Adoption Institute Newsletter Archives



The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute Newsletter
July 2002

IN THIS ISSUE

1. Laws, Policy & Practice

2. In the News

3. Research Update

4. Public Opinion

5. Facts & Stats

6. About the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute

 


 


1. Laws, Policy & Practice


ADOPTION INSTITUTE TO MAKE POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS BASED ON NATIONAL SURVEY RESULTS

The 2002 National Adoption Attitudes Survey, sponsored by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, in cooperation with the Adoption Institute, finds that a large majority of Americans support adoption and a significant minority have considered adopting. The Survey also reveals that Americans increasingly view adopted children no differently from children raised by biological parents, and provides significant new information concerns affecting willingness to adopt, especially from foster care. Additionally, the study tracks changes in Americans’ views from the Adoption Institute’s 1997 Benchmark Adoption Survey, the first national survey of adoption attitudes.

Significant 2002 findings include:

  • Americans increasingly have very favorable opinions about adoption -- 63% in 2002 up from 56% in 1997.
  • More Americans have personal experience with adoption. In 2002, 64% of respondents reported that a family member or close friend had been adopted, had adopted, or had placed a child for adoption, an increase from 58% in 1997.
  • Thirty-nine percent of Americans have very or somewhat seriously considered adopting at some point in their lives, compared to 36% in 1997.
  • A majority of Americans believe adoptive parents derive the same satisfaction from raising adopted and biological children -- from 46% in 1997 to 57% in 2002.
  • Increasing numbers of Americans see no difference between adopted children’s likelihood of physical, social and emotional problems compared to other children. At the same time, there were moderate increases in the number of respondents who think adopted children are more likely than other children to have such problems.
  • African American, Hispanic and White populations have different perspectives on adopting. For instance, African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to consider adopting children with characteristics often seen as decreasing their likelihood of adoption, such as children who are in foster care, of a different race or part of a sibling group.

The Adoption Institute will use the survey findings to advocate for more effective adoptive parent recruitment strategies and post-adoption support services for families. View more highlights and the full report.


LEGISLATION WOULD ACCELERATE AND MAKE PERMANENT ADOPTION TAX CREDIT

The Senate is considering legislation to make the adoption tax credit permanent (HR4800) and to make the special needs adoption flat tax credit effective for the 2002 tax year (S1802). Sen. Bunning (R-KY) is sponsoring legislation to make the credit permanent, while Sen. Landrieu (D-LA) has proposed an amendment to accelerate the special needs flat credit.

Under current law, the $10,000 adoption tax credit is set to expire in 2010. And, in order for families adopting special needs children this year to receive the tax credit, they must document qualified adoption expenses. Many of these families will not be eligible, however, because their adoption-related expenses are ongoing medical and counseling services that do not qualify for the credit. Without accelerating the effective date for the flat tax credit, it is likely families will defer finalization of special needs adoptions until 2003.

To indicate support for these bills, contact Senate leadership and Senate Finance Committee members (particularly if you are a constituent) by phone and fax, to voice your support for HR4800, with S1802 as an amendment. View contact information for the Finance Committee ; for the Senate Majority Leader, Tom Daschle (D-SD); and for the Senate Minority Leader, Trent Lott (R-MS).


CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT EXPANDS DEFINITION OF “PARENT”

In a June 2002 decision, the California Supreme Court found that a man caring for a child who was not biologically related to the child or married to the biological mother was "his presumed father." Similar rulings have been issued in Wisconsin, New Jersey and Rhode Island. The California court granted custody of a six year-old boy to “his presumed father” because his mother’s drug abuse and mental instability prevented her from parenting him and his biological father expressed no interest in parenting him. Access the decision.

 


2. In the News


UTAH DEBATING RIGHTS OF OUT-OF-STATE BIRTH MOTHERS

Several adoption agencies have sued the Utah Department of Human Services over a requirement that agencies report out-of-state women who give birth in and relinquish children for adoption in Utah. The agencies disagree with the state’s interpretation of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. The State is requiring that agencies report out-of-state birth mothers to their home states to preserve birth fathers’ rights, reports a June 24, 2002 article, “Adoption Agencies Sue State Over Out-of-State Mothers’ Rights,” in the Salt Lake Tribune.


INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION IN CAMBODIA INFLUENCED BY MARKET FORCES

Author Sara Corbett traces the origins of international adoption in Cambodia, finding strong anecdotal evidence of child trafficking and systemic corruption that caused the INS to suspend U.S. adoptions from the country, in the article “Where Do Babies Come From?” from the June 16, 2002 New York Times Magazine.


CANADIANS ADOPT SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN INFANTS

Approximately 90 African American infants per year are adopted by Canadians, ranking the United States sixth among countries sending children to Canada, according to the June 30, 2002 Chicago Sun Times article “Black Babies from U.S. Highly Sought in Canada.”

 


3. Research Update


ASFA FACILITATING CHANGES IN FOSTER CARE SYSTEM

Limitations in available data make it difficult to assess the role of the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) in recent national adoption increases, concludes a June 2002 U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) report. GAO determined that ASFA funds aided states in recruiting adoptive parents and providing post-adoption services. In addition, ASFA provisions facilitated more timely permanency planning decisions for children. Among states that provided data on adoption stability, GAO found disruption and dissolution rates of 5% and 1% respectively.


OLDER CHILD ADOPTION AMONG FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH ADOPTIVE PARENT DISTRESS

A July 2002 study in Family Relations identifies several factors associated with adoptive parent distress -- including older child adoption, adoptee adjustment, higher numbers of adopted children in the family, finances and adoption agency evaluation processes.


KINSHIP CARE CHILDREN: MIXED RESULTS ON SERVICE NEEDS AND OUTCOMES

A June 2002 Urban Institute report gauging service needs of children in kinship care found that 64% of kinship families are low income, and another 31% are considered poor. Children placed in kinship care from the child welfare system receive more financial supports in the form of food stamps (59% versus 42%) and foster care or child-only payments (65% versus 27%) than their peers in privately arranged kinship care. Over three-fourths of children in both groups are covered by insurance (87% versus 82%).

An earlier, May 2002, Urban Institute research brief found kinship care children are nearly twice as likely as their peers under parental care (8% versus 4%) to have a limiting condition or to be in fair or poor physical health. The percentage of kinship care children with these problems, however, is still quite low. The study also shows that children cared for by low-income relatives have more problems in school and are slightly more likely to have a physical, mental health or learning issue when compared with peers who live with low-income biological parents. Both groups though fare equally well on some measures of physical health and behavior.


FEW NEW YORK CITY FOSTER CARE ADOPTIONS DISSOLVE

A recent study of 516 New York City foster care adoptions in 1996 found that few have dissolved. Such positive outcomes were achieved even though many New York City families indicated their connection to information and family supports ended with adoption finalization, according to a survey reported in the May/June 2002 issue of Child Welfare.


AFRICAN AIDS ORPHANS PROJECTED TO NEARLY DOUBLE BY 2010

A July 2002 UNAIDS/UNICEF report released at the 14th International AIDS Conference estimates that 25 million children worldwide will be orphaned by 2010 due to the AIDS-related death of one or both parents. By 2010, 20 million children—6% of all African children under age 15 are expected to be orphaned by AIDS—an 82% increase.

 


4. Public Opinion


MAJORITY OF FLORIDIANS DO NOT SUPPORT GAY AND LESBIAN ADOPTION

A 57% majority of Florida citizens do not think gay couples should be allowed to adopt, finds a June 2002 poll conducted by the Orlando Sentinel and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.


BRITISH SUPPORT ACCESS TO MEDICAL HISTORY FOR DONOR OFFSPRING

A significant majority of Britons support access to health and medical histories for sperm donor offspring (83%) and believe such children have an equal right to know their biological parents as adopted children (two-thirds), according to a June 2002 poll commissioned by the Children’s Society, published June 26, 2002 by BBC News.

 


5. Facts & Stats


OVER A QUARTER MILLION CHILDREN ADOPTED INTERNATIONALLY IN THREE DECADES

Did you know that between 1971 and 2001, U.S. citizens adopted 265,677 children from other countries?

Want more facts about adoption? Visit our Facts About Adoption pages to find the most up-to-date facts and statistics on adoption, in a concise and easy-to-read format.

 


6. About The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute


ADOPTION INSTITUTE HOSTS WASHINGTON, DC RECEPTION

On June 19, 2002, the Adoption Institute hosted a reception in Washington, DC to thank supporters and introduce policymakers, media representatives and others interested in adoption issues to the organization and its priorities. The Adoption Institute was delighted that Senators Clinton (D-NY) and Landrieu (D-LA) attended and spoke at the reception. They cited the Institute’s contributions to improving adoption policy and practice, including its extensive recommendations on the Intercountry Adoption Act and the 2002 National Adoption Attitudes Survey, sponsored by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Adoptive parents and noted journalists Al Hunt and Judy Woodruff were honored guests. Pictures from the reception can be viewed online.

 

ABOUT THE INSTITUTE
Since 1996, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a national not-for-profit organization, has advanced sound adoption policy and practice for adopted people, adoptive families and birth parents. The Adoption Institute gathers, analyzes and synthesizes the best available information from research and practical experience to identify and develop the most effective policies and practices to increase the numbers of permanent and loving families for waiting children, as well as to provide positive life-long experiences for all participants. Working with lawmakers, practitioners and researchers, the Adoption Institute strives to improve the ethics of adoption policy and practice, and the day-to-day experiences of everyone involved.

Our award-winning web site, www.adoptioninstitute.org/old, is a popular and reliable voice for ethical and accurate adoption information.

SUPPORT OUR WORK
The Adoption Institute was established in 1996 with a one-time grant. This means that to continue our work we need the financial support of people like you whose lives have been touched by adoption and who care deeply about the future of vulnerable children everywhere. To learn more about our initiatives and how you can help, visit visit our donation page or call 212-269-5080.

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COMMENTS?
We welcome your thoughts on the Newsletter. Please let us know how we can make it better. Comments, questions and news tips may be directed to geninfo@adoptioninstitute.org.

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All contents © by The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a
501(c)3 non-profit organization
120 Wall Street, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10005


The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute Presents
The Adoption Institute Newsletter - June 2002

WELCOME

Welcome to the first edition of the Adoption Institute (AI) Newsletter, a new source for timely, accurate information on adoption policy, practice, public perception, research and media coverage. The Newsletter will be published on a monthly basis.


IN THIS ISSUE

1. Laws, Policy & Practice

2. In the News

3. Research Update

4. Public Opinion

5. Facts & Stats

6. About the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute



1. Laws, Policy & Practice


ADOPTION INSTITUTE SURVEY: MONEY & INFORMATION PROBLEMS IN INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION

Results of the Adoption Institute's recent survey of Americans who adopted internationally in the last five years underscore two key problems for a significant minority of families-financial arrangements between agencies and families, and information provided to adoptive parents. Of the over 1,600 respondents who used adoption agencies:

  • 13% were not satisfied with services,
  • 14% would not recommend their agency to other families,
  • 14% said their adoption cost more than they were told, and
  • 15% said their agency withheld information or told them inaccurate information about the child.

Almost three-quarters of parents said they were asked by their agencies to carry cash overseas to pay adoption fees, with most carrying $3,000 or more. For more details, see the survey results.

The Adoption Institute has shared this information with the State Department and Congress as they draft regulations to implement the Intercountry Adoption Act (IAA).


ADOPTION INSTITUTE TESTIFIES BEFORE HOUSE COMMITTEE, SEEKING STRONGER PROTECTIONS IN IAA REGS.

Clear and enforceable practice standards and consumer protections are necessary to improve unethical and poor quality international adoption services, the Adoption Institute has told the U.S. State Department and the House Committee on International Relations.

Cindy Freidmutter, Executive Director of the Adoption Institute, presented recommendations to the House Committee on May 22, 2002, stating that "unfortunately the current draft regulations will not fulfill a primary purpose of the IAA-'protect[ing] the rights of, and prevent[ing] abuses against children, birth families and adoptive families.'"

Freidmutter urged the State Department to require U.S. adoption providers to be directly responsible for all financial transactions with their contractors and to enter into service contracts with prospective adoptive parents that create clear and predictable business relationships. She also called on the federal agency to provide prospective adoptive parents with access to objective service quality information about adoption providers. Read the full testimony.

The State Department is expected to publish proposed Intercountry Adoption Act regulations in the Federal Register this summer. For the latest information about the regulations and the Adoption Institute's recommendations, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/hagueregs.html.


ADD YOUR VOICE FOR NEEDED CHANGES TO INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION REGS.

Call or fax your Congressional Members and ask them to urge the State Department to adopt Adoption Institute recommendations for improving the regulations. Are your representatives on the foreign relations committees? If so, their support is crucial. Visit http://congress.org/ to find out who represents you in Congress. To check committee membership, go to the House International Relations Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee websites.


2. In the News


MISSOURI PARENTS TRADE CUSTODY FOR MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Desperate Missouri parents who can't afford mental health care for their children are told to relinquish custody to the state's Division of Family Services, according to a March 30, 2002 Associated Press article. The agency is legally required to provide treatment for children in the system and estimates that 500 kids, or 20 percent, in its care are there because their parents could not afford mental health services.

This situation is not unique: In a 1999 report, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill surveyed 900 parents of mentally ill children throughout the nation and found that 20% had relinquished custody to the state to get treatment for their children.


SPERM BANKS MOVE TO END DONOR ANONYMITY

About a dozen sperm banks are leading a trend to ensure that offspring of sperm donation can receive contact information for their biological fathers, according to a May 21, 2002 story in The New York Times.


FLORIDA COUNTIES EXPERIENCE INCREASE IN GRANDPARENTS RAISING CHILDREN

According to preliminary estimates from the 2000 Census, the number of Broward and Palm Beach County, Florida grandparents raising children increased 20% in the last decade, reports a May 27, 2002 Sun-Sentinel article.


3. Research Update


LEGALIZED ABORTION TIED TO DECLINE IN CHILDREN RELINQUISHED FOR ADOPTION

The number of children available for adoption declined dramatically after abortion was legalized in the 1970s, according to a January/February 2002 study in the Alan Guttmacher Institute's Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.


TEENS PREOCCUPIED WITH ADOPTION MORE LIKELY TO DISTRUST ADOPTIVE PARENTS

Adolescents who are highly preoccupied with their adoptions are much more likely to distrust their adoptive parents and feel alienated from them, a February 2002 study in the Journal of Marriage and Family found.


4. Public Opinion


MORE AMERICANS SUPPORT GAY AND LESBIAN ADOPTION

47% of Americans support gay and lesbian adoption, while 42% oppose it, according to a March 2002 poll conducted by ABC News. Opposition has declined 23 points since 1994.


5. Facts & Stats


INTERNATIONALLY ADOPTED CHILDREN SIGNIFICANTLY YOUNGER THAN ADOPTED FOSTER CARE CHILDREN

Did you know: 46% of children adopted internationally in 1998 were under a year old. In contrast, only 2% of children adopted from the U.S. foster care system in 1999 were that young.

Want more facts about adoption? Visit our Facts About Adoption pages to find the most up-to-date facts and statistics on adoption, in a concise and easy-to-read format.


6. About The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute


The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, founded in 1996, is a national not-for-profit organization devoted to improving adoption policy and practice. The Adoption Institute is a reliable voice for ethical adoption practices that respect all people touched by adoption. Our award-winning web site, www.adoptioninstitute.org/old, is a top choice for accurate adoption information.

SUPPORT OUR WORK
Your financial support helps us advance adoption policy and practice and provide up-to-date, accurate information. To find out more about our initiatives and how you can help, visit our donation page or call 212-269-5080.

SHARE THE ADOPTION INSTITUTE NEWSLETTER
Forward this Newsletter to a friend or colleague. Sign up for the Adoption Institute Newsletter.

COMMENTS?
We welcome your thoughts on the Newsletter. Please let us know how we can make it better. Comments, questions and news tips may be directed to geninfo@adoptioninstitute.org.

YOUR PRIVACY
The Adoption Institute will never trade or sell your e-mail address. Privacy Policy.


All contents © by The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a
501(c)3 non-profit organization
120 Wall Street, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10005