Your Opportunity To Impact Adoptive Family Services – Please Take This Survey.

survey

Adoption Support Alliance is a nonprofit organization in Charlotte, North Carolina that was founded to support adoptive families.  They are conducting a survey of adoptive parents to learn more about how They can best meet families’ needs.  Please take ten minutes (or less) to share your thoughts with them. 

Adoption Support Alliance greatly appreciates your time and insights: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T7HLNYV (Please share and re-tweet this survey)

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There Are No Unwanted Children: Just Unfound Families

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Why the International Adoption Process Needs an Overhaul

Source: http://www.brownpoliticalreview.org

By Alexa Clark

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Year-long waits, onerous assessments, and disappointment—prospective adopters in developed countries have a lot to deal with when trying to adopt a child. The scarcity of adoptable children and rigor of the adoption processes in developed countries drive prospective adopters abroad in the hope of finding children to join their families. Due to the prevalence of disease, poverty, and abandonment as well as fledgling social safety nets, less developed countries often have many children in state care that are in pressing need of adoption. In the latter half of the 20th century, many of these countries welcomed international adoption. Under that system, children were matched with more affluent parents who could provide better lives for them than could be expected in the state system, and overcrowded state children’s homes were relieved of the difficulty of caring beyond their capacities.

While international adoption is an ideal solution for both the overcrowding of state childcare systems in developing countries and the difficulties of adopting children in developed ones, it’s currently on the decline. Intercountry adoption fell by 64 percent between 2004 and 2013 in the top 10 adopting countries, indicating a seismic shift away from the practice of adopting children abroad. While modest gains in health and income mean fewer children are orphaned and abandoned, these factors alone do not explain the huge shift away from intercountry adoption. Rather, the decline is the result of an international law that tightens the regulatory barriers to intercountry adoption, decreasing its attractiveness to prospective adopters and increasing negative sentiments towards international adoption in countries where it used to be common.

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Supporting Military Families in Adoption, by Laura Beauvais

By Laura Beauvais

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Military families have the potential to be outstanding adoptive families. They often have an incredible support network of friends. Military families tend to be flexible and adaptable and those are qualities that can help make great parents. The installments, where they often live, usually provide no-cost health care, including occupational, physical, and speech therapy, as well as counseling. Dental and vision care are usually provided with a co-pay. Even when military personnel move, the support systems are similar in the next location, so these families do not have to “relearn” what is available at the next location. If an adopted child has serious needs that cannot be met at an installation’s facilities, the military parent cannot be transferred to that installation, as outlined in the Exceptional Family Member Program.

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The Importance of Obtaining Certificates of Citizenship

citizenship1Nobody enjoys filing paperwork or paying filing fees, and for families that have completed an international adoption, they often think they have had more than enough of both. Fortunately, most international adoptions now result in a certificate of citizenship (COC) being issued without any additional process or fees. That has not always been the case, and still is not always so, especially in cases where the child was issued an IR-4/HR-4 visa. In these situations, the child does not automatically become a U.S. citizen, and the placement requires finalization here in the United States.

Obtaining a COC for any child adopted internationally is an important way to definitively establish and demonstrate citizenship. When the cost of COCs was significantly increasing last year, NCFA hosted a webinar led by McLane Layton and Christine Poarch. NCFA also made available a printable factsheet addressing FAQs about certificates of citizenship. These resources continue to be helpful to better understand this issue.

Adoptive families may ask, “Why would I pay for this if I already have proof of citizenship with a U.S. passport or state issued birth certificate?” Although there may be other ways and options to prove citizenship, the Certificate of Citizenship remains the most permanent and definitive way of doing so. Unlike passports, the certificate of citizenship never expires. State issued birth certificates are not always accepted as proof of citizenship, with issues raised if the name has changed or if the birth certificate lists a foreign place of birth.

Adoption professionals who have worked in this field for a number of years strongly advise a family to obtain a COC on behalf of their internationally adopted child. Sue Hollar, the Executive Director & CEO of The Barker Adoption Foundation, is a strong advocate of agencies working to ensure families have obtained COCs. She says, “Adoption agencies and adoptive families have an ethical and moral responsibility to these kids. At Barker, we hold a financial deposit from families and return it upon receiving a copy of the COC… No kid/adult should suffer the consequences of not having the documentation.”

NCFA strongly encourages adoption agencies to obtain copies of the certificate of citizenship as part of their post-adoption reporting. This practice will ensure that families are obtaining their COCs within a reasonable timeframe upon returning, instead of many years later when it may be more difficult for the adoptive family to locate required documentation.

The application for a COC is called the N-600 and can be accessed through USCIS’s website here.

For more family-oriented intercountry adoption resources, visit the Global Adoption section of NCFA’s blog.

The Scariest Special Need of All—Would You Adopt This Child?

Source: https://creatingafamily.org

By Dawn Davenport

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In my experience there is one special need that scares prospective adoptive parents the most. The one where even parents who have a wide range of acceptance for special needs will often say “no”. The special need that is preventing thousands of children from being adopted. That special need is being the victim of sexual abuse. Yes, that special need is actually being the victim of abuse!

Through no fault of their own these children have been sexually abused and are now being victimized again by the near universal fear of raising a child that has been sexually abused. Irony anyone?

I have been told by countless social worker that if the child has a record of sexual abuse in their file or a record of showing the symptoms of having been sexually abused, the chances of finding an adoptive family becomes infinitely harder. This breaks my heart.

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Education Adoption Information Sheet for Teachers and Parents

1af3b7297c9a9204dbfd667b3def62daDear Families and Educators,

The national Quality Improvement Center for Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation (QIC-AG) has developed a fact sheet about adoption tailored for  teachers. These fact sheets are designed to raise awareness about the unique needs of children who have been adopted, and to provide concrete tips on how these professionals can effectively work with these children.

The fact sheets can also be used by adoptive parents as tools for engaging their child’s teachers in understanding the unique needs of their child.

Download Ask About Adoption – Education Fact Sheet (PDF)

For more information contact:

Selena Childs
Clinical Associate Professor
UNC-CH School of Social Work
sbchilds@email.unc.edu
919-843-8144

Two Adoptees’ Stories: Two Perspectives on Growing Up Adopted

Source: http://www.rainbowkids.com

By Katie and Jacob

Meet Katie

feat_smMy name is Katelyn, and my family and friends call me Katie. I am a junior in high school in North Carolina, where I am at the top of my class academically (with a 4.4 GPA). I am also a competitive gymnast and have committed to a full Division I scholarship at a wonderful university in my state. What people don’t know about me is that I was adopted – adopted from Novosibirsk, Russia.

I often wonder, “When people hear that, what do they think of?” Lately I am afraid that too many negative things, worries, and concerns run through people’s minds. I’ve learned that many people, including me, have heard many negative stories about adoption, and not enough success stories.

This is why I am here to share mine.

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Setting Limits with Adopted Teens-If the Answer is No, Say No

Source: https://creatingafamily.org/

By Dawn Davenport

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I’ve noticed a trend in the last several year–parents afraid to discipline their adopted kids or unable to say “no” for fear of damaging their attachment or ego. At times I wonder if we’ve created a monster by all our emphasis on attachment, but I firmly believe that adopted children, actually all children, desperately need us to say no and set limits. Doing so is not in contradiction to creating attachment–in fact, setting limits supports attachment!

I recently read a book that I absolutely loved: Parenting in the Eye of the Storm: The Adoptive Parent’s Guide to Navigating the Teen Years by Katie Naftzger, an adoption therapist and adult adoptee. This book would be the perfect read for all adoptive parents with kids 8+.

I interviewed Ms.  Naftzger on a Creating a Family Radio show titled Adoptive Parent’s Guide to Navigating the Teen Years. She was preaching to the choir with me. So much so that I invited her to do this guest blog post.

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I just want her to be happy.

If I could make life easier for him, why wouldn’t I do that?

I don’t want him to feel abandoned. How could I say no?

She’s already been through so much!

Do any of these statements sound familiar? For adoptive parents of teens, setting limits is often complicated. Your teen has already been through a lot. At one point in time, their basic needs were probably compromised. Of course, a part of you would want to give them everything they needed and more, but there’s a cost.

Setting limits helps your teen to feel more prepared for young adulthood. It teaches responsibility and helps develop much-needed coping skills. It also helps them to trust you more. They want to know that you’ll do what’s right, even if it means standing up to them.

Here’s a work example:

I was sitting with an adoptive mom and 12 y/o daughter, finishing up our family therapy session. The daughter asked, “Mom, can we go and get a cupcake across the street?”

The mom grimaced. “Oh, sweetie, I don’t know. I don’t want you to be late for gymnastics. There might be a lot of traffic. Plus, you already had ice cream when we got home from school…” Her mom looked around the room and she trailed off.

Her daughter’s voice became shriller. “Mom, we’ll have of time to get there, I promise. I’m not going to be late! Seriously! And, I just had one popsicle after school. Those things are so small! I don’t think that should even count. Come on, Mom, please? Please!”

I said to the mom, quietly, “If the answer is no, just say no.”

At that point, her mom made direct eye contact with her daughter and said, “The answer is no.”

How did the daughter react? She let it go, immediately. And, she was fine. Surprising, isn’t it, given that her daughter was so bent on it just a second ago!

Tips for Setting Limits with Adopted Teens

1. Don’t backtrack or apologize.

Imagine if the mom had said “Oh sweetie, the answer is no…but maybe we can get a cupcake next time we’re here! I’m sorry, sweetie!”

2. Don’t negotiate.

It can be painful for adoptees to feel like they’re begging for something, particularly if they’re struggling with feelings of low self-worth and feelings of abandonment.

3. Don’t send mixed messages.

If the mom had said no but continued to look all around the room, it would have sent mixed messages. Her words would have said no but her body language would have said, I’m not sure.

4. Convey guidelines and consequences ahead of time.

This mom knew her daughter pretty well. She could probably have predicted that her daughter would ask her for a cupcake. The simplest way to go would be to make an overarching decision – always or never.

5. Improve your savvy.

It can be challenging for adoptive parents when their teen gets into stuff that is outside of their experience, such as drugs, alcohol, aggressive behavior, etc. It’s good to learn to think like your teen. When your teen perceives you as naive or oblivious, they tend to lose respect for you. Trust your intuition. If you think something’s going on, it’s usually true. Your aim isn’t to control them. It’s to help them to make informed decisions.

When parenting teens it is important to remember that they don’t have to agree with you. There are certain decisions that are collaborative and others that are solely yours. And, if you’re not sure where to begin, start with the cupcake.

Deportation a ‘Death Sentence’ to Adoptees After a Lifetime in the U.S. by Choe Sang-Hun

Source: https://www.nytimes.com

By Choe Sang-Hun

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Remember to protect your children’s rights to citizenship if your child was adopted prior to 2000.  The consequences are devastating if you have not obtained your child’s US citizenship.

SEOUL, South Korea — Phillip Clay was adopted at 8 into an American family in Philadelphia.

Twenty-nine years later, in 2012, after numerous arrests and a struggle with drug addiction, he was deported back to his birth country, South Korea. He could not speak the local language, did not know a single person and did not receive appropriate care for mental health problems, which included bipolar disorder and alcohol and substance abuse.

On May 21, Mr. Clay ended his life, jumping from the 14th floor of an apartment building north of Seoul. He was 42.

To advocates of the rights of international adoptees, the suicide was a wrenching reminder of a problem the United States urgently needed to address: adoptees from abroad who never obtained American citizenship. The Adoptee Rights Campaign, an advocacy group, estimates that 35,000 adult adoptees in the United States may lack citizenship, which was not granted automatically in the adoption process before 2000.

Mr. Clay is believed to be just one of dozens of people, legally adopted as children into American families, who either have been deported to the birth countries they left decades ago or face deportation after being convicted of crimes as adults. Some did not even know they were not American citizens until they were ordered to leave.

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