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1. Law, Policy & Practice
- Senate Committee Maintains FY13 Adoption Funding at Current Levels
- ACLU Challenges NC Ban on Second-Parent Adoption by Same-Sex Couples

2. Advocacy
- Coalition Works to Make Adoption Tax Credit Permanent, Refundable
- Institute Joins Effort to Halt Deportation of Adoptees Raised in U.S.

3. Research
- Young Adults, in Interviews, Cite Positives of Their Open Adoptions
- Adoptive Parents Use Play and Communication to Promote Bonding
- Study Links Differing Attachment Patterns to Countries of Origin
- Research Points to Greater Resilience in Emancipated Foster Youth

4. News
- Reunion Sought for Children and Parents Separated by Deportation
- India Reportedly Striving to Reduce Time and Process for Adoptions
- Japan Said to be Slowly Moving Policy toward Adoption, Foster
- Quebec Considers Adoptions without Termination of Parental Rights
- UN Criticizes Use of 'Baby Boxes' for Infant Abandonment in Europe

5. Resources
- New Report Published on Eliminating Barriers to Foster Care Adoption
- NACAC Updates State-Based Fact Sheets with 2010 AFCARS Data
- Obstetricians, Gynecologists Get New Ethics Guidelines on Adoption
- Adoption Lessons Adapted for 'Sharing the Story' of Donor Conception

6. From Our Partners
- Adoption Quarterly: Older Adoption Age Linked with More Adversity
- Adoption Learning Partners Offers Series on Children's 'Tough Starts'
- Adoption Today Focuses on Issues Relating to Parenting Teenagers
- Spence-Chapin, in July, Hosts a Workshop on Schools and a Picnic

7. Institute Update
- Institute Extends Thanks to Bohnett Foundation and Kelly Gang
- Keep Our Work Going with a Donation (Before You Head to the Beach)
- In The Media: Interstate Adoptions, Assumptions . . . and More
- Upcoming Staff Appearances

 

Law, Policy & Practice

SENATE COMMITTEE MAINTAINS FY13 ADOPTION FUNDING AT CURRENT LEVELS
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the FY2013 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill (S3295) on June 14. The bill includes $39.2 million for Adoption Opportunities and $39.3 million for Adoption Incentives, about the same amounts as in FY12. For Adoption Opportunities, “the Committee expects HHS to focus new grants on strengthening post-adoption services and the recruitment of adoptive parents for these populations of children.” The legislation also maintains level funding for Promoting Safe and Stable Families at $408.1 million and the Social Services Block Grant at $1.7 billion, and slightly increases adoption assistance to $2.54 billion (from $2.5 billion). To read the bill and learn its status, go to: http://1.usa.gov/iZaESpand search by bill number. To read the Adoption Institute’s report on post-adoption services, “Keeping the Promise,” go to http://bit.ly/bQHfJz.

ACLU CHALLENGES NC BAN ON SECOND-PARENT ADOPTION BY SAME-SEX COUPLES
The American Civil Liberties Union and its North Carolina chapter filed a lawsuit on June 13 seeking to overturn the state’s prohibition on second-parent adoption by same-sex couples. The North Carolina Supreme Court banned the practice in December 2010. The ACLU filed the challenge on behalf of six same-sex couples with children, arguing they should have the same safeguards that other families enjoy. Twenty states and the District of Columbia permit second-parent or step-parent adoptions by lesbians and gay men. To read the complaint and learn more about the case and issue, go to: http://bit.ly/MOUgmi. To read the Adoption Institute’s most-recent report on adoption by gays and lesbians, “Expanding Resources for Children,” go to: http://bit.ly/neeNpc.

 

Advocacy

COALITION WORKS TO MAKE ADOPTION TAX CREDIT PERMANENT, REFUNDABLE
Scores of adoption and child welfare organizations, including the Adoption Institute, have formed a coalition to preserve the federal adoption tax credit. To support this effort, call your U.S. House members and urge them to co-sponsor the Making Adoption Affordable Act (HR4373). The bill would increase the tax credit to $13,170 and make it permanent and refundable, beginning in tax year 2012. Otherwise, the current $12,650 credit will not be refundable for 2012 and will expire at year-end; in 2013, only those adopting children with special needs would be eligible for $6,000 in qualifying expenses. There is currently no companion bill in the Senate. To find your representative’s name, go to: http://1.usa.gov/prsjAl and enter your zip code, then call 202-225-3121 and ask for his/her office. Tell the human services/child welfare staffer that you are a constituent (provide your mailing address if leaving a message) and encourage your congressperson to co-sponsor HR4373. To read the bill and see its status, go to: http://1.usa.gov/uCPGYA and search by bill number. To learn more about the credit and the coalition, go to: http://bit.ly/K1B4ld; to “like” Save the Adoption Tax Credit, go to: http://on.fb.me/JjjhGs.

INSTITUTE JOINS EFFORT TO HALT DEPORTATION OF ADOPTEES RAISED IN U.S.
On June 12, AdopSource sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to naturalize those foreign-born adoptees who do not have United States citizenship because the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which in general confers automatic U.S. citizenship to foreign-born adopted children, did not apply retroactively to those over the age of 18 on its effective date. The Adoption Institute –– which is working on a project relating to this topic –– signed on to the letter requesting dismissal of deportation orders of non-U.S. citizen adopted adults, convicted of felonies, to their countries of origin where they may lack any connections or even language fluency. To read the letter, go to: http://bit.ly/PAoI3Q. To read Institute Executive Director Adam Pertman’s commentary on the subject, go to: http://huff.to/K9NYiR.

 

Research

YOUNG ADULTS, IN INTERVIEWS, CITE POSITIVES OF THEIR OPEN ADOPTIONS
A fourth wave of a longitudinal study on openness, involving interviews with 11 adopted young adults, found all of them felt positively about openness because it provided them with access to information, answers to their questions, and expanded love and family connections. “Growing Up in Open Adoption: Young Adults’ Perspectives,” by Deborah Siegel, is in the current issue of Families in Society (Volume 93, Issue 2). A few respondents said knowledge sometimes was painful, but it was better than not knowing. They said openness reinforced their ability to communicate with their adoptive parents. To read an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/NN7kfa. To read the Adoption Institute’s recent report, “Openness in Adoption: From Secrecy and Stigma to Knowledge and Connections,” go to: http://bit.ly/LvCMND.

ADOPTIVE PARENTS USE PLAY AND COMMUNICATION TO PROMOTE BONDING
Researchers used focus groups and interviews to explore the approaches 15 parents used to bond with their newly adopted children from Russia. Their strategies included a considerable commitment to their children, a child-centered focus and mindful parenting. “Love Them to Bits; Spend Time with Them; Have Fun with Them: New Zealand Parents’ Views of Building Attachments with their Newly Adopted Russian Children,” by Jocelyn Johnstone and Anita Gibbs, is in the May issue of the Journal of Social Work (Volume 12, Issue 3). Parents described being deliberate about engaging their children through quality time, play, touch, and holding and communication. The findings suggest comprehensive preparation for parenting children with histories of abuse and neglect –– and the impact on attachment –– is critical, as is participating in adoptive parent support groups. To read an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/MZUfcg.

STUDY LINKS DIFFERING ATTACHMENT PATTERNS TO COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN
Researchers studied the social relationships of internationally adopted children and found significant differences in self-reported attachment patterns depending on country of origin, with children from Eastern European countries having the most difficulties. An analysis from a sample of 116 internationally adopted children, age 8–11, considered these factors: relationship with parents, interpersonal relationships and social stress. “Social Relationships in Children from Intercountry Adoption,” by Natàlia Barcons, Neus Abrines, et al., is in the May issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 34, Issue 5). The results suggest that being able to identify groups of children who are more at risk for developing attachment security – those adopted from Eastern Europe, adopted at an older age or with an insecure attachment pattern – can allow professionals to offer specific interventions to parents to improve family dynamics and social skills development. To read an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/M4IRz9.

RESEARCH POINTS TO GREATER RESILIENCE IN EMANCIPATED FOSTER YOUTH
Research employing profile analyses among 164 emancipated foster youth strongly suggests that more than 80% of those who were exposed to adversity showed competence across one or more domains, such as education, relationship, occupation and civic engagement –– findings that contradict popular beliefs about this group of young people. The findings indicate that a collection of features, not any particular one, is most strongly related to adaptation to young adulthood for vulnerable populations. “Adapting to Aging Out: Profiles of Risk and Resilience among Emancipated Foster Youth,” by Tuppett Yates and Izabela Grey, is in the April issue of Development and Psychopathology (Volume 24, Issue 2). The authors conclude that patterns of internal resilience may be more common than previously recognized, at least among emancipated foster youth, and merit further investigation. To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/KfYDCY; to read the Adoption Institute’s report on aging out of foster care, “Never Too Old,” go to: http://bit.ly/rkZJVP.


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

News

REUNION SOUGHT FOR CHILDREN AND PARENTS SEPARATED BY DEPORTATION
A June 6 article by Janell Ross in The Huffington Post reported that a Latino organization has asked the Obama Administration to help families separated by deportation to reunite. The Latino Policy Coalition said the White House should issue an executive order to require the Department of Health and Human Services to identify and locate children who may have been adopted or placed in foster care after their undocumented parents were deported. The organization called on President Obama to direct the Department of Homeland Security and state child welfare agencies to assist in reunifying these children with their parents in the countries to which they have been deported. To read the article, go to: http://huff.to/KDrIx9. To read Adoption Institute Executive Director Adam Pertman’s commentary on this subject on his blog, go to: http://bit.ly/Js2r8l.

INDIA REPORTEDLY STRIVING TO REDUCE TIME AND PROCESS FOR ADOPTIONS
The Telegraph (Calcutta), in a June 7 article by Ananya Sengupta, reported that India’s government is working to reduce the time necessary for the completion of adoptions from more than a year to a few months. The Central Adoption Resource Authority was quoted as saying that procedural hassles may have caused a 50% drop in adoptions over the past five years. A committee has been formed to reform the Juvenile Justice Act, including changes that would halve, from 12 to six, the number of steps needed for foreign parents to adopt. To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/O5wzJR.

JAPAN SAID TO BE SLOWLY MOVING POLICY TOWARD ADOPTION, FOSTER CARE
A two-part June 11 story by Cynthia Ruble in The Japan Daily Press recounted the plight of the more than 36,000 children relegated to orphanages in that country, only 12% of whom were placed for adoption or foster care in the previous year. The article cited government failures to change a system that has been in place since the mid-1940s. It also said officials were resistant to change, concerned about the loss of jobs and reluctant to deal with the negative impact of orphanage life. It also cited inroads to change child welfare policy to include adoption and foster care. To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/MpbTab.

QUEBEC CONSIDERS ADOPTIONS WITHOUT TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS
Quebec adoption rules, in place since 1924, may be headed for change, according to a June 13 story by Montreal television news station CTV. The new policy would allow for adoption without terminating biological parental rights and paves the way for birth certificates with both biological and adoptive parents’ names. Bill 81, tabled by the National Assembly in June, would give adoptive parents full parental rights but guarantee the retention of contact between biological parents and the child. However, it would bar a biological parent from regaining custody. The move is designed to reduce the number of children in foster care and grant easier access to medical records. To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/LmASdo.

UN CRITICIZES USE OF 'BABY BOXES' FOR INFANT ABANDONMENT IN EUROPE According to a June 10 article by Randeep Ramesh in The Guardian, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child is highly concerned about the increased use of “baby boxes” for legalized infant abandonment in Europe, with “faith groups and right-wing politicians spearheading the revival in the controversial practice.” The article said there are now more than 200 such boxes across Europe, and almost 400 infants have been abandoned using them since 2000. The UN panel criticized the process – which is akin to “safe havens” in the United States – saying it violates children’s rights to be known and cared for by their parents. To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/LH5K8w. To read the Adoption Institute’s report on infant abandonment, “Unintended Consequences,” go to: http://bit.ly/QddIJU.

 

Resources

NEW REPORT PUBLISHED ON ELIMINATING BARRIERS TO FOSTER CARE ADOPTION
Listening to Parents, a nonprofit organization, has published a new report, “Eliminating Barriers to the Adoption of Children in Foster Care,” that provides recommendations to Congress on eliminating barriers to interstate adoptions. Among the suggestions are: rewarding both sending and receiving states, setting national home-study standards, emphasizing funding for post-adoption services, and encouraging the development of a comprehensive model for adoptions from foster care. To read the report, go to: http://bit.ly/LvlWyR.

NACAC UPDATES STATE-BASED FACT SHEETS WITH 2010 AFCARS DATA
New fact sheets, based on 2010 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data, have been published by the North American Council on Adoptable Children and fosteringconnections.org, providing state-by-state snapshots of adoptions from the child welfare system. In addition to the number of waiting children, the fact sheets include the time spent in care, demographics such as race and ethnic origin, Title IV-E-payments and case resolution. To read the fact sheets, go to: http://bit.ly/L9HBbc.

OBSTETRICIANS, GYNECOLOGISTS GET NEW ETHICS GUIDELINES ON ADOPTION
In an effort to help navigate the ethical and legal issues surrounding adoption, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists’ Committee on Ethics has issued updated guidelines for obstetricians and gynecologists who may be involved with adoptions. The publication (No. 528, June 2012) replaces an earlier, June 2007 publication (No. 368) and discusses medical professionals’ roles. Guidelines cover being aware of local adoption resources, providing accurate information free of personal bias and opinions, and avoiding becoming a broker in the adoption process. To read the publication, go to: http://bit.ly/MS5WAS.

ADOPTION LESSONS ADAPTED FOR 'TELLING THE STORY' OF DONOR CONCEPTION
In an article in the current issue of Pediatric Nursing, (Volume 38, Number 3), Kris Probasco, Executive Director of Adoption & Fertility Resources, provides information and counsel relating to parent preparation for donor conception in coming to terms with infertility, eliminating secrecy and accepting that the child has a unique genetic history. "The Child's Advocate in Donor Conception: The Telling of the Story" advises adapting the practices of the adoption community, including life books, to the story of how children conceived with donors came into the family. The article is not currently online; to see the Journal issue page, go to: http://bit.ly/MYkr6n; to read the Adoption Institute’s report on the subject, "Old Lessons for a New World," go to: http://bit.ly/djYdXD.

 

From Our Partners

ADOPTION QUARTERLY: OLDER ADOPTION AGE LINKED WITH MORE ADVERSITY
"Age at Adoption: A Measure of Time in the Orphanage or Child-Specific Factors," by Brandi Hawk, Robert McCall, et al., uses orphanage data on 169 children in Russian orphanages to explore the relationship of pre-adoption factors with age at adoption. This study, in the first 2012 issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 15, Issue 1), identified how children adopted after 18 months of age differed from those adopted sooner. Those adopted later were more likely to spend time in a family, to be involuntarily relinquished and to have experienced abuse or neglect. Also, those children who had spent time in a family were more likely to have maternal substance use as an identified risk factor. To read an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/LCapIQ.

ADOPTION LEARNING PARTNERS OFFERS SERIES ON CHILDREN'S 'TOUGH STARTS'
With informative, practical and encouraging material, the “Tough Starts Series” equips adoptive parents with insight into how their child’s difficult times in early life may lead to troubling behavior years later. Many adopted children, international or domestic, have faced a suboptimal beginning, or a ”tough start,” which may include prenatal substance exposure or being born into a neglectful, chaotic or abusive environment. The series offers parents an understanding of the effect trauma can have on brain development and the tools to intercede. Courses include Brain Development Matters, Treatment Matters, Parenting Matters and Family Matters. To learn more about the series, go to: http://bit.ly/MDCvlZ.

ADOPTION TODAY FOCUSES ON ISSUES RELATING TO PARENTING TEENAGERS
The teen years are often defined as a time of self-exploration and self-discovery. For adopted children, the teen years can be even more tumultuous as they work to discover who they are within their adoption story. The July issue of Adoption Today tackles topics from strengthening relationships with teenagers to setting ground rules for Internet use, social media and other forms of technology. For every subscription to Adoption Today, a donation is made to the Adoption Institute; to subscribe or read the issue, go to: www.adoptinfo.net.

SPENCE-CHAPIN, IN JULY, HOSTS A WORKSHOP ON SCHOOLS AND A PICNIC
On July 10, Spence-Chapin will present a new workshop, NYC School Systems Simplified, to help attendees navigate the independent and public school process from Pre-K through 8th Grade; advance registration is required. The Spence-Chapin Family Picnic, open to anyone touched by adoption, will be held on July 14. To register for the workshop, go to: http://bit.ly/SchoolSimplified; to learn more about the picnic, go to: http://bit.ly/S-C2012Picnic.

 

Institute Update

INSTITUTE EXTENDS THANKS TO BOHNETT FOUNDATION AND KELLY GANG
The Board and staff of the Adoption Institute are deeply grateful to the David Bohnett Foundation and the Kelly Gang for their recent, generous donations. We particularly appreciate that these contributions are provided without restrictions, enabling us to maximize their impact by supporting the research, advocacy and best practice efforts most in need of funding. The Bohnett Foundation extended a two-year grant that will total $60,000. The New York City-based nonprofit Kelly Gang awarded the Institute $25,000 as one of two recipients recognized at their annual event. We extend our sincere thanks to David Bohnett and his foundation as well as to the Kelly Gang for these remarkable leadership gifts.

KEEP OUR WORK GOING WITH A DONATION (BEFORE YOU HEAD TO THE BEACH) Summertime means long, lazy days of fun in the sun to many people. But the work of the Adoption Institute continues in every season. Our Senior Fellows, researchers and other staff members are busy on a number of projects in such important areas as international adoption, the impact of the internet, positive identity formation, birthparent issues and openness in adoption. Because of the ongoing 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://bit.ly/9bIvkV; there, you will find information on all of the different ways to give: online, by mail or by phone.

IN THE MEDIA: INTERSTATE ADOPTIONS, ASSUMPTIONS ... AND MORE
On June 19, Executive Director Adam Pertman was quoted in an Associated Press article that ran in numerous media, including Fox.com, entitled “Interstate adoptions: Harder than they should be?” The focus was on the report issued by the nonprofit Listening to Parents about how difficult it is for adults in one state to adopt children in the foster care system in another. "For whatever policy reasons, we can't seem to lick them, and the bottom line is the kids are the losers," Pertman said. To read the article, go to: http://fxn.ws/LvZGoz.

David Brodzinsky, Research & Project Director for the Institute, was interviewed for a June 9 article in the Deseret News. The story, “Studies challenge widely held assumptions about same-sex parenting,” examines research recently published in the Social Science Research journal saying children of parents in same-sex relationships are different than those raised in intact biological families on a number of measures. “The research up to this point has shown absolutely no difference of any note –– and in some cases, differences that might be considered in favor of lesbian parents," said Brodzinsky. "In 25 years of study, more than 50 studies have not found the negative outcomes that critics are concerned about.” To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/LlkLvu.

In a June 13 article, NorthJersey.com discusses a bill that would make religion a factor in both foster care placement and adoption. The bill was inspired by the case of a Muslim boy who was adopted and is being raised in a Christian environment. Critics of the bill say it could limit the number of qualified foster care and adoptive families. The article quotes Pertman as saying it is common practice to integrate a child’s background and culture in adoption, but that it should not be dictated by the law. He goes on to say that many families celebrate dual faiths and a child may want to be part of the culture and religion shared by his or her parents. To read the article, go to: http://bit.ly/NsGlzu.

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].

  • July 5 – David Brodzinsky, the Institute’s Research & Project Director, is presenting the keynote address, "Adoption and the life cycle: Growing up as an adoptee,” at an adoption conference in Madrid, Spain, that is sponsored by Comillas Pontifical University. For more information, go to: http://bit.ly/Ltt4sh.

  • July 17 – Pertman will be the keynote speaker for the Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption and Permanency program, SWAN; its mission is to find permanent homes for children in the child welfare system. The meeting is geared toward permanency workers and will take place in Lancaster, PA. For more information, go to: http://bit.ly/JfgzNw.

  • July 27 & 28– Both Executive Director Adam Pertman and Susan Smith, the Institute’s Program & Project Director, are presenting at the NACAC conference in Crystal City, VA. On July 27, Pertman presents "Adoption IS a Diversity and Social Justice Issue," and on July 28, Smith is co-presenting a workshop entitled "Enabling Adoptive Families to Succeed: How Do We Advance the Field of Post-Adoption Services?" For more information, go to: http://bit.ly/meaqhY.

  • August 9– At the Nebraska Adoption Conference, Pertman will give a keynote address entitled "Adoption in America: A Revolution in the Family" and will conduct a workshop, “Rethinking Adoption in the 21st Century.” The conference will be held Aug. 9 and 10 in Lincoln, NE. For more information and to register, go to: http://bit.ly/Q3Mc1v.

 

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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