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EDITOR'S NOTE: The December and January issues of the Institute newsletter will be combined and will be published on January 31st, 2011.
PRESIDENT GETS LEGISLATION CLOSING INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION LOOPHOLES
The International Adoption Simplification Act (S-1376) was sent to President Barack Obama for signing on November 19, according to a posting on the Library of Congress web site. The legislation was approved by the Senate on July 21, 2010, and by the House of Representatives on November 15. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), will restore two exemptions to U.S. immigration law that were eliminated by the Hague Convention: It will allow children aged 16 to 18 to be adopted from other countries along with their younger siblings; and will also allow parents to immunize their children in the United States within 30 days of their arrival, rather than prior to entering the country. To read the legislation, go to:
http://bit.ly/gUxnyf. To read a press release from Senator Klobuchar's office, go to:
UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT'S ADOPTION CASE GOES TO MISSOURI HIGH COURT
An undocumented immigrant from Guatemala lost custody of her son after a 2007 immigration sweep in Missouri, reports Chris Blank in a November 9 Associated Press article titled "Mo. Court Considers Immigrant's Adoption Appeal." Encarnacion Bail Romero, released from prison last year, is seeking to regain custody of her son after her parental rights were terminated for not providing for him while in jail. The son, now 4, has been living with Seth and Melinda Moser since he was 1 year old and has been officially adopted by them. An appellate court overturned the trial court decision that gave custody to the adoptive parents. Guatemala's ambassador to the U.S., Francisco Villagran de Leon, argues that this dispute is the result of a lack of clear American immigration rules and that parental rights should not have been terminated. To read this article, go to:
STUDY CONCLUDES ADOPTION-RELATED DISCRIMINATION HAS ADVERSE EFFECTS
In a U.S. sample of 1,579 international adoptees aged 5-18, researchers studied the relationship between their parents' perceptions of discrimination (frequency of inappropriate or intrusive comments based on adoption or race) and adoptees' problem behaviors. An association was found between the two factors, particularly for minority adoptees – and more strongly for Latin American than Asian children. "Parental Perceived Discrimination as a Postadoption Risk Factor for Internationally Adopted Children and Adolescents," by Richard Lee and the Minnesota International Adoption Project, is in the October issue of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology (Volume 16, Issue 4). The study also found that the overall amounts of variance explained by perceived discrimination were similar to the amounts explained by pre-adoption adversity, underscoring the importance of addressing the racial, ethnic and cultural experiences of adopted individuals. For an abstract, go to:
http://bit.ly/ijlEdW. To read the adoption Institute's study on identity (including elements of discrimination), go to:
RESEARCH LINKS SPIRITUALITY OF BLACK YOUTH TO ADOPTION SATISFACTION
"Adoption Satisfaction of Black Adopted Children," by Nerissa Gillum and Marion O'Brien, in the forthcoming December issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 32, Issue 12), provides Black youths' perspectives on adoption outcomes. Researchers studied 56 children adopted from foster care (currently 9.7 years, on average, and adopted at 6.1 years) through brief questionnaires about their beliefs and perceptions, as well as interviews with youth. Most youth were highly satisfied with their adoptions (73 percent scored 3.5 or higher on a 4-point scale) and scored very high on spirituality and family support; only 10 percent had scores reflecting high levels of conflict-promoting attributions. Higher ratings of spirituality and family support predicted higher adoption satisfaction, and the authors recommended providing opportunities to support youths' spirituality and use of mentors from when they enter care onward. For an abstract, go to:
KIN ADOPTIVE FAMILIES REPORT SOME ISSUES, BUT MAINLY BETTER OUTCOMES
Comparing outcomes of 397 kin adoptive placements with 1,985 non-kin placements in Florida, researchers found that relatives reported a more negative assessment of their families' current functioning; however, they were more likely than non-kin adopters to be willing to adopt their children again, to be satisfied with their adoptions, and to report positive relationships with their children. "Kin Adopting Kin: In the Best Interest of the Children?" by Scott Ryan (an Institute Senior Fellow), James Hinterlong, Rebecca Hegar and Lisa Johnson," will be in the December issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 32, Issue 12). There were definite socio-demographic differences between kin and non-kin adopters – relative adoptive parents were more likely to be white and older, with lower incomes and education, and less likely to be married than other adopters. There were no significant differences in behavior problem scores for children adopted by the two groups. For an abstract, go to:
MORE ORPHANAGE TIME FOUND TO INCREASE SENSORY PROCESSING PROBLEMS
A study of sensory processing capacities among three groups of children, employing both parent surveys and laboratory measures, found that adopted children spending 12 months or more of their infancies in orphanages showed significantly more sensory processing problems than those adopted internationally prior to 8 months of age who spent most of their early months in foster care or than non-adopted children. "Sensory Processing in Internationally Adopted Post-Institutionalized Children," by Julia Wilbarger, Megan Gunnar, Mary Schneider and Seth Pollak, was published in the October issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Volume 51, Issue 10). Overall, 30 percent of boys and 16 percent of girls spending a year or more in institutional care fell at the high level of sensory problems (two standard deviations below the norm), and additional children showed more moderate problems in their abilities to regulate responses to sensory stimulation. For an abstract, go to:
A review of 18 studies of post-institutionalized international adoptees, all using the Child Behavior Checklist, concluded that spending more than six to 18 months in an institution during their first two years (different studies used varying cut-offs) was the major factor linked to severe behavior problems – particularly internalizing, externalizing and attention problems. "CBCL Behavior Problems of Post-Institutionalized International Adoptees," by Brandi Hawk and Robert McCall, was published in a recent issue of Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review (Volume 13, Issue 2). The authors also found many behavior problems appeared more pronounced during adolescence and recommended that future research focus on identifying specific deficits that lead to these outcomes. For an abstract, go to:
OVER 4,800 FOSTER CHILDREN GET NEW FAMILIES ON NATIONAL ADOPTION DAY
Over 4,800 children in foster care officially joined permanent homes on Saturday, November 20, the 11th annual National Adoption Day. According to a November 29 press release from the National Adoption Day Coalition, nearly 35,000 children have been adopted on National Adoption Day over the past eleven years. The National Adoption Day Coalition continues to work with hundreds of communities and thousands of volunteers to dispel the myths about adopting from foster care and to raise awareness about the children in need of adoptive families. To read the full press release, go to:
http://bit.ly/gsjUPv. To read the Adoption Institute's newsletter item about last year's National Adoption Day, go to:
IRELAND SETS UP BODY TO OVERSEE DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL ADOPTIONS
Ireland has enacted the Adoption Act 2010 and established a new Adoption Authority that will be responsible for the administration of domestic and international adoptions, according to a November 1 IrishTimes.com article titled "New Adoption Authority Appointed." Established in order to comply with the Hague Convention of Intercountry Adoption, the new central authority is charged with ensuring that all adoptions follow ethical procedures and occur to serve the best interests of the child; the authority will be overseen by Geoffrey Shannon, a lawyer and professor specializing in child and family law. An Irish non-profit organization called Arc Adoption, led by Shane Downer, will help establish the new infrastructure and is working to achieve accreditation as the country's first official adoption mediation agency. According to Downer, over 42,000 children have been adopted domestically in Ireland, and over 5,000 have been adopted into the country from abroad. To read the article, go to:
BRITISH OFFICIAL: MAKE TRANSRACIAL ADOPTION EASIER FOR WHITE PARENTS
Britain's Children's Minister, Tim Loughton, has argued that social workers should make it easier for white couples to adopt children of different races, according to a November 2 Guardian article by Helen Pidd titled "Promote Inter-racial Adoption, Children's Minister Tells Social Workers." Transracial adoptions are permitted in Britain, but social workers are required to give "significant consideration" to race when placing children to help preserve cultural and ethnic ties. The Department of Education announced that it will issue revised guidance in the coming months regarding how these laws are implemented. To read the article, go to:
http://bit.ly/g125K9. To read the Adoption Institute's research on the consideration of race when placing children, go to:
NEW AD CAMPAIGN FOCUSES ON NEED FOR FAMILIES FOR SIBLING GROUPS
The new Public Service Announcements (PSAs) of the national adoption recruitment campaign (a partnership of the Children's Bureau, the Ad Council, and AdoptUsKids) have been released and focus on the need for homes for sibling groups of children in foster care. The ongoing theme remains, "You Don't Have to be Perfect to be a Perfect Parent." These PSAs direct interested persons to the AdoptUsKids website or a toll-free informational line. To view the new PSAs, go to:
ALP INTRODUCES COURSES ON 'TOUGH STARTS' AND 'TREATMENT MATTERS'
The "Tough Starts Matter" series from Adoption Learning Partners is designed to help adoptive parents understand the impact of difficult beginnings on children. Subject matter experts include: Karyn Purvis, Director of the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University; Lynn Wetterberg, Executive Director of ATTACh; and Judy Stigger, adoption therapist with The Cradle. "Brain Development Matters" gives a thorough background on the impact that early trauma is likely to have on a child's brain chemistry, brain development and sensory processing. The series "Treatment Matters" offers strategies for seeking professional help. Learn more about the benefits of early diagnosis, treatment options and therapy approaches. For more information or to sign up, go to:
AQ SEEKS SUBMISSIONS FOR SPECIAL EDITION ON TEATMENT, THERAPY ISSUES Adoption Quarterly is now accepting submissions for a forthcoming special double issue titled "Treatment and Therapy Issues for Adopted Children and Adoptive Families." Noting that adoptive families seek mental health counseling more often than the general population, guest editors Kyle Weir, Ph.D., and David Brodzinsky, Ph.D., will review quantitative and qualitative research submissionS that critically examine the types of therapy models used with this population, how families make progress in therapeutic contexts, and empirically supported treatment modalities. Papers should adhere to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and should be submitted no later than October 1, 2011. Please consult the "Instructions for Authors" section of the AQ web site for more information:
LIFECARE PODCAST FEATURES PERTMAN DISCUSSING ADOPTION IN WORKPLACE
Adoption Institute Executive Director Adam Pertman was the featured guest for an In Conversation podcast titled "Adoption in our Family and Workplace," hosted by Ellen Solman of LifeCare, an organization that provides work/life services to corporations around the globe. During the interview, Pertman discussed the broader impact of adoption and diversity issues, and urged companies to "level the playing field" by providing equal benefits to parents regardless of how children enter their families, and by creating corporate cultures that respect the realities of everyone in the "extended family of adoption," including birth relatives. To listen to the podcast go to:
http://bit.ly/fhsu8A. To learn more about LifeCare and the services it offers, go to:
PLEASE REMEMBER THE INSTITUTE IN YOUR YEAR-END GIVING – OR AS A GIFT!
As we approach year's end, please consider making a donation to support all the important work of the Adoption Institute. As a reader of this Newsletter, we know you care about adoption ethics and equity, and understand the importance of evidence-based, enlightened practice and policies. Simply put, we cannot further our unique, high-impact initiatives without your support. The Institute does not have an endowment, so your year-end donation will make a real difference in what we can do to improve adoption for millions of children and families.
Here are a few more ideas: Since it's holiday season, why not show that someone special that you are thinking of them by making a donation in their name to the Institute? It's a great way to honor friends, colleagues or professional contacts, and we are happy to notify them of your generosity. Please also consider two special forms of giving to stretch your contribution. First, see if your employer has a matching gift program – a great way to double your donation's impact and bring the Institute to the attention of corporate philanthropy departments. Second, with stock and bond markets up for the year, this is an excellent time to consider donating your appreciated securities to the Institute, which will benefit directly even as you get a significant tax break. For more information or to discuss your giving plans, please contact Development Director Bill Boltz at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 925-4089. To donate, go to:
PERTMAN COMMENTARY, MEDIA FOCUS ON INSTITUTE'S POST-ADOPTION REPORT
Executive Director Adam Pertman's November 26 Daily Kos article titled "Helping All Families Succeed: National Adoption Month" highlighted the need for continued post-adoption services for adoptive families as outlined in the Institute's latest research paper, "Keeping the Promise: The Critical Need for Post-Adoption Services to Enable Children and Families to Succeed." The Institute, backed by numerous major U.S. child welfare and adoption organizations, suggests a paradigm shift that includes a continuum of post-adoption services and supports with the purpose of enabling adoptive families to succeed. To read the article, go to:
http://bit.ly/esqRoa. Additional coverage of the Institute's latest paper appeared in a November 14 OregonLive.com article by Kathy Hinson, titled "Families Don't Get the Post-adoption Services They Need, Research Finds." While research emphasizes that most adoptions have highly successful developmental and emotional outcomes for children, there are many cases in which extra services and other resources are needed. Pertman explained, "What it means is that these children live with the emotional, psychological and developmental consequences of having been abused, neglected or institutionalized before they were adopted." To read the article, go to:
http://bit.ly/bxS22u. To read the Institute's new report, "Keeping the Promise," go to:
http://bit.ly/bQHfJz. To read additional coverage of the report from last month's newsletter, go to:
ARTICLE EXAMINES ISSUES IN RISING NUMBER OF TRANSRACIAL ADOPTIONS
"Business as Unusual for Transracial Family" in the Wisconsin State Journal, by Doug Erickson on November 15, told the story of a transracial adoptive family with seven African American children. The article portrayed how each child came to be a part of the family, as well as the everyday complexities that race can play in social interactions – both in the questions and comments of the adoptees and in discussions of race and culture between parents and their children. Executive Director Pertman is quoted as saying about transracial adoptions: "The trend line has been going up for a good 15 years or longer." To read the article, go to:
http://bit.ly/axtP9f. To read the Institute's report on transracial adoption, go to:
'FORGOTTEN CHILDREN' EVENT RAISES AWARENESS ON ORPHANS AND ADOPTION The Daily Beast on November 17 hosted its second "Women in the World" event, titled "Forgotten Children: International Adoption and the Global Orphan Crisis." As reported by Danielle Friedman in her November 18 Daily Beast story, "Making Adoption Work," the event included discussions on the importance of educating adoptive parents about the impact of early childhood trauma, as well as on community-oriented solutions to address the increasing number of orphaned children. A companion article outlined nine ways that policymakers, adoption professionals, social workers and adoptive families can help; included was advice from Institute Executive Director Pertman regarding the importance of a media component to highlight important issues related to adoption. To read both articles, go to:
http://bit.ly/c74suJ and http://bit.ly/btbzsn.
INSTITUTE NEEDS YOUR HELP: TAKE A QUICK SURVEY TO IMPROVE OUR WEBSITE
We want to learn more about users' experiences with our website in order to improve it. Please take a brief survey by following this link:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NLN3FRM. (You can take the survey anonymously or provide your name and email address in case we want to follow up to learn more; providing your information enters you in a raffle to win one of five signed copies of Executive Director Adam Pertman's groundbreaking book Adoption Nation – your choice of either the original edition, which is available now, or the completely revised and updated new edition, which will be available in March 2011. In order to participate, please submit your response by the end of day Friday, December 15.
FAMILIES AT OUR ANNUAL EVENT IN CALIFORNIA BRING IN FUNDS – AND FUN
On November 13, nearly 200 friends and supporters of the Institute got together for a fun and informative day at the Beach Club in Santa Monica. As a special feature of our annual California event, "Celebrating ... Our Families Our Children," attendees were invited to bring their children, who played organized games and toased marshmallows for s'mores in the bonfire on the beach. The amazing chefs at the Beach Club provided delicious food, and guests bid on auction items as they learned about our work from Institute Board President Susan Notkin, Executive Director Adam Pertman and others. The event paid tribute to the late Annette Baran, a pioneering adoption reformer, and our honoree was the David Bohnett Foundation, which we recognized for its commitment to a more just world for all families (including through generous support of the Adoption Institute). In accepting the award, Bohnett Board member Christopher Caldwell lauded the Institute, saying in part: "David Bohnett and the Foundation staff only give to organizations that deliver important service at a lean and mean price. The Adoption Institute has passed this rigorous process with flying colors."
KRISTIN CHENOWETH PUTS HER BEST FOOT FORWARD TO SUPPORT OUR WORK
Long-time Institute friend and Honorary Board member Kristin Chenoweth is providing a unique opportunity for our supporters to simultaneously be fashionable and show support for our work. In conjunction with ShoeDazzle, Kristin has designed a grey, suede-like bootie that she has affectionately named "Little Diva." The Tony- and Emmy-winning actress found inspiration for its curvy, voluptuous design in the demure sexiness of vintage styles, a tribute to the early 1960s timeframe of her current Broadway play, Promises, Promises. ShoeDazzle is offering the shoes as a limited-edition design, available exclusively at
http://www.shoedazzle.com. All of the profits from the sales of the "Little Diva" will go to the Institute.
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.
Support Our Work
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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