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SIGN UP FOR FEB. 1 WEBINAR: LAYERS OF TRAUMA FOR HAITI'S ORPHANS
Bruce D. Perry M.D., Ph.D., Senior Fellow at The ChildTrauma Academy, will discuss the many traumas children coming home from the orphanages in Haiti may experience. This free webinar is intended for families who are already waiting or have already received placement under the expedited U.S. program, as well as for professionals who work with these families. To learn more about the webinar or to register, go to: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/416498451. To read the Adoption Institute's report on helping children after a natural disaster or to donate to Haiti relief, go to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org and follow the links at the top-right of the page.
IRELAND SUSPENDS VIETNAM ADOPTIONS UNTIL HAGUE TREATY IS RATIFIED
The Irish government has suspended its adoption program from Vietnam until both countries have ratified the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, according to an article by Carol Coulter in The Irish Times on Jan. 15. Ireland's concerns about the program reportedly are based on uncertainty about the role of foreign demand for adoptable orphans and unresolved questions about some of the agencies involved. The article, "State Decision Suspends Adoptions from Vietnam," quoted the Irish Minister of State for Children as saying the government had halted negotiations on a bilateral adoption agreement with Vietnam, effectively halting the program – and meaning everyone, including families already in the process, would be affected. To read the story, go to:
SOUTH CAROLINA BECOMES LATEST STATE TO START PUTATIVE FATHER REGISTRY
A new registry for men who believe they have fathered a child could shorten waits to adopt children from the South Carolina foster care system, according to a Jan. 3 Associated Press story, "SC Hopes New Father Registry Could Speed Adoptions." Prior to the establishment of the registry, newspaper ads ran for three weeks alerting "unknown fathers" that their parental rights would be terminated if they did not come forward. South Carolina joins nearly three dozen other states with similar registries. To read the story, go to:
STEEP RISE IN NUMBER OF INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS HAS NOW REVERSED
"The Rise and Fall of Intercountry Adoption in the 21st Century," by Peter Selman, analyzes the dramatic changes in this type of adoption from 1998 to 2007, including a 42 percent global increase from 1998 to 2004, followed by a 17 percent decrease from 2004-2007. (The greatest declines were in the Scandinavian countries, Netherlands and Spain.) The article appears in the September 2009 issue of International Social Work (Volume 52, Issue 5). Declines were attributed primarily to changes in three sending countries (China, Russia, and Korea), and it is expected that in the future, Africa will be the only continent showing an increase in intercountry adoptions. Growth was attributed primarily to increased demand, while declines were attributed primarily to reduced availability of children from sending countries. To access an abstract, go to:
ASSESSMENT OF YOUTH IN CARE FINDS MOST WANT TO STAY WITH CAREGIVER
A longitudinal study of factors predicting youth in care's preferences regarding permanency found that approximately three years after the investigation, 44 percent wanted to stay with their current caregiver and be adopted, 23 percent wanted to stay in their current situations without adoption, and the other 33 percent did not want to stay. Most of these 268 youth were in kin care and their average age was 12. "Should I Stay or Should I Go? Children's Placement Preferences Longitudinally," by Darcey Merritt and Todd Franke, appears in the January issue of the Journal of Social Service Research (Volume 36, Issue 1). Some factors predicting greater preference to remain with caregivers included a secure bond, open communication, a personal sense of empowerment, and being non-white. To access an abstract, go to:
REVIEW IDENTIFIES REASONS LEGALLY AVAILABLE CHILDREN ARE NOT ADOPTED
A Connecticut review of children whose parental rights were terminated (TPR) identified risk factors for not being adopted, including older age, behavior problems, caseworker and placement changes after TPR, institutional placement, worker rejection of the foster home as a resource, and foster parent ambivalence (most often related to fear of losing resources). "Vulnerability to Foster Care Drift after the Termination of Parental Rights," by Gretta Cushing and Sarah Greenblatt, was published in the final 2009 issue of Research on Social Work Practice (Volume 19, Number 6). On average, it took children who were adopted over five years after initial placement – two years to filing of TPR, eight months to granting TPR, 30 months from TPR to filing adoption petition, and one month to grant the petition. To access an abstract, go to:
"Transracial Adoption by Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Couples: Who Completes Transracial Adoptions and With What Results?" by Rachel Farr and Charlotte Patterson, found transracial adoptions occurred more often among lesbian and gay couples than heterosexual couples and among interracial couples and those giving child-centered reasons for adopting. Assessments of child behavior problems by parents and teachers, along with measures of parenting stress and parenting behaviors, showed no significant differences between transracial and inracial adoptive families. The findings are limited by the children's young age – 3, on average.
"The Experiences of Gay Men and Lesbians in Becoming and Being Adoptive Parents," by Suzanne Brown, Susan Smalling, Victor Groza and Scott Ryan (the latter two are Institute Senior Fellows), presents qualitative data on barriers, challenges and joys encountered by 182 lesbian and gay adoptive parents. The most commonly reported challenges/barriers related to perceived discrimination and stigma. Over half reported societal bias as a barrier and one-quarter cited restrictive state laws and practices. Some (28%) reported struggling to identify a "gay friendly" agency. A second barrier cited was a lack of information and emotional support, including a lack of support from friends and family (reported by 24%).
MIXED RESPONSES TO CALLS FOR THE ADOPTION OF CHILDREN FROM HAITI
News accounts on how best to address the needs of children in the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated Haiti on Jan. 12 have included considerable debate. For instance, while the Catholic Archdiocese of Miami quickly called for a mass airlift to group homes in the U.S., this idea was rejected by relief organizations in order to avoid the effects of cumulative trauma. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. announced it would grant humanitarian parole to certain orphans in order to expedite already-approved adoptions from Haiti. Other nations are responding similarly by speeding up adoptions already "in the pipeline," while urging caution before proceeding with new adoptions. A sampling of the many stories on the crisis includes:
No Operation "Pierre Pan": Soon after the quake, the Catholic Archdiocese of Miami offered to airlift large numbers of children to the U.S., repeating the famous Operation Pedro Pan of the 1960s, according to a Jan. 20 story by Carol Marbin Miller in The Miami Herald. That airlift brought 14,000 children affected by the political upheaval in Cuba to group homes in the U.S. Haitian and American officials, however, decided most children would stay in Haiti as services return to avoid further trauma from relocation. To read the article, go to:
Other Nations Respond With Caution: Nations around the world had varying responses to the issue of post-quake adoption from Haiti as well. France said children already in the adoption process and matched to families would be carefully vetted before being evacuated. In Canada, the Quebec government put new adoption applications on hold while beginning to fast-track the evacuation of orphans scheduled before Jan. 12. The Netherlands and other nations with active adoption programs in Haiti moved within days to airlift children who had been matched to families. But countries that do not have adoption programs, such as Finland, deemed the situation in Haiti too unstable to begin one. For a sampling of the many relevant stories, go to:
ALP OFFERS FREE WEBINAR ON FEB. 1 ON TRAUMA ISSUES FOR HAITI ORPHANS
Adoption Learning Partners, partnering with several organizations including the Adoption Institute, is offering a webinar featuring child trauma expert Dr. Bruce Perry, Senior Fellow at The ChildTrauma Academy, for families who are awaiting or have already received placement of a Haitian orphan since the earthquake. Dr. Perry will cover the impact of multiple traumas, explain what parents can expect, and give advice on how to ease the transition for their child. Please note that this free webinar is intended for families in the process of adopting from Haiti prior to the earthquake and are therefore receiving an expedited placement of their child. This session will NOT cover the adoption process itself or address the concerns of those looking to start the process. To register, go to:
UPCOMING ADOPTION QUARTERLY ISSUE FOCUSES ON ADOPTIVE PARENT SURVEY
An upcoming special issue of Adoption Quarterly will feature articles examining data from the National Survey of Adoptive Parents (NSAP), the largest-scale national survey of its kind ever conducted. AQ publishes high-quality, scholarly articles focusing on adoption and adoption-related issues. Articles may include quantitative or qualitative research using primary or secondary data, systematic literature reviews, meta-analyses, and empirically supported/theory-driven position papers. To learn more about the journal, see guidelines for author submissions, sign up for a subscription, or order current or back issues, go to:
CWLA ENDS SUCCESSFUL NATIONAL CONFERENCE, WITH INSTITUTE SPEAKERS
The Child Welfare League of America held a successful national conference, "Children 2010: Leading a New Era," on Jan. 25-27 in Washington, D.C. The annual event offered invaluable, informative workshops highlighting evidence-based strategies in a broad range of areas including adoption, health care, homelessness, mental health, youth in transition, and others. Adoption Institute staff members – including Adam Pertman, David Brodzinsky, Susan Smith and Jeanne Howard – gave presentations based on the Institute's work in the "adoption track" of the conference. To learn more about the work of the CWLA, go to:
ADOPTION INSTITUTE PROVIDES INFORMATION, PERSPECTIVE ON HAITI CRISIS
Staff members of the Adoption Institute have been widely consulted by and quoted in the media about a range of issues relating to the treatment and adoption of Haitian children after the earthquake. A sampling of the scores of interviews is listed below, and more can be accessed by typing "Donaldson Adoption Institute" or "Pertman" in a news search engine.
"Haitian adoptions are not always the answer": In a Jan. 29 column in the Detroit News, Marney Rich Keenan asserts that many factors have to be taken into account in determining which children from Haiti should go to adoptive homes; she extensively quotes Institute Executive Director Adam Pertman, including his saying that "moving traumatized kids to a new foreign place may not be the best thing for them. We ought to do this in a thoughtful, methodical way." To read Keenan's column, go to:
"Haiti's Adoption Free-for-All": In this Jan. 25 featured blog in The Daily Beast, author Elizabeth Foy Larsen explains the complexities of figuring out which children in Haiti legitimately need adoption and which, for a variety of reasons, may not. She quotes Pertman in several regards, including his observation that Americans' intentions regarding these children are invariably well-intentioned. But he adds: "To think, 'I'll heal them and they'll have a better life here than in Haiti,' may be a noble instinct, but it may not be the best thing" for a given child. To read Larsen's piece, go to:
"Organizations Divided on Adoptions of Haitian Children": In this Jan. 21 article by Oscar Avila and Cynthia Dizikes in The Chicago Tribune, Jeanne Howard - a Policy Director for the Adoption Institute – reminds people that while "our human impulse to rescue is a profound one and an honorable one...what we think of as rescue can often compound the losses that children and cultures experience." To read the story, go to:
INSTITUTE FELLOW: STIGMA AND RACISM EXIST IN SOCIETY AND IN ADOPTION
An article in the January-February issue of POZ magazine, "Adoption Issues" by Glenn Townes, examines one HIV-positive man's successful quest to adopt his son. Ricky Stith was legally within his rights to adopt his foster child, but he had to defend his legal right to adopt due to lingering misconceptions that HIV automatically leads to a shortened life span. "Stigma, racism, discrimination and sexism exist in society, and they also exist in adoption," Devon Brooks, a Senior Research Fellow at the Adoption Institute, is quoted as saying in the article. "Adoption is a human services institution [and subject to human biases]. But discrimination based on race, gender and ability status are against the law." To read the story, go to:
ADOPTION INSTITUTE ADDS THREE NEW MEMBERS TO ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS
At the start of the New Year, the Institute added three professionals with strong adoption affiliations to its Board of Directors: Leslie Pate Mackinnon, a psychotherapist in Atlanta; Anne Chambers, the CEO and founder of RED212 in Cincinnati; and Jennifer Evans Montgomery, a financial industry executive in Chicago. All three were unanimously voted onto the Board and their terms were effective immediately. Current members of the Board and the staff of the Institute welcome these strong additions to our work, and look forward to their participation in and support of our important, unique programs and projects.
THANKS TO ALL WHO INCLUDED THE INSTITUTE IN YOUR YEAR-END GIVING
On behalf of everyone at the Adoption Institute – and the children and families in the U.S. and around the world who benefit from our work – please accept our heartfelt thanks for your support this year-end. Your gifts always make a tremendous difference to our ability to continue our work – including producing this e-newsletter – but are especially vital during the current economic downturn. It's not too late to donate; if you would still like to support the Institute's work, go to:
SUPPORT CONTINUES TO BUILD FOR EVENTS IN LOS ANGELES AND NEW YORK
The Adoption Institute's annual benefit in Los Angeles, "Celebrating...Our Families, Our Children," will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010. This year's event will honor Peter Levine of Creative Artists Agency, an adoptive father of two, a passionate advocate for children who need loving families, and an active supporter (and former Board member) of the Adoption Institute, as well as a founding member of the Institute's LA Advisory Council. Corporate sponsors include HBO; Kennedy/Marshall Company; Holding Pictures; and Ted Hartley, Dina Merrill Hartley and RKO Pictures. This year's Host Committee includes Shohreh Aghdashloo, Roger Altman and Jurate Kazickas, Dr. Jane Aronson, Kristin Chenoweth, Matt Donaldson and Julia Eisenman Donaldson, Michele Greene, Carla Gugino, Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Famke Janssen, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gina Ravera, Naomi Watts, Amy Pascal and Bernie Weinraub. Please contact Laura James at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 925-4089 for information on remaining sponsorship opportunities and on how to attend this always-fun and celebrity-filled event.
Our annual "Taste of Spring" benefit, the Institute's major fundraising event of the year, will be held on Thursday, May 13, 2010, at the Midtown Loft in New York City. Our Event Co-Chairs – Sandy McManus, Kim Donaldson, Hollis Forbes and Doug Mehne – are already hard at work lining up spectacular food and wine for this delicious event. Guests last year got to sample gourmet dishes prepared and served in person by master chefs Jean-Georges Vongrichten, David Burke, Jonathan Waxman and Zarela Martinez, while mingling with stars including Hugh Jackman, Bette Midler and Kristin Chenoweth. We hope you can join us for a festive and delicious evening in support of our unique, important work.
If attending a party is "not your thing," please consider helping our work go forward by:
Making a donation - and asking friends and relatives to honor birthdays and anniversaries with gifts to the Institute
Making a gift to the Institute in a loved one's honor or memory
Including the Institute in your estate plans
Using your contacts to introduce us to foundations, corporations and other sources of support
Making "in-kind" donations of computer equipment, air miles and hotel vouchers
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.
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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 online to: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/about/support.php,
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