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EDITOR'S NOTE: The July and August issues of the Institute newsletter will be combined and will be published on August 31st, 2010.
VIETNAM, AFTER COMPLYING WITH HAGUE, TO RESUME ADOPTIONS TO IRELAND
Vietnam has approved legislation to ensure its laws comply with the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, according to a June 27 article by Kieron Wood ("Vietnam Law Change May Allow Adoptions to Resume") in Ireland's Sunday Business Post. Adoptions from Vietnam to Ireland stalled when the bilateral adoption agreement between the two countries lapsed in May 2009, but are expected to resume in January 2011, after Ireland ratifies the Hague Convention and its provisions come into effect. About 60 percent of the international adoptions to Ireland have been from Vietnam. To read the article, go to:
US AND RUSSIAN LEADERS REPORTEDLY EXPECTED TO FINALIZE ADOPTION PACT
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and US President Barack Obama are expected to finalize a new adoption agreement between the two countries during Medvedev's visit to Washington in late June, according to a June 22 article by Fred Weir ("Russia's Medvedev to Sign International Adoption Accord") in the Christian Science Monitor. The pact will halt all independent adoptions from Russia and will assign the process to a few international adoption agencies that have been researched and accredited by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science. Furthermore, parents adopting from Russia will have to complete special training, obtain certification, and produce regular reports on the progress and conditions of their children adopted from Russia. In extreme cases, Russian authorities will be authorized to file charges against negligent parents and repatriate the child. To read the article, go to:
http://bit.ly/9UxsRk. To read the latest State Department notice on adopting from Russia, go to:
NJ BIRTH CERTIFICATE BILL PASSES COMMITTEE, BUT WITHDRAWN UNTIL FALL
The New Jersey Assembly Human Services Committee voted unanimously, with four abstentions, to approve a bill to enable adult adoptees in the state to gain access to their original birth certificates, according to a June 14 article by Susan Livio ("N.J. Assembly Committee Approves Bill Unsealing Adoptees Birth Records") on NJ.com. Six Democrats voted in favor while the four Republicans abstained, saying the bill could do more to protect the identities of mothers who placed their children for adoption. The next step in the legislative process was for the bill, which has already been approved by the state Senate, to go to a vote in the state Assembly; however, the main organization advocating for it, NJ CARE, reports that it has instead been withdrawn for the current legislative session – evidently out of concern the governor might veto it – but it "will be rescheduled in the fall." To read the NJ.com article, go to:
http://bit.ly/a9s6Hp. To read the subsequent announcement on NJ CARE's web site, go to:
http://bit.ly/doULQa. To read the letter and testimony the Adoption Institute submitted to the Human Services Committee, go to:
http://bit.ly/bHTYtn. To read the Adoption Institute's report on the subject, go to:
SPONSOR REJECTS CHANGES IN RI RECORDS MEASURE, SAYS IT APPEARS DEAD
Rhode Island Senator Rhoda Perry rejected modifications to her proposed legislation restoring access to original birth certificates for adult adoptees, effectively killing the bill, reports Lynn Arditi in the Projo News Blog on June 10 ("Senator Perry: RI Adoption-Records Bill Appears Dead"). One of the proposed changes was to limit access to original birth certificates to adoptees born in 2011 or after, once they reached the age of majority; Perry said such a change in her legislation "would be worse" than current law. To read the blog posting, go to:
REVIEW IDENTIFIES THREE TRENDS IN ADOPTION RESEARCH, NEEDS FOR FUTURE
"Adoption Research: Trends, Topics, Outcomes," by Jesus Palacios and David Brodzinsky (the Adoption Institute's Research and Project Director), is in the current issue of the International Journal of Behavioral Development. The authors identify three trends in the focus of adoption research, identifying major studies and conclusions of each: 1) differences between adopted and non-adopted children in relation to risks for psychological, academic or other adjustment problems; 2) the extent of recovery from early adversity on a range of capacities; and 3) the processes and factors underlying differences in the adjustment of adopted persons and adoptive families. Some recommended emphases for future research include in-depth study of processes underlying recovery from early adversity, the efficacy of interventions aimed at facilitating changes, the adjustment of adult adoptees, and contextual aspects of adoptive identity development, including racial/ethnic identity development. To access an abstract, go to:
ANALYSIS FINDS PATTERNS IN SHAPING OF TRANSRACIAL ADOPTIVE IDENTITY
Based on interviews with 14 Korean transracially adopted young adults, researchers analyzed how experiences of belonging and exclusion in interactions with whites and Koreans contributed to racial and ethnic identities. Two patterns were identified: "personal identities" that are primarily self-created and "relational identities" that are more affected by experiences of belonging and exclusion. "Sense of Belonging, Sense of Exclusion, and Racial and Ethnic Identities in Korean Transracial Adoptees," by Grace Kim, Karen Suyemoto and Castellano Turner, is in the current issue of the Journal of Family Psychology (Volume 24, Issue 3). The adoptees in the study reported experiencing belonging with their families and friends and a sense of exclusion from some whites based on race, and a sense of exclusion from some Koreans based on culture. For an abstract, go to:
RESEARCH FINDS POST-ADOPTION DECLINE IN COUPLES' RELATIONSHIP QUALITY
A study comparing 125 lesbian, gay and heterosexual couples' relationships before and at two points after adoptive placement (6 and 12 months post-placement), found declines in several dimensions among all categories of couples, similar to declines experienced by couples who have children biologically. "Preadoptive Factors Predicting Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Couples' Relationship Quality across the Transition to Adoptive Parenthood," by Abbie Goldberg, JuliAnna Smith and Deborah Kashy, is in the current issue of the Journal of Family Psychology (Volume 24, Issue 3). Results indicated that feelings of love decreased, particularly for women and parents who had depressive symptoms prior to adoption, and partners' ambivalence and conflict increased after adoption. To access an abstract, go to:
Please Go to the "From Our Partners" Section to Read the Latest Research from Adoption Quarterly.
SOME STATES REPORT STEEP DECLINES IN NUMBER OF CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE
A number of states – including California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and Ohio – are seeing substantial reductions in the number of children in foster care, according to a June 5 Associated Press article by David Crary ("Foster-care Populations Fall Sharply") on msnbc.com. Nationally, the number of children in foster care fell 11 percent from 2002 to 2008. The article said these declines are due to several factors, including expediting adoptions and increasing funding for preventative measures that reduce the need for foster care in the first place. It said that, in cases where the termination of parental rights is deemed necessary, agencies have been pushing to make adoptions happen faster. To read the article, go to:
FL GOVERNOR REVERSES ON GAY ADOPTION BAN, SAYS COURTS SHOULD DECIDE
Florida governor Charlie Crist no longer supports a ban on gay adoption, according to a June 18 article by Adam C. Smith ("Crist Open to Gay Adoption") on the St. Petersburg Times website. The article quoted Crist, a former Republican who is now running for the U.S. Senate as an independent, as saying he no longer backs Florida's statutory ban on gay/lesbian adoption – the only explicit prohibition of its kind in the country – adding, "A better way and approach would be to let judges make that decision on a case-by-case basis." To read the article, go to:
http://bit.ly/dCvfJd. To read the Adoption Institute's reports on the subject, go to:
ITALIAN COURT RULES PARENTS CANNOT SPECIFY CHILD'S RACE IN ADOPTION
Prospective adoptive parents in Italy should not be allowed to request children of a certain race or ethnicity, according to a ruling by the country's highest appeals court. The decision was reported in a June 3 article by Erin Bock ("Italy High Court Rules Adoptive Couples Cannot Request Children Based on Race, Ethnicity") on jurist.org. Instigated by a couple who only wanted to adopt a white child of European descent, the case prompted the court not only to recommend the denial of the parents' application to adopt, but also called the parents "discriminatory" and recommended they receive social services and psychological support. To read the article, go to:
ARTICLE RECOMMENDS STEPS FOR IMPROVING INTERNATIONAL ADOPTIONS
"The Baby Business" by E.J. Graff, an article in the online publication, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, presents an analysis of corruption in international adoptions, including a discussion of whether the Hague Convention regulations are effective in screening out unethical adoptions. One concern identified is that of the 12,753 children adopted into the U.S. from other countries in 2009, fewer than 4,000 came from countries that have "entered the Hague Convention." Some recommendations include: requiring Hague accreditation for all international adoptions, prohibiting cash transfers, tracking overseas fees, limiting payments to overseas partners, and federal funds to enable COA investigations abroad. For free access, go to site and sign in:
TELECONFERENCES FOCUS ON CONCURRENT PLANNING, GAY/LESBIAN ADOPTION
The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections has added two archived teleconferences to its website. A June 2 teleconference on Concurrent Planning, featuring a model program in Georgia and including handouts and a bibliography, may be accessed at:
http://bit.ly/ccqK5H. A June 16 teleconference, "Practice Issues with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Families," including a presentation on preliminary research findings on the experiences of lesbian and gay foster/adoptive families by Dr. Ruth McRoy (an Adoption Institute Senior Research Fellow), a PowerPoint presentation, and two bibliographies, can be accessed at:
http://bit.ly/9dEn92. In addition, the NRCPFC's bi-annual newsletter focuses on practice with LGBTQ resource families and can be accessed at:
TELECONFERENCE ON SECONDARY TRAUMA AVAILABLE FROM RESOURCE CENTER
A teleconference entitled "Secondary Trauma: Building Resilience among Child Welfare Staff" was held on May 12, and is now archived and available on the website of the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections. The teleconference includes an overview of secondary trauma and the ways that it can affect child welfare workers, as well as a review of an intervention designed to reduce secondary trauma and promote resilience. To access the files, go to:
LAMBDA LEGAL AND CWLA OFFER BRIEF COUNTERING BANS ON GAY ADOPTION
A short paper entitled "Combating Misguided Efforts to Ban Lesbian and Gay Adults as Foster and Adoptive Parents" was published recently through a joint initiative by the Child Welfare League of America and Lambda Legal. As part of a toolkit of resources for supporting LGBTQ youth in care, the brief presents data and professional policy statements countering efforts to ban lesbian and gay adults from becoming foster and adoptive parents. To access, go to:
http://bit.ly/dhYr1M. To read the Adoption Institute's reports on this subject, which are referenced in the brief, go to:
http://bit.ly/axfeii and http://bit.ly/dl2WWo.
From Our Partners
ADOPTION LEARNING PARTNERS: LISTEN TO ARCHIVED IDENTITY WEBINAR
In the highly popular webinar titled "Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption – A Parents' Guide," Adoption Institute Executive Director Adam Pertman reviews key findings from the Institute's latest study and gives practical tips to parents on promoting a healthy sense of self for transracially placed children. Following this overview, two transracially placed adult adoptees – Tara Linh Leaman (the Adoption Institute's Associate Director) and Aaron Stigger – offer their personal perspectives and address parents' questions. The live session of this webinar quickly sold out, so we are delighted to offer a recorded presentation of this important work. Fee: $15. To learn more and register, go to:
ADOPTION QUARTERLY: LESSONS FROM HOMELAND VISITS, HERITAGE CAMPS
Researchers focused on the experiences of five families with a total of six adopted Chinese children, ages 8 to 11, who visited China to learn about the children's histories. By interviewing parents and children at three phases (before, during and after travel), the study found the parents and children had different desires, needs and perceptions, with parents often focused on gathering missing information and children focused more on experiences and feelings connected to their orphanage, abandonment site, or staff who knew them in China. "Returning to China: The Experience of Adopted Chinese Children and their Parents," by Iris Ponte, Leslie Wang and Serena Fan, is in the current issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 13, Issue 2). Five of the six children were enthusiastic about visiting their abandonment locations, because having a concrete picture in their minds helped them to connect to their experiences as babies. Visiting their home provinces helped them develop a realistic sense of life in China but also raised other unanswered questions. To access an abstract, go to:
A qualitative study involving interviews with five adoptive parents and five young adult adoptees explored their perceptions of heritage camps, finding adoptees enjoyed the camps but felt their impact was relatively superficial because they did not address their everyday experiences related to racial difference and prejudice. "The Role of Heritage Camps in Identity Development among Korean Transnational Adoptees: A Relational Dialectics Approach," by Tracey Randolph and Mellisa Holtzman, was published in the current issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 13, Issue 2). Parents reported sending youth to heritage camps in order to normalize adoption and to help them embrace their racial heritage. Adoptees perceived their adoptions as both a blessing and a "rocky road," and felt that their camp experiences needed more intentional discussion of race and the challenges they faced. To access an abstract, go to:
SPENCE-CHAPIN: THRIFT SHOP SUPPORTS GRANNY PROGRAMS FOR ORPHANS
Spence-Chapin has just renovated its Thrift Shop on Third Avenue between 82nd and 83rd Streets. Proceeds from sales in the shop help support the agency's Granny Programs for children in orphanages in Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Moldova and Russia. We always appreciate donations of small furniture, designer clothing, accessories and giftware. To learn more about Spence-Chapin, go to:
http://bit.ly/a66GRs . For more information about the thrift shop and our work on behalf of orphans, call 212-737-8448.
CWLA's 2011 NATIONAL CONFERENCE AND CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS
Join CWLA next spring during Washington, DC's beautiful cherry blossom season! Save the dates of March 27-30, 2011, for CWLA's national conference, "The State of Children and Families: Building an Effective National Voice." The conference will explore where we have been and where we are now, reflecting back on lessons learned and looking ahead to the possibilities that lie within the changing child welfare landscape, evolving family needs, and new and innovative models of practice.
CWLA is looking for cutting-edge ideas that will drive high-quality systems to recognize the importance of: prevention and alternative approaches to out-of-home placements; successfully supporting children while they are in the system; collaborating across and within systems (public/private, local/state/federal) during the economic crisis and beyond; and national and local leadership now and in the future. For specific topic areas and more detailed information, go to:
http://bit.ly/9yz8da. Submit proposals by 8 p.m. EDT on August 2, 2010. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. To submit a proposal, go to:
INSTITUTE OFFERS ETHICS EDUCATION CREDITS FOR ADOPTION ATTORNEYS
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute – known for its ethics-based policy and practice initiatives – is now putting research into practice by offering continuing legal education courses for adoption attorneys. The Adoption Institute already addresses legal and policy issues affecting adoption through advocacy in our legislative system and courts. Now, in partnership with Ethica, Inc., we will provide ethics-based continuing education courses to inform and educate attorneys as they navigate the complex issues of interstate, intrastate and international adoption practice. For more information and to sign up for the courses (which begin with a program for Florida adoption attorneys on July 15), please go to:
PERTMAN DISCUSSES ADOPTION ISSUES ON 'THE VIEW' AND 'RADIO TIMES'
The Adoption Institute's Executive Director, Adam Pertman, made an extended appearance on ABC's The View on June 18, discussing the process and implications of domestic, international, and transracial adoptions. The segment featured multiracial, gay and single-parent families who all have successfully completed various types of adoptions. When asked about the first steps for any family considering adoption, Pertman urged parents to educate themselves. "Go to some websites, talk to other adoptive parents ... or with an agency or to an attorney. But get some real information with which to make a judgment. ... This is a wonderful way to get homes for kids who need them, but we have to be really thoughtful." To watch the show, go to:
http://bit.ly/dylKYb. In a separate appearance on a National Public Radio program, Radio Times on WHYY in Philadelphia, Pertman on June 21 discussed the issues relating to adult adoptees' access to their original birth certificates. To listen to an archived recording of the show, go to:
http://bit.ly/d6Eqoe. To read the Institute's report on the issue, go to:
INSTITUTE SAYS ADOPTION FIELD NEEDS TO DEAL WITH IMPACT OF FACEBOOK
New social media technologies such as Facebook can be a double-edged sword for members of the adoption triad, according to an article on June 25 by Ki Mae Huessner's ("Facebook Fuels Honesty, Unpredictability in Adoption") on ABCNews.com. While such technologies often expand the amount and flow of available information and remove geographical barriers between searching family members, they can also lead people into uncharted territory. Referring to Facebook, Executive Director Pertman commented, "It has the rich promise of opportunity, but also absolutely has potential pitfalls that we as a field have not thought through and figured out how to deal with." He pointed out that online reunions may occur without the support systems that are often available through more structured means. To read the article, go to:
INSTITUTE INITIATIVE AIMS TO HELP SHAPE POSITIVE TRANSRACIAL IDENTITY
Following up on our groundbreaking study of identity development in adoption ("Beyond Culture Camp"), the Adoption Institute is pleased to announce a new project in collaboration with Lutheran Social Services of New England and the California-based Kinship Center that will focus on shaping positive identity formation in transracial adoption. Our goal is to give children and youth who have been adopted transracially the skills and knowledge to develop a healthy identity, and to improve their interactions with peers and adults. This will be accomplished through a series of materials and resources for both parents and children, and will include manuals, workbooks, training materials and a web site. To launch the project, we convened 35 adoption researchers, transracial adoptees, adoptive parents and professionals at Tufts University for a "think-tank conclave" to brainstorm ideas and provide input for this project. For more information, see the Institute's press release at:
http://bit.ly/bJQ8QI To read the "Beyond Culture Camp" study, go to:
CONFERENCES: INSTITUTE JOINS ST. JOHN'S, CENTER FOR FAMILY CONNECTIONS
The Adoption Institute is pleased to announce that it will partner in presenting two upcoming conferences: the sixth biennial adoption conference sponsored by St. John's University in collaboration with Montclair State University on Oct. 14-16, 2010, in New York City; and the fifth biennial international ACTION conference sponsored by the Center for Family Connections on Feb. 3-5, 2011, in Cambridge, MA. Adoption Institute staff will be among the presenters at both conferences. To learn more about the St. John's event, "Open Arms, Open Minds: The Ethics of Adoption in the 21st Century," go to:
http://bit.ly/9y15Qx. The ACTION conference is designed to provide training, treatment, services and educational tools for families, children and professionals; the deadline for submitting presentation proposals is July 15. To learn more, go to:
http://bit.ly/9eqNik. To download the 2011 ACTION Call for Proposals form, go to:
http://bit.ly/cUqRWf. Three Adoption Institute staff members – Kerri Johnson, Tara Linh Leaman and Adam Pertman – will also give presentations at the Center for Family Connections' Adoption Resource Center (ARC) Summer Intensives, which will be held July 11-14, in Provincetown, MA. For more information or to register, go to:
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