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REPORT RECOMMENDS ACCESS TO BIRTH CERTIFICATES FOR ALL ADULT ADOPTEES
On July 15, the Adoption Institute released "For the Records II: An Examination of the History and Impact of Adult Adoptee Access to Original Birth Certificates" – a 46-page policy brief that updates and expands on the Institute's 2007 report on the subject. Primary findings address the importance of access to these documents as a basic human right, the ineffectiveness and insufficiency of mutual consent registries, and the myth that birth mothers were promised (and desire) anonymity from the children they relinquished. Among its recommendations, the report says all adult adoptees nationwide should have unfettered access to their original birth certificates. To read the press release, executive summary or full report, go to:
http://bit.ly/aJfgvk. For all the Institute's research on the topic, go to:
MEXICO SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS LAW ALLOWING SAME-SEX COUPLES TO ADOPT
A Mexico City law permitting adoptions by same-sex couples was upheld on August 16 by Mexico's highest court, reports E. Eduardo Castillo in a Huffington Post article, "Mexico Gay Adoption Law Upheld by Supreme Court." The Mexican legislature passed the original law on gay adoptions in December 2009 on a vote of 31-24, and it was enacted in March. However, same-sex adoptions of unrelated children are likely to remain uncommon due to Mexico's complicated adoption process and high rates of kinship adoption. To read the article, go to:
http://huff.to/a3j8Ny. To read the story about the original law in the December issue of this newsletter, go to:
http://bit.ly/9Ok94R. To read the Institute's reports on adoption by gays and lesbians, go to:
CITING CONCERNS ABOUT FALSE DOCUMENTS, U.S. SUSPENDS NEPAL ADOPTIONS
The U.S. has suspended new adoptions from Nepal, according to a joint statement on August 6 from the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Citizenship and Immigration Services. Citing concerns about falsified documents and a refusal by police and orphanage officials to cooperate, the U.S. said it "can no longer reasonably determine whether a child documented as abandoned qualifies as an orphan," and so can no longer process new adoption petitions. Those already begun will be processed on a case-by-case basis. To read the announcement, go to:
http://bit.ly/cGJTiv. To read a news story about it, go to "US suspends adoption of abandoned children in Nepal over concerns of fraudulent paperwork," by David Crary of the Associated Press:
CLINTON NAMES SPECIAL ADVISOR ON CHILDREN'S ISSUES UNDER HAGUE TREATY
Ambassador Susan Jacobs has been appointed to the new position of Special Advisor to the Office of Children's Issues, which is located within the Bureau of Consular Affairs and serves as the U.S. Central Authority for the 1993 Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. A press release from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on July 1 said the position will address foreign policy issues related to intercountry adoption and international parental abduction. Ms. Jacobs, a former ambassador to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, studied at the University of Michigan, Georgetown University Law School, and George Washington University. To read the press release, go to:
RESEARCH UNDERSCORES IMPACT OF FAMILY ENVIRONMENT ON ADOPTED YOUTH
Data from the California Long-Range Adoption Study underscores the importance of a family's cognitive orientation to managing stress and challenge (FOSC) in influencing the psychosocial adjustment of adopted children and in moderating the effects of maltreatment on depression in them. "Beyond Pre-adoptive Risk: The Impact of Adoptive Family Environment on Adopted Youth's Psychosocial Adjustment," by Juye Ji, Devon Brooks, Richard Barth, and Hansung Kim, is in the July issue of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (Volume 80, Issue 3). Children showed higher levels of maladjustment for all four pre-adoption risk factors examined if their parents were rated as low in FOSC, and low FOSC had a greater effect on adjustment than did the presence of the pre-adoption risk factor alone. Having both pre- and post-adoption risk factors resulted in the greatest level of maladjustment. To access an abstract, go to:
STUDY FINDS PARENTS' SEXUAL ORIENTATION NOT LINKED TO CHILD PROBLEMS
A rigorous study of several types of two-parent adoptive families (lesbian, gay, or heterosexual) – using systematic sampling methods and collecting data from both parents and teachers/other caregivers – found that family type was not significantly associated with the level of children's behavior problems or their gender development in a sample of 104 preschool children. "Parenting and Child Development in Adoptive Families: Does Parental Sexual Orientation Matter?" by Rachel Farr, Stephen Forssell and Charlotte Patterson, is in the current issue of Applied Developmental Science (Volume 14, Issue 3). Most respondents of all types reported relatively low levels of parenting stress and high levels of satisfaction in their couple relationships. To access an abstract, go to:
EVALUATION: BETTER PREPARATION NEEDED FOR POST-ADOPTION CONTACT
Based on interviews with parents in 61 families adopting children from public care in England, researchers evaluated families' preparation for contact arrangements with birth relatives, finding that preparation had focused primarily on the value of having contact rather than on coping with their own feelings or managing the day-to-day realities. "Preparation and Planning for Face-to-Face Contact after Adoption: The Experience of Adoptive Parents in a UK Study," by Janette Logan, is in the August issue of Child & Family Social Work (Volume 15, Issue 3). Adoptive parents wanted to hear from others who had experience with contact, but learning of difficult experiences with contact arrangements was not viewed as helpful. Agencies focused on negotiating contact arrangements but needed more work on anticipating future developments and on providing ongoing support. To access an abstract, go to:
BEHAVIOR ISSUES FOUND TO PERSIST FOR MANY ADOPTEES FROM ROMANIA
A Dutch longitudinal study of 72 Romanian adoptees analyzed changes in their behavior problem scores over a five-year period; it found little change for the group as a whole, with 38 percent and 35 percent in the clinical range at the two measurement points. "Development of Behavioural Problems in Children Adopted from Romania to the Netherlands, After a Period of Deprivation," by Catharina Rijk, Rene Hoksbergen, and Jan ter Laak, is in a recent issue of the European Journal of Developmental Psychology (Volume 7, Issue 2). The study also found 47 percent were in special education programs as young teens, and the 64 percent who had received professional help improved more than those who had not. To access an abstract, go to:
Please Go to the "From Our Partners" Section to Read the Latest Research from Adoption Quarterly.
ETHICAL QUESTIONS RAISED ABOUT U.S. ADOPTIONS AFTER QUAKE IN HAITI
In the turmoil of post-quake Haiti, the U.S. government both expedited adoptions by U.S. families and permitted numerous ethical lapses, Ginger Thompson reported in an August 3 New York Times article, "After Haiti Quake, the Chaos of U.S. Adoptions." The lapses included the removal of children from Haiti without verifying their orphan status, expedited adoptions from orphanages unaffected by the quake, and the placement of children with unqualified U.S. parents or in homes where they were no longer sought. Although officials from the Department of Homeland Security defended their actions as being in the best interest of the children, some child protection advocates emphasized that such haste can exacerbate an already traumatic situation and increase the risk of child trafficking. To read the Institute's advisory on adoptions from Haiti, go to:
http://bit.ly/dcnxyZ. For previous newsletter coverage of adoption and the Haitian earthquake, go to:
COMMISSION RULES BRITISH CATHOLIC CHARITY MUST ALLOW GAY ADOPTIONS
Catholic Care, an adoption charity in northern England, will no longer be allowed to restrict its services to heterosexual couples, according to an Associated Press article, "UK: Adoption Charity Can't Ban Gay Couples." In a reversal of the appeals decision that was reported in the March issue of this newsletter, a final ruling by the Charity Commission held that Catholic Care is not exempt from anti-discrimination laws, and must either consider gay couples as prospective parents or else stop facilitating adoptions. To read the August 19 story, go to:
http://bit.ly/cojCdN. To read the story in our March newsletter, go to:
http://bit.ly/98E8KS. To read the Institute's reports on gays and lesbians, go to:
RESEARCH IS A HIGHLIGHT AT GATHERING OF OVER 500 KOREAN ADOPTEES
Over 500 adult Korean adoptees met in Seoul from August 3-8 for the 2010 International Korean Adoptee Associations Gathering, Robert Lee reported in his August 5 Korea Herald article, "Adoptees Seek More Than Roots." Event highlights included the second International symposium on Korean Adoption Studies. Organized by Kim Park Nelson, the research symposium featured 12 studies related to Korean adoption by researchers from several different countries, most of whom are also Korean adoptees. To read the full article, go to:
http://bit.ly/bMLG3n. To read the Adoption Institute's study on identity in adoption, go to:
http://bit.ly/1C1m7Z. To read the Institute's study on Korean adoptees' perceptions of international adoption, go to:
TWO RULINGS BY OHIO SUPREME COURT MAY INCREASE BIRTH FATHERS' RIGHTS
Two recent rulings by the Ohio Supreme Court in favor of birth fathers may weaken the state's putative father registry, reports Rita Price in an August 8 Columbus Dispatch article, "Adoption Rulings May Boost Birth Father's Rights." In the first case, the father registered within the specified timeframe; in the second case, the father had not registered but did have an established relationship with his daughter. While critics argue that the rulings make it too easy to stop an unwanted adoption, supporters say that putative father registries diminish fathers' rights to parent their children. To read the article, go to:
NEW FILM AND RESOURCES RELEASED ON ADOPTION BY LGBT FAMILIES
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation and PhotoSynthesis Productions are releasing a new, 21-minute DVD and discussion guide entitled, "Living Adoption: Gay Parents Speak." The film and companion resources may be used in adoption preparation for LGBT families, parent support groups, and cultural competency training for social workers. For more information, go to:
CCAI'S FOSTER YOUTH INTERN REPORT OFFERS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHANGE
The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute on August 17 released its 2010 Foster Youth Intern Report, "A New Chapter: Leaving Our Mark on a New Generation." This 67-page report, developed by nine individuals with a total of 81 years in the foster care system, draws from their research and personal experience to address three topics: federal financing, the Adoption and Safe Families Act, and the Chafee Foster Care Independence Act. The report says only 28 percent of children in foster care for two or more years will achieve permanency before age 18, and offers recommendations for better serving youth. To access the report, go to:
DAVE THOMAS FOUNDATION OFFERS ADOPTION FRIENDLY WORKPLACE TOOLKIT
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has released its most recent "Adoption Friendly Workplace Toolkit," which includes recommendations on how companies can implement adoption benefits policies for their employees. The kit also features a step-by-step guide to adoption, fact sheets on adoption benefits, and other adoption resources. Also included is a list of the top 10 adoption-friendly workplaces in the United States. To access, go to:
CWLA'S 2011 NATIONAL CONFERENCE SET FOR MARCH 27-30 IN WASHINGTON, DC
Join us during Washington, DC's beautiful cherry blossom season! Save the dates of March 27-30, 2011, for The State of Children and Families: Building An Effective National Voice. CWLA's national conference is one of the largest annual gatherings of those who serve vulnerable children and families in the child welfare field, with hundreds of attendees from all 50 states and beyond. The conference provides an engaging mix of advocacy, networking, and knowledge-sharing in a wide range of practice and leadership development arenas, connecting participants with top leaders in the child welfare field through general sessions, forums, and hands-on workshops. CWLA's 2011 conference will reflect back on lessons learned and look ahead to the possibilities within the changing child welfare landscape. For registration details, go to:
http://bit.ly/9yz8da. Want to exhibit? Send an e-mail to
ALP WEBINAR ON SEPTEMBER 15: 'IS THAT MY BIRTHMOM ON FACEBOOK?'
Adoption Learning Partners will offer a webinar next month about searching for birth families members, entitled "Is That My Birthmom on Facebook? What Parents Should Know (and Discuss) About Adoption Searching Today." This webinar will share strategies and tips on how adoptive parents can talk to your children about searching, how they can gauge if their children are emotionally ready to conduct a search, identify safety factors, and other related issues. The speakers will be Nina Friedman, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Post Adoption Counselor at The Cradle, and Joanne Bieschke, Director of the Cook County Sheriff's Youth Services Department and an Internet safety expert. The webinar will be held on Wednesday, September 15, from 7 to 8 pm Central Time, with a 30-minute Q&A afterward. The cost is $15. To learn more and register, go to:
AQ: REVIEW EXAMINES PARENT ADJUSTMENT AFTER ADOPTION
"Adaptation to Parenthood During the Post-Adoption Period: A Review of the Literature," by Katherine McKay, Lori Ross, and Abbie Goldberg, reviews 11 research studies investigating adoptive parents' mental or physical health or intimate partner relationship quality within three years after adoption. This article in the current issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 13, Issue 2) finds that rates of mental health distress appear to be lower among adoptive than biological parents in the period of transition to parenthood, although depressive symptoms are not uncommon, ranging from 8 percent to 32 percent across three studies. Research generally has not examined the relationship between the demands of adoptive parenting and the factors that facilitate coping with stressors. To access an abstract, go to:
INSTITUTE OFFERS CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION CREDITS FOR ATTORNEYS
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute – known for its ethics-based policy and practice initiatives – is now offering continuing legal education courses for attorneys that navigate the complex legal issues of interstate, intrastate and international adoption practice. This is an important milestone in the Institute's efforts to educate professionals in the field of adoption. The first courses, approved by the Florida State Bar and available today, provide up to 12 hours of Ethics or General continuing legal education credits to adoption and family law attorneys in Florida, as well as to attorneys in other states who meet the requirements. The courses are composed of recorded sessions and speakers' materials from the Institute's Adoption Ethics & Accountability Conference, and provided on DVDs. For information or to sign up, go to:
IN THE MEDIA: THE ADOPTION INSTITUTE'S NEW REPORT ON RECORDS ACCESS
Executive Director Adam Pertman has been interviewed extensively about the Adoption Institute's recent publication of "For the Records II: An Examination of the History and Impact of Adult Adoptee Access to Original Birth Certificates." To read the executive summary or full report, go to:
http://bit.ly/aJfgvk. For more on the subject, go to:
http://bit.ly/bNQOpp. A few interviews from various news sources are listed below; more information can be found by typing "Donaldson Adoption Institute" or "Adam Pertman" in a news search engine.
"All States Urged to Give Adult Adoptees Their History": A July 15 Washington Times article by Cheryl Wetzstein featured the Institute's "For the Records II" report, which advocates for all states to enact laws allowing adult adoptees to have unrestricted access to their original birth certificates. Pertman says current laws barring such access are based on misconceptions and misunderstandings, adding: "If lawmakers look at the reality on the ground, rather than conjecture or concerns, they would change the laws." To read the article, go to:
"Report Urges More Open Adoption Records": Sarah Horn's July 15 Denver Post article highlights the complicated and inconsistent rules that currently govern adult adoptees' access to their original birth certificates, and presents the Institute's recommendation that every state should allow unrestricted access. Although an "open records" measure was introduced that would have unsealed birth certificates that were recorded in Denver, it stalled because adoption files are a matter of state law. To read the full article, go to:
NECN Broadside: Choosing Adoption: On July 15, Executive Director Pertman made an appearance on New England Cable News' Broadside with Chet Curtis to discuss a variety of issues surrounding adoption, including limits to parental choice in adoption, creating and passing legislation that is in the best interests of children, single parenthood, and the rights of adoptees to view their original birth certificates. Pertman emphasizes that according to the "For the Records II" report, "Nothing bad happens if adult adoptees ... get their original birth certificates. None of the ... horror stories occur, none of the negative consequences seem to occur ... so we say why not level the playing field for all adult adoptees?" To view the video clip in its entirety, go to:
CNN Newsroom Debate: On July 17, Pertman was featured on CNN Newsroom, along with Chuck Johnson of the National Council for Adoption, and birthmother Jennifer Yurfest, who was successfully reunited with her son. The discussion highlighted different viewpoints concerning whether states should allow adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates. Pertman summarized the findings of the Institute report, stating that access serves the interest of adopted people "for sure in medical ways, personal ways, genealogical, lots of ways." To read the transcript, go to:
"Graying Adoptees Still Searching For Their Identities": This July 27 ABCNews.com article by Susan Donaldson James focuses on birth certificate access as a human right. "How a human being comes into a family should not dictate what rights they have," said Pertman. "There has to be a level playing field." To read the article, go to:
"Illinois Leads Trend to Open Access to Birth Certificates": In Meghan Williams' article in the July/August issue of CWLA's Children's Voice, Pertman explains that an aging birthparent population underscores the need for records laws to change soon: "They're now getting older without getting what they really, really want, [which is] to know what happened to the lives they created." To read the original article, go to:
SOCIAL NETWORKING AND SEARCH: 'YOU WANT TO DO THIS THOUGHTFULLY'
On August 21, Belinda Luscombe reported in Time magazine on the ways in which adoptees and birth parents are using social networking sites such as Facebook to search for and contact each other. The article, "Adoption 2.0: Finding Mom on Facebook," said this tool can be used effectively by anyone who is searching – but it may also be used by the younger, technologically savvy adoptees who may not be prepared for what they find. Saying that preparing oneself for a search is the best route to travel, Executive Director Pertman cautioned: "Even in the best of cases, you want a little knowledge first ... you want to do this thoughtfully and methodically. With Facebook, you don't have any of that." To read the full story, go to:
STRINGENT PUTATIVE FATHER LAWS IN UTAH ARE CALLED INTO QUESTION
A July 28 Salt Lake City Weekly article, "Some Call It Kidnapping" by Jesse Fruhwirth, examined the challenges faced by "putative fathers" who want to parent their children rather than relinquishing them for adoption. Although many states impose specific actions these men must take to claim paternity, Utah's requirements are widely thought to be more stringent than most. Ostensibly intended to expedite the placement of children with adoptive families, laws that require filing multiple court petitions and signing putative father registries within narrow timeframes often end up subverting fathers' rights, according to the article. Referring specifically to registries, Pertman said, "As they currently exist, [registries] too often are used to cut men out under the guise of cutting them in." To read the full article, go to:
R.K. MELLON FOUNDATION PROVIDES GRANT FOR NEW IDENTITY PROJECT
The Adoption Institute is grateful to the R.K. Mellon Family Foundation for its $10,000 grant for our latest project focusing on shaping positive identity in adopted children. This project is an outgrowth of our groundbreaking study, "Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption," released in November 2009. We're also grateful to Lutheran Family Services of New England and the Kinship Center of California for their financial support and professional partnership in the new project. The Adoption Institute continues to seek additional grants to fully fund this important work. To read the Institute's "Culture Camp" study, go to:
http://bit.ly/1C1m7Z For more information about this project and others, email
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. To learn more, go to:
SAVE THE DATE FOR OUR ANNUAL L.A. BENEFIT: NOV. 13 – ON THE BEACH!
We are delighted to invite you and your entire family to celebrate with us at The Beach Club in Santa Monica for our annual "Celebrating ... Our Families, Our Children" benefit on Nov. 13, 2010. We will be honoring the David Bohnett Foundation for its advocacy for equal rights and social justice, including its longtime financial support of the Adoption Institute; we'll also be paying tribute to the late Annette Baran, a champion of humane, ethical adoption practices. This fundraising event features cocktails, food, silent auction and activities for children of all ages. For information on sponsorships or tickets, or to RSVP, contact Michael Teta at 818.906.0240 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out our last star-studded L.A. event at:
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. Re-read our past e-Newsletters at: http://bit.ly/archivednewsletter.
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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 consider supporting our important work by:
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