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1. Law, Policy & Practice
- NJ Governor Conditionally Vetoes Birth Certificate Legislation
- RI House Joins Senate in Approving Birth Certificate Access Bill
- Russia to Sign Adoption Deal with U.S.

2. Research
- Study: Openness Promotes Family Conversation and Adoptive Identity
- Research: Both Genes and Environment Shape Toddler Aggression
- Analysis Identifies Predictors of Permanency for Foster Children
- Quebec Study Finds Chinese Adoptees Have Lags in Language Skills

3. News
- Adoptions by Gay Couples Reportedly Increase, Despite Barriers
- Provincial Government Appealing Landmark Ruling on Anonymity

4. Resources
- NRCPFC Offers Archived Teleconference on Reinstating Parental Rights
- Brodzinsky Article Focuses on Children's Understanding Of Adoption
- NRCPFC Adds 'Hot Topic' Webpage on Child Welfare and Technology
- NACAC Establishes New Advocacy Toolbox for Adoption Advocates

5. From Our Partners
- Current AQ Issue: Adoptive Identity in Young Adults Adopted From Care
- Adoption Learning Partners Offers New Course on Open Adoption

6. Institute Update
- Institute Offers Testimony Advocating for Post-Adoption Resources
- Center for Family Connections Event Features Institute Staff Members
- Institute in the Media: Transracial Adoptions, Foster Care and More
- Brodzinsky Discusses Ethnicity in Adoption at Conference in Italy
- July Staff Appearances Include Adoption Nation Book-Signing in MD
- Don't Forget the Institute this Summer

 

Law, Policy & Practice

NJ GOVERNOR CONDITIONALLY VETOES BIRTH CERTIFICATE LEGISLATION
Governor Chris Christie on June 23 conditionally vetoed a bill, which was passed by both houses of the New Jersey legislature, that would have restored the right of adult adoptees to access their original birth certificates, according to an article in The Star-Ledger by John O'Boyle. Christie said he based his decision on the "need to balance the needs of adoptees seeking the identity of their biological parents with the expectations of birth parents who may wish for their identities to remain private," and suggested that "adopted adults should be allowed to seek a 'confidential intermediary' from an adoption agency to search for their birth parents." Proponents denounced Christie's action. Pam Hasegawa, an adopted person who has been a leader in the fight to open birth records in New Jersey for decades, said: "I am really mentally exhausted to see this term 'the balancing of rights' when one party has been at the bottom of the pile for 70 years." To read a news story about the Christie's decision, go to: http://bit.ly/l95BrR. To read the bill, go to: http://bit.ly/lScw2C. To read the Institute's latest report on the issue, go to: http://bit.ly/jM7FVa.

RI HOUSE JOINS SENATE IN APPROVING BIRTH CERTIFICATE ACCESS BILL
The Rhode Island House on June 20 unanimously approved a bill (S 0478 Sub A) allowing adult adoptees to obtain copies of their original birth records, with some restrictions introduced by the Senate before its approval. The final measure has been sent to Governor Lincoln Chafee, who has six days to veto the legislation, sign it, or allow it to become law without his signature. As of the writing of this newsletter, no official information on the final passage was available on the legislature's website or in any news stories. The Institute will provide a more-complete report on the legislation in its next newsletter. To read a previous story about the bill, go to: http://bit.ly/iw28wt. To read the bills, go to: http://bit.ly/lIbgTO. To read the Institute's latest report on the issue, go to: http://bit.ly/jM7FVa.

RUSSIA AND U.S. REPORTEDLY WILL SIGN ADOPTION TREATY IN MID-JULY
Russia and the United States will sign an adoption treaty in about two weeks, according to an article on June 22 in RIA Novosti. The article said that the treaty will be signed during Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's visit to the United States July 12-14. Adoptions from Russia to the United States have been the subject of discussion since a Tennessee woman sent her 7-year-old adopted son back to Moscow just over a year ago. The boy was put on a plane on his own with a note from his mother saying she did not want him because he was "psychotic." The latest figures show that about 60,000 children born in Russia have been adopted by families in the United States. To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/kvLk9f. To read the Institute's press release on the resumption of Russian adoptions, go to: http://bit.ly/jUm5au.

 

Research

STUDY: OPENNESS PROMOTES FAMILY CONVERSATION AND ADOPTIVE IDENTITY
A longitudinal study of openness in 184 families involving in-depth interviews and questionnaires – when adopted youth were adolescents and again as young adults - found that contact with birth relatives assisted adopted persons in their development of a coherent adoptive identity, in part because this contact promoted more frequent adoption-related conversation within the adoptive family. "Contact in Adoption and Adoptive Identity Formation: The Mediating Role of Family Conversation," by Lynn Von Korff and Harold Grotevant (an Institute Senior Research Fellow), is in the June issue of the Journal of Family Psychology (Volume 25, Issue 3). The study assessed three aspects of adoptive identity narratives (depth of exploration, internal consistency, and flexibility) and found that female adolescents had higher levels of adoptive identity than males. To access an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/l72JIY. To read the Institute's study on positive identity formation in adoption, go to: http://bit.ly/cqvnBY.

RESEARCH: BOTH GENES AND ENVIRONMENT SHAPE TODDLER AGGRESSION
"Longitudinal Pathways from Marital Hostility to Child Anger during Toddlerhood: Genetic Susceptibility and Indirect Effects via Harsh Parenting", by Kimberly Rhoades, Leslie Leve, Jeanae Neiderhiser, Gordon Harold, Daniel Shaw and David Reiss, is in the spring issue of the Journal of Family Psychology (Volume 25, Issue 2). This article is from the Early Growth and Development Study – a sophisticated longitudinal research project investigating how genes and environment shape child development in over 350 adoptive families. The study found that greater marital hostility at Time 1 predicted harsh parental discipline at Time 2, which in turn predicted toddler anger. Also while there was not a direct association between adopted toddlers' anger/frustration and their birthmothers' level of anger/frustration, this genetic influence did serve a moderating role on the environmental impact of marital hostility. In other words, children whose birthmothers reported higher levels of anger/frustration showed more susceptibility to the negative impact of marital hostility. The authors conclude that for children with a genetic predisposition toward higher levels of anger/frustration, prevention programs to improve marital functioning and parenting might prevent development of conduct problems in the children. To access an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/kUqTRf.

ANALYSIS IDENTIFIES PREDICTORS OF PERMANENCY FOR FOSTER CHILDREN
"Predictors of Foster Care Exits to Permanency: A Competing Risks Analysis of Reunification, Guardianship, and Adoption, by Becci Akin, is in the June issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 33, Issue 6). This cohort study – which followed 3,351 children from the time of entry into foster care for a period of up to 3 years – identified factors predicting an exit to permanency and found overall that 52% were reunified, 9% achieved guardianship, and 14% adoption, with 25% continuing in care. Some factors associated with greater likelihood of adoption included younger age, being White as compared to African American, having a disability, not having a serious mental health problem, a completely intact sibling placement, and early placement stability. To access an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/iiofvI.

QUEBEC STUDY FINDS CHINESE ADOPTEES HAVE LAGS IN LANGUAGE SKILLS
A Quebec longitudinal study comparing the language skills of 24 internationally adopted Chinese girls (when age 4 on average and again 16 months later) with non-adopted girls matched for socioeconomic status found that the adopted children were equal in intelligence and socioemotional adjustment, but were significantly lower in language skills, particularly expressive language. "Language Development in Internationally Adopted Children: A Special Case of Early Second Language Learning," by Karine Gauthier and Fred Genesee, is in the May/June issue of Child Development (Volume 82, Issue 3). Overall, 43% of Chinese adoptees scored more than 1 standard deviation below the mean scores of control children on expressive language at the first testing, and these lags continued at the second testing, when there also were significant differences in receptive language. To access an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/jCDZlA.


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

News

ADOPTIONS BY GAY COUPLES REPORTEDLY INCREASE, DESPITE BARRIERS
Gay couples are adopting across the U.S., despite an uneven legal landscape that can leave their children without the rights and protections extended to children of heterosexual parents, according to a June 20 New York Times article by Kirk Irwin. Most of the legal obstacles facing gay couples stem from prohibitions on marriage, according to the Family Equality Council, an advocacy group. In most states, gay singles may adopt, but one state, Arizona, recently passed a law requiring social workers to give preference to married heterosexuals. Despite the legal patchwork, the number of same-sex parents with adopted children has risen sharply. About 19% of same-sex couples raising children reported having an adopted child in 2009, up from just 8% in 2000, according to the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law. The article quotes Adoption Institute Executive Director Adam Pertman as saying that "the trend of rising adoption is irreversible; the war has been won, but the battles are still being fought." To read the Times article, go to: http://nyti.ms/lPBPwT. To read the Adoption Institute's latest report on gay and lesbian adoption, go to: http://bit.ly/kcUcul.

PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT APPEALING LANDMARK RULING ON ANONYMITY
The British Columbia government is appealing a landmark ruling by the Canadian Province's Supreme Court that gave offspring of sperm donors the same rights as adopted children, according to an article on June 20 in the Vancouver Sun by Neal Hall. B.C. Attorney General Barry Penner stated that "the government is appealing the decision because of its concerns that the ruling could limit its government's ability to provide programs that respond in tailored ways to particular groups of individuals. To read a news story about the appeal, go to: http://bit.ly/jGyIEx. To read a newsletter that includes the Adoption Institute's report on egg and sperm donation, go to: http://bit.ly/lEhEaA. To read the Institute's report on the subject, go to: http://bit.ly/iPLyE0.

 

Resources

NRCPFC OFFERS ARCHIVED TELECONFERENCE ON REINSTATING PARENTAL RIGHTS
On April 11, the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections offered a teleconference entitled "Reinstating Parental Rights for Youth in Care" – an alternative approach to achieving permanency for older youth in care whose original parents are now capable of parenting. The archived presentation by attorneys Karen Sabo and LaShanda Taylor, as well as the Power Point and an annotated bibliography, may be accessed on the Resource Center's website: http://bit.ly/jKrD2r.

BRODZINSKY ARTICLE FOCUSES ON CHILDREN'S UNDERSTANDING OF ADOPTION
"Children's Understanding of Adoption: Developmental and Clinical Implications," by David Brodzinsky (a staff member of the Adoption Institute), is in a recent issue of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice (Volume 42, Issue 2). This article presents information for psychologists related to children's understanding of adoption at different developmental stages, and offers guidelines for assisting parents in talking to their children about adoption. It would also be useful in training or working with adoptive or pre-adoptive parents. To access an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/iVBcU9.

NRCPFC ADDS 'HOT TOPIC' WEBPAGE ON CHILD WELFARE AND TECHNOLOGY
The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections recently added a "Hot Topic" webpage containing resources that explore the implications for new technology and child welfare practice, including resources related to using social networking sites in adoption recruitment. This page will be updated regularly. To access the site, go to: http://bit.ly/iMlo7d.

NACAC ESTABLISHES NEW ADVOCACY TOOLBOX FOR ADOPTION ADVOCATES
The North American Council on Adoptable Children has established an online resource for adoption advocates with resources in five primary categories: Advocacy Basics, Sample Advocacy Strategies, Post-Adoption Advocacy Toolkit, Special Topics, and Links & Newsletter. To access the information, go to: http://bit.ly/mCnOH2.

 

From Our Partners

CURRENT AQ ISSUE: ADOPTIVE IDENTITY IN YOUNG ADULTS ADOPTED FROM CARE
The current Adoption Quarterly (Volume 14, Issue 2) includes a qualitative study of 30 young adults, ages 18-25, who were adopted after age 8 from foster care. "Happily Ever After? The Journey from Foster Care to Adoption," by Michele Hanna, Kerri Tokarski, Dawn Matera and Rowena Fong explore the meaning of adoption for persons adopted from foster care when older. The researchers found that the concept of belonging to a family forever was the core meaning for most (83%). Two other common themes that were identified by these young adults were the perception that adoption provided a second chance at life and that their experiences in foster care and adoption had made them stronger in some ways. Overall, youth did not distinctly distinguish their adoption and foster care experiences. To access an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/k1O8oy.

ADOPTION LEARNING PARTNERS OFFERS NEW COURSE ON OPEN ADOPTION
Adoption Learning Partners is offering a new course, "Open Adoption 101: What to Expect, How to Establish, and Ways to Stay Connected." The course acknowledges the complexities of an open adoption, and will help prospective adoptive parents: (1) understand the different degrees of openness, become familiar with the process of creating an open adoption plan; and (2) make openness part of their everyday life. The subject matter expert for the course is The Cradle's Clinical Director of Adoptive Parent Services, Phyllis Laughlin, LCPC. To register, go to: http://bit.ly/lkOQIJ. With the addition of Open Adoption 101, ALP has also launched a new package for families adopting infants domestically. Courses include: "Creating an Adoption Profile That Works, Open Adoption 101" and "Let's Talk Adoption." To learn more about the Domestic Infant Adoption Package, go to: http://bit.ly/iD6wYF.

 

Institute Update

INSTITUTE OFFERS TESTIMONY ADVOCATING FOR POST-ADOPTION RESOURCES
Executive Director Adam Pertman and Program Director Susan Livingston Smith submitted written testimony on June 16 to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means-Subcommittee on Human Resources for a hearing on "Improving Programs Designed to Protect At-Risk Youth." The Institute's testimony focused on the reauthorization of Title IV-B child welfare programs, specifically subpart 2 entitled "Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program," which includes the requirement that at least 20% of these funds be allocated to the category of services defined as "adoption promotion and support." Specifically, the Institute recommended that a dedicated funding stream for post-adoption services be created by redefining the service category of "adoption promotion and support" in Title IV-B, subpart 2, to become "adoption and post-adoption services," and by requiring that a portion of these funds be expended on post-adoption services. To read the testimony in full, go to: http://bit.ly/kIJOJq. To read the Adoption Institute's report on post-adoption services, go to: http://bit.ly/lNrxaX.

CENTER FOR FAMILY CONNECTIONS EVENT FEATURES INSTITUTE STAFF MEMBERS
The Center for Family Connections has invited the Adoption Institute to collaborate on a major event merging two conferences: CFFC's 26th annual ARC Summer Intensives and its 5th Annual ACTION International Conference on Post Adoption Services, sponsored by CFFC and the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. Three of the Institute's staff members – Adam Pertman, Tara Linh Leaman and Susan Smith – will be among the presenters. The event, held on Cape Cod, runs from July 10-14. For more information and to register, go to: http://conta.cc/jlgjss.

INSTITUTE IN THE MEDIA: TRANSRACIAL ADOPTIONS, FOSTER CARE AND MORE
On a Today show segment on June 27, entitled "Adoptive Families Turn to Social Media For Answers," Executive Director Adam Pertman discussed the effects of Facebook and other social media on adoption searches and reunions. Pertman said this technology is having a profound impact, and added that the Institute has begun a project to develop best practices relating to adoption on the internet, including "what should parents know, what should kids know, what are the protections that should be put in place." To see the interview, go to: http://on.today.com/l9Yhyj.

In an interview June 10 on FOX News online, Pertman discussed the decline in international adoptions and the growth of adoptions from foster care. He said policies and practices should attempt to provide families for all children. To view the interview, go to: http://bit.ly/lZPQpZ.

On June 7, Pertman appeared on ABC affiliate News 10's Sacramento & Co. for a segment entitled "Adoptive Dads." Pertman talked about issues such as parenting an older child or a child of a different race. Also discussed were tips for potential parents, including the importance of respecting all parties involved and respecting your child's heritage. To see the video, go to: http://bit.ly/k4aArh.

Pertman was quoted in the June 8 issue of the AARP Bulletin discussing how many Americans are adopting later in life (in their 50s or 60s) and, in particular, from foster care. To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/lIermM.

On June 9, Pertman was featured on the midday show of WGN News, Chicago. The discussion focused on tips for those thinking of adopting, as well as the Institute's focus of developing best practices for all involved. To listen to the interview, go to: http://bit.ly/lag8XS.

Pertman was featured on National Public Radio's The Overdrive, on 89.5 in Chicago, in a June 23 segment entitled "Transracial Adoptions, The Transformation of American Families." To listen to the interview, go to: http://bit.ly/liuTZL.

BRODZINSKY DISCUSSES ETHNICITY IN ADOPTION AT CONFERENCE IN ITALY
On June 14, Research Director David Brodzinsky represented the Institute at the Italian World Congress on Adoption in Florence, Italy. His presentation was entitled "Ethnicity Issues in Intercountry Adoption: Preparation and Support for Adoptive Families." To learn more about the conference and his presentation, go to: http://bit.ly/lB6ja1. To read the Institute's report on adoptive parent preparation, go to: http://bit.ly/kcFuYO.

JULY STAFF APPEARANCES INCLUDE ADOPTION NATION BOOK-SIGNING IN MD
If you live in the Washington, DC, area, please come meet Executive Director Adam Pertman and learn more about the Institute at a book-signing event to celebrate the publication of the 2011 edition of Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families – and America. The event will be hosted by Adoptions Together, and the presentation, discussion and Q&A will take place 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 14, at the Huckleberry Fine Art Center in Rockville, MD. For more information and to rsvp, go to: http://bit.ly/jZ58J0 or email [email protected] or call 617-332-8944 – or just show up!

The following is a partial listing of additional July appearances and/or presentations by Pertman and Institute senior staff. To inquire about Institute staff availability for speaking engagements, call 212-925-4089 or email [email protected]. For a complete list, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/events/appearances.php.

  • July 11 and 12 – Presentations by Associate Director Tara Linh Leaman ("Living and Breathing Best Practice"); Program Director Susan Smith with Kim Stevens of NACAC ("Meeting the Needs of Families after Adoption: How Do We Advance the Field of Post-Adoption Services?"); and Executive Director Adam Pertman ("Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption") at the ACTION 5th International Conference on Post Adoption Services sponsored by the Center for Family Connections and the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, and held in Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA. For more information, go to: http://kinnect.org/events_calendar.html.
  • August 4 and 5 – Presentations by Susan Livingston Smith and Adam Pertman at the North American Council on Adoptable Children's 37th Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado. For more information and to register, go to: http://bit.ly/meaqhY.

DON'T FORGET THE INSTITUTE THIS SUMMER
Summertime means long, lazy days of fun in the sun to most people. But the work of the Adoption Institute continues. Our researchers and authors are busy completing a study of young people aging out of foster care and preparing for the publication of a major new book on gay and lesbian adoption. Both will be out in the coming month.

Because of the on-going nature of our work, our financial needs remain constant throughout the year. That's why we ask you to consider making a donation now-before you head out to the beach or up to the mountains.

Giving is easy. Just go to http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/about/support.php. There you will find information on all of the different ways to give: online, by mail or by phone. To find out more about contributing to the important work of the Institute, please contact William Boltz at [email protected] or 212-925-4089.

 

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 send a generous contribution to the Adoption Institute's annual fund today. To donate, please call 212-925-4089 or go online to: http://bit.ly/SupportEBDAI.

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