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ARKANSAS HIGH COURT STRIKES DOWN LAW BANNING GAY/LESBIAN ADOPTION
The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled unanimously on April 7 that a state law banning unmarried, cohabitating couples from either adopting children or becoming foster parents was unconstitutional (2011 Ark. 1045, DHS vs. Cole). The court decided that the law, passed by 57% of the voters as a ballot initiative in November 2008, unconstitutionally burdens fundamental privacy rights; and is neither narrowly tailored to accomplish a compelling state interest nor seeks to accomplish a compelling interest by the least restrictive method available. As a result of the ruling, the state Department of Human Services stated that it will continue to carefully consider each foster care and adoption application with the "best interest of the child" standard paramount. The Family Council, which introduced the ballot initiative, is considering submitting the measure to voters as a constitutional amendment. To view the high court's ruling, go to:
http://bit.ly/jLqxeX. To read the Adoption Institute's latest report on gay/lesbian adoption, go to:
HHS URGES CHILD WELFARE AGENCIES TO BETTER SERVE NEEDS OF LGBTQ YOUTH
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on April 6 put out a memorandum encouraging child welfare agencies to better support the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Among the means for doing so, said the memo – which was issued by Bryan Samuels, Commissioner of the HHS Administration on Children, Youth and Families – is for agencies to use federal funds for training staff members to work with this community. "LGBT parents should be considered among the available options for States and jurisdictions to provide timely and safe placement of children in need of foster or adoptive homes," Samuels added. The Adoption Institute's Executive Director, Adam Pertman, is quoted as saying the memo is "very significant."To read about Samuels' memo, go to:
ANALYSIS INDICATES COMMENTS SPURRED CHANGES IN ADOPTION RULES
Scholars analyzed the extent to which the Final Rules for the implementation of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption and the Intercountry Adoption Act were responsive to the comments made during the public commentary phase, concluding that 59 of the 111 sections were changed. "Rules on The Hague and Intercountry Adoption Act: Public Comments and the State's Responsiveness," by Jo Bailey and Elena Delavega, in a recent issue of the Journal of Policy Practice (Volume 10, Issue 1). Four primary categories received the most comments from adoption agencies and other organizations and were modified somewhat in the final rules, including liability insurance requirements, using supervised providers in other countries and in the U.S., and information disclosure/quality control practices. The authors concluded that more comments on specific sections greatly enhanced the likelihood of their modification, and comments from advocacy groups were most likely to elicit changes. To access an abstract, go to:
STUDY FINDS LITTLE SHIFT IN MOTHERS' RACIAL PERSPECTIVES AFTER ADOPTING
"White International Transracial Adoptive Mothers' Reflections on Race," by Josie Crolley-Simic and Elizabeth Vonk, is a qualitative study of eight mothers' racial views and the extent to which these changed after adopting transracially (children ranged in age from infants to young adults). This study, in the current issue of Child & Family Social Work (Volume 16, Issue 2), classified racial perspectives according to four types: color-blind (two minimized race); ambiguous (three had internal struggles regarding race and were uncomfortable with their own feelings); multiple perspectives (two viewed own families as multiracial and were sensitive to child's struggles with racial identity); coming together (one had characteristics of previous category but also a unique depth in embracing and celebrating race). Most mothers' racial perspectives were shaped by their spiritual beliefs and did not change significantly after adoption. The authors emphasized the necessity of racial consciousness and concluded that professionals should not assume parents' racial awareness will simply evolve. To access an abstract, go to:
SAME-SEX, HETEROSEXUAL COUPLES DIFFER IN MOTIVES FOR OPEN ADOPTIONS
A qualitative, longitudinal study of 45 adoptive couples in open adoption relationships (15 lesbian, 15 gay, and 15 heterosexual) found that they differed in their motivations for choosing open adoptions. Most straight couples chose it for practical reasons (primary option available) but had lingering concerns, whereas no gay/lesbian couples reported these motivations but most often identified the benefits of openness, such as "best interests" of those involved and being able to be honest about their sexual orientation. "Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Couples in Open Adoption Arrangements: A Qualitative Study," by Abbie Goldberg (a Senior Research Fellow of the Adoption Institute), Lori Kinkler, Hannah Richardson and Jordan Downing, is in the April issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family (Volume 73, Issue 2). The researchers found that most parents reported satisfying open adoption relationships, with a minority describing challenges related to maintaining boundaries. To access an abstract, go to:
CRIMINAL ACTIVITY OF EX-FOSTER YOUTH SEEN DECLINING AS THEY GET OLDER
Chapin Hall released this month a research report, "Crime during the Transition to Adulthood: How Youth Fare as They Leave Out-of-Home Care" by Gretchen Cusick, Mark Courtney, Judy Havlicek and Nathan Hess. This longitudinal study of foster youth from three states collected data at three times – when youth were 17-18, 19, and 21 – and found that, like their peers in the general population, their involvement in crime declined as they moved into adulthood. At ages 17-18, a significantly higher proportion of foster youth reported criminal activities across all of 10 categories evaluated; at age 19, they were significantly higher on five of 10 activities; and at age 21, on only three of 10 did they differ significantly from other youth. The absence of a parental connection increased their risk of criminal activity. To access the report, go to:
Please go to the "From Our Partners" section to read the latest research from Adoption Quarterly.
SOUTH KOREA ALLOWS DUAL CITIZENSHIP FOR INTERNATIONAL ADOPTEES
South's Korea's Ministry of Justice reported that new rules allowing double citizenship for adoptees took effect in January 2011, according to an April 18 Korea JoongAng Daily article by Kim Mi-ju. The new rules say that ethnic Koreans who were adopted before they came of age can hold dual citizenship if they make a pledge not to exercise their rights as foreigners in Korea. According to statistics by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, 1,013 Koreans were adopted overseas last year, slightly down from 1,125 in 2009; 1,250 in 2008; 1,254 in 2007; and 1,899 in 2006. Of the 1,125 adoptees adopted overseas in 2009, 850 went to the United States, 67 to Canada, 84 to Sweden, 40 to Norway, 34 to Australia and the rest to other Western countries, including France and Denmark. To read the article, go to:
http://bit.ly/kxjMvM; to read the Adoption Institute's study of adult Korean adoptees, go to:
VA GOVERNOR SIGNALS HE OPPOSES ALLOWING ADOPTION BY GAYS, SINGLES
Virginia Governor, Bob McConnell told reporters on April 5 that he does not support proposed state regulations that would prevent child welfare agencies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, marital status, or religion in the adoption process, according to an April 11 Richmond Times-Dispatch op-ed commentary by Ellen Kahn, the family project director of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). HRC – along with the Adoption Institute, the Child Welfare League of America and the North American Council on Adoptable Children – urged McDonnell to support policies and regulations that enable child welfare agencies to "focus solely on the character of those seeking to adopt and their ability to provide a loving and stable home to a child." To read the commentary, go to:
http://bit.ly/lh7FQu; to read the Adoption Institute's latest report on the subject, Expanding Resources for Children, go to:
DATA REPORTEDLY SHOW HIGH RATE OF TRANSRACIAL/TRANSETHNIC ADOPTION
The latest data shows that approximately 40% of adoptions in America – including 84% of adoptions from other countries – are either transracial and/or transethnic, according to an April 12 USATODAY.com article by Sharon Jayson. "Adoption Increasingly Crosses Racial, Ethnic Lines" quotes Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Adoption Institute, as saying: "The whole gamut of family issues is being influenced in a profound way by adoption. There are Chinese cultural festivals in synagogues and African-American kids with Irish last names at St. Patrick's Day Parades." Professor Gina Samuels, of the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, adds that "the goal of being 'colorblind,' which white parents often espouse, may not be the best approach for them to take with their kids of other races." To read the article, go to:
http://usat.ly/hSRs2R; to read an April 26 article on the subject, "The Angelina factor: More Americans adopting children from different countries and different races," go to:
http://bit.ly/krXxqm. To read the Adoption Institute's latest report on promoting health identify formation in adoption, go to:
TELECONFERENCE FOCUSES ON RESTORING PARENTS' RIGHTS OF YOUTH IN CARE
An April 11 teleconference, "Reinstating Parental Rights for Youth in Care," by Karen Sabo and LaShanda Taylor, is now available for viewing on the website of the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections. There is also a Power Point presentation that includes a list of the eight states that have reinstatement statutes and additional resources on this subject, as well as a five-page annotated bibliography. To access, go to:
JUDICIAL GUIDE PUBLISHED ON IMPLEMENTATION OF FOSTERING CONNECTIONS
The Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center, a collaboration between Casey Family Programs and several child welfare judicial organizations, has issued a new publication, "Judicial Guide to Implementing the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008." This guide presents an overview of each aspect of the Act and discusses barriers courts may encounter in its implementation and strategies for overcoming these. Each section includes "Questions to Ask from the Bench." To access, go to:
CURRENT AQ ISSUE: STUDY OF BLACK FAMILIES ADOPTING FROM FOSTER CARE
The current Adoption Quarterly (Volume 14, Issue 1) includes a study of 71 Black adoptive families, "Cognitions of Black Mothers Who Adopted Black Children from the Public Foster Care System," by Nerissa Gillum and Marion O'Brien. The researchers analyzed the impact of mothers' cognitions related to their children and motivations for misbehavior on parent-child relationship quality, finding that mothers who perceived adopted children as more similar than different from non-adopted children and those who did not perceive the child's misbehavior as deliberate were more likely to report a positive parent-child relationship. Overall, nearly 60% of mothers reported that their children had behavior problems, and 65% reported "conflict-promoting attributions" or perceptions of their child's misbehavior (such as perceiving it as a deliberate attempt to make them mad). Also, most mothers reported having a positive relationship with their adopted children. To access an abstract, go to:
ADOPTION LEARNING PARTNERS WEBINAR OFFERS TIPS ON IMPROVED SLEEP
Please join Adoption Learning Partners for our latest webinar, "Are You Sleeping? Expert advice for adoptive families struggling to get a good night's sleep." Dr. Julian Davies will provide a practical and balanced exploration of why adopted children (and their parents) often sleep poorly, and what to do about it. Developed in consultation with pediatric sleep doctors, and sensitive to the unique needs of adoptive families, this webinar is designed to promote understanding of the reasons behind sleep problems in adopted children; formulate short- and long-term sleep strategies; trouble shoot specific sleep problems; and provide many practical sleep tips. The webinar will be held Thursday, May 19, 2011, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Q&A will run from 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Please note: All time are Central. To register, go to:
SPENCE-CHAPIN PLANS 21ST AFRICAN-AMERICAN BENEFIT FOR ADOPTION FUND
Spence-Chapin invites you to attend its 21st African-American Adoption Benefit and support its African-American Adoptionship Fund, which helps families adopt who have unusual expenses or circumstances. The well-reviewed new musical "Baby It's You" tells the story of the founder of Scepter Records who discovered the Shirelles. "Baby It's You" is packed with doo-wop, pop and rock'n'roll classics like He's So Fine, Louie Louie, Stop in the Name of Love, Twist and Shout and more! This great evening at the theatre will be held on Thursday, May 5, at the Broadhurst Theatre, 235 West 44th Street. To purchase tickets, go to
www.spence-chapin.org or call 212-360-0202.
WITH JUST WEEKS TO GO … THE TASTE OF SPRING IS IN THE AIR
Time is running out to make plans to attend the Adoption Institute's 8th Annual Taste of Spring benefit, which will be held on May 12, 2011. We'll be honoring Broadway, television and movie star Kristin Chenoweth – and it promises to be a fabulous evening. There's still (a little) time to buy your tickets or purchase a sponsorship to this year's fun and delicious event. For more information and to buy tickets, please call Rachel at (914) 834-2868 or online at:
The event promises to be even more spectacular than last year's, with a great new venue, new boutique wineries and exciting new restaurants. Some of the New York area's hottest restaurants and celebrity chefs are participating – including Jean-Georges, Bar Breton, Zarela, Klee, Me-Oh-My, Sen, Artisanal Cheese, Yuva and Kumquat Cupcakery. We will also feature wines from such leading wineries as Cambium by Sequoia Grove, Craggy Range, Don Olegario, Louis Jadot, Mendocino Wine Company, Monticello Vineyards, Poema Cava, Shea Vineyards, Sherry-Lehmann, St. Francis, Tablelands Wine Co., Taittinger, Xavier Flouret Wines.
The event will also feature a silent auction, including such amazing items as a unique wine blending experience for six at Monticello Vineyards in the Napa Valley, four front row seats to the Big Apple Circus and dinner for eight with renowned chef, author and television personality Katie Brown.
Unable to be with us in person but still want to get in on the auction excitement? Our friends at CharityBuzz are once again helping us with an on-line auction running from May 4 to May 24. Among the great items are an impossible-to-get reservation at New York's legendary Rao's restaurant (and a $500 gift card to go with it!), a guitar autographed by all three Jonas Brothers, and home game tickets to the greatest soccer team in the world, Manchester United. Go to
www.charitybuzz.com/auctions/AdoptionInstitute2011 to place your bids.
INSTITUTE CO-SPONSORS MAY 10 BRIEFING IN DC ON POST-ADOPTION SERVICES
The Adoption Institute, along with four other national organizations – the Child Welfare League of America, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, Voice for Adoption, and the North American Council on Adoptable Children – is sponsoring a Congressional briefing on May 10 in Washington, D.C., on the critical need for post-adoption services. The event will be held from 2-3:30pm in the Capitol Visitors Center, Room SVC 210-212. Senator Amy Klobuchar will be a special guest. Those wishing to attend should RSVP to Emily Collins by e-mailing
Emily@ccainstitute.org or phoning (202) 544-8500. To read the Adoption Institute's recent report on the issue, go to:
PERTMAN LINKS OBAMA'S BIRTH CERTIFICATE TO LAWS LIMITING ADOPTEES
"If the president's birth certificate is so hugely important, when do adopted people get to see theirs?" Pertman asked in the April 28 "In the Arena" blog on CNN.com. Pertman pointed out that "Adopted people are the only group in America who cannot get their basic information (i.e., original birth certificates) as a matter of course. It's not a level playing field for them – morally, legally or medically. The laws governing this are dinosaurs, relics of a time when adoption was shrouded in secrecy, stigma and shame," he added. To read the blog, go to:
http://bit.ly/jTLNta; to read Pertman's own blog, go to:
INTERNET DESCRIBED AS 'WILD WEST' IN RELATION TO ADOPTION PRACTICES
A Chicago Tribune story on April 3 reported that the internet has opened "troubling new loopholes" in a law passed six years ago in Illinois, the Adoption Reform Act. "The Internet and adoption is like the Wild West," Pertman is quoted as saying in the article by Bonnie Rubin, "After Baby Tamia case, Illinois Adoption Reform Act shut down shady operators." To read the article, go to:
CORPORATE MATCHING IS A GREAT WAY TO GROW YOUR GIFT TO THE INSTITUTE
Good corporate citizens offer their employees a great way to make their charitable donations grow by sponsoring matching gift programs. The matches are most often dollar-for-dollar, but some companies will give double or even triple the original donation. When you make a donation to the Institute, please check with your HR department to see if your company offers such a plan. The Development Department staff will be happy to help you with any paperwork. Please contact us at
May 4 – Presentation by Susan Smith on "Therapeutic Services and Interventions with Adoptive Families" at the 2011 Statewide Adoption Preservation Meeting held at the BabyFold, Normal, IL. For more information, write to
May 7 – Keynote speech by Adam Pertman, entitled "Rethinking Adoption," at the New York State Citizens Coalition for Children, held in Albany, NY. For more information, go to:
May 18 – Presentation by Pertman on the need for post-adoption services for grantees of Wendy's Wonderful Kids, sponsored by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, in Columbus, OH. For more information, go to:
About the Evan B. 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.
The Adoption Institute was established in 1996 with a one-time grant. To continue our work, we depend on new and renewable sources of funding. We need the financial support of people like you whose lives have been touched by adoption and who care about the future of vulnerable children everywhere. Please send a generous contribution to the Adoption Institute's annual fund today. To donate, please call 212-925-4089 or go online to:
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http://bit.ly/DonateCard, and fax it with your credit card information to 775-796-6592, or mail it with your check or credit card information to:
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