If you cannot access the message below, view the Web version at http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old.


Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the November 2008 edition of the E-Newsletter is being published on Dec. 1, 2008.

PLEASE SUPPORT THE ADOPTION INSTITUTE IN YOUR YEAR-END GIVING We hope you find our e-newsletter helpful and informative. While this is a free service for our readers, it is not costless. As we approach the end of the year, we hope you will consider making a donation to support the e-newsletter and all the important work of the Adoption Institute more

1. Law, Policy & Practice
- Arkansans Vote to Ban Unmarried Couples as Foster/Adoptive Parents
- Nebraska Legislators Set Age Limit for Infant Abandonment Law
- Florida Judge Rules Gay Adoption Ban Unconstitutional
- Number of Intercountry Adoptions by Americans Drops Sharply in 2008

2. Research
- Research: Marital Dynamics Shape Communication About Adoption
- Analysis Identifies Predictors of Adoption from Foster Care
- Study Finds Adoption Training is Effective for Education Students
- Subtle Differences Reported on Mothers of Adopted, Birth Infants

3. News
- Officials in Britain to Reevaluate Interracial Adoption Policy
- More Children Entering State Care in Russia, But Fewer Being Adopted
- Arizona Adoption Agency Closes, Charged with Defrauding Clients
- Iowa Initiative Aims to Reduce Racial Bias in Foster Care System

4. Resources
- Adoption Learning Partners Offers CEUs for Eight On-Line Courses
- Paper Gives Evidence for Extension of Cut-Off Age for Subsidies
- New Ad Campaign Promotes Adoption of Teens from Foster Care
- Grandfamilies Site Offers Resources to Support Relative Caregivers

5. Institute Update
- Adoption Institute Submits Testimony on Nebraska's 'Safe Haven' Law
- Institute Urges Minn. Governor to Support Adoptee Access to Records
- Change in Federal Law Suggested to Help More Children Get Homes
- Ruling on Florida Adoption Ban Described as 'Very Important, Hopeful'
- Research in Action: Training for Adoption Professionals and Parents
- Please Support the Adoption Institute in Your Year-End Giving

Law, Policy & Practice

ARKANSANS VOTE TO BAN UNMARRIED COUPLES AS FOSTER/ADOPTIVE PARENTS
Arkansas voters passed a ballot initiative on Nov. 4 that bans all unmarried, cohabitating couples - straight or gay - from becoming foster or adoptive parents. Of those who voted, 57 percent supported the measure, which was written with the intent of preventing gay couples from becoming adoptive or foster parents, since they cannot legally marry in the state. Arkansas joins Utah as one of two states with bans prohibiting unmarried heterosexual and same-sex couples from fostering or adopting children; Mississippi permits single gays to adopt but prohibits gay couples from adopting jointly Florida is the only state in the nation that explicitly bans gays and lesbians from adopting, though it allows them to be foster parents. The Arkansas statute will take effect Jan. 1, 2009. To read the full text of the initiative, go to: http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/elections/elections_pdfs/proposed_amendments/2007-293_Adopt_or_Foster_parent.pdf. To read the Adoption Institute publications on this issue, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/publications/#gaylesbianadoption

NEBRASKA LEGISLATORS SET AGE LIMIT FOR INFANT ABANDONMENT LAW
In a special legislative session on Nov. 21, Nebraska lawmakers lowered the age limit for the state's "safe haven" law, allowing the abandonment only of infants up to 30 days old. Previously, the state had permitted parents to legally abandon their children at designated sites through the age of 18. Since that law went into effect in July, a total of 36 children had been abandoned at hospitals, some as old as 17 and from other states. After considerable controversy and criticism, legislators voted, 43-5, to limit legal abandonment to days; the bill was signed by Gov. Dave Heineman and took effect on Nov. 22. For more information about Nebraska's law, go to: http://www.hhs.state.ne.us/Children_Family_Services/SafeHaven/. To read the Adoption Institute report on this topic, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/whowe/lastreport_coverpage.html.

FLORIDA JUDGE RULES GAY ADOPTION BAN UNCONSTITUTIONAL
In a Florida case involving a gay foster parent seeking to adopt two siblings who had been in his care for four years, Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge struck down the state's 1977 law banning gay and lesbian people from adopting as unconstitutional. Among those who testified on the winning side was Dr. David Brodzinsky, the Adoption Institute's Research and Project Director. In the Nov. 25 ruling, the judge declared that there was no legal or scientific reason for sexual orientation alone to prohibit anyone from adopting, and that the law violated children's right to permanency provided under the Florida statute and under the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. The state has indicated it will appeal the ruling, so the case will likely be heard by Florida's Supreme Court, which upheld the ban once before in 1995. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2005 had also let stand a lower court ruling that upheld Florida's law. To read the new court opinion, go to: http://www.aclu.org/images/asset_upload_file16_37906.pdf.To read the most recent publication by the Adoption Institute on this issue, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2008_09_expand_resources.php

NUMBER OF INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS BY AMERICANS DROPS SHARPLY IN 2008
Figures for Fiscal Year 2008, released by the U.S. State Department on Nov. 15, showed a 12 percent decline in the number of adoptions by Americans from overseas - from 19,613 in 2007 to 17,438 in 2008. The largest drop was in adoptions from China, which fell to 3,909 from 5,453 in 2007. Although the most children adopted by Americans in 2008 came from Guatemala, those numbers also fell from the previous year, from 4,728 to 4,123, with a further decline expected in 2009 as a result of an ongoing moratorium on adoptions from that country. Adoptions also declined significantly from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and India, among others. The most significant increase was from Ethiopia, from w from 1,255 to 1,725. To access the statistics, go to: http://www.adoption.state.gov/news/total_chart.html; to read an Associated Press article on the subject, go to: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hpcgfbD11-q-IduwC31ZJH6O0FrgD94GVR7O1

Research

RESEARCH: MARITAL DYNAMICS SHAPE COMMUNICATION ABOUT ADOPTION
A study of 66 couples adopting internationally, whose children were ages 4-7, found that mothers were significantly more involved than fathers in talking with children about adoption and that aspects of marital quality (love and ambivalence) were linked with the extent of mothers' involvement in communicating with children about adoption. "Fathers, Mothers and Marriages: What Shapes Adoption Conversations in Families," by Kristine Freeark, Katherine Rosenblum, Vanessa Hus and Brianna Root, was published in a recent issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 11, Issue 1). Mothers who had stronger beliefs that adoptive parenting differs from biological parenting also were more engaged in talking about adoption with their children. To access a free abstract, go to: http://www.haworthpress.com/store/

ANALYSIS IDENTIFIES PREDICTORS OF ADOPTION FROM FOSTER CARE
Using a statistical technique called Optimal Data Analysis, predictors of being adopted from foster care were identified: removal at age 5 or younger, current age less than 11.7, in a two-parent foster family, and child's race/ethnicity being White or Pacific Islander. "Predictors of Children in Foster Care Being Adopted: A Classification Tree Analysis," by Jessica Snowden, Scott Leon and Jeffrey Sieracki, is in the current issue of Children & Youth Services Review (Volume 30, Issue 11). A complex interaction of youth, family, and state variables also were shown to interact in ways that increased or decreased the probability of adoption. To access a free abstract, go to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/

STUDY FINDS ADOPTION TRAINING IS EFFECTIVE FOR EDUCATION STUDENTS
A study of the effectiveness of an adoption-related, educational intervention with Master's level students preparing for educational positions used an experimental design. It found that students receiving a 75-minute class presentation and assigned reading showed significant gains in knowledge and perceptions. "Adoption as a Diversity Issue in Professional Preparation: Perceptions of Preservice Education Professionals," by Juliana Taymans, Sylvia Marotta, Sharon Lynch, Debbie Riley, Deanna Ortiz, Jean Schutt, Coretta Mallery and Jeanne Embich, is in a recent issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 11, Issue 1). Almost all respondents indicated a desire for more training on adoption. To access a free abstract, go to: http://www.haworthpress.com/store/

SUBTLE DIFFERENCES REPORTED ON MOTHERS OF ADOPTED, BIRTH INFANTS
As a component of a longitudinal study of child development, researchers compared the mother-infant interactions of 37 adopted and 37 non-adopted dyads through videotaping and coding home interactions. Two articles in Adoption Quarterly (Volume 11, Issue 2) authored by Joan Suwalsky, Charlene Hendricks and Marc Bornstein report findings from this research.

"Families by Adoption and Birth: I. Mother-Infant Socioemotional Interactions" found infants raised in their birth families were more alert and smiled more frequently (mean of 17.3 times per hour) than adopted infants (mean=10.6 per hour); however adoptive mothers spent more time feeding and caressing their infants than did mothers by birth. Overall, both groups engaged in the full range of appropriate behaviors and fell in the normal range of functioning. Of the six dimensions observed of infant behavior and eight of maternal behavior, significant differences were found in two aspects of each.

"Families by Adoption and Birth: II. Mother-Infant Cognitive Interactions" found that adoptive mothers and mothers by birth provided comparable opportunities to their infants for exploration. However, infants raised in their birth families engaged in more exploratory behavior than did adopted infants. There were no differences between the groups in vocal/verbal communication. The researchers concluded that adoptive mothers may foster dependency somewhat longer and be less active in encouraging their infants to "move away."

Abstracts of both articles may be accessed at: http://www.haworthpress.com/store/

 

News

OFFICIALS IN BRITAIN TO REEVALUATE INTERRACIAL ADOPTION POLICY
Government officials in Britain will be reviewing the nation's current adoption policies, in particular the practice of interracial adoption, according to a Nov. 10 Times article by Rosemary Bennett, "Tories Vow to Remove Inter-Racial Taboo in Adoption." Although the 2002 Adoption and Children Act required authorities to give "significant consideration" to culture and identity when placing children with adoptive parents, critics argue that it has contributed to delays in placement by denying white couples the opportunity to adopt minority children. The declining number of children being adopted from care in general, coupled with the fact that Black and Asian children wait on average three times longer than White children to be adopted, are reasons some politicians are seeking a more relaxed policy toward interracial adoptions. To read the article, go to: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5119727.ece. To read the Adoption Institute's report on transracial adoption in the United States, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2008_05_mepa.php

MORE CHILDREN ENTERING STATE CARE IN RUSSIA, BUT FEWER BEING ADOPTED
The number of Russian children being adopted overseas and domestically has declined in the past couple of years, despite the fact that more children are entering into state care, according to a Nov. 27 Moscow News report by Anna Arutunyan, "Foreign Adoptions Down in Russia as Foster Care Grows." Between 2006 and 2007, the number of foreign adoptions decreased by 30 percent - from 6,689 to 4,536 - while domestic adoptions declined by 3 percent. In the same period, the number of children entering into state care increased from 7,767 to 9,537 and, as of Dec. 31, 2007, there were 171,044 children in the nation's adoption database. During the same period, a number of new alternative foster care initiatives have moved children out of institutional settings but fail to give those children permanency, as they receive in adoption. To read the article, go to: http://mnweekly.ru/news/20081127/55359067.html

ARIZONA ADOPTION AGENCY CLOSES, CHARGED WITH DEFRAUDING CLIENTS
The Arizona State Attorney General filed a lawsuit on Nov. 18 against Commonwealth Adoptions International Inc. for consumer fraud, stating the agency failed to refund nearly $215,000 to families when it closed on July 31. According to a Tucson Citizen report by Ryn Gargulinski, "Attorney General Seeks to Get Money Back for Families from Adoption Company," the international adoption agency shut down after it failed to get accreditation to place children for intercountry adoption, leaving 340 families in limbo. About two dozen Arizona families requested but were denied refunds for services they never received. To read the article, go to: http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/ss/local/102995.php

IOWA INITIATIVE AIMS TO REDUCE RACIAL BIAS IN FOSTER CARE SYSTEM
Officials in Iowa have launched a campaign - "Help Make No Difference " - designed to reduce the disproportionate number of minority children in the state's foster care system, according to a Nov. 20 Chicago Tribune report by Amy Lorentzen, "Iowa Works to Overcome Racial Bias in Foster Care." The campaign is centered in Polk County where African American children make up 7 percent of the overall population but 24 percent of the children in foster care. The goal of the initiative is to help train agency staff, as well as to raise awareness of cultural differences among people who report child abuse. To read the news story, go to: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-ia-fosterkids-race,0,1468374.story; to visit the campaign website, go to: http://www.helpmakenodifference.com/; to read the Adoption Institute paper on the role of race and law in adoption from foster care, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2008_05_mepa.php

 

Resources

ADOPTION LEARNING PARTNERS OFFERS CEUS FOR EIGHT ON-LINE COURSES
Adoption Learning Partners, a web-based site with an array of adoption courses, now offers Continuing Education Units from the National Association for Social Workers (ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 credits each) for eight of its online courses. The topics include courses on grief and loss; attachment; helping parents learn how to talk to their children about adoption; lifebooks; medical issues in international adoption; adopting older children; helping families navigate the path of being a racially conspicuous family; and teaching families to become child advocates. There is a $30 per-course certificate processing fee. To enroll, go to: http://www.adoptionlearningpartners.org/courses/professionalcourses.cfm

PAPER GIVES EVIDENCE FOR EXTENSION OF CUT-OFF AGE FOR SUBSIDIES
"Raising the Cut-Off: The Empirical Case for Extending Adoption and Guardianship Subsidies from Age 18 to 21," by Mary Hansen and Josh Gupta-Kagan, uses AFCARS data to make a case for extending the cut-off age for adoption and guardianship subsidies from age 18 to 21. It finds that states offering extensions create more adoptions in absolute numbers and relative to state fertility and population - about 950 adoptions per year in states that offer extensions and 570 in states that do not. To download the paper, go to: http://works.bepress.com/context/mary_hansen/article/1000/type/native/viewcontent

NEW AD CAMPAIGN PROMOTES ADOPTION OF TEENS FROM FOSTER CARE
The Advertising Council, in partnership with the U.S. DHHS Administration for Children and Families and AdoptUsKids, launched a new series of public service advertisements in November to promote the adoption of teens from foster care. These are an extension of a previous campaign, "You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent." To view the advertising resources, go to: http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/adcouncil/35825/

GRANDFAMILIES SITE OFFERS RESOURCES TO SUPPORT RELATIVE CAREGIVERS
The Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center, created by Casey Family Programs, the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law, and Generations United, offers a range of resources for supporting relative caregivers both within and outside of the child welfare system. It includes information on subsidized guardianship, adoption, and relative foster care; financial and other types of assistance through a searchable database of current laws and pending legislation; advocacy and other relevant resources. Go to: http://www.grandfamilies.org/

 

Institute Updates

ADOPTION INSTITUTE SUBMITS TESTIMONY ON NEBRASKA 'SAFE HAVEN' LAW
Adoption Institute Executive Director Adam Pertman submitted written testimony on Nov. 10 to Nebraska legislators for their special session to revise the state's 'safe haven' law. In the testimony, Pertman urged policymakers to not only revise the age restriction for legally abandoning a child in the state, but also to address the root causes of the problem of unsafe abandonment in the first place. To read the testimony, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/20081110_letter_nebraska.php; to read the Institute report on the topic, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/whowe/lastreport_coverpage.html

INSTITUTE URGES MINN. GOVERNOR TO SUPPORT ADOPTEE ACCESS TO RECORDS
In a Nov. 20 letter written to Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Executive Director Pertman advocated for making original birth certificates available to adopted persons once they reach the age of majority, and cited facts from the Institute's extensive report examining the issue. To read the letter, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/20081120_letter_minnesota.php; to read the Institute report on the topic, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2007_11_for_records.php

CHANGE IN FEDERAL LAW SUGGESTED TO HELP MORE CHILDREN GET HOMES
In an article published in the Southwest Florida News-Press on Nov. 19 by Janine Zeitlin, "Families Become More Diverse through Adoption," Executive Director Pertman commented on the growing number of transracial adoptions. Citing the Institute's recent report on race and adoption from foster care, he suggested that the current federally mandated color-blind approach needed to be amended in order to get more children - particularly African American boys and girls - into loving, permanent families. To read the article, go to: http://www.news-press.com/article/20081119/NEWS0103/811190315/1005/ACC; to read the Institute report on the topic, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2008_05_mepa.php

RULING ON FLORIDA ADOPTION BAN DESCRIBED AS `VERY IMPORTANT, HOPEFUL'
In a Nov. 25 CNN International report by Taylor Gandossy, "Judge Overturns Florida Ban on Adoption by Gays," Pertman commented that the 31-year-old state law "has done nothing but undermine the prospects of boys and girls in the foster care system to get permanent, loving homes," and added that the judge's decision "is a very important, hopeful ruling for children who need families." To read the article, go to: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/US/11/25/florida.gay.adoption/?imw=Y&iref=mpstoryemail

RESEARCH IN ACTION: TRAINING FOR ADOPTION PROFESSIONALS AND PARENTS
The Adoption Institute, which is a nationally recognized leader in research and policy development, is now extending its efforts to implement systemic change through an education program aimed at adoption professionals and, ultimately, parents. The Institute has developed research-based materials to improve the preparation of adoptive parents so they are better able to deal with issues that they - and their children - may face. More information will be available in the coming month. Meanwhile, to read an announcement about the Institute's new program, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/education/training.php; to read the Adoption Institute's report on Adoptive Parent Preparation, go to http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2008_02_parent_prep.php

PLEASE SUPPORT THE ADOPTION INSTITUTE IN YOUR YEAR-END GIVING
We hope you find our e-newsletter helpful and informative. While this is a free service for our readers, it is not costless. As we approach year's end, we hope you will consider making a donation to support all the important work of the Adoption Institute. We know that this is a tough year economically for almost everyone. That is why it is especially important that you, who care about adoption ethics and equity, and understand the importance of evidence-based, enlightened practice and policies, step forward to support our work. Know that every gift we receive goes a long way, as the Institute maintains a small paid staff and is able to call on a network of volunteers, leading practitioners and scholars to conduct its groundbreaking work.
We cannot further our unique, high-impact initiatives without your support. The Institute does not have an endowment, so your year-end gift will make a real difference in what we can do to improve adoption for millions of children and families. If you are interested in talking about ways to maximize your support of the Institute, such as requesting that friends and families donate to the Institute on your behalf in lieu of holiday gifts, please contact Laura James at [email protected]. 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 B. 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

Disclaimer

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.


Comments?

We welcome your thoughts about the e-Newsletter. Please let us know how we can make it better. Comments, questions and news tips may be directed to [email protected].

Your Privacy

The Adoption Institute will never trade or sell your e-mail address. Our policies can be accessed here: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old.