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:

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.

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