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ADOPTION AGREEMENT BETWEEN UNITED STATES, RUSSIA TO TAKE EFFECT NOV. 1
The long-awaited adoption agreement between the United States and Russia will enter into force on Nov. 1, according to an Oct. 15 State Department Alert. Among the changes in the pact, only Russian-authorized agencies will be allowed to provide services, and post-adoption monitoring and reporting will be strengthened. The U.S. Secretary of State and Russia’s Foreign Minister signed the document in July 2011; Russia has signed, but not ratified, the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. There were 962 U.S. adoptions from Russia in 2011, down from a high of 5,862 in 2004. An article in the Oct. 22 The Moscow Times, "Russians Warn on U.S. Child Adoptions," reports that Russia’s children's ombudsman said, "Those who spread the myths about how good it is for our children in America, what a great future they have, are either involved in this business or people without a clear conscience" and 19 Russian children adopted by Americans have died. To read the State Department alert, go to:
http://1.usa.gov/T7VJcP; to read the “Joint Statement on the U.S.-Russian Consultations on the Bilateral Agreement Regarding Cooperation in Adoption of Children,” go to:
http://1.usa.gov/S6g9m8; to read the agreement, go to:
http://1.usa.gov/WVXRWf; to read the news article, go to:
NEW RULES IN COLOMBIA FOCUS ON PLACING CHILDREN WITH FAMILY MEMBERS
An Oct. 22 U.S. State Department Notice says that Colombia's Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF) has changed its adoption standards following "a November 2011 Constitutional Court ruling that ICBF was not fully considering the rights of, and opportunities for placement with, biological and extended families before placing a child for domestic or intercountry adoption." ICBF is reviewing about 1,300 eligibility declarations to assess compliance with the revised procedures, finding “a number of cases” that do not, and putting "an administrative hold on these cases until it is satisfied that the adoptability determination is evaluated as to whether there might be an extended family member who could care for the child." The U.S. Embassy in Bogota knows of six cases of U.S. families whose proceedings required review. ICBF and Colombian family courts also are reviewing proposed adoptions more carefully, resulting in longer processing times. Colombia ratified the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption in 1998. To read the State Department Notice, "Colombia's revised procedures for determining children's eligibility for intercountry adoption," go to:
Education & Advocacy
ADVOCACY TO PRESERVE ADOPTION TAX CREDIT INCLUDES WEBINAR AND OP-ED
The Adoption Institute is on the leadership team of a coalition working for passage of the federal Making Adoption Affordable Act (S3616 and HR4373). To support the bill, call your U.S. Senators and Representatives and urge them to become co-sponsors. Without new legislation, 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. To find your Senators’ names, go to:
http://1.usa.gov/3UAs; for Representatives, go to;
http://1.usa.gov/prsjAl and enter your zip code. Call 202-225-3121 and ask for his/her office. Tell the child welfare/tax staffer that you are a constituent (provide your mailing address if leaving a message) and encourage your legislators to co-sponsor S3616/HR4373. To see if your lawmakers are already cosponsors, go to:
http://1.usa.gov/iZaESp and search by bill number. To view an Oct. 4 webinar, "Advocating to Save the Adoption Tax Credit," go to:
http://bit.ly/PXGz4y; to read an Oct. 5 op-ed, “Adoption tax credit would help kids find homes," by Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption's President, Rita Soronen, in the Columbus Dispatch, go to:
INSTITUTE RECEIVES 'CONTINUING SERVICE' AWARD FROM VOICE FOR ADOPTION
The Adoption Institute is honored to have been named a 2012 recipient of Voice for Adoption's "Drenda Lakin Memorial Award for Continuing Services to Adoptive Families." The award honors a state, nonprofit organization, or individual whose programs provide valuable family support after adoptions are finalized. Specifically, the Institute was cited for its "Keeping the Promise" project, an ongoing national research, education and advocacy initiative. In its announcement, VFA highlighted the Institute’s "work to address and publicize the need to support and strengthen families beyond adoption finalization." The award will be presented at a reception on Wednesday, Nov. 14, in Washington, DC. To read the Institute’s "Keeping the Promise" report, go to:
CHILDREN’S OUTCOMES FOUND EQUAL IN STRAIGHT, GAY ADOPTIONS FROM CARE
A study conducted at the UCLA TIES for Adoption program found post-adoption cognitive and behavioral outcomes of 82 high-risk children adopted from foster care were similar between 60 heterosexual and 22 gay/lesbian-headed adoptive families, even though the children in the latter families had more pre-adoption risk factors. "Can Gay and Lesbian Parents Promote Healthy Development in High-Risk Children Adopted from Foster Care?" by Justin Lavner, Jill Waterman and Letitia Peplau, is in the October issue of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (Volume 82, Issue 4). The study assessed children at 2, 12 and 24 months after adoption (average age at placement=3.9 years); both groups averaged an increase of 7-9 points on IQ (from low normal to normal range) across the measurement periods. The level of behavior problems in both groups remained stable over time. To read an abstract:
http://bit.ly/TNbQqR. To read the Institute’s most recent report on adoption by gays and lesbians, "Expanding Resources for Children," go to:
47% OF YOUTH IN SPECIAL NEEDS ADOPTION STUDY HAD MENTAL HEALTH NEEDS
Researchers found 47 percent of 330 youth placed for adoption through a special needs adoption program in Ohio had a DSM-IV diagnosis other than mental retardation, and used regression analysis to identify pre-adoption risk factors predicting such a diagnosis. "Risk Factors for Mental Health Diagnoses among Children Adopted from the Public Child Welfare System," by David Hussey, Lynn Falletta and Abbey Eng, is in the October issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 34, Issue 10). Youth who were White, male, and older at placement had higher odds of having a diagnosis; those with more than one placement had 177 percent greater odds; and the odds for sexually abused youth were 3.25 times higher than those without such a history. Researchers found most youth who were sexually abused also had experienced other types of maltreatment. Having incarcerated parents reduced the odds of a diagnosis by 55 percent. To read an abstract, go to:
ANALYSIS SHOWS PSYCHOLOGICAL DEPRIVATION IMPACTS ADOPTEE DEVELOPMENT
Researchers analyzed data from the English and Romanian Adoptee Study to examine the impact of "pure psychological deprivation" (excluded children with evidence of subnutrition), finding that 45.5 percent of those institutionalized longer than six months showed significant impairment at age 15. "Longitudinal Studies Using a 'Natural Experiment' Design: The Case of Adoptees from Romanian Institutions," by Michael Rutter, Robert Kumsta, et al., is in the August issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (Volume 51, Issue 8). Among those categorized as experiencing psychological but not nutritional deprivation, only 1.3 percent who left the institution by 6 months of age showed deprivation-specific patterns at age 15 (quasi-autism, disinhibited attachment, inattention/overactivity, and cognitive impairment). Pure psychological deprivation lasting beyond 6 months also impacted neural development, as reflected in head growth. To read an abstract, go to:
Please go to the "From Our Partners" section to read the latest research from Adoption Quarterly.
COURTS IN NEW YORK, ALABAMA RULE DIFFERENTLY IN SAME-SEX PARENTING CASES
According to "Judge Hands Down Bombshell Ruling In A Lesbian Custody Battle," by Abby Rogers in the Oct. 1 edition of Business Insider, a New York Family Court judge gave full custody of a daughter to her adoptive mother, not her birthmother, providing that biological parentage does not confer "automatic priority." An Oct. 12 al.com article, "Alabama appeals court denies Mobile woman right to adopt partner's son," by Brendan Kirby, reports that the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals denied a woman’s petition to adopt the child she has raised with her same-sex partner, whom she married in California in 2008, because Alabama law does not recognize same-sex marriage. A lower court denied an adoption petition in 2006 because the couple was not married. To read the Business Insider article, go to:
http://read.bi/O0lTLT; to read the al.com article, go to:
SOUTH KOREA’S ADOPTION LAW REPORTEDLY RAISES IMPLEMENTATION CONCERNS
"Fears of unintended consequences as adoption tightened," by Sang Youn-joo, notes that South Korea’s August 2012 Special Adoption Law mandates a government central database of adoptees, assigns family courts authority to approve adoptions (in place of state-designated NGOs) and requires birth parents to register children for adoptive placement with the state. The Oct. 11 article in The Korea Herald/Asia News Network discusses possible negative consequences of the new law, including birthmothers’ lack of privacy, extra-legal adoptions to circumvent open adoptions and lack of government support for single mothers. According to an Oct. 23 Korea Times article, U.S. Department of State Special Advisor Susan Jacobs traveled to Seoul in October to "review Korea's plans to accede to the Hague Adoption Convention," though a diplomatic source said the meeting was "unlikely to lead to Korea's decision" on accession. To read The Korea Herald/Asia News Network article, go to:
http://bit.ly/RyAajL; to read the Korea Times article, go to:
INFORMATION GATEWAY, ADOPTUSKIDS LAUNCH 2012 ADOPTION MONTH WEBSITE
The Child Welfare Information Gateway and AdoptUSKids have launched the 2012 National Adoption Month website, with information and resources for adoption professionals, adoptive parents and youth. Examples include information on using social media in recruitment, a video gallery with many state PSAs and digital stories, videos from adoptive families and youth, and information for youth on being involved in permanency work and being safe online. To access the website, go to:
RESOURCE CENTER OFFERS PRACTICE BRIEFS ON WORKING WITH LGBT APPLICANTS
The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections issued two practice briefs in October for working with LGBT prospective foster or adoptive families. "LGBT Prospective Foster and Adoptive Families: The Homestudy Assessment Process" includes content on assessment, engagement, preparation, writing homestudies and other practice issues. "Supporting and Retaining LGBT Foster and Adoptive Parents" addresses a range of practices to support applicants through the process, such as linking them with peer support opportunities and making ongoing training accessible. To read the briefs, go to:
CASEY ORGANIZATIONS LAUNCH ‘SPARC’ TO PROVIDE RESOURCES, NETWORKING
The Annie E. Casey Foundation and Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative launched the State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center (SPARC) earlier this year to provide resources and networking opportunities for state child welfare policy advocates. Other SPARC partners include First Focus, ChildFocus, Child Trends and the North American Council on Adoptable Children. Among the content categories are: adoption and post-adoption services, permanency and older youth. To access the website, go to:
From Our Partners
ADOPTION QUARTERLY: WORKER, RELIGIOUS SUPPORT IMPROVE OUTCOMES
“The Role of Worker Support and Religious Support in African American Special Needs Adoption: The Bennett Chapel Experience,” by Kathleen Belanger, Monit Cheung and Wilma Cordova, is in the July-September issue (Volume 15, Issue 3). Based on surveys of 113 adoptive parents, researchers found that after controlling for the level of difficulty of the child, worker support significantly influenced the parents’ perception of the impact of the adoption on their family. Religious support was correlated with overall improvement in the child’s behavior. To read an abstract, go to:
ADOPTION LEARNING PARTNERS OFFERS FASD WEBINAR WITH DR. CHASNOFF
Join Dr. Ira Chasnoff on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. (Central time) as he helps parents sort through complications that may arise when raising a child who was exposed to drugs or alcohol before birth. Dr. Chasnoff will explain the physical and developmental impacts of FASD, offer practical intervention ideas for parents and answer questions. To register for the webinar, go to:
ADOPTION TODAY CELEBRATES ADOPTION MONTH, FEATURES EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
People around the country celebrate the joining of families through adoption during the month of November, and Adoption Today has dedicated its issue for the month to celebrating those families. In addition, the issue features an exclusive interview with the State Department’s Ambassador for adoption issues, Susan Jacobs, who gives an update on the current status of intercountry adoption. Don’t miss the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute’s monthly column, and remember that a portion of every new subscription goes to support the Institute’s vital work. To access the magazine, go to:
SPENCE-CHAPIN OFFERS WIDE RANGE OF INFORMATIONAL, EDUCATION WORKSHOPS
Spence-Chapin will present a number of workshops and presentations for adoptive families in November, including: Learning Issues and Adoption with Dr. Boris Gindis on Nov. 5; International Adoption Information Meeting on Nov. 10; Black and Hispanic Domestic Adoption Information Meeting on Nov. 12; Finding the Right Words to Talk to your Children about Adoption on Nov. 13; Russia and Ethiopia Meeting with CHSFS on Nov. 15; and International Adoption Information Webinar on Nov. 28. These workshops are meant to educate and prepare families for adoptive parenting and are open to anyone touched by adoption. For more information and to register, go to:
CELEBRATING ... OUR FAMILIES, OUR CHILDREN: A GLORIOUS DAY TO REMEMBER
Our annual West Coast benefit, Celebrating ... Our Families, Our Children, was held at the remarkable Castillo del Lago estate high in the Hollywood Hills on Oct. 20. Scores of Institute friends and contributors –– as well as Board members Greg Ammon, Hollis Forbes, Sandy McManus, Susan Notkin and Anne Youngblood –– joined together to pay tribute to our honoree, longtime supporter Ame Austin, and to our Spotlight Award recipient, Children’s Action Network and its Executive Director, Jennifer Perry. Our deepest thanks go to Ame and Leon Max for their generosity in providing the venue and the underwriting to making the day possible. It was a beautiful occasion that not only supported the work of the Institute, but was enormous fun for both the adults and the children who attended. To see pictures of this once-in-a-lifetime event, please visit the Adoption Institute website. It is still not too late to contribute to the financial success of the day by going to
BOARD MEMBER’S NYC DOCUMENTARY PREMIERE NOV. 15 TO BENEFIT INSTITUTE
The Adoption Institute is partnering with Jazz at Lincoln Center on a unique evening of film, music and conversation that will benefit both organizations. On November 15, filmmaker and Adoption Institute Board member Greg Ammon will present the New York City premiere of his new documentary, 59 Middle Lane. The film is an exploration of Greg’s search for family and identity. A discussion featuring Institute Executive Director Adam Pertman and a performance by Wynton Marsalis and members of the JALC Orchestra will follow. To buy tickets or provide sponsorships for what promises to be a most memorable evening, please call 212–258–9980.
Pertman was interviewed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for an Oct. 21 story, "Adoption saga ends with charges for Franklin Park couple." It follows parents who, after adopting two Ethiopian children, are accused of endangering them. In discussing the preparation and resources available to families, Pertman said "When people get a kid –– through whatever means –– it's an enthralling, enchanted, captivating time of life ... [but] your expectations have to be tempered by reality. You've got to prepare yourself for the kid you're going to get." Pertman said there also is the need for post-adoption services and education. To read the article, go to:
November 9 – Pertman will present "Rethinking Adoption in the 21st Century" during his keynote address at Adopt Salon’s Conference in Los Angeles, CA. To learn more and to register for the conference, go to:
November 17 – Research & Project Director David Brodzinsky will present to C.A.S.E. on “The Inner World of Adopted Children: Implications for Adoption Communication” in Chevy Chase, MD. To learn more and to register, go to:
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.
The Adoption Institute was established in 1996 with a one-time grant. To continue our work, we depend on new and renewable sources of funding. We need the financial support of people like you whose lives have been touched by adoption and who care about the future of vulnerable children everywhere. Please send a generous contribution to the Adoption Institute's annual fund today. To donate, please call 212-925-4089 or go online to:
Or you can print and complete this form,
http://bit.ly/DonateCard, and fax it with your credit card information to 775-796-6592, or mail it with your check or credit card information to:
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
120 East 38th Street
New York, NY 10016
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