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CHANGES SUGGESTED TO IMPROVE ADOPTION INCENTIVES REAUTHORIZATION
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) published
"Child Welfare: Structure and Funding of the Adoption Incentives Program along with Reauthorization Issues" on April 18, noting that the Administration proposes requiring states to spend Adoption Incentive funds on "trauma-informed services to improve social and emotional well-being of children waiting for adoption or those having achieved adoption." CRS suggests additional policy changes that Congress might consider in reauthorizing Adoption Incentives, such as incentives for exits from foster care to any kind of permanent families; adoptions of older youth, children or youth with multiple foster placements, or those with mental health challenges; and improved adoption rates, in addition to baseline adjustments and narrowing the purposes on which states might spend incentive funds for such programs as post-permanency-related supports.
MN SUPREME COURT AFFIRMS ADOPTION BY FOSTER PARENTS OVER GRANDPARENTS
A March 27 Minnesota Supreme Court decision affirmed the trial and appeals courts' decisions granting the adoption petition of white foster parents over that of the grandparents of two African American girls, who tested positive for cocaine at birth. On appeal, the grandparents argued that the trial court erred in not according them preference in adopting the children. The Minnesota Supreme Court found that the adoption statute does not require such a preference, and that the ruling should stand. The Court reasoned that the language of the statute does not require courts to prefer relatives to non-relatives, rather, it instructs officials to "consider" relatives first, indicating that a relative placement should be contemplated first, but there should be no preference.
Education & Advocacy
INSTITUTE SIGNS ON TO AMICUS BRIEF SUPPORTING INDIAN CHILD WELFARE ACT
A coalition of child welfare organizations, including the Adoption Institute, filed an
amicus brief in support of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in the case of
Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, or "Baby Veronica" case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Prospective adoptive parents had petitioned to adopt a child, the Indian biological father opposed the adoption, and the trial court denied the adoption. On appeal, the question presented is who is considered an Indian child's parent under the meaning of the Act, and whether the Act governs state proceedings. Amici argue that ICWA embodies best practices in child welfare, such as the maintenance and continuing ties of a child to her fit and willing parents, in the context of adopting a child with Native American ancestry. Oral argument was held April 16; the
audio is available, as is a
INSTITUTE LETTER POINTS OUT NEGATIVE IMPACT OF PROPOSED SUBSIDY CUTS
The Adoption Institute submitted a letter to the Washington State Senate Ways and Means Committee this month in response to the
Proposed Senate Operating Budget 2013-2015, which would "control adoption costs by capping adoption support payments at 50 percent of the foster care maintenance payments for children with no special needs." The Institute suggested such a policy could decrease adoptions from foster care and impair families' abilities to meet their children's basic needs because such foster care versus adoption payment discrepancies provide a financial disincentive to adoption from the very pool of parents who are most likely to adopt. The effort is part of the Institute's nationwide "Keeping the Promise" initiative advocating for post-adoption support services, including its recent
Issue Brief – in partnership with the North American Council on Adoptable Children – illustrating that state funding for adoption subsidies is an essential tool for enabling children and youth to move from foster care into permanent, loving, successful families. The Institute also sent a follow-up letter regarding subsidies in Maine, this time to the Joint Committee on Judiciary, regarding
LD1068, An Act to Prevent the Reduction in Adoption Subsidy after an Agreement Has Been Signed by the Prospective Adoptive Parents and The Department of Health and Human Services.
INSTITUTE REPORT FOCUSES ON KEY PRACTICES FOR ADOPTION FROM FOSTER CARE
Later this year, the Donaldson Adoption Institute and the British Association of Adoption & Fostering will publish a book-length Compendium,
"A Family for Life: The Vital Need to Achieve Permanency for Children in Care", focused on international practices (in the U.S., England, and Canada) facilitating adoptions and guardianships for children in foster care who cannot return to their original families. This week the Institute released a Policy Perspective previewing the 22 specific practices covered in this compendium and summarizing key findings of the Institute's study. The Compendium provides a synthesis of knowledge related to these practices, research on outcomes and recommended resources.
TRANSRACIALLY ADOPTED TEENS, PARENTS VIEW THEIR FAMILIES DIFFERENTLY
Based on self-reports of 30 teens adopted from South Korea and their parents, as well as videotaped family conversations addressing specific tasks and questions, researchers found that parents reported significantly greater engagement in cultural socialization than the youth reported about their parents. The teens' reports were more in agreement with qualitative coding of family conversations.
"Cultural Socialization in Families With Adopted Korean Adolescents: A Mixed-Method, Multi-Informant Study," by Oh Kim, Reed Reichwald and Richard Lee, is in the January issue of the Journal of Adolescent Research (Volume 28, Issue 1). Researchers assessed whether family members believed that race/ethnicity had an effect on their families: 15 families did not agree on this; 9 agreed that it did have an effect on their families, and 6 believed it had no effect. Teens who believed race had no effect on their families rated parents' engagement in cultural socialization lower than other teens.
ONGOING STUDY EXAMINES IMPACT OF ENVIRONMENT, GENETICS ON CHILDREN "The Early Growth and Development Study: A Prospective Adoption Study From Birth Through Middle Childhood", by Leslie Leve, Jenae Neiderhiser, et al., in the February issue of Twin Research and Human Genetics (Volume 16, Issue 1) provides an overview of this longitudinal study of 561 adoption triads – birthparent(s), adoptive parents and adopted children – and its primary findings. The study's main objective is to examine the influence of genetics, environment and the interaction between the two on children's development. The primary results to date indicate that aspects of parenting (overreactive parenting style, responsiveness, structured guidance and parenting efficacy), marital hostility, and adoptive parent depression or anxiety have main effects on child temperament and behaviors, manifesting by 9 months of age. Also, several child behaviors are shaped by genetic-environment interaction, including toddler externalizing, attention, fussiness and anger, and inhibition behaviors.
Please go to the "From Our Partners" section to read the latest research from Adoption Quarterly.
ARTICLE RECOUNTS ADOPTION OPENNESS PROGRESS; KS STRIKES WAITING PERIOD
An April 14 Sacramento Bee article,
"Pain of giving up children for adoption endures through decades," by Anita Creamer, describes the secrecy and shame society imposed on birthmothers during several decades of the 20th Century, as well as the more recent trend of open adoptions. According to the article, experts estimate about 120,000 children were adopted each year during the 1950's and 1960's, with a high of 175,000 in 1970. Leslie Mackinnon, a spokeswoman for Concerned United Birthparents and an Adoption Institute Board member, explains that previously closed adoptions were the norm to "protect" birthmothers, adoptees and adoptive parents, but now "We're finally educating the public that with open adoption, it's better for the child and everybody else." In a related development, an April 19 Topeka Capital Journal article, "Kansas eliminates 30-day wait on adoptions," by Caitlin Doornbos, reports that a law recently enacted in Kansas removes the monthlong waiting period prior to court proceedings on adoption petitions and permits the hearing within 60 days of a petition being filed. Read the Adoption Institute's report on birthparents,
"Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents in the Adoption Process."
PSYCHOANALYTIC JOURNAL PUBLISHES SPECIAL ISSUE ON ADOPTION
The current special issue of
Psychoanalytic Perspectives: Adoption (Volume 10, Issue 1) focuses entirely on adoption and contains three papers, a roundtable, and many other commentaries, including "Loss, Insecurity, and Uncertainty: The Impact of Adoption on the Developing Selves of a Birthmother," by Sharon Horowitz; "Loss and Resilience Form a Family: An Adoption Story From a Relational Point of View," by Barbara Freedgood; and "Being Borne: Contextualizing Loss in Adoption," by Billie Pivnick.
ADOPTION TODAY ISSUE COVERS TECHNOLOGY, PERSONAL STORIES AND MORE
Technology has an increasing impact on society that spills over into adoption as well, the subject of the April edition of
Adoption Today. From birth searches using new DNA testing technology, to families connecting pre-adoption with children in other countries, people are using technology in the adoption community more and more. In addition, Olympic Gold Medalist Dominique Moceanu for the first time shares her experience of learning about her sister, who was relinquished for adoption at birth. Other highlights include articles on psychotropic medications, surviving the stressors of adoption and embryo adoptions. Remember that a portion of every new subscription goes to support the Donaldson Adoption Institute's vital work;
subscribe today for $12 for the year (12 issues).
GOING FAST … BUT IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO GET YOUR 'TASTE OF SPRING' TICKETS!
Tickets will soon be gone for the Adoption Institute's 10th Annual Taste of Spring benefit on May 9th. Please
claim your spot soon! Our guest of honor will be Jack Sussman, Executive Vice President of Specials, Music and Live Events, CBS Entertainment. We are thrilled to have Mario Batali, Katie Brown and William Corbin, Kristin Chenoweth, Christine Ebersole and Bill Moloney, and Deborra-lee Furness and Hugh Jackman, as Honorary Co-Chairs. We will feature a powerhouse lineup of exciting New York restaurants and food purveyors, including Alison 18, Butter & Scotch, Corner Social, Fresco by Scotto, Landmarc, Lucy's Whey, The Mercer Kitchen and Sfoglia. We will also feature great new beverages, such as cocktails by 67 Orange Street and coffee from Laughing Man Coffee & Tea, in addition to stellar wines from Cognac One, Kobrand, Opici Wines, Shea Vineyards and Sherry-Lehmann.
If you cannot be with us, you can still support the Institute's vital work by contributing to Taste of Spring. Our friends at CharityBuzz are once again hosting an online auction. Among the great items up for bidding are: rounds of golf at some of the Hamptons' most exclusive courses, an impossible-to-get reservation at New York's legendary Rao's restaurant, a chance to meet Kristin Chenoweth, and a visit to the set of Law and Order SVU to meet series star Mariska Hargitay.
Place your bids, and good luck!
On April 2, the Chicago Tribune ran "Foreign adoption comes with obstacles, but parents advised to 'stay the course'," in which Executive Director Pertman offers a historical perspective on Russia's recent ban on adoptions by Americans. He points out that other nations have taken similar steps in the past due to "international dynamics, wars, economics, politics, changing children's needs, new rules."
On April 18, the online magazine internet evolution published an article,
The Web Radically Reshapes Adoption that was based largely on the Institute's recent report,
"Untangling the Web: The Internet's Transformative Impact on Adoption, which examines the impact that the Internet –– including social media –– has had on all aspects of adoption. Pertman is quoted in the story on several issues, including that it is probably now unethical "to tell any expectant parent –– adoptive or biological –– that they can take part in a closed adoption, because with the Web, you can't know that."
"Collegeville family ensnared in Russian adoption controversy," an article in
philly.com on April 23, told the story of a family that adopted two boys, both teenagers, from Russia. One boy decided to return to Russia, where he was featured on the news criticizing his parents and his experience in the U.S. Pertman is quoted as saying that one reason cases like this receive so much attention is that Russia focuses a spotlight on them while other nations may not. "If it happens to a Russian adoptee," he says, "we know it."
June 20, 21 & 28 – David Brodzinsky, Research & Project Director, will discuss "Identity and loss in adopted adolescence: Helping parents help their children" at a June 20 workshop in Clovis, CA sponsored by
Aspiranet and the Fresno County Department of Children and Family Services. He will present "Preparing and supporting the adoption of older and special needs children" the next day in Madera, CA. On the 28th, he will discuss the "Inner world of adopted children: Professional and parenting implications" at a workshop in Visalia, CA.
About the Donaldson Adoption Institute
Since its establishment in 1996, the 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 website is a popular and reliable source for accurate adoption information. Re-read our past e-Newsletters.
Support Our Work
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
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