Yesterday we had the honor of conducting a meeting and training at our offices in Alexandria, VA with Mr. Argam Stepanyan, Deputy Head of the Civil Acts Agency for Armenia. In his position with the Armenian government, Mr. Stepanyan’s office acts as the Central Authority for both parental child abduction and intercountry adoption. He is in the U.S. as part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
Issues including ethics, the U.S. implementation of the Hague Convention, accreditation of adoption service providers and the Hague Guide to Good Practice. Of particular note was Mr. Stepanyan’s statements that adoption, both domestic and international, should be the primary options for children, when it is determined that family reunification is not in the best interest of the child.
Mr. Stepanyan has implemented numerous changes to the regulations and process governing intercountry adoption in Armenia. One such change is the inclusion of a review of each relinquishment by law enforcement officials. Additional changes are being considered which would allow for expeditious processing of each child’s case.
We also invited Mr. Stepanyan to attend the Adoption Summit in Ontario this coming September as well as the Joint Council Conference in March 2011. We look forward to working with Mr. Stepanyan in our collective service to children. Mr. Stepanyan encouraged Joint Council to work more actively in Armenia and invited us to conduct an advocacy trip to Armenia this fall.