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A SPECIAL APPEAL TO OUR READERS TO SUPPORT THE ADOPTION INSTITUTE
We hope you find our e-newsletter informative, and agree that our research and advocacy work is helping to make adoption more ethical and fairer for everyone involved. Although many of our services are free, including this newsletter, during the great challenges caused by the current fiscal climate - during which contributions of all kinds has decreased - we hope you will consider supporting the e-newsletter and all our important work here.

1. Law, Policy & Practice
- Obama Signs Two Measures That Will Benefit Foster, Adopted Youth
- Michigan Ruling Recognizes Adoption by Lesbian Couple in Other State
- Three States Consider Bills Providing Access to Birth Certificates
- New Legislation Would Ban Adoption, Fostering by Unmarried Couples

2. Research
- Research Finds More Parent-Teen Conflict in Adoptive Families
- Analysis Shows Birth Siblings Affect Adopted Children's Adjustment
- Study of Romanian Adoptees Identifies Special Education Issues
- Federal Report Estimates 2 Million American Have Adopted Children
- No Greater Psychological Issues Found in Embryo Donation Children

3. News
- Utah-Based Adoption Agency Owners Sentenced to Probation for Fraud
- Reports: S. Koreans Increasingly Adopt, But Some Abandon Children
- Cambodia Considers Barring Gay, Single Foreigners from Adopting

4. Resources
- New Regional Implementation Centers Offer Training and Resources
- GAO Assesses States' Attention to Health of Children in Foster Care
- Chapin Hall Reviews Services to Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
- Information Gateway Launches Post-Adoption Logic Model Builder

5. Institute Update
- Newest Adoption Institute Report Offers Old Lessons for New World
- Adoption Institute Testimony Supports Access to Birth Certificates
- Executive Director, on PBS Show, Discusses Changing Adoption Culture
- Reserve Your Tickets or Become a Sponsor of Our Food & Wine Event
- A Special Appeal to Our Readers to Support the Adoption Institute

Law, Policy & Practice

OBAMA SIGNS TWO MEASURES THAT WILL BENEFIT FOSTER, ADOPTED YOUTH
President Barak Obama signed into law two pieces of legislation this month that will help youths in foster care access health coverage and increase state funding to cover Medicaid and Foster Care/Adoption Assistance programs. Legislation reauthorizing and expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was signed into law (P.L. 111-3) on Feb. 2; it maintains health coverage for children and youth currently enrolled in the program and expands coverage to an additional four million uninsured children. In addition, the measure strengthens the program by guaranteeing dental benefits, mental health parity, grants for outreach and enrollment, and establishes a health quality initiative. SCHIP provides health insurance for children who are ineligible for Medicaid and unable to afford private health insurance; although most children in foster care receive Medicaid benefits, SCHIP helps youth aging out of the system who could otherwise not afford health care.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R.1/P.L. 111-5) economic stimulus package, was signed by the President on Feb. 17; it increases funding for Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grants, and Title IV-E foster care, adoption assistance and kinship care funding. Under the package, the federal match to states will increase by 6.2 percent in both Medicaid and Title IV-E, with an additional $2.8 billion for TANF to states contingent on demand. To read the SCHIP legislation, go to: http://thomas.loc.gov/ and search for HR2 in the bill text field. To read the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, go to: http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app09.html#h1

MICHIGAN RULING RECOGNIZES ADOPTION BY LESBIAN COUPLE IN OTHER STATE
The Michigan State Court of Appeals ruled on Feb. 19 that a Michigan family court could not refuse to hear a child custody case simply because the parents involved were lesbians, despite the fact that the state does not recognize same-sex relationships. In its opinion, the court stated, "The only relevant consideration in this matter is each individual party's established relationship as an adoptive parent with the children, not their relationship with each other." In addition, because of the Full Faith and Credit Clause would require Michigan to recognize an adoption completed in another state. The ruling paves the way for a hearing to be held in a custody case involving a lesbian couple who had adopted three children while living in Illinois, subsequently moved to Michigan, and then split up. This is the second appeals court in the U.S. to address whether an anti-gay constitutional amendment concerning marriage has an impact on parenting or custodial rights of gay men and lesbians. To read the opinion, go to: http://data.lambdalegal.org/in-court/downloads/giancaspro_mi_20090219_court-of-appeals-decision.pdf

THREE STATES CONSIDER BILLS PROVIDING ACCESS TO BIRTH CERTIFICATES
Legislation that would give adopted adults access to their original birth certificates are under consideration in South Dakota, Rhode Island and Virginia, three states that currently have mutual consent registries. Legislation (S153) in South Dakota was approved by the state Senate on Feb. 24 and went to the state House for consideration; a hearing on the bill is scheduled for March 5. The measure permits adopted adults 18 years or older, an adoptee's attorney, and if deceased the adoptee's descendants, to request a copy of his/her original birth certificate from the state Department of Health.

Rhode Island's legislation, introduced in the General Assembly on Feb. 12 and under review in the Judiciary Committee, would change the age adopted adults could access records from 21 to 18 and permit them, birthparents and surviving relatives of either to access identifying information without having to petition the courts. The measure would allow adopted adults to ask for an uncertified copy of their original birth certificates through a registry, at which time birthparents would also be sent a contact preference and a medical history form.

In Virginia, the measure (HB1937) introduced in the state General Assembly on Jan. 13 was approved in the Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions, but the additional state expense created by the bill contributed to its failure to make it out of the Committee on Appropriations, where it stalled on Feb. 10. The bill would have permitted any adopted adult 21 years or older born in the state to apply for disclosure of identifying information; the current statute only applies to adoptees with finalized adoptions on or after July 1, 1994. To access South Dakota's bill, go to: http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2009/Bill.aspx?Bill=153 To read the Rhode Island bill, go to: http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText09/HouseText09/H5496.pdf. To read Virginia's legislation, go to: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?091+ful+HB1937. To read the Adoption Institute policy report on this topic, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2007_11_for_records.php

NEW LEGISLATION WOULD BAN ADOPTION, FOSTERING BY UNMARRIED COUPLES
Bills were introduced in Kentucky and Tennessee this month that would prevent unmarried, co-habiting couples - regardless of sexual orientation - from becoming foster or adoptive parents. Meanwhile, a measure was introduced in Utah that would overturn the state's existing ban on unmarried, co-habiting adults from fostering or adopting. Kentucky's measure (SB68) was introduced Feb. 5 and is under review in the Judiciary Committee; it is nearly identical to the law Arkansas voters approved in November banning anyone "cohabitating with a sexual partner outside of marriage" from becoming a foster or adoptive parent. Currently, Kentucky has no policy forbidding unmarried couples from becoming foster or adoptive parents.

In Tennessee, legislation (HB0605/SB0078) was introduced in the two chambers of the legislature on Feb. 9 and 10 that would also prohibit any individual cohabiting with another person outside of marriage from adopting a child, and specifically states it applies to cohabitating opposite-sex and same-sex individuals. The measure is currently being reviewed in the House Children & Family Affairs Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee.

The bill in Utah (HB288) was introduced in the state House on Feb. 2; it would have preserved the preference for married couples in adoption and foster placements, but would have allowed unmarried couples to adopt if biological parents consented or the child was in state custody; the measure died in the Health and Human Services Committee on Feb. 20. Current Utah law allows single adults (gay or straight) to adopt and foster children. To read Utah's legislation, go to: http://le.utah.gov/~2009/htmdoc/hbillhtm/HB0288.htm. To read Kentucky's bill, go to: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/09RS/SB68.htm. To read Tennessee's measure, go to: http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/Default.aspx?BillNumber=HB0605. To read the Adoption Institute paper on Expanding Resources for Children, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/2008_09_expand_resources.php; to read a commentary by Adoption Institute Executive Director Adam Pertman on Arkansas' law, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/media/20090115_arkansastimes_oped.php

Research

RESEARCH FINDS MORE PARENT-TEEN CONFLICT IN ADOPTIVE FAMILIES
A Minnesota study of parent-child interaction in 284 adoptive, 208 non-adoptive, and 123 families with birth and adoptive children found that parents and children reported more conflict in adoptive families. "Family Interactions in Adoptive Compared to Nonadoptive Families," by Martha Rueter, Margaret Keyes, William Iacono and Matt McGue, is in the February issue of the Journal of Family Psychology (Volume 23, Issue 1). Observers rated adopted adolescents as less warm toward mothers and fathers, but found no differences in adoptive and non-adoptive parents' behaviors toward their teens. The increased conflict in adoptive families was attributed largely to increased negativity in the adopted adolescents' behaviors. For an abstract, go to: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/fam/23/1/58/

ANALYSIS SHOWS BIRTH SIBLINGS AFFECT ADOPTED CHILDREN'S ADJUSTMENT
Researchers identified predictors of the adjustment of 40 Chinese adopted children in families with an older birth sibling, on average 2 years after the adoption - the biological child's total behavior problem score, the adopted child's initial rejecting behaviors in the first two weeks of placement, and the adoptees' difficulty with their older sib at placement. "Impact of Biological Children's Adjustment on Their Siblings Who Were Adopted from China," by Tony Tan, is in the current issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 11, Issue 4). Mean behavioral scores for both groups of children fell in the normal range. The finding that biological children have an impact on the adjustment of their adopted siblings highlights the importance of preparing biological children for adoption and addressing sibling issues post-placement. For an abstract, go to: http://www.haworthpress.com/

STUDY OF ROMANIAN ADOPTEES IDENTIFIES SPECIAL EDUCATION ISSUES
As part of a longitudinal study of 80 Romanian adoptees in the Netherlands, researchers interviewed teachers and parents of a clinical sub-group of 17 children to identify issues affecting their education. Children's hyperactive behavior (65%), social problems (82%), and aggressive behavior (65%) necessitated teachers spending extra individual time with these children. "Education after Early-Life Deprivation: Teachers' Experiences with a Clinical Group of Deprived Romanian Adopted Children," by C.H.A.M. Rijk, R.A.C. Hoksbergen and J. ter Laak, is in the current issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 11, Issue 4). The importance of differential diagnosis between ADHD, fetal alcohol effects, and attachment difficulties was stressed in order to determine the most appropriate treatment. To access an abstract, go to: http://www.haworthpress.com/store/ArticleAbstract.asp?ID=115938

FEDERAL REPORT ESTIMATES 2 MILLION AMERICANS HAVE ADOPTED CHILDREN
The National Center for Health Statistics issued a research brief in January giving adoption statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth. "Who Adopts? Characteristics of Women and Men Who Have Adopted Children," by Jo Jones, reports: 2 percent of adults, or about 2 million people, have adopted; men are more likely than women to adopt; adoptive mothers are older than non-adoptive mothers; women who used infertility services are 10 times more likely to adopt; and the adoption relinquishment rate among births to never-married women has fallen from 9 percent in 1973 to 1 percent in 1996-2002. To access, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db12.htm

NO GREATER PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUES FOUND IN EMBRYO DONATION CHILDREN
Children conceived through embryo transfers were not found to be at increased risk of psychological problems during middle childhood, according to a study comparing their adjustment to that of children conceived through in vitro fertilization or who were adopted. "Embryo Donation Families: A Follow-Up in Middle Childhood," by Fiona MacCallum and Sarah Keeley, was published in the December 2008 issue of the Journal of Family Psychology (Volume 22, Issue 6). This study, based in England, found that adopted children were rated by mothers and teachers as having the highest rate of social-emotional problems of the three groups examined. They also found higher emotional over-involvement of parents and greater reluctance to disclose information about their origins in families formed through embryo transfers. To access an abstract, go to: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/fam/22/6/

 

News

UTAH-BASED ADOPTION AGENCY OWNERS SENTENCED TO PROBATION FOR FRAUD
A U.S. District Court judge on Feb. 25 sentenced the co-owners of the Utah-based adoption agency Focus on Children and two others connected to the agency to five years' probation and banned them for life from working in adoption, according to a Feb. 25 Salt Lake Tribune article. Prosecutors alleged that Samoan parents were tricked into giving up their children. The article - "Focus on Children Scam: No Jail Time in Adoption-Fraud Case," by Pamela Manson and Steve Gehrke - said that as part of the plea agreement, in exchange for escaping jail time, the defendants will be required to contribute to a fund to benefit adopted children and provide information to investigators on similar cases of adoption fraud. To read the article, go to: http://www.sltrib.com/News/ci_11782689

REPORTS: S. KOREANS INCREASINGLY ADOPT, BUT SOME ABANDON CHILDREN
A Feb. 16 story in the JoongAng Daily, "Even Fertile Parents are Deciding to Adopt Kids," reported that interest in domestic adoption has grown among South Koreans, including a growing number of couples who already have biological children. In addition, willingness to disclose that a child is adopted has also reportedly increased. According to the article, roughly 557 of the 1,388 domestic adoptions in 2007 involved couples who already had biological children; in addition, approximately 57 percent of adoptive parents in 2007 openly disclosed their adoptions, compared to only a quarter in 2001. Despite these positive changes, a Feb. 27 Korea Times piece, "2 Adopted Children Abandoned Daily," by Bae Ji-sook, reported that court records indicate there were 763 cases of domestic adoptees being abandoned by their adoptive families in 2006. To read the JoongAng Daily report, go to: http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2901083; to read the Korea Times piece, go to: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2009/02/113_40436.html

CAMBODIA CONSIDERS BARRING GAY, SINGLE FOREIGNERS FROM ADOPTING
The Cambodian government is considering new rules that would ban a range of foreigners from being able to adopt, according to a Feb. 13 story on the website PinkNews, "Cambodia to Ban Foreign Gays from Adopting Children." The restrictions reportedly would apply to gays and lesbians, single people, those with "low income," and those who already have two children. In addition, the new rules would make it legal for parents to relinquish children for adoption; currently, only orphans are eligible for intercountry adoption. The new rules are currently awaiting approval in the National Assembly. To read the article, go to: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-11149.html

 

Resources

NEW REGIONAL IMPLEMENTATION CENTERS OFFER TRAINING AND RESOURCES
The U.S. Children's Bureau has funded a network of regional Implementation Centers to provide additional training and technical assistance to child welfare organizations, as well as to facilitate networking and support to effect long-term systems change. The five new centers have received five years' of funding. More information is available at: http://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=102&articleid=2511

GAO ASSESSES STATES' ATTENTION TO HEALTH OF CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE
On February 6, the Government Accountability Office released a report, "Foster Care: State Practices for Assessing Health Needs, Facilitating Service Delivery, and Monitoring Children's Care." This report assesses 10 states' policies and practices for identifying and meeting the health care needs of children in foster care. The full report may be accessed at: http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-09-26. A one page summary is available at: http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d0926high.pdf

CHAPIN HALL REVIEWS SERVICES TO YOUTH AGING OUT OF FOSTER CARE
Chapin Hall Center for Children published a report reviewing states' policies and services to support youth leaving foster care, which includes results from a survey of coordinators of independent living services. The report, "Review of State Policies and Programs to Support Young People Transitioning Out of Foster Care," by Amy Dworsky and Judy Havlicek, can be accessed at: http://www.chapinhall.org/article_abstract.aspx?ar=1481&L2=61&L3=130

INFORMATION GATEWAY LAUNCHES POST-ADOPTION LOGIC MODEL BUILDER
The Child Welfare Information Gateway added a Logic Model Builder for post-adoption services to its website this week. This resource provides assistance for building a logic model to plan program evaluation activities through five steps and offers menus of outcomes, indicators and tools to select in building a logic model to match a program. To access this tool, go to: http://toolkit.childwelfare.gov/toolkit/

 

Institute Updates

NEWEST ADOPTION INSTITUTE REPORT OFFERS OLD LESSONS FOR NEW WORLD
The Adoption Institute released its newest report, "Old Lessons for a New World: Applying Adoption Research and Experience to Assisted Reproductive Technology," in February; it suggests that the knowledge derived from adoption-related research and experience can be used to improve policy and practice in the world of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as sperm, egg and embryo "donations." The report identifies several areas in which adoption's lessons could be applied, including secrecy and the withholding of information; a focus on the best interests of children; the creation of "nontraditional" families, particularly as more single, gay and lesbian adults use ART; the impact of market forces; and legal and regulatory frameworks to inform standards and procedures. To access the full report and press release, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/2009_02_oldlessons.php; to read an op-ed commentary on the subject by Executive Director Adam Pertman and Senior Research Fellow Naomi Cahn, go to: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.adoption25feb25,0,2405593.story

ADOPTION INSTITUTE TESTIMONY SUPPORTS ACCESS TO BIRTH CERTIFICATES
On Feb. 24 the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute submitted written testimony in support of South Dakota legislation (S153) that would permit adopted adults in the state to access their original birth certificates. The letter cites findings from the Adoption Institute's policy report, "For the Records," including research that supports the argument that greater access to personal histories yields better outcomes for adoptees and their families. To read the letter, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/20090224_letter_southdakota.php. To read the Institute's report on the subject, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2007_11_for_records.php

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ON PBS SHOW, DISCUSSES CHANGING ADOPTION CULTURE
An interview with Executive Director Adam Pertman was included on the Feb. 13 airing of the PBS Show "Religion & Ethics." The program focused on the experiences of open adoption arrangements in which birth and adoptive families maintain contact after a child is placed for adoption. In particular, Pertman commented on the changing culture around adoption in the United States, from a time of secrecy to one in which adoption today is spoken of publicly and freely. To watch the episode, go to: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episodes/february-13-2009/open-adoptions/2238/

RESERVE YOUR TICKETS OR BECOME A SPONSOR OF OUR FOOD & WINE EVENT
On May 14, 2009, the Adoption Institute will hold its annual "Taste of Spring" event in midtown New York. The benefit, the Institute's major fundraising event of the year, features boutique wines from around the world and master chefs from many wonderful New York restaurants. Celebrity Chef Jean-Georges is joining Cyril Renaud of Bar Breton, Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto, David Burke of David Burke Townhouse, Zarela, and others to provide an amazing array of delicious delicacies for our guests. Honorary Co-Chairs include Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness, who are adoptive parents and advocates; Daryl McDaniels (DMC of Run DMC), who was adopted and is an advocate for adoptee rights and foster children; and last year's honorees, Tony-award-winning Broadway star Christine Ebersole and her husband, musician and composer Bill Moloney (also adoptive parents). To reserve tickets, become a sponsor or ask questions, please contact External Relations Director Laura James at ljames@adoptioninstitute.org.

A SPECIAL APPEAL TO OUR READERS TO SUPPORT THE ADOPTION INSTITUTE
We hope you find our e-newsletter informative, and agree that our research and advocacy work is helping to make adoption more ethical and fairer for everyone involved. We do not charge for our newsletter, or for all the information we produce and which is available for downloading from our website. While our "business model" of giving our work away for free is an effective way of getting the best information on adoption policy and practice to those who need it, it presents great challenges in the current fiscal climate, during which donations of all kinds are greatly decreased. We ask that you consider making a donation of any size to support the e-newsletter and all the important work of the Adoption Institute. 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
•    EDUCATE THE EDUCATORS AND ADOPTION IN THE MEDIA PROGRAMS

Also considering supporting our work by:

•    Making a donation - and asking friends and relatives to honor birthdays and anniversaries with gifts to the Institute
•    Making a gift to the Institute in a loved one's honor or memory
•    Including the Institute in your estate plans
•    Using your contacts to introduce us to foundations, corporations and other sources of support
•    Volunteering
•    Making "in-kind" donations of computer equipment, air miles and hotel vouchers

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.


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