Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute e-Newsletter - If you have problems reading this issue, please visit: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org
SEPTEMBER 2005 E-NEWSLETTER
IN THIS ISSUE
1. Law, Policy & Practice
5. Institute Update
1. Law, Policy & Practice
CHINA RATIFIES HAGUE CONVENTION ON INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION|
The People's Republic of China joined the growing number of countries that have ratified the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption on Sept. 16. The Convention will enter into force in the country on Jan. 1, 2006. In 2004, Americans adopted 7,044 children from China, making it the largest sending country. China is the 67th country to join the Convention. For more information on other countries' Convention status, go to: http://hcch.e-vision.nl/index_en.php?act=conventions.status&cid=69
STATE DEPARTMENT SUBMITS HAGUE REGULATIONS FOR REVIEW
The U.S. State Department announced this month that proposed regulations to implement the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 and the Hague Convention have been submitted for review to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The OMB, which received the document Aug. 30, has up to 90 days to review it. The regulations, which had been prepared after an extensive public comment period in 2003, provide accreditation and approval standards for agencies and individuals, as well as provisions for preservation of Convention records. According to the State Department notice, the final regulations cannot be deposited for ratification, thereby bringing the Convention into force in the U.S., until accredited and approved providers are available to provide services. To read the State Department notice, go to: http://travel.state.gov/family/adoption/implementation/implementation_2641.html; To read the Institute recommendations on earlier drafts of the regulations, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/policy/hagueregs.html
U.S. AWARDS $14.5 MILLION IN ADOPTION INCENTIVE BONUSES TO STATES
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded 24 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico a total of $14.5 million in Adoption Incentive bonuses for increasing adoptions of foster children - a jump of 2,708 children adopted in fiscal year 2004. Florida received the most money of any state, $3.4 million. New York, Kentucky and Washington, D.C., were the only other jurisdictions to receive more than $1 million. The awards were given to states that completed more adoptions in FY04 than in the state's baseline year (the higher total in either 2002 or 2003). The estimated number of children adopted annually from FY 1999 to FY 2003 has remained relatively constant at approximately 50,000. States receive $4,000 for each child adopted beyond its baseline, or best annual total, plus $4,000 for every child aged 9 and older, and $2,000 for each special needs child adopted above the baseline year. The adoption incentive awards were originally enacted as part of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, and more recently were extended and expanded to focus on older youth by the Adoption Promotion Act of 2003. For a complete list of states and awards, go to http://www.acf.hhs.gov/news/press/2005/ai_table.html
R.I. HIGH COURT REJECTS RELIGIOUS CLAIM TO OPEN ADOPTION RECORDS
The Rhode Island Supreme Court upheld two earlier family court rulings, rejecting a petition by a 34-year-old man who said he was entitled to access to his adoption records based on his religious belief in Mormonism. The unsigned opinion, issued Sept. 19, stated that the petitioner "utterly failed to present adequate evidence to support his petition" and that "only a truly extraordinary claim" can trump the "privacy rights" of the other parties involved in an adoption. In a footnote, the justices said that accepting the petition on the grounds of religious belief would be giving "preferential treatment … based upon religion." To read the court opinion, go to: http://www.courts.state.ri.us/supreme/publishedopinions2004-2005.htm and scroll down to Philip S., No. 04-342.
UKRAINE HALTS DOSSIERS, SAYS ADOPTIVE PARENTS DIDN'T FOLLOW RULES
The U.S. Embassy in Kiev has been informed by the Ukrainian government that new adoption dossiers from American citizens and other nationals have been suspended as of Sept. 19, largely because of "past non-compliance of some families with post-adoption reports," a requirement under Ukrainian law. According to the State Department notice, dossiers that have already been accepted will not be affected, unless those prospective adoptive parents failed to provide a post-placement report on a previously adopted Ukrainian child. In July, the U.S. government urged minimal disruption of intercountry adoptions as the Ukrainian government implemented new policies and established a government center for adoptions. To read the State Department notice, go to: http://travel.state.gov/family/adoption/notices/notices_2648.html
LAWSUIT CHARGES NEBRASKA FAILED TO PROTECT FOSTER CHILDREN
A class action lawsuit was filed in federal court on Sept. 19 against the state of Nebraska for "failing to provide legally required safety, protection and basic health care services" on behalf of five Nebraska children and the 6,000 foster children in the state's custody. The lawsuit charges these children languished in the state's foster care system for years without the opportunity of being placed into permanent homes as a result of the state's failure to address longstanding systemic problems including: an inadequate number of foster homes, dangerously high case loads, a lack of critical mental health services, the lowest pay-per-day to care for foster children in the nation, and a lack of services to help children get adopted. The case, Carson P. v. Heineman, was filed in U.S. District Court in Lincoln by New York-based Children's Rights, several national and local lawyers, and private law firms. To read the filed complaint, go to: http://www.childrensrights.org/PDF/legal/Carson_P_v_Heineman_complaint.pdf
MORE SUPPORT FOUND NEEDED AFTER OPEN FOSTER ADOPTIONS ARE MEDIATED|
While permanency mediation between birth parents and potential permanent parents (adopters or guardians) in many child welfare cases results in voluntary surrenders and contact agreements, a qualitative study indicates that participants have critical unmet needs, including confusion by all participants about their open adoption agreement. "Permanency Mediation: A Path to Open Adoption for Children in Out-of-Home Care," by JoAnne Maynard, was published in the July/August issue of Child Welfare (Volume 84, Issue 4). This Massachusetts study of the experiences of mediation participants reported on interviews with 15 birth parents and 21 permanent parents. Mediated agreements were reached for 78 percent of them; however, birth parents, who were usually in highly tenuous circumstances at the time of the mediation (homeless, in treatment centers, etc.), reported struggling with profound grief, guilt, fear of being blamed by the child for relinquishment, and trepidation about implementing their agreements. These findings suggest the need for support after mediation. To access the article abstract, go to: http://www.cwla.org/articles/cwjabstracts.htm#0507
STUDY SHOWS PREVENTIVE INTERVENTION REDUCES ATTACHMENT PROBLEMS
months of age demonstrates that a preventive intervention can reduce the development of attachment problems. "The Importance of Parenting in the Development of Disorganized Attachment: Evidence from a Preventive Intervention Study in Adoptive Families," by Juffer, Bakermans-Kranenburg, and van IJzendoorn, was published in the March 2005 issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Volume 46, Issue 3). This study rated videotaped mother-infant interactions at 6 and 12 months of age for three groups: those receiving the preventive intervention (involving a book and three home-based interventions with video feedback), those receiving only the book, and a control group. Children of mothers receiving the intervention were less likely to be rated as "disorganized attachment" at 12 months than those in the other two groups, and these mothers were rated higher on sensitive responsiveness. The intervention effect was the same among mothers with or without birth children. To access this article for a fee, go to: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00353.x
FAILED IVF TREATMENTS APPARENTLY CAN LEAD TO DEPRESSION IN WOMEN
A longitudinal study of 148 IVF patients and 71 partners indicates that women who had unsuccessful treatment (44 percent) experienced increased anxiety and depression, while successfully treated patients experienced decreases on these emotions. "A Longitudinal, Prospective Study on Emotional Adjustment Before, During and After Consecutive Fertility Treatment Cycles," by Verhaak, Smeenk, van Minnen, Kremer, and Kraalmaat, was published in the August 2005 issue of Human Reproduction (Volume 20, Issue 8). The researchers tracked patients' and their partners' experiences prior to treatment and six months post-treatment. Male partners in both groups showed low scores on anxiety and depression and no change related to treatment outcome. The last measurement, taken six months post-treatment, showed more than 20 percent of women who did not get pregnant had sub-clinical forms of depression and anxiety. Factors associated with emotional response were personality characteristics (neuroticism, optimism), infertility-related cognitions (helplessness, acceptance), and social support. For a free abstract, go to: http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/20/8/2253
RESEARCH INDICATES POTENTIAL DONORS VIEW EMBRYO AS `VIRTUAL CHILD'
An Australian study of 33 adults who had changed their minds about donating unused embryos - choosing to discard them instead - revealed that many experienced a shift in thinking about the meaning of those embryos and about parenting. "Parent Identity and 'Virtual' Children: Why Patients Discard Rather than Donate Unused Embryos," by Sheryl de Lacey, was published in the June 2005 issue of Human Reproduction (Volume, 20, Issue 6). It examined the shift in thinking from the time of participants' initiation of IVF treatment to their final decisions on embryo outcome following treatment. This qualitative study attributed the decision change to two factors: becoming parents and a symbolic change in the meaning of the embryo; that is, it represented a virtual child, and donating was likened to child relinquishment. To access a free abstract, go to: http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/20/6/1661
SURVEY FOCUSES ON SCHOOL NEEDS OF MANY EASTERN EUROPEAN ADOPTEES
An online survey, conducted by the Eastern European Adoption Coalition of its members, highlights that many of the 293 school-age adopted children (65 percent adopted from Russia) had special educational needs. "Survey of Children Adopted from Eastern Europe: The Need for Special School Services," by Harriet McCarthy, reports 58 percent of these children were identified as having developmental delays, 49 percent as having emotional disorders, and 48 percent as having neurological impairments. Forty percent received special educational services, and additional children needed special tutoring. The study stressed the importance of early identification of foundational "holes" in development as a result of earlier institutional care and the need to find the appropriate type of special educational interventions. An accurate diagnosis of difficulties often did not happen until the end of the third grade. This web-based report explains many of the sources of delays in post-institutionalized children and contains links to helpful sites. To access this study, go to: http://www.eeadopt.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=48&Itemid=57
ROMANIA'S BAN ON INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION CALLED 'HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE'|
Members of the United States Helsinki Commission (a body that monitors human rights issues) met on Sept. 14 for a congressional hearing to examine the impact of Romania's law banning intercountry adoption. The commission's chairman said the 2004 adoption statute sentenced children to lives in institutions and was "undeniably a human rights abuse." The commissioners heavily criticized the European Union's role in pressuring Romania to enact the law as a criterion for acceptance into the EU. Romania first imposed a moratorium on intercountry adoptions in 2001. The implementation of the new law has left approximately 1,700 legal international adoptions pending. Of these, 200 are for American parents who have yet to see their in-process "pipeline cases" resolved, despite promises by the Romanian government. To read an unofficial transcript of the proceedings, go to: http://www.csce.gov/index.cfm?Fuseaction=ContentRecords.ViewDetail
POST-KATRINA SEARCH FOR MISSING FOSTER CHILDREN CONTINUES IN LA.
Three weeks after Hurricane Katrina battered Louisiana, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Louisiana Department of Social Services are still working to locate 174 foster children from New Orleans who remain unaccounted for -- and are trying to handle new cases of children entering its foster-care program as a result of the hurricane. According to an article by Emily Kern and Gerard Shields, "Groups Attempt to Locate Children Missing, Displaced," published Sept. 28 in the Baton Rouge Advocate, some Louisiana children are ending up in foster care around the country as a result of the evacuation of 411,00 people to 48 states. Nearly 2,000 foster children who had been removed from New Orleans after the hurricane have been located, and more missing foster children have been found as the department has been able to locate caseworkers who had also been evacuated. To read the article, go to: http://2theadvocate.com/stories/092805/new_findparents001.shtml
INDIA CONSIDERS EXPANDING ADOPTION RIGHTS TO ALL RELIGIONS
The Supreme Court in India issued a notice on Sept. 26 to the government Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the Ministry of Law and Justice, and the Department of Women and Child Development providing guidelines for the enactment of a special law that would allow a child to be adopted irrespective of religion. The public interest litigation petition to which the Court responded sought to establish a uniform adoption law, so that more children could have the opportunity and benefits of adoption. According to a Sept. 27 article published in the Times of India, "SC Notice to Govt on Adoption," the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956 only permits legal adoption by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs. Others, such as Muslims, Christians, Jews, Parsis (and adoptive parents from overseas of these faiths) must invoke the Guardians and Wards Act of 1890, which only permits legal guardianship and not the full benefits of adoption, although overseas parents can finalize the adoption within their home countries. According to the article, nearly 12 million orphaned children live in India, and only 3,000 are adopted every year. To read the article, go to: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1243559.cms
`CAN'T BE BOTHERED' CITED AS A REASON FOR DROP IN GERMAN ADOPTIONS
Adoption rates in Germany have steadily declined, from 11,453 adoptions registered in 1994 to an all-time low of 5,064 last year, according to a Sept. 23 article published in Deutsche Welle. "Adopting a New Attitude Towards Children" cites falling birth rates, unavailability of German children for adoption, and a "can't be bothered to have kids" attitude as some of the factors contributing to the decline in adoptions. Of those adoptions registered last year, 32 percent of the children were adopted from overseas; however, since there is no legal requirement to register an adoption, the total number of foreign adoptions is estimated to be significantly higher. To read the article, go to: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,1564,1719148,00.html
WEBSITE PROVIDES RESOURCES TO HELP HURRICANE VICTIMS, AGENCIES|
The National Resource Center for Foster Care and Permanency Planning offers a compendium of resources for addressing the needs of children and families, as well as agencies, in relation to disaster relief for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. A range of materials are included, including practice knowledge, funding sources, fostering and adopting displaced children, and state child welfare websites that provide relevant information. To access, go to: http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/disaster_relief.html
ADOPTION ASSISTANCE AND POST-ADOPTION SERVICES AVAILABLE BY STATE
A state-by-state directory of information on adoption assistance and post-adoption services has been developed by the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance, and the American Public Human Services Association. The directory, available on the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse website, provides answers to 13 questions regarding state policies on adoption assistance and post-adoption services, as well as contact information for key staff in each state. Links to state websites, with additional information relevant to these topics, are also provided. To access, go to: http://naic.acf.hhs.gov/parents/prospective/funding/adopt_assistance
In addition, the brief "Post-adoption Services: A Bulletin for Professionals," has been posted on the NAIC website; it discusses the kinds of services families need and which are offered, as well as the relevant research and resources on this topic. To access, go to: http://naic.acf.hhs.gov/pubs/f_postadoptbulletin/index.cfm
NEW `MY CHILD WELFARE LIBRARIAN' OFFERS E-MAILED INFORMATION
The National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information and the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse are offering a new service beginning in October. "My Child Welfare Librarian" allows users to select from eight categories of information and to receive an e-mail each month of any new library materials related to selected categories. For a free subscription, go to: http://naic.acf.hhs.gov/admin/subscribe.cfm
5. Institute Update||
INSTITUTE URGES CHILDREN RECEIVE PRIORITY IN HURRICANE'S AFTERMATH|
The Adoption Institute issued a press release on Sept. 6 urging that "priority be given to the protection and care of the children who are most vulnerable" in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Institute referenced its earlier research on the December tsunami in Southeast Asia, which examined threats posed to children as a result of major disasters, as providing informative lessons to guide current relief efforts as they relate to the welfare of children. To read the press release, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/pressrelease/20050906_hurricanekatrina.html; To read the Adoption Institute's policy brief on this issue, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/publications/policybriefs.html
ADOPTIVE PARENTS' SEARCH FOR CHINESE CHILDREN'S KIN COMPLICATED
In a Sept. 11 article by Jeff Gammage, "Two Unrelated Adoptions, One Big Discovery: Twins," published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Policy and Operations Director Hollee McGinnis comments on the motivations of adoptive parents of Chinese children to actively search for their children's biological siblings. To read the article, go to: http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/states/new_jersey/12615964.htm
BARRIER TO FOSTER ADOPTIONS SAID TO INCLUDE 'BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE'
Adoption Institute Senior Fellow Jeff Katz discusses barriers to adoption of children from foster care in a Sept. 13 "Ask This" interview by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Based on his research published by the Institute, "Listening to Parents: Overcoming the Barriers to the Adoption of Children from Foster Care," Katz comments on the reasons some public child welfare agencies treat prospective adoptive parents poorly (a major barrier) and makes suggestions on how to make adoption more accessible. To read the interview, go to: http://niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=ask_this.view&askthisid=00139 ; To read the Adoption Institute's study on this issue, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/publications/2005_jeffkatz_report.html
INSTITUTE WELCOMES PROMINENT RESEARCHER AS SENIOR FELLOW
The Adoption Institute announced the appointment of Scott Ryan, Associate Dean at Florida State University's College of Social Work and an accomplished adoption researcher, as one of its Senior Fellows in September. Dr. Ryan will join a handful of prominent, highly respected researchers, lecturers and writers who currently serve as Institute Senior Fellows. For more information on Dr. Ryan and the full announcement, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/pressrelease/20050928_scottryan.html
LOS ANGELES 'NIGHT OF COMEDY' RAISES AWARENESS AND FUNDS
On Monday, September 26, comedian Alison Larkin performed her internationally acclaimed one-woman show, "The English American," at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica, CA. Brooke Adams and Tony Shalhoub co-chaired the benefit, which raised over $50,000. The event attracted additional celebrities, including Zach Braff, Mandy Moore and Blythe Danner, along with 175 other guests. Virginia and Austin M. Beutner, Evercore Partners and Variety helped sponsor the evening; all the proceeds will go to support important, ongoing programs and projects at the Adoption Institute. To see photos from the event, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/events/2005_09_Night_of_Comedy_LA_Invite.html
UPCOMING EVENT: A CONVERSATION ABOUT ADOPTION IN BOSTON
On Tuesday, October 18, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute will hold an evening of food and conversation at the Lexington, MA, home of Kathryn Robb and Gale Merseth. Adam Pertman - Executive Director of the Institute and author of "Adoption Nation" - will lead the discussion and share his own experiences as a professional in the field and an adoptive father.
Executive Director Adam Pertman has three speaking appearances in the coming month: a keynote address, "Adoption Reform: Victory through Unity," at the 32nd annual Adoption Forum conference in King of Prussia, PA, on Oct. 8; a training for journalists at the Denver Post on Oct. 14; and a keynote address, "Welcome to the Revolution," at the East Meets West conference, sponsored by Great Wall China Adoption, in Columbus, OH, on Oct. 22. To learn more, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/whowe/pertman2005.html#october. For a complete list of Pertman's speaking engagements, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/whowe/pertman2005.html
6. About the Evan D. Donaldson Adoption Institute||
Since its establishment in 1996, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute has been a pre-eminent, independent voice for improving adoption for everyone it touches - particularly children - through innovative programs, educational initiatives, research and analysis, and advocacy for better practices, policies and laws.
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