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1. Law, Policy & Practice
- Federal Adoption Tax Credit is Increased and Extended through 2011
- Florida to Bar Agencies from Asking if Pre-Adoptive Parents Own Guns
- Lawmakers in Two States Advance Bills on Original Birth Certificates
- Proposal Aims to Streamline Citizenship for International Adoptees

2. Research
- Landmark Study Shows Positive Effect of Intercountry Adoption
- Relationships Identified as Key in Transracial Adoptee Development
- Researchers Find Depression Common among New Adoptive Mothers
- Sample of Birthmothers Indicates Most go on to Have Other Children

3. News
- British High Court Allows Catholic Agency to Exclude Gay Adoptions
- Russia Probes Death of Boy in U.S. Amid Calls to Suspend Adoptions
- Australia to Resume Adoptions from Ethiopia Next Month

4. Resources
- Ties Program Offers Articles on Adoptee Identity and Homeland Travel
- Report Recommends Ways to Improve Connections for Foster Youth
- AdoptUsKids Provides Resources for Working with Black Families

5. From Our Partners
- ALP Webinar Focuses on Adoptions from Haiti and Other 'Hard Places'
- CWLA Urges Support for White House Conference on Children and Youth
- Upcoming AQ Issue to Focus on Largest-ever Adoptive Parent Survey
- See the Musical Million Dollar Quartet and Support Spence-Chapin

6. Institute Update
- Increased International Scrutiny Offers Opportunity to 'Get It Right'
- UMass Adoption Program, Institute Cosponsor Research Conference
- International Conference at MIT Looks at Adoption Issues through Art
- 7th Annual "Taste of Spring" Benefit Moves to Larger Venue in New York
- Spring Parties Planned in Chicago and Boston to Support Our Work
- More Ways to Help: Sign up for GoodSearch, Become a Fan on Facebook

 

Law, Policy & Practice

FEDERAL ADOPTION TAX CREDIT IS INCREASED AND EXTENDED THROUGH 2011
Several updates to the adoption tax credit were signed into law as part of the health care reform bill (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, P.L. 11-148). The amount of the credit increased by $1,000, bringing its total to $13, 170 for tax year 2010. Also, the credit was made refundable for all types of adoption. Finally, the credit – originally set to expire at the end of 2010 – will be extended until December 31, 2011. For more information, see page 904 of the full legislation at: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h3590enr.txt.pdf.

FLORIDA TO BAR AGENCIES FROM ASKING IF PRE-ADOPTIVE PARENTS OWN GUNS
On March 18, the Florida legislature approved a bill prohibiting adoption agencies from asking prospective adoptive parents if they own guns. The state Senate passed SB 530, while the House passed HB 315; Gov. Charlie Crist strongly supports the measure and is expected to sign it into law. Proposed amendments to earlier versions of the bills would have lifted the states' statutory ban on adoption by gay men and lesbians (the only such law in the nation), but those amendments were withdrawn before passage. To read the full text of SB 530, go to: http://www.flsenate.gov/cgi-bin/view_page.pl?Tab=session&Submenu=1&FT=D&File=sb0530c1.html&Directory=session/2010/Senate/bills/billtext/html/. To read a news article about the legislation ("Legislature Sides with Guns over Gays in Adoption," Jacksonville Observer, March 18), go to: http://www.jaxobserver.com/2010/03/18/legislature-sides-with-guns-over-gays-in-adoption/.

LAWMAKERS IN TWO STATES ADVANCE BILLS ON ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATES
Legislative bodies in Illinois and New Jersey have taken major steps toward giving adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates. In Illinois, HB 5428 passed the House and moved to the Senate, where it is awaiting committee assignment. Under this bill, adult adoptees could obtain a copy of their original birth certificates provided that a birthparent did not make a specific request for anonymity. The measure also encourages use of the statewide adoption registry and mandates the collection of medical and personal information from all registry participants. In New Jersey, S 799 passed the Senate on March 22 and is under review by the Assembly Human Services Committee. This bill would create a one-year "opt-out" period after passage, during which birthparents could file a disclosure veto and submit medical and cultural information instead. To read the full text of Illinois HB 5428, go to: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=5428&GAID=10&DocTypeID=HB&LegId=50466&SessionID=76&GA=96. To read the full text of New Jersey S 799 as introduced, go to: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/S1000/799_I1.HTM. To read the Adoption Institute's report on the issue, go to: http://adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/2008_09_expand_resources.php. To read a letter and testimony submitted by the Institute in New Jersey, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/policy/20100302_letter_newjersey.php.

PROPOSAL AIMS TO STREAMLINE CITIZENSHIP FOR INTERNATIONAL ADOPTEES
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) introduced legislation on March 9 intended to make the international adoption process more efficient for American families. The Adoption Fairness Act would guarantee that all international adoptees get their certificates of U.S. citizenship promptly and would eliminate a fee for international adoptions completed either in this country or abroad. Under current law, only children whose adoptions are finalized in their home countries automatically receive their certificates of citizenship free of charge. To read Senator Landrieu's press release, go to: http://landrieu.senate.gov/mediacenter/pressreleases/03-09-2010-3.cfm. To read Senator Klobuchar's release, go to: http://klobuchar.senate.gov/inthenews_detail.cfm?id=322924&.

 

Research

LANDMARK STUDY SHOWS POSITIVE EFFECT OF INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION
A landmark study comparing the development of 4- to 8-year-old South Korean children who were adopted internationally (n=382) to those remaining in institutional care (n=230) documents the protective effect of intercountry adoption. Scores for internalizing and externalizing behavior problems were significantly higher for children remaining in institutional care than for those who were adopted. "The Behavioral Development of Korean Children in Institutional Care and International Adoptive Families," by Richard Lee, Kyoung Seol, Miyoung Sung, Matthew Miller and the Minnesota International Adoption Project Team, is in the March issue of Developmental Psychology (Volume 46, Issue 2). Researchers found that among children in institutions, those who entered after age 2 with deceased or unknown parents fared the best, while those institutionalized at earlier ages and relinquished by their parents had the most problems. For example, the mean externalizing problem score was 2.18 for adoptees, 6.0 for institutionalized relinquished children, 3.89 for institutionalized who have a known, living parent, and 2.78 for institutionalized with deceased parent. To access an abstract, go to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00121649.

RELATIONSHIPS IDENTIFIED AS KEY IN TRANSRACIAL ADOPTEE DEVELOPMENT
"Building Kinship and Community: Relational Processes of Bicultural Identity among Adult Multiracial Adoptees," by Gina Samuels, is a qualitative study of 25 transracially adopted multiracial (Black/White) adults; it supports practice and parenting approaches that emphasize meaningful relationships to provide understanding and belonging in developing bicultural identity. In an article in the current issue of Family Process (Volume 49, Issue 1), Samuels identifies four patterns of adaptation in bicultural identity formation, through which the adults had searched for kinship and community: 1) claiming whiteness culturally but not racially; 2) learning to be Black through peer enculturation; 3) seeking authentic Black kinship through searching for biological family; and 4) developing a hybrid identity beyond Black or White. Subjects were all raised by White parents and immersed in mainstream culture. They described their African American enculturation as "a delayed process of 'relearning,' requiring their deliberate efforts." For an abstract, go to: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123280376/abstract.

RESEARCHERS FIND DEPRESSION COMMON AMONG NEW ADOPTIVE MOTHERS
A Johns Hopkins study of 86 women recruited from the community who had adopted infants in the past five years evaluated the presence of depressive symptoms at three time periods within the first year after adoption. They found that 28 percent of the mothers reported significant depression within the first month, falling to 13 percent at the last assessment (around 1 year). "Post Adoption Depression," by Jennifer Payne, Eve Fields, Jennifer Meuchel, Chiara Jaaffe and Manish Jha, is in the current issue of the Archive of Women's Mental Health (Volume 13, Issue 2). The researchers found no relationship between the women's symptoms and a genetic predisposition to depression; however, reporting significant depressive symptoms was associated with higher levels of stress than expected and adjustment difficulties with the adopted child. The article may be purchased at: https://commerce.metapress.com/content/0tk7394r31523qp7/resource-secured/?target=fulltext.pdf&sid=5wl0q345k1uugb45bda4xz45&sh=www.springerlink.com.

SAMPLE OF BIRTHMOTHERS INDICATES MOST GO ON TO HAVE OTHER CHILDREN
An article in the current issue of Psychoanalytic Inquiry (Volume 30, Issue 1), "Secondary Infertility and Birth Mothers," by Isabel Andrews, analyzes the incidence and contributing factors to secondary infertility among 167 birthmothers in Australia. Several sources gathering data from birthmothers attending support groups have reported a rate of 40-60 percent, which was the case for a support group in Perth. However, through random sampling of birthmothers having contact over a three-year period with a government-supported search agency that facilitates about 100 reunions per year, the incidence of those not having another child was 13 percent, with another 7 percent not known. Infertility due to unknown causes was the most common reason for not having other children, followed by life circumstances (lack of a partner), although it was a conscious decision for a few. To access an abstract, go to: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a918182669.

 

News

BRITISH HIGH COURT ALLOWS CATHOLIC AGENCY TO EXCLUDE GAY ADOPTIONS
A Roman Catholic adoption agency in the United Kingdom has won a judicial appeal that allows it to provide services only to heterosexual married couples, according to a March 18 Times Online article by Ruth Gledhill and Rosemary Bennett, "High Court Reverses Ban on Catholic Care's Anti-Gay Adoption Policy." Although the 2007 Sexual Orientation Regulations made it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation, Catholic Care pointed to its past success at finding homes for "hard to place" children and contended that adhering to those regulations would seriously undercut its work. To read the article, go to: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article7065422.ece. To read the Institute's reports on gay and lesbian adoption, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/publications/#gaylesbianadoption

RUSSIA PROBES DEATH OF BOY IN U.S. AMID CALLS TO SUSPEND ADOPTIONS
The Russian government is investigating the death of 7-year-old Nathaniel Craver, who was born in Russia as Ivan Skorobogatov and adopted in 2003 by Nanette and Michael Craver of Pennsylvania. After an autopsy report revealed over 80 external injuries, the Cravers were charged with homicide in early March. According to Lara Benckle's March 5 article on PennLive.com, "Russian Officials Call for Suspension of Adoptions to U.S. Parents After Death of Dillsburg-area Boy," the Russian prosecutor general's office is investigating the legality of the adoption and fielding demands for a temporary suspension of adoptions to the United States. Adoptions to this country were suspended in 2007 during the implementation of new rules created after the deaths of other children adopted from Russia. To read the story, go to: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2010/03/nathaniel_craver_is_15th_or_16.html.

AUSTRALIA TO RESUME ADOPTIONS FROM ETHIOPIA NEXT MONTH
Australia will resume international adoptions from Ethiopia next month, according to a March 5 Australian ABC News story by Cassie White, "Ethiopia Adoption Ban Lifted." As reported in the November issue of this newsletter, the Australian Attorney-General's office announced an interim suspension of its Ethiopia adoption program due to fears that "Australia can no longer conduct intercountry adoptions in Ethiopia in a manner consistent with its obligations under the Hague Convention." To read the story, go to: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/05/2837942.htm?section=justin. To read the item in Institute's November newsletter, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/newsletter/2009_11.html#australia. To read an interview on the subject with Adoption Institute Honorary Board member Deborra-lee Furness, go to: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/lifematters/adoption-program-a-drop-in-the-ocean-20100313-q53k.html.

 

Resources

TIES PROGRAM OFFERS ARTICLES ON ADOPTEE IDENTITY AND HOMELAND TRAVEL
The Wisconsin-based Ties Program – Adoptive Family Homeland Journeys – has produced a series of articles entitled "Identity Building, Do Kids Need to Know the Past?" These articles address issues related to identity development and homeland travel for youth adopted internationally. The issues covered include: how kids respond to visiting their birth countries; how it addresses grief and loss that leads to healing; reverse culture shock, or their reactions on return and many others. To obtain the series, email: info@AdoptiveFamilyTravel.com. Some similar articles are available on the Ties website: http://www.AdoptiveFamilyTravel.com. To read the Adoption Institute's study on positive identity development, go to: http://adoptioninstitute.org/old/research/2009_11_culture_camp.php.

REPORT RECOMMENDS WAYS TO IMPROVE CONNECTIONS FOR FOSTER YOUTH
A qualitative study of 27 former foster youth's experiences with permanency services from their own perspective was conducted by the Child & Family Policy Institute of California. "Developing Permanent, Supportive Connections While in Care: Foster Youth's Perspectives, by Sonja Lenz-Rashid, found that most youth reported they did not receive support from workers to make permanent connections to family or other adults. The report offers recommendations for improvement, including services to find family, long-term mentors, and permanent connections for teens in care. To access the report, go to: http://www.cfpic.org/pdfs/Permanency-Report-Lenz-Rashid092009.pdf.

ADOPTUSKIDS PROVIDES RESOURCES FOR WORKING WITH BLACK FAMILIES
AdoptUsKids is offering a packet of tools and information for working with and recruiting African American families. To obtain these free resources, send your name, address, and the desired quantity to professionals@adoptuskids.org or call 1 (888) 200-4005. Some of the resources, including a media kit for recruiting families, are available online at: http://www.youdonthavetobeperfect.com/media.php. A guide, "Working with African American Adoptive, Foster, and Kinship Families," is also available at: http://adoptuskids.org/images/resourceCenter/Working-With-African-American-Families.pdf.

 

From Our Partners

ALP WEBINAR FOCUSES ON ADOPTIONS FROM HAITI AND OTHER 'HARD PLACES'
Adoption Learning Partners and other co-sponsors, including the Adoption Institute, hosted a live webinar on March 25 entitled "Parenting Children from Haiti and Other 'Hard Places,'" with Dr. Karyn Purvis. A recording of this free webinar will be available soon at the Adoption Learning Partners web site: http://www.adoptionlearningpartners.org/haiti_adoption_webinar.cfm. To access a list of resources referenced in the webinar, go to: http://www.adoptionlearningpartners.org/resources/Resources_Purvis_Haiti_webinar.pdf.

CWLA URGES SUPPORT FOR WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCE ON CHILDREN AND YOUTH
In honor of the upcoming "Prevent Child Abuse Month," the Child Welfare League of America is promoting passage of legislation to reconvene the White House Conference on Children and Youth. To help, contact your U.S. House members and urge them to cosponsor HR 618, contact your U.S. Senators and urge them to cosponsor S 938, and send a postcard to the President asking him to endorse and sign the measure into law once it passes. You can order postcards by emailing CWLA at govaffairs@cwla.org (the first five postcards are free). You can also urge your state legislature to pass a resolution in support of a White House Conference on Children and Youth. For more information and suggestions for other action steps, go to: http://www.cwla.org/advocacy/WHCthreesteps.htm.

UPCOMING AQ ISSUE FOCUS ON LARGEST-EVER 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.

SEE THE MUSICAL MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET AND SUPPORT SPENCE-CHAPIN
Everyone is invited to help children by purchasing tickets for Spence-Chapin's 2010 Annual Theatre Benefit on May 6. Million Dollar Quartet is the new smash-hit musical inspired by the famed recording session at Sun Records in 1956 that brought together rock 'n' roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins for the first and only time. The Chicago Critic reviewer said, "The real stars of this show are the dynamic music and the sheer musicianship of the six performers. This exhilarating show is a 'must see' event." Nederlander Theatre, 208 W 41st St, 8:00 p.m. Contact Eric Alterman at 212-360-0275 for more information or click this link to register: http://www.spence-chapin.org/about-spence-chapin/e2_event.php?id=137.

 

Institute Update

INCREASED INTERNATIONAL SCRUTINY OFFERS OPPORTUNITY TO 'GET IT RIGHT'
A March 14 Christian Science Monitor story, "International Adoption: A Big Fix Brings Dramatic Decline," by Scott Baldauf et al., discussed ways that large-scale or catastrophic events can bring international adoption under scrutiny. In situations such as Haiti or Guatemala – where all adoptions were suspended after post-disaster problems or systemic corruption – adoption processes must be revised with a high degree of transparency, according to the article. "Now that everyone's watching, it's incumbent on us to get it right," Adoption Institute Executive Director Adam Pertman is quoted as saying. He adds that "hopefully, if we really get it right now ... more kids, not fewer, who need homes will wind up getting them, in their own countries, or if necessary, in others." The article stressed the importance of the child's best interest being paramount and the steps being taken to ensure children's safety. To read the article, go to: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-Issues/2010/0314/International-adoption-A-big-fix-brings-dramatic-decline.

UMASS ADOPTION PROGRAM, INSTITUTE COSPONSOR RESEARCH CONFERENCE
The Rudd Adoption Research Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute are cosponsoring a conference, "New Worlds of Adoption: Linking Research with Practice," on Wednesday, April 7, 2010. The event will feature presentations by the Senior Research Fellows and staff members of the Adoption Institute, and will focus on creating dialogue between researchers and practitioners. The program is primarily geared toward professionals and students in the human services fields, social science researchers, and community members. To learn more and to register, go to: http://www.umass.edu/family/adoption_conference/2010Conference.html.

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE AT MIT LOOKS AT ADOPTION ISSUES THROUGH ART
The Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture will sponsor its third international conference, "Adoption: Secret Histories, Public Policies," from April 29-May 2, 2010, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA. The conference will feature prominent American and international writers, artists, filmmakers, researchers and academics in workshops, performances and discussions. The Adoption Institute's Executive Director, Adam Pertman, will discuss the issue of adult adoptee access to original birth records on the afternoon of April 30. To learn more and to register go to: http://web.me.com/shaslang/ASAC_2010_Conference/.

7th ANNUAL 'TASTE OF SPRING' BENEFIT MOVES TO LARGER VENUE IN NEW YORK
There has been such a strong response to our upcoming "Taste of Spring" benefit that we have relocated the event to a larger space: the landmark Puck Building in downtown Manhattan. That means we can accommodate more guests at the Adoption Institute's major annual fundraiser on May 13, 2010 – but buy your ticket soon, because they are going fast! Our featured restaurants and food purveyors this year include David Burke Fishtail; Jean-Georges Restaurant; Cyril Renaud's Bar Breton; Zarela; Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill; Artisanal Cheese; Yuva; and The Wright at the Guggenheim Museum. Fabulous boutique wines from California, Oregon, France, New Zealand and more are being provided by, among others, Taittinger, Sherry-Lehman, Bottlenotes, Maison Louis Jadot, Shea Cellars and Kobrand, which is being honored at the event for its many years of support of Taste of Spring. Also being honored is LifeCare - one of our partner organizations – and its co-founder and CEO, Peter Burki.

Corporate sponsors (so far) include State Street Corporation and Guest Services. The event's Honorary Co-Chairs are Deborra-lee Furness & Hugh Jackman, and Marja & Jean-Georges Vongerichten. This year, even those who cannot attend the event can participate in our new silent auction, which will feature unique and exciting items available beginning May 6 at: http://www.charitybuzz.com/adoptioninstitute. Please join us for a festive, delectable evening in support of our unique, important work. To read the invitation, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/events/TOS10invite.pdf. For more information, to purchase tickets or to become a sponsor, contact Development Director Laura James at: ljames@adoptioninstitute.org.

SPRING PARTIES PLANNED IN CHICAGO AND BOSTON TO SUPPORT OUR WORK
Institute supporters are opening their homes this spring to help raise funds for the Adoption Institute, and to introduce friends, family and colleagues to our work. Our Chicago event is a cocktail party on the evening of Monday, April 19, and our Boston event is a brunch on Sunday, May 16. If you are interested in learning more about either event – or about hosting one of your own! – contact Development Director Laura James at: ljames@adoptioninstitute.org.

If hosting or attending a party is "not your thing," please consider helping our work by:

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

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

MORE WAYS TO HELP: SIGN UP FOR GOODSEARCH, BECOME A FAN ON FACEBOOK
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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.


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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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