Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute e-Newsletter - If you have problems reading this issue, please visit: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org
DECEMBER 2005 E-NEWSLETTER
IN THIS ISSUE
1. Law, Policy & Practice
5. Institute Update
1. Law, Policy & Practice
ROMANIA WON'T ALLOW ADOPTION OF CHILDREN ALREADY IN 'PIPELINE'|
The Romanian government announced on Dec. 7 that it will not permit the completion of the approximately 1,700 intercountry adoptions that were begun before the country banned the adoption of its children by foreigners on Jan. 1, 2005. About 200 of these so-called "pipeline cases" involved children who were awaiting adoption by American parents. The U.S. State Department expressed "deep concern" about Romania's action and welcomed a vote by the European Parliament that supported the resolution of these cases. In 2001, under pressure from the European Union, Romania imposed a moratorium on foreign adoptions and, in 2004, banned the practice except by relatives; that ban went into effect at the start of this year. To read a State Department article on the issue, go to: http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-
livefeeds/wf-latest.html; to read an article on Romania's ban, go to: http://www.daily-news.ro/article_detail.php?idarticle=20232
UKRAINE TO ACCEPT ADOPTION DOSSIERS FOR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN ONLY
The U.S. Embassy in Kiev has been informed by the Ukrainian government that new adoption dossiers will be accepted only for U.S. citizens applying to adopt Ukrainian children who are 10 years or older, siblings of previously adopted children, or handicapped children. The National Adoption Center of Ukraine (NAC) announced that because of the large number of outstanding post-adoption reports (558 for the period 1996-2003), the suspension of all other adoption dossiers - instituted in September - would remain in effect. In July, the U.S. government urged minimal disruption of intercountry adoptions as the Ukrainian government implemented new policies and established a government center for adoptions. To read the Embassy notice, go to: http://kiev.usembassy.gov/amcit_adoptions_eng.html
N.J. SENATE PASSES BILL GIVING ADULT ADOPTEES ACCESS TO THEIR RECORDS
The New Jersey senate on Dec. 6 passed a bill (S1093) that would allow adopted adults, 18 years or older, access to their original birth records; the statute also would apply to the adoptees' direct descendents or adoptive parents of minors who were adopted. In addition, the bill would allow birth parents to state their preference on whether they want contact, and allow them not to reveal their names and addresses. The bill was endorsed by the state Assembly's Family, Women and Children's Services Committee on Dec. 8 with the following amendments: $1 million in appropriations to publicize the bill, a fine of $1,000 if contact is made with a birth parent requesting non-disclosure or no contact, and for the law to be effective two (instead of one) years after enactment. The Senate has not yet acted on the amended version of the legislation. To access the Senate bill and status, go to: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/Default.asp and search for S1093 in the bill search field; to read an article on the bill, go to: http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?
AID=/20051209/NEWS01/512090366/1006 ; to read the Adoption Institute's October letter to New Jersey lawmakers in support of the original Assembly bill, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/pressrelease/20051019_Letter_NJ.html
CANADA MEASURE WOULD SIMPLIFY CITIZENSHIP FOR ADOPTEES BORN ABROAD
Legislation was introduced in Canada's House of Commons last month that would amend the Citizenship Act of 1977 to "reduce the distinctions in eligibility for citizenship between adopted foreign children and children born abroad of Canadian parents." The bill (C-76) would allow a child adopted from overseas to obtain citizenship after an adoption was finalized, and would eliminate the current need to obtain permanent residency prior to being naturalized. Adoptive parents could still go through the immigration application process if they choose. The amendment, if passed, would go into force immediately. To read bill C-76, go to: http://www.parl.gc.ca/38/1/parlbus/chambus/house/bills/government/C-76/C-76_1/
C-76_cover-E.html; to read an article about the bill from the Toronto Star, go to: http://www.thestar.com/
BELGIUM APPEARS POISED TO GIVE SAME-SEX COUPLES THE RIGHT TO ADOPT
The lower house of Belgium's parliament approved a measure in November that would give same-sex couples the right to adopt children domestically or internationally. According to a Dec. 1 Reuters report, the bill also would give children of homosexual couples the same rights to inheritance and succession as those of heterosexual couples. The bill needs to be approved by the Belgium Senate in order for it to become a law; that is expected to take place in March 2006. If it does, Belgium will become the third European Union member state (along with Spain and Sweden) to grant gay couples equal rights in adoption. To read the Reuters article, go to: http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2005-12-
U.S. CONTINUES REVIEW OF HAGUE REGULATIONS, BUT NO FINAL DATE SET
The U.S. State Department announced last month that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has concluded its review of the regulations on the preservation of Hague convention records (22 CFR Part 98), and is continuing to review the final Hague regulations on accreditation and approval of adoption service providers (22 CFR Part 96). The proposed regulations to implement the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 and the Hague Convention on intercountry adoptions were submitted to OMB on Aug. 30 for review. Although the 90 day review period has ended, the State Department notice stated that no publication date for the final regulations has been set. To read the State Department notice, go to: http://travel.state.gov/family/adoption/implementation/implementation_2641.html
UNICEF, CITING PROGRESS, SEES NEED FOR MORE HELP FOR TSUNAMI ORPHANS |
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported that many of the children who lost parents as a result of the December 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia have been placed with family members or within their communities. But it also said that governments need to develop mechanisms to support foster families caring for orphans, and better solutions need to be provided for those children placed in institutions and orphanages. "Children and the Tsunami, A Year On," published in November, reports that governments are developing community-based foster care, but many children still remain in orphanages. Sri Lanka passed legislation to provide financial support for affected foster families, but in Indonesia no legal recognition of foster care arrangements exists. To read the summary, go to: http://www.unicef.org/emerg/disasterinasia/files/WhatWorked.pdf; to read the full one-year update on UNICEF's tsunami efforts, "Building Back Better," go to: http://www.unicef.org/emerg/disasterinasia/files/TSUNAMI_E_BOOK_spreads.pdf ; to read the Adoption Institute's policy brief on the issue, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/publications/policybriefs.html
COURT STATISTICS INDICATE SLIGHT RISE IN U.S. ADOPTIONS IN LAST DECADE
There were 127,407 adoptions in the U.S. in 2001, about 50,000 of which were public agency adoptions and about 19,000 were international adoptions, according to estimated court statistics. However, it is unknown how many of the 2001 numbers were stepparent adoptions, which made up 42 percent of the 126,951 adoptions in 1992. "Adoptions, 2000-2001," by Victor Flango and Mary Caskey, will be published in the next issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 8, Issue 4). In their analysis, the authors said that although total numbers of adoptions are available through the courts in 40 states, the types of these adoptions are unclear. Some international adoptions are not processed in U.S. courts, and therefore are not represented in the total number of annual adoptions reported in this study. The authors report that data outside of AFCARS has declined in the past 15 years, and they recommend that private agencies and other adoption practitioners report statistics to AFCARS, a process that is encouraged but not mandated in federal law. To access a free abstract, go to: https://www.haworthpress.com/store/ArticleAbstract.asp?
CALIFORNIA STUDY FINDS FEW ADOPTIVE PARENTS RECEIVE PREPARATION
A California study of 1,219 adoptions of all types analyzes preparation services provided to parents, finding that fewer than half of all families received general preparation (talking with adoptive parents, counseling, reading material). "Adoption Preparation: Differences between Adoptive Families of Children with and without Special Needs," by Leslie Wind, Devon Brooks and Richard Barth, will be published in the next issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 8, Issue 4). The most common type of preparation received was birth history information (72 percent) and family background information (68 percent). Only 19 percent talked with other adoptive parents and 26 percent attended pre-adoptive counseling. The study revealed that preparation services varied on a number of family characteristics, particularly kinship status. Kin were less likely to receive general and behavioral preparation and more likely to receive biological (medical, birth history, etc.) preparation. To access a free abstract, go to: https://www.haworthpress.com/store/ArticleAbstract.asp?
MOST IN CANADA SURVEY FAVOR BIRTHFATHERS' REARING OVER ADOPTION
A Canadian study using 82 qualitative interviews and 706 phone surveys found that the majority favored a birthfather raising his child, rather than adoption, when the birthmother was unable to parent; however, most believed the choice of adoption, if agreed to by the birth father, was a responsible and caring decision. "Community Attitudes toward Birth Fathers' Motives for Adoption Placement and Single Parenting," by Charlene Miall and Karen March, was published in the October 2005 issue of Family Relations (Volume 54, Issue 4). Most respondents perceived fatherhood and a father's attachment to his child as learned, compared to the perception of motherhood as instinctive. Qualitative interviews revealed more negative stereotypes and judgmental comments about birthfathers among women than men. The authors recommend more research to explore the impact of stereotypes of fatherhood on adoption policies and practices. To access a free abstract, go to: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1741-3729.2005.00341.x
RESEARCHERS SUGGEST PROCESSING INFERTILITY ISSUES AIDS IN ADOPTION
"Becoming Parents in the Context of Loss," by Lynne Cudmor, shows the complexity of emotions that individuals and couples experience during the course of infertility treatments - with a roller coaster of feelings including anger, frustration, helplessness, guilt, shame, envy, longing and sadness. The study, published in the August 2005 issue of Sexual and Relationship Therapy (Volume 20, Issue 3), was based on clinical experience at the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships in London. The authors write that adoptive placements often stir up feelings related to infertility and, as a consequence, they recommend that couples communicate and process the pain of their infertility to make psychic room to welcome an adopted child into the family. For a free abstract, go to: http://www.journalsonline.tandf.co.uk/
MAJORITY REPORT OPEN ADOPTIONS FROM MARSHALL ISLANDS ARE POSITIVE
A study of openness in 44 families reporting on 53 adoption experiences (64 total children) from the Marshall Islands reports that 81 percent of mothers and 70 percent of fathers viewed the impact of the open adoption on their family as positive. Most others viewed it as equally positive and negative. "Openness in International Adoptions: A Study of U.S. Parents Who Adopted Children from the Marshall Islands," by Jini Roby, Jamie Wyatt and Gregory Pettys, was published in the most recent issue of Adoption Quarterly (Volume 8, Issue 3). The majority of respondents (52 percent) maintained the level of contact initially agreed upon; 19 percent had increased and 28 percent had decreased contact. Much of the reason for decreased contact was difficulty contacting families in rural areas without a mail system. Results do not represent all adoptions from the Marshall Islands, since a minority of families responded to the survey. To access a free abstract, go to: https://www.haworthpress.com/store/ArticleAbstract.asp?
PARENTS BY DONOR INSEMINATION REPORTEDLY TEND TOWARD SECRECY
An article on the RESOLVE website reports on qualitative comments of 150 donor insemination (DI) parents surveyed in a San Francisco study, indicating that most who undergo DI do not plan to tell their offspring. "Secrecy: The Unresolved Dilemma of Donor Insemination," by Robert Nachtigall and Gay Becker, summarizes parental views ranging from those who plan to disclose to their children (most of whom cite their children's right to know as the reason) to parents who want total secrecy, often to avoid social stigma, explanations and judgments. Some wives said they choose non-disclosure out of deference to their husbands' wishes. To access this report, go to: http://www.resolve.org/site/PageServer?pagename=pubs_pubs_sec
PAKISTAN OFFERS SPECIAL FACILITIES, NOT ADOPTION, FOR QUAKE ORPHANS|
The Pakistan government has imposed a blanket prohibition on the adoption of children who lost parents in the earthquake that devastated the region in early October, according to a Dec. 16 article published in Arab News. "Pakistan Bans Adoption of Quake Orphans," by Azhar Masood, reported that the thousands of affected orphans will be cared for by the state, which has allocated 12.93 million rupees to maintain them in special villages. A related story published by Reuters on Dec. 5, "Pakistan Protects Quake Orphans, Destitute Women," said children who enter the project will be schooled up to college and assured of jobs thereafter. More than 73,000 people were killed in the Oct. 8 earthquake, and an estimated 5,000 children were orphaned. To read the Arab News article, go to: http://www.arabnews.com/?
page=4§ion=0&article=74784&d=16&m=12&y=2005; to read the Reuters report, go to: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/SP170648.htm
BABY-SELLING SCANDAL LEADS CHINESE TO SUSPEND SOME ADOPTIONS
The Chinese government has temporarily halted adoptions in some counties of Hunan Province in the wake of reports of a baby trafficking ring discovered by authorities there in late November. According to a Dec. 21 article published in the (Toronto) Globe and Mail, "China Suspends Some Adoptions," by Geoffrey York and Estanislao Oziewicz, Chinese authorities affirm that foreign adoptions remain open in Hunan province, a region from which a large number of children are adopted internationally. The suspects in the baby-selling scandal reportedly bought and sold at least 100 children to orphanages and child-welfare institutions in Hunan. To read the article, go to: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20051215/
RUSSIAN OFFICIALS CHARGED IN DEATHS OF CHILDREN ADOPTED TO U.S.
Several Russian officials involved in the adoption of Russian children who died after being adopted by Americans were accused of "fraud and power abuse," according to a Dec. 19 article published on MosNews.com. "Russian Officials Charged in Connection with Deaths of Adopted Children in U.S." said that criminal cases were opened in the cities of Irkutsk, Perm and Kurgan following inspections at the Russian offices of foreign adoption agencies. The prosecutors reported that 31 of the 52 foreign organizations "received accreditation in violation of current legislation." To read the full article, go to:
MADAGASCAR ESTABLISHES CENTRAL AUTHORITY TO PROCESS ADOPTIONS
The Madagascar Parliament, in response to child trafficking reports that prompted the suspension of all adoptions in December 2004, has passed a law requiring all applications for adoptions be processed through a central authority. "Madagascar Tries to Clean up Corrupt Adoption," published Dec. 21 by Reuters, reported that the change - enacted in September - would make it harder for foreign couples to adopt, but would make the process more transparent. Critics of the new law argue it has created "bureaucratic bottlenecks," leaving more children to grow up without families. To read the article, go to: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?
U.S. CHILDREN'S BUREAU OFFERS ARRAY OF NEW FEATURES ON WEBSITE|
The Children's Bureau has launched a website with new features, including a Child and Family Services Reviews page with key findings, state assessments and Program Improvement Plans. Also under Child Welfare Monitoring/ Reports and Results is a Promising Approaches webpage, which offers brief descriptive information on 40 projects in 23 states. In addition, the entire website has been revamped with new sections (Training and Technical Assistance, Statistics and Research, Frequently Requested Information, and Federal and State Reporting Systems) as well as improved ability to search by topic. The upgraded website is available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb
FACT SHEET EXPLAINS `STANDBY GUARDIANSHIP,' NOW IN 21 STATES AND D.C.
A fact sheet describing the purpose and provisions of "standby guardian" laws throughout the U.S. is available at the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse. The brief, "Standby Guardianship," is one of the State Statutes Series 2005 summaries. These statutes have been developed in 21 states and Washington, D.C., to allow terminally ill parents to designate guardians for their children in case of their deaths or incapacitation; many of the laws allow for parents to share authority with the guardians when they are too ill to fully parent. To access this fact sheet, go to: http://naic.acf.hhs.gov/general/legal/statutes/guardianship.pdf
WEBPAGE FOCUSES ON EDUCATIONAL NEEDS OF VULNERABLE CHILDREN
The Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues offers a webpage focusing on the educational needs of vulnerable children, including foster children. This resource can be searched by topic or by state and includes studies and reports, model interagency agreements between Boards of Education and child welfare agencies, legislation, training materials and advocacy resources. To access, go to: http://www.abanet.org/child/rclji/education/home.html
5. Institute Update||
INSTITUTE JOINS CWLA IN SUPPORTING GAY FOSTER PARENTS IN ARKANSAS|
The Adoption Institute signed a friend of the court (amicus) brief with the Child Welfare League of America, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Dec. 19, asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to uphold a lower court decision on gay and lesbian adoption in the state. The lower court struck down the state's 1999 regulation banning homosexuals, or any family with a gay member in its household, from becoming foster parents. The amicus brief explained that such categorical bans, like the one in Arkansas, deprive children of qualified caregivers. To read the earlier court decision, go to: http://www.aclu.org/LesbianGayRights/LesbianGayRights.cfm?ID=17242&c=104
QUESTIONS RAISED ABOUT EFFECTIVENESS OF IOWA'S `SAFE HAVEN' STATUTE
In a Dec. 25 article published in the DesMoine Register, "Newborns' Haven Law Gets Little Publicity," by Bonnie Harris, Executive Director Adam Pertman asserts that 'safe haven' laws can "encourage women to discard their babies anonymously, without providing any medical identity for the child." Pertman's comments, based on the Institute's study "Unintended Consequences," reflect research that indicates women who unsafely abandon their babies tend not to be the ones who utilize safe haven laws. To read the full article, go to: http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051225/NEWS10/512250374/1011; to read the Institute study on this issue, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/whowe/lastreport_coverpage.html
OUTDATED ASSUMPTIONS FUEL CHALLENGES TO FINDING FAMILIES FOR TEENS
A Dec. 9 article in the New York Times, by Fernanda Santos, examines efforts to promote adoptions in New York City for the growing number of foster teens in public care. In "Painful Reality TV; Show Reflects Urgent Push for Teenage Adoption," Pertman attributes some of the challenges to finding permanent, loving families for teens to the outdated perception that "kids who were in the double-digit age brackets were unadoptable." To read the article for a fee, go to: http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40E10FE3A550C7A8CDDAB0994DD404482
TWO NPR PROGRAMS EXAMINE ADOPTION FROM A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE
Two National Public Radio programs examined adoption issues in December, and the Institute's Executive Director appeared on both. A one-hour segment of the nationally broadcast "Talk of the Nation" focused on the personal experiences of adoptive parents, while "Morning Stories" on Boston-based WGBH featured Pertman's account of his own journey from journalist to head of the Adoption Institute. To listen to "Talk of the Nation," go to: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5070121; to listen to the "Morning Stories" segment, go to: http://www.digitalpodcast.com/detail-wgbh_morning_stories-426.html and click on "My Kids WGBH Podcast."
UPCOMING EVENTS: JANUARY ONE-DAY EVENT, MARCH SIBLINGS CONFERENCE
The Adoption Institute is co-sponsoring a full-day event, "Adoption: The Spiritual Journey for the Human Family," on Saturday, Jan. 19, at Saint Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in New York. For more details, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/200601_nyc_humanfamily.pdf.
On March 16-17, 2006, the Adoption Institute joins the Kinship Center and the Berger Institute for Work, Family and Children in cosponsoring a major national conference entitled "Biology and Beyond: Sibling Issues in Adoption and Foster Care." Attendance at the event, which is primarily for professionals, will be limited. For more information or to register, go to: http://www.kinshipcenter.org/biology_and_beyond_conference.html
START THE NEW YEAR BY SUPPORTING OUR UNIQUE, IMPORTANT WORK
The Institute's Board and staff want to sincerely thank all of you who helped make our programs and projects possible in 2004 - and we invite you to start the New Year by renewing your commitment to the unique work that we do every day. Contribute through the end of January, and you can still receive the latest edition of the Adoption Institute's print newsletter, "Inside the Institute." More important, your generous support will enable us to achieve substantive improvements in the lives of millions of children and families in a host of ways - from cutting edge projects on identity, siblings and birth parents in adoption, to advocacy for better laws and practices, to our innovate Educate the Educators and Educate the Media programs. To donate to the Institute and to read the Executive Director's report from "Inside the Institute," go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/donate.html
6. About the Evan D. 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.
Our award-winning web site, www.adoptioninstitute.org, is a popular and reliable source for accurate adoption information. Read past e-Newsletters at http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/newsletter/archive.html.
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