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1. Law, Policy & Practice
- New 'Serve America Act' Includes Mentor Programs for Foster Youth
- Oklahoma Law Requires Transparency for Adoption-Related Expenses
- Georgia's Embryo 'Adoption' Legislation Pending Governor's Signature
- Tennessee Senators Approve Bill to Provide Post-Adoption Services
- 3 States Consider Giving Adopted Adults Access to Birth Certificates

2. Research
- Study Identifies Salient Experiences Influencing Ethnic Identity
- Nursing Journal Explores Complicated Grief Process for Birthmothers
- Age of Adoption Affects Education, Not Other Outcomes, For Adults
- Research Cites Systemic Barriers to Accessing Post-Placement Services

3. News
- Netherlands Announces Restrictions on Adoption of U.S. Children
- Drop in Adoptions from China Attributed Partly to Internal Changes
- British Report Cites Failures of System to Protect Children in Care

4. Resources
- Article Features 'Customer Service' Ideas for Child Welfare Workers
- Resource Center Website Adds Teleconferences on Systems Change
- Florida Ban on Gay Adoptions Estimated to Cost Money, and Homes

5. Institute Update
- Boomers Reportedly More Interested in Adopting Older Children
- Institute: Needs of Children Should be Key in Gay/Lesbian Adoptions
- Complexity of Intercountry Adoption Practice and Ethics Discussed
- Institute Report Continues to Inform Discussion of Race in Adoption
- Institute Supporters Release Song on Access to Birth Certificates
- There's Still Time to Support 'Taste of Spring' - And to Attend!
- Honor Adoptive and/or Birthmother(s) with a Gift to the Institute

Law, Policy & Practice

NEW 'SERVE AMERICA ACT' INCLUDES MENTOR PROGRAMS FOR FOSTER YOUTH
President Barak Obama on April 21 signed into law the "Serve America Act" (Public Law No: 111-13) aimed at increasing the number of service and volunteer opportunities across the nation, including programs geared to mentoring youth in foster care. Specifically, the law will cover programs that provide academic or direct mentoring services to youth in foster care, as well as support of mentorship partnerships. The new law will also expand and modify the existing Foster Grandparent program, which provides opportunities for seniors to serve as mentors, tutors and caregivers to underserved youth, by lowering eligibility of individuals from age 60 to 55 and increasing monthly tax-free stipends to $3 an hour. To read the new law, go to: http://thomas.loc.gov/ and search for H.R.1388 in the bill summary and status field.

OKLAHOMA LAW REQUIRES TRANSPARENCY FOR ADOPTION-RELATED EXPENSES
Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry signed legislation (HB2174) into law on April 27 that mandates public reporting of adoption-related expenses by attorneys, agencies or individuals facilitating an adoption in the state. The new law will require these practitioners to submit a disclosure statement of adoption-related costs and expenditures including, but not limited to: retainer fees and hourly rates, fees for pre-placement or home studies, and fees or expenses paid to birthparents related to the adoption. The disclosure of adoption expenses must be filed before the final decree of adoption is issued and will be made available to the public. The law also specifies that a birthparent, adoption agency or attorney may present a child for adoption to one prospective adoptive family at a time. To read the new law, which takes effect on Nov., 1, 2009, go to: http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/WebBillStatus/main.html

GEORGIA's EMBRYO 'ADOPTION' LEGISLATION PENDING GOVERNOR'S SIGNATURE
Georgia's Senate approved legislation (HB 388) on April 1 that would make it the first state to provide a legal framework for embryo "adoption." The state House, which passed the bill in March, approved Senate amendments and sent it to Gov. Sonny Perdue for signature on April 14. The legislation would amend the state's child adoption laws to include embryos conceived through in vitro fertilization, establishing the option of obtaining a court approval for an embryo "adoption," as well as clarifying the rights of genetic donors and adoptive parents involved. Embryo transfers in the state are regulated through contract or property law. Correction: Last month's e-newsletter incorrectly reported that this legislation would make those who "adopt" embryos eligible for state and federal adoption tax credit. Georgia's credit applies only to the adoption of a child from foster care, however; similarly, the federal tax credit is not available for expenses associated with embryo "adoption." Law professors Sarah B. Lawsky and Naomi Cahn (an Institute Senior Research Fellow) analyze this issue in "Embryo Exchanges and Adoption Tax Credits," available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1394046. To read the Georgia bill, 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

TENNESSEE SENATORS APPROVE BILL TO PROVIDE POST-ADOPTION SERVICES
The Tennessee Senate approved a measure on April 16 aimed at reducing the risk of adoption dissolution in the state by providing specific post-adoption services, including: crisis intervention, family and individual counseling, support groups for parents and children, advocacy, respite, case management, and networking for families and community providers. These services would be provided only to families who adopted children from the state's foster care system and would be enacted subject to available funding. A companion bill is under consideration in the state House Children and Family Affairs Committee. To read the bill, go to: http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/billinfo/BillSummaryArchive.aspx?BillNumber=SB1702&ga=106

3 STATES CONSIDER GIVING ADOPTED ADULTS ACCESS TO BIRTH CERTIFICATES
Measures that would provide adopted adults access to original birth certificates were introduced in Missouri and Minnesota in January and in California in February. Missouri's legislation (HB48) would permit adoptees at least 21 years old to receive copies of their original unaltered birth certificates. Except for a second reading of the bill in the state House on Jan. 8, no new action has been taken on the legislation. The Minnesota bill (SF 137/HF0328) would permit all adopted persons age 19 or older to receive a noncertified copy of their original birth records if there is no affidavit of nondisclosure issued by a biological parent. The bill was passed in committee hearings in both chambers as of the end of March; last year a bill was passed in both chambers but was vetoed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. California's measure (AB372) would allow adoptees' access in the case of medical necessity. After Jan. 1, 2010, all adoptees would be able to get copies of their original birth certificates upon turning 25 as long as their birthparents do not veto disclosure; if only one birthparent issues a veto, information on the other would be released. The bill was unanimously approved by the Assembly Judiciary Committee on April 24 and is pending review in the Appropriations Committee. To read the Missouri bill, go to: http://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills091/biltxt/intro/HB0048I.htm; to read the Minnesota bill, go to: https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/bin/bldbill.php?bill=S0137.2.html&session=ls86 ; read the California measure, go to: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/asm/ab_0351-0400/ab_372_bill_20090421_amended_asm_v97.html. To read the Adoption Institute report on this issue, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2007_11_for_records.php

Research

STUDY IDENTIFIES SALIENT EXPERIENCES INFLUENCING ETHNIC IDENTITY
A study of 67 adopted Korean American adults identified three of seven types of cultural socialization experiences that correlated positively with ethnic identity: diverse milieu (living in a heterogeneous community), racial awareness (developing awareness of what it means to be a racial/ethnic minority) and birth roots (returning to Korea). "The Past and Present Cultural Experiences of Adopted Korean American Adults," by Sueyoung Song and Richard Lee, was published in the current issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 12, Issue 1). Cultural socialization experiences during ages 18-21 were most relevant to the development of a positive ethnic identity. To access an abstract, go to: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a909938518~db=all~order=page

NURSING JOURNAL EXPLORES COMPLICATED GRIEF PROCESS FOR BIRTHMOTHERS
"Nursing the Disenfranchised: Women Who Have Relinquished an Infant for Adoption," by J.A. Aloi, presents an analysis of the complicated grief process for birthmothers and recommends in-service training for nursing staff to promote greater understanding and knowledge of how to provide support. The article was published in the February issue of the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing (Volume 16, Issue 1). The author recommends an accepting approach that encourages the expression of thoughts and feelings without offering advice, and provides opportunities to commemorate the child. To access an abstract, go to: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/121639073/abstract

AGE AT ADOPTION AFFECTS EDUCATION, NOT OTHER OUTCOMES, FOR ADULTS
Based on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, researchers found that the age at which 141 adults were adopted did not result in significant differences in their performance on a number of measures (divorce rate, income, home ownership and depression); however, educational achievement was significantly lower for children placed after age 5. "Age at Adoption: Long-Term Measures of Success in Adulthood," by Susan Decker and Megumi Omori, was published in the current issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 12, Issue 1). The authors recommended more assistance and educational supports for children placed at later ages. To access an abstract, go to: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a909938627~db=all~order=page

RESEARCH CITES SYSTEMIC BARRIERS TO ACCESSING POST-PLACEMENT SERVICES
Based on phone interviews with 33 adoption professionals, researchers used concept mapping to identify barriers to families accessing services after adoptive placement, finding macro level barriers to be most salient; those included funding limitations, interstate issues, inadequacy of clinical services and service inequities. "Examining the Facilitators and Barriers Faced by Adoption Professionals Delivering Post-Placement Services," by Scott Ryan (an Adoption Institute Senior Research Fellow), Nina Nelson and Carl Siebert, was published in the May issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 31, Issue 5). Workers also identified a range of solutions, such as expanding financial supports, increasing adoption-specific service providers, establishing adoption after-care units, and others. To access an abstract, go to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01907409

 

News

NETHERLANDS ANNOUNCES RESTRICTIONS ON ADOPTION OF U.S. CHILDREN
The Dutch government announced that it will implement stricter requirements for adoptions of children from the U.S. because it had determined that young American children could easily find homes with families in their own country, according to an April 22 news story. "Netherlands Limits Adoptions of U.S. Children" reported that American-born children make up the third largest group -- after children from China and Haiti -- of overseas adoptions to the Netherlands. Officials said the stricter requirements would not apply to American children over the age of 5, in foster care, or with health or other special needs. To read the article, go to: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g2-M-kYml7bNRXjXMDIUQEHCe0cg

DROP IN ADOPTIONS FROM CHINA ATTRIBUTED PARTLY TO INTERNAL CHANGES
In an April 12 CNN report by Emily Chang on the slowdown of international adoptions from China, a number of factors were cited as contributing to the reduction -- not only including new regulations issued in 2007, but also changes within China itself. The report, "Finding a Home: Fewer Children Up for Adoption in China," said the landscape of adoptions in China has altered because of regulatory changes narrowing the types of people who can adopt abroad; it also said better education and a growing economy have contributed to shifts in Chinese attitudes about adoption and the value of daughters, so that both interest in adoption and the financial means to adopt have both increased. Currently, the wait for an international adoption of a child from China can be up to five years. To read the article, go to: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/04/10/china.adoptions/index.html

BRITISH REPORT CITES FAILURES OF SYSTEM TO PROTECT CHILDREN IN CARE
Findings from a British government committee study on children in foster care, reported in an April 20 story in The Guardian, found the government had failed in its obligation to protect children in state care and called for a complete overhaul of the system. The story by Amelia Gentleman, "State Fails to Protect Children in Care, MPs Say," reported that the government study had found evidence of children in care being sexually exploited; it also said youth aged 10 or older in care were twice as likely to be convicted of a criminal offence, and a disproportionate number struggle with mental health problems, become teen parents, or become homeless. To read the article, go to: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/apr/20/state-failing-children

 

Resources

ARTICLE FEATURES `CUSTOMER SERVICE' IDEAS FOR CHILD WELFARE WORKERS
"Good Customer Service: What Public Welfare Workers Should Know about International Adoptions," by Victor Groza (an Institute Senior Fellow), is an article about the ways public agencies can increase the number of families who adopt from the child welfare system. It is featured in the current newsletter of the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Adoption, The Roundtable (Volume 23, Issue 1). To access this article, go to: http://www.nrcadoption.org/roundtable/v23/GoodCustomerService.pdf

RESOURCE CENTER WEBSITE ADDS TELECONFERENCES ON SYSTEMS CHANGE
The National Resource Center for Organizational Improvement has made several recent teleconferences available on its website. These include "Training to Improve Practice in Rural Areas: Innovative Strategies and Resources," from Feb. 12; "Experiences with Systems Change: Building Systems of Care," from March 5; and "Improving Agency/Court Collaboration: Strategies for Success," from April 7. To access these teleconferences, go to: http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/helpkids/tele.htm#february12

FLORIDA BAN ON GAY ADOPTIONS ESTIMATED TO COST MONEY, AND HOMES
The Williams Institute, associated with the UCLA School of Law, published a memo written in March to Florida legislators, "The Cost of Florida's Ban on Adoption by GLB (gay/lesbian/bisexual) Individuals and Same-Sex Couples," by Naomi Goldberg and Lee Badgett. The Institute estimates that the annual impact of Florida's ban on adoption by gays and lesbians -- the only explicit statutory prohibition of its kind in the U.S. -- is $2.5 million to $3.4 million to the state and the loss of adoptive homes for 165 to 219 children. To access this memo, go to: http://repositories.cdlib.org/uclalaw/williams/goldberg_3/

 

Institute Updates

BOOMERS REPORTEDLY MORE INTERESTED IN ADOPTING OLDER CHILDREN
In an April 5, 2009 Arizona Republic piece by Karin Bland, "More Older Adults Adopt Older Kids," Executive Director Adam Pertman is quoted as saying that the number of adoptions from foster care have been on the rise nationwide. Among the reasons for the growth in interest in adopting older children reportedly are enhanced recruitment efforts by state welfare agencies across the country targeting parents between the ages of 30 and 50, increasing difficulty adopting babies from overseas, and changed attitudes of boomers with empty nests and commitment to social change. To read the article, go to: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2009/04/05/20090405oldadopt05a1.html

INSTITUTE: NEEDS OF CHILDREN SHOULD BE KEY IN GAY/LESBIAN ADOPTIONS
A Christian Broadcasting Network News report by Heather Sells on April 20, "Adoption: New Front in Gay Rights Battle?" addresses President Barak Obama's effort to tackle the issue of adoptions by gays as part of his civil rights agenda. In it, Executive Director Pertman underscored that the issue should focus on the estimated 125,000 children in foster care who need a permanent family, a need that gay couples can help meet. To read the article, go to: http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/582403.aspx. To read the Adoption Institute's latest report on this issue, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/2008_09_expand_resources.php

COMPLEXITY OF INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION PRACTICE AND ETHICS DISCUSSED
In an April 10 Chicago Public Radio Worldview show, Policy & Operations Director Hollee McGinnis provided both her personal perspective as a transnationally adopted adult and her professional expertise in a discussion about the ethics of intercountry adoption practice. To listen to the show, go to: http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/content.aspx?audioID=33436

INSTITUTE REPORT CONTINUES TO INFORM DISCUSSION OF RACE IN ADOPTION
Findings from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute 2008 paper "Finding Families for African American Children: The Role of Race & Law in Adoption," have been cited in a number of articles and opinion pieces, most recently in an April 23 Newsweek article by Tony Dokoupil, "Raising Katie." To read the Newsweek article, go to: http://www.newsweek.com/id/194886. To read the Institute report, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2008_05_mepa.php

INSTITUTE SUPPORTERS RELEASE SONG ON ACCESS TO BIRTH CERTIFICATES
Institute supporter and legendary hip hop artist Darryl "DMC" McDaniels has teamed with British singer/songwriter Zara Phillips in releasing a new song entitled "I'm Legit" about the importance of adult adoptees gaining the right to access their original birth certificates. Phillips produced and directed the award-winning documentary "Roots Unknown" and wrote a book entitled "Mother Me." McDaniels won an Emmy for his documentary "DMC: My Adoption Journey" and was presented with the Congressional Angels in Adoption Award for his work with children in foster care and promotion of adoption. (He is also serving as one of the Honorary Co-Chairs to this year's Taste of Spring event for the Adoption Institute - see below.) For more information about the song and Phillips' and McDaniels' experiences as adopted people, go to: http://www.zarahphillips.com/pressrelease.shtml. For a free preview of the song (or a 99 cent download benefitting the American Adoption Congress and the Adoption Institute), go to: http://www.youbloom.com/web/zaradmc

THERE'S STILL TIME TO SUPPORT `TASTE OF SPRING' - AND TO ATTEND!
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 food from 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), adopted person and 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). Please contact External Relations Director Laura James at ljames@adoptioninstitute.org 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 .

HONOR ADOPTIVE AND/OR BIRTH MOTHER(S) WITH A GIFT TO THE INSTITUTE
During these difficult financial times, many people are choosing to recognize Mother's Day with meaningful philanthropic gifts rather than flowers. Consider making a gift to the Institute in honor of your adoptive mother, your birth mother - or both! For all gifts of $25 or more, we will send a special note letting her know of your thoughtfulness, and include any special text or image you would like. For more information and ideas, and to make such a gift, please contact External Relations Director Laura James at ljames@adoptioninstitute.org. Also consider 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:

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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