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1. Law, Policy & Practice
- VA Passes Bill Permitting Exclusion of Gay/Lesbian Prospective Parents
- U.S.: Adoptions from Russia to Take Longer, from Vietnam Won’t Resume
- High Court Considers Case that Puts Some Child Welfare Funding at Risk
- President’s New Budget Proposes Making Adoption Tax Credit Permanent
- Five States Considering Bills on Access to Original Birth Certificates

2. Research
- Scholars Explore Considerations of Intercountry Adoption as “Rescue”
- Adopted Children, in Interviews, Say They’re Fully Part of their Families
- Study Explores Dynamics of Co-Parenting Quality in Adoptive Families

3. News
- Boy Adopted over Objections of Detained Immigrant Mother
- UNICEF Reportedly Finds Mixed Record on Improving Russia’s Orphan Care
- Australia Asked to Apologize to Unwed Mothers for Forced Adoptions
- International Adoptions into Canada Growing Slower, More Expensive

4. Resources
- Report Indicates Adoptions by Gays/Lesbians Almost Double in a Decade
- Analysis: More Children Adopted Internationally into Europe than U.S.
- Report Shows 86% of Children Exited Care to Permanency from 2006-2009
- NACAC Website Updates Fact Sheets on Adoption Tax Credits, 2011-2013
- Adoptive Families Offers Advice for Parents Adopting a Child over 2

5. From Our Partners
- Current AQ Issue: Racial Socialization Low in Transracial Adoption
- Adoption Today March Issue Focuses on Children’s Culture, Heritage
- New Adoption Learning Partners Webinar Focuses on Food and Behavior

6. Institute Update
- In the Media: Fox News, Trends, Ethics, the Internet ... and More
- Taste of Spring on May 10: A Fun Evening to Support Critical Work
- Upcoming Staff Appearances

 

Law, Policy & Practice

VA PASSES BILL PERMITTING EXCLUSION OF GAY/LESBIAN PROSPECTIVE PARENTS
The Virginia legislature this month passed SB349 and sent it to the governor, who is expected to sign it into law. The bill allows private child-placing agencies to exclude prospective foster or adoptive parents (in this context, if they are gay or lesbian) if the placements “would violate the agency's written religious or moral convictions or policies." A bill sponsored by Sen. Ebbin (D), SB569, would prevent the state Department of Social Services from contracting with agencies that "discriminate in providing placement services to children or prospective parents," but it has not yet been considered by the full Senate. The Adoption Institute submitted comments in opposition to SB349. To read SB349 and learn its history, go to: http://bit.ly/wkuRYI; to read SB569 and learn its status, go to: http://bit.ly/yrio3v. To read the Adoption Institute's latest report relating to adoption by gays and lesbians, "Expanding Resources for Children III," go to: http://bit.ly/uWHMyF.

U.S.: ADOPTIONS FROM RUSSIA TO TAKE LONGER, FROM VIETNAM WON’T RESUME
A Feb. 21 State Department Notice, “Processing Time for Adoptions Increased,” reports that changes to the Russian Family Code “will increase the amount of time and, possibly, travel required to complete an adoption.” According to a Feb. 11 VOA News article, “Russia Calls for Suspension of Adoptions to US Parents,” Russia's Foreign Ministry is proposing to suspend U.S. adoptions pending changes to its 2011 agreement with the U.S. in response to “crimes committed against adoptive children from Russia.” A separate Feb. 1 State Department Adoption Notice reports that the U.S. will not resume adoptions from Vietnam, even though the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption entered into force there on Feb. 1, because that country “does not yet have a fully Hague compliant process in place.” To read the Notices, go to: http://1.usa.gov/wgOfei; http://1.usa.gov/xrXJAl. To read the VOA News article, go to: http://bit.ly/A1MQvw.

HIGH COURT CONSIDERS CASE THAT PUTS SOME CHILD WELFARE FUNDING AT RISK
A coalition of nonprofit organizations on Feb. 17 filed an amicus brief in support of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid eligibility expansion, part of the constitutional challenge many states are pursuing in Florida v. the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The case puts at risk other federal statutes that attach conditions to funding offered to states, like child welfare’s Title IV-E. The amicus brief coalition includes the Adoption Institute, CWLA, NACAC and Voice for Adoption, among dozens of others. Oral argument on Medicaid expansion is scheduled for March. 28. To read the brief, go to: http://bit.ly/wwqcuP; to read the press release, go to: http://bit.ly/zQkAwE.

PRESIDENT’S NEW BUDGET PROPOSES MAKING ADOPTION TAX CREDIT PERMANENT
On Feb. 13, President Obama sent Congress his budget for Fiscal 2013, which begins Oct. 1, 2012. The budget includes a proposal to make the adoption tax credit permanent and maintain the Affordable Care Act’s credit increase and refundability for 2012 and 2013. It also includes the following funding requests for adoption programs: Title IV-E Adoption Assistance Program, $2.537 billion (funded at $2.495 billion in FY12), Adoption Opportunities Program, $39 million (same as FY12) and Adoption Incentive Payments, $39 million (also the same). The next step in the budget process is for Congress to consider a budget resolution, which sets the parameters for its appropriation bills. To read CWLA’s Funding for Selected Children's Programs Chart, go to: http://bit.ly/Ajbubo; to read additional White House budget documents, go to: http://1.usa.gov/zHK2zX. For information on the federal budget process, go to: http://1.usa.gov/wbTLal.

FIVE STATES CONSIDERING BILLS ON ACCESS TO ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATES
The Washington House of Representatives on Feb. 11 passed a bill giving adopted adults, age 18 and older, access to their original birth certificates (OBCs) and providing for birth parent nondisclosure, contact preference and medical history forms; the bill is pending in the Senate. The Georgia House Judiciary Committee favorably reported on legislation, HB748, to allow access to OBCs for adopted people age 18 and older. On Feb. 23, the Maryland House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on HB719, which would give all adopted people age 18 and older access to their OBCs and would prospectively remove a disclosure veto that is in current state law, which permits access only to those adopted after 2000 (at age 21). The New York Assembly’s Health Committee reported AB 08910, allowing adopted adults access to their OBCs and providing for birthparent contact preference, to the Codes Committee on Feb. 14. The Oklahoma House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 28 approved HB2634, the Oklahoma Truth in Adoption Act, permitting adopted adults to receive their OBCs and birthparents to file contact preference forms; the legislation also includes medical history forms. The Institute submitted letters and testimony on the legislation in Georgia, Washington and Maryland, and is working on the issue in New York and Oklahoma as well. To read the bills and learn their status, go to: Washington – http://1.usa.gov/yWAkYX; Georgia – http://1.usa.gov/xW4vjQ, Maryland – http://bit.ly/wLOFS4; New York – http://bit.ly/wLOFS4; Oklahoma – http://bit.ly/wSzg6T. To read the Adoption Institute's report, "For the Records II," go to: http://bit.ly/9CICPT.

 

Research

SCHOLARS EXPLORE CONSIDERATIONS OF INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION AS ‘RESCUE’
British scholars explore the politics of rescue in international adoption, particularly in response to natural disasters and poverty, with two articles in the current issue of Adoption & Fostering (Volume 35, Issue 4). Peter Selman’s “Intercountry Adoption after the Haiti Earthquake: Rescue or Robbery?” uses the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to explore how international adoption has been used variably by governments and the public to save children from significant crisis; and, how the affected country’s policies and procedures influence its use as a response to natural disasters. Furthering the discussion, Miranda Davies dissects the concept of “best interest of the child” as an underpinning of intercountry adoption regulation in “International adoption, children’s rights, and the politics of rescue.” She highlights the complex web of interests and relationships when moving children from poverty to opportunities overseas, often defined by wealth and security. Davies raises questions on racial politics, identity and belonging. To read abstracts, go to: http://bit.ly/z3IhwQ.

ADOPTED CHILDREN, IN INTERVIEWS, SAY THEY’RE FULLY PART OF THEIR FAMILIES
A qualitative study based on interviews with 43 adopted children (placed by age 4, primarily from the care system) explored their understandings and feelings about adoption, and found that almost all felt “fully and happily integrated” into their adoptive families. “Making Sense of Adoption: Integration and Differentiation from the Perspective of Adopted Children in Middle Childhood,” by Elsbeth Neil, is in the February issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 34, Issue 2). Neil categorized children’s feelings about adoption into three categories – complicated (51%), unproblematic (26%) and unexplored (23%), finding that for those in the “complicated” group, adoption was stressful. These children were more likely to be older at placement and at the time of the study and had higher levels of understanding of adoption. To read an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/xrlKGp.

STUDY EXPLORES DYNAMICS OF CO-PARENTING QUALITY IN ADOPTIVE FAMILIES
“Co-parenting Quality Among Adoptive Mothers: Contributions of Socioeconomic Status, Child Demands and Adult Relationship Characteristics” – the first study to explore characteristics associated with co-parenting quality among adoptive families – surveyed 94 mothers who had adopted in the past three years (only 21% of children were under 1 at adoption). The article by Robert Hock and John Mooradian in the February issue of Child & Family Social Work (Volume 17, Issue 1) reported: 1) mothers’ employment was associated with lower levels of co-parenting solidarity; 2) as child’s special needs increased, mothers’ perceptions of shared parenting declined; 3) dyadic coping was the strongest predictor of overall co-parenting quality; and 4) the dimension “undermining co-parenting” accounted for considerable variance in co-parenting quality. Those reporting greater ability to resolve conflicts and more positive couple adjustment had lower scores on undermining co-parenting. To read an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/wXeLps.


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

News

BOY ADOPTED OVER OBJECTIONS OF DETAINED IMMIGRANT MOTHER
A Feb.1 ABC News article, “Adoption Battle Over 5-Year-Old Boy Pits Missouri Couple Vs. Illegal Immigrant,” by Lauren Gilger, reports that about a year after a woman was arrested in an immigration raid, her parental rights were terminated because she “willfully abandoned her son and couldn't offer him a future.” Although she couldn’t attend court hearings and provided a statement denying consent to adoption, another couple adopted the child. In 2011, the Missouri Supreme Court reversed the termination of parental rights and ordered a retrial. According to the article, there are no “policies in place to regulate the care of U.S. citizen children while their parents are detained.” To read the article, go to: http://abcn.ws/zq2LKL. To read a related commentary by the Adoption Institute’s Executive Director, go to: http://bit.ly/zwR1H1.

UNICEF REPORTEDLY FINDS MIXED RECORD ON IMPROVING RUSSIA’S ORPHAN CARE
A Feb. 20 Moscow Times, article, “Orphans’ Difficulties Stubbornly Unrelenting,” by Jonathan Earl describes a recent UNICEF report that “highlight[s] the government's mixed record on improving living conditions for the nation's more than 700,000 orphans since reforms designed to move children out of state care were announced in 2006.” While 140,000 children still live in orphanages, the percentage reportedly dropped from 23% in 2006 to 16.5% in 2009. Boris Altshuler, executive director of The Right of the Child, is quoted as saying that he agrees with the state’s plan to abolish orphanages over time, but adds that corrupt officials’ lobbyists have prevented progress. To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/xF2BdF.

AUSTRALIA ASKED TO APOLOGIZE TO UNWED MOTHERS FOR FORCED ADOPTIONS
An Associated Press report in The Washington Post on Feb. 29, "Australian inquiry calls for apology for unwed mothers forced to give up babies for adoption," examined a practice that took place in Australia into the late 20th Century. The article reported that a Senate committee had determined that unwed mothers were “pressured, deceived and threatened” into giving up their babies for adoption by married couples. The Senate asked the Australian government to apologize and provide compensation to the mothers involved. “If it wasn’t illegal, it was unethical,” committee chairwoman Sen. Rachel Siewert was quoted as saying. To read the entire article, go to: http://wapo.st/zw49xF.

INTERNATIONAL ADOPTIONS INTO CANADA GROWING SLOWER, MORE EXPENSIVE
According to a Feb. 17 Globe and Mail article, Canadian families seeking to adopt internationally are experiencing “higher fees, fewer adoptions, longer waiting times, older kids,” due to overburdened agencies, compliance with regulations and restrictions in other countries. “The painful new realities of international adoption,” by Tralee Pearce, reports that “as international adoption gets tougher, domestic public adoptions are poised to gain traction – especially of older children in foster care, who were once overlooked for the promise of a foreign baby.” In 2010, there were 1,968 international adoptions into Canada, a decrease from a high of 2,180 in 2003. To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/z8ARs5.

 

Resources

REPORT INDICATES ADOPTIONS BY GAYS/LESBIANS ALMOST DOUBLE IN A DECADE
The National Council on Family Relations’ NCFR Report, brief, Family Focus (Winter, 2011) highlights families led by lesbians, gays and bisexuals, and included an article entitled “Family Formation and Raising Children among Same-Sex Couples,” by Gary Gates. It reports a substantial rise in adoptions by such parents, up from 10% in the 2000 census to 19% in the 2009 American Community Survey. For information on accessing this brief, go to: http://bit.ly/yTTMwq.

ANALYSIS: MORE CHILDREN ADOPTED INTERNATIONALLY INTO EUROPE THAN U.S.
The February issue of the National Council for Adoption’s Adoption Advocate contains “Global Trends in Intercountry Adoption: 2001-2010,” by Dr. Peter Selman, which analyzes the downward trend in such adoptions and the reasons for this decline. These adoptions peaked in 2004 but, since then, have fallen to a level lower than 1998 –– with more children going to European countries than to the U.S. at the end of the last decade. Selman attributes the decline primarily to changes related to adoptions from Guatemala to the U.S. and decreases from Russia, Ukraine and Ethiopia. To read the report, go to: http://bit.ly/AznjNT.

REPORT SHOWS 86% OF CHILDREN EXITED CARE TO PERMANENCY FROM 2006-2009
The U.S. Children’s Bureau recently released “Child Welfare Outcomes 2006-2009: Report to Congress,” which analyzes the states’ performance on seven categories of outcomes, including several related to achieving permanency in a timely manner. Overall, 86% of children exited the system to some form of permanency, and 55% of those exiting to adoption were adopted within a year of becoming legally free. In 2009, however, 28,000 youth were “emancipated” (aged out of the system), many of whom had been in care for many years. To read the report, go to: http://1.usa.gov/wBRE84.

NACAC WEBSITE UPDATES FACT SHEETS ON ADOPTION TAX CREDITS, 2011-2013
In January, the North American Council on Adoptable Children updated its adoption tax credit fact sheets with information for those filing for 2011. The organization also provided another fact sheet for those filing for 2012 and 2013. To access the fact sheets, go to: http://bit.ly/fb3crf.

ADOPTIVE FAMILIES OFFERS ADVICE FOR PARENTS ADOPTING A CHILD OVER 2
“Expecting the Unexpected,” by Rebecca Klein, in the current issue of Adoptive Families magazine, discusses common issues for children age 2 or older coming from an institution or other inadequate early care situations. This article contains information and parenting strategies related to building attachment, reparative parenting, eating and sleeping issues and other challenges. To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/yBmoWX.

 

From Our Partners

CURRENT AQ ISSUE: RACIAL SOCIALIZATION LOW IN TRANSRACIAL ADOPTION
“Predictors of White Adoptive Parents’ Cultural and Racial Socialization Behaviors with their Asian Adopted Children,” by Maria Berbery and Karen O’Brien, in the current issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 14, Issue 4), investigated the factors predicting cultural and racial socialization behaviors of 200 White adoptive parents with Asian children. Overall, parents reported strong beliefs in the importance of cultural and racial socialization of their children, and the level of their beliefs was the primary factor determining the frequency of their behaviors. However, they also reported engaging in cultural socialization behaviors only a few times a year and racial socialization behaviors only once or twice a year. To read an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/ysruNy.

ADOPTION TODAY: MARCH ISSUE FOCUSES ON CHILDREN’S CULTURE, HERITAGE
Adoption Today is increasingly reaching out to the adoption community, including with a new presence on Pinterest (http://bit.ly/z8tURv), Twitter (http://bit.ly/w9dubZ) and other social networking sites. The March issue features an adoptive parent’s guide to summer culture camp opportunities, as well as summer heritage tour programs. Evan B. Donaldson Executive Director Adam Pertman also weighs in on the importance of heritage camps and tours, as well as creating quality connections for adopted children to their heritage, birth culture and adoption history. Remember, for every subscription to Adoption Today, a donation will be made to the Adoption Institute. To subscribe ($12 for an annual subscription of 12 issues), go to: www.adoptinfo.net.

NEW ADOPTION LEARNING PARTNERS WEBINAR FOCUSES ON FOOD AND BEHAVIOR
Join Dr. Karyn Purvis as she discusses the most recent research on the impact that nutrition can have on behavior. She will examine the effects that certain foods may have and how small changes in diet can make a big impact on how your child feels and therefore behaves. With her trademark warm, accessible approach, Dr. Purvis assures parents that it is never too late to make a difference and offers suggestions on how to intercede immediately with practical tools for your own family situation. The webinar is Thursday, Mar. 22, 7:00-8:00 PM Central Time, with Q&A from 8:00–8:30 PM. To register, go to: http://bit.ly/xR9lOI.

 

Institute Update

IN THE MEDIA: FOX NEWS, TRENDS, ETHICS, THE INTERNET ... AND MORE
In a Feb. 27 column on The Huffington Post entitled "When Fox News, David Brock, Identity and Adoption Intersect: Where's the Outrage?" Institute Executive Director Adam Pertman criticizes comments made by psychiatrist Keith Ablow on Fox News that denigrated David Brock because he was adopted. “People who don’t know much about adoption, or about the individuals it impacts, should either educate themselves or find something else to talk about,” Pertman wrote, adding that Fox’s decision to air the remarks was “unnerving.” To read this column on The Huffington Post, go to: http://huff.to/xkfrjG. To read the commentary on Adam’s Blog, go to www.adampertman.com.

On Feb. 16, Pertman appeared on Good Morning America to discuss how Facebook is changing the world of adoption. During the interview, Pertman said that the internet can produce mixed results. "If it is part of an informed process, it's a wonderful expediting tool,” he said. “If it is the only tool you have got in your box, then the risks are enormous." To see the interview, go to: http://abcn.ws/xGswOp.

In a Feb. 6 Independent Adoption Center blog post, Pertman was interviewed about trends in adoption and his new book Adoption Nation. Among his comments, Pertman explained that “the adoptions that people historically think of when they think of adoption ... is now the smallest minority.” He also discussed changes in international adoption and many other topics, including search and reunion. To read the post, go to http://bit.ly/zaGP0E.

TASTE OF SPRING ON MAY 10: A FUN EVENING TO SUPPORT CRITICAL WORK
The Adoption Institute’s 9th Annual Taste of Spring benefit returns to the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan on Thursday, May 10, 2012, for another evening of delicious food, fine wine and good friends. Some of the best restaurants and top chefs in New York will offer tasty samples of their culinary creations, including Alison Eighteen, Artisanal Premium Cheese, Kumquat Cupcakery, Landmarc, La Quenelle, Lavo, Perry St by Jean Georges, Sen and Tao. Please join our Honorary Co-Chairs –– Kristin Chenoweth, Deborra-lee Furness and Hugh Jackman, Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann, and Katie Brown and William Corbin –– in supporting this critical part of our fundraising efforts. There is still a small window to join the Benefit Committee and have your name included on the invitation. If you are interested, please contact Development Director William Boltz at (212) 925-4089 or [email protected].

For the first time, supporters will have the chance to offer a public “Thank You” to our honorees, Nicholas Scoppetta and Bank of America. A Tribute Book will serve as both the evening’s program and a nice keepsake; ad space is available in full-, half- and quarter-page sizes. For more information, to become a sponsor or to purchase tickets, please contact William Boltz at [email protected] or (212) 925-4089.

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].

  • March 8 – Pertman will give the opening address, on the subject of adoption on the internet, at the Seventh Annual Wells Conference on Adoption Law at Capital University Law School in Columbus, OH. For more information and to register, go to: http://bit.ly/yKsidI.
  • March 9 – The Institute’s Research & Project Director, Dr. David Brodzinsky, will present “Lifelong Issues in Adoption" at a public seminar for the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Association. To learn more and to register, go to: http://www.stlpi.org/training/lecturesseminars/.
  • March 11– Pertman will discuss "Adoption Through the Generations" in his keynote presentation at the 18th Annual Ametz Adoption and the Family Conference in New York at the Conference Center on 130 E. 59th Street. For more information and to register, go to: http://bit.ly/x1QzCU.
  • March 30– The Institute, in collaboration with The Rudd Adoption Research Program at the University of Massachusetts, will host a conference on the UMass campus entitled "New Worlds of Adoption: Navigating the Teen Years." For more information and to RSVP, go to: http://bit.ly/zvT3eW.

 

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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