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ADOPTION PACT BETWEEN RUSSIA AND US TO IMPOSE NEW REQUIREMENTS
A new adoption agreement between Russia and the U.S. will require reporting on children's health and living conditions and will only allow adoptions through US-accredited agencies. The agreement – drafted in response to the "return" of 7-year-old Artyom Savelyev to his native Russia on a one-way flight from Tennessee – is expected to be signed within two months. According to a May 13 Washington Times article ("Russia, U.S. Reach Adoption Accord") by Nataliya Vasilyeva, the Russian parliament defeated a motion that would have formally stopped all adoptions, but they are "effectively suspended" since "Russian courts will not rule on adoption cases as long as there is uncertainty about the children's safety in that country." To read the full article, go to:
http://bit.ly/aW1YBn. To read the State Department notice on adopting from Russia, go to:
http://bit.ly/aipzmR. For more information on this story, go to the April issue of this newsletter at
BIRTH CERTIFICATE ACCESS BILLS ENACTED IN IL, APPROVED BY HOUSE IN RI
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on May 21 signed the Original Birth Certificate Access Bill, HB5428, into law. The legislation is intended to restore the right of adult adoptees to access their own original birth certificates, but it also includes restrictions that can prevent some from getting their documents, depending on their year of birth. To read the bill, go to:
http://bit.ly/8YR1ol. To read a news article about the legislation's enactment ("Law Gives Adoptees Access to Birth Certificates" by Monique Garcia and Bonnie Miller Rubin, Chicago Tribune, May 21), go to:
The Rhode Island House on May 12 unanimously passed HB7877 Sub A, sponsored by Rep. Mary Ann Shallcross, a bill that will allow adult adoptees to get copies of their original birth certificates unless a member of the birth family files a veto. A companion measure, S2759, is currently in the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. To read the House bill, go to:
http://bit.ly/bJFK4H. To read a brief article about its passage ("R.I. House OKs Bill to Open Birth Records to Adopted Adults" by Lynn Arditi, Projo.com, May 12), go to:
http://bit.ly/cq56vc. To read the Adoption Institute's report on this issue, go to:
PA HOUSE PASSES MEASURE DESIGNED TO PROTECT CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives on May 4 unanimously approved HB 2338, a bill introduced by Representative Phyllis Mundy that is intended to bolster protections from abuse and neglect for children in foster care. The legislation defines and addresses children's "basic needs," including a safe and healthy home, access to health care and education, and freedom from abuse. California, Florida, New Jersey and Rhode Island have passed similar legislation. To read the full text of the legislation, go to:
http://bit.ly/cjXnEz. To read Rep. Mundy's press release, go to:
ADOPTIVE PARENTS IDENTIFY THEIR CONCERNS AND FACTORS THAT EASE THEM
Researchers in Canada examined the support needs of nine new adoptive parents through in-depth interviews, identifying their major challenges (isolation and fear, parenting-related obstacles, and lack of support) and the factors that facilitated easing them. "The Transition to Adoptive Parenthood: A Pilot Study of Parents Adopting in Ontario, Canada," by Katherine McKay and Lori Ross, is in the April issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 32, Issue 4). Participants described experiencing considerable fear and anxiety about parenting (in their estimation, more than biological parents), fear that their children could be taken away, lack of knowledge about parenting and children, being thrown into parenting without adequate adjustment time, and a lack of social support. Support from experienced adoptive parents provided particularly valuable assistance, so a post-placement mentorship program was identified as desirable. For an abstract, go to:
RESEARCHER FINDS SECURE ATTACHMENTS IN MOST YOUNG CHILDREN IN CARE
Attachment relationships between 76 young children (mean age = 22 months; average time in home = 1 year) and their foster mothers were examined through interviews with the women and home observational measures. The researchers found 58 percent of the children were securely attached, compared to 67 percent in the general population. "Attachment in Foster Care: The Role of Maternal Sensitivity, Adoption, and Foster Mother Experience," by Leslie Ponciano, is in the April issue of Child and Adolescent Social Work (Volume 27, Issue 2). Secure attachment was higher among children whose mothers were rated high in maternal sensitivity, had decided to adopt their children (49%), had fewer children in the home, and were new – rather than experienced – foster parents. The author concludes that the findings support the use of concurrent planning. To access an abstract, go to:
Please Go to the "From Our Partners" Section to Read the Latest Research from Adoption Quarterly.
GUATEMALA ADOPTIONS REPORTEDLY TO RESUME IN JUNE WITH PILOT PROJECT
A pilot program resuming adoptions from Guatemala will begin in June, according to an article in the May 14 New Jersey Newsroom, "Guatemala Adoptions to Begin Again," by Danilo Valladares. Adoptions from the Latin American nation were suspended after allegations of widespread wrongdoing led to a 2007 law banning "undue benefits, material or otherwise, to accrue to the persons, institutions and authorities involved in the adoption process" and creating a National Adoption Council. The article quotes human rights groups as expressing several concerns, including that there will still be corruption and child trafficking, that there is not yet an emphasis on domestic adoptions, and that prior cases involving irregularities have not yet been resolved. To read the article, go to:
DENMARK TO PERMIT LESBIAN AND GAY PARTNERS TO ADOPT AS COUPLES
Gay and lesbian couples in Denmark will be permitted to jointly adopt children beginning July 1, according to a May 5 article in the Copenhagen Post, "Gays Given Equal Adoption Rights." In taking this action - explicitly providing equal adoption rights to couples in registered partnerships - Denmark joins Iceland, Norway, and Sweden as Scandinavian countries that permit adoption by gay and lesbian couples. Previously, gays and lesbians in Denmark could only adopt as single parents or through second-parent adoption laws. To read the full article, go to:
http://bit.ly/asblYP. To read the Institute's report on gay and lesbian adoption, go to:
CHILD FOCUS, NACAC PUBLISH BRIEF ON UNIQUE ASPECTS OF KINSHIP ADOPTION
Child Focus, in collaboration with the North American Council on Adoptable Children, released an issue brief in March on kinship adoption entitled "Kinship Adoption: Meeting the Unique Needs of a Growing Population. This 14-page brief discusses how kinship adoption (which occurs for 30 percent of children in foster care) differs from other types of adoption, and outlines agency policies and practices that promote successful kinship adoptions. To the brief access, go to:
ADOPTION TODAY MAGAZINE OFFERS INSIGHTS FROM RUSSIAN BOY'S 'RETURN'
The May issue of Adoption Today includes responses from several people in the adoption community to the situation involving the "return" of an adopted child to Russia. "Connect or Disconnect," by Boris Gindis, Patty Cogen and Tatyana Gindis, discusses factors contributing to the boy's fate and what could be done to correct the identified problems. "Learning from Artyom's Plight," by John Raible discusses the impact of this event on other adopted children. Adoption Today is available digitally for a fee by visiting
http://bit.ly/9HSQVH. A companion magazine, Fostering Families Today, has produced its 10th Anniversary edition for May/June, celebrating National Foster Care Month. Subscriptions are available at the same website.
AGENCY GUIDE AIMS TO HELP RECRUIT ADOPTIVE FAMILIES IN RURAL AREAS
The staff of Northeast Ohio Adoption Services has developed a step-by-step guide for recruiting adoptive families in rural communities, as an outgrowth from a six-year special project funded with an Adoption Opportunities grant. Included are targeted marketing strategies including mail, newspaper ads, bus signs and a radio PSA, including child-specific recruitment tools. The guide also addresses preparing and supporting successful adoptive families. To access the guide, go to:
TELECONFERENCE ON SECONDARY TRAUMA AVAILABLE FROM RESOURCE CENTER
A teleconference entitled "Secondary Trauma: Building Resilience among Child Welfare Staff" was held on May 12, and is now archived and available on the website of the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections. The teleconference includes an overview of secondary trauma and the ways that it can affect child welfare workers, as well as a review of an intervention designed to reduce secondary trauma and promote resilience. To access the files, go to:
EXTENSIVE UN REPORT EXAMINES ADOPTION TRENDS, DATA IN 195 COUNTRIES
The Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat has published an extensive report entitled "Child Adoption: Trends and Policies." This report, released in March, examines both domestic and intercountry adoption information and policies across 195 countries, including data on the individuals involved in adoptions. To access the report, go to:
From Our Partners
ALP: UPCOMING WEBINARS FOR PROFESSIONALS, PARENTS FOCUS ON IDENTITY
Join Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, for an in-depth look at the Institute's latest ground-breaking research, "Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption." For the Professionals' Session at 1:30 p.m. (Central) on Wednesday, June 2, Adam will review highlights from the research and Judy Stigger (LCSW, adoption therapist) will share ideas on how adoption professionals can put these findings into practice. Learn what supports, encourages and nurtures the development of healthy identity formation for transracial adoptees. This class is approved for 1.5 CE's, and the fee to attend is $25.00. To learn more and register, go to:
For the Parents' Session at 7 p.m. (Central) on Wednesday, June 23, Adam will review key findings from the study and provide practical tips to parents on promoting a healthy sense of self in their transracially adopted children. Then two transracially placed adult adoptees – Tara Leaman (the Adoption Institute's Associate Director) and Aaron Stigger – will give their personal perspectives on the topic and field parents' questions. The fee for this webinar is $15. To learn more, go to:
ADOPTION QUARTERLY: TRANSRACIAL ADOPTION AND MOTHERS' CONCERNS
"Influence of Age on Transracial Foster Adoptions and Its Relation to Ethnic Identity Development," by Joshua Padilla, Jose Vargas and Lyssette Chavez, explored the factors that increased the prospects of transracial adoption from 2000-2005. Researchers found Asian and biracial/ethnic children had far higher odds of transracial placements, and transracially adopted children were significantly younger than those in same-race adoptions. The study – in the current issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 13, Issue 1) – found bi-racial Caucasian/African American children had 29.5 times the odds of being adopted transracially as Caucasian children, whereas the odds for an African American child were 4.1 times greater and for an Hispanic child 15.7 times greater. Transracially adopted Black children were 5.4 years old on average, compared to 7.3 years for same-race adoptions of such children. The authors conclude that since the central work of racial/ethnic identity development is in adolescence, and over 90 percent of transracial adoptions occur prior to that stage, more needs to be done to address the needs of these children and families. To access an abstract, go to:
An analysis of child behaviors that were concerning to adoptive mothers of 480 preschool girls (under age 6) who were adopted from China found that 57 percent of mothers reported at least one or more issues, with the most common being attachment-related problems (expressed by one-third of those identifying concerns and 22 percent of the total sample). "Preschool-Age Adopted Chinese Girls' Behaviors That Were Most Concerning to Their Mothers," by Tony Tan, is in the current issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 13, Issue 1). The type of attachment concern noted most frequently was that the child was clingy with strong separation anxiety; in addition mothers who had other adopted children (but not those having other birth children) were more likely to report attachment concerns. To access an abstract, go to:
PERTMAN STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF PARENT ROLE IN TRANSRACIAL ADOPTIONS
On May 6, Executive Director Adam Pertman appeared on CNN's Joy Behar Show to discuss the issue of transracial adoption, keyed off of the adoption by actress Sandra Bullock of an African American infant from Louisiana. The commentary centered on the importance of adoptive parents' awareness of and support for pertinent issues in raising children who are racially and culturally different from themselves. The education of the adoptive parent(s) and the process of becoming a multiracial/cultural family can be complex, Pertman said, but he added that it is vital in order to help transracially adopted children develop healthy identities. Also appearing on the program were Amy Dickinson, an advice columnist for the Chicago Tribune; and Lola Adesioye, a social commentator and columnist for Black Voices. To read the interview transcript, go to:
http://bit.ly/dCBZ6L. To read Adam's quote in the USA Today's coverage of Sandra Bullock's adoption, go to:
http://bit.ly/aH62xH. To read the Institute's study on positive identity formation in adoption, go to:
ADOPTION COUNCIL OF CANADA, CITING INSTITUTE REPORT, RAPS 'SAFE HAVENS'
In a guest column in Province entitled "'Angel's Crib' Is Bad Solution for Unwanted Babies," Sandra Scarth, who heads the Adoption Council of Canada, criticizes so-called safe havens as a "well-intentioned but misguided" solution to the problem of unsafe infant abandonment. Citing the Adoption Institute's report, "Unintended Consequences: Safe Haven Laws Are Causing Problems, Not Solving Them," the May 12 commentary by Scarth emphasizes the negative outcomes that result from legalized abandonment, including underlying social messages and the child's loss of medical and family history. Scarth goes on to mention unplanned pregnancy hotlines and the development of school curricula as potential alternative solutions to "safe havens," where babies can be abandoned anonymously and with legal impunity. To read the full article, go to:
http://bit.ly/bDJVW7. To read the Institute's report on this topic, go to:
INSTITUTE POINTS OUT TAX CREDIT LACKS HELP FOR PARENTS BEFORE ADOPTION
As reported in the March issue of this newsletter, several updates to the adoption tax credit were signed into law as part of the 2,000-page health care reform bill (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, P.L. 11-148). In a May 23 Minnesota Public Radio report (MPRNewsQ) titled "Health Reform Law Extends, Enhances Adoption Credit" by Elizabeth Stawicki, Executive Director Adam Pertman said it was a good idea to make the credit refundable but emphasized the importance of helping prospective parents deal with costs in advance, rather than solely after an adoption. Referring to the new law, Pertman said, "What it doesn't do is allow people who don't have resources to gain resources with which to adopt." To read the article, go to:
http://bit.ly/broRTn. To read the March newsletter item about the tax credit, go to:
http://bit.ly/by5Xcg. To read the original text of the legislation, go to:
'TASTE OF SPRING' SCORES AGAIN WITH GREAT CHEFS – AND GREAT SUPPORT
We are delighted to report that the Adoption Institute's annual "Taste of Spring" benefit – which took place at the historic Puck Building on May 13 – was a rousing achievement in every way. It was a fun evening with close to 300 delighted, supportive attendees (the one who won an iPad in our raffle left especially happy); a gourmet's delight with delectable dishes from Bar Breton, Mesa Grill, Jean Georges, David Burke Fishtail, Yuva, Zarela and Artisanal Premium Cheese, along with fine wines donated by Kobrand, Shea Vineyards, Iron Horse, RO Imports, Cognac One and Bottlenotes; a wonderful opportunity to toast our honorees, Peter Burki and LifeCare, along with Kobrand; and, last but certainly not least, a financial success that raised more than $300,000 to enable the Institute's vital, unique work. Special guests included Deborra-lee Furness, Katie Brown, Zarela Martinez, Cyril Renaud and Bobby Flay. In addition to our beautiful new venue, this year's event for the first time featured an online auction; most of the lots closed on May 27, but please take a look at the CharityBuzz site for our last item,
http://bit.ly/8XXmAx to see the one-of-a-kind items our supporters donated to help further our mission. To get more information and look at photos from the event, go to:
http://bit.ly/diFwBl. Thanks to one and all your donations, your attendance and your support! We could not do our work without you.
WITH A BRUNCH, BOSTON JOINS LIST OF CITIES WHERE WE'RE PLANTING ROOTS
Our `Taste of Spring' event in New York City is the Adoption Institute's major annual benefit, but our work improves the lives of children and families from coast to coast and around the world - so we're spreading our proverbial wings to generate support in other cities as well. Last month's e-newsletter reported on our first Chicago event in April; today, we're providing some details about a wonderful brunch we held in Boston on May 16. Entitled "Celebrating Our Children, Our Families," the event honored Dr. Laurie C. Miller, a professor at Tufts University, founder of the International Adoption Clinic at the Floating Hospital at Tufts, and a vocal backer of our work. Nearly 100 people enjoyed the lovely atmosphere and delicious food generously provided by Rudi's Resto & Café (check out their website at
http://www.rudisrestocafe.com), listened to terrific music by the band, Bliss (http://www.bliss4.net) and learned more about the importance of our programs and projects from Executive Director Adam Pertman. All proceeds from the brunch – which netted about $5,000 – will benefit the Institute and its work. To see pictures of the event taken by award-winning photographer Bill Brett, go to:
http://bit.ly/c0feux. Again, we extend our heartfelt thanks to Julien Maria and Mark Koeck at Rudi's, to Dr. Miller, and to all our supporters and friends!
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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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