Beginning this month and continuing through the summer, we wanted to highlight Gladney Center's ongoing programs in Taiwan. Gladney's Taiwan program began in 2008 and, as we are approaching 5 years of Taiwan adoptions, we have seen substantial change - but also continuity. Comprehensive child welfare legislation reform was enacted in 2011 and this process has impacted domestic and international adoptions. Child welfare organizations now play a much larger role in the placement of children for adoption with qualified parents, and we have seen many parallels with the adoption requirements of adoptions proceeding under the Hague Convention on International Adoption. This reflects Taiwan's commitment to protecting all members of the adoption triad and we hope this will provide opportunities through the years for children to find healthy families. Please note however, Taiwan is not a signatory to the Hague due to their political status.
Taiwan has a very orderly, in-country judicial process for processing applications, which continues today. One significant change brought about by the legislation is that the Taiwan court is authorized to request the presence of the adoptive parents at the court hearing. This decision is made in the judge's discretion. Over the last year, we have had one case where the judge has asked the parents to attend the court hearing. If a family is requested to attend a court hearing, not being present could be detrimental to a favorable outcome. Thus, we would ask all families joining our Taiwan program to be prepared for the cost and time to make a trip for the court hearing. For families who are required to make this trip, it offers an important opportunity that is not available in other cases - the chance to meet with your child at an earlier stage in the process, begin bonding and attachment and express your commitment to your child face to face prior to the "pick-up" trip.