The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute Newsletter -September 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


VIETNAM PREVIEWS 2003 ADOPTION DECREE

Vietnam has previewed details of a decree to regulate international adoptions effective January 2, 2003. Countries must enter into bilateral agreements with Vietnam in order for its citizens to adopt-currently only France has such an agreement. In addition, a Ministry of Justice agency will approve adoption petitions and for the first time, foreign and domestic agencies will be allowed to facilitate adoptions-ending the need for adoptive parents to deal directly with private adoption brokers. Other changes include limiting turnaround of application decisions to four months and allowing adoptive parents to make a single trip to Vietnam to pick up children upon approval. The U.S. State Department still warns that "in light of the uncertainties facing foreign adoption in Vietnam with the implementation of the new regulations -- and the strong possibility of a suspension of foreign adoptions by the Vietnamese Government -- American citizens are strongly urged not to enter into an agreement with an adoption service provider to adopt in Vietnam at this time."
http://travel.state.gov/vietnamupdate.html


GUATEMALAN CONGRESS APPROVES HAGUE CONVENTION

According to several sources, last month the Guatemalan Congress passed legislation approving the country becoming a party to the Hague Convention governing international adoption. Before the Convention becomes effective, however, Guatemala must enact legislation and deposit its instrument of ratification at the Hague.

U.S. ENCOURAGES ROMANIA TO RESUME FOREIGN ADOPTIONS

The U.S. Ambassador to Romania called on Romania to end its moratorium on foreign adoptions and address the systemic corruption that led to the suspension of international adoption last year, reports the Washington Post in a August 2, 2002 article, "U.S. To Romania: Resume Adoptions." Romania is currently reforming its adoption system and is closing orphanages and transitioning the children to foster homes, according to a September 4 Associated Press article. A September 7 article in the Houston Chronicle reports that, the Romanian Prime Minister has indicated that the government will allow limited international adoptions later this year. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A36621-2002Aug2?language=printer ; http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-romania-orphanages0904sep04.story; http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/world/1564916.


STATE DEPARTMENT WARNS AGAINST UNLICENSED ADOPTION FACILITATORS

In July, the U.S. State Department issued a notice urging adoptive parents to ask international adoption agencies specific questions about their facilitators' experience and qualifications, and agency responsibility for facilitators. The Department has received an increasing number of complaints from U.S. citizens about overseas facilitators and notes that not all foreign governments require adoption facilitators to be licensed.
http://travel.state.gov/adoption_facilitators.html


PRESIDENT NOMINATES NEW ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR CONSULAR AFFAIRS

President Bush recently announced the nomination of Maura Ann Harty as Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs. The Bureau of Consular Affairs oversees the Office of Children's Issues, which handles international adoption.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/08/20020805-2.html


INS COMMISSIONER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

The Immigration and Naturalization Commissioner, James Ziglar, announced he will retire by year's end, according to a recent Associated Press article.


NEW FEDERAL INITIATIVE TO INCREASE ADOPTIONS FROM FOSTER CARE

The Administration unveiled a new foster care adoption initiative, launching the AdoptUSKids.org website (http://adoptuskids.org). The site is sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and operated by the National Adoption Center. AdoptUSKids.org features the first federal Internet photolisting service, allows social workers to communicate with interested approved adoptive parents and provides comprehensive information on adoption. HHS reports that there were 12 million visits to the site in its first week. Additionally, a new public service announcement featuring the First Lady and actor Bruce Willis encourages Americans to consider foster care adoption and use the new website. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/07/20020723.html.


FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FUNDS CAMPAIGN TO PROMOTE EMBRYO ADOPTION

This summer, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a request for proposals to conduct public awareness campaigns to encourage Americans to "adopt" frozen embryos. HHS will award $1 million to qualifying organizations. Proposals were due in late August. http://frwebgate4.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate.cgi?WAISdocID=68115430034+0+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve; http://abcnews.go.com/sections/living/DailyNews/embryo_adoption_wire_020821.html.


2. In the News


COLUMNIST CALLS FOR MORE ACCURATE ADOPTION INFORMATION AND INCREASED ADOPTION SUPPORT

Wall Street Journal columnist Al Hunt highlighted the 2002 National Adoption Attitudes Survey by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, in conjunction with the Adoption Institute, as a welcome exception to the persistent lack of information about adoption in a August 8, 2002 article titled, "Slow But Steady Progress on Adoption." He urges the President to increase federal resources for adoption, foundations to fund adoption initiatives, and the media to accurately portray adoption, so that more Americans have ready access to reliable information about adoption and consider providing homes for children in foster care. http://online.wsj.com/public/us


CHILDREN LIVING WITHOUT PARENTS LINKED TO WELFARE REFORM

The number of children living in "no-parent households" -- living with friends or relatives, without either parent -- has increased dramatically in recent years, according to a July 29, 2002 New York Times article, "Side Effect of Welfare Law: The No-Parent Family." Mounting research indicates a link between welfare reform and this recent trend. One study by the University of California and the Rand Corporation found that the percentage of African-American children in central cities living without their parents has on average more than doubled (7.5 to 16.1 percent) since 1996. Another study by the Urban Institute found that the number of all children living in parentless households has risen from 1.8 million children to 2.3 million children since 1996. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/29/national/29WELF.html


NEW JERSEY ORDERS SHUT DOWN OF ADOPTION AGENCY RUN BY FORMER PORNOGRAPHER

New Jersey's Human Services Commission ordered the international adoption agency, A Child's Hope, to close for various violations, including lack of necessary qualifications and fraudulent advertising, reports an August 9, 2002 Star-Ledger article, "State Tells Adoption Agency to Close." A Child's Hope is run by David Bentley, who started the agency with no child welfare education or training, and who operated pornographic websites. Despite his background, the state gave the agency temporary certification and has repeatedly renewed it, even though the agency had 22 violations in a single year. The case has prompted the Commissioner to order a full internal review of the Division of Youth and Family Services. http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/index.ssf?/base/news-3/102879782051984.xml


CONSTITUTIONALITY OF FLORIDA ADOPTION NOTIFICATION LAW CHALLENGED

Six Florida women, who want to place their children for adoption are challenging the constitutionality of the state's requirement for public notification of relinquishment, claiming it violates their right to privacy, according to several recent news articles. The new law requires women to publish newspaper notices announcing the pending adoption proceedings, and include their name and description, the putative father(s) names or descriptions, and the date and city of conception. The requirement, part of last year's revised adoption law, is intended to prevent birth fathers from disrupting adoptions. Previously, women only had to publish when and where they gave birth.


COERCION AND BABY BUYING DOCUMENTED IN VIETNAM, HUNGARY AND MALAYSIA

Eight people were convicted in Vietnam recently in connection with a child trafficking ring that purchased 39 children from unwed mothers and impoverished families between 1996 and 1998. The group falsified documents and sold the children to foreigners for adoption, according to the August 1, 2002 Associated Press article, "Vietnamese Court Convicts Eight for Selling Children for Foreign Adoption." http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20020801/ap_wo_en_po/vietnam_foreign_adoption_1

In Hungary, members of an illegal international adoption ring were convicted for coercing poor women to fly to the U.S. to give birth and relinquish their infants in exchange for money. The illegal activity came to light when birth mothers complained they were paid much less than they had been promised, reports a August 1, 2002 article, "Adoption Doctor Found Guilty," from The Budapest Sun Online.
http://www.budapestsun.com/full_story.asp?ArticleId={9D50F10297E84CB8B5CB9AB6F7FCFD61}&From=News

Anecdotal evidence indicates that baby traders are active in Malaysia, tricking poor, unmarried women by promising them a supportive place to have their babies. Instead, they hold these women captive and forcibly take or buy their babies to place for adoption, reports an August 5, 2002 Associated Press article, "Indonesians Targeted by Baby Sellers," from the Miami Herald.
http://www.miami.com/mld/miami/news/world/3802688.htm

 


3. Research Update


OLDER AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHILDREN MORE LIKELY TO BE ADOPTED BY SINGLE WOMEN THAN OLDER WHITE CHILDREN

Penelope Maza of the Department of Health and Human Services recently analyzed Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data to determine who adopts older children from foster care. According to the article, "Who is Adopting Older Children," in the National Resource Center for Special Needs Adoption's The Roundtable, 29 percent of foster care children adopted in 2000 were older (9-17 years old). Maza found that older African-American children are over three times more likely to be adopted by single women than older White children, which impacts adoption opportunities because older foster care children are more likely than younger children to be adopted by single women. http://www.nrcadoption.org/Volume16NumberTwo2002.pdf.

INTERNATIONAL ADOPTEES IN SWEDEN MORE LIKELY TO HAVE MENTAL OR BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS THAN OTHER CHILDREN

International adoptees in Sweden were 3-4 times more likely to have serious mental health problems, five times more likely to be addicted to drugs, and 2-3 times more likely to commit crimes or abuse alcohol than other children in Sweden, according to a study published in the August 10 Lancet. The research found that among adoptees, 4% of boys and 5% of girls had at least one indication of poor mental health, compared to 2% of boys and girls in the general population. Adoptees from Asia and Latin America born in 1970-1979 were studied, along with non-adopted siblings, immigrants and the general population born during those years. http://pdf.thelancet.com/pdfdownload?uid=llan.360.9331.original_research.22040.1&x=x.pdf


ONE QUARTER OF FLORIDA FOSTER CHILDREN HAVE SEVERE HEALTH PROBLEMS

A recent Florida study reveals the health problems and needs of its foster care children. According to the report by the Lawton and Rhea Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and Babies and the Institute for Health Policy Research, over a quarter of foster parents report that their foster children have a chronic health or medical problem. In addition, half the foster children were reported to have severe or moderate health problems. Further complications are caused by foster parents lack of information about children's health problems -- nearly half do not have health histories for children in their care.
http://www.teamfla.org/downloads/FinalFosterCareReport01.pdf


ADOPTION SUBSIDY RESOURCES ASSESSED

The North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) released a comprehensive analysis of Title IV-E Adoption Assistance implementation in the U.S., "Forever Families: Support for Families of Children with Special Needs." The guide lists how states define special needs, rates the quality of states' programs, and highlights model policies. Among other recommendations, NACAC proposes that states should broadly define special needs, so more children having trouble being adopted are helped, and provide Medicaid coverage equally to federal and state-subsidized children. http://www.nacac.org/pdfs/foreverfamilies.pdf

 


4. Public Opinion


FIRST STUDY OF CANADIAN ADOPTION ATTITUDES RELEASED

Three out of four Canadians support releasing confidential identifying information to adult adoptees without permission from their birth parents, according to a July 2002 study. The survey, a joint effort between researchers at McMaster and Carleton Universities, polled 706 Canadians on their views of adoption. Over half of Canadians support releasing confidential identifying information to birth parents without permission from adoptive parents. But, fewer Canadians are in favor of open adoption -- only one in three strongly approve of birth and adoptive parents exchanging cards and letters through a mediator and just one in five strongly approve of ongoing face-to-face contact between birth and adoptive parents.

When considering who should adopt, only one-third consider it very acceptable for single women to adopt and less than one-fifth consider it very acceptable for single men to adopt. Nearly half consider it very or somewhat acceptable for lesbian and gay couples to adopt.

Canadians view adopted children very positively. Over two-thirds believe adoptees are no more likely to be "a problem" than their non-adopted peers, another 20 percent feel they are less likely to be a problem.
http://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/story.cfm?id=1523

 


5. Facts & Stats


WYOMING AND DELAWARE TRIPLE FOSTER CARE ADOPTION RATE

Between 1998 and 2001, half the states met the federal goal of doubling (or more than doubling) adoptions from foster care. Wyoming and Delaware succeeded in tripling the number of adoptions in that timeframe.

Want more facts about adoption? Visit our Facts About Adoption pages (http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/FactOverview.html) 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


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 source for accurate adoption information.

SUPPORT OUR WORK
The Adoption Institute was established in 1996 with a one-time grant from Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children. 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 deeply about the future of vulnerable children everywhere. Please send a generous contribution to the Adoption Institute's annual fund today. To learn more about our initiatives and how you can help, visit http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/development/devintro.html or call 212-269-5080.

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The Adoption Institute Newsletter highlights news, research, policy legislation, public opinion polls and other relevant information to educate readers about emerging trends, newly reported information and public views that may impact the adoption environment. The Adoption Institute does not make any representations about the accuracy or reliability of the items reported in the newsletter, and the Adoption Institute does not necessarily agree with the author's point of view.

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