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IN MAJOR RULING, PROVINCIAL COURT ENDS EGG, SPERM DONATION ANONYMITY
British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Elaine Adair ruled on April 19 that sections of the Canadian province's Adoption Act and Adoption Regulations, which allowed the anonymous donation of sperm and eggs, were unconstitutional because they were "not in the best interests of the donor offspring." In addition, Adair wrote that "the desire and need of donor offspring to know . . . their origins is just as powerful and real as those of adoptees" and that "serious harm can be caused by cutting off a child from his or her biological roots." The court decision quoted Sandra Scarth, president of the Adoption Council of Canada, whose testimony significantly cited the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute's report, "Old Lessons for a New World." The court's decision also quoted extensively from the Institute's report. To read a news story about the ruling, go to:
http://bit.ly/kZUVXV. To read a newsletter that includes the Adoption Institute's report on egg and sperm donation, go to:
http://bit.ly/lEhEaA. To read the Institute's report, go to:
KYRGYZ PRESIDENT SIGNS LAW LIFTING MORATORIUM, RESUMING ADOPTIONS
Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva has signed a law that allows the resumption of international adoption for children from Kyrgyzstan, according to an article on May 23 on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty Kyrgyz Service. The new law, approved by the country's parliament on April 14 and signed by Outunbaeva on May 6, alters the way in which intercountry adoptions are supervised and lifts a moratorium that was imposed on international adoptions after the media reported alleged illegal activities. Between 2006 and 2009, a total of 236 Kyrgyz children were adopted by parents from the United States, Israel, Italy, France, Germany and Australia. Otunbaeva reportedly ordered that all corresponding regulations related to the new law be altered within three months. To read the article, go to:
NJ GOVERNOR TO DECIDE FATE OF BILL ON ADOPTEES' BIRTH CERTIFICATES
A measure to restore New Jersey adult adoptees' access to their original birth certificates received final legislative approval on a vote of 27-10 by the state Senate on May 9. The issue has been considered in the state for over 30 years; its fate is now in the hands of Governor Chris Christie, who has until June 23 to sign or veto the NJ Adoptee Birth Right Bill (1406). The bill would give future adoptees access to their original birth certificates – which list birthparents' names – once they turn 18; birthparents could designate whether they prefer not to be contacted. Parents who placed children before the law took effect would have one year to opt out and have their names redacted. To read the bill, go to:
http://bit.ly/lScw2C. To read the Institute's latest report on the issue, go to:
U.S. MEASURE WOULD BAN PLACEMENT BIAS BASED ON SEXUAL ORIENTATION
Representative Pete Stark of California on May 3 reintroduced the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, and Senator Kirstin Gillibrand of New York said she would introduce a companion measure in the Senate within weeks. The intent of the legislation is "to prohibit discrimination in adoption or foster care placements based on the sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status of any prospective adoptive or foster parent, or the sexual orientation or gender identity of the child involved." Stark, who is a Democrat (as is Gillibrand) proposed a similar bill in the last Congress, but it was not acted upon. Proponents say its enactment would lead to more children in foster care moving into permanent homes, and would save tens of millions of dollars. To read the bill, go to:
http://bit.ly/kHq0v3. To read the Adoption Institute's latest report on gay and lesbian adoption, go to:
SATISFACTION WITH CONTACT PREDICTS DECLINE IN TEEN BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS
"Post-adoption Contact, Adoption Communicative Openness, and Satisfaction with Contact as Predictors of Externalizing Behavior in Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood," by Harold Grotevant, Martha Rueter, Lynn Von Korff and Christopher Gonzalez, is in the May issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Volume 52, Issue 5). This longitudinal study of openness found that families with post-adoption contact ranked higher on communicative openness about adoption; however, neither factor predicted externalizing behaviors in adoptees during their teens or early adulthood. Satisfaction with contact by adoptive parents and their adolescents did predict fewer externalizing behavior problems, and for all parties (youth, adoptive mothers and fathers), those having in-person communications with birthparents had the highest levels of satisfaction with contact. To access an abstract, go to:
MOST KOREAN ADOPTEES DID NOT DISCUSS BIAS INCIDENTS WITH PARENTS
"They Don't Know What It's Like to Be in My Shoes": Topic Avoidance about Race in Transracially Adoptive Families, by Sara Docan-Morgan, is in the May issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (Volume 28, Issue 3). This qualitative study of 34 Korean adult adoptees raised by White parents found that all participants experienced racial derogation while growing up (categorized as appearance attacks, perceived ethnicity attacks and physical attacks), but most avoided discussing these episodes with their parents. The primary reasons for their avoidance of such discussions were parent unresponsiveness (perception that parent would be unable to help or had not been helpful in the past) and/or self-protection (avoiding judgment, criticism or embarrassment). One participant explained that his parents "don't know what it's like to be in my shoes," A minority reported positive responses from parents to their reports of racial discrimination, which encouraged future discussion of race-related issues. To access an abstract, go to:
AGE AT ADOPTION FOUND TO BE A CRITICAL FACTOR FOR RUSSIAN CHILDREN
Two reports from a study of children adopted from Russian orphanages examined the connection between age at adoption and later problems, finding that those adopted at 18 months or older had the most issues, particularly during adolescence. The first report, "Specific Extreme Behaviors of Postinstitutionalized Russian Adoptees," by Brandi Hawk and Robert McCall, is in the May issue of Developmental Psychology (Volume 47, Issue 3) and assessed behavior problems in 316 adoptees. For teens adopted at 18 months or older, 39 percent were classified as having "extreme scores" on the Total Problems scale (defined as above the 84th percentile) as compared to 7 percent of teens adopted younger; however, these gaps did not occur for children age 6-11 at assessment. Scores for youth adopted before 18 months compared favorably to standardized means for most scales and subscales. To access an abstract, go to:
"Parent Ratings of Executive Functioning in Children Adopted from Psychosocially Depriving Institutions," by Emily Merz and Robert McCall, is in the May issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Volume 52, Issue 5). This study of 288 school-age and 130 pre-school children adopted from Russian institutions – which were described as providing adequate physical care but not emotional nurturance – found a much higher level of deficits in executive functioning or EF (higher order cognitive skills such as working memory and control of inhibitions) among school children adopted when 18 months or older as compared to those adopted at younger ages. These differences associated with age at adoption did not show up in pre-school children; also EF problems were not associated with prematurity. For an abstract, go to:
RESEARCH TIES DISCLOSURE OF DONOR CONCEPTION WITH POSITIVE OUTCOMES
An English longitudinal study comparing child adjustment and mother-child interaction of children conceived through gamete donation to those naturally conceived found that, at age 7, there were no significant differences on child adjustment. Non-disclosure of genetic origins, however, was associated with lower scores on aspects of mother-child interaction. "Children Conceived by Gamete Donation: Psychological Adjustment and Mother-Child Relationships at Age 7," by Susan Golombok, Jennifer Readings, Lucy Blake, Polly Casey, Laura Mellish, Alex Marks and Vasanti Jadva, is in the current issue of the Journal of Family Psychology (Volume 25, Issue 2). The researchers concluded that lack of disclosure to children of the circumstances of their conception may interfere with aspects of the mother-child relationship. To access an abstract, go to:
Please go to the "From Our Partners" section to read the latest research from Adoption Quarterly.
IL CATHOLIC CHARITIES WARNS CIVIL UNION LAW MAY HALT ITS ADOPTIONS
Catholic Charities may stop providing foster-care and adoption services in Illinois if a new state law requires that it place children with same-sex couples, according to a May 5 article in the Windy City Times by Chuck Colbert. "Catholic Charities in standoff over adoption, care" quotes the executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, Robert Gilligan, as saying, "There's a real possibility that we will be forced out" unless an exception is made in a new civil union law allowing faith-based organizations to refuse adoption or foster-care services to prospective same-sex parents in a civil union. The new law, which takes effect June 1, provides spousal benefits available at the state level to registered same-sex partners. To read the article, go to:
http://bit.ly/liQhlG. To read the text of the law, go to:
http://1.usa.gov/k9b35H. To read the Adoption Institute's latest report on gay and lesbian adoption, go to:
CHINESE OFFICIALS INVESTIGATE ALLEGED SEIZURE OF INFANTS FOR ADOPTION
Officials in Hunan Province have started a formal investigation into reports that family planning officials took about 20 infants from families in the province – who were too poor to pay fines for violating China's one-child policy – and placed them for international adoption, according to an article on May 10 on BBC News Asia-Pacific. The article, "Chinese babies 'confiscated for overseas adoption,'" said that the children were allegedly listed as orphans and were adopted by parents in the United States, the Netherlands and Poland for fees of about $3,000 each. To read the article, go to:
NUMBER OF CHILDREN ADOPTED FROM FOSTER CARE REACHES RECORD HIGH
Adoptions from foster care have risen to a record high, and other related trends are also going well, according to an article on May 9 in The Washington Times by Cheryl Wetzstein. "Increase in adoptions spells fewer children on rolls, shorter waits" summarizes statistics for 2009 showing, for example, that: adoptions from foster care set a record at 57,000, up from 37,000 in 1998; the number of children waiting for adoption fell to a record low of 115,000, down from 135,000 in 2006; and the average wait for adoption fell to a record low 35 months, down from 48 months in 1998. Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Adoption Institute and author of Adoption Nation, was quoted as saying that "now we have to take the next steps and help those families succeed," citing post-adoption services as essential. To read the article, go to:
http://bit.ly/mGaNMq. To read a report in Child Trends that includes statistics on the issue, go to:
www.fosteringconnections.org. To read the Adoption Institute's report on post-adoption services, go to:
OVER 1,100 ADOPTIVE PARENTS RESPOND TO NACAC'S POST-ADOPTION SURVEY
The North American Council on Adoptable Children, in its winter issue of Adoptalk, published preliminary findings on more than 1,100 responses of adoptive parents in the U.S. and Canada to its online survey on post-adoption services. "Post-Adoption Needs Survey Offers Direction for Continued Advocacy Efforts," by Kim Stevens, reports that the majority of respondents identified emotional or behavioral issues as special needs in their adopted children, and 71 percent identified barriers to accessing services. To access the article, go to:
MATERIALS FROM INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION SUMMIT NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE
Materials from the inaugural Intercountry Adoption Summit – held last fall in Stratford, Ontario – have just been made available on the summit website and can be downloaded free of charge. The event was attended by representatives from the leading sending and receiving countries, as well as top researchers. Among the presenters were Institute staff (including Executive Director Adam Pertman) and several of our Senior Research Fellows (Dana Johnson, Laurie Miller and Ellen Pinderhughes). To view videos and download other presentation materials, go to:
http://bit.ly/mDTqv1. To read recommended action items developed at the conference, go to:
ADOPTUSKIDS OFFERS INFORMATION ON USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN RECRUITMENT
The AdoptUSKids website has posted a Power Point from a presentation at the Child Welfare League of America conference on March 28, 2011, entitled, "Effective, Research-Based Use of Social Media: Enhancing the Reach and Outcomes of Child Welfare Programs." The presentation focuses on responsible use of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to assist in the recruitment and retention of adoptive and foster families. To access the Power Point, go to:
NCFA PUBLISHES ANALYSIS OF COST SAVINGS OF ADOPTIONS FROM FOSTER CARE
"Better Prospects, Lower Cost: The Case for Increasing Foster Care Adoption," by Nicholas Zill, is in the May issue of Adoption Advocate, published by the National Council for Adoption. The article compares the child welfare system's per-child cost of subsidized adoption ($10,302 per year) to that of foster care ($25,782/year), concluding that maintaining a child in an adoptive family with subsidy costs 40 percent as much as leaving the child in foster care; additional savings were also cited in other areas. To access the article, go to:
REPORT INCLUDES RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TREATING TRAUMA IN CHILDREN
In recognition of National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, which was on May 3, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration published a brief report that summarizes the findings of two federally funded initiatives for children exposed to trauma - an experience frequently found in the histories of foster and adopted children. The report, "Helping Children and Youth Who Have Experienced Traumatic Events," includes four recommended treatments for traumatic stress in youth. To access the report, go to:
From Our Partners
AQ: STUDY SHOWS IMPORTANCE OF CHILD-CENTERED PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT
The current Adoption Quarterly (Volume 14, Issue 1) includes a study of 70 U.S. adoptive families of all types, "Parenting as a Moderator of Cumulative Risk for Behavioral Competence in Adopted Children," by Dawn Kriebel and Kathryn Wentzel. This study analyzed the extent to which aspects of parenting moderated the impact of cumulative pre-adoption risk factors on adoptees' behavioral competence. Of the parenting variables examined (child-centeredness, psychological intrusiveness, permissiveness, harsh discipline and inconsistency) the only one that was a significant predictor of behavioral competence in adoptees was child-centeredness, which assessed parental level of involvement. Also, children with higher cumulative risk scores benefited the most from having parents who were child-centered. To access an abstract, go to:
FOOD, WINE AND FUN – OUR TASTE OF SPRING EVENT SCORES AGAIN
Institute supporters – and food and wine lovers – from far and wide converged in Manhattan on May 12 for the Adoption Institute's 8th Annual Taste of Spring. The evening was a wonderful chance to celebrate the achievements of acclaimed actress, singer and long-time Institute supporter Kristin Chenoweth. Our award to Kristin, presented by another great Institute friend, Deborra-lee Furness, was given in honor of her tireless commitment to adoptive families and children in foster care. Among the notables in attendance were past honorees Peter Burki, CEO of LifeCare; stage and television star Christine Ebersole; and chef Cyril Renaud.
The event featured delicious food tastings from Artisanal Premium Cheese, Bar Breton, Jean Georges, Klee, Kumquat Cupcakery, Me-Oh-My Pie Shop, Sen, Yuva and Zarela - along with magnificent wines donated by Kobrand, Mendocino Wine Company, Shea Vineyards, Sherry Lehmann, RO Imports and Cognac One. As our 300 guests left for the night, they received goody bags featuring kitchen gadgets and a cookbook, all donated by Katie Brown.
The Institute would like to thank everyone whose contributions made the evening such a great success – including our sponsors, ticket buyers and auction donors. Special thanks to event Co-Chairs Kim Donaldson, Hollis Forbes, Sandy McManus, Doug Mehne and Holly Heston Rochell, as well as our Honorary Chairs: Jurate Kazickas and Roger Altman, Jane and Bill Donaldson, and Mimi and Jim Stevens. We are also deeply grateful for the support of Honorary Co-Chairs Deborra-lee Furness and Hugh Jackman, Marja and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Katie Brown and William Corbin.
The success of Taste of Spring is vital to the Institute's ability to continue our work. If you haven't already done so – or if you would like to help some more – it's not too late to make a donation. Please go to
http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/about/support.php to find out how.
POST-ADOPTION INITIATIVE INCLUDES CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING AND OP-ED
The Adoption Institute assembled a coalition of major adoption and child welfare organizations to sponsor a briefing on May 10 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, to inform legislators, the media and others about the critical need for post-adoption services. The briefing, based on our recent "Keeping the Promise" report, is part of a new national initiative by the Adoption Institute; we'll provide more details soon about this ambitious, long-term project. The congressional briefing included presentations by affected families, a lawmaker (Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota) and national experts from the Child Welfare League of American, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, the North American Council on Adoptable Children and the Adoption Institute, among others. To see a video of the event and learn more, go to:
INSTITUTE IN THE MEDIA: TRANSRACIAL ADOPTIONS, FOSTER CARE, REUNIONS
Executive Director Pertman was featured on National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation on May 11 discussing transracial adoptions. In the interview, Pertman stated that in the past, social workers used to tell parents, "You just raise your child as though you gave birth to her." As a consequence, unfortunately, a majority of transracially adopted kids "grew up wishing they were white or thinking they were white, not wanting to look in mirrors." To listen to the entire interview, go to:
Pertman was interviewed on May 10 by Raul Gallyot of KWMR on his "Pleasures in Taste" show. The lively discussion centered on issues and attitudes surrounding adoption and foster care. Pertman talked about how to "help more kids get homes, how do we help more parents – gay, straight, single or married – navigate the system." To hear the interview, go to:
An article in the Albany Times Union on May 24 chronicled a woman searching for her biological family, and addressed the doubts some biological families have about adoptees' reasons for doing so. "People want to know where they came from," Pertman is quoted as saying. "It's a normal human instinct." To read the entire article, go to:
CENTER FOR FAMILY CONNECTIONS EVENT FEATURES INSTITUTE STAFF MEMBERS
The Center for Family Connections has invited the Adoption Institute to collaborate on a major event merging two conferences: CFFC's 26th annual ARC Summer Intensives and its 5th annual ACTION international conference. Among the presenters will be Institute Associate Director Tara Linh Leaman, Program Director Susan Livingston Smith and Pertman. The event, held on Cape Cod, runs from July 10-14. For more information and to register, go to:
JUNE STAFF APPEARANCES INCLUDE ADOPTION NATION BOOK-SIGNING IN L.A.
If you live in Southern California, please come meet Executive Director Adam Pertman and learn more about the Institute at a book-signing event to celebrate the publication of the 2011 edition of Adoption Nation. The presentation, discussion and Q&A will take place on Friday, June 10, at 6-8 p.m. at the Jeanie Madsen Gallery in Santa Monica. For more information, email
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-332-8944 – or just show up!
June 14 – Presentation by David Brodzinsky on "Ethnicity Issues in Intercountry Adoption: Preparation and Support for Adoptive Families" at the Italian World Congress on Adoption, in Florence, Italy. For more information, contact conference organizer Giorgio Macario at
June 15 – Keynote address by Adam Pertman at the Delaware Valley Adoption Council Conference. 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:
Or you can print and complete this form,
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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