Law Offices of Karen S. Law PLC

Our Practice is limited to Adoption and Immigration. We provide expert, efficient, compassionate legal services for adoptive and birth parents.

Karen Stoutamyer Law is an adoption attorney practicing in Virginia. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 1985 and became licensed in Virginia in that same year. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Virginia State Bar, and the Loudoun Bar Association. She also co-chairs the Intercountry Adoption Committee for the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and has co-chaired the annual celebration of adoption, Loudoun Adoption Day, for eight years. Mrs. Law represents adoptive parents and birth parents in private, agency, international, step-parent, and relative adoptions. She has been certified by the Virginia Supreme Court as a Guardian Ad Litem to represent the interests of children in adoptions throughout the Commonwealth. She often speaks at national conferences on Immigration issues and has a unique experience in both adoption and immigration law. Serving clients in Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Arlington County, Alexandria, Frederick County, Albermarle County, Culpeper County, Dinwiddie County, Pittsylvania County, Rockingham County, Shenandoah County, Spotsylvania County, Stafford County, Warren County, Westmoreland County, Virginia Beach and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

travel.state.gov

https://travel.state.gov/content/dam/NEWadoptionassets/pdfs/FY%202019%20Annual%20Report%20.pdf

travel.state.gov

💐 We are here to celebrate all the moms out there! Happy Mother’s Day!

today.com

2020 Gerber baby is first adopted baby chosen for campaign

today.com The first adopted Gerber baby, who was announced on the 3rd hour of TODAY, shows that love makes a family.

uscis.gov

USCIS Response to COVID-19

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recognizes that there are immigration-related challenges as a direct result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We continue to carefully analyze these issues and to leverage our resources to effectively address these challenges within our existing authorities. DHS also continues to take action to protect the American people and our communities, and is considering a number of policies and procedures to improve the employment opportunities of U.S. workers during this pandemic.
Generally, nonimmigrants must depart the United States before their authorized period of admission expires. However, we recognize that nonimmigrants may unexpectedly remain in the United States beyond their authorized period of stay due to COVID-19. Should this occur, the following options are available for nonimmigrants:
Apply for an Extension. Most nonimmigrants can mitigate the immigration consequences of COVID-19 by timely filing an application for extension of stay (EOS) or change in status (COS). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services continues to accept and process applications and petitions, and many of our forms are available for online filing.
If You File in a Timely Manner. Nonimmigrants generally do not accrue unlawful presence while the timely-filed, non-frivolous EOS/COS application is pending. Where applicable, employment authorization with the same employer, subject to the same terms and conditions of the prior approval, is automatically extended for up to 240 days after I-94 expiration when an extension of stay request is filed on time.
Flexibility for Late Applications. USCIS reminds petitioners and applicants that it can consider delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic when deciding whether to excuse delays in filing documents based on extraordinary circumstances.
Under current regulations and as noted on our Special Situations page, if a petitioner or applicant files an extension of stay or change of status request (on Forms I-129 or I-539) after the authorized period of admission expires, USCIS, in its discretion, may excuse the failure to file on time if it was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond their control, such as those that may be caused by COVID-19. The length of delay must be commensurate with the circumstances. The petitioner or applicant must submit credible evidence to support their request, which USCIS will evaluate on a case-by-case basis. These special situations have been used at various times in the past, including for natural disasters and similar crises.
Please see 8 CFR 214.1(c)(4) and 8 CFR 248.1(c) for additional information on late requests to extend or change status. In addition, please see our Form I-129 and Form I-539 pages for specific filing and eligibility requirements for extensions of stay and changes of status.
Flexibility for Visa Waiver Entrants. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) entrants are not eligible to extend their stay or change status. However, under current regulations, if an emergency (such as COVID-19) prevents the departure of a VWP entrant, USCIS in its discretion may grant a period of satisfactory departure for up to 30 days. Please see 8 CFR 217.3(a). For those VWP entrants already granted satisfactory departure and unable to depart within this 30-day period because of COVID-19 related issues, USCIS has the authority to temporarily provide an additional 30-day period of satisfactory departure. To request satisfactory departure from USCIS, a VWP entrant should call the USCIS Contact Center.
For other policy updates, operational changes, and other COVID-19 information, please visit uscis.gov/coronavirus.

uscis.gov On March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services temporarily suspended routine in-person services to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). USCIS plans to begin reopening our offices

[04/09/20]   USCIS Announces Flexibility in Submitting Required Signatures During COVID-19 National Emergency
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 National Emergency announced by President Trump on March 13, 2020, we will accept all benefit forms and documents with reproduced original signatures, including the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, for submissions dated March 21, 2020, and beyond.

USCIS already accepts various petitions, applications and other documents bearing an electronically reproduced original signature. This means that a document may be scanned, faxed, photocopied, or similarly reproduced provided that the copy must be of an original document containing an original handwritten signature, unless otherwise specified.[1] For forms that require an original “wet” signature, per form instructions, USCIS will accept electronically reproduced original signatures for the duration of the National Emergency. This temporary change only applies to signatures. All other form instructions should be followed when completing a form.

Individuals or entities that submit documents bearing an electronically reproduced original signature must also retain copies of the original documents containing the “wet” signature. USCIS may, at any time, request the original documents, which if not produced, could negatively impact the adjudication of the immigration benefit.

virginialawyer.vsb.org

Virginia Lawyer VA Lawyer February 2020 Page-34

http://virginialawyer.vsb.org/publication/?m=&i=650523&p=34&ver=html5

virginialawyer.vsb.org On the Way to Solving the Foster Care Crisis in Virginia by Cassie Baudeán Cunningham Virginia is in the midst of a crisis. Currently, the Commonwealth has the second highest rate of youth aging out of foster care in the country. 1 There are over 5,000 children in foster care, of which over 700 are...

achildwaits.org

International Adoption Grant/Loan Program

A child Waits Foundation awards grants for International and Domestic Adoption and provides loans for International Adoption.

There are no application deadlines of funding cycles and families receive grants and low-interest loans on an ongoing basis.

https://www.achildwaits.org/grantloan-program1.html

achildwaits.org Families adopting internationally can apply for a grant and loan at the same time. Information about the program and process is available for applicants

uscis.gov

USCIS Response to Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

USCIS Announces Flexibility for Requests for Evidence, Notices of Intent to Deny
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it is adopting a measure to assist applicants and petitioners who are responding to requests for evidence (RFEs) and notices of intent to deny (NOIDs) dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020.

For applicants and petitioners who receive an RFE or NOID dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020, any responses submitted within 60 calendar days after the response deadline set forth in the RFE or NOID will be considered by USCIS before any action is taken.

USCIS is adopting several measures to protect our workforce and community, and to minimize the immigration consequences for those seeking immigration benefits during this time.

USCIS will provide further updates as the situation develops and will continue to follow CDC guidance. Education and precautions are the strongest tools against COVID-19 infection. Please visit uscis.gov/coronavirus for latest facts and other USCIS updates.

https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-announces-flexibility-requests-evidence-notices-intent-deny

uscis.gov ALERT: As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has temporarily suspended routine in-person services through at least May 3 to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

adoptioncouncil.org

Adoption Advocacy and Awareness - National Council for Adoption

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

Prioritization of Adoption Visa Adjudication & Granting

Humanitarian Parole for U.S. Citizens with Completed Adoptions

March 27, 2020 – Alexandria, VA – Many U.S. families in the midst of intercountry adoptions are currently stranded overseas in vulnerable situations and in need of immediate assistance as a result of international travel restrictions from the current Covid-19 pandemic. These adoptive parents are waiting to obtain their child’s U.S. visa so the child can enter the United States. But with the current global health pandemic, and delays in processing times, these families find themselves stuck, isolated, and fearful as each day goes by without movement on their case. These parents will not abandon their children – and, likewise, we must not abandon them during this crisis.

National Council For Adoption (NCFA) and the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA) call upon the Department of State to grant humanitarian parole to the children of adoptive families who are unable to receive an adoption visa in a timely manner so that the families may safely return to the United States together as soon as possible.

“Each of these cases need urgent action,” said NCFA’s Ryan Hanlon. “U.S. citizens who have adopted children internationally cannot be asked to abandon their children while waiting for a visa, and return to the United States. Instead, we must be willing to respond to these extreme, unprecedented circumstances with solutions that prioritize the safety, health, and welfare of these families and the children they have legally adopted.”

The Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Manual instructs consular officers to prioritize adoption cases; the current pandemic only increases the need for cases to be processed as quickly as possible. There are a small number of cases in which an adjudication for an adoption visa has not yet been completed but, under the current dire circumstances, the child is eligible for humanitarian parole which should be granted so that these families and their adopted child can safely return to the United States. A failure to do so is unacceptable, placing families in the untenable position of having their safety and health unnecessarily jeopardized.

“All families who have full and final adoptions and have satisfied the U.S. requirements for I-600A, I-800A, or I-130 processing should be immediately prioritized” said the Center for Adoption Policy’s Diane Kunz. “If they have completed the adoption in the foreign country and have an approved I-600A or I-800A, humanitarian parole is a legal and compassionate solution to U.S. citizens and their children in crisis.”

“Humanitarian parole has been used in past world emergency situations to allow adopted children to exit the country quickly with their adoptive families. We want to emphasize that all the normal immigration processes will be followed for the children to obtain U.S. citizenship but they will be completed safely within the U.S. ” said AAAA’s Laurie Goldheim. The Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues can be reached at [email protected] and has posted notices regarding travel warnings and Covid-19 related information on their website. All impacted families should ensure that they are coordinating with the Office of Children’s Issues, the foreign Embassy with whom they are working, and with their adoption service provider.

# # #

ABOUT NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR ADOPTION

National Council For Adoption (NCFA) is passionately committed to the belief that every child, everywhere, deserves to thrive in a nurturing, permanent family. We work tirelessly to educate U.S. and foreign government officials and policymakers, members of the media, and all those in the general public with an interest in adoption. For more information, visit www.AdoptionCouncil.org.

ABOUT THE ACADEMY OF ADOPTION & ASSISTED REPRODUCTION ATTORNEYS

The Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA) is a credentialed organization dedicated to the competent and ethical practice of adoption and assisted reproduction law. It advocates for laws and policies to protect the best interests of children, the legal status of families formed through adoption and assisted reproduction, and the rights of all interested parties. For more information, visit www.adoptionart.org.

adoptioncouncil.org

What’s holding you back from adopting a child? Could it be the rumors and myths about adoption that float around? We are here to ease your mind and put few common myths to put to rest.

I can’t afford adoption: When looking into adoption it can become incredibly overwhelming and a lot of people get turned off by thinking they can’t afford what it costs to adopt a child. There are so many different options when looking into adoption financially. What you need to do is make sure you take the time to do your research and prepare for the costs to come. There are different grants and low interest loans you can look into applying for. Like any major financial decision, you have to sit down and prepare for it. Here are a list of Adoption Aid Grants.
Adoption takes too long: Like all great things in life, adoption does not happen overnight. You have to be patient and take it one step at a time. The process can go a little faster if you are equipped to adopt a child with special needs, an older child or sibling groups. International adoptions will take a little more time, and often, it is in fact easier to adopt from the U.S. Foster Care. It takes about a year to adopt from the foster care system and it can take from two to five years to adopt internationally.

Relatives may find the child and take them back: This is not legally possible in most states due to laws which sever the rights of relatives after the adoption is finalized. Once an adoption is final, there is no reversing it. Before an adoption is final, there are a series of steps to insure that this will not happen. Biological parents are looked for and contacted if they have taken the necessary steps to insure that they will receive notice of an adoption plan, such as registering with a Putative Father Registry. If the biological father does properly register to receive notice of the adoption plan, then he must decide if he can care for the child or if the child should be adopted.

In terms of other family members.... CHECK OUT OUR BlOG FOR THE REST OF THE ARTICLE! http://lawadoption.blogspot.com/2019/06/myths-about-adoption.html?m=1

Adoption News: Covid19 & Expectant Parents

Supporting expectant parents who have made adoption plans is challenging now. Birth mothers are concerned about catching COVID19 and they may be unwilling to receive routine care. Doctors in some states are suspending routine appointments. Hospitals may limit the admission of adoption professionals at the time of birth. Attorneys and social workers may have difficulty coming to the hospital for the expectant parent to sign documents placing the child for adoption. Adoptive parents may not be admitted to the hospital to assist in caring for the baby from birth as the birth mother might desire. Most courts have suspended non-emergency cases and this is especially a problem in states like Virginia where the expectant parent must come to court to consent to the adoption.

We are here to support expectant parents with flexibility and compassion during this time. We offer zoom appointments as well as contact by text and phone. If we cannot come to a particular hospital, we will work with the hospital social worker to assist in executing documents. We are also working with local courts to categorize adoption consent hearings as emergency type hearings. We are requesting flexibility in the way that the birth parent and adoptive parents appear in court, perhaps allowing video appearances. The safety of all is our paramount concern as well as supporting expectant parents with the choices they have made.

Supporting expectant parents who have made adoption plans is challenging now. Birth mothers are concerned about catching COVID19 and they may be unwilling to receive routine care. Doctors in some states are suspending routine appointments. Hospitals may limit the admission of adoption professionals at the time of birth. Attorneys and social workers may have difficulty coming to the hospital for the expectant parent to sign documents placing the child for adoption. Adoptive parents may not be admitted to the hospital to assist in caring for the baby from birth as the birth mother might desire. Most courts have suspended non-emergency cases and this is especially a problem in states like Virginia where the expectant parent must come to court to consent to the adoption.

We are here to support expectant parents with flexibility and compassion during this time. We offer zoom appointments as well as contact by text and phone. If we cannot come to a particular hospital, we will work with the hospital social worker to assist in executing documents. We are also working with local courts to categorize adoption consent hearings as emergency type hearings. We are requesting flexibility in the way that the birth parent and adoptive parents appear in court, perhaps allowing video appearances. The safety of all is our paramount concern as well as supporting expectant parents with the choices they have made.

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