they make a request like this, we have 30 to 90 days to respond or our request will end in a denial and we will have to appeal. Depending on the request, it can put a lot of pressure on us to get everything just right and to fulfill their requests to the letter. It’s a challenge we face head on. Our goal is to give our clients the best results possible, and we never lose sight of that. There are individuals, families, and companies who are depending on us. Of course, we cannot guarantee results, as these decisions aren’t in our control. We successfully respond to every request the USCIS sends us, and if any of their decisions aren’t in a client’s favor, we appeal, and keep pressing forward!

That’s what it is to face challenges. We can’t let them get us down, or we will never overcome them.

This is the kind of attitude I take home with me every night. My personal challenges may not compare to the challenges of many of my clients, but I don’t let obstacles stand in my way. Recently, I got a cold. If you recall, I’ve been working to get healthier and into better shape. This cold knocked me out for a week, and as anyone who has been in this situation knows, it’s not easy to get back on track after being sick for a while. My goal was to get back into my routine and not give myself an opportunity to slip. And so far, I’ve been successful! The hardest part was getting back into the gym, but after 10 days of procrastinating, I got back on track!

Another challenge I’ve been facing is gluten—or the lack of gluten. I feel much better than I did before removing it from my diet, but there are so many foods I miss. Sourdough bread, toasted with butter. Chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate cake. I guess we can say any baked good made with chocolate. I don’t expect the cravings to go away anytime soon, but I don’t give in.

The real challenge, going beyond these cravings, is coming home from work and wanting a big dinner. I know there is a lot of research that says the last meal of the day should be the smallest, but it’s the one I crave the most! I try to eat a healthy snack (carrots and cucumbers with hummus or nuts) before dinner to help compensate so I don’t eat as much. It helps a little.

As I’ve been working toward a healthier lifestyle, I may face setbacks and cravings, but I continue to push forward and focus on achieving my goal of better health. I know if I face this challenge with optimism and confidence, I’ll make it through, just as I know when we keep this same attitude with our clients, we set ourselves up for a more positive outcome.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 245(i)

With the announcement of the new unlawful presence waiver this past March, we have seen many new clients asking questions to see if they qualify. Some of these individuals actually qualify for adjustment of status (the process under which you can obtain your green card, lawful permanent residency) under a law called Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 245(i).

Two of the main benefits of applying for your greencard under INA 245(i) instead of using the new unlawful presence waiver are:

  1. with INA 245(i) you can obtain your green card here in the U.S. without returning to your home country, with the unlawful presence waiver you can apply here but after approval you must return to your home country to process your immigrant visa;
  2. with INA 245(i), unlike with the unlawful presence waiver, you do not need to prove “extreme hardship” to a qualifying U.S. relative.

What is INA 245(i)?

INA 245(i) is a law allowing certain individuals who are present in the U.S. to obtain a greencard regardless of:

  • How you entered the United States (for example, entering via the border without inspection)
  • Working in the U.S. illegally (without authorization or permission)
  • Failing to continuously maintain lawful status since entry (being illegal in the U.S.)

INA 245(i) sounds amazing, how do I know if I qualify?

In order to qualify, you must:

  • Be the beneficiary of a qualified immigrant petition (Form I-130 or I-140) or application for labor certification (Form ETA-750) filed on or before April 30, 2001
  • Have been physically present in the U.S. on December 21, 2000
  • Be currently the beneficiary of a qualifying immigrant petition (either the original Form I-130 or I-140 through which you are grandfathered or through a subsequently filed immigrant petition)
  • Have a visa immediately available to you (immediate relatives do not have to wait for a visa number)
  • Be admissible to the U.S. (some criminal convictions will make you inadmissible, for example)

What if the petition or labor certification that was filed on my behalf before April 30, 2001 was withdrawn, denied, or revoked?

To meet the first requirement mentioned above the petition or labor certification must have been both properly filed and approvable when filed. At a minimum the filing must have been timely (filed by April 30, 2001) and meet all applicable substantive requirements (“approvable when filed”). Deficiencies such as a missing filing fee or missing signature will disqualify you.

Please contact our office to discuss the reason that your petition or labor certification was withdrawn, denied, or revoked. Whether you qualify for 245(i) will depend on whether the petition or labor certification was “approvable when filed.”

To remain eligible, the changed circumstances must relate to factors beyond your control rather than the merits at the time of filing. For example, you may still qualify for INA 245(i) if the petitioner dies, your spouse who filed the petition divorces you, your employer who filed the labor certification goes out of business, petitioner or the employer chooses to withdraw the petition or labor certification, or petitioner or employer is otherwise not able to maintain the petition or labor certification application.

What about my spouse or child?

Depending on the circumstances, a spouse or child may also be eligible to adjust status as a dependent. We can discuss this in depth during your consultation at one of our offices.

Can I work or travel while my application is pending?

Yes! Current processing times are about 90 days after filing for your employment authorization (work permit) and travel authorization.

If you think you may qualify for your greencard under INA 245(i) or if you would like to discuss other options contact us at one of our offices now. We look forward to serving you in your immigration needs.

Leiba v. Holder: Aggravated felony bar in INA 212 (h) inapplicable to those who were never “admitted”

Leiba v. Holder: Aggravated felony bar in INA 212(h) inapplicable to those who were never “admitted”

The following is a brief discussion of the recent fourth circuit case of Leiba v. Holder. Said case is controlling in the states of Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia but can be used as a persuasive authority throughout the United States.

Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 212(h) is a law that permits individuals to request a waiver of certain criminal conviction/s. Hence, an individual who would otherwise be ineligible for adjustment of status (to become a lawful permanent resident or “greencard” holder) because of a criminal conviction or convictions can request a waiver of the conviction/s and obtain lawful permanent resident status.

INA 212(h) states in part as follow:

“No waiver shall be granted .. in the case of an alien who has previously been admitted to the United States as an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence if … since the date of such admission the alien has been convicted of an aggravated felony.”

At first glance, this language would appear to bar lawful permanent residents who are convicted of an aggravated felony from seeking relief under INA 212(h). Aggravated felonies are typically the more serious convictions for instance, murder, rape, drug offenses, crimes of violence, and certain theft offenses, among other crimes.

However, Leiba v. Holder has held that an individual who enters the United States illegally and subsequently adjusts status to that of a lawful permanent resident while still in the U.S. and who does not exit and re-enter the U.S. is eligible to apply for relief under INA 212(h) even if convicted of an aggravated felony. The reasoning behind the holding of the Court stems from the Court’s definition of “admission.” The Court reasoned that if an individual entered the U.S. illegally and never subsequently entered the U.S. legally then the individual has never been “admitted” and as such the bar against aggravated felons cannot be applied. Note that the Court distinguished between the term “admission” and the phrase “admitted for permanent residence.”

The decision of Leiba v. Holder is extremely important for lawful permanent residents who have been convicted of an aggravated felony in that it opens an avenue of relief that would otherwise be unavailable to them. You should consult with a qualified immigration attorney to see if you may benefit from the holding of Leiba v. Holder and to prepare and argue the strengths in your specific case.

The California Dream Act: Connected to Legal Immigration

Are you an undocumented immigrant who attended high school in California and came to the U.S. before the age of 16? The California Dream Act of 2011 may be a chance for you to receive financial aid for college. The Act connects to your efforts for a path to permanent residency or citizenship.

The California Dream Act is a set of state laws. It is significantly different from the federal Dream Act that remains unsigned by Congress. The California Dream Act, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in October of 2011, provides individuals who attended at least three years of high school in California and earned a high school diploma from a California high school with the chance to receive financial aid at institutions of higher learning.

In order to receive funding, individuals must show that they are in the process of applying to become legal, or documented, immigrants. This means that in order to take advantage of the benefits of the California Dream Act, you should consider seeking the services of a qualified immigration lawyer. If you have applied or are considering applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), be aware that an application for DACA may not be considered a process of applying to become a legal immigrant. DACA offers applicants a two-year deferral from deportation and a two-year work permit. It does not offer a chance to be considered for permanent residency or citizenship.

The California Dream Act will begin to have a serious effect in 2013. Undocumented immigrants who have been accepted by state universities will be eligible for financial aid through Cal-Grants, a public program that in 2011 provided aid to over 370,000 low-income students. Undocumented immigrants will also become eligible for institutional grants (private grants funded by a college or university) in the University of California and California State University systems. In addition, undocumented immigrants will be able to obtain fee waivers for community colleges.

To remain eligible for financial aid, undocumented immigrants must demonstrate financial need and meet the academic standards of the specific aid or grant for which they apply. Contact our office at 415-986-6186 to learn more about your immigration options.

President Obama vs. Romney on Immigration Law

President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney differ greatly on immigration, but both agree the process of applying for permanent residency or citizenship as a documented immigrant should be easier. During the second presidential debate, Obama and Romney voiced support for reducing the backlog of paperwork.

Romney added that he thought the existing immigration system should be streamlined and “clearer.” Obama stated that he is proud of the immigration reforms his administration has made in the past four years. He did not indicate that he would make additional changes immediately.

After the debate, Romney stated that he would not revoke 2-year deferrals on deportation and work permits awarded through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Romney indicated that he would end DACA if he became president. Obama indicated that he would continue DACA.

During the debate, Romney stated that he would not grant amnesty to undocumented immigrants. Romney stated that he wanted to create a path to permanent residency for children of undocumented immigrants but he did not provide any specific details regarding how he would do this. Obama stated that he wanted to give “young people brought here by their parents” a pathway to citizenship.

Both candidates stated before the debate that they are interested in allowing more highly skilled immigrants to apply for visas and citizenship. During the debate, Romney stated that the U.S. should issue green cards to people who “graduate with the skills that we need,” especially those with accredited degrees in science and math.  Would Romney follow through with this promise, when his policy advisor on Immigration was fundamental in drafting Arizona immigration legislation?

During the debate, Obama stated that a strong presence along the Mexican-American border has decreased the flow of undocumented workers into the United States. This statement suggests that Obama will continue to use border patrol agents and federal funds as a primary method to discourage individuals from immigrating to the U.S. Romney did not clarify his position on increasing or maintaining current measures for border control.

During the debate, Obama indicated that his administration has ranked deportations in order of priority. He stated that he has focused on deporting undocumented immigrants who are “criminals” and “gangbangers” rather than “students” and “folks…trying to feed their families.” Romney did not indicate that he would rank deportations.

Tomorrow, election day, will reveal which candidate will keep their political promises.  We look forward to providing you with regular updates on new immigration policies

Attitude, Viewpoint, and Links to Information – Online Thoughts

Colorful, picturesque, artistic, contemplative, hard to understand – these words describe some of the places in cyberspace I’ve visited this week, researching topics for my blog

One link leads to another, it’s a little like snacking, nothing serious, one byte after another, little by little attention wanders, curiosity clicks through, and time passes as so-called “research.” Today was one of those online adventures worth retelling, only because it so amplifies the statement: “it all depends upon your attitude” (or point of view).

It all started with “research” about jobs and the economy. New York Times has plenty of food for thought. I was pleased to hear about the guy who had converted his hobbies into paid-for job(s) – entitled “Hobbies Add Up to a Career”.

This scenario would have been interesting to try fifteen years ago before launching into law school. Now my education affords me the ability to give advice about immigration law, on how to come and stay in the U.S. lawfully via work or family. We (readers and me) will someday all become retirees and practice our hobbies. Does that seem like circular thinking to you too, or is it just my viewpoint?

No matter — I did like the career-hobbyist’s advice: “. . . here’s some very important advice: You have to develop a tolerance for the setbacks that come with learning. Mistakes are just a message to try again but in a different way, and failures are a one-room schoolhouse for the adventurous. I tell my shocked gardening students that I’ve killed more plants than all of them put together. But knowing what to do sometimes comes from learning what not to do.

Please contact the Ranchod Law Group with offices serving San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento, California, at or at 800-753-1399 if you have any questions regarding immigration law.
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Advice from Your Immigration Attorney

Getting Advice from an Online Forum

Question and Answer in Forum: Even when it’s an immigration attorney who replies to your question online (and sometimes, it’s a non-attorney with unanswered questions like you), it is not the same as having representation. It is not a guarantee that the information/answer even applies to your case.

Even with an attorney’s written reply, notice how it must also contain a “Disclaimer” which waters down the answer by stating:

1) The information posted here is of a general nature; and
2) may not apply to any particular set of facts, or
3) may not apply under all circumstances.
4) It should not be considered to be legal advice and
5) Is not constitute an engagement of any particular law firm or
6) establish an attorney-client relationship.
7) In other words, it is stuff to consider before you make up your own mind what to do next.

Advantages of an Expert Opinion When an immigration attorney replies to your question off-line, face-to- face/by phone, you actually are getting an expert opinion, that is, advice from a bona fide legal counselor who is qualified to become your legal representative. And you are interacting with someone who can understand, organize and compile your case to present to a decision-maker to rule on your petition.

Professional Representation from an Immigration Attorney gives value in three ways: your attorney functions as: (1) consultant (expert); (2), counselor (advisor), and (3) coordinator (writes and assembles essential documents) for communicating with Immigration authorities to win favorable result to your case.

Attorney as expert: Not merely law school and previous experience with cases similar to clients; these actions and resulting expertise are all in the past. The practice of Immigration law requires present time action: this means the ongoing monitoring of the changes in law and procedures. These changes are the necessary responses to create efficiencies in both number and types of cases.

For Instance: Your attorney, as member of American Immigration Lawyers Association

(AILA) receives bulletins advising about most up-to-date changes in law/procedures, as well as the efficiencies/improvements to managing immigration processes

For Example: Members of AILA received a December 2010 “Practice Advisory” explaining the “best practices” for avoiding delays in processing and communications between agencies involved in handling requests for waiver of the INA §212(e) home residency requirement prior to adjudicating a J-1 exchange visitor’s change of status. This put immigration attorneys on alert for possible issuance of RFE (Request for Evidence) arising out of a new procedure. Immigration attorneys were also advised how best to submit paperwork to “ensure that CSC can coordinate with VSC as part of the overall petition adjudication.” Obviously, these “tips” are meant to keep immigration attorney members up-to-speed with the most recent changes/improvements to practice and are conveyed in a language that a forum visitor would not readily understand.

Please contact the Ranchod Law Group with offices serving San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento, California, at or at 800-753-1399 if you have any questions regarding immigration law.
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Immigration Lawyer Offers Advice on Replacement Green Cards

<em>Question Raised by Sacramento Immigrant Focuses on Permanent Resident Card</em>

As an immigration lawyer, I find that there’s often a need to make clarifications
regarding specific forms. There are so many forms associated with immigration
it’s easy to become confused. This happened the other day when someone from
Sacramento had a question regarding her permanent resident card, which is
commonly known as a green card.

<strong>Purpose of Replacement Green Card</strong>

It is important to understand that a replacement green card is not intended
for someone whose status as a conditional resident is expiring or to replace a
non-permanent visa. The replacement card is for people who already possess a
permanent resident card. The immigrant from Sacramento did already hold a green

Replacement cards are intended for those who have had a legal change in biographic
data, whose card contains incorrect information due to an USCIS error, if you need
to renew your green card or if you were issued a card but never received it. You
do not file a for a replacement green card if you’ve changed your address. You may
report a change of address via the USCIS site (

<strong>Filing for Replacement Green Card</strong>

An I-90 application, which may be filed electronically or by mail, is used when
applying for a replacement card. Supporting evidence must also be submitted.
Depending upon your situation forms and types of evidence vary. The filing fee is
$290 and the biometrics fee is $80.

The process can get fairly complicated, as I noted to the Sacramento resident who
needed to file for a replacement of her green card. You must offer your reason
for the replacement card clearly and accurately and this reason influences how
to accurately complete the form. A knowledgeable immigration lawyer can help
facilitate this process.

Please contact the Ranchod Law Group with offices serving San Francisco, San Jose,
and Sacramento, California, at or at 800-753-1399 if you
have any questions regarding immigration law.

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Immigration Law Newsletter April 2010

Important Update: USCIS Still Accepting FY 2011 H-1B Petitions

It is not too late to file for a H-1B petition. Just a few days ago the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which started accepting petitions for H-1B petitions on April 1, announced that they had received approximately 13,500 petitions towards the general cap. They are accepting 65,000. They have also received 5,600 petitions for those who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher. That cap is set at 20,000 and those are exempt from the 65,000.

The H-1B General petition is used by U.S. businesses to hire foreign workers who are trained in specialty fields that require theoretical or technical expertise such as computers, science and engineering.

Petitions filed by those workers who have been counted against the cap in the past six years or by employers who are exempt from the cap are not counted towards the FY 2011 cap, which is mandated by the U.S. Congress.

If the cap is met, then the USCIS will issue an update as to that effect. Petitions are counted as they are physically received by the USCIS and not by the postmark date. The date that the USCIS informs the public that the cap has been reached may be different than the date that they receive the final petition. Updates regarding the number of petitions received may be found at

In this new era of immigration enforcement, the process is fairly complex. We’ve worked with quite a few individuals and businesses, ensuring that their petition is accurate and complete. Additionally, if your petition is received on the final date that the quota is filled, it may be randomly rejected. Thus, it’s best to get your petition in as soon as possible.

Those applying for a H-1B visa must prepare their petitions properly, filing all paperwork and following all regulatory guidelines. If this is not done, a person’s petition will be delayed and could be rejected. The starting work date for those filing can be no earlier than October 1, 2010.

We can help facilitate your application and make sure that all regulatory guidelines are met. We’ll perform all work in a timely manner and our experience, which is extensive in this area, allows us to perform our services quickly and in an exact manner. Contact us at 415-986-6186 to make an appointment.

How Success Stories Are Made

It’s always great to hear a success story and we have one for you. This involves a Ph.D. who received his degree from a prestigious U.S. university and his National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition.

It was in 2009 that Dr. X contacted the Ranchod Law Group and retained us to complete his NIW petition. Receiving a NIW is very difficult due to the criteria for approval. Basically, three things must be proven.

1. A petitioner must show that their work is of intrinsic merit.
2. They must also prove that it is of a national scope.
3. And they have to give convincing evidence their continued work is of greater benefit to the national interest of the U.S. than the laws that protect American workers.

Even if you prove the first two points, the third is very difficult to successfully illustrate and that means that a NIW is very difficult to secure. We focused on a few areas to build our case for Dr. X.

We argued that Dr. X’s educational background in combination with his experience provided the foundation necessary for the application. Additionally, we noted that he had been involved in numerous projects that were funded by U.S. National grants.

We advised him regarding what kinds of expertise and skills to emphasize in his petition. We also helped him in obtaining letters of recommendation from colleagues in his field of expertise, since these would be essential evidence. Upon receiving the letters, we reviewed them, edited many of the letters to focus on essential aspects of his experience, expertise and importance of his continuing contributions and submitted them to Dr X’s colleagues to review, and if they felt the changes were appropriate, for their approval.

After carefully compiling his documentation and writing a detailed supporting brief that powerfully brought together all of the important elements of his background in a manner that thoroughly supported our contention that Dr. X’s permanent residence status was in the national interest.

After submitting the petition with an adjustment of status application on November 20, 2009, the proposal was approved on January 14, 2010, making for a Happy New Year. In a mere seven weeks, approval had been given for his NIW and then just 12 weeks after our original petition was filed, Dr. X also saw his permanent residence application approved.

We had worked hard to help Dr. X go from a nonimmigrant temporary visa holder to a permanent resident in 12 weeks. Applying for a NIW is a daunting process. We would be honored to review your qualifications to help determine if you are a candidate for a national interest waiver petition. Contact us at 415-986-6186 to discuss whether you qualify for a National Interest Waiver . At the Ranchod Law Group we’re dedicated to working with individuals, Universities, and businesses to give them every opportunity to achieve their goals. Call us any time or email us at to schedule a consultation.

The Latest News—Intercountry Adoption with Russia in Jeopardy

In compiling this month’s newsletter, I read this news story right at the deadline and felt a need to share it. There’s concern that what has been one of the richest resources for U.S. citizens in terms of intercountry adoption, Russia, may no longer be an option. The problem stems from an incident that has upset Russian authorities.

The incident I’m about to relate, which comes from Russian sources, has U.S. Department of State officials in talks with Russian officials in an attempt to avert a shutdown in intercountry adoption. This is what has allegedly occurred.

According to Russian news sources, a seven-year old boy who was adopted in 2009 was put on a plane on April 9, 2010. Russian sources have identified the boy as Artyom Savelyev. The boy is reported to have been placed on a plane in Tennessee alone and was flown to Washington State and then to Russia. He had in his possession a note that said the adoption was void and the boy was being returned to his homeland.

This abandonment has been internationally criticized and decried and it has many Russian officials, including Sergey V. Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, demanding that adoptions to the U.S. be suspended. Lavrov has called for reforms in the process before any more adoptions are allowed. The U.S. Ambassador in Russia has also criticized the incident.

In the U.S., local authorities, according to the National Council for Adoption (NCA), are investigating the adoptive mother, Nancy Hansen. No charges have been filed as of yet.

Acting CEO of the NCA, Chuck Johnson, has said, “Child abandonment of any kind is reprehensible.” Johnson adds, “The actions of this mother are especially troubling because an already vulnerable, innocent child has been further victimized.”

I’m struck by the fact that there have been over 60,000 intercountry adoptions with Russia and that this incident, coupled with death of a Russian child died after his adoptive parents left him in a car last year in 100 degree temperatures, has jeopardized the entire process. It’s true that no system is perfect. And you can’t blame Russian officials for their concern or reactions. They can’t take this lightheartedly. Neither incident is defensible. And they should make us take a good hard look at the entire adoptive mechanism and process and make any reforms that are necessary.

But it’s my thought that after an investigation in the U.S. and carefully considered reforms in the process that intercountry adoption between Russia and the U.S. will continue. This terrible incident does illustrate very clearly the great responsibility that parents who engage in intercountry adoption bear. Parents who adopt within our country are accountable for their actions, as are any parents, but when you decide to pursue adoption beyond our borders there is the potential for creating an international incident. This is serious and a wakeup call for all of us.

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