We respectfully request that the Right Honorable members of the US Senate and House petition the Department of State and USCIS within the Department of Homeland Security to assist the “Nepal Pipeline families” in obtaining visas to bring their children home immediately.
56 American families are facing heart-break this year. 56 children await visas to come home to the United States. Some children are with their new parents - stranded in Kathmandu, Nepal, a third world country with violent civil unrest, poor medical facilities, improper sanitation and unclean water. Many of these new families have been trapped in Nepal since early August. Other children languish in unheated, underfunded orphanages in Nepal while their adoptive parents fight to bring them home. These parents wait helplessly for visas knowing that every day their child spends in an orphanage is a developmental disaster.
DOS will tell you that the visas are being withheld because “Nepali children were being taken from their families and fraudulent documents used to show abandonment” (The Kathmandu Press, 2010) but as DOS and USCIS confirmed in a conference call with Prospective Adoptive Parents, Adoption Service Providers, and Adoption Stakeholders on December 15th, 2010, absolutely NO evidence of fraud has been found in any of the cases currently under review. NO fraud.
Each day that these children spend in an institution as opposed to a family, they are receiving (by necessity) less than prompt consistent care, a paucity of verbal and physical stimulation, and perhaps most significantly the love required for a child to reach normal developmental milestones (Davenport, 2006). Children who are institutionalized are at serious risk for significant delays in emotional, social, and physical development (Albers, 1997).
For growth delays, the rule of thumb is that a child will lose one month of linear growth for every three months in an institution. Research clearly indicates that love and nutrition do wonders for a child's physical and developmental growth. The gains made in physical, intellectual and social areas post-adoption have been described as miraculous (Ryan and Groza 2004; Bledsoe and Johnston, 2004; Judge, 2004). The younger the children are when placed in a home with a loving parent, the great the chance that he or she will make up any growth and developmental delays (Davenport, 2006). Every day counts.
The children need to come home to America. Now, before any more damage is done. Many of these families have already spent tens of thousands of dollars in legal and investigation fees and on extended in-country stays. This is in addition to the not inconsiderable costs to adopt internationally. At least one family is being forced to sell their house to bring home their daughter. Others risk losing their jobs or income as they stay in Nepal for an extended period. The policies of the US Government are placing these new families at severe financial risk in an already tough economy – in order to investigate cases where DOS has already admitted there is no evidence of fraud. Surely, this policy is no longer in anyone’s best interest. Surely that money is better spent on food, clothes and college funds!
Please, it is in your power to grant these families relief. The U.S. Embassy in Nepal has now completed all investigations and USCIS has confirmed that no fraud has been found in any of the cases. And yet, they are still delaying approval of entry visas to the U.S. The assumption is – against all evidence to the contrary -- that all documentation from the orphanages, police and hospitals is fraudulent, yet no evidence of money changing hands, documents being forged or children being sold has been found. The time has come to stop this unnecessary hardship on these children and their families.
Please ask USCIS and DOS to immediately grant all the children the visas they need to travel home to America.