Thursday, December 27, 2007

Future adoption changes in Australia

An article in The Daily Telegraph, headed "Deborra-lee's adoption victory", made the papers in Australia just before Christmas this year. Looks like Mr Rudd is doing some good and really soon after becoming Prime Minister too. GO KEV!

We're cautiously optimistic about what this means for Australian couples who wish to adopt from overseas.

The article can be found here and is copied below:

"ACTOR Deborra-lee Furness and The Sunday Telegraph have won a major victory in a campaign to overhaul Australia's anti-adoption culture.

The Rudd Government announced last week it would create a federal governing body to streamline the system, cut waiting lists and make overseas adoption a "priority".

The Government said while the states would still have carriage of applications, Canberra would establish national uniform regulations, as well as open up new adoption programs with more overseas countries.

A peak federal body of state representatives is also being formed.

"I'm absolutely thrilled," Furness said. "It's the first sign of the new leadership taking charge of this issue.

"This is the beginning - now we have many more steps to go."

It follows a four-month campaign by Furness and The Sunday Telegraph in highlighting the inadequacies of Australia's inter-country adoption procedures. Australia currently has the second-lowest rate of overseas adoption in the world.

Furness brought the issue into the public arena in August when she spoke of the obstacles she and husband Hugh Jackman encountered when they tried to adopt in Australia eight years ago.

The couple endured a series of bureaucratic blocks and an unsupportive Community Services Department. In the end they gave up and returned to the US, where the process of adopting their two children, Oscar and Ava, was efficient and supportive to parents.

Since then, Furness has formed an action group and held meetings with the Attorney-General's department and deputy leader Julia Gillard.

International Adoptive Families of Queensland president Mark Byrne praised the campaign for bringing the issue to the fore.

"We've been pushing for these changes for years but it took Deborra-lee and your paper to make it happen much more quickly," he said.

He said, as the number of local adoptions in Australia continued to fall, the demand from childless couples to adopt overseas would only grow.

A spokesman for Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the renegotiated Commonwealth-State agreement on adoption was being formalised.

"We are eager to work with the states to ensure the best outcomes for Australian families. We are committed to the harmonising of Australia's intercountry adoption practices and reduced waiting lists are obviously desirable," the spokesman said.

Ricky Brisson, who runs Australian Intercountry Adoption Network, wants the Government to allow accredited specialised agencies to take over the role of state DoCS in adoption applications.

Alison Rigby, who adopted orphaned twins from Colombia, said the process was "very drawn out" and cost $80,000.

"I really feel very concerned for people now who are just starting to adopt because there are fewer countries, the age criteria is getting younger, and families are waiting longer and longer," Ms Rigby said.

When she was in Colombia she met couples from the US, Norway and Sweden, who spoke of the ease and tax concessions they were offered by their countries.

Furness said she wanted Australia to bring new countries into the Hague Convention, which would cut the seven-year waiting lists."

Friday, December 14, 2007

Merry Christmas Everyone. Now Get Elfed!

Surely it's not that time of year again already! Unbelievable how fast it comes around each year. We're hoping that this time next year we'll have our little babe with us. Having kids around at Christmas time is so much more fun, don't you think?

Anyhow, enjoy your Christmas this year hope you have lots of Christmas cheer that Santa visits and bestows upon you all that you hope.

Don't forget to send my pressie.

You can direct it here: Kim's HUGE Santa Bag, Mr. Santa Claus, North Pole.

Oh, this was forwarded to me by a friend of mine. Very funny. Click below:

Click here to see how I got Elfed