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

1. Law, Policy & Practice
- State Department Reports Steep Drop in Intercountry Adoptions to U.S.
- Mexico City Legalizes Marriage and Adoption for Same-Sex Couples

2. Research
- Adoption Quarterly Special Issue Focuses on Lesbian and Gay Adoption
- Survey: Better Procedures Needed for Egg Donors' Medical Updates
- Interviews of Foster Care Alumni Find Most Did Not Embrace Adoption
- Study Finds Positive Outcomes of Institutional Care in Poor Countries

3. News
- International Adoptees Reported Doing Well on Many Measures
- 500 Adoptees in Colorado Get Their Records Since Major Court Ruling

4. Resources
- National Resource Center Offers Information on Placement Stability
- Article Recommends Improvements in International Adoption Practice
- CSSP and Urban Institute Release ASFA Retrospective, Host Webcast

5. From Our Partners
- Register for CWLA Conference; Adoption Institute Staff to Present
- Adoption Learning Partners Course Centers on Children's Grief, Loss
- Upcoming Adoption Quarterly Issue Focuses on Adoptive Parent Survey
- Spence-Chapin Launches Support Program for Foster Adoptive Families

6. Institute Update
- Siblings' Reunion Described as Evidence of Harm by Current Laws
- More Older Children Being Adopted – In this Case, the "Child" is 23
- Institute to Cosponsor Conference With UMass Research Program
- It's Not Too Late to Include the Adoption Institute in Year-End Giving
- Support Builds for Our Two Big Events – In Los Angeles and New York

 

Law, Policy & Practice

STATE DEPARTMENT REPORTS STEEP DROP IN INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS TO U.S.
The number children born in other countries and adopted into the United States dropped to a 13-year low in Fiscal 2009 (Oct. 1, 2008 through Sept. 30, 2009), according to data released by the State Department on Dec. 17. The total number of intercountry adoptions in FY09 fell to 12,753, the lowest level since 1996 and significantly down from a historic high of 22,990 in 2004. China was the major "sending" country for the most current year, followed by Ethiopia, Russia, South Korea and Guatemala. To see the latest State Department statistics, go to: http://adoption.state.gov/news/total_chart.html. To read an Associated Press story about the decline in intercountry adoptions, go to: www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gcrbmoOBOt-XHGEpuZsaS24GWXlwD9CLBA200.

MEXICO CITY LEGALIZES MARRIAGE AND ADOPTION FOR SAME-SEX COUPLES
Mexico City on Dec. 21 legalized marriage and adoption by same-sex couples. The vote by the city's legislative assembly on the marriage issue was 39 to 20, and on the adoption issue it was 31 to 24, with some lawmakers abstaining in each case. Mexico City becomes the second major Latin American city to legalize same-sex marriage. In November, a court in Argentina ruled that two articles in the civil code of Buenos Aires - which said that only a man and woman could be married - were illegal; the city's mayor decided not to appeal the decision, clearing the way for same-sex marriages. To read a news story about the change in Mexico City's law, go to: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/12/21/mexico.gay.marriage/index.html. To read the Adoption Institute's most recent reports on gay and lesbian adoption, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/2008_09_expand_resources.php and http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/publications/2006_Expanding_Resources_for_Children%20_March_.pdf.

 

Research

ADOPTION QUARTERLY SPECIAL ISSUE FOCUSES ON LESBIAN AND GAY ADOPTION
A special double issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 12, Issues 3-4), entitled "Lesbian and Gay Adoptive Parents: Issues and Outcomes," contains eight articles covering topics ranging from factors related to the choice of adoption to comparing child outcomes in gay/lesbian and straight adoptive families. Three articles are featured below; abstracts for them can be accessed at: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g917057707. To read the Adoption Institute's most recent reports on gay and lesbian adoption, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/2008_09_expand_resources.php and http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/publications/2006_Expanding_Resources_for_Children%20_March_.pdf.

"An Evaluation of Gay/Lesbian and Heterosexual Adoption," by Paige Averett, Blace Nalavany and Scott Ryan, compares child outcomes on the Child Behavior Checklist in adoptive families with two parents among 155 gay/lesbian and 1,229 heterosexual couples, finding that parent sexual orientation is not a predictor of child internalizing or externalizing behavior problems. The analyses looked at younger and older children separately and controlled for many other variables. Significant predictors of higher behavior problems on one or both scales included: being part of a sibling group, less satisfaction with preparation, being a boy, older age of child, sexual and physical abuse history, higher family functioning, and higher income.

"Early and Late Stage Adolescence: Adopted Adolescents' Attachment to Their Heterosexual and Lesbian/Gay Parents," by Stephen Erich, Sharon Hall, Heather Kanenberg and Kim Case, reported on a survey of 154 adoptive parents and 86 adopted adolescents, and found that early adolescents reported higher levels of attachment toward their parents than did late adolescents. The researchers also reported higher levels of attachment with parents in committed relationships (83% of heterosexual and 73% of gay/lesbian couples) as compared to single parents. Two significant predictors of higher adolescent attachment to parents were higher adolescent life satisfaction and parent satisfaction with the relationship with their teen.

"Behavioral Adjustment of Adopted Chinese Girls in Single-Mother, Lesbian-Couple, and Heterosexual-Couple Households," by Tony Tan and Jennifer Baggerly, compared behavioral adjustment for 93 adopted girls across three groups matched as closely as possible for age at adoption, age at assessment, and number of adopted siblings. Analyses were conducted separately for preschool and school-aged children for over 10 scales and subscales of the Child Behavior Checklist. When there were significant differences, girls in single-parent households scored lower (fewer problems) than those in lesbian-couple households (internalizing problems among preschoolers and externalizing/total problems for school-age girls).

SURVEY: BETTER PROCEDURES NEEDED FOR EGG DONORS' MEDICAL UPDATES
Survey responses from 155 egg donors, on average nine years after their donations, found only 2.6 percent had been contacted by their clinics for medical updates and over one-third reported medical changes they thought were significant for donor children. "US Oocyte Donors: A Retrospective Study of Medical and Psychosocial Issues," by W. Kramer, J. Schneider and N. Schultz, was published in the December issue of Human Reproduction (Volume 24, Issue 12). Of those with medically significant events, including life-threatening illness, over 40 percent had not tried to contact the fertility clinic, and others were unsuccessful in doing so. To access an abstract, go to: http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/24/12/3144. To read the Adoption Institute's report on adoption's lessons for assisted reproductive technologies, go to: http://adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/2009_02_oldlessons.php.

INTERVIEWS OF FOSTER CARE ALUMNI FIND MOST DID NOT EMBRACE ADOPTION
This qualitative study of 29 young adults who aged out of foster care explored their views and goals related to having a family, finding that most had been excluded from the child welfare permanency planning process and had rejected adoption because they wanted to return to their biological families or saw adoption as a betrayal of those families. "Ambiguous Loss of Home: The Experience of Familial (Im)permanence among Young Adults with Foster Care Backgrounds," by Gina Samuels, was published in the December issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 31,Issue 12). Several respondents recalled caseworkers explaining adoption as replacing their "real" moms with "new" moms. The author recommends a child welfare approach with a broader concept of permanence, so foster or adoptive families are presented as an added resource rather than a replacement family. To access an abstract, go to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V98-4W99VTF-3&_user=10&_coverDate=12%2F31%2F2009&_rdoc=5&_fmt=high&_orig=browse&_srch=doc-info(%23toc%235892%232009%23999689987%231548095%23FLA%23display%23Volume)&_cdi=5892&_sort=d&_docanchor=&_ct=20&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=380ed4b1162210fcff700e71d83f8f63.

STUDY FINDS POSITIVE OUTCOMES OF INSTITUTIONAL CARE IN POOR COUNTRIES
Researchers from Duke University compared health, cognitive and behavioral outcomes of 1,357 school-age, institutionalized children who had at least one parent die (sampled across six sites in five poor countries) to 1,480 orphans (one or two parents deceased) living with relatives in the community. Those in institutions scored no worse than those in communities on any outcome measured and were in better health. "A Comparison of the Wellbeing of Orphans and Abandoned Children Ages 6-12 in Institutional and Community-Based Care Settings in 5 Less Wealthy Nations," by Kathryn Whetten, Jan Ostermann, Rachel Whetten, Brian Pence, Karen O'Donnell, Lynne Messer, Nathan Thielman and the Positive Outcomes for Orphans Research Team, was published in the December issue of PLOS ONE (Volume 4, Issue 12). The authors challenge the assumption that institutional care of school-age children in very poor countries is necessarily worse than community care. To access the full article, go to: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0008169.

 

News

INTERNATIONAL ADOPTEES REPORTED DOING WELL ON MANY MEASURES
A U.S. government survey found most of international adoptees are in good health and fare well on measures of social and emotional well-being, according to a Dec. 17 America.gov story. "Internationally Adopted Children are Thriving, Study Shows," by Jeffrey Thomas, reported that the research was conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services between April 2007 and June 2008 into the lives of more than 90,000 children of the 1.8 million U.S. adoptees under the age of 18. The survey, called Adoption USA and released by HHS in November, showed that these children receive considerable attention from their parents, generally do well in school, overwhelmingly show positive behaviors, and are thriving in their homes. To read the story, go to: http://www.america.gov/st/peopleplace-english/2009/December/200912171352251CJsamohT0.1063196.html.

500 ADOPTEES IN COLORADO GET THEIR RECORDS SINCE MAJOR COURT RULING
More than 500 adopted people - an unprecedented number - have gotten their original birth certificates from the Colorado Health Department in the five months since a groundbreaking court ruling in April, according to a Dec. 22 article in The Denver Post. "Colorado court pulls the curtain back on adoption records," by Karen Auge, said the ruling pertained to adopted persons born in Colorado between 1951 and 1967, and addressed the state's 60-year-old patchwork of adoption laws and regulations. To read the Denver Post story, go to: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_14045792. To read the Adoption Institute report on the subject, go to: http://adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2007_11_for_records.php.

 

Resources

NATIONAL RESOURCE CENTER OFFERS INFORMATION ON PLACEMENT STABILITY
The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections released an information packet this month on placement stability. This resource, by Teija Sudol, outlines legislative policies and goals for placement stability in child welfare, as well as statistics on the extent of placement changes and their causes. It also describes best practices and model programs, and suggests some online resources. To access the information packet, go to: http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/info_services/Placement_Stability_Info_Pack.htm

ARTICLE RECOMMENDS IMPROVEMENTS IN INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION PRACTICE
Using parents' open-ended responses from surveys, a journal article entitled "Implications of Recent Research on Eastern European Adoptees for Social Work Practice," by Josephine Ruggiero and Kathy Johnson, makes recommendations for improved practice in the adoptive placement of older children from Eastern European orphanages. This article was published in the December issue of the Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal (Volume 26, Issue 6). Some of their recommendations include improvements in preparation of parents and children, gaining pre-adopters' informed consent to accept or decline specific referrals, and follow-ups for at least two years. To access the article, go to: http://www.springerlink.com/content/a328184217n12771/fulltext.pdf

CSSP AND URBAN INSTITUTE RELEASE ASFA RETROSPECTIVE, HOST WEBCAST
The Center for the Study of Social Policy and the Urban Institute released a research report on Dec. 10 entitled Intentions and Results: A Look Back at the Adoption and Safe Families Act, by Olivia Golden, Jennifer Macomber and over 15 other authors, and funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The report begins with a framework paper with an overview of the key features of the ASFA legislation and data on its results. Also included are five perspective papers - including ones from the perspectives of parents and youth - as well as seven policy briefs by leading researchers and analysts that examine ASFA's impact on specific populations of parents and older youth; priority issues of adoption; and preserving family connections. At the end is a summary paper with recommendations from the CSSP. The paper may be downloaded at: http://www.urban.org/publications/1001351.html

"Safety, Permanence, and Well-Being: 12 Years of the Adoption and Safe Families Act," a webcast on Dec. 14 co-hosted by the Urban Institute and the Center for the Study of Social Policy, featured speakers Olivia Golden, John Mattingly, Lynne Miller, Carmen Nazario and Nancy Young; the discussion was moderated by CSSP Director Susan Notkin (who is also President of the Board of the Adoption Institute). Most of the panelists had authored papers in the retrospective described above and shared their perspectives on the progress achieved through ASFA, current issues in child welfare, and the opportunities presented by the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act. To access the webcast recording, go to: http://www.urban.org/events/Safe-Families-Act.cfm.

 

From Our Partners

REGISTER FOR CWLA CONFERENCE; ADOPTION INSTITUTE STAFF TO PRESENT
The Child Welfare League of America national conference, "Children 2010: Leading a New Era," is coming up in just a few weeks - it's on Jan. 25-27 in Washington, D.C. This annual event offers invaluable, informative workshops that highlight evidence-based strategies in a broad range of areas including adoption, health care, homelessness, mental health, youth in transition, and others. Adoption Institute staff members - including Adam Pertman, David Brodzinsky, Susan Smith and Jeanne Howard - will give presentations based on the Institute's work in the "adoption track" of the conference. For more information or to register, go to: http://guest.cvent.com/EVENTS/Info/Summary.aspx?e=83f5d3b4-a17f-4ff3-9528-2aff2290845e.

ADOPTION LEARNING PARTNERS COURSE CENTERS ON CHILDREN'S GRIEF, LOSS
No matter how happy their current lives, adopted children may need help articulating and managing issues relating to grief and loss - emotions sometimes heightened at times like holidays. Adoption Learning Partners (ALP) put together an e-course entitled "Finding the Missing Pieces: Helping Adopted Children Cope with Grief and Loss" to deal constructively with questions and sadness. The course is designed to help parents recognize the signs of their children's grief, identify situations that may trigger grief responses, and develop strategies to help their children explore their feelings. The course is available for parents at: http://www.adoptionlearningpartners.org/finding_missing_pieces.cfm. A version for professionals to obtain NASW CEU credits can be accessed at: http://www.adoptionlearningpartners.org/guest/agencyEntry.cfm?sourceCode=EBDAI&destination=/finding_missing_pieces_ceu.cfm.

UPCOMING ADOPTION QUARTERLY ISSUE FOCUSES ON ADOPTIVE PARENT SURVEY
An upcoming special issue of Adoption Quarterly will feature articles examining data from the National Survey of Adoptive Parents (NSAP), the largest-scale national survey of its kind ever conducted. AQ publishes high-quality, scholarly articles focusing on adoption and adoption-related issues. Articles may include quantitative or qualitative research using primary or secondary data, systematic literature reviews, meta-analyses, and empirically supported/theory-driven position papers. To learn more about the journal, see guidelines for author submissions, sign up for a subscription, or order current or back issues, go to: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t792303958~db=all.

SPENCE-CHAPIN LAUNCHES SUPPORT PROGRAM FOR FOSTER ADOPTIVE FAMILIES
Spence-Chapin Services is launching Foster Care Adoption Support, an innovative new program that offers free post-adoption services – workshops, parent groups, children's groups and consultations – to strengthen families formed through foster care adoption in the New York area. Funded through a private grant, this program is an extension of the supportive services already provided by Spence-Chapin's Adoption Resource Center. Spence-Chapin will initially partner with Children's Aid Society, Good Shepherd Services, and Forestdale, Inc.; however, its services are open to all families formed through foster-care adoption. For more information, go to: http://www.spence-chapin.org/post-adoption-services/c0_post_adoption_services.php.

 

Institute Update

SIBLINGS' REUNION DESCRIBED AS EVIDENCE OF HARM BY CURRENT LAWS
ABC World News published an online article on Dec. 11 chronicling the journey of an 82-year-old adopted woman who had been separated from her birth relatives for over 80 years, and who had an emotional reunion this month with four of her surviving eight biological siblings. The Adoption Institute's Executive Director, Adam Pertman, is quoted in the article as saying that Barbara Miller's story – while remarkable – provided further evidence that outdated laws sealing adoption records can be hurtful. "There was no reason to keep these human beings from knowing each other," he was quoted as saying. To read the article, go to: http://abcnews.go.com/WN/siblings-reunited-80-years-depression-era-adoption/story?id=9292985&page=3. To read the Adoption Institute's report on the issue, go to: http://adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2007_11_for_records.php.

MORE OLDER CHILDREN BEING ADOPTED - IN THIS CASE, THE `CHILD' IS 23
An article on CNN.com on Dec. 28 – "'Unadoptable' as child, man gets new parents at 23," by Stephanie Chen – tells the story of a man who aged out of California's foster care system when he was 18, but was adopted five years later. Remarking on the case, Executive Director Pertman noted that more parents are adopting older teens, and even young adults; according to the Department of Health and Human Services, the number of adoptions finalized for people between 14 and 20 increased from 2,000 in 1998 to over 4,000 in the year 2000. To read the story, go to: http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/12/28/teen.adult.adoption/index.html.

INSTITUTE TO COSPONSOR CONFERENCE WITH UMASS RESEARCH PROGRAM
The Adoption Institute is pleased to announce that it will co-sponsor the second Rudd Adoption Conference, together with the Rudd Adoption Research Program and the Center for Research on Families at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. The theme of the event – which will take place in April 2010 – will be "New Worlds of Adoption: Linking Research with Practice," and the featured speakers will be the Adoption Institute Senior Research Fellows and the Institute’s Policy Staff. For further information, contact Stephanie Covelli at scovelli@psych.umass.edu or 413-545-3905. Registration information will be posted at http://www.psych.umass.edu/ruddchair/conferences/.

IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO INCLUDE THE ADOPTION INSTITUTE IN YEAR-END GIVING
We hope you find our e-newsletter helpful and informative. While this is a free service for our readers, it is not costless. As 2009 comes to an end, we hope you will consider making a donation to support all the important work of the Adoption Institute. We know that this has been a tough year economically for almost everyone. That is why it is especially important that you, who care about adoption ethics and equity, and understand the importance of evidence-based, enlightened practice and policies, step forward to support our work. We cannot further our unique, high-impact initiatives without your donations. If you are interested in talking about ways to maximize your support of the Institute, such as requesting that friends and families donate to the Institute on your behalf in lieu of holiday gifts, please contact Laura James at ljames@adoptioninstitute.org. 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

To find out more about contributing to the important work of the Institute, go to http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/about/support.php or simply mail your check to:

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
120 E. 38th Street
New York, NY 10016

or click here:
https://www.networkforgood.org/donation/ExpressDonation.aspx?ORGID2=133904148.

SUPPORT BUILDS FOR OUR TWO BIG EVENTS – IN LOS ANGELES AND NEW YORK
The Adoption Institute's annual benefit in Los Angeles will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010. This year's event will honor Peter Levine of Creative Artists Agency, an adoptive father of two, a passionate advocate for children who need loving families, and an active supporter (and former Board member) of the Adoption Institute, as well as a founding member of the Institute's LA Advisory Council. Supporters of the event – which will be hosted by HBO Entertainment President Sue Naegle and her husband, comedian and writer Dana Gould – include: Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy, Howard and Nancy Marks, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Kristin Chenoweth, Ame Austin, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Keith Ferrazi, Phyliss and Peter Bart, Julie Bowen and Scott Phillips. Corporate sponsors include the Kennedy/Marshall Company and RKO Pictures. The event will be at a private home, so please contact Laura James at ljames@adoptioninstitute.org or (212) 925-4089 for information on sponsorship opportunities and on how to attend this always-fun and celebrity-filled event.

Our annual "Taste of Spring" benefit, the Institute's major fundraising event of the year, will be held on Thursday, May 13, 2010, at the Midtown Loft in New York City. Our Event Co-Chairs – Sandy McManus, Kim Donaldson, Hollis Forbes and Doug Mehne – are already hard at work lining up spectacular food and wine for this delicious event. Guests last year got to sample gourmet dishes prepared and served in person by master chefs Jean-Georges Vongrichten, David Burke, Jonathan Waxman and Zarela Martinez, while mingling with stars including Hugh Jackman, Bette Midler and Kristin Chenoweth. We hope you can join us for a festive and delicious evening in support of our unique, important work.

If attending a party is "not your thing," 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
•    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

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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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