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ADOPTION INSTITUTE WELCOMES APRIL DINWOODIE AS NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE
Adoption Institute appointed April Dinwoodie, who had been a member of the Institute's Board since 2010, to the newly created position of Chief Executive in October. Dinwoodie will drive DAI's strategic direction and growth with Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Institute since 2002, and now President. Dinwoodie's primary responsibilities are operations, communications and development; she brings a wealth of experience with adoption and foster care issues, as well as marketing expertise, to the Institute. "As an adoptee, taking on this new leadership role at DAI is an honor and deeply personal," said Dinwoodie. To learn more about April, visit
her website and read an article she co-authored in NACAC's fall 2013 Adoptalk,
"What My White Parents Didn't Know and Why I Turned Out OK Anyway."
The next newsletter, a combined December-January issue will be published in January 2014. We are also working on a new website which will be revealed early in the new year.
GOVERNMENT OFFERS SUPPORT, RESOURCES FOR NATIONAL ADOPTION MONTH
The White House issued a
Presidential Proclamation for National Adoption Month, 2013 on Oct. 31, asserting that "Every young person deserves the chance to learn and grow under the care of a loving family." President Obama noted that his administration is "calling for an end to discriminatory barriers that keep children from loving and stable homes" and "working across all levels to eliminate roadblocks to adoption and encourage cooperation" among organizations involved in the process. On Nov. 13, the Senate agreed to a resolution
(SRes294) introduced by Sen. Landrieu (D-LA) in support of National Adoption Day and Month. Rep. Maloney (D-NY) introduced a similar resolution
(HRes 407) on Nov. 12 that remains in committee; unlike the Senate version, the House resolution states that "discrimination against potential foster or adoptive parents based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status is not in the best interests of children in the foster care system" and "encourages the implementation of inclusive adoption policies that allow a growing number of diverse families to adopt." The Senate language references intercountry adoption as "promot[ing] permanency and stability," while the House version does not.
The Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau
National Adoption Month websiteoffers resources relating to its theme, "Partnering for Permanency," which "emphasizes the partnerships necessary to create permanency." National Adoption Month "raise[s] awareness about the urgent need for adoptive families for children and youth in foster care," has been celebrated for 18 years, and is a joint initiative of
AdoptUSKids and the
Child Welfare Information Gateway.
In Nov. 1 remarks on National Adoption Month, Secretary of State John Kerry said intercountry adoption "can help find [children] a loving home abroad" when family reunification and domestic adoption are not options. He added that "ethical and transparent intercountry adoption is a critical part of the international children's welfare system."
CONGRESS TAKES STEPS TO ADDRESS 'RE-HOMING' OF ADOPTED CHILDREN
Reps. Langevin (D-RI) and Bass (D-CA) co-hosted a congressional briefing on Nov. 21 to "focus on why adoptions break down, what happens to children that are re-homed, and what tools the federal and state governments have to secure the well-being of these children." Speakers included: Megan Twohey, Reuters reporter and author of "The Child Exchange;" JooYeun Chang, Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau, Department of Health and Human Services; Joe Kroll, Executive Director, North American Council on Adoptable Children; and Janice Goldwater, Executive Director, Adoptions Together.
In response to Reuters' "re-homing" articles, Langevin introduced
HR3423 on Oct. 30. The legislation would: 1) add to Title IV-B, the purpose to "promote efforts to prevent children from entering the foster care system through the provision of pre- and post-adoptive support services;" 2) expand the definition of adoption support services in Title IV-B to support adoptions from other countries, in addition to domestic adoptions; 3) require states to spend at least 20 percent of savings from the Title IV-E/AFDC delink on pre- and post-adoptive support services; 4) provide grants for post-adoption mental health service programs for all adopted children; 5) require states to collect and report disruption and dissolution data; and 6) require GAO to report on "how children are advertised online for adoption," how home studies and pre-adoptive training of prospective parents vary, the availability of quality post-adoption support; and "the reasons for adoption disruptions and dissolutions, and for the sending of adopted children to live with new families without notice to the appropriate authorities." The legislation, which does not call for increased funding, has six cosponsors and was referred to the Committees on Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce.
Additionally, on Oct. 29, 18 members, led by Rep. Langevin, submitted a
letter to the House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee regarding "re-homing," calling for an oversight hearing, an investigation and a federal agency examination. Also on Oct. 29, Sen. Wyden (D-OR) submitted a
letter to the Departments of Justice, State, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services requesting that they review relevant laws regarding "re-homing" and make recommendations about standards and enforcement.
STATE DEPARTMENT: INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION CONTINUING IN THE PHILIPPINES
According to a Nov. 18 State Department Notice,
"Typhoon Haiyan – Message for U.S. prospective adoptive parents," intercountry adoption processes "are functioning in the Philippines at this time." The Notice advised that prospective adoptive parents who have been matched with a child by the Philippine Intercountry Adoption Board (ICAB) should work with their adoption service provider (ASP) and ICAB to obtain any updates on the child's welfare. ICAB "also indicated that prospective adoptive parents awaiting a matching proposal should not be affected by the typhoon recovery efforts." ICAB, with the Department of Social Development and Welfare, is attempting to confirm the location and welfare of children residing in orphanages in affected areas. The Notice states that U.S. citizens interested in adopting from the Philippines should contact a U.S. Hague-accredited ASP that also has been authorized by ICAB, for information about the intercountry adoption process.
RESEARCH FINDS USE OF POST-ADOPTION SERVICES VARIES BY ADOPTION TYPE
Using data on 1,288 adoptions from the National Survey of Adoptive Parents, researchers compared the desire for and use of post-adoption services across three types of adopters, finding that a larger proportion of international adopters (51%) reported meeting with agency staff to discuss post-adoption services than did foster care non-kin (37%) or kin (30%) adopters. (Unrelated foster care adopters were more likely than others to report that they wanted mental health or family counseling services.)
"Post-adoption Service Need and Access: Differences between International, Kinship and Non-kinship Foster Care", by Darcey Merritt and Trudy Festinger, is in the December issue of Children and Youth Services Review (Volume 35, Issue 12). Overall, foster care kin adopters reported lower usage and less desire for services than non-kin foster care adopters, with a few exceptions – relative foster care adopters were more than twice as likely to report wanting, but not getting, an adult support group and a mentor for their child than other foster care adopters (25% vs. 10% for both services). Read the Institute's
"Keeping the Promise" on the need for post-adoption services.
LEGAL REVIEW FOCUSES ON PRIVACY RIGHTS IN USING SOCIAL MEDIA FOR SEARCH
"Use of Social Media in Post-Adoption Search and Reunion," by Ann Haralambie, in the current issue of Capital University Law Review (Volume 41, Issue 2), reviews court rulings relating to privacy rights and the use of social media for search and reunion. The author explores whether there is tort liability for an unwelcome search, reporting that there are no known court holdings on these grounds, but attorneys have sent "cease and desist" letters to some searchers. She suggests that adopted persons and their birth families share a history, so they have "the right to explore and communicate that history without being found to have abridged the privacy of the other." Read the Institute's report,
"Untangling the Web," about the impact of the Internet and social media on adoption.
ANALYSIS IDENTIFIES SOCIAL JUSTICE CONCERNS IN INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS
"Social Justice and Intercountry Adoptions: The Role of the U.S. Social Work Community," by Jini Roby, Karen Rotabi and Kelley Bunkers, in the current issue of Social Work (Volume 58, Issue 4), analyzes the structural barriers to socially just intercountry adoptions (ICA). They contrast the U.S. system for ICA (prospective adoptive parents pay fees to agencies to facilitate) to the European, Australian and most Canadian provincial systems, in which a centralized government agency facilitates ICA as a public service, noting that the U.S. demand-driven orientation exacerbates social justice concerns. Some other barriers discussed include the power disparity between sending and receiving countries, perceptions regarding poverty, cultural incompetence and profit motive. The authors underscore the responsibility of U.S. social workers to uphold and promote social justice in the pr ocess. Read the Institute's
"A Changing World" report on intercountry adoption.
STUDY REPORTS COMPARABLE ADJUSTMENT BY HONG KONG ADOPTEES AND PEERS
An English study of 72 women who were adopted from Hong Kong in the 1960s found that they showed comparable mental health adjustment to both non-adopted, age-matched UK women and to non-orphanage adopted women.
"The British Chinese Adoption Study: Orphanage Care, Adoption and Mid-life Outcomes", by Alan Rushton et al., is in the November issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Volume 54, Issue 11). Researchers also reported that interviews revealed that many women had faced challenges, some linked to their international adoptions and some unrelated, and that those reporting "low care" from both adoptive parents (20%) had poorer psychological adjustments.
During the week of Nov. 4, Today featured a segment titled,
"Choosing Adoption," to help raise awareness of National Adoption Month. The segment featured a variety of stories documenting and celebrating stories of adoption. The features included a successful open adoption, the challenges of adoption, Dr. Nancy Snyderman sharing the adoption story of her 27-year-old daughter, and a documentary on the experiences of a couple adopting a baby.
RUSSIAN SURVEY RESPONDENTS BACK DOMESTIC ADOPTION, BUT NOT BY THEM
A Nov. 13 article in The Moscow Times,
"Few Russians Would Consider Adoption, Poll Says" by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, reports on a new national survey that found most Russians believe that orphans should be adopted by Russian families, but only 16 percent are willing to bring a child into their homes. The article states that insufficient income, a lack of government support and poor housing conditions are the principal reasons for the apparent lack of willingness. The number of domestic adoptions, however, is expected to more than double this year, from 6,600 to about 15,000, indicating that government measures to boost domestic adoptions may be showing results.
ADOPTION EFFORTS AIMED AT EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS REPORTEDLY SUCCESSFUL
A Nov. 14 New York Times article by Maggie Jones,
"God called them to adopt. And adopt. And adopt," and a Nov.3 Time article,
"Foster in the City: A church movement to give every child a home," by Elizabeth Dias, both report the growing trend of evangelical Christians adopting children. According to the Times article, dozens of evangelical and conservative Christian parents adopt as a result of church sermons, Christian radio shows or other religious campaigns, including Focus on the Family's national foster-to-adopt program. Some Christian leaders and other critics, however, worry that such promotions neglect the hardest part of adoption: ultimately parenting the children. The Time article covers a church movement, Foster the City, in Washington, D.C., based on an everyone-can-do-something model to broaden mindsets about how to care for children in need.
PLEASE HELP DAI MEET 2014 ADOPTION POLICY AND PRACTICE CHALLENGES
The issues that have faced the adoption community in 2013 have been staggering. From Russia's decision to end all adoptions to the U.S., to congressional action on the Adoption Incentives program, from the complex and heart-wrenching case of Baby Veronica, to the disconcerting revelations of "re-homing," this has been a difficult and demanding year.
2014 likely will be just as demanding, and DAI promises to once again be at the forefront with solid research and effective advocacy. To meet new challenges, as well as our on-going projects, DAI's agenda for the year ahead is necessarily ambitious. And it will require additional staffing and resources. The Board has bolstered our leadership team with the recent addition of April Dinwoodie as Chief Executive, but we also need your help to maintain and expand our work.
If you already are a supporter, we ask you to match or increase your gift this year. And if you have been considering becoming a donor, now is the time. The easiest way is on our
website, using the "Donate" button, or if you prefer, please mail your check to 120 E. 38th Street, New York, NY 10016.
Institute President Adam Pertman was also featured in a Nov. 3 CNN segment,
"U.S. children being adopted overseas," which examined the increasing rate of American children being adopted abroad, including to the Netherlands. Pertman was quoted as saying that "American children being adopted outside the U.S is not a prevalent phenomenon, but it is one that occurs with some regularity."
On Nov. 6, ABC News ran the story
"Same-Sex Adoptions Next Frontier for LGBT Advocates," which discussed the challenges faced by LGBT couples attempting to adopt. Pertman was quoted as saying, "The research is unequivocal that lesbians and gays make good parents [so] … when kids need homes, there is zero reason not to do this."
On Nov. 7, Christian Post ran a commentary
"A Need to Know," by Pertman and Institute Project Director David Brodzinsky discussing the growing need for mental health practitioners to become more competent in adoption issues. They cited the Institute's recent publication
"A Need to Know: Enhancing Adoption Competence among Mental Health Professionals," which makes recommendations for improving clinical services to adopted persons, birth/first parents, adoptive parents, and other members of the extended family of adoption.
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.
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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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