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COLORADO BECOMES 11th STATE TO ALLOW SECOND-PARENT ADOPTIONS
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter signed legislation (HB1330) on May 15 permitting second-parent adoptions by unmarried couples - including same-sex couples - and relatives. Previously, the state allowed only married couples and single people (gay or straight) to adopt. The new second-parent legislation permits a child with one legal parent to be adopted by a second adult. Second-parent adoptions are currently available by statute or appellate court decisions in 10 other states: California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. Michigan legislators are currently considering a similar measure (HB 4259). To read the law, go to:
to read the Institute's testimony on Michigan's second-parent legislation, go to:
GUATEMALA TAKES STEPS TO COMPLY WITH HAGUE CONVENTION REGULATIONS
The Guatemalan Congress passed legislation on May 22 affirming its intent to meet the requirements of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. Guatemala has been a party to the Convention since March 2003, but has never enacted legislation or instituted practices consistent with Hague requirements. According to a May 22 U.S. State Department notice, the legislation clarifies the legal status of the Hague Convention within Guatemala and sets an effective date of Dec. 31, 2007, for meeting its obligations under the treaty. The Hague Convention, which seeks to protect children involved in international adoptions, is expected to come into full force in the U.S. this year. To read the State Department notice, go to:
to read the DOS explanation of Hague requirements, U.S. law and Guatemala, go to: http://travel.state.gov/pdf/T0440HagueAdoptionschart051607.pdf
TWO STATE SENATES PASS BILLS GIVING ADULT ADOPTEES ACCESS TO RECORDS
The Massachusetts and Connecticut state senates approved legislation this month that would allow adopted people born in or after 2008 to obtain their original birth certificates. The Massachusetts Senate measure (SB63), passed on May 1, permits adopted adults born before July 17, 1974, or after Jan. 1, 2008, or an adoptive parent of a minor adoptee born after Jan. 1, 2008 to request a copy of their birth certificates and establishes a voluntary contact registry. The Connecticut bill was rejected by the state House last month, but was included as an amendment to another piece of legislation (HB7388) that was passed by the Senate on May 23. The amendment permits adopted people age 21 and older to access their birth certificates and birthparents can complete a contact preference form. A similar bill was approved last year in Connecticut but was vetoed by the governor. The legislation in both states is now pending action by their respective state Houses of Representatives. Meanwhile, measures permitting adopted persons to access their original records moved to committee in the state Houses of both North Carolina (HB445) and Maine (LD1084). To read the Massachusetts bill, go to:
to read the Connecticut bill, and status, go to:
http://www.cga.ct.gov/; to read the North Carolina bill and status, go to:
http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2007&BillID=hb445+; to read the Maine bill, go to:
RESEARCHERS FIND CHILDREN'S EMOTIONAL STATUS PREDICTS MOVES IN CARE
Using data from a national survey, researchers found that factors predicting child welfare placement moves differed for children with and without emotional and behavioral disorders. About half of children scored in the clinical range on the Child Behavior Checklist, and these children were 2.5 times more likely to experience four or more moves in three years. "Predictors of Placement Moves Among Children With and Without Emotional and Behavioral Disorders," by Richard Barth (an Institute Senior Fellow), Christopher Lloyd, Rebecca Green, Sigrid James, Laurel Leslie and John Landsverk, was published in the spring issue of the
Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (Volume 15, Issue 1). Depression and not residing with siblings predicted more moves for the clinical group; for the non-clinical group, being 11 or older and being female predicted more moves. To access a free abstract, go to:
MULTI-STATE ANALYSIS SHOWS MOST FOSTER PARENTS SERVE SHORT PERIODS
Using longitudinal data from three states (NM, OK, OR) on over 15,000 non-relative foster homes, researchers analyzed the length of service and factors associated with retention of foster parents. The median length of service was between eight and 14 months across the three states (less than one year in two of the three states for 60 percent or more of the parents), and 74 percent to 87 percent of foster parents had only one episode of foster parenting. "Length of Service for Foster Parents: Using Administrative Data to Understand Retention," by Deborah Gibbs and Judith Wildfire, was published in the May issue of
Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 29, Issue 5). Across states, 19 percent to 32 percent of homes were in service more than two years. Variables associated with longer service were parent older than 30, urban residence, caring for more children at a time, and caring for more infants, adolescents or special needs children. To access a free abstract, go to:
CANADIAN STUDY SEES FEWER PROBLEMS IN ADOPTED THAN BIRTH TODDLERS
A Canadian study comparing toddlers in adoptive and birth families (17 of each) found that parents of daughters adopted from China reported fewer child problems on two scales of the Child Behavior Checklist than did parents of biological daughters. "Parenting Styles and Attributions and the Behavior of Children in the 'No' Stage in Adoptive and Biological Families," by Ruth Solomon and Marie-Claude Poirier, was published in the most recent issue of
Adoption Quarterly (Volume 10, Issue 1). There were no significant differences in parenting styles between the two groups or in the frequency of positive and negative attributions about their children. Adoptive parents, however, indicated that they would be more emotionally upset or angry with children's negative behaviors than did biological parents. To access an abstract of this article, go to:
FACTORS IDENTIFIED THAT INFLUENCE FOSTER PARENTS' COMMITMENT LEVEL
Researchers explored factors influencing the level of commitment of 102 foster parents (as assessed in a structured interview) to a single foster child in their care; they found that higher commitment was associated with a child's lower scores on the externalizing scale of the Child Behavior Checklist, being placed in their care at a younger age, and the caregiver having cared for fewer foster children in the past. "Caregiver Commitment to Foster Children: The Role of Child Behavior," by Oliver Lindhiem and Mary Dozier, was published in the April issue of
Child Abuse & Neglect (Volume 31, Issue 4). For 76 of the dyads studied, commitment and child problems were assessed at two points, 11 months apart, and were found to be stable over time. To access an abstract, go to:
REVIEW CALLS FOR ATTENTION TO BIRTHFATHERS IN ADOPTION PRACTICE
"The Experiences and Needs of Birth Fathers in Adoption: What We Know Now and Some Practice Implications," by Gary Clapton, reviews the small body of research on birthfathers across several countries and discusses implications for practice. This article, published in the most recent issue of
Practice (Volume 19, Issue 1), cites the need for practitioners to challenge their personal assumptions about fathers and to take steps to better serve them. The importance of children having information about their biological fathers, the need to involve fathers around the time of birth, and the need to incorporate the realities of "disenfranchised grief" in grief work are discussed. To access an abstract, go to:
EVALUATION RECOMMENDS FLEXIBLE ARRAY OF POST-ADOPTION SERVICES
Based on evaluative phone interviews with 460 adoptive families who received adoption preservation services in Virginia, researchers recommend an array of post-adoption services that give families the flexibility to use different services in accordance with their needs over many years. Most families received services from six to 18 months, and 66 percent of these reported substantial to moderate progress in addressing problems. Families served three years or more were more likely to report this level of progress (83%). "Strengthening Adoption Practice, Listening to Adoptive Families," by Anne Atkinson and Patricia Gonet, was published in the March/April issue of
Child Welfare (Volume 86, Issue 2). A major outcome was improved capacity of parents to understand and cope with children's ongoing problems. To access an abstract, go to:
ADOPTION WEBSITE SETTLES DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT WITH GAY COUPLE
The Arizona-based adoption website Adoption.com and Adoption Profiles LLC (host of the sister website ParentProfiles.com) will no longer post profiles of California residents as a result of a settlement with a gay couple residing in that state; the couple had sued after their information was barred from the website, according to a May 23
San Francisco Chronicle article, "Gay Couple Win Lawsuit Against Adoption Web Site," by Henry Lee. The settlement was issued six weeks after a California federal judge cleared the way for it to go to trial, ruling that state's anti-discrimination laws applied to the Arizona-based company. Adoption.com argued it was governed by Arizona law, which does not prohibit discrimination against people based on marital status or sexual orientation. To read the article, go to:
CULTURAL BARRIERS REPORTEDLY HURT S. KOREA DOMESTIC ADOPTION EFFORT
Although May marked the second annual Adoption Day in South Korea, the government has yet to significantly increase the number of domestic adoptions in the country, according to a May 11
Chosun article, "Gov't Working to Encourage Adoptions." Overseas adoptions accounted for more than half of all adoptions last year, despite hitting a low of 1,899 children (falling below 2,000 for the first time). In January, the government introduced a new rule that requires a child be considered for a domestic adoption for five months before being available for an overseas family. In addition, the government has extended payment of adoption subsidies through age 18 (previously age 13). Despite these efforts, cultural barriers continue to prevent domestic adoptions from expanding. Reportedly, girls account for 64 percent of all domestic adoptions, and last year 98 percent of the 713 handicapped children available were adopted by families overseas, while only 2 percent (12 children) were adopted by native Koreans. To read the article, go to:
RECENT FOSTER CARE REPORTS FEATURED FOR NATIONAL FOSTER CARE MONTH
The U.S. Children's Bureau featured two recent reports concerning foster youth during May, National Foster Care Month. "State Policies to Help Youth Transition Out of Foster Care," issued at the end of January 2007 by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, reviews efforts by states to support youth leaving care; some states have developed cross-system approaches to integrate employment, postsecondary education, mental health, and juvenile justice systems' services. To access this report, go to:
The second feature by the Children's Bureau was the newly released, 61-page "Report to Congress on Interjurisdictional Placement." It incorporates results of a survey by the Research Triangle Institute on states' strategies to overcome placement barriers. To access this report, go to:
In addition, an information packet entitled "Child, Youth and Family Involvement in Case Planning," by Richard Barinbaum, was added to this website in April. This publication summarizes federal legislation pertaining to this issue and lists model programs and resources. To access, scroll to the last bullet on the following site:
ADOPTION LEARNING PARTNERS ADDS COURSE ON OLDER CHILD ADOPTION
The web-based educational program Adoption Learning Partners, which was founded by The Cradle agency, has added a new course, "Adopting the Older Child." The course helps prospective parents explore whether adoption of an older child, either domestically or internationally, is right for them and focuses on understanding challenges, strategies for integrating the child into a new family, and when and where to get help. The course can be taken for no charge, or for a small fee if desiring credit or a certificate of completion. To access, go to:
REVIEW OFFERS GUIDELINES FOR HOME STUDIES WITH GAY/LESBIAN FAMILIES
"Assessing Lesbian and Gay Prospective Foster and Adoptive Families: A Focus on the Home Study," by Gerald Mallon, synthesizes research literature, practice wisdom and case examples to offer guidelines for competent assessment with prospective foster or adoptive parents who are lesbian or gay. This article, in the most recent issue of
Child Welfare (Volume 86, Issue 2), suggests that in addition to the usual elements of home studies, an important additional element is learning how applicants have managed the challenges of homophobia and heterosexism. It says workers should anticipate applicant guardedness and work to address concerns and develop a trusting relationship. To access an abstract of this article, go to:
COMMENTARY IN ADOPTION QUARTERLY SUGGESTS ADOPTION LAW CHANGES
"Adoption Consents: Legal Incentives for Best Practices," by Elizabeth Samuels, discusses the trend toward deregulation of child placement and cites a need for laws that support best practices in adoption - especially the provision of skilled, unbiased counseling, as well as requiring longer waiting periods before relinquishments can be signed and longer revocation periods. This commentary was included in the most recent issue of
Adoption Quarterly (Volume 10, Issue 1). To access the article for a fee or order the journal, go to:
CHILDREN'S BUREAU OFFERS WEBCASTS ON TITLE IV-E ADOPTION ASSISTANCE
The video archives and Power Point presentations from two webcasts hosted by the Children's Bureau on May 1 and 3, "Title IV-E Adoption Assistance - Everything You Always Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask," are available on the website of the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Adoption. Each of these contains about a 30-minute presentation by Kathy McCue of the Children's Bureau and some Q&A comments from participants. To access, go to:
BENEFITS OF OPEN ADOPTION DISCUSSED FOR ADOPTEES AND PARENTS
The Adoption Institute's Executive Director, Adam Pertman, discusses some of the benefits for adopted people and birthmothers in two articles focusing on open adoption arrangements - situations where adoptive parents, birth parents and adopted children maintain some level of contact after placement. In a May 6 article published in the
Washington Post Magazine, "Open (Secret)" by Liz Mundy, Pertman says the movement toward more openness began in the 1970s led by birth mothers and adult adoptees who sought to open records, encourage more openness in adoptions, and garner more rights. In a May 10 article, "Open Adoptions Ease Pain for Birth Mothers," by Leigh Bell published in
Tulsa World Pertman says birthmothers also benefit from knowing about the well-being of the children they place. "For generations, we acted as though women could give up their kids and not have grief about it," he states, adding, "That's not humane. That's not real."
To read the Washington Post article, go to:
to read the Tulsa World article, go to:
to read the Adoption Institute's study on safeguarding the rights and well-being of birth parents, go to:
PEER SUPPORT CALLED VALUABLE FOR ADOPTED TEENS, ESPECIALLY ON IDENTITY
In a May 13 article written by Tess Nacelewicz and published in Maine's Portland Press Herald, "Adopted Teens Share and Advise," Institute Policy & Operations Director Hollee McGinnis comments that support groups such as the one described are valuable for adopted youth who are exploring and questioning their identities. McGinnis says more than 350,000 children from overseas have been adopted by U.S. citizens in the past 30 years, many of whom have been raised in transracial families. This community can provide important connections for adopted youth, as well as valuable insights for professionals on how to help them navigate adolescence and complex identities. To read the article, go to:
ADOPTION INSTITUTE'S ANNUAL SPRING GALA IN NEW YORK A GREAT SUCCESS
Our third annual "Taste of Spring" benefit in New York City was a rousing success - fun (and delicious) for the 250 attendees and a great fundraiser (bringing in almost $390,000) for the Institute's vital work. Thanks to the generosity of our many donors and supporters; to our dedicated Benefit Chair, Sandy McManus, and her hard-working committee; to the donors of one-of-a-kind opportunities and adventures for our auction; and to a host of talented chefs. This year's honorees, the esteemed journalists Judy Woodruff and Al Hunt, spoke eloquently about the importance of the Institute's work, and their own lives as adoptive parents. Sharon Taylor, senior vice president of corporate human resources for Prudential Financial, the corporate honoree, spoke of the company's strong commitment to supporting employees who become adoptive and foster parents.
SAVE THE DATES: ETHICS CONFERENCE AND NEW EVENTS FOR SUMMER & FALL
In an effort to promote more thoughtful, humane and productive policies and practices relating to adoption and foster care, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and Ethica, Inc. will co-sponsor a major national conference "Adoption Ethics and Accountability: Doing it Right Makes a Lifetime of Difference," to be held Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 15-16, 2007, at the Marriott Crystal Gateway, 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington, VA. It will bring together scores of the most prominent researchers, practitioners, authors and activists in adoption and foster care in our country today. To register for or learn more about the conference, please go to
If you have questions, contact Project Administrator Mari Cochran at [email protected] or 617-680-0808. To read a press release about the conference, go to:
Several new and repeat events are scheduled around the country for the coming months.
Following up on our successful event in Washington, D.C., on March 27, we are planning a second gathering there on June 27 to launch the Institute's new legislative initiative to improve laws, policies and practices relating to adoption and foster care at the local, state and national levels. We are assembling a group of government and community officials, professionals, journalists and advocates to help increase our presence - and effectiveness - in the nation's capital and around the country.
On July 22, EBD Board Member Matt Donaldson is once again participating in the Iron Man triathlon, being held in Lake Placid, NY. We are seeking sponsors to donate $100 a mile for as many miles as they can, from 1 mile to the total (the event includes a 26 mile marathon, a 2.4 mile swim, and 112 miles of bicycling). For more information on the triathlon, visit
and to donate email Laura James at [email protected] or call (212) 925-4089.
Other scheduled summer events include a house party in the Massachusetts Berkshires town of Monterey on August 18. Fall plans feature a major fundraiser in Los Angeles. A benefit concert is also scheduled for the Boston area on November 9. And, coming full circle back to New York, we are planning our first child-focused event for next winter. Dates and details will be included in future newsletters and will be posted on our website as they become available.
Thanks to all the hard-working volunteers and supporters who are helping to make these events possible, ensuring we can continue doing our unique, important work.
If you are interested in hosting an event in your area, please contact Laura James at [email protected]. And if parties are not "your thing," we welcome direct support of our work. Some of our current projects available for support include:
TRANSCULTURAL ADOPTION & IDENTITY
RIGHTS & WELL-BEING OF BIRTHPARENTS
EXPANDING RESOURCES FOR CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE
ADOPTION AGENCY PRACTICES WITH GAYS AND LESBIANS
ADOPTIVE PARENT PREPARATION PROJECT
RESTORING RIGHTS TO ACCESS BIRTH RECORDS
SAFE HAVENS: ARE THE LAWS WORKING?
EDUCATE THE EDUCATORS AND EDUCATE THE MEDIA PROGRAMS
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.
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. 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: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/about/support.php,
or print and complete this form http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/donate/donatereply.pdf,
and fax it to 775-796-6592, or mail it with your check or credit card information to:
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
120 East 38th Street
New York, NY 10016
The Adoption Institute e-Newsletter highlights laws, policy, practice, news, research, and public opinion to educate readers about emerging issues and new information that may impact adoption. The Adoption Institute does not make any representations about the accuracy or reliability of the information reported in the newsletter, and inclusion of items in the newsletter does not signify Adoption Institute support of author perspectives or positions.
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