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1. Law, Policy & Practice
- Sweeping Report on LGBT Families Cites Inequalities, Calls for Reforms
- Capitol Hill Summit Focuses on Permanency for Black Children in Care
- India to Resume Acceptance of New Adoption Applications at Year-End
- Virginia Draws Comments on Proposed Changes to DSS Regulations

2. Research
- Major Adoption Institute Study Recommends Best-Practice Standards
- Evaluation of Wendy's Wonderful Kids Reports Superior Outcomes
- Survey: Workers More Positive than Foster Parents on Open Adoption
- Research: Social Skills of Chinese Adoptees Equal or Exceed Peers'
- Swedish Research Shows Value of Adoption over Long-Term Foster Care
- Focus Groups Report Support is Needed of Adoptive Parents' Marriages

3. News
- BBC Reports Church in Spain Engaged in Decades of Baby Trafficking
- OK Considering Whether to Introduce Birth Certificate Access Bill

4. Resources
- New and Updated Resources Include Broad Range of Adoption Topics
- Program Cites Open Adoption Alternative to Involuntary Termination

5. From Our Partners
- Adoption Today: New Issue Marks Adoption Month, Includes Institute
- AQ: Study Links Culture, Communication to Positive Adoptive Identity
- CWLA: Conference in February Seeks to 'Make Children a Priority'
- ALP: New Webinar on Behavior, Course on Caring for Children's Hair

6. Institute Update
- Partnership with Adoption Today Magazine Expands Opportunities
- New Institute Program Offers CEU's for Mental Health Professionals
- A Great Success in L.A.: 'Celebrating ... Our Families, Our Children'
- Your Year-End Donation to the Adoption Institute is Vital to Our Work
- In the Media: Research and Reports, Evolution and Revolution
- Upcoming Staff Appearances

 

Law, Policy & Practice

SWEEPING REPORT ON LGBT FAMILIES CITES INEQUALITIES, CALLS FOR REFORMS
A comprehensive new report, entitled "All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families," was released at a Washington, DC, event on Oct. 25 co-hosted by the Center for American Progress, the Movement Advancement Project and the Family Equality Council. The report provides a detailed examination of the state of families headed by lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender parents in the United States and urges passage of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, among other recommendations. It is endorsed by several national child welfare organizations, including the Adoption Institute, the National Association of Social Workers and the Child Welfare League of America. To read the report, go to: http://bit.ly/tv9ims. To read the Adoption Institute's new study on the subject, "Expanding Resources for Children III," go to: http://bit.ly/tsVKxd.

CAPITOL HILL SUMMIT FOCUSES ON PERMANENCY FOR BLACK CHILDREN IN CARE
Reps. Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Karen Bass (D-CA) on Oct. 11 hosted "Child Welfare Summit: Increasing Permanency for African American Children Involved with the Child Welfare System" on Capitol Hill. Among its goals were "to recognize successful efforts at increasing permanency and to promote discussion among key stakeholders within the African American community, child welfare system, and federal government to strengthen existing and establish new partnerships to address racial disproportionality and disparities." Speakers included Institute Board Members Ruth G. McRoy (also an Institute Senior Fellow) and Oronde A. Miller. To read the Black Administrators in Child Welfare's Reducing Disparities: 10 Racial Equity Strategy Areas for Improving Outcomes for African American Children in Child Welfare, go to: http://bit.ly/rJWYlf. To read the Adoption Institute's report on the subject, "Finding Families for African American Children," go to: http://bit.ly/uZ0uj4.

INDIA TO RESUME ACCEPTANCE OF NEW ADOPTION APPLICATIONS AT YEAR-END
An Oct. 5 State Department Notice, "Update on CARA's Temporary Suspension of Acceptance of New Dossiers" reports that India's Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) will not accept new adoption applications until December 31, 2011, as it is first processing ones that were pending before new guidelines were released. CARA also stressed that all dossiers must be forwarded to it under the new guidelines. To read the State Department Notice, go to: http://1.usa.gov/synNvt.

VIRGINIA DRAWS COMMENTS ON PROPOSED CHANGES TO DSS REGULATIONS
Virginia is considering amending its standards for licensed private child-placing agencies. Among other possible changes, the proposed state Department of Social Services (DSS) regulation would align home approvals and monitoring responsibilities of private agencies with public ones and provide greater protection for children in care. The Adoption Institute, among others, submitted comments in favor of the proposal to expand the pool of adults qualified to adopt children from state care. To learn more, go to: http://bit.ly/rNkeS0; to read the Institute's comments, go to: http://bit.ly/teUGJS

 

Research

MAJOR ADOPTION INSTITUTE STUDY RECOMMENDS BEST-PRACTICE STANDARDS
The Adoption Institute on Oct. 20 released a comprehensive new report, "Expanding Resources for Children III: Research-Based Best Practices in Adoption by Gays and Lesbians." This publication represents the culmination of a four-year-long research project; it includes a survey and other components that provide important new information about and insights into the perceptions, experiences and needs of non-heterosexual adoptive parents. Despite laws in some states that impede the practice, a growing number of lesbians and gay men are adopting children in the United States – at least half of them providing families for boys and girls from foster care and 60% adopting transracially. To read the study, go to: http://bit.ly/uWHMyF.

EVALUATION OF WENDY'S WONDERFUL KIDS REPORTS SUPERIOR OUTCOMES
On Oct. 26, the Dave Thomas Foundation released the 5-year evaluation of its Wendy's Wonderful Kids Program (WWK), which is the first evaluation of child-focused recruitment with an experimental design. The evaluation, conducted by Child Trends, compared outcomes for those served through WWK to those receiving "usual services." The impact of the WWK program was found to be greatest for older children – at age 8, the likelihood of adoption was 1.5 greater with the WWK model, but if referred at age 15, it was three times greater. The WWK model employs a dedicated recruiter who establishes relationships with the children, performs a diligent search for potential adoptive families with aggressive follow-up, and networks with significant others in the child's life to attain permanency. To read a summary or the full report, go to: http://bit.ly/ujmAUY. To read the Adoption Institute's report on adopting youth from foster care, "Never Too Old," go to: http://bit.ly/qWKRxw.

SURVEY: WORKERS MORE POSITIVE THAN FOSTER PARENTS ON OPEN ADOPTION
A survey assessing experiences, training and attitudes related to adopted children having contact with birth relatives found that, overall, the attitudes of child welfare caseworkers were slightly favorable while foster parents' were moderately negative. "Open Adoptions in Child Welfare: Social Worker and Foster/Adoptive Parent Attitudes," by Scott Ryan, Gardenia Harris, Donna Brown, Doris Houston, Susan Smith and Jeanne Howard, is in the current issue of the Journal of Public Child Welfare (Volume 5, Issue 4). (Ryan is a Senior Fellow of the Adoption Institute; Smith and Howard are staff members). On a 7-point scale, with low scores representing very positive attitudes toward openness, the overall mean for workers was 3.2 and for foster parents was 4.5. Factors that were associated with a more positive attitude were having a graduate degree, being African American, and receiving training recommending that openness be considered in some cases or assessed in every case. To access an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/vCJN1p.

RESEARCH: SOCIAL SKILLS OF CHINESE ADOPTEES EQUAL OR EXCEED PEERS'
"Social Skills of Adopted Chinese Girls at Home and in School: Parent and Teacher Ratings", by Tony Tan and Linda Camras, assessed the social skills of 869 girls adopted from China and found that they scored at or above U.S. norms on all skill ratings. Those in elementary and secondary school also scored significantly higher on academic competence, and experiencing pre-adoption adversity predicted lower social skills ratings. This study is in the October issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 33, Issue 10). The authors concluded that the significant differences were primarily due to fewer Chinese girls falling in the below-average category. They theorized that when compared with adoptees from some other countries, these girls experienced fewer prenatal risk factors and had easier temperaments. For an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/uBkAV0.

SWEDISH RESEARCH SHOWS VALUE OF ADOPTION OVER LONG-TERM FOSTER CARE
A Swedish study compared young adults from three groups: 899 who had been adopted from foster care, 3,062 who grew up in foster care (all adopted and foster youth had entered care before age 7), and over 900,000 from the general population. After controlling for a number of factors, those growing up in care were considerably weaker than adoptees on all outcomes (school performance, cognitive competence, educational achievement and self-support capability), and both groups fell below outcomes in the general population. "Cognitive, Educational and Self-Support Outcomes of Long-Term Foster Care Versus Adoption: A Swedish National Cohort Study," by Bo Vinnerljung and Anders Hjern, is in the October issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 33, Issue 10). Outcomes were reported separately by gender, and examples of the range of outcomes include (for girls): college degree at age 26 (FC=13%; Adoptees=30.5%; Population=44.3%); received welfare by age 25 (FC=25.5%; Adoptees=10.2%; Population=6.4%). For an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/rtKEb6.

FOCUS GROUPS REPORT SUPPORT IS NEEDED OF ADOPTIVE PARENTS' MARRIAGES
A qualitative study of 22 child welfare adoptive spouses in four focus groups underscores the importance of support of the marital relationship for families adopting from foster care, including in pre-adoption preparation, support groups and post-placement services. "What Couples Who Adopt Children from Child Welfare Want Professionals to Know about Supporting their Marriages," by John Mooradian, Robert Hock, Rosemary Jackson and Tina Timm, is in the current issue of Families in Society (Volume 92, Issue 4). Participants reported that the adoption process focused totally on the children and not at all on the marriage relationship, and they stressed the need for contact with other adoptive couples either through mentoring relationships or support groups. For an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/sVE7gL. To read the Adoption Institute's report on the need for post-adoption services, "Keeping the Promise," go to: http://bit.ly/eMHxzT.


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

News

BBC REPORTS CHURCH IN SPAIN ENGAGED IN DECADES OF BABY TRAFFICKING
An Oct. 16 UK Daily Mail article, "300,000 babies stolen from their parents – and sold for adoption: Haunting BBC documentary exposes 50-year scandal of baby trafficking by the Catholic Church in Spain," by Polly Dunbar, reports that as many as 15% of adoptions in Spain from 1960 to 1989 involved child trafficking. According to the BBC investigation, birthmothers, many of them single, were told their babies had died and "a secret network of doctors, nurses, priests and nuns" sold the newborns to, in many cases, unknowing adoptive parents. Birth families are demanding a government investigation; hospitals, not the government, regulated adoption before 1987. To read the story, go to: http://bit.ly/t3TnQF.

OK CONSIDERING WHETHER TO INTRODUCE BIRTH CERTIFICATE ACCESS BILL
According to "Oklahoma legislative panel urged to unseal adult adoptees' birth certificates," in News OK's Oct. 12 edition, the state is reviewing whether to introduce legislation to allow adopted adults access to their original birth certificates and birth parents' medical records. Michael McNutt reports that before 1939 "all adoptions were open in Oklahoma" and records were sealed then "to protect adoptive families." A 1997 law set up a confidential intermediary system. To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/tO2hWY.

 

Resources

NEW AND UPDATED RESOURCES INCLUDE BROAD RANGE OF ADOPTION TOPICS
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Child Welfare Information Gateway recently published several new or updated resources on adoption. One new resource, "Open Adoption: Could Open Adoption Be the Best Choice for You and Your Baby?" is written for expectant parents; another, "Supporting Brain Development in Traumatized Children and Youth," targets professionals and families to help children who have experienced trauma. Updated resources include "State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad," describing the requirements and restrictions in federal and state statutes; and "Postadoption Contact Agreements between Birth and Adoptive Families," listing state statutes relating to such agreements. To read the new resources, go to: http://1.usa.gov/rY1LRw; to read the updated resources, go to: http://1.usa.gov/unXWpw.

PROGRAM CITES OPEN ADOPTION ALTERNATIVE TO INVOLUNTARY TERMINATION
The Open Adoption and Family Services agency in Oregon offers a website on their collaborative program with the state's child welfare system. The program offers an alternative open adoption track for mothers of infants under 1.5 years of age who are at risk of having their parental rights terminated involuntarily. The website includes the state's policy memorandum, videos and other materials. To visit the site, go to: http://bit.ly/s6HL31.

 

From Our Partners

ADOPTION TODAY: NEW ISSUE MARKS ADOPTION MONTH, INCLUDES INSTITUTE
Adoption Today – the Adoption Institute's newest partner – is commemorating National Adoption Month by dedicating its entire November issue to celebrating adoption, with stories including "Ways to Promote Adoption Awareness" and "Orphan Sunday." The issue also features a column by Institute Executive Director Adam Pertman (on a page that will feature the Adoption Institute and its work each month), as well as an exclusive interview with the State Department's Susan Jacobs, who provides an update on international adoptions from several countries. A portion of each new subscription to the magazine will be donated to the Adoption Institute; to subscribe, go to: http://bit.ly/v5DKsd. Adoption Today is also marking National Adoption Month with a promotion through its Facebook page at: http://on.fb.me/vjNFLz

AQ: STUDY LINKS CULTURE, COMMUNICATION TO POSITIVE ADOPTIVE IDENTITY
A Canadian study of 80 teens adopted from Romania found that familiarity with their native culture, as well as communicative openness in talking about adoption by the adoptees and their parents, were associated with more positive adoptive identities. "Communicative Openness in Adoption, Knowledge of Culture of Origin, and Adoption Identity in Adolescents Adopted from Romania," by Lucy Le Mare and Karyn Audet, is in the current issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 14, Issue 3). None of the teens reported being completely comfortable talking about adoption, with 73% saying they were somewhat comfortable and 27% saying they were not at all comfortable. They reported greater comfort in talking about Romania and their birthparents, and about three-quarters rated their adoptive parents as completely comfortable in talking about adoption. To access an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/uqGv4g.

CWLA: CONFERENCE IN FEBRUARY SEEKS TO 'MAKE CHILDREN A PRIORITY'
The Child Welfare League of America is championing bold investments that encourage and sustain innovative approaches and multi-system collaborations needed to improve our nation's economic capacity to support our vulnerable children – from cradle to career. As an integral part of this initiative, CWLA is "leading change" – and the charge is to make children a national priority. To learn more about CWLA, its programs or its conference, go to: www.CWLA.org.

ALP: NEW WEBINAR ON BEHAVIOR, COURSE ON CARING FOR CHILDREN'S HAIR
Please join Adoption Learning Partners at 7 p.m. (Central) this Wednesday, Nov. 2, for our latest webinar: "Is It an Adoption Thing?" Dr. Gregory Keck, the acclaimed attachment specialist and author, will provide expert advice on challenging behaviors adopted children may exhibit; offer real-life examples and suggestions for handling these behaviors; and examine effective (and ineffective) parenting tools. For more information or to register, go to: http://bit.ly/vy2itd. Meanwhile, ALP in November will release its newest course, Caring for Your African American Child's Hair: Learning Techniques, Understanding Differences, Building Confidence. Experts will help parents understand the impact of hair care on self-esteem and cultural identity; learn basic techniques; and recognize the myths versus the realities relating to the issue. For a free mini-webinar introduction to the course, go to: http://bit.ly/uTN40Q.

 

Institute Update

PARTNERSHIP WITH ADOPTION TODAY MAGAZINE EXPANDS OPPORTUNITIES
The Adoption Institute is proud to announce its latest partnership, with Adoption Today magazine, beginning in November 2011. Through this new relationship, the Institute will gain an effective new means of disseminating our work, while readers of this highly respected, informative publication will get even more current, important content. As part of our partnership, the publisher of Adoption Today (and its sibling magazine, Fostering Families Today) has generously offered to donate $2 of every new subscription to support the Institute's work – while the Institute will provide material for every issue based on our research and advocacy initiatives. We are grateful for and excited by this new opportunity. To learn more about Adoption Today or to subscribe, go to: www.adoptinfo.net.

NEW INSTITUTE PROGRAM OFFERS CEU'S FOR MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
The Adoption Institute is putting research into practice by offering two continuing education courses for social workers and other mental health professionals, in conjunction with our partner on the project, the Illinois State University School of Social Work. The two courses, Adoption & Birthparents and Adopted Persons & Adoptive Parents, provide up to 7.5 hours of continuing education. The courses are composed of recorded conference sessions and speakers' materials from the Adoption Ethics & Accountability Conference and provided on DVDs. For cost and information, visit http://bit.ly/vPlLjK.

A GREAT SUCCESS IN L.A.: 'CELEBRATING ... OUR FAMILIES, OUR CHILDREN'
Friends of the Adoption Institute in Southern California came together on Oct. 13 to learn more about our work, have fun, and honor a couple who have been long-time supporters, HBO Entertainment President Sue Naegle and comedian-writer Dana Gould. Our award to these adoptive parents was presented by another Institute friend and previous honoree, CAA agent Peter Levine. We also gave our first Spotlight award to the Kinship Center for its decades of exemplary practices; it was accepted by Kinship's Executive Director, Carol Biddle. The Institute would like to thank everyone whose hard work made the evening such a great success, in particular our Honorary Chairs: Casey Bloys and Alonzo Wickers, Peter Levine and Eric Mathre, Michael Lombardo and Sony Ward, Amy Pascal and Bernie Weinraub, and Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks. We are also very grateful for the tireless efforts of our Co-Chairs: Sandy McManus, Reese Relfe and Anne Youngblood, who brought the Institute's work to a far wider Golden State audience than ever before. Please keep an eye on our award-winning website, www.adoptioninstitute.org/old, for photos of the event.

YOUR YEAR-END DONATION TO THE ADOPTION INSTITUTE IS VITAL TO OUR WORK
It's that time of year again. Time to begin planning-and making!-those tax deductible gifts to your favorite charities. And since you are reading this newsletter, we know you will agree the Adoption Institute is one cause that is truly worthy of your support. As 2011 comes to an end, we hope you will make a donation to support our unique, high-impact programs and projects. We know that the past few years have been tough economically for most. But even in these difficult times, it is important that you, who care about adoption ethics and understand the importance of evidence-based initiatives, give what you can to enable our work. To contribute, please go to http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/old/about/support.php, call Bill Boltz at 212-925-4089, or simply mail a check to Bill's attention at: The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, 120 E. 38th Street, New York, NY 10016.

IN THE MEDIA: RESEARCH AND REPORTS, EVOLUTION AND REVOLUTION
The release of our report "Expanding Resources for Children III: Research-Based Best Practices in Adoption by Gays and Lesbians" received considerable attention in the press. ABC News, the Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times all ran stories about this important publication. Their primary source was an Oct. 20 Associated Press report by Kelli Kennedy entitled "Adoptions Spiked among Gay Couples in Past Decade." In it, the Institute's work is referenced in detail, and Executive Director Adam Pertman is quoted as saying. "The bottom line is, if you're a qualified gay or lesbian in America and you want to adopt, you can. ... You don't need 100 percent agency participation." To read the article in its entirety, go to: http://apne.ws/rZhHQm.

On October 28, the Huffington Post published a commentary from Executive Director Pertman entitled, "From Steve Jobs to Kids in Foster Care: Lessons during National Adoption Month." In it, Pertman discusses the conflicting messages that circulate regarding adoption. "Even as we make progress, however, the still-widespread lack of knowledge has tangible, negative consequences that play out in the attitudes all these people encounter and the policies that impact their lives," he writes. You can read the commentary at http://huff.to/v7WTPfv, on Adam's blog, www.adampertman.com or in Adoption Today at http://www.adoptinfo.net/

On Oct. 6, Executive Director Pertman was featured on an ABC Nightline segment that focused on the life of Steve Jobs and addressed the question of nature vs. nurture; that is, did the fact that Jobs was adopted affect his success? Pertman said that Jobs "clearly was out to achieve," probably as a consequence of both his biology and his upbringing. To view the segment, go to: http://abcn.ws/rXCDlg.

Pertman is quoted in a USA Today article dated October 30 that discusses a current storyline on the hit show Glee and questions whether it accurately depicts the realities of adoption. "The problem with story lines like this is they're not grounded in reality," he says. "They skew people's idea of adoption." To read the article, go to: http://usat.ly/sEvDTE.

An Oct. 25 Denver Post article by Colleen O'Connor, "More and more, adoptions being made out of foster care," about the increase in adoptions from foster care and the need for post-adoption support services, quotes Pertman as saying, "The nature of adoption is changing pretty radically." To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/tt35C2.

WomensRadio interviewed Pertman for a segment entitled "The Adoption Revolution," in which he discussed his book, Adoption Nation, and the transformation of adoption practices, policies and beliefs. To listen to the interview, go to: http://bit.ly/per0Oy.

Caryn Sullivan refers to Pertman and Adoption Nation in a commentary entitled "Adoption: Change is afoot" that appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Oct. 14. To read the commentary, go to: http://bit.ly/rsmZII.

On Oct. 10, Pertman was interviewed on America's Radio News Network; he discussed how millions of people are touched by adoption and how it is transforming our country. To hear the interview, go to: http://bit.ly/w2msWw.

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 info@adoptioninstitute.org.

  • November 9 – Executive Director Pertman and Dr. Ruth McRoy, Board Member and Senior Research Fellow, will present a workshop entitled "Re-Thinking Adoption in the 21st Century: The Latest Research and Trends that Inform Our Practice." Lutheran Social Services of New England is sponsoring the event in Cromwell, CT. For more information and to register, go to: http://bit.ly/t20xkT.
  • November 14 – In recognition of National Adoption Month, Pertman is the keynote speaker at a dinner in Hartford, CT, that is being hosted by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families. To learn more about DCF, go to: http://1.usa.gov/trP5Lk.
  • November 15– Pertman will conduct a workshop for the National Association of Social Workers, Connecticut Chapter's 8th Fall Specialty Conference. His presentation is entitled "Adoption IS a Diversity and Social Justice Issue." To learn more and to register, go to: www.naswct.org.
  • November 16– The Village Community School in New York will host an event for members of the school community at which Pertman will lead a presentation entitled "A Revolution in the Family: Understanding and Embracing Diversity." To learn more about the school, go to: www.vcsnyc.org.

 

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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