September 24th Department of State Notice

24. September, 2014UncategorizedNo comments

The Office of Children’s Issues is pleased to announce the appointment of Trish Maskew as the new Chief of the Adoption Division.

Trish joins the Department of State from the Department of Justice where she worked in the Civil Division for almost six years.  Before joining the U.S. government, she held several positions in the intercountry adoption field: as a program coordinator for an adoption agency; a board member and interim administrator for the Joint Council on International Children’s Services; the founder and President of Ethica, a non-profit organization dedicated to ethical and transparent adoptions; and as an expert consultant to the Hague Conference on Private International Law.  She is the author of “Our Own: Adopting and Parenting the Older Child” and numerous articles on adoption ethics and practice.  She earned her J.D. from American University.

Borrowed from


Health Insurance for your Adoptive Child

15. September, 2014UncategorizedNo comments

candy-child-doctor-400x400The U.S. federal law, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 requires an insurance company to offer an adopted child the same health insurance coverage as a birth child. Additionally, any pre-existing conditions do not disqualify your child from receiving coverage.  See 107 STAT. 374-375. This can be important information in case your insurance carrier tries to deny adoption-related medical expenses that may be covered under this law. West Sands requires all adoptive families carry health insurance coverage plans for themselves and their children.

The legal wording and citation as signed into law are provided below:

Subtitle D-Group Health Plans Sec. 4301. Standards for Group Health Plan Coverage

(a) In General-Part 6 of subtitle B of title 1 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. 1161 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end of the following new section: “ADDITIONAL STANDARDS FOR GROUP HEALTH PLANS Sec. 609. (a) Group Health Plan Coverage Pursuant to Medical Child Support Orders”

(c) Group Health Plan Coverage of Dependent Children in Cases of adoption

(1) Coverage effective upon placement for adoption

In any case in which a group health plan provides coverage for dependent children of participants or beneficiaries, such plan shall provide benefits to dependent children placed with participants or beneficiaries for adoption under the same terms and conditions as apply in the case of dependent children who are natural children of participants or beneficiaries under the plan, irrespective of whether the adoption has become final.

(2) Restrictions Based on Preexisting Conditions at the Time of Placement for Adoption Prohibited

A group health plan may not restrict coverage under the plan of any dependent child adopted by a participant or beneficiary, or placed with a participant or beneficiary for adoption solely on the basis of a preexisting condition of such a child at the time that such child would otherwise become eligible for coverage under the plan, if the adoption or placement for adoption occurs while the participant or beneficiary is eligible for coverage under the plan.

(3) DEFINITIONS-.For purposes of this subsection-

(A) CHILD- The term “child” means, in connection with any adoption, or placement for adoption, of the child, any individual who has not attained the age 18 as of the date of such adoption or placement for adoption.

(B) PLACEMENT FOR ADOPTION-the term “placement” or being “placed”, for adoption, in connection with any placement for adoption of a child with any person, means the assumption and retention by such person of a legal obligation for total or partial support of such child in anticipation of adoption of such child.  The child’s placement with such person terminates upon the termination of such legal obligation.

Information borrowed from and

Melkam Addis Amet! Happy Ethiopian New Year!

11. September, 2014UncategorizedNo comments

Today is Mäskäräm 1 in Ethiopia which means today is the first day of the New Year 2007 or “Enkutatash”. The Ethiopian calendar is much more similar to the Egyptian Coptic calendar having a year of 13 months, 365 days and 366 days in a leap year (every fourth year) and it is much influenced by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which follows its ancient calendar rules and beliefs. The Ethiopian calendar is always seven years and eight months behind the Gregorian (Western) and Eastern Orthodox Church calendars during September and December and eight years and four months behind during January and August. 

Enkutatash, meaning “gift of jewels” in Amharic, originally derives from the story of the Queen of Sheba returning from visiting King Solomon in Jerusalem, according to popular legend. When the Queen arrived, she was greeted by her Ethiopian chiefs with enku, jewels. This joyful holiday has supposedly been celebrated since this time, marked by dancing and singing across the green countryside, budding with spring flowers.

Enkutatash is a very festive occasion traditional celebrations can vary from area to area. Generally after attending church in the morning, families gather to share a traditional meal of injera (flat bread) and wat (stew). Later in the day, young girls donning new clothes, gather daisies and present friends with a bouquet, singing New Year’s songs. They often receive a small gift in return, usually either money or bread. Young boys paint pictures of saints to give away and also receive a small token in return. The day of festivities winds down with families visiting friends and sharing a drink of tella, Ethiopian beer, while children go out and spend their newly received riches. 

In honor of Enkutatash we are looking for donations for our Women’s Project in Adama that helps support single women in need of jobs and opportunity. This program is a self-sustaining program but your donations help bring more women into the project. As these women earn income a portion is funded back into the program which gives opportunity for even more women to receive the valuable training and vocational skills to become self-reliant and provide for their families and children. You can learn more about this amazing project here: Donations can be made using this link or by checks mailed to our office at 1240 East 100 South #1, St. George, UT 84790. West Sands Adoptions is a non-profit 501(c)(3) and you will receive a receipt for your donation for tax purposes.


Betam Ameseginalehugn! (Thank You!)





Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee Increase

3. September, 2014UncategorizedNo comments

visa_stampWe were notified today that the immigrant visa fees for immediate relative applications (I-600 and I-800 cases) has increased from $230 to $325. This fee is applicable for all visa fees paid to in-country US Consulates and US Embassies after September 12th, 2014.

For more information you visit the Department of State’s website here: