Americans are observing National Adoption Month in November, continuing a tradition that first began in 1995. “We celebrate the life-changing act of adoption,” President Trump said in this year’s official declaration. “[W]e must continue to assist families who are willing to adopt children in need of a permanent home.”
Sadly, it seems not everyone in the Trump administration got the memo. Just one day earlier, a federal judge in Tacoma, Washington, granted a preliminary injunction requested by three adoption agencies against the U.S. Department of State. In a clear rebuke of bureaucratic overreach, Judge Ronald Leighton overturned the State Department’s “arbitrary and capricious” action, which had forced the three agencies to suspend their adoption programs.
The case, Faith International Adoptions v. Pompeo, is just one salvo in an ongoing conflict between the State Department and adoption organizations. Two years ago, the State Department’s Office of Children’s Issues proposed onerous new regulations governing overseas adoption. Adoption advocates mobilized for a fight, but their real break came with the election of President Trump, whose deregulation agenda killed the plan. The State Department soon regrouped. Earlier this year, it began quietly implementing many of its desired regulations not through direct rule-making, but by hijacking the process by which agencies are accredited.
“[The State Department] had attempted to pass regulations which would have eliminated up to three-fourths of adoption agencies,” says John Meske, executive director of Faith International Adoptions, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. “When that failed, they decided to use the accreditation process instead, and get rid of agencies that way.” . . .
The suit’s three plaintiffs—Faith International Adoptions, Amazing Grace Adoptions, and Adopt Abroad, Inc.—lost their accreditation to perform adoptions under the Hague Adoption Convention this spring. This occurred not due to alleged agency misconduct, but to a sudden change in the way the State Department interpreted its own regulations. (Read more from “State Department Continues Its Cruel War on Adoption Agencies” HERE)