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1. Law, Policy & Practice
- N.C. Enacts Intermediary Law to Enable Contact, Provide Information
- Russia Accredits 12 U.S. Agencies to Resume Overseas Adoptions
- GAO Addresses Disproportionate Number of Black Foster Children
- Bill Lowering Education Barriers to Adopted Foster Teens Progresses
- Florida Supreme Court Affirms Right of Putative Father to Be Involved
- Senators Introduce Bills to Provide Paid Leave for Birth or Adoption

2. Research
- Report Identifies Risk and Protective Factors for Foster Care Alumni
- Swedish Study Finds More Intercountry Adoptees in Residential Care
- Survey: Few Want to Give Their Frozen Embryos to Infertility Patients
- Research Links High-Tech Reproduction to Parental Overinvolvement
- Australian Study Finds Secrecy Has Negative Impact on Adoptees
- Evaluators See Benefits for Families in Sibling Visitation Program

3. News
- Proposed Guidelines Aim to Streamline Adoption Process in India
- New Korean Family Law Provides More Rights for Women and Adoptees
- NPR Series Examines Key Issues Relating to Adoption in America

4. Resources
- NACAC Offers Recommendations to Improve Post-Adoption Services
- AdoptUSKids Issues Guide on Buying Interstate Adoption Services
- Missouri Booklet Answers Common Questions about Adoption Process
- Telling Stories Described as Broadly Beneficial in Foster Care Work
- Report Card on Child’s Right to Counsel Finds Most States Fall Short

5. Institute Update
- Changing Complexion of Adoption Reflected in Three Generations
- Expectations for Putative Father Registries Called ‘Tricky at Best'
- Register Now for the National Ethics Conference and Get a Discount
- Institute Supporters Raise Funds in Non-Traditional Ways
- You’re Invited to a Party – Summer and Fall Events to Enable Our Work

Law, Policy & Practice

N.C. ENACTS INTERMEDIARY LAW TO ENABLE CONTACT, PROVIDE INFORMATION 
North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley signed legislation (HB445) on July 23 enabling adopted persons age 21 and older, their direct descendants, birthparents, and adoptive parents of minors to work with confidential intermediaries to facilitate contact with each other, obtain non-identifying health information, or receive identifying information with the consent of all parties. The new law (Ch. SL 2007-262) allows state-licensed child-placement agencies to act as intermediaries, and permits birthparents and adoptive parents to sign consents for the release of identifying information at the time of the adoption. The act takes effect on Jan. 1, 2008, and covers requests from that date forward. To read the law, go to: http://www.ncleg.net

RUSSIA ACCREDITS 12 U.S. AGENCIES TO RESUME OVERSEAS ADOPTIONS
Five more U.S. adoption agencies have been accredited by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science – bringing the total to 12, with more expected in the near future, according to a notice posted July 19 by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Intercountry adoptions from Russia were suspended in April, when the approximately 50 U.S. agencies working there had their accreditations expire as a result of a law passed last November. The new law requires foreign adoption agencies to become nongovernmental organizations, and four Russian governmental ministries must approve their accreditation. In addition, an agency’s accreditation can now be temporarily suspended for a single late post-placement report. The changes are intended to ensure tighter control and more transparency, as well as to improve pre-adoption training and post-placement monitoring. To read the notice on the U.S. Embassy page and list of agencies, go to:  http://moscow.usembassy.gov; To read a related news article, go to: http://www.chicagotribune.com

GAO ADDRESSES DISPROPORTIONATE NUMBER OF BLACK FOSTER CHILDREN 
The Government Accountability Office issued a report to the House Ways and Means Committee in July, “African American Children in Foster Care.” This 81-page report analyzes the factors contributing to the disproportionate number of African American children in the child welfare system and suggests strategies for addressing the problem. While blacks make up 15 percent of the overall U.S. population, they constitute 34 percent of children in foster care. The GAO, among its recommendations, suggests federal funding of subsidized guardianships. To access the report, go to: http://waysandmeans.house.gov

BILL LOWERING EDUCATION BARRIERS TO ADOPTED FOSTER TEENS PROGRESSES
 
The U.S. Senate passed legislation on July 20 that included an amendment to provide better access to higher education for teens adopted from foster care. The “Fostering Adoption to Further Student Achievement Act” (FAFSA), co-sponsored by Senators Norm Coleman and Mary Landrieu, was added to the Higher Education Access Act of 2007 (HR2669). The provision would change the federal financial aid definition of “independent student” to include foster care youth adopted after age 10; students’ financial aid eligibility would be based solely on their ability to pay, regardless of adoptive parents’ income. Currently, youth who “age out” of the foster care system can qualify for virtually all loans and grants, but since adoptive family income is included in determining eligibility for those who have been adopted, adopted teens have not qualified to receive the same loans and grants. The higher education bill is awaiting reconciliation between the Senate and House versions (the latter does not include the FAFSA amendment, but does provide loan forgiveness for child welfare social workers). To read the Senate version, go to: http://thomas.loc.gov and search for HR2669 in the bill search field.

FLORIDA SUPREME COURT AFFIRMS RIGHT OF PUTATIVE FATHER TO BE INFORMED
The Florida state Supreme Court issued an opinion on July 12 stating that an unmarried father whose child is being considered for adoption cannot have his parental rights terminated based solely on his failure to register with the Florida Putative Father Registry, if he did not receive appropriate notice about that requirement. A man is considered a putative father if paternity has not been established and he is not married to the mother or has not adopted the child. The court further stipulated that adoption entities “must serve a known, locatable, unmarried biological father with notice of the adoption plan” advising him that he has 30 days after service in which to file a claim of paternity with the Registry and, if he wants to contest the adoption, to file an affidavit to the court. The case, Heart of Adoptions, Inc. vs. J.A., was sent back to the lower court for resolution; it involves a 30-year-old unmarried man who filed a paternity claim the day after the birth of his son – but never signed the Registry. To read the opinion, go to:  http://www.floridasupremecourt.org

SENATORS INTRODUCE BILLS TO PROVIDE PAID LEAVE FOR BIRTH OR ADOPTION
Senators Christopher Dodd and Ted Stevens have introduced measures to provide paid family leave for birth or adoption. Sen. Dodd’s bill (S1681), introduced in June, would apply to both public and private sector employees and would permit eight weeks of paid leave to women and men after the birth or adoption of a child; for care of a critically ill child, spouse or parent; or for personal recovery from a serious illness. Sen. Stevens provision (S80), introduced in January and being considered in committee, would provide federal employees with eight weeks of paid leave for the birth of a child and would require a minimum of one week of paid leave for fathers and adoptive parents. To read the bills, go to: http://thomas.loc.gov and search for S1681 and S80 in the bill search field.

Research

REPORT IDENTIFIES RISK AND PROTECTIVE FACTORS FOR FOSTER CARE ALUMNI
A study of 564 adults who were previously in foster care and diagnosed with a physical or mental impairment identified factors associated with resilience as reflected in self-esteem and mental health measures; those factors included living with foster parents perceived as helpful, receiving mental health services, and greater stability in foster placements. “An Evaluation of Recovery Factors for Foster Care Alumni with Physical or Psychiatric Impairments: Predictors of Psychological Outcomes,” by Tina Anctil, Laurie McCubbin, Kirk O’Brien and Peter Pecora, will be published in the August issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 29, Issue 8). Risk factors for overall mental health included experiencing sexual abuse and receiving independent living services (an unexpected finding). To access a free abstract, go to: http://www.sciencedirect.com

SWEDISH STUDY FINDS MORE INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTEES IN RESIDENTIAL CARE
Researchers found that Swedish children adopted from other countries outside Europe were  over four times more likely to be placed in residential care after age 10 than their non-adopted peers. “Intercountry Adoptees in Out-of-Home Care: A National Cohort Study,” by Anna Elmund, Frank Lindblad, Bo Vinnerljung and Anders Hjern, was published in the March issue of Acta Paediatrica (Volume 96, Issue 3); it examined 16,522 intercountry adoptees born outside of Europe and over one million other Swedish children. Other factors associated with greater odds of residential care were a child’s having been adopted from Latin America, Africa or the Middle East; being older at the time of adoption; being adopted by a single parent; and the adoptive mother being older than 35 at the time of adoption. Adoptees from Asian countries and those under age 10 were not at a higher risk of being placed into residential care. To access a summary, go to: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com

SURVEY: FEW WANT TO GIVE THEIR FROZEN EMBRYOS TO INFERTILITY PATIENTS 
A national survey of more than 1,000 U.S. infertility patients – all of whom had embryos that were being stored – found that 60 percent were somewhat to very likely to donate the embryos for stem cell research, while 62 percent said they were somewhat to very likely to donate them for research related to human diseases. Only 22 percent said they were somewhat to very likely to donate their embryos to another infertile couple. “Willingness to Donate Frozen Embryos for Stem Cell Research,” by Anne Lyerly and Ruth Faden, was published in the July 6 issue of Science Magazine (Volume 317, No. 5834). The full text of this article can be viewed at: http://www.sciencemag.org

RESEARCH LINKS HIGH-TECH REPRODUCTION TO PARENTAL OVERINVOLVEMENT 
Researchers in England compared 21 families of preschoolers formed through embryo donation with 28 adoptive families and 30 in vitro fertilization families, finding that parents of children conceived through embryo donation evidenced increased emotional overinvolvement with their children, defensive responding, and secrecy within the family. “Parenting and Child Development in Families with a Child Conceived through Embryo Donation,” by Fiona MacCallum, Susan Golombok and Peter Brinsden, was published in the June issue of the Journal of Family Psychology (Volume, 21, Issue 2). The authors conclude that parents through embryo donation fall in the range of moderate rather than pathological over-involvement, which they suggest is linked with high-tech reproductive procedures. The study did not find significant differences on measures of marital quality or children’s socioemotional adjustment. For a free abstract, go to: http://content.apa.org

AUSTRALIAN STUDY FINDS SECRECY HAS NEGATIVE IMPACT ON ADOPTEES 
An Australian study investigated the impact that openness or secrecy in family communication about adoption had on 144 adopted adults. It found that those who experienced greater secrecy felt less close to their adoptive parents, perceived their parents as less caring and more controlling, and experienced more loneliness within the family. “Secrecy within Adoptive Families and Its Impact on Adult Adoptees,” by Nola Passmore, Judy Feeney and Alex Foulstone was published in a newsletter, Family Relationships Quarterly (Number 5, 2007). Adoptees who found out about their adoptions later in life often felt a sense of betrayal and, for some, the trust issues transferred into relationships outside the family. To access the article, go to: http://www.aifs.gov.au

EVALUATORS SEE BENEFITS FOR FAMILIES IN SIBLING VISITATION PROGRAM 
A case study evaluation of the Sibling Kinnections Program, developed by the Center for Family Connections in Massachusetts, demonstrated the benefits for children and their respective birth, foster and adoptive parents in the use of clinical work to support visitation. “Sibling Kinnections: A Clinical Visitation Program,” by Joyce Pavao, Melissa St. John, Rebecca Cannole, Tara Fischer, Anthony Maluccio and Suzanne Peining, was published in the March/April issue of Child Welfare (Volume 86, Issue 2). The model intervention provided the use of clinician-facilitated sibling visits and concurrent meetings with the parents of the sibs being raised apart. To access an abstract, go to: http://www.cwla.org

 

News

PROPOSED GUIDELINES AIM TO STREAMLINE ADOPTION PROCESS IN INDIA
India’s Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) has proposed changes in its guidelines to improve safeguards for children and reduce the waiting time for adoptions, according to a July 12 article in The Times of India, “Couples May Have to Wait Less for Adoption.” The proposed changes, which have been submitted to the Ministry of State for Women and Child Development, would require compulsory registration of all child-care institutions and make HIV testing mandatory for all children admitted to an adoption agency. The guidelines also would require all foreign adoption agencies to work directly with CARA instead of with Indian placing agencies. The adoption fee for intercountry adoptions would be kept at a maximum of US $3,500 and foreign agencies would be required to inform CARA of any additional money paid to an Indian entity.  The proposed rules would also reduce waiting times to three months and, in overseas placements, the children would receive automatic citizenship in their adoptive parents’ home nations. To read the article, go to: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

NEW KOREAN FAMILY LAW PROVIDES MORE RIGHTS FOR WOMEN AND ADOPTEES
The South Korean Supreme Court has issued the final details of its new family registration law, which will replace the traditional patriarchal “hoju” system, according to a June 4 Korea Herald article by Shin Hae-in, “New Law Takes on Patriarchal Family System.” The new statute will take effect on Jan. 1, 2008, and will radically change how South Koreans have legally defined a family. The current system gives mothers fewer parental rights – which contributed, in part, to the problem of legal orphans and the availability of children for overseas adoptions. Under the new law, a child born outside of marriage can be registered under the mother’s family name and not only under the father’s. The changed system would also allow children to claim a stepfather’s surname without agreement from the biological father. The new registration system also secures equal legal rights for adopted persons, on condition that the biological parents agree. Under the current system, adopted children and stepchildren have no rights to inheritance or certain rituals to honor deceased parents. To read the article, go to: http://www2.kwdi.re.kr

NPR SERIES EXAMINES KEY ISSUES RELATING TO ADOPTION IN AMERICA
National Public Radio aired a series of stories in July, entitled “Adoption in America,” that focused on a range of key issues relating to the subject. The segments included conversations with Judy Stigger, director of International Adoptions at The Cradle agency in Illinois, and her biracial son, Aaron; David and Desiree Smolin, who adopted two adolescent sisters from India and later found out that the girls were stolen from their birthmother; Susan Keum Cox, who was adopted from South Korea in 1956; and A.M. Homes, author of The Mistress’s Daughter, who discusses being found by her birthmother. To access the series, go to: http://www.npr.org

 

Resources

NACAC OFFERS RECOMMENDATIONS TO IMPROVE POST-ADOPTION SERVICES
The North American Council on Adoptable Children released a report in July, "Post-Adoption Services: Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Children Adopted from Foster Care," by Madelyn Freundlich (a Senior Research Fellow of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute). The paper discusses the mental health needs of children adopted from foster care and identifies specific post-adoption service programs, explores the limitations of current funding sources, and makes recommendations for improving post-adoption services. The paper can be downloaded at: http://www.nacac.org

ADOPTUSKIDS ISSUES GUIDE ON BUYING INTERSTATE ADOPTION SERVICES 
AdoptUSKids has issued a 59-page booklet designed to help public and private agency personnel who want to purchase interjurisdictional adoption services from other states. “Dollars and Sense: A Guide to Achieving Adoptions through Public-Private Contracting,” which became available in June, also includes guidelines for purchasing, contracting, and monitoring services. To access this report, go to: http://www.adoptuskids.org

MISSOURI BOOKLET ANSWERS COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT ADOPTION PROCESS 
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office released a 26-page booklet in July that explains various types of adoption and how the process works. The new booklet, entitled “Welcome Home,” is designed for use by prospective adoptive parents and addresses common questions about differences in the range of adoption types, typical fees, requirements, and the rights of birthparents. For a news release and link to the publication, go to:
http://www.ago.mo.gov

TELLING STORIES DESCRIBED AS BROADLY BENEFICIAL IN FOSTER CARE WORK 
“Fostering Stories: Why Caseworkers, Foster Parents, and Foster Children Should Read Stories about Being in Foster Care,” by Amy Baker, discusses the therapeutic uses of true and fictional narratives from the perspectives of both foster children and foster parents; it also reviews eight specific works. The article, published in the March issue of The American Journal of Family Therapy (Volume 35, Issue 2), identifies six common themes: the child’s fear of developing attachments; bad behavior that results from good intentions; internal conflict over betraying the original family; the powerful role of siblings; foster parents’ difficulty in dealing constructively with birthparents; and frustrations created by the child welfare system itself. To access an abstract, go to:
http://www.informaworld.com

REPORT CARD ON CHILD’S RIGHT TO COUNSEL FINDS MOST STATES FALL SHORT 
First Star, an organization advocating for laws that improve the lives of maltreated children, has published a 126-page report analyzing statutes and court rules in all 50 states to determine the extent to which they meet the federal requirement to provide trained counsel to all children involved in the child welfare system. “A Child's Right to Counsel: First Star's National Report Card on Legal Representation for Children” was released in April 2007 – and found most states don’t do very well. When assessed on six specific criteria, five states received a grade of “A,” 15 received an “F” and, in all, 32 states received a “C” or worse. To access the report, go to: http://www.firststar.org

 

Institute Updates

CHANGING COMPLEXION OF ADOPTION REFLECTED IN THREE GENERATIONS
In a July 22 Courier Journal (Kentucky) article by Katya Cengal, “Family Tree: Three Generations of Adoptees Embody Revolutionary Changes in Attitude,” Adoption Institute Executive Director Adam Pertman discusses the profound changes that have taken place in adoption in the United States, particularly the shift from the process being marked by shame to one of greater openness. To read the article, go to: http://www.courier-journal.com

EXPECTATIONS FOR PUTATIVE FATHER REGISTRIES CALLED `TRICKY AT BEST’
In a July 25 Daily Press (Virginia) article by Lisa Finneran, “Had Sex? State Wants to Know,” Pertman comments on Virginia’s Putative Father Registry, which went into effect July 1. He says that the requirement for all men to register to secure parental rights is controversial, while the expectation for people to register every time they have sex can be “tricky at best.” To read the article, go to: http://www.dailypress.com; to read the Institute white paper on the rights and well-being of birth parents, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/

REGISTER NOW FOR THE NATIONAL ETHICS CONFERENCE AND GET A DISCOUNT 
The Adoption Institute, which sponsored the first-ever ethics conference in the field in 1999, is partnering with Ethica, Inc. to hold a second major national ethics conference in suburban Washington, D.C. Registration is now available for the event, "Adoption Ethics and Accountability: Doing it Right Makes a Lifetime of Difference," which will take place Oct. 15 and 16 at the Marriot Crystal Gateway in Arlington, Va. An early registration discount and CEU credits are available. Attendees – together with over 60 of the most prominent adoption practitioners, researchers, policy makers, advocates and triad members in the field – will examine and discuss ethical issues in all types of adoption, with the objective of publishing recommendations for improving ethical policy and practice. Visit the conference website, http://www.ethicsconference.net to register and to read the full program itinerary and list of confirmed speakers. If you have questions, please e-mail Adoption Institute Project Administrator Mari Cochran at mcochran@adoptioninstitute.org or call 617-680-0808.

INSTITUTE SUPPORTERS RAISE FUNDS IN NON-TRADITIONAL WAYS 
While we will continue to raise funds through the more traditional methods of grant applications, benefit events and mailings, we are grateful to our supporters who have gone “outside-the-box” – and onto the sidewalks and through the waves – to support our work. On July 22, Adoption Institute Board Member Matt Donaldson, son of Evan B. Donaldson, once again completed the Iron Man triathlon, held in Lake Placid, NY. Sponsors supported Matt’s efforts by donating $100 a mile for as many miles as they wished, up to the entire 26 mile marathon running, 2.4 miles of swimming and 112 miles of bicycling. And one need not be an athlete – or even a grown-up! – to help our work. David, son of Institute supporters Jackie Kaplan and Ann Perkins, raised over $80 running a lemonade stand with his cousin Eve, and told his parents he wanted all of it to go to support our important work. We give our heartfelt thanks to Matt, David and Eve!

YOU’RE INVITED TO A PARTY – SUMMER AND FALL EVENTS TO ENABLE OUR WORK 
There’s still nothing like a good party. On August 18, the Institute will be hosting an event – just for fun –at a beautiful home in the Massachusetts Berkshires town of Monterey. Guests will meet Executive Director Adam Pertman and talk with others interested in adoption in an informal (and scenic) setting. If you will be in the Berkshires this August (or want to be), wish to attend or know of others who would like to join us, please contact our Director of External Relations, Laura James, by e-mailing ljames@adoptioninstitute.org.

Other fall events include a major fundraiser in Los Angeles on October 25 and a Boston Benefit Concert on November 9. The benefit concert, “Rockin’ for Our Kids,” is in celebration of National Adoption Month and will be held at the Spring Valley Country Club in Sharon, MA. The concert will include cocktails, dinner and a silent auction as well as live entertainment. To see the invitation and/or purchase tickets using our secure PayPal site, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/events/rockinkids_2007.php; or you can print and mail this response card to secure tickets, here: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/events/rockinticketpurchaseform.pdf

And you may not have your 2008 calendar yet, but it’s never too soon to save the date for our 2008 Taste of Spring on May 14, 2008. Our fourth annual food and wine benefit will be as fun and entertaining as ever!

If you are interested in hosting an event in your area, please contact Laura James at ljames@adoptioninstitute.org. And if parties are not "your thing," we welcome direct support of our work – as well as new and creative ways to support us as described above! 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

To find out more about contributing to the important work of the Institute, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/about/support.php

 

About the Evan D. 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. 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

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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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