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ARKANSAS COURT OVERTURNS BAN ON ADOPTIONS BY GAYS AND LESBIANS
An Arkansas initiative banning unmarried, cohabitating couples from becoming foster or adoptive parents was overturned on April 16 by Circuit Judge Chris Piazza, according to an article in Arkansas Online ("Judge Overturns State's Adoption Law"). The ban, titled Initiated Act I and approved by Arkansas voters in 2008, was challenged by a group of families represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. Judge Piazza's ruling held that the prohibition constituted an unwarranted invasion of privacy; he said it unfairly targeted gays and lesbians and decreased the number of potential foster and adoptive homes available for children who need them. To read the full article, go to:
http://bit.ly/ag7HpC. To read the Adoption Institute's reports on gay and lesbian adoption, go to:
http://bit.ly/9zVXBP. To read the full text of the order, go to:
BILLS PROVIDING ACCESS TO BIRTH CERTIFICATES ADVANCE IN THREE STATES
The Illinois Senate on April 21 passed HB 5428, which grants adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates unless the birth mother asks to remain anonymous. The bill was sent to Gov. Pat Quinn on April 29 and, if signed, will apply retroactively to all adoptions in the state. Similar bills that would allow adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates are now under consideration in Rhode Island and Connecticut. Rhode Island S2759 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, while Connecticut SB293 was referred to the Committees on Judiciary in both the House and the Senate. For more information on the Illinois bill, see the Institute's March e-newsletter:
http://bit.ly/coxOBw; to read the full text of the bill, go to:
http://bit.ly/9WQUJi. To read the Rhode Island bill, go to:
http://bit.ly/afATX4; to read the Adoption Institute's report on restoring access to birth records, go to:
RESEARCH INDICATES RUSSIA ADOPTEES DO BEST WHEN PLACED BY 18 MONTHS
"Behavior Problems in Children Adopted from Psychosocially Depriving Institutions," by Emily Merz and Robert McCall, is in the May issue of the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology (Volume 38, Issue 4). This study of behavioral problems in 342 children adopted from Russian institutions (described as having adequate physical care but inadequate emotional care) found that those adopted prior to 18 months did not have more problems than non-deprived domestically adopted children, but later-adopted children had higher rates of behavior problems, particularly in adolescence. For example, Russian adoptees in the clinical range at ages 12-18 on the externalizing scale of the Child Behavior Checklist were: adopted under 18 months (13%) and over 18 months (39%). The authors' recommendations included placing children into family care as early as possible, assigning primary caregivers within institutions, and stopping "graduation" to new age groups. For an abstract, go to:
BUCHAREST STUDIES: FOSTER CARE REDUCES EFFECTS OF INSTITUTIONALIZATION
Two studies have been published recently from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP) that randomly assigned institutionalized Romanian children to foster care or care as usual, and then followed their development and that of a sample of never-institutionalized children.
The first, an investigation in growth catch-up of institutionalized children, found those placed prior to 12 months of age in foster homes with a high quality of care-giving attained the greatest catch-up and that growth catch-up in height was associated with increased IQ (the growth hormone, IGF-1, also influences cognitive development). "Growth and Associations Between Auxology, Caregiving Environment, and Cognition in Socially Deprived Romanian Children Randomized to Foster vs Ongoing Institutional Care," by Dana Johnson (an Institute Senior Research Fellow), Donald Guthrie, Anna Smyke, Sebastian Koga, Nathan Fox, Charles Zeanah and Charles Nelson, is in the upcoming June issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (Volume 164, Issue 6). The researchers recognized that while family care is more beneficial to infant development than institutional care, improvement of the quality of child-caregiver interactions and monitoring children's growth in stature would improve their care in institutions. To access an abstract, go to:
The second study, published in Child Development (Volume 81, Issue 1), found that being placed in foster care before 24 months of age was a critical factor in developing secure attachments. "Placement in Foster Care Enhances Quality of Attachment among Young Institutionalized Children," by Anna Smyke, Charles Zeanah, Nathan Fox, Charles Nelson and Donald Guthrie, reported the attachment style of children based on hours of observation of their interactions with primary caregivers and found secure attachment styles among 17.5 percent of institutionalized children, 49 percent of foster children, and 65 percent of never-institutionalized children. The most common style among institutionalized children (in 40%) was "insecure-other," characterized by confusion, fear and disorganization. For children in institutions, cognitive development was not associated with having a secure attachment, but for children in foster care or with their families, higher cognitive scores were associated with a greater likelihood of secure attachment. For an abstract, go to:
DEPRIVATION SHOWN TO AFFECT SOME ADOPTEE ABILITIES MORE THAN OTHERS
The neurodevelopmental effects of early deprivation were studied in children internationally adopted from institutions and foster homes, with a control group of U.S. birth children. The researchers found that institutional rearing resulted in the greatest deficits on tasks related to visually mediated learning and control of inhibitions. "Neurodevelopmental Effects of Early Deprivation in Postinstitutionalized Children," by Seth Pollak, Charles Nelson, Mary Schlaak, Barbara Roeber, Sandi Wewerka, Kristen Wiik, Kristin Freen, Michelle Loman and Megan Gunnar, was published in a the February issue of Child Development (Volume 81, Issue 1). Overall IQ scores varied by group: a mean of 106 in post-institutionalized children, 114 in those adopted by 8 months from foster homes, and 125 for control group children. To access an abstract, go to:
ANALYSIS SUPPORTS IMPORTANCE OF ETHNIC IDENTITY IN ADOPTED PERSONS
A comparison of the ethnic identity and well-being of Korean American college students from three groups – international adoptees, those raised by immigrant parents, and Korean nationals living in the U.S. – found the adoptees had lower ethnic identity scores than non-adopted Korean Americans, but not Korean nationals. Also, higher ethnic identity scores were associated with subjective well-being (positive affect) among all three groups. "Comparing the Ethnic Identity and Well-Being of Adopted Korean Americans with Immigrant/U.S.-Born Korean Americans and Korean International Students," by Richard Lee, Andrea Yun, Hyung Chol Yoo and Kim Nelson, is in the current issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 13, Issue 1). The researchers conclude that the results suggest that ethnic identity is relevant to the well-being of adopted Korean Americans. To access an abstract, go to:
http://bit.ly/cdg3eH. To read the Adoption Institute's study on identity in adoption, go to:
ADOPTIONS SLOWED AS U.S., RUSSIA DISCUSS CHANGES AFTER BOY'S 'RETURN'
The United States and Russia are discussing how to get adoptions from the latter country "back on track" and to "strengthen the processes of adoption" after an international controversy involving a 7-year old boy, Artyom Savelyev, who was returned to Russia by his adoptive mother, according to a Reuters story on April 29, "U.S. and Russia agree to forge new pact on adoptions." The story quoted a State Department spokesman as saying that officials of the two nations held a "fruitful" meeting this week in Moscow, but that it would take some time to reach an agreement. A State Department advisory dated April 29 said that Russia had not officially suspended adoptions by Americans, but that adoptions are being slowed or delayed in some parts of the country. To read the Reuters story, go to:
http://bit.ly/auYOUx. To read the State Department advisory, go to:
HAITI RESUMES ADOPTION PROCESS FOR CHILDREN IN SPECIFIC CASES
Haiti is now accepting new applications for the adoption of children who were either documented as orphans prior to January 12 or who were relinquished by their birth parents since the earthquake in that country, according to an April 27 notice from the U.S. State Department. For more information, please see the original notice here: http://bit.ly/aEzL6J; or the State Department's country-specific page for Haiti here: http://bit.ly/cCusVe. To view archived webinars cosponsored by the Adoption Institute on topics relating to adoption from Haiti, go to:
http://bit.ly/aP37nW for a webinar featuring Dr. Karyn Purvis; go to:
http://bit.ly/bd8254 for a webinar featuring Dr. Bruce Perry. To read the Institute's advisory on adoption from Haiti, go to:
'BABY EMMA' CASE SPOTLIGHTS DIFFERING STATE LAWS ON BIRTH FATHERS
Differing adoption laws in Virginia and Utah have highlighted key issues relating to the rights of birth fathers in an adoption, according to an April 14 article in the Washington Post by Jerry Makon, "'Baby Emma' Case Puts State Adoption Laws Between Father, Child." Although birth father John Wyatt registered with Virginia's putative father registry and filed for custody, his daughter is currently residing with an adoptive couple in Utah per an agreement made by the birth mother without Wyatt's knowledge. A Utah lower court granted temporary custody to the adoptive parents, despite a Virginia court's grant of custody to the birth father; the Utah Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments pertaining to this case on May 24. To read the article, go to:
CHILD TRENDS REPORT IDENTIFIES STRATEGIES FOR YOUTH AGING OUT OF CARE
Child Trends published a report in March, "What Works for Older Youth during the Transition to Adulthood: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Programs and Interventions," by Alena Hadley, Kassim Mbwana and Elizabeth Hair. The report synthesizes findings from 31 experimental program evaluations addressing a wide range of needs and categorizes them as: not proven to work, mixed findings, and found to work. To access the report, go to:
NATIONAL RESOURCE CENTER OFFERS WEBINAR ON PERMANENCE FOR TEENS
The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections hosted a webinar in March entitled, "A Discussion about Permanence for Older Adolescents," featuring Gerald Mallon, Executive Director of the Center, and Pat O'Brien, Executive Director of You Gotta Believe. The archived webcast can be accessed by registering and choosing a password. Several handouts, including a recent journal article on youth permanence by Rosemary Avery, can be downloaded as well. To access the materials and webinar, go to:
CHAPIN HALL PUBLISHES LATEST FINDINGS IN STUDY OF FORMER FOSTER YOUTH
Chapin Hall Center for Children recently published the latest findings in its longitudinal study, "Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth: Outcomes at Ages 23 and 24." The executive summary, authored by Mark Courtney, Amy Dworsky, JoAnn Lee and Melissa Raap, highlights the findings of this fourth wave of data collection based on interviews with 602 former foster youth from three states (82% of original sample). Almost three-fourths agreed they had been helped by their foster caregivers, and most (81%) had weekly contact with a birth family member. Compared to their peers in a national study, they were over three times as likely not to have a high school diploma or GED and one-fifth as likely to have a college degree. To access the executive summary, go to:
http://bit.ly/bQVW8g. To access the full study, go to:
From Our Partners
ALP OFFERS WEBINAR FOR PROFESSIONALS FOCUSING ON IDENTITY STUDY
Join the Institute's Adam Pertman and Adoption Learning Partners' Judy Stigger for an in-depth look at the Evan B. Donaldson's groundbreaking new study, "Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity in Adoption." Highlights from the research will be explored, with practical ideas of how adoption professionals can put these findings into practice. Learn why 'being adopted' remains significant throughout one's life and which factors support, encourage and nurture the development of healthy identity formation, especially for transracial adoptees. The webinar will be held on Wednesday, June 2, from 1:00 – 2:30 PM (Eastern Time) and has been approved for 1.5 CE's. The registration fee is $25.00. For more information or to register, go to:
CWLA URGES SUPPORT FOR WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCE FOR CHILDREN, YOUTH
CWLA Board member Patricia Shroeder, who served in Congress for more than two decades, encouraged the President and Congress to support a White House Conference for Children and Youth in an editorial for The Hill newspaper, which can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/cMX0bG. After a series of similar events every 10 years since 1909, the last such conference was held in 1970. Learn more and get involved on CWLA's White House Conference webpage here: http://bit.ly/9KLVVN.
SPENCE-CHAPIN'S AFRICAN-AMERICAN ADOPTION BENEFIT FEATURES 'FENCES'
August Wilson's play Fences, starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, has been chosen for Spence-Chapin's annual African-American benefit. Fences, set in the 1950s, is part of the acclaimed playwright's 10-play collection that examines the lives of African Americans in each decade of the 20th Century. All are invited to purchase tickets for the event, which will take place at 8 a.m. on May 20 at the Cort Theatre, 138 West 48th Street. Contact Greg Pokarkey at 212-360-0273 for more information or click this link to register:
INSTITUTE PROVIDES INFORMATION, PERSPECTIVE ON RUSSIAN ADOPTION CASE
Executive Director Adam Pertman has been interviewed extensively about the case of Artyom Savelyev, the young boy who was returned to his Russia by his adoptive mother. A few quotations from various sources are listed below; more information can be found by typing "Donaldson Adoption Institute" or "Pertman" in a news search engine.
Media Advisory: "Adoption Institute Urges 'Thoughtful, Expeditious' Resumption of Russia Adoptions: On April 19, the Institute released a statement expressing concern for Artyom Savelyev and recommending a detailed investigation of the case. The Institute called for more supportive, extensive post-adoption resources, but also emphasized that one unfortunate case should not be viewed as indicative of intercountry adoption in general. To read the advisory, go to:
"Returned Russian Child Spotlights International Adoption Problems": In an April 13 article in The Christian Science Monitor by Daniel Wood, Pertman cautions that "there is a lot we don't know about this case...But I am concerned already that people are going to look at this story and say, 'Look what happens,' and strike Russia off their list or choose not to adopt at all. One story should not negate the good that happens to tens of thousands of children." To read the story, go to:
"Expert on Helping Adoptive Families 'Succeed'": On the April 11 NBC Nightly News, Pertman said "[t]he crying need is for post-adoption services. … That's where we can compensate for what came before and that's how we can help families be successful. It's not just about forming families – it's about helping them succeed." To watch a clip of the show, go to:
"Tennessee Mother Ships Adopted Son Back to Moscow Alone": In a story by Sarah Netter and Zoe Magee for ABC World News on April 9, Pertman said, "On every level, putting a little kid on a plane and shipping them somewhere is horrific behavior. If you have a problem, you deal with the problem. ...It is certainly the equivalent of abandoning your child." To read the rest of the article, go to:
"A Closer Look at the Russian Adoption Scandal": On an April 12 interview with the New England Cable News, Pertman reminded viewers that "Adoption is not child rental...This is your child permanently, forever, just as though you gave birth. So the answer is that you would do what you would do in any family – you would seek help...whatever it takes." To watch the interview, go to:
"Adoption Freeze Puts Children At Risk, Says Expert": On April 16, in an interview with Bob Oakes on National Public Radio station WBUR, Pertman explained, "We have to remember that virtually all of these kids – whether they're from a Russian orphanage or...foster care in the United States – what happened to them before the adoption was very troubling. ...Parental responsibility is making sure you take care of the issues that your child has." To listen to the report, go to:
INSTITUTE BOARD MEMBER GIVES SUPPLIES, EDUCATION TO HAITIAN CHILDREN
Jurate Kazickas, a member of the Adoption Institute Board of Directors, along with her husband, Roger Altman, have provided significant financial and personal support to help rebuild Haiti in the aftermath of its devastating earthquake. According to the April 22 New York Times article "Flying to Haiti, With Money and Purpose," by Sam Roberts, Kazickas and Altman have delivered large stores of medical supplies and tents to a Catholic relief group in Port-au-Prince. In addition to donating material goods, Kazickas is teaching English and history to Haitian children through a web camera and a computer set up in a tent. To read the full story, go to:
ADOPTION INSTITUTE SIGNS AMICUS BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF NC ADOPTION CASE
The Adoption Institute recently signed onto an amicus brief in support of second-parent adoptions in the North Carolina Supreme Court case Jarrell v. Boseman. In 2007, North Carolina State Senator Julia Boseman legally adopted the biological son of her partner, Melissa Jarrell. Although Boseman and Jarrell were not legally able to marry in North Carolina, they both consented to and jointly sought the adoption. Now separated, Jarrell is arguing that Boseman is not a legal parent and that the adoption was not valid. Other signers of the amicus brief in support of Boseman include the Child Welfare League of America, the National Center for Adoption Law and Policy, and the Barton Child Law & Policy Center. To read the brief, go to:
PERTMAN FEATURED IN FIRST WEBINAR HOSTED BY 'ADOPTEES HAVE ANSWERS'
Executive Director Adam Pertman was featured in an April 22 webinar entitled Adoptees Have Answers: Enlisting the Experts, where he discussed major findings of the Institute's recent study "Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption." The organization Adoptees Have Answers (AHA) will soon offer a recording of the webinar, for a fee. To learn more about AHA and its programs and projects, go to:
http://bit.ly/bM0tux. For more information about the Institute's study, go to:
OUR 7th ANNUAL 'TASTE OF SPRING' EVENT IS LESS THAN TWO WEEKS AWAY!
There's still (a little) time to buy your tickets to this year's Taste of Spring benefit on May 13! It will be a fun, delicious event featuring celebrity chefs from top New York restaurants and fine wines from around the world. We will also feature a silent auction, including: an exclusive stay at the Cakebread Cellars vineyard and winery; cooking class and dinner for eight at TV celebrity Katie Brown's kitchen; a chance to have your book manuscript read by a New York literary agent; a chance to have your personal story included in the Library of Congress via StoryCorps; and various vacation stays in Jamaica, Isle of Palm in S.C., Block Island and Shelter Island, to name a few. To see an invitation and RSVP, go to:
http://bit.ly/apzpdE. For more information, to purchase tickets or to become a sponsor, contact Nancy Tran at firstname.lastname@example.org. Can't attend that evening? You can still take part in our CharityBuzz on-line auction at:
http://bit.ly/b52uBZ, runs from May 6 to May 27.
FIRST ON-LINE AUCTION FEATURES SAFARI, MAD MEN, YANKEES-SOX AND MORE
The Adoption Institute has teamed up with CharityBuzz, a worldwide on-line charity auction site, to raise funds for our unique, important work. The auction, held in conjunction with the Institute's 7th Annual Taste of Spring benefit, runs from May 6 to May 27 - and anyone can participate. Taste of Spring attendees will be able to bid on both CharityBuzz items and separate silent auction items at the event. Some of our fabulous offerings on CharityBuzz are: a visit and lunch with cast and crew of Mad Men; four prime tickets to a Boston Red Sox - New York Yankees game at Fenway, plus a tour of the park, including watching batting practice; a South African safari, including stay at the owner's villa; a chance to have a character drawn and named based on you on American Dad; a chance to be a character in Linda Fairstein's next book; two tickets to Bette Midler's Hulaween, with a photo op; and much more. Check out
http://bit.ly/b52uBZ beginning May 6 to see what other great items are available.
BOSTON SUNDAY BRUNCH: CELEBRATING OUR CHILDREN, OUR FAMILIES
The Adoption Institute, along with a group of local – and loyal – supporters, is hosting a Sunday Brunch on May 16 at Rudi's Resto & Café that will benefit the Institute and honor Dr. Laurie C. Miller. Dr. Miller is a professor of pediatrics specializing in adoption medicine at Tufts University and founder of the International Adoption Clinic at the Floating Hospital. The event will also feature Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Adoption Institute and author of Adoption Nation. All proceeds will be used to support the work of the Institute. To purchase your tickets or make a donation, go to:
CHICAGO COCKTAIL PARTY FOR ADOPTION INSTITUTE A SUCCESS
On Monday, April 19, Institute Board Member Bruce Boyer and his wife, Julie Biehl, hosted an educational, uplifting and overall fun evening at their home with the help of Host Committee Members DeVerille Huston, Jackie Kaplan and Jennifer Evans Montgomery (also a board member). The event helped raise awareness for the Adoption Institute and its important work. Close to 40 attendees, learned about the important role that the Institute plays in improving the lives of children and families in our country and around the world. Adam Pertman also led discussions covering varied adoption-related topics, including the "returned" Russian adoptee and the decline in intercountry adoptions. Special thanks to Adoption Institute supporter Mia Hye-ri Baik, who brought along a strong contingent of her interested Chicago friends.
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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.
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