What parents are saying about foster care adoptions

Child Trends, with support from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, hosted a webinar to examine key findings from the 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents (NSAP).  This survey was the first-ever to provide information about the well-being of adopted children and their families.  While the survey included on all types of the adoption, Child Trends’ webinar focused on foster care adoptions.

Some key findings include:

  • Nearly half of the children adopted in the U.S. are adopted by a relative and/or someone they knew prior to the adoption.
  • Among children adopted from foster care who have birth siblings, two out of five were adopted with one or more birth sibling.
  • Nearly half of all children adopted from foster care live in low-income households, a much higher percentage than any other form of adoption.
  • Cost of adoption was an important factor in choosing to adopt from foster care.
  • Majority of adopted children fare well on social/emotional indicators, but some problems markedly higher among those adopted from foster care.

Kathleen Strottman, CCAI’s Executive Director, spoke about how these findings will impact federal policy.  The number of children adopted out of foster care each year has improved only slightly over the past several years, therefore, it is necessary to use the data from this survey and information from the practice field in order to pass legislation that will promote foster care adoption.  Strottman pointed out that this study is important in identifying the motivation and needs of adoptive parents in order to address these areas.  For example, the cost of the adoption and the adoption subsidy was a significant determining factor for many adoptive parents.  Knowing this, advocates need to inform policymakers about the importance of the adoption subsidy in an effort to further promote adoption.

To view the full webinar, click here.

Forgotten Children: International Adoption and the Global Orphan Crisis

The Daily Beast and Urban Zen co-hosted an event called Forgotten Children: International Adoption and the Global Orphan Crisis in an effort to draw attention to the topic.  Experts from the field of orphan care and adoption spoke about the growing need to address the orphan crisis.  This article summarizes the event and includes video clips of the expert panel.

Dr. Jane Aronson who has been nicknamed ‘the orphan doctor’, spoke about the realities of adoption from a health perspective.  She raised the concern that prospective adoptive parents are often not honest with themselves about their abilities related to the needs of the child they are seeking to adopt.  Aronson, along with others, called for better post-adoption services.

Deborra-Lee Furness, co-host of the event, wife of actor Hugh Jackman, and adoptive mother, discussed her view that adoption should be the third best option, after placing a child with their biological family, then placing a child with another family in their home community.

Filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem who was adopted from South Korea when she was 8 years old spoke about the impact of international adoption in her own life.  Her unique adoption story s the focus of two POV documentaries that aired earlier this year on PBS.  Liem raised the point that adopted children grow up, and as an adult adoptee she shared, “I gained tremendously by coming to this country.  But on the other hand, I lost everything I loved by coming to this country”—her family, identity, language, and even memories. “One does not replace the other.”  While sharing this perspective, Liem urged that the best interest of a child it is critical for children to have families and secure homes.

Dr. Sophie Mengitsu, who operates in Ethiopia, offered her suggestion that agencies that help international adoption must also help the communities from which these orphans come.  She went on to highlight the negative impact on development that is caused by living in an institution.

Ultimately, several possible solutions to improve international adoption and the global orphan crisis were raised that range from supporting the struggling communities to examining the root causes to providing better training for orphanage workers.

It is imperative to invest in children around the world, and to not delay in making this investment.