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1. Law, Policy & Practice
- U.S. Estimates Significant Delays as Ethiopia Sharply Cuts Adoptions
- Two States Consider Bills on Adoptee Access to Birth Certificates
- U.S. Ambassador Reported In Talks on Adoption with Cambodia, Vietnam
- Proposed Agenda for Next Congress Includes Post-Adoption Services

2. Research
- Study Links Adoptee Brain Anomalies to Indiscriminate Friendliness
- Kin Caregivers Found to Much Prefer Guardianship over Adoption
- Journal Offers Special Double Issue on GLBTQ Foster Care, Adoption

3. News
- Japanese Culture Reportedly Discourages Intercountry Adoption
- Spending of Foster Children's Social Security Benefits is Challenged

4. Resources
- ADOPTUSKIDS Provides Resources on LGBT Foster, Adoptive Families
- The Roundtable: Summary of Efforts to Support Diligent Recruitment
- Video Series Offers Help for Parents of Children with Special Needs
- Adoptive Families Issues Report on Costs, Waits of Readers' Adoptions

5. From Our Partners
- AQ: Special Issue Devoted to National Survey of Adoptive Parents
- Adoption Learning Partners Webinar Offers Tips on Improved Sleep

6. Institute Update
- Unique Event at Hard Rock, with DMC, Spurs Thoughtful Discussion
- Taste of Spring Has Almost Sprung - Mark Your Calendar for May 12
- Institute - Parties in Boston and NYC Celebrate Pertman's Latest Book
- Pertman, on CBS News, Responds to a Report of Adoption Fraud
- Exective Director Offers Perspective on Changes in Adoption
- Upcoming Appearances and Presentations by Institute Staff Members

 

Law, Policy & Practice

U.S. ESTIMATES SIGNIFICANT DELAYS AS ETHIOPIA SHARPLY CUTS ADOPTIONS
A U.S. State Department notice on March 16 provided a summary of a conference call for adoption service providers regarding the Ethiopian Ministry of Women's, Children's and Youth Affairs reduction in adoption case processing. The Ministry announced a reduction of reviews from about 50 cases per day – which had made Ethiopia one of the major "sending" countries for adoptions to the United States – to a maximum of five per day in order to improve the process and shift resources to other areas for children in need. The State Department reported that "calculations based on rough estimates of cases in process (around 1,000) indicate delays of one year or more." To read the notice, go to: http://1.usa.gov/fXalSX.

TWO STATES CONSIDER BILLS ON ADOPTEE ACCESS TO BIRTH CERTIFICATES
Legislation (S0478) was introduced this month in the Rhode Island General Assembly which, if passed, would allow adult adoptees who are born and adopted after January 1, 2012, access to their original birth certificates if their birth parents have not filed a "no release" form with the state; the bill was referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. In Connecticut, a substitute version of a measure (SB 890) was filed that would restore the right for adopted adults, aged 21 years or older, to receive their original birth certificates and allow birth parents to fill out a contact preference form. To learn more about the RI bill, go to: http://bit.ly/gZwWyZ, to learn more about the CT bill, go to: http://1.usa.gov/gVO5U9. To read the Adoption Institute's latest report on restoring adult adoptee access, go to: http://bit.ly/9CICPT.

U.S. AMBASSADOR REPORTED IN TALKS ON ADOPTION WITH CAMBODIA, VIETNAM
The State Department's Special Advisor for Children's Issues, Ambassador Susan Jacobs, was scheduled to visit Cambodia and Vietnam this month for meetings about intercountry adoption, according to a March 14 department press release. The discussions were to focus on Cambodia's implementation of a new intercountry adoption law and Vietnam's objective of acceding to the Hague Convention. The State Department has not yet posted any results from the meetings on its website. The U.S. suspended the processing of adoption applications from Cambodia in 2001 and from Vietnam in 2008, citing fraud and insufficient legal safeguards. To read the release, go to: http://1.usa.gov/dTYh1W. For more information on Cambodia, go to: http://1.usa.gov/eoDUmy; and on Vietnam, go to: http://1.usa.gov/i2cz4F.

PROPOSED AGENDA FOR NEXT CONGRESS INCLUDES POST-ADOPTION SERVICES
The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute on March 9 released its agenda for Congress, entitled, "What Barriers Remain? Areas of Reform for Congress to Consider in its 112th Session." Among the issues raised are to study use of APPLA (another planned permanency living arrangement) as a permanency goal, ending the dual-track system in the Intercountry Adoption Act, expanding funding for post-adoption services with a dedicated federal-funding track, better tracking of disruptions and dissolutions, and others. To read the document, go to: http://bit.ly/flzuD3. To read the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute's report on post-adoption services, go to: http://bit.ly/eMHxzT.

 

Research

STUDY LINKS ADOPTEE BRAIN ANOMALIES TO INDISCRIMINATE FRIENDLINESS
Researchers examined the brain functioning of internationally adopted children (primarily from China and Korea; divided into two groups, from foster care or an institution) at 18 months and 3 years, comparing them with non-adopted children. There were differences in some EEG measures of brain functioning between both groups of adopted children and non-adopted peers, and these differences correlated with the presence of indiscriminately friendly behavior toward strangers. "Atypical EEG Power Correlates with Indiscriminately Friendly Behavior in Internationally Adopted Children," by Amanda Tarullo, Melissa Garvin and Megan Gunnar, is in the March issue of Developmental Psychology (Volume 47, Issue 2). The brain pattern linked with indiscriminate friendly behavior (found in about 20% of international adoptees) also was linked with poorer inhibitory control on delay of gratification tasks. The authors concluded that the lack of difference between institutionalized and foster children likely indicates that some received adverse care in their foster families. To access an abstract, scroll down to the article at: http://bit.ly/hhCPcR.

KIN CAREGIVERS FOUND TO MUCH PREFER GUARDIANSHIP OVER ADOPTION
An examination of permanency intent among 830 kin caregivers showed that guardianship (mean score of 4.08 on 5-point scale) was greatly favored over adoption (2.19/5 pt. scale). "Predicting Permanency Intentions Among Kinship Caregivers," by Ramona Denby, is in the current issue of the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal (Volume 28, Issue 2). Some factors linked with higher intent to adopt included a high level of readiness and preparedness achieved through education about the child's case plan, lower caregiver emotional stress, caring for a sibling group, lower involvement of child and birthparent, and fewer child problems of running away or depression. The author recommends that laws and policies should offer parity between adoption and guardianship choices. To access the article for a fee, go to: http://bit.ly/dVVdTy.

JOURNAL OFFERS SPECIAL DOUBLE ISSUE ON GLBTQ FOSTER CARE, ADOPTION
The current double issue of the Journal of GLBT Family Studies (Volume 7, Issue 1 & 2) is entitled, "GLBTQ Issues in Foster Care and Adoption: Contemporary Research, Policy, and Practice," and features an introduction and nine articles. To explore the entire listing, go to: http://bit.ly/gCDWqn. Three articles from this issue are featured below; others will be featured next month. To read the Adoption Institute's report on the subject, "Expanding Resources for Children, go to: http://bit.ly/8Xg7Qg.

"The Home Study Assessment Process for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Prospective Foster and Adoptive Families," by Gerald Mallon, discusses in detail assessment with GLBT prospective parents, outlining strategies for competent social work practice that is both engaging with clients and does not ignore their sexuality. The article also discusses working with GLBT prospective parents in training groups and other important issues in assessment and preparation. For an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/h6PZ89.

"It Was the Cadillac of Adoption Agencies": Intersections of Social Class, Race, and Sexuality in Gay Men's Adoption Narratives," by Dana Berkowitz, is a qualitative study of 12 adoptive fathers; it draws from a larger study exploring procreative consciousness of gay men – 19 were childless and 22 fathers. All gay men interviewed had assumed that they would never have children unless they chose to within a heterosexual relationship, but there was a specific event or turning point that helped them recognize the possibility of fatherhood. Many encountered barriers such as the agency refusing to work with them or having to keep one partner in the shadows throughout the process. The author calls for inclusive adoption agency practices and laws and policies that protect the rights of gay fathers. For an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/gJHiuf.

"Making Room for Daddies: Male Couples Creating Families through Adoption," by Gregory Wells, develops a theoretical framework for understanding how gay men decided to become fathers and how they navigate the barriers they confront, based on interviews with 10 gay couples from San Francisco who had adopted in the previous three years. Some common themes included evolving recognition that they could become parents; confronting negative reactions from others, particularly from other gay men; assuming novel parenting roles; being open to transracial adoption; dealing with a cumbersome legal system; an increased sense of legitimacy to the couple relationship after adoption; a positive shift in relationships with extended family for most; gaining commonality with other parents; and the adoption having transformative personal and societal effects. To access an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/fPsN1g.

Please go to the "From Our Partners" section to read the latest research from Adoption Quarterly.

 

News

JAPANESE CULTURE REPORTEDLY DISCOURAGES INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION
Japan's emphasis on extended biological family ties is precluding intercountry adoption of children orphaned by the recent earthquake in that country, according to a March 22 FoxNews.com article by Diane Macedo. "Foreigners Looking to Adopt Japanese Earthquake Orphans Need Not Apply" quotes Tom Defilipo, president of Joint Council on International Children Services, as saying: "'Very few adoptions take place in Japan domestically and only about 30-34 last year internationally, despite having about 400 children's homes in the country and about 25,000 children approximately in those homes." A March 23 State Department notice provides that Japan's intercountry adoption process "has not changed as a result of the recent earthquake." To read the Fox News article, go to: http://fxn.ws/gQqVGp. To read the State Department notice, go to: http://1.usa.gov/fgbIlI. To read the Adoption Institute's report on helping children after natural disasters, go to: http://bit.ly/fyjO5c.

SPENDING OF FOSTER CHILDREN'S SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS IS CHALLENGED
The debate around state child welfare agency use of foster children's Social Security benefits to pay for their care is growing more heated, according to a March 16 report by ABC News, "States' Use of Foster Kids' Benefits Is Assailed." A recent report, "The Fleecing of Foster Children," by nonprofit First Star and the University of San Diego School of Law's Children's Advocacy Institute, backs Rep. Pete Stark's (D-CA) forthcoming legislation, Foster Children Self-Support Act, that would mandate states create personal accounts for foster children's benefits to use upon exiting the system. At the same time, a lawsuit against a Maryland county department of social services is challenging the state agency's practice in court. To read the article, go to: http://abcn.ws/hRbyFh.

 

Resources

ADOPTUSKIDS PROVIDES RESOURCES ON LGBT FOSTER, ADOPTIVE FAMILIES
The National Resource Center for Recruitment and Retention of Foster and Adoptive Parents at AdoptUSKids, along with other AdoptUSKids partners, recently provided resources to support efforts to recruit and retain lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) foster and adoptive parents. Among the resources are two new publications from the Child Welfare Information Gateway, one for professionals and another for prospective adoptive parents: "Working With Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Families in Adoption" and "Frequently Asked Questions From Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents". Many other resources are included: "Recruiting and Retaining LGBT Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families: Sending a Welcoming Message," a "Three-Part Series of Tip Sheets on Engaging LGBT Families" and others. To access, go to: http://bit.ly/gyDB5m. To read the Adoption Institute's report on the subject, "Expanding Resources for Children," go to: http://bit.ly/8Xg7Qg.

THE ROUNDTABLE: SUMMARY OF EFFORTS TO SUPPORT DILIGENT RECRUITMENT
The National Resource Center for Adoption has a new website and recently released a new issue of The Roundtable (Volume 25, Issue 1). The lead article, "Engaging African American Communities and Organizations to Support Foster Care and Adoption for Children in the Child Welfare System," by Kathy Ledesma, Stephanie Pettaway, Ruth McRoy and Patricia Cody, describes recent efforts by AdoptUSKids to support diligent recruitment efforts to expand the pool of minority families available for fostering and adopting children in care. To access, go to: http://bit.ly/eUoQIn

VIDEO SERIES OFFERS HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
The Empowered to Connect website has added an "Insights and Gifts Video Series," by Dr. Karyn Purvis. There are 16 video vignettes ranging from one to five minutes each that focus on seven insights and seven gifts for parents who adopt children from hard places. Included are such topics as explore your expectations, provide familiarity and continuity, give your child voice…nurture…shared power…playfulness, and others. There also is a link to an insight and discussion guide for use in parent support groups and a "Questions for Going Deeper" guide to stimulate more self-evaluation by parents. To access all these resources, go to: http://bit.ly/eOUx0S.

ADOPTIVE FAMILIES ISSUES REPORT ON COSTS, WAITS OF READERS' ADOPTIONS
Adoptive Families magazine surveys its readers annually on the type, cost and wait times involved in their adoptions during the previous year. With over 1,800 parents responding, the 2009-2010 Cost & Timing of Adoption Survey reported the following mean costs: newborn (agency-$33,793, attorney-$31,465); U.S. foster care ($2,704 and receive monthly subsidy averaging $604); and international adoption (ranging from $28,254 in Ethiopia to $49,749 in Russia. To access the survey results, go to: http://bit.ly/hGvgy3.

 

From Our Partners

AQ: SPECIAL ISSUE DEVOTED TO NATIONAL SURVEY OF ADOPTIVE PARENTS
The current issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 13, Issues 3-4) is a special, double issue devoted to articles analyzing data from the National Survey of Adoptive Parents. Articles from this issue are featured in several Adoption Institute newsletters. "Legal and Informal Adoption by Relatives in the U.S.: Comparative Characteristics and Well-Being from a Nationally Representative Sample," by Laura Radel, Matthew Bramlett and Annette Waters, compares children who are legally adopted by relatives to those informally adopted by relatives (data on latter group from National Survey of Children's Health). A little over one-quarter of children raised by relatives (biological parent not in the home) are legally adopted, and of these, 36% are from foster care. Also, two-thirds of children adopted privately were maltreated prior to adoption. In contrasting legal and informal relative adoptions, there were no differences in demographic or socioeconomic factors. The two groups were mainly similar on measures of school and family functioning. Differences included: parents who legally adopted reported more interaction with social, educational and health service systems; their children were more likely to be diagnosed with a developmental disability and were less likely to be overweight; parents legally adopting experienced less parental aggravation, had more emotional support, and were less likely to be uninsured. To access an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/exebZz.

ADOPTION LEARNING PARTNERS WEBINAR OFFERS TIPS ON IMPROVED SLEEP
Please join Adoption Learning Partners for our latest webinar, "Are You Sleeping? Expert advice for adoptive families struggling to get a good night's sleep." Dr. Julian Davies will provide a practical and balanced exploration of why adopted children (and their parents!) often sleep so poorly, and what to do about it. Developed in consultation with pediatric sleep doctors, and sensitive to the unique needs of the adoptive families, this webinar will help you understand the reasons behind sleep problems in adopted children; formulate short and long term sleep strategies for adoptive families; trouble shoot specific sleep problems; and add many practical sleep tips to your toolbox. The webinar will be held Thursday, May 19, 2011, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Q&A will run from 8:00 to 8:30p.m. Please note: All time are Central. To register, go to: http://bit.ly/gAtYua.

 

Institute Update

UNIQUE EVENT AT HARD ROCK, WITH DMC, SPURS THOUGHTFUL DISCUSSION
The Institute's March 10 educational event on restoring access for adult adoptees' to their original birth certificates was a great success. Panelists provided thought-provoking insights into the policy and advocacy strategies used at the state level to advance reform. Thanks to the Hard Rock Café for its generosity, Darryl (DMC) McDaniels and Zara Phillips for their great performance, and our sponsoring partners for their support: the Child Welfare League of America, American Adoption Congress, Center for Family Connections, Center for Adoption Support and Education, Adoptees Have Answers, Concerned United Birthparents, New York State Unsealed Initiative, and New Jersey Coalition for Adoption Reform and Education. To read about the event, go to: http://bit.ly/hgqlC7. To watch the event and to download handouts, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/events/2011_03HardRock.php. To read the Adoption Institute's reports on the subject, "For the Records," go to: http://bit.ly/9CICPT.

TASTE OF SPRING HAS ALMOST SPRUNG – MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR MAY 12
Preparations are well underway for the 2011 edition of the Adoption Institute signature benefit, Taste of Spring. Broadway and television star Kristin Chenoweth will be our honoree at the Metropolitan Pavilion on Thursday, May 12, 2011. Jurate Kazickas & Roger Altman, Jane & Bill Donaldson and Mimi & Jim Stevens are once again serving as event Honorary Chairs, and Katie Brown & William Corbin, Deborra-lee Furness & Hugh Jackman and Marja & Jean-Georges Vongerichten are the Honorary Co-Chairs.

The event promises to be even more spectacular than last year, with a great new venue, new boutique wineries and exciting new restaurants. We will feature wines from leading wineries such as Cambium by Sequoia Grove, Craggy Range; Don Olegario, Louis Jadot, Mendocino Wine Company, Monticello Vineyards, Poema Cava, Shea Vineyards, Sherry-Lehmann, St. Francis, Tablelands Wine Co., Taittinger, Xavier Flouret Wines. And the list of participating restaurants is equally stellar: Jean-Georges Restaurant; Bar Breton; Zarela; Klee; Me-Oh-My; Sen; Artisanal Cheese; Yuva; and Kumquat Cupcakery.

The leaders of our organizing committee – Hollis Forbes, Holly Heston Rochell, Sandy McManus and Doug Mehne – urge you to buy your tickets soon, because they are going fast – and please consider an individual or corporate sponsorship to support the Institute's important work! For more information, to purchase tickets or to become a sponsor, please contact Development Director William Boltz at [email protected] or 212-925-4089.

INSTITUTE PARTIES IN BOSTON AND NYC CELEBRATE PERTMAN'S LATEST BOOK
The Adoption Institute is proud to invite you to attend two very special evenings, in Boston and New York, celebrating the publication of Executive Director Adam Pertman's new book – a fully revised and updated edition of Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming our Families – and America. The parties will feature readings and time for questions, as well as refreshments and good fun. There is still time to RSVP for the April 5 Boston-area event, which will be held in the Inn at Harvard from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This will be the only Institute event in the Greater Boston area this year, so we really hope New Englanders will be able to make it. Please send your RSVP to [email protected]

Pertman also will be signing books and representing the Institute at the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange 2nd Walk for Adoption May 22, 2011. For more information, go to: http://www.firstgiving.com/mare/.

Institute supporters and their friends in the New York City area should mark April 26 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on their calendars for a book party to be held at Spence-Chapin on the Upper East Side. To reserve your spot, please send an email to
[email protected]

Please share these invitations widely with friends and families that you would like to introduce to the work of the Institute. Hope to see you there!

PERTMAN, ON CBS NEWS, RESPONDS TO A REPORT OF ADOPTION FRAUD
On the Mar. 29 CBS Evening News, Pertman responded to the adoption fraud story, "Woman promises couples babies, delivers heartache," by Armen Keteyian. To see the segment, go to: http://bit.ly/gYTEhT; to read the story, go to: http://bit.ly/eOLHBt.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OFFERS PERSPECTIVE ON CHANGES IN ADOPTION
Executive Director Adam Pertman discussed his new book, "Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families – and America," as well as the work of the Institute, on WTTW in Chicago on Mar. 3, 2011. Pertman explained the implications of changes in adoption, such as openness, on society as a whole. To watch the interview, go to: http://bit.ly/gCkb8C.

UPCOMING APPEARANCES AND PRESENTATIONS BY INSTITUTE STAFF MEMBERS
The following is a partial listing of near-term appearances by Executive Director Adam Pertman and presentations by senior staff. To inquire about Institute staff availability for speaking engagements, call 212-925-4089 or email [email protected]. For more information and a more complete list, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/events/appearances.php.

  • April 1-2 – Session by Adam Pertman, "Keeping the Promise: The Vital Role of Post-Adoption Services," at the Adoption Community of New England's Training Day for Professionals, Apr. 1, in Milford, MA and workshop presentation by Adam Pertman on "Keys to Success: What You Need to Know About Starting and Sustaining Your Adoptive Family," at the ACONE's 38th Annual Conference, Apr. 2, in Bellingham, MA. For more information, go to: http://bit.ly/dJuEUO
  • April 2 – Presentation by David Brodzinsky on "Post-Placement Adjustment and the Needs of Women Who Relinquish Infants for Adoption" at the 2011 Open Adoption Conference held at the Golden State University, School of Law, San Francisco, CA. For more information, go to: http://www.onyourfeetca.org/events/2011-conference
  • April 8 – Panel with Adam Pertman on Multiracial Identities at the Council on Contemporary Families Annual Conference, in Chicago, IL. For more information, go to: http://www.contemporaryfamilies.org/conference/2011-conference-program.html
  • April 14-17 – Presentation by Tara Linh Leaman, J.D. at the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption: Moving Forward from a 55-year Perspective; sponsored by Holt International Children Services and Adoptees for Children being held in Washington, D.C. For more information, go to: http://www.holtinternational.org/conference/internationalForum/overview.shtml

 

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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