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1. Law, Policy & Practice
- Congress Reauthorizes Major Child Welfare Programs
- U.S. Clarifies Process for Some Pending Guatemalan Adoption Cases

2. Research
- Workers, Support Identified as Key for Adoptions from Foster Care
- UK Research Finds Child Welfare Disproportionally, Not Disparity
- Survey: Over 80 Percent of Sperm Donors' Offspring Want to Meet Them
- Study Says Social Support Lessens Stress for Gay Adoptive Fathers

3. News
- Article Reports Greater Openness for Donor Assisted Reproduction
- IL Original Birth Certificate Access Extension to go Into Effect

4. Resources
- Websites Offer Assistance to Meet Adopted Children's Needs at School
- Adoption Month Site's Focus is Finding Parents for "Waiting Children"
- U.S. Children's Bureau Reports New Grant Information, Publications
- Teleconference Available on Guardianship Assistance Program

5. From Our Partners
- Current AQ Issue: Courts Listen to Mental Health Experts, Not Parents
- ALP Offers Webinars: On Malnutrition and Challenging Behavior

6. Institute Update
- You're Invited: Oct. 13 Celebrating ... Our Families, Our Children In L.A.
- Adoption Institute in the Media: Policies, Possibilities and Placements
- Event Seeks to Reach Out to Families for Children and Youth of Color
- Upcoming Staff Appearances
- Double Your Donation if Your Company has a Matching Program

 

Law, Policy & Practice

CONGRESS REAUTHORIZES MAJOR CHILD WELFARE PROGRAMS
Congress passed this month, and the President is expected to sign, the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (HR 2883). The legislation reauthorizes the Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) and Child Welfare Services (CWS) programs through 2016, and Health and Human Services' Title IV-E waivers for states to use federal foster care funds for innovative child welfare programs. Funding for CWS is maintained at $325 million, while mandatory PSSF funding decreases $20 million to $345 million and discretionary funding stays at $200 million. Among other new requirements, states must develop plans to reduce the length of time children under age 5 are without permanent families. To read the bill and related information, go to http://1.usa.gov/pMHspj and search by bill number.

U.S. CLARIFIES PROCESS FOR SOME PENDING GUATEMALAN ADOPTION CASES
A Sept. 27 State Department Guatemala Notice, "CNA Processing Framework for U.S. Cases Under Its Authority," outlines aspects of Guatemalan Central Adoption Authority's (CNA) procedures for a small number of U.S. adoption cases pending since that country suspended adoptions in 2007 after fraud allegations. The State Department cautions that these processes do not apply to cases that the Procuraduria General de la Nacion (PGN) is handling as "notario" cases, but that more cases may transfer from PGN to CNA's new framework in the future. Additionally, CNA requires more information about the prospective adoptive parents to advance the cases and will not proceed with any case until it officially informs the U.S. Embassy. To read the Notice, go to: http://1.usa.gov/rcHFlk.

 

Research

WORKERS, SUPPORT IDENTIFIED AS KEY FOR ADOPTIONS FROM FOSTER CARE
"The Journey to Adopt a Child Who Has Special Needs: Parents' Perspectives" by Ramona Denby, Keith Alford and Jessica Ayala – in the September issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 33, Issue 9) – provides a qualitative study of nine families going through the foster care adoption process; three of them dropped out. Researchers identified conditions that support completion: a caring, competent social worker; supportive family and friends; involvement in counseling or parent-support activities. They also identified hindering factors: poor worker performance, the time-consuming and daunting nature of the process; and matching parameters that were too rigid. The researchers recommend rethinking the manner in which some agencies match children by having parents check criteria they would accept or not accept and presenting only children who exactly match those criteria. They also found that families needed to hear from workers during the long waiting process. To access an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/nbWkvU; to read the Adoption Institute's report on adoption from foster care, "Keeping the Promise," go to: http://bit.ly/eMHxzT.

UK RESEARCH FINDS CHILD WELFARE DISPROPORTIONALITY, NOT DISPARITY
Researchers in England investigated the reasons for the over– and under-representation of minority groups in the child welfare population and among those adopted from care, finding very different patterns among different groups. Black children were the oldest at entry into care (41 months on average), were much more likely than others to have a non-British nationality (47%) and had lower adoption rates, but no evidence of unequal treatment was found to explain these differences. "Pathways to Adoption for Minority Ethnic Children in England – Reasons for Entry to Care," by Julie Selwyn and Dinithi Wijedesa, is in the current issue of Child & Family Social Work (Volume 16, Issue 3). The study found that mixed ethnicity children entered care the earliest (6.5 months) and were more likely than Black children to be adopted. Very different profiles of maternal problems and reasons for entry into care were found among various ethnic groups. For an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/otDNu0; to read the Adoption Institute's related report, "Finding Families for African American Children," go to: http://bit.ly/rmBp6y.

SURVEY: OVER 80 PERCENT OF SPERM DONORS' OFFSPRING WANT TO MEET THEM
The largest survey to date of donor-inseminated offspring over age 18 (n=741) found that disclosure occurred earlier in families headed by lesbians than by heterosexuals, and earlier in single rather than two-parent families. The research also found that confusion was less of a problem for children told at young ages, and that over 80% desired to contact their donor at some point. "Offspring Searching for their Sperm Donors: How Family Type Shapes the Process", by D.R. Beeson, P.K. Jennings and W. Kramer, is in the September issue of Human Reproduction (Volume 26, Issue 9). The most common reasons for wanting contact were: curiosity about donor's looks, to learn about ancestry and to find out medical history; a minority were interested in establishing a relationship with the donor. To access an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/mRHEUI; to read the Institute's report on adoption's lessons for assisted reproductive technologies, "Old Lessons for a New World," go to: http://bit.ly/nSzcMu.

STUDY SAYS SOCIAL SUPPORT LESSENS STRESS FOR GAY ADOPTIVE FATHERS
A study of 230 gay adoptive fathers identified predictors of higher parenting stress: older age of child at time of study and older age at adoption, higher number of children, less social support from friends and family, adopted with a former partner and having a less-positive gay identity. "Predictors of Parenting Stress among Gay Adoptive Fathers in the United States," by Samantha Tornello, Rachel Farr and Charlotte Patterson, is in the current issue of the Journal of Family Psychology (Volume 25, Issue 4). Fathers reported higher levels of social support from friends than from family. The authors emphasize the importance of social support and positive gay identity in facilitating positive outcomes for gay adoptive fathers. To access an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/q1D3pk; to read the Adoption Institute's most recent report on adoption by gays and lesbians, "Expanding Resources for Children II," go to: http://bit.ly/8Xg7Qg.


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

News

ARTICLE REPORTS GREATER OPENNESS FOR DONOR ASSISTED REPRODUCTION
A Sept. 17 National Public Radio story, "A New Openness For Donor Kids About Their Biology" by Jennifer Ludden, reports on the recent trend in parents' openness with children born through IVF and donor insemination. The story quotes a California psychologist and counselor to donor recipients, Elaine Gordon, as saying that children "don't understand why they were not told, why the information was kept from them. ... So it's the secret that they're upset about, not the information necessarily." Wendy Kramer, who operates the Donor Sibling Registry, says that she has surveyed hundreds of donor families and that minimizing the donors' involvement "can make children feel they're betraying parents if they later want to explore their biological heritage." A companion article offers offspring and donor perspectives. To read the stories, go to: http://n.pr/nljqYa and http://n.pr/qmypos; to read the Institute's report on adoption's lessons for assisted reproductive technologies, "Old Lessons for a New World," go to: http://bit.ly/nSzcMu.

IL ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE ACCESS EXTENSION TO GO INTO EFFECT SOON
A Sept. 13 Associated Press article in the Chicago Tribune, "New Illinois birth certificate rules affecting adopted, surrendered to start Nov. 15," reports that beginning in mid-November, any adopted adult who was born in Illinois after Jan. 1, 1946, may request a non-certified copy of his or her original birth certificate from the Illinois Department of Public Health. As of May 21, 2010, those born before 1946 could request their documents. To read the article, go to: http://trib.in/oZ3gtH; for more information from the state, go to: http://bit.ly/oDNqpl; to read the Adoption Institute's latest report on this subject, "For the Records II," go to: http://bit.ly/jM7FVa.

 

Resources

WEBSITES OFFER ASSISTANCE TO MEET ADOPTED CHILDREN'S NEEDS AT SCHOOL
Several websites feature Back to School resources for parents to advocate for their children in the educational arena. Adoptive Families magazine: http://bit.ly/q0eUip; Center for Adoption Policy: http://bit.ly/peP7ht; Tapestry Adoption and Foster Care Ministry: http://bit.ly/nVufea. To read the Adoption Institute's report on the subject, "Adoption in the Schools: A Lot to Learn," go to: http://bit.ly/r5pCv5.

ADOPTION MONTH SITE'S FOCUS IS FINDING PARENTS FOR 'WAITING CHILDREN'
To celebrate National Adoption Month (which takes place each November) the Department of Health and Human Services' Child Welfare Information Gateway, along with AdoptUSKids, are hosting a website with English and Spanish resources directed at capacity-building among adoption professionals to recruit and retain adoptive parents for waiting children. Categories of resources include: supporting and retaining families, diligent recruitment, working with diverse populations, proactive family finding and facilitating interjurisdictional placements. To access the website, go to: http://1.usa.gov/oCcO23. To read the Adoption Institute's new report on finding families for older youth in foster care, "Never Too Old," go to: http://bit.ly/qWKRxw.

U.S. CHILDREN'S BUREAU REPORTS NEW GRANT INFORMATION, PUBLICATIONS
The Children's Bureau Express reports that new policy announcements, grant information and recently released publications have been added to the Bureau's website. Among the new offerings is a 2011 Training & Technical Assistance Directory, with descriptions of all 31 T&TA Network members. To read about and access the new information, go to: http://1.usa.gov/pK9zUz.

TELECONFERENCE AVAILABLE ON GUARDIANSHIP ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections posted its August 2011 teleconference, "Fostering Connections: Guardianship Assistance Program." It contains information on Title IV-E and IV-B provisions as a result of Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act amendments, as well as promising state practices. To access the site, go to: http://bit.ly/nIB55l.

 

From Our Partners

CURRENT AQ ISSUE: COURTS LISTEN TO MENTAL HEALTH EXPERTS, NOT PARENTS
The current Adoption Quarterly (Volume 14, Issue 2) includes a qualitative study of the roles of experts and parents in shaping court decisions to terminate parental rights in 231 child welfare cases in Israel, "Voices in the Adjudication of Compulsory Adoption in Israel: The Hegemonic Voice of the Professional Expert and the Unheard Voice of the Biological Parents," by Vered Ben-David. In Israel and other countries, there is considerable latitude for judicial determination of whether parents are unable to parent and their children are freed for adoption. In 92% of the examined cases, compulsory adoption (or termination of parental rights, freeing the child for adoption) was the ruling. In 90%, the voice given the most consideration in court decisions was that of the mental health expert representing the state, most often psychologists (70%), followed by social workers (52%), psychiatrists (31%) and other professionals (28%). Judicial references to parents' testimony (mentioned in 65% of cases) indicated that it was minimized and given little weight in the decision. For an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/qYzJMR.

ALP OFFERS TWO WEBINARS: ON MALNUTRITION AND CHALLENGING BEHAVIOR
Adoption Learning Partners is hosting a new, free webinar for professionals, "Internationally Adopted Children: Nutritional Status, Effects and Intervention." Offered by the Joint Council on International Children's Services, Spoon Foundation and ALP, the webinar will discuss research on how malnutrition may affect neurodevelopment in internationally adopted children; it will be held Tuesday, Oct. 18, at noon Central Time. To register, go to: http://bit.ly/nAo4Bj. A second webinar, for adoptive families, will feature Dr. Gregory Keck. "Is It An Adoption Thing? Expert advice on child development and adoption" will focus on common challenging behaviors adopted children may exhibit at each developmental stage, offer real life examples and suggestions for handling these behaviors, and examine effective and ineffective parenting tools; it will be held Wednesday, Nov. 2, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Q&A will run from 8:00 to 8:30 p.m. All times are Central. To register, go to: http://bit.ly/oFHCGy.

 

Institute Update

YOU'RE INVITED: OCT. 13 CELEBRATING ... OUR FAMILIES, OUR CHILDREN IN L.A.
Act now to support our annual West Coast benefit, "Celebrating ... Our Families, Our Children"! The October 13 event will honor HBO Entertainment President Sue Naegle and her husband, writer-comedian Dana Gould, who are parents to three adopted daughters. They are ardent Institute champions, having hosted two of our L.A. benefits, among other support. We will also be shining a spotlight on Kinship Center, a California nonprofit agency that creates and supports permanent families for children through adoption, relative caregiving or other guardianship – and puts into practice the high ethical standards and best practices that the Institute advocates. For more information and to view the invitation, please visit our website, www.adoptioninstitute.org/old. To purchase sponsorships or tickets, contact Harvin Rogas at 310-559-9334 or [email protected]. If you cannot join us, you can still participate by bidding on one-of-a-kind items at our online auction from Oct. 6 – 27. To get in on the action, go to: http://bit.ly/oIXOVt.

ADOPTION INSTITUTE IN THE MEDIA: POLICIES, POSSIBILITES AND PLACEMENTS
A commentary by Executive Director Adam Pertman – entitled "With So Many Kids Who Need Families, Why Are We Rejecting Parents?" – appeared in the Huffington Post on Sept. 15. In it, Pertman questions why some states make it difficult for lesbians and gay men to adopt even as so many children linger in foster care. To read the commentary, go to: http://huff.to/p5Jjjn. To read it on his blog, go to: www.adampertman.com.

"Mothering in the Middle," a blog for new mid-life mothers, on Sept. 16 posted an excerpt from Pertman's new book, Adoption Nation, entitled "Don't Whisper, Don't Lie – It's Not a Secret Anymore." In it, Pertman describes how, "after decades of incremental improvements and tinkering at the margins, adoption is reshaping itself to the core." To read the excerpt, go to: http://bit.ly/nzFgxv.

WomensRadio interviewed Pertman for a segment entitled, "The Adoption Revolution." Discussed are his book, Adoption Nation, and the transformation of adoption practices, policies and beliefs. The interview is scheduled to run from Sept. 27 through Oct. 4. To listen to the interview, go to: http://bit.ly/per0Oy.

EVENT SEEKS TO REACH OUT TO FAMILIES FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH OF COLOR
The Adoption Institute and the RFK Children's Action Corps' Bright Futures Adoption Center are planning an event – in collaboration with the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families – to educate families of color about adopting from the state foster care system. The outreach event is based on the Adoption Institute's recent report, "Never Too Old." It will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 8 from 7-9 p.m. at the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, 650 Dudley Street in Boston. To learn more, write to [email protected]. More web-based information will soon be available. To read the Institute's report, go to: http://bit.ly/qWKRxw.

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

  • October 5 – Pertman is the featured speaker at "Adoption and the Jewish Community: A Conversation about Family, Identity, Diversity and Change" at Temple Reyim in Newton, MA. For more information and to register, go to: http://bit.ly/pPiUSa.
  • October 6 – Pertman discusses the "Changing Face of Adoption" at a program hosted by RESOLVE of New England. It will be held from 7:00 – 9:00pm at Children's Hospital, 9 Hope Avenue in Waltham, MA. For more information and to register, go to: http://bit.ly/p7JuqX.
  • October 15– Pertman is the keynote speaker at a symposium co-hosted by ParentsPlace and Jewish Family and Children's Services in Northern California. The event will be held at TLC Child and Family Services in Sebastopol, CA. For more information, go to: http://bit.ly/qQiaRG.
  • October 17– Pertman will offer a presentation, answer questions and lead a discussion in San Francisco on adoption, diversity and inclusion in the changing American family. The event will take place at the San Francisco Day School, located at 350 Masonic Avenue. For more information, go to: http://bit.ly/q7meSv.

DOUBLE YOUR DONATION IF YOUR COMPANY HAS A MATCHING PROGRAM
The contribution you make to the Adoption Institute can have double the impact! As part of their corporate social responsibility efforts, many companies sponsor matching gift programs. The matches are usually dollar-for-dollar, but some firms do even more. When you make a donation to the Institute, please check with your HR department to see if your company matches employee gifts. (Most companies will match gifts made during the calendar year, so inquire whether they will match any past 2011 gifts.) This year, we have received such support from leading corporations including Goldman Sachs, Microsoft and Pfizer. The Institute's Development Department staff will be happy to help you with any paperwork. Please contact Bill Boltz at [email protected] if you have any questions.

 

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.

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