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1. Law, Policy & Practice
- Florida, by Not Appealing Court Ruling, Ends Its Ban on Gay Adoptions
- U.S. Pulls Out of Pilot Program Resuming Adoptions from Guatemala
- California Enacts Law That Extends Foster Care Benefits until Age 21

2. Research
- Major Institute Report Calls for New Focus on Post-Adoption Services
- Study Finds Genes, Later-Life Stresses Influence Deprivation's Impact
- Longitudinal Analyses Show Chinese Adoptees Well-Adjusted Overall
- Qualitative Study Identifies Challenges for Lesbian Adoptive Couples
- Research Cites Factors That Predict Parenting Stress after Adoption

3. News
- W. Australian Government Apologizes for Treatment of Unwed Mothers
- International Adoptions from Russia Plummet, Domestic Ones Grow
- Increase in Adoptions from Ethiopia Contrasts with Larger Trend

4. Resources
- Report Says Ethical 'Adoption Option' Increases Women's Choices
- Organizations Offer Resources for National Adoption Day and Month
- AdoptUsKids Offers Resource for Finding Families for Sibling Groups
- Resource Center Provides Web-Based Toolkit on Concurrent Planning

5. From Our Partners
- New Course from ALP Focuses on Thriving as a New Adoptive Family
- CWLA, on the Move, Says 'Save the Date' for 2011 National Conference
- LifeCare Offers National Adoption Month Podcast, Featuring Pertman

6. Institute Update
- Institute Joins Amicus Brief in Hawaii Second-Parent Adoption Case
- Our New Report Brings Groups Together, Gets Broad Media Coverage
- Openness in Adoption Aids Adoptees in Discovering Their Pasts
- Holiday Giving: Your Gifts to Family, Friends Can Help Us Do Our Work
- Celebrating ... Our Families, Our Children – And You're Invited!

 

Law, Policy & Practice

FLORIDA, BY NOT APPEALING COURT RULING, ENDS ITS BAN ON GAY ADOPTIONS
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum announced on October 22 that he would not appeal an appellate court ruling striking down the state's 33-year-old law prohibiting adoption by gays and lesbians, according to a story by Mary Ellen Klas and Mimi Whitefield in the Miami Herald, "Gay Adoption Ban Officially Ends, State Won't Appeal Court Ruling." Although McCollum said the final decision should rest with the State Supreme Court, he decided that the case at issue was not the right one to appeal to the highest court - thereby letting the September appeals court ruling stand. Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Department of Children and Families had already announced that they would not appeal. To read the Herald story, go to: http://bit.ly/aO00Uz. For previous coverage, go to: http://bit.ly/cXSfJx. To read the Adoption Institute's reports on adoption by gays and lesbians, go to: http://bit.ly/bvhH73.

U.S. PULLS OUT OF PILOT PROGRAM RESUMING ADOPTIONS FROM GUATEMALA
The United States has formally withdrawn its participation in a pilot program for re-opening adoptions from Guatemala, according to a press release from the U.S. State Department issued on October 5. Citing concerns that the pilot program would not meet the requirements of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, the State Department also said that it believed there were insufficient safeguards for children involved in new adoptions and that the process for such adoptions was unclear under Guatemalan law. Adoptions from Guatemala to the U.S. were stopped in 2007 amid evidence of widespread fraud and corruption. To read the full press release, go to: http://bit.ly/9Omvvm.To read the Adoption Institute newsletter item announcing the pilot program, go to: http://bit.ly/d8oXXf.

CALIFORNIA ENACTS LAW THAT EXTENDS FOSTER CARE BENEFITS UNTIL AGE 21
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill on September 30 that extends foster care benefits up to age 21, reports Vara Vauhini in her October 1 Wall Street Journal article titled "California Extends Foster-Care Help to Young Adults." Because of a federal law enacted two years ago that helps pay for an extension and other foster care services, California will provide housing to young adults or allow them to stay with foster parents. Young adults will need to meet certain conditions to qualify, and foster families will receive monthly payments from the state for food, clothing, and other costs for each child in their care. Other states, including New York and Illinois, have enacted similar laws. To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/a5ed4M.

 

Research

MAJOR INSTITUTE REPORT CALLS FOR NEW FOCUS ON POST-ADOPTION SERVICES
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute on October 21 published the most comprehensive review to date on the needs of families after adoption and the field of post-adoption services – "Keeping the Promise: The Critical Need for Post-Adoption Services to Enable Children and Families to Succeed." The report – which pointed out that most adoptions in the U.S. today are of children coming from backgrounds with higher risks for developmental challenges (foster care in this country or orphanages abroad) – found many barriers and gaps in accessing and providing post-adoption services. It called for a "paradigm shift" in policy and practice, saying a continuum of services was needed to ensure not only that children who need families can get them, but also that they can succeed. Among the Institute's recommendations are convening a national task force, developing public-private partnerships and dedicated federal funding for post-adoption services, and funding critically needed research to find out what services are most effective. Many major adoption and child welfare organizations endorsed the report. To access it, go to: http://bit.ly/bZRAIg.

STUDY FINDS GENES, LATER-LIFE STRESSES INFLUENCE DEPRIVATION'S IMPACT
A longitudinal study on the cutting edge of adoption research assessed emotional problems in adolescent adoptees (both English-born and from Romania) and found that a specific gene (5HTT) that influences regulation of the serotonin function of the brain mediates the impact of early deprivation on later adjustment, as does the number of stressful life events in the adolescent years. "5HTT Genotype Moderates the Influence of Early Institutional Deprivation on Emotional Problems in Adolescence: Evidence from the English and Romanian Adoptee (ERA) Study," by Robert Kumsta, Suzanne Stevens, Keeley Brookes, Wolff Schlotz, Jenny Castle, Celia Beckett, Jana Kreppner, Michael Rutter and Edmund Sonuga-Barke, was published in the July issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Volume 51, Issue 7). Emotional problems were highest in teens with the 5HTT genotype who had a history of severe deprivation in combination with experiencing more stressful life events between ages 11 and 15. The authors theorized that early deprivation led to specific neurobiological changes in children with the specific genotype. To access an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/8YRLVZ.

LONGITUDINAL ANALYSES SHOW CHINESE ADOPTEES WELL-ADJUSTED OVERALL
"Early Developmental and Psychosocial Risks and Longitudinal Behavioral Adjustment Outcomes for Preschool-Age Girls Adopted from China," by Tony Tan, Kofi Marfo and Robert Dedrick, published in the August issue of the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology (Volume 31, Issue 4) presents a longitudinal analysis of factors predicting the behavior problem scores of 452 preschool-age girls adopted from China (mean age at placement=13 months). Their findings must first be put in context: the Child Behavior Checklist scores of these girls were much lower (indicating better adjustment) than pre-school girls in the U.S. normative sample. Within the group of Chinese adoptees, the most consistent predictors of behavioral adjustment problems at Time 1 and Time 2 were variables used to measure the residual effects of pre-adoption adversity and not age at adoption – initial delays in social skills, avoidance/refusal behaviors, and crying/clinging behaviors. To access an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/bS4U8f.

QUALITATIVE STUDY IDENTIFIES CHALLENGES FOR LESBIAN ADOPTIVE COUPLES
A qualitative study identified unique challenges faced by lesbian adoptive couples and the strategies – categorized as "normalization" and "resistance" strategies – they used to address incongruencies related to their identities as lesbians and as mothers stimulated, both internally and in relationships with others. "Lesbian Adoptive Couples: Responding to Shifting Identities and Social Relationships," by Michael Woodford, Katharine Sheets, Kristin Scherrer, Roxanne d'Eon-Blemings, Ingrid Tenkate and Blair Addams, is in the August issue of Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work (Volume 25, Issue 3). The study found that choosing to become parents often resulted in changes in the respondents' relationships with their families and friends, strengthening some and creating distance or lack of acceptance in others. Their experiences with social workers and agencies were mixed (such as a worker confusing the two partners or attending training where men and women were put in separate groups for some activities), and the authors offered suggestions for practice. To access an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/aCih1Z.

RESEARCH CITES FACTORS THAT PREDICT PARENTING STRESS AFTER ADOPTION
A study of 143 mothers adopting internationally identified factors that predicted higher parenting stress after adoption – greater maternal depression, larger number of children, higher expectations of child problems before placement, as well as higher reports of such problems afterward, lower perceptions of social support, and lower expectations that the child would fit in well in the family and community. "Correlates and Predictors of Parenting Stress among Internationally Adopting Mothers: A Longitudinal Investigation," by Andres Viana and Janet Welsh, is in a recent issue of the International Journal of Behavioral Development (Volume 34, Issue 4). The researchers concluded that some aspects of parenting stress are independent of child characteristics and could be identified prior to adoption, and therefore be targeted for preventive interventions. To access an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/a0Tg4E.

 

News

W. AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT APOLOGIZES FOR TREATMENT OF UNWED MOTHERS
The West Australian government formally apologized to unwed mothers who were forced to relinquish their children between the 1940's and the 1980's, reports Katherine Fenech in the October 20 story "Tears and Cheers as WA Apologises to Unwed Mums" on WAToday.com.au. Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett apologized for the aggressive and coercive tactics employed by state institutions that led thousands of women to give up their children under conditions of duress. According to one official, the tactics included demanding consent for relinquishment while the mother was still drugged from giving birth, not allowing mothers to see or hold their babies, and telling mothers their babies had died. To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/cUSR2B. To read the Institute's report on safeguarding the rights and well-being of birthparents in the adoption process, go to: http://bit.ly/cmLNBe.

INTERNATIONAL ADOPTIONS FROM RUSSIA PLUMMET, DOMESTIC ONES GROW
The number of intercountry adoptions from Russia has fallen by about 50 percent in the last five years, while domestic adoptions of Russian children has grown by 27 percent during that time, according to an official with the Russian Ministry of Education and Science who was quoted in an October 18 RIA Novosti article. Alina Levitskaya, director of the ministry's department for education and social adaptation of children, said foreign nationals adopted 4,536 Russian children in 2007 and 3,815 in 2009, a decline of 27 percent over two years; she added that the drop had been 50 percent over five years. The article, titled "Russian Child Adoptions by Foreigners Drop 50% Over Last 5 Years," noted that the adoption of Russian children by foreigners has attracted considerable public attention, most pointedly the case of a Tennessee mother who sent her 7-year-old son back to Moscow alone on a plane. To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/d47o5f.

INCREASE IN ADOPTIONS FROM ETHIOPIA CONTRASTS WITH LARGER TREND
While international adoptions from most countries are declining considerably, the number from Ethiopia is increasing, David Crary reports in his October 12 Associated Press story titled "Adoptions from Ethiopia Rise, Bucking Global Trend." Adoptions from Ethiopia have increased from around 1 percent of all intercountry adoptions into the U.S. to around 23 percent over the last six years, based on data from the State Department. Several Ethiopian adoption programs have garnered praise for their efforts to improve in-country conditions and protect children from unscrupulous baby-selling, but there are still concerns about child trafficking and other fraudulent practices. To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/aQAFRv.

 

Resources

REPORT SAYS ETHICAL 'ADOPTION OPTION' INCREASES WOMEN'S CHOICES
The Center for American Progress on October 18 issued a 26-page report, "The Adoption Option: Adoption Won't Reduce Abortion but It Will Expand Women's Choices," by Jessica Arons. It asserted that while abortion played some role in the initial decline of the infant adoption rate in the U.S., it is the decreased stigma of single motherhood that accounts for today's low rate of adoptive placements. Among the report's recommendations for ensuring that adoption is an effective and ethical choice were: adequate relinquishment and revocation protections and better supports for open adoption agreements, and improved post-adoption services. To access the report, go to: http://bit.ly/a5ynrA.

ORGANIZATIONS OFFER RESOURCES FOR NATIONAL ADOPTION DAY AND MONTH
The Child Welfare Information Gateway has consolidated an array of resources for National Adoption Month, including the Presidential and State Adoption Month Proclamations; a letter from Bryan Samuels, Commissioner at the Children's Bureau; materials on diligent recruitment and post-adoption services, publications in Spanish, and others. To access these tools visit: http://bit.ly/q1KRx.

The website of the National Adoption Day Coalition contains many resources and tools for event planners to prepare for this year's adoption day celebrations on November 20. There also is an interactive calendar of events at: http://www.nationaladoptionday.org/events. To access the menu for all resources, go to: http://www.nationaladoptionday.org/.

ADOPTUSKIDS OFFERS RESOURCE FOR FINDING FAMILIES FOR SIBLING GROUPS
"Practice Principles for the Recruitment and Retention of Kinship, Foster and Adoptive Families for Siblings" is a new resource on the AdoptUsKids website to assist agencies in recruiting and retaining families to enable siblings to stay together. It can be downloaded at: http://bit.ly/a0iNUk.

RESOURCE CENTER PROVIDES WEB-BASED TOOLKIT ON CONCURRENT PLANNING
The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) added Concurrent Planning: A Web-based Practice Toolkit on its website in October. This toolkit offers information on the nine core components of concurrent planning, how they are being implemented by states and tribes, and available research on the subject. These resources will be updated as new materials become available. To access the toolkit, go to: http://bit.ly/cMiRdJ.

 

From Our Partners

NEW COURSE FROM ALP FOCUSES ON THRIVING AS A NEW ADOPTIVE FAMILY
A new course from Adoption Learning Partners, "We're Home! Now What? How to Settle In and Thrive as a New Adoptive Family" focuses on the first steps that the members of a new adoptive family take together. After the excitement has worn off, the reality of this new life settles in and questions arise. Two versions, one for the parents of school-aged children and one for the parents of toddlers, were designed to address immediate issues that families face while getting to know one another. Both classes offer practical suggestions from experts related to language, sleeping, eating, discipline, attachment and medical care. To learn about them and to sign up, go to: http://bit.ly/amulWv.

CWLA, ON THE MOVE, SAYS 'SAVE THE DATE' FOR 2011 NATIONAL CONFERENCE
The Child Welfare League of America wants to let everyone know that, in the last few weeks, we have moved our headquarters from Virginia back to the heart of the action in Washington D.C. It's a great move for us that maximizes our efforts financially and in terms of the impact we can have, and so we're delighted by it. Our new address is 1726 M Street, NW, Suite 500. In our new offices, we've embarked on planning for our next national conference, "The State of Children and Families: Building a National Voice," which will take place in Washington on March 27-30, 2011; we're proud that the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute - one of our strategic partners - will join us again to provide its groundbreaking research and superb staff. For more information about our move, our conference and much more, go to: http://www.cwla.org.

LIFECARE OFFERS NATIONAL ADOPTION MONTH PODCAST, FEATURING PERTMAN
LifeCare regularly offers its clients podcasts with leading experts on areas of interest to corporations and their employees; for National Adoption Awareness Month (November), we are delighted to have Adam Pertman, the Adoption Institute's Executive Director, as the interviewee on In Conversations with host Ellen Stuhlmann. The conversation touches on a variety of important adoption topics, including the far-reaching effects that adoption can have on families and communities, the necessity for better understanding about adoption in schools, adoptive identity, diversity in adoption and the formation of different types of families – as well as ways in which employers can respect and support employees who build their families through adoption. "We have lots of transracial adoptions in this country, from other countries and from foster care," Pertman says at one point, adding that the impact transcends just those adoptive families. "It affects the whole community and starts to raise questions about, and provides some answers to, the diversity issue. How are all of these communities different today as a result of that one child, as a result of how we perceive how families are formed, the importance of bloodlines and on and on and on?" To listen to the podcast, go to: http://origin-qps.onstreammedia.com/origin/lifecare/podcasts/lci_adoption_10-8-10.mp3. To learn more about LifeCare, go to: http://www.lifecare.com.

 

Institute Update

INSTITUTE JOINS AMICUS BRIEF IN HAWAII SECOND-PARENT ADOPTION CASE
A lesbian couple in Hawaii has had their second-parent adoption petition denied by a family court judge in Hawaii because one of the parents (who is the biological mother of the child) does not wish to terminate her parental rights. The two women are in a committed relationship and are co-parenting the child. In order to legally recognize both women's roles as the child's caregivers, the couple filed a Petition to Adopt which was then denied. As part of the appeals process, the Adoption Institute is joining other major organizations in submitting amicus brief that may be taken into consideration by the court. Due to the confidential nature of the case, the brief is not available online. To read more about the Institute's research on adoption by gays and lesbians, go to: http://bit.ly/9vQkGr.

OUR NEW REPORT BRINGS GROUPS TOGETHER, GETS BROAD MEDIA COVERAGE
The Adoption Institute's "Keeping the Promise" report, published on October 21, has drawn strong praise from a broad range of adoption and child welfare organizations and professionals, and we plan to work hard to implement its recommendations. Our admittedly ambitious goal is not only to enable every child who needs a family to get one, but to help those families succeed! In an indication of how strongly professionals (and families) feel about our work and the importance of post-adoption services, the institute's report has been endorsed by the Child Welfare League of America, the North American Council on Adoptable Children, the North American Council on Adoptable Children, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Voice for Adoption, the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, the National Council for Adoption, the Joint Council on International Children's Services, the Adoption Exchange Association, the Kinship Center, Lutheran Social Services of New England, Spence-Chapin Services to Families, The Cradle, Bethany Christian Services, the Center for Family Connections, the Center for Adoption Support and Education, the New York State Citizens' Coalition for Children, Wide Horizons for Children, Adoptions Together, Children's Home Society of North Carolina, and Adoption Resources of Wisconsin – and more endorsements are still coming in. Additional organizations support this work and plan to utilize and disseminate it, but are constrained by governmental or other regulations from becoming official "endorsers."

Many newspapers, broadcast media, website news and blog sites, and other venues included coverage of our report. The press release and report itself included this explanation from Adoption Institute Executive Director Adam Pertman: "The last thing in the planet we want is to stigmatize adoption and adoptive families by saying some of them need help. When a kid has been institutionalized, or abused and neglected, it's our responsibility to help those children. ... Adoption itself is one of the things that helps kids get healthy." To read the Associated Press article, go to: http://on.today.com/d0hCcf. To read the Executive Summary, press release or full report, go to: http://bit.ly/bZRAIg.

OPENNESS IN ADOPTION AIDS ADOPTEES IN DISCOVERING THEIR PASTS
The Chicago Tribune ran an article on October 19 about adult adoptees searching for answers concerning their personal histories and birth families. The journeys of various adoptees were followed, along with their struggles and triumphs in finding pertinent information about their backgrounds. The article emphasized that the trend in adoption is toward openness both in terms of communication among the members of birth and adoptive families, and in the movement for adult adoptees to regain access to their original birth certificates. The work of the Adoption Institute is cited in the article, and Executive Director Adam Pertman is quoted as well, speaking about a range of issues. To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/9XmfmU. To read the Institute's latest report on access to birth certificates, go to: http://bit.ly/aJfgvk.

HOLIDAY GIVING: YOUR GIFTS TO FAMILY, FRIENDS CAN HELP US DO OUR WORK
The holiday season will soon be upon us, which means it's time once again to remember our families and friend through the sharing of gifts. Here at the Adoption Institute, we have a couple of ideas for how you can check off some names on your list while greatly benefiting our work. First up is the online auction our partners at Charity Buzz are conducting in conjunction with our annual L.A. benefit (which takes place on November 13 - see below). The auction features such terrific, one-of-a-kind items as tickets for the New York premier and after-party of the upcoming Angelina Jolie - Johnny Depp film The Tourist, dinner with hip hop pioneer DMC, and tickets and a backstage visit with Kristen Chenoweth at the Broadway hit Promises, Promises. The auction can be found at: http://bit.ly/b3jyXT, and will be open from November 4-30. A second way to honor friends, colleagues or professional contacts is by making a donation to the Institute in their names. If you wish, we will gladly notify them of your generosity. Please contact Development Director Bill Boltz at: [email protected] for more information. To find out more about contributing to the important work of the Institute, go to: http://bit.ly/9bIvkV or simply mail your check to:

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

CELEBRATING ... OUR FAMILIES, OUR CHILDREN – AND YOU'RE INVITED!
There is still time for you to get your tickets or become a sponsor an opportunity for our annual West Coast benefit, "Celebrating ... Our Families, Our Children." This year, we've got great activities planned for you and your entire family at the Beach Club in Santa Monica on November 13, 2010; take a look at the invitation on the front page of our website, http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old. (in the upper right-hand corner). We'll be honoring the David Bohnett Foundation and paying tribute to the late Annette Baran. The event will also feature cocktails, food, a 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 [email protected]. You can also participate by joining the on-line auction held by our friends at: http://bit.ly/b3jyXT.

 

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:

  • Making a donation – and asking friends and relatives to honor birthdays and anniversaries with gifts to the Institute
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