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UNITED STATES RATIFIES HAGUE CONVENTION ON INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION
President George Bush signed the instrument of ratification for the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption on Nov. 16, completing the final procedural step for the United States to join over 70 other countries as a full member of the Convention. The instrument will be deposited with designated authorities in the Netherlands on Dec. 12 and is expected to enter into force in this country on April 1, 2008. The Hague Convention is intended to protect children and families involved in intercountry adoptions and prevent the abduction, sale, or trafficking of children. Once the treaty is in force, the U.S. Department of State, as the Central Authority, will be responsible for ensuring all Convention requirements are followed, including the accreditation of U.S. adoption service providers and the tracking of children both entering and leaving the country for adoption. In 2006, 20,679 orphan visas were issued to children entering the U.S. for adoption. To read the State Department press release, go to:
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2007/nov/95469.htm; to read the notice, go to:
CANADIAN LAW SIMPLIFIES CITIZENSHIP FOR ADOPTEES BORN ABROAD
A new Canadian law that will expedite the citizenship process for children adopted from overseas came into effect on Nov. 8. The law, passed on June 22, 2007, amends the existing Citizenship Act and eliminates the need for a child adopted abroad to obtain permanent residency prior to being naturalized. The law also permits, subject to certain conditions, the granting of citizenship to children adopted overseas after Feb. 14, 1977, and permits citizenship to be granted prior to the finalization of an adoption for children adopted into Quebec; it is the only province that does not complete adoptions until the children are in Canada and are residing with their adoptive parents. To read the law, go to:
SENATORS AIM TO IMPROVE RETENTION OF PARENTS FOR FOSTER CHILDREN
U.S. Senators Hillary Clinton and John Rockefeller introduced legislation (S2395) on Nov. 16 that would establish a pilot program "designed to effect long-range improvements in the adoption process by increasing prospective adoptive parent access to adoption information and strengthening such agencies' responsiveness to prospective adoptive parents." The Adoption Improvement Act of 2007 is based in part by a paper released in 2005 by the Adoption Institute, "Listening to Parents: Overcoming Barriers to the Adoption of Children from Foster Care," which reported that over 90 percent of potential parents recruited to adopt children from foster care do not wind up adopting because of frustrations and lack of responsiveness by the system. The bill would allocate $50,000,000 and provide no less than 10 grants to child welfare agencies for programs that demonstrated improvements in the adoption process. To read the bill, which is being considered by the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, go to:
http://thomas.loc.gov/ and search for S2395 in the bill text field. To read the Adoption Institute paper, go to:
CALIFORNIA STATUTE PUTS EMPHASIS ON PLACEMENT WITH EXTENDED FAMILY
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed the Relative Caregiver Bill (AB298) into law, allowing foster children greater access to permanent placement with extended family members. The statute allows for extended family members to be given legal guardianship as a preference over adoption by non-family members. In addition, the law - enacted in October - requires relative caregivers to be given information regarding the options of legal guardianship and adoption, including the long-term benefits and consequences of each option. To read the law, go to:
http://www.legislature.ca.gov/port-bilinfo.html and search by bill number.
ANALYSIS ADVOCATES OVERSIGHT BODY TO AVOID GUATEMALA ADOPTION BAN
A legal analysis of the current situation in Guatemalan adoptions offers two statutory bases in current law as authority to develop a compromise position that would avoid a total ban on U.S. adoption of Guatemalan children, a step viewed as not in the best interest of these children. "To Regulate or Not to Regulate: The Need for Compliance with International Norms by Guatemala and Cooperation by the United States in Order to Maintain Intercountry Adoptions," by Laura Daly, was published in the current issue of Family Court Review
(Volume 45, Issue 4). The author recommends that the U.S. aid Guatemala in reforming its adoption system through a unified oversight body containing representatives from the U.S. State Department and adoption experts from both countries. This compromise and structured plan would need to be developed before the Hague Convention enters into force in the U.S. and end once Hague-compliant adoption procedures are in place. To access an abstract, go to:
INSTITUTE REPORT SUGGESTS ADULT ADOPTEES GET BIRTH CERTIFICATE ACCESS
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute published a major report during National Adoption Month, representing the most comprehensive examination to date of one of the most controversial, emotional issues in the modern adoption world: whether adopted people, once they become adults, should have access to their original birth information. This report suggests that all states change their laws so that the answer is "yes." The paper "For the Records: Restoring a Right to Adult Adoptees" was published on the Institute website on Nov. 12. The policy brief provides an extensive look at the various issues related to state laws governing adult adopted persons' access to their original birth certificates and/or adoption records. Among its findings are that prohibiting adopted people from obtaining their personal information raises significant civil rights concerns and that in those states that now allow access, there is no evidence it has been detrimental to adopted persons or birthmothers. To read the full report, go to:
REVIEW APPLIES RESEARCH FINDINGS TO COUNSELING ADOPTED ADULTS
Research indicates adopted adults are much more likely to seek counseling than are other adults, but few mental health practitioners are trained in adoption issues. A critical review of the empirical literature on adult adoptees in three categories - identity development, search and reunion, and overall adjustment outcomes - addresses the implications for counseling adopted adults, identifies best practices, and discusses future research needs. "Counseling Adopted Persons in Adulthood: Integrating Practice and Research," by Amanda Baden and Mary Wiley, is in the November issue of The Counseling Psychologist
(Volume 35, Issue 6). The authors utilize clinical case examples to illustrate adoption-sensitive practice while acknowledging the uniqueness and complexity of each adopted person's story. To access a free abstract, go to:
JOURNAL LETTERS ADDRESS ABUSE FATALITIES IN INTERNATIONAL ADOPTIONS
A series of correspondence in the November edition of Child Maltreatment (Volume 12, Issue 4) address the topic of child abuse fatalities in international adoptive families. The subject is framed by a letter to the editor from Laurie Miller, Wilma Chan, Robert Reece, Linda Tirella, and Adoption Institute Executive Director Adam Pertman, "Child Abuse Fatalities among Internationally Adopted Children," reporting 18 abuse fatalities since 1996 and more than 250,000 international adoptions since 1989. In this letter and a second one, "Family and Research Context of Internationally Adopted Child Abuse Fatalities," Miller, et al. raise considerations of parent preparation, the need for professionals to identify post-adoption depression, the complexity of many children's needs, and the inadequacy of post-adoption services. Two additional letters reiterate concerns about insufficient access to professional adoption-competent support and call for more research on child factors in the prediction of maltreatment. To access for a fee, go to:
META-ANALYSIS FINDS NO RISK FOR LOWER SELF-ESTEEM IN ADOPTED PERSONS
A meta-analysis of 88 studies comparing the self-esteem of 10,977 adopted and 33,862 non-adopted persons found no risk for lower self-esteem among adopted persons. "Adoptees Do Not Lack Self-Esteem: A Meta-Analysis of Studies on Self-Esteem of Transracial, International, and Domestic Adoptees," by Femmie Juffer and Marinus van IJzendoom, is in the most recent issue of Psychological Bulletin
(Volume 133, Issue 6). The authors also analyzed 18 studies comparing transracial and same-race adoptees on self-esteem, finding no lower self-esteem among transracial adoptees. For a free abstract, go to:
STUDY REPORTS IMPACT OF FOSTERING ON BIOLOGICAL CHILDREN IN FAMILIES
A qualitative study of the impact on the biological children within families that provide foster care reports themes from interviews with 16 such children, ages 8 and older, and their parents in 10 foster families. While all parents and children reported a range of positive and negative consequences, they indicated that fostering enriched their lives. "Addressing the Impact of Foster Care on Biological Children and Their Families," by Maha Younes and Michele Harp, is in the current issue of
Child Welfare (Volume 86, Issue 4). Participants reported shifts in family structure, roles, and expectations and only 2 in 10 parents discussed these changes with their children after foster children arrived. Recommendations include more involvement of children in the fostering decision, in preparation, and in communication about later adjustments. To access a free abstract, go to:
NETHERLANDS REPORTEDLY WILL TIGHTEN FOREIGN ADOPTION REGULATIONS
According to a Nov. 7 report by Reuters, "Dutch Tightens Foreign Adoption Rules after Probes," the government stated it would "improve adoption rules, tighten supervision over adoption agencies and increase checks over money spent abroad" after it completed an investigation into possible irregularities in the adoption of some children from India between 1995 and 2002. The Meiling Foundation adoption agency investigated in the probe maintained it acted appropriately in the placement of the children from India. To read the article, go to:
BRITISH POLL IDENTIFIES CONTINUING MISTAKEN BELIEFS ABOUT ADOPTION
A poll conducted by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) showed that many of the 2,000 adults surveyed had misconceptions about adoption, according to an article published on Nov. 6 by the BBC, "Adoption Rights Misunderstood." One-third mistakenly thought individuals over 40 could not adopt, and about one-quarter thought single men were also banned. In addition, fewer than one-third knew that abuse or neglect were the most common reasons for children in the U.K. to be adopted, while most thought children were available because of voluntary birthparent relinquishment. Although one in five adults in Britain has considered adopting, the number of those doing so has fallen over the years; in 2007, only 3,300 children were adopted in England, the lowest number in the past five years. To read the article, go to:
DAVE THOMAS SURVEY: MANY WANT TO ADOPT, BUT HAVE MISCONCEPTIONS
An online survey of 1,660 adults conducted by Harris Interactive for the Dave Thomas Foundation was released in November, reporting that 3 in 10 Americans have considered adopting, and that adoption from foster care is considered by 71 percent of those interested in the process. However, mistaken perceptions about adoptions from foster care were found to be widespread. For example, 45 percent erroneously believed that children enter foster care because of juvenile delinquency; two-thirds believed that a biological parent could reclaim the child after adoption; and 46 percent believed adopting from foster care was expensive. To access an executive summary of the survey results, go to:
URBAN INSTITUTE COMPILES DATA ON VULNERABLE INFANTS AND TODDLERS
An Urban Institute report, "Vulnerable Infants and Toddlers in Four Service Systems," compiled data on the characteristics of vulnerable children and parents served through four national programs: the child welfare system, Early Head Start, the Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and Early Intervention Programs. The report offers data on many key dimensions, such as race, income, parental education and employment, and child health. Future reports in this series will describe the full spectrum of service systems and connections. To access, go to:
INSTITUTE REPORT ON ACCESS TO BIRTH CERTIFICATES GETS WIDE ATTENTION
The Adoption Institute's groundbreaking report, "For the Records: Restoring a Right to Adult Adoptees," has been widely reported in national print and broadcast media. Two major articles "Report: Let Adoptees See Birth Info" by David Crary of the Associated Press,
and "Report Urges Open Access to Records for Adult Adoptees," by Bonnie Miller Rubin of the Chicago Tribune - along with others written by additional journalists around the county - were featured in hundreds of newspapers, magazines, and websites in stories and
editorials nationwide and in some other countries. In addition, Executive Director Adam Pertman was extensively interviewed by print and broadcast media,
including National Public Radio and CBS Evening News. He told the Chicago Tribune: "The right to information is simply the right to information and should not be confused with the right to a relationship, which is something mutually developed between individuals." The AP article quotes the report as saying that access to birth certificates is "an essential step toward placing adoptive families, families of origin, everyone connected to them and, indeed, adoption itself on a level playing field within society, without the stigma, shame and inequitable treatment they have experienced in the past." To read the AP article in one newspaper, go to:
to read the Chicago Tribune article, go to: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-adopt12nov12,1,539465.story;
to listen to Pertman's interview on CBS News, go to: http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2007/11/12/couricandco/entry3492149.shtml;
to listen to Pertman's discussion on NPR, go to: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16258241
RAP STAR DARRYL 'DMC' MCDANIELS SAYS INSTITUTE REPORT 'GIVES POWER'
Rap superstar Darryl McDaniels (DMC of the group Run-DMC) stated in a press release on Nov. 13 that the new report "For the Records: Restoring a Right to Adult Adoptees" by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute is "a turning point in the struggle to give adopted people like me the same rights as everyone else has in this country." McDaniels learned at age 35 that he was adopted as an infant. He has dedicated himself to changing current laws since he discovered he could not get his own records several years ago and then found his birthmother without them - a journey chronicled in the VH1 documentary "DMC: My Adoption Journey." McDaniels states, "Knowledge is power, and the Adoption Institute report gives power to all of us who believe in equality and fairness. Now we can work together to win this fight, and we're going to do it." To read the press release, go to:
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR COMMENTS ON MASS. LAW, GUATEMALA ADOPTIONS
Executive Director Pertman, in a Nov. 28 WCVB-TV broadcast "Mass. To Set Open Adoption Records," questions the new Massachusetts law allowing adopted adults to obtain their original birth certificates because it only applies to those born before records were sealed (July 17, 1974) and those adopted after January 2008. Such 'sandwich' laws, he says, "are an unfair compromise based on myths about the need to protect adoptive families and the privacy of birthmothers," unsupported by findings from the new Institute report on adoption records. In a Nov. 6 Philadelphia Inquirer
article by Jeff Gammage, "Awaiting Adoptions That May Never Be," about legislative changes in Guatemala that have caused uncertainty for parents waiting to adopt from that nation, Pertman comments, "As long as there's poverty and war, kids will need homes. But where those kids are, where they go - those things are changing." For the WCVB report, go to:
to read the Philadelphia Inquirer article, go to: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/pa/20071106_Awaiting_adoptions_that_may _never_be.html
INSTITUTE'S BRODZINSKY: KIDS DO BEST WITH `A STABLE, SINGLE CAREGIVER'
In a Nov. 8 article by Naomi Schwarz, "Scandal in Chad Raises Adoption Debate" published in Voice of America, Research and Project Director Dr. David Brodzinsky discusses the value of intercountry adoption and the fact that children do best with a stable, single caregiver. "We certainly know that kids who are adopted for all the risks that may be associated with adoption do much better than kids who linger in orphanages who linger long-term in foster care or who are with parents who neglect them or abuse them," states Brodzinsky. The article discusses the debate surrounding intercountry adoption in the wake of the current controversy surrounding the attempt by a French organization to remove 106 children from Chad to families in Europe. To read the article, go to:
INSTITUTE HOLDS FIRST BOSTON-AREA FUNDRAISER - AND IT'S A SUCCESS
The Institute Celebrated National Adoption Month with a Benefit Concert on Nov. 9. "Rockin' for Our Kids," held at the Spring Valley Country Club in suburban Sharon, MA, was a success (and a lot of fun) thanks to the contributions and participation of our New England supporters. The evening featured a fabulous dinner, silent auction, and live music by the Annulments and Danny Klein's Full House. A highlight was when a group of children, who were invited to join their parents at the event, formed a circle on the dance floor and got into the music (so, you could say that the kids were rockin' for us as much as we were rockin' for them)! Many thanks to our event sponsors, Bonnie A. Emmons and John H. Emmons, Jr.; Wide Horizons for Children; the publications BostonNOW and TRAVELHOST; the Family Equality Council; and Peter Hackel and PH Productions. And very special thanks to our lead sponsor, State Street Corporation, and to our extraordinary volunteers, Doug Mehne and Jerry Urdang, who did so much to make the event a success. To read more about the event, go to:
PLEASE INCLUDE THE ADOPTION INSTITUTE IN YOUR YEAR-END GIVING
As we approach the end of the year, please consider making a donation to support the Adoption Institute's work to provide evidence-based, unbiased information to improve the lives of everyone touched by adoption. The Institute has no endowment, and depends on the generosity of supporters who understand the importance of the work we do, and the wide-reaching impact it has on the entire field of adoption. While we accomplish a great deal with very little, we can only pursue the projects and activities for which we have funding.
We are currently producing our first annual report in five years, which also provides an overview of what we have accomplished in that time. It will be made available in PDF form on our website, but please contact External Relations Director Laura James at
[email protected] if you would like a printed copy mailed to you.
Thank you for your continued interest in our work, and all best wishes of the season from the Board, staff, fellows and volunteers of the Adoption Institute.
And as soon as you get your 2008 calendar, be sure to save the date for our Taste of Spring benefit on May 14, 2008. Our fourth annual food and wine benefit in New York City will be as fun and entertaining as ever!
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:
• RESTORING RIGHTS TO ACCESS
• ADOPTIVE PARENT PREPARATION
• SAFE HAVENS: ARE THE LAWS
• TRANSCULTURAL ADOPTION
• ADOPTION AGENCY PRACTICES WITH
GAYS AND LESBIANS
• RIGHTS & WELL-BEING OF
• EXPANDING RESOURCES FOR
CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE
• 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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