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1. Law, Policy & Practice
- Georgia Bills Sets First Legal Framework in U.S. for Embryo 'Adoption'
- Oklahoma Senate Approves Measures to Improve Adoption Practices
- State Department Says Guatemala Not Yet Ready to Resume Adoptions

2. Research
- Analysis Links More Attachment Issues to Adoptions After Age 1
- Research Finds Adopted Teens with Gay Parents Not Less Attached
- Study Identifies Factors Shaping Satisfaction with Some Reunions
- Report Documents Benefits of Mentors for Older Foster Youth
- More Lesbian than Straight Couples Seen Open to Transracial Adoption

3. News
- Israeli Court Permits Gay Couple to Adopt Their Long-Time Foster Son
- Oregon Suspends Adoption of Foster Children by Relatives Overseas
- Guatemala Probe Suggest Many Children Adopted During Civil War

4. Resources
- Center for Study of Social Policy Offers Website to Improve Services
- Urban Institute Posts Report on Monitoring of Contracted Services
- National Resource Center for Adoption Offers Video on MEPA/IEP
- Chapin Hall Reports on College Programs for Former Foster Youth
- Child Welfare Leadership Conference Presentations Available Online

5. Institute Update
- Institute Submits Letters on Access to Records, Infant Abandonment
- Recession Reportedly May Be Influencing Some Adoption Decisions
- Prospective Adoptive Parents Increasing Use of Technology to Advertise
- Fewer Adoptions from China Attributed to Its Changes Domestically
- Institute Mourns Loss of a Friend, Expresses Thanks for Generosity
- Invitations are Ready for Our Best - And Tastiest - Benefit Ever!

Law, Policy & Practice

GEORGIA BILL SETS FIRST LEGAL FRAMEWORK IN U.S. FOR EMBRYO `ADOPTION'
Georgia's House of Representatives passed legislation (HB388) on March 12 that would amend the state's child adoption laws to include the "adoption" of embryos conceived through in vitro fertilization and stored in cryopreservation. The Option of Adoption Act would be the nation's first measure to provide a legal framework for the "adoption" of donated embryos and clarifies the rights of genetic donors and adoptive parents in the state; the bill does not address whether the embryo is a person with rights. Georgia already permits embryo donation, but the process has been regulated through contract or property law. If the new legislation is enacted, parents who "adopt" an embryo would be eligible for state and federal adoption tax credits. The bill has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and awaits a full Senate vote. To read the measure, go to: http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2009_10/fulltext/hb388.htm ; to read the Adoption Institute's recent report on adoption's lessons for assisted reproductive technologies, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/2009_02_oldlessons.php

OKLAHOMA SENATE APPROVES MEASURES TO IMPROVE ADOPTION PRACTICES
The Oklahoma Senate passed several bills this month designed to improve adoption practices in the state, including by waiving the cost for adoption by grandparents (SB254), establishing better tracking of adoption statistics (SB794) and requiring full disclosure of adoption fees and expenses by adoption attorneys and adoption facilitators (SB1029). SB254 would exempt biological or adoptive grandparents petitioning to adopt from paying court costs associated with the process, and would waive the pre-placement home study if the grandparent had no record of felony convictions, domestic violence or protective orders. SB794 would require that "unsuccessful adoptions" - those that dissolved within one calendar year of the finalization date - be included in adoption statistic reports for the state. Finally, SB1029 would require adoption attorneys and facilitators to provide full disclosure statements that include fees, services rendered, grievance procedures, provisions for avoiding conflict of interest among birth and adoptive parents, and information addressing open/closed adoptions, search and reunion resources, and the Indian Child Welfare Act. The state House is reviewing all the bills. To read SB254, go to: http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/2009-10bills/SB/sb254_engr.rtf To read SB794, go to: http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/2009-10bills/SB/sb794_engr.rtf To read SB1029, go to: http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/2009-10bills/SB/sb1029_engr.rtf

STATE DEPARTMENT SAYS GUATEMALA NOT YET READY TO RESUME ADOPTIONS
The U.S. State Department issued a notice on March 6 advising potential adoptive parents and service providers not to initiate new adoptions from Guatemala because the government has yet to come into full compliance with the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. The treaty went into force in the U.S. on April 1, 2008. Guatemala acceded to it in March 2003 and in December 2007 passed legislation intended to meet its obligations under the Convention. However, the Guatemalan government is still finalizing the legal steps and establishing the new administrative procedures to process adoptions under the Hague Convention. According to the notice, the Guatemalan government is working on establishing the accreditation criteria that will be used to authorize or license adoption agencies but there is not timeframe as to when this step will be completed. To read the DOS notice, go to: http://www.adoption.state.gov/news/guatemala.html

Research

ANALYSIS LINKS MORE ATTACHMENT ISSUES TO ADOPTIONS AFTER AGE 1
An analysis of 39 studies on attachment in adopted children revealed that studies using observational measures found that children adopted after age one had more insecure attachments than their non-adopted peers but fewer attachment disturbances than institutionalized children. "Fostering Security? A Meta-Analysis of Attachment in Adopted Children," by Linda van den Dries, Femmie Juffer, Marinus van IJzendoorn and Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg, was published in the current issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 31, Issue 3). Children adopted before age 1 were comparable in attachment security with non-adopted peers, and those adopted after age 1 were comparable to foster children. Also, studies using self-report measures as a group did not find significant differences between children adopted before and after age 1. For an abstract, go to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/

RESEARCH FINDS ADOPTED TEENS WITH GAY PARENTS NOT LESS ATTACHED
A study of 154 adoptive families with gay or heterosexual parents and 210 adopted adolescents concluded that sexual orientation is not associated with level of parent-child attachment. "An Empirical Analysis of Factors Affecting Adolescent Attachment in Adoptive Families with Homosexual and Straight Parents," by Stephen Erich, Heather Kanenberg, Kim Case, Theresa Allen and Takis Bogdanos, was published in the current issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 31, Issue 3). Factors associated with adolescent attachment to parents included: parental satisfaction with relationship with teen, number of prior placements, and teen's age at adoption and current age (younger teens were more attached). Also, teens' life satisfaction was positively related to their attachment to their parents but not to parents' sexual orientation. To access an abstract, go to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/

STUDY IDENTIFIES FACTORS SHAPING SATISFACTION WITH SOME REUNIONS
A qualitative study of 17 adopted women's relationships with their birthfathers after reunions identified factors shaping their satisfaction: perceptions of birthfathers' attributes, including similarities to themselves; whether birthfathers were welcoming or accepting of them; having fairly neutral initial attitudes and expectations; the reactions of significant others; and birthfathers' early reactions to the pregnancy and relinquishment, including their treatment of birthmothers. "Female Adoptees' Perceptions of Contact with their Birth Fathers: Satisfactions and Dissatisfactions with the Process," by Nola Passmore and Heather Chipuer, was published in the current issue of American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (Volume 79, Issue 1). The authors recommend that post-adoption service providers can help adoptees anticipating reunion to consider these factors and consider their expectations about reunion relationships. To access an abstract, go to: http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=browsePA.volumes&jcode=ort. To read the Adoption Institute's report on adult adoptee rights, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2007_11_for_records.php

REPORT DOCUMENTS BENEFITS OF MENTORS FOR OLDER FOSTER YOUTH
A longitudinal study of 339 foster youth transitioning from care in Missouri found that having an adult mentor and longer duration of this relationship was associated with better outcomes, such as lower life stress, higher life satisfaction, and fewer depressive symptoms in the youth. "Natural Mentoring and Psychosocial Outcomes among Older Youth Transitioning from Foster Care," by Michelle Munson and Curtis McMillen was published in the January issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 31, Issue 1). Also, having a long-term mentoring relationship (over one year duration) was associated with less likelihood of being arrested. The researchers suggest using mentors for older youth still in care and sustaining these relationships as the youth make the transition from care. To access an abstract, go to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/

MORE LESBIAN THAN STRAIGHT COUPLES SEEN OPEN TO TRANSRACIAL ADOPTION
Based on phone interviews with each partner in 147 White pre-adoptive couples (54 lesbian, 93 heterosexual) and questionnaires, the reasons for decisions on openness to transracial adoption (TRA) were identified. Eighty-seven percent of lesbian couples and 55 percent of heterosexual couples were open to TRA, primarily because race was not an issue for them, they had friends of another race, or they lived in a diverse community. "Lesbian and Heterosexual Preadoptive Couples' Openness to Transracial Adoption," by Abbie Goldberg, was published in the current issue of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (Volume 79, Issue 1). Of those who were not open to TRA, primary reasons included physical non-resemblance; the difficulties involved; and living in a homogeneous or racist community. To access an abstract, go to: http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=browsePA.volumes&jcode=ort

 

News

ISRAELI COURT PERMITS GAY COUPLE TO ADOPT THEIR LONG-TIME FOSTER SON
A family court in Israel ruled on March 10 in favor of the adoption of a boy who had lived for 14 years with his foster parents, a gay couple, according to a story in the Jerusalem Post. The story by Rebecca Ann Stoil, "Court Rules Homosexual Couple Can Adopt Foster Son," said that although this was not the first case in which a gay couple was permitted to adopt, the previous precedent-setting case involved a lesbian couple in which one partner was the biological parent of the child. To read the article, go to: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1236676913144&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull . To read the Adoption Institute's latest report on gay/lesbian adoption, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/2008_09_expand_resources.php

OREGON SUSPENDS ADOPTION OF FOSTER CHILDREN BY RELATIVES OVERSEAS
A March 11 Oregonian article by Michelle Cole and Susan Goldsmith, "State Halts Sending Foster Kids Out of U.S.," reported that Oregon officials had issued a 60-day moratorium on adoptions of foster youth by relatives living in other countries. The story said that, since October 1999, state authorities have sent 27 children from foster care to be adopted by relatives outside the United States. The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, which went into force in the U.S. on April 1, 2008, requires monitoring of both children entering a country and leaving for international adoption; as a result, the State Department, which has authority over international placements, will now need to weigh in. To read the article, go to: http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1236745609165110.xml&coll=7

GUATEMALA PROBE SUGGESTS MANY CHILDREN ADOPTED DURING CIVIL WAR
Guatemalan officials have found evidence suggesting that children whose parents were killed during the country's 36-year civil war were probably taken to orphanages rather than reunited with family, according to a March 23 Associated Press report by Juan Carlos Llorca, "Guatemala: Dirty War Orphans Put up for Adoption." The story said that a government investigation analyzing files of missing adults and children who were declared abandoned between 1976 and 1986 (the most repressive years of Guatemala's civil war) found at least one case in which two siblings were declared abandoned and sent to an orphanage after their parents were killed. According to the investigator, evidence suggests the same thing happened to hundreds of children, who were probably adopted by Americans. A full report of the investigation will be released next month. To read the article, go to: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h9wD_s-EUhSraQx3DaLzNNoYY3iQD9741L0G0

 

Resources

CENTER FOR STUDY OF SOCIAL POLICY OFFERS WEBSITE TO IMPROVE SERVICES
The Center for the Study of Social Policy, with the help of experts at other nonprofit organizations and the support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, have established a new website -- called Policy for Results -- that offers legislators, government officials and child welfare policymakers a range of data and resources to improve services to children and families during the nation's economic recession. The site also includes a blog that enables individuals to share ideas and strategies. More resources will be added in the coming months. To access, go to: http://www.policyforresults.org

URBAN INSTITUTE POSTS REPORT ON MONITORING OF CONTRACTED SERVICES
"Ensuring Quality in Contracted Child Welfare Services," by Nancy Pindus, Erica Zielewski, Charlotte McCullough and Elizabeth Lee, is the final paper in an Urban Institute series of six reports on child welfare privatization initiatives. This 32-page report (published in December and posted on the Institute's website on Feb. 20) focuses on strategies for ensuring the quality of child welfare services that are contracted to private agencies, and suggests methods for monitoring and oversight. To access this report, go to: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/07/CWPI/quality/report.pdf

NATIONAL RESOURCE CENTER FOR ADOPTION OFFERS VIDEO ON MEPA/IEP
The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Adoption this month released a web-based video presentation, "Compliance with the Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994, as amended, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964," which was developed in partnership with the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Children's Bureau and the Office of Civil Rights. It provides guidance on these federal laws, as well as compliance tips and resources. It may be accessed at: http://www.nrcadoption.org/mepa/. To read the Adoption Institute's report on MEPA, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2008_05_mepa.php

CHAPIN HALL REPORTS ON COLLEGE PROGRAMS FOR FORMER FOSTER YOUTH
"Helping Former Foster Youth Graduate from College: Campus Support Programs in California and Washington State," by Amy Dworsky and Alfred Perez, presents information on 10 college programs in California and Washington for former foster youth. The information is based on web-based surveys and interviews with program directors. To access, go to: http://www.chapinhall.org/article_abstract.aspx?ar=1483&L2=60&L3=125

CHILD WELFARE LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS AVAILABLE ONLINE
The U.S. Children's Bureau released a video archive of presentations from an October 2008 conference, "Child Welfare Leadership in Action." Some of the presentation topics include: systemic agency change, using data to facilitate system change, MEPA/IEP, the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, and others. These AV files are on the Child Welfare Resource Center for Adoption's website: http://www.nrcadoption.org/p2pDialogue/video.html

 

Institute Updates

INSTITUTE SUBMITS LETTERS ON ACCESS TO RECORDS, INFANT ABANDONMENT
On March 17 the Donaldson Adoption Institute submitted a letter to the Illinois House of Representatives asking for reconsideration -- based on research findings -- of a measure (HB3925) that would extend the period during which an infant could be legally abandoned from 7 days to 30 days. The Adoption Institute also submitted a letter to the California Assembly and Judiciary Committee on March 26 on legislation (AB372) that would permit adopted adults to have access to their original birth certificates. To read the letter to the Illinois legislature, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/20090317_letter_illinois.php. To read the letter to the California legislature, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/20090326_letter_california.php. To read the Institute study on infant abandonment laws, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/whowe/lastreport_coverpage.html; to read the Institute study on access to original birth certificates, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2007_11_for_records.php

RECESSION REPORTEDLY MAY BE INFLUENCING SOME ADOPTION DECISIONS
In a March 10 Houston Chronicle article by Jennifer Radcliffe, "Adoption Agencies Feeling the Pinch" (on the impact of the economic recession on decisions about adoption), Executive Director Adam Pertman cautions that it is still too early to determine whether any changes taking place constitute a trend or indicate the scope of the economy's impact. The story said that anecdotal evidence suggests that prospective adoptive parents may be choosing less costly adoptions from foster care over intercountry or private placements, and that more pregnant woman may be looking to adoption as an option due to financial hardship. To read the article, go to: http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_11875308

PROSPECTIVE ADOPTIVE PARENTS INCREASING USE TECHNOLOGY TO ADVERTISE
Commenting on the growing use of social networking websites such as Facebook and videos posted on YouTube by prospective adoptive parents, Executive Director Pertman said that would-be parents are trying to improve their odds by using these new technologies. According to the CNN article, "Adoption Seekers Using YouTube, Facebook to Find Birth Moms," by Stephanie Chan, adoption advertising is permitted in 34 states and has traditionally relied on newspaper and radio advertisements posted by prospective adoptive parents seeking to connect with pregnant women making an adoption plan. To read the article, go to: http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/03/10/adoption.internet.advertise/

FEWER ADOPTIONS FROM CHINA ATTRIBUTED TO ITS CHANGES DOMESTICALLY
A March 17 USA Today article, "Growing Up in China" by Lionel Beehner, said that the changes in China's international adoption regulations have resulted in a drastic decrease in the number of children adopted from that country by Americans - to just over a 4,000 last year. Executive Director Pertman said some of the changes were the result of an evolution within China, including efforts to reverse gender inequality, loosening of the one-child policy, and generally increasing incomes and modernizing of attitudes. To read the article, go to: http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2009/03/growing-up-in-c.html

INSTITUTE MOURNS LOSS OF A FRIEND, EXPRESSES THANKS FOR GENEROSITY
The Board and staff of the Adoption Institute mourn the sudden passing of our friend Roger Kline. Kline, who supported the Adoption Institute generously during his lifetime - primarily anonymously - provided a bequest of $100,000 toward the Institute's work. A Director at McKinsey & Co., Kline not only funded the initial phase of our Adoptive Parent Preparation Project, but also gave invaluable advice on the design and marketing of the program, including the launch of the Institute's first webinar. We will miss his friendship and wise counsel, and will use his thoughtful legacy to continue helping the adoptive families he championed.

A bequest is one of many ways to support the Institute through your estate plans. Many such gifts can provide guaranteed income for you or a loved one, with significant tax advantages. If you are interested in including the Institute in your estate plans, please contact Laura James, Director of External Relations, at 212-925-4089, or ljames@adoptioninstitute.org.

INVITATIONS ARE READY FOR OUR BEST -- AND TASTIEST -- BENEFIT EVER!
On May 14, 2009, the Adoption Institute will hold its annual "Taste of Spring" benefit in midtown New York. The event, the Institute's major fundraiser of the year, features boutique wines from around the world and master chefs from many wonderful New York restaurants. This year's featured restaurants include Artisanal Premium Cheese, Bar Breton, Barbuto, Jean Georges, David Burke Townhouse, Yuva and Zarela. The event's Honorary Co-Chairs include adoptive parents and adoption advocates Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness; Daryl McDaniels (DMC of Run DMC), 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 and advocates). Please contact External Relations Director Laura James at ljames@adoptioninstitute.org to be sent an invitation, to reserve tickets, or to become an individual/corporate sponsor. Or download the invitation and reply card by going to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/events/tasteofspring_2009_savethedate.php
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
•    RIGHTS & 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:

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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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