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1. Law, Policy & Practice
- Court Rules Florida Must Recognize Gay Adoption from Out of State
- Georgia Establishes First Legal Framework for Embryo ‘Adoption’
- Florida, Washington Aim to Provide Records, Stability to Foster Youth
- Ethiopia Suspends Adoptions of Abandoned Children Pending Inquiry

2. Research
- Romanian Project Shows Benefits of Foster over Institutional Care
- Survey Links Family Preparation Before Adoption to Better Outcomes
- Researchers Find Reduction in Depression for Mothers after Adoption
- Study Reports Good Outcomes in Searches for Gamete Donors, Siblings
- International Adoptees May Not Be Immunized Despite Records

3. News
- South Korea to Introduce Measure Giving Adoptees Dual Citizenship
- New Guyana Laws Ensure Legal Status of Kifds, Update Adoption Processes
- Adult Adoptees’ Interest in Adopting Reportedly Growing in India

4. Resources
- Dave Thomas Foundation Offers New DVDs on Foster Care Adoption
- New York Agencies Issue Handbook for Relatives Raising Children
- Guidebook Identifies State Policies that Help Children and Families
- Publication Seeks to Assist Florida Foster Youth with Disabilities
- Videos Available of Presentations from Conference on Int’l Adoption

5. Institute Update
- Criticism Regarding Movie ‘Orphans’ Leads Studio to Change Trailer
- Economy May Be Influencing Decisions about Parenting and Adoption
- Need is Cited to Respect Each Nation’s Laws in International Adoption
- Honor Adoptive and/or Birth Father(s) with a Gift to the Institute
- Celebrities – And Celebrity Chefs – Help Make Spring Benefit a Success
- Please Consider a Gift to the Institute as We End Our Fiscal Year

Law, Policy & Practice

COURT RULES FLORIDA MUST RECOGNIZE GAY ADOPTION FROM OUT OF STATE
The Florida Court of Appeals on May 14 unanimously reversed a lower court ruling and held that the state must recognize adoptions granted to same-sex couples in other states, citing the full faith and credit clause of the federal Constitution and a state statute requiring that Florida honor adoption decrees from other states. The court further noted that the same-sex relationship of the parents were irrelevant for the purpose of enforcing the rights and obligations in an adoption. The case involved a custody dispute between a lesbian couple who had completed a second-parent adoption in Washington State and subsequently moved to Florida. To read the court opinion, go to: http://www.nclrights.org/site/DocServer/Embry_Opinion_05_13_2009.pdf?docID=5761; to read the Adoption Institute’s paper on this issue, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/2008_09_expand_resources.php

GEORGIA ESTABLISHES FIRST LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR EMBRYO ‘ADOPTION’
Georgia’s Gov. Sonny Perdue signed into law on May 5 a measure that amends 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 (HB388) is the first statute in the United States to provide a legal framework for the “adoption” of embryos by providing the option to obtain a court approval for the procedure as well as clarifying the rights of genetic donors and adoptive parents. Georgia already permitted embryo transfers, but the process was regulated through contract or property law. The new law comes into effect July 1, 2009. To read it, 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

FLORIDA, WASHINGTON AIM TO PROVIDE RECORDS, STABILITY TO FOSTER YOUTH
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed legislation (SB126/Chapter No. 2009-34) into law on May 13 designed to ensure current and former foster youth unhindered access to their personal case records, and to require the state to keep accurate and accessible records for all youths in care until their 30th birthdays. In addition, the law would permit foster and adoptive parents, guardian relatives and pre-adoptive parents access to confidential reports and records in cases of child abuse and neglect. The inability of foster youth to access their records has hindered some youth when seeking employment or higher education. The new law takes effect July 1, 2009. In Washington, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed two bills into law on May 14 aimed at providing stability for children in foster care in the state by allowing courts to consider long absences by biological parents in decisions to terminate visitation rights (HB1782) and requiring children to be placed with previously known foster parents if they are removed for a second time from their biological parents (SB5431). To read the Florida measure, go to: http://www.flsenate.gov/cgi-bin/view_page.pl?Tab=session&Submenu=1&FT=D&File=sb0126er.html&Directory=session/2009/Senate/bills/billtext/html/. To read the Washington measures (HB1782 and SB5431), go to: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=1782&year=2009 and http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5431&year=2009

ETHIOPIA SUSPENDS ADOPTIONS OF ABANDONED CHILDREN PENDING INQUIRY
The U.S. State Department issued a notice on May 13 reporting that the Ethiopian First Instance Court had temporally stopped accepting cases involving abandoned children referred by orphanages in Addis Ababa, citing concerns over the dramatic increase in the number of these cases and possible unethical practices involving a few that had come to light in recent months. The suspension will last until a full inquiry into the situation is completed. To read the notice, go to: http://adoption.state.gov/news/ethiopia%20alert.html

Research

ROMANIAN PROJECT SHOWS BENEFITS OF FOSTER OVER INSTITUTIONAL CARE
Researchers with the Bucharest Early Intervention Project randomly assigned institutionalized children (mean age=23 months) to two groups (institutional care or foster care) and evaluated them and a group of children in the community at 30 months and 42 months of age; they found that children who moved into foster homes showed heightened positive emotion and attention. “The Effects of Foster Care Intervention on Socially Deprived Institutionalized Children’s Attention and Positive Affect: Results from the BEIP Study,” by Melissa Ghera, Peter Marshall, Nathan Fox, Charles Zeanah, Charles Nelson, Anna Smyke and Donald Guthrie, is in the March issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Volume 50, Issue 3). Also, the group in foster care demonstrated significantly higher levels of positive emotion and attention at 42 months than those in the community group. This study demonstrates the positive impact of foster care on previously institutionalized children. For an abstract of this article, go to: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/121459605/abstract

SURVEY LINKS FAMILY PREPARATION BEFORE ADOPTION TO BETTER OUTCOMES
A survey of 326 U.S. families who adopted internationally found that those who felt they were prepared well beforehand were more satisfied with their adoption services, more involved in cultural activities associated with their children’s birth cultures, and less likely to report challenges with their children. “Adoption Preparedness, Cultural Engagement, and Parental Satisfaction in Intercountry Adoption,” by Charlotte Paulsen and Joseph Merighti, is in the current issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 12, Issue 1). Overall, 70 percent of families were moderately to highly satisfied with services provided by their agencies; 24 percent were indifferent; and 6 percent were not satisfied. Rates of child challenges also were related to age at adoption and country of origin: Parents adopting children younger than 2 and those adopting from China or Guatemala reported fewer developmental challenges than those adopting from Russia or Romania. To access an abstract, go to: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a909939089~db=all~order=page. To read the Adoption Institute’s report on adoptive parent preparation, go to: http://adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/2008_02_parent_prep.php

RESEARCHERS FIND REDUCTION IN DEPRESSION FOR MOTHERS AFTER ADOPTION
An Israeli study assessed the rate of depression among 39 mothers six weeks after they adopted internationally and found 15.4 percent had depressive symptoms, which was similar to the rate of postpartum depression in the general population and lower than that recorded for this group of women before their adoptions (25.6%). “Post-adoption Depression among Adoptive Mothers,” by Yehuda Senecky, Hanoch Agassi, Dov Inbar, Netta Horesh, Gary Diamond, Yoav Bergman and Alan Apter, is in the May issue of the Journal of Affective Disorders (Volume 115, Issues 1-2). The researchers concluded that adopting a child does not precipitate depression but more likely reduces situational depression. These mothers also had a reduction in other symptoms of psychological difficulty. To access an abstract, go to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/

STUDY REPORTS GOOD OUTCOMES IN SEARCHES FOR GAMETE DONORS, SIBLINGS
Based on 791 responses to a web-based survey of parents registered with the Sibling Donor Registry, the reasons for and outcomes of searches for both siblings (87%) and donors (47%) were analyzed. The outcomes of searches and reunions were almost entirely positive or neutral, with negative responses from 1 percent or fewer. Overall, 73 percent had found biological siblings and 18 percent had found donors. “Gamete Donation: Parents’ Experiences of Searching for their Child’s Donor Siblings and Donor,” by T. Freeman, V. Jadva, W. Kramer and S. Golombok, is in the March issue of Human Reproduction (Volume 24, Issue 3). Primary reasons for sibling searches included curiosity about similarities and for their children to gain a better understanding of themselves or a more secure sense of identity. Donor searches were motivated primarily for child identity-related issues, and knowing about the donor was more important than knowing the donor. To access an abstract, go to: http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/24/3/505. 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

INTERNATIONAL ADOPTEES MAY NOT BE IMMUNIZED DESPITE RECORDS
There are reasons to suspect that the vaccine records of children adopted from overseas may not accurately reflect immunity due to documentation inaccuracies, falsification of vaccine certificates, lack of vaccine potency and impaired immune response (possibly due to stress or malnutrition), according to a recent study published in the May Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (Volume 163, Issue 5) by Emaculate Verla-Tebit, Xiaobei Zhu, Eva Holsinger, and Anna Maria Mandalakas. The study, “Predictive Value of Immunization Records and Risk Factors for Immunization Failure in Internationally Adopted Children,” found children adopted from China were less likely to have immunity than those from Russia. The researchers suggested revaccination as a cost-effective option for parents whose children showed no immunity. To read the abstract, go to: http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/163/5/473

 

News

SOUTH KOREA TO INTRODUCE MEASURE GIVING ADOPTEES DUAL CITIZENSHIP
The South Korean Ministry of Justice announced on May 21 it will submit a bill to the National Assembly in July that would allow Koreans who had been adopted and raised overseas to restore their Korean citizenship without having to relinquish the nationality of their new countries. According to the May 21 Korea Times article by Park Si-soo, “Overseas Birth Won’t Be Ticket to Foreign School,” the proposed bill is intended to change the nation’s dual citizenship laws. Under current law, foreign nationals must relinquish their nationality within six months of becoming naturalized as a Korean. The proposed law would also permit foreigners with special “talents” to have dual citizenship. To read the article, go to: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2009/05/113_45424.html

NEW GUYANA LAWS ENSURE LEGAL STATUS OF KIDS, UPDATE ADOPTION PROCESSES
The South American country of Guyana passed laws on May 21 to ensure the legal status of all children, whether they are born out of wedlock or are raised by biological or adoptive parents; adoption laws were also updated so that all processes are conducted in the best interests of the child. According to a May 22 Stabroek News article about the new measures written by Mark McGowan, “Modern Child Adoption Bill Passed,” the Adoption of Children Bill 2009 stipulates that a child’s given name or names, identity, language, culture and religious ties should be identified and preserved to the extent possible; criminalizes financial gains from adoption; and addresses the overseas adoption of Guyanese children. To read the article, go to: http://www.stabroeknews.com/2009/news/local/05/22/modern%E2%80%99-child-adoption-bill-passed/

ADULT ADOPTEES’ INTEREST IN ADOPTING REPORTEDLY GROWING IN INDIA
According to a May 20 Times of India article, “An Increasing Number of Couples are Now Considering Adopting a Child,” adoption agencies in the Indian city of Pune report a growing number of inquiries about adopting by adults who were adopted domestically themselves. Although interest in adopting by individuals adopted from overseas has been more common, the new trend among domestic adoptees in the country may reflect the coming of age of this group and changing attitudes about adoption. The article reports that, in general, couples who are inquiring about adoption now are younger (choosing to forego years of fertility treatment), are less selective of gender, religion or age, and are genuinely interested in adopting to become a parent and less to obtain an heir – which had been the traditional pressure for infertile couples to seek adoption. To read the article, go to: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Pune/An-increasing-number-of-couples-are-now-considering-adopting-a-child/articleshow/4553247.cms

 

Resources

DAVE THOMAS FOUNDATION OFFERS NEW DVDS ON FOSTER CARE ADOPTION
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has made available two new DVDs on adoption from foster care; they are available at no charge to adoption organizations and professionals. The DVDs are: “A Place to Call Home,” portraying the stories of four families adopting from foster care, developed to reach prospective adoptive families; and “Every Child is Adoptable,” describing foster care adoption through the experiences of adopted teens, parents and others. To order these DVDs, go to: http://www.davethomasfoundation.org/Adoption-Resources/Free-Materials/Educational-Videos

NEW YORK AGENCIES ISSUE HANDBOOK FOR RELATIVES RAISING CHILDREN
The New York State Office of Children and Family Services and the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance have issued a handbook, “Having a Voice & a Choice: New York State Handbook for Relatives Raising Children.” This resource is for relatives raising or considering raising children, including kinship, foster and adoptive families. It covers topics such as legal arrangements, financial support, health care resources, and educational issues. This handbook could serve as a model for other states that want to develop similar guides. It can be downloaded at: http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/publications/Pub5080.pdf

GUIDEBOOK IDENTIFIES STATE POLICIES THAT HELP CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
“Policy Matters: Setting and Measuring Benchmarks for State Policies,” a child welfare state policy guide, was published in April by the Center for the Study of Social Policy. This guide identifies state policies that promote strong families, supportive communities and effective systems, and that promote child safety, permanency and well-being. To access, go to: http://www.policyforresults.org/Topics/2008/Building-Strong-and-Stable-Families/State-Child-Welfare-Policy-Guide/1/~/media/13504_PM_Book_v4.ashx

PUBLICATION SEEKS TO ASSIST FLORIDA FOSTER YOUTH WITH DISABILITIES
The Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities has published a 47-page guidebook designed to assist Florida foster youth with disabilities on their transition to adulthood, “Transition: The Passage from Youth to Adulthood” is for foster youth, their families and counselors; it is organized around questions such as “Who is eligible for vocational rehabilitation?” and “What is assistive technology and who pays for it?” To access, go to: http://floridaschildrenfirst.org/pdf/Foster_Final_Proof.pdf

VIDEOS AVAILABLE OF PRESENTATIONS FROM CONFERENCE ON INT’L ADOPTION
Videos of presentations at a March 6 conference, “International Adoption, the United States, and the Reality of the Hague System,” co-sponsored by the Center for Adoption Policy, the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School, and the Justice Action Center at New York Law School, are available on the New York Law School website, at: http://www.nyls.edu/centers/harlan_scholar_centers/justice_action_center/annual_conferences/adoption_conference/sixth_annual_conference

 

Institute Updates

CRITICISM REGARDING MOVIE `ORPHANS’ LEADS STUDIO TO CHANGE TRAILER
In concert with child welfare organizations and families across the country, the Adoption Institute this month urged producers and distributors of the horror movie “Orphan” (to be released in July) to replace the advertising trailer for the film and to take additional steps to minimize the prospect of promoting negative perceptions about children who need families (particularly those who are older). In response, executives at Warner Brothers said they had made a mistake and would change the trailer. To read the Adoption Institute press release, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/media/20090528_press_orphanmovie.php; to read stories about the controversy, go to: http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/chi-talk-adoption-moviemay30,0,1314661.story and http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/Story?id=7702341&page=1

ECONOMY MAY BE INFLUENCING DECISIONS ABOUT PARENTING AND ADOPTION
A May 19 USA Today article by Wendy Koch, “Struggling Families Look at Adoption,” reports that a half-dozen large adoption agencies in the country have seen an increase in inquires about adoption from women with unplanned pregnancies. Executive Director Adam Pertman is quoted in the story discussing the role of finances in adoption decisions and the trend toward openness in adoption. The article reports that many of these women considering placing their children for adoption are in their 20s, already have at least one child, and are facing economic hardships. The poor economy was also reportedly prompting more women to delay pregnancy (according to a May Gallup poll, nearly 10 percent of married women are postponing a planned pregnancy) and increasing inquiries about abortion. To read the article, go to: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-05-18-mother_N.htm

NEED IS CITED TO RESPECT EACH NATION’S LAWS IN INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION
Executive Director Pertman, commenting on the case of an American couple accused of child trafficking after attempting to adopt a child from Egypt, underscored the importance of being well-informed and working with governments and reputable agencies to make sure laws and social norms are followed when embarking on an international adoption. He was quoted in a May 13 Associated Press article, “U.S. Couple Who Wanted to Adopt on Trial in Egypt.” In particular, Pertman noted that “every country has the right to make its own laws and if you are in that country, you are obligated to follow those laws”. To read the article, go to: http://www.pr-inside.com/us-couple-who-wanted-to-adopt-r1248864.htm

HONOR ADOPTIVE AND/OR BIRTH FATHER(S) WITH A GIFT TO THE INSTITUTE 
Father’s Day is Sunday, June 21. Do something more meaningful for your father(s) this year than giving another tie. Consider making a gift to the Institute in honor of your adoptive father, your birth father - or both! For gifts of $25 or more, we will send a special note letting him know of your thoughtfulness, and include any special text or image you would like. For more information and ideas, or to make a gift, contact External Relations Director Laura James at [email protected]. To read the Adoption Institute’s report on birth parents, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2006_11_birthparent_wellbeing.php

CELEBRITIES – AND CELEBRITY CHEFS – HELP MAKE SPRING BENEFIT A SUCCESS
On May 14, Institute supporters attending our annual “Taste of Spring” benefit got to mingle with stars including Hugh Jackman, Bette Midler and Kristin Chenoweth, while tasting gourmet foods prepared and served in person by master chefs Jean-Georges Vongrichten, David Burke, Jonathan Waxman and Zarela Martinez, among others. This year’s Taste of Spring, the Institute’s major annual fundraising event, was a success in every sense, bringing together old friends of the Institute and creating new ones – while raising almost $300,000 to support our unique initiatives to improve adoption policy and practice. It’s not too late to make your own donation to ensure that the Institute makes it through the current economic recession and can continue to do its important work for children and families.

Board members Kim Donaldson, Kathleen Hricik, Caroline Fitzgibbons and Sandra McManus were the Co-Chairs of Taste of Spring. The Honorary Chairs included Institute Board member Jurate Kazickas and her husband, Roger Altman, Board member Jim Stevens and his wife, Mimi, and Institute supporters Jane and Bill Donaldson. This year’s Honorary Co-Chairs included adoptive parents and adoption advocates Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness, who also spoke at the event; two advocates for adoptee rights and foster children, Daryl (DMC) McDaniels and Sheila Jaffe; and last year’s honorees, Tony award-winner Christine Ebersole and her husband, musician Bill Moloney (also adoptive parents). 

The event’s corporate honoree this year was Wendy’s, founder and supporter of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The Institute also honored Chef Cyril Renaud, who was participating in Taste of Spring for the fifth consecutive year.  Cyril surprised the gathering by announcing that he and his wife are in the process of adopting a child.

For a full description of the event, including photos of the Jackmans, Bette Midler and other guests, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/events/tasteofspring_2009.php To look at the event’s invitation and program, listing all the event’s honorees, featured restaurants, wine donors and supporters, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/events/images/tasteofspring2009program.pdf

PLEASE CONSIDER A GIFT TO THE INSTITUTE AS WE END OUR FISCAL YEAR
While the generosity of our supporters and the hard work of our Board of Directors helped make the Taste of Spring a success, shortfalls in foundation funding and other donations resulting from the economic downturn leave the Adoption Institute facing the end of its fiscal year – June 30 – with a serious deficit. Please consider helping our work go forward 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, or contact Laura James at [email protected] or 212-925-4089.

 

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

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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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