Thursday, January 31, 2013

Parenting Your Adopted Child Deerly

Admin_Magazine_Issue_January 2013_802_1 Deer flee in an instant when frightened. One second they are calmly grazing in the forest or meadow, and the next they are darting in every direction, seeking safety. This happens when there is no real threat, for example a branch falling, and also when there is a very real danger: such as a predator or hunter. Because a deer's world consists of very real dangers, he is vigilant, constantly on "red alert."

Deer are always wary of their environment.

Traumatized adoptees are similar to deer. They quickly enter states of "freeze", "flight", or "fight", even when there is no visible threat or demand. This phenomenon stems from their early history of abuse, neglect, institutionalization and non-consistent caretakers.

The adoptee with a history of trauma enters into their new family with an overactive stress response system. The traumatic environment is stressful! The child must worry about whether or not he will eat, be fondled, be beaten and so on. The brain is consumed with survival. In this pre-adoptive environment of chaos, the brain over-develops in the areas of fear and anxiety.

The brain is user-dependent; the repetition of experiences strengthens the brain's pathways. Thus, early experiences have disproportionate impact on how the brain will function for the individual's lifetime. These adoptees, upon joining their family, will enter states of "flight" or "fight" easily and often when confronted in a manner that the brain perceives as threatening. This phenomenon doesn't just go away with enough love or time. The brain's pathways must be re-wired over time, with consistent and long term nurturing parenting.

While chronic abuse can result in the overactivation of the stress response system, neglect can result in other problems. Neglect means that the child's physical and psychological needs go unmet. In order for the brain and thus, the child, to develop, he needs stimulation and acknowledgement. If these elements are not provided, the basic neural pathways that were ready to grow through experiences with care givers, withers and is less responsive. Overall, the child who isn't nurtured, may not know how to have reciprocal, affectionate interactions. Again, the brain repeats what it learns. If all it learned is to be alone in a crib, then this is the pattern the formerly neglected son or daughter may re-play.

Certainly, the furthest thing from most adoptive parents' minds, when accepting a child into their home, is thinking about how their new son or daughter's brain is going to respond to their caring interactions and their discipline. Yet, today's adoptive families need to understand some "brain basics." In essence, adoptive mothers and fathers want to learn to "parent deerly." Angry reactions and lengthy time-outs, remind a child's brain of its abusive and neglectful past.

An adopted child from an institutional setting or fostercare background will respond differently to these "normal" parenting techniques  than does a typically-developing child. For example, the formerly institutionalized child is happy in his room. He seeks to disengage from the family. When stressed, his brain wants to go into "flight."

In another example, Mom asks a simple, "Where is your backpack?" "Did you eat the last yogurt?" "Why did you take your sister's necklace?" and the child shuts down or begins to yell! In return, Mom escalates, "I'm talking to you!" "Don’t argue with me!" Many parent readers can relate to this scenario. The problem is, your child reacts to simple questions or commands as if they are attacks. A post-institutionalized child is so hyper-vigilant and on-guard that they feel instant panic when a parent's focus falls upon them. Their brain cannot quickly or calmly respond. This involuntary reaction can appear to a parent as obstinance, anger, ignoring of the question, and disobedience. A child is completely unaware of why he or she responds this way, and unable to correct the behavior on their own.

In order to "parent deerly", moms and dads need to leave the anger and the consequencing mentality behind. Parenting the traumatized child is about parent's reactions. This is certainly more easily said than done! Yet, calm exchanges are essential to healing the child who experienced complex trauma prior to arrival in the adoptive family. That is, conflict sends the child deeper into flight or fight: more negative behaviors occur in these states.

Calm, cool exchanges (with a gentle voice and gestures) between the parent and child lend to less behavioral difficulties. Under these circumstances, the brain can begin to reorganize itself, and the child heals. The family has a peaceful, emotional climate.

Each parent needs to identify ways to reduce the intensity of their reactions toward their adoptive son or daughter. Tips for accomplishing this seemingly enormous task include:

  • The adopted son or daughter often presents with a lengthy list of behaviors. No one can work on changing more than three at one time. Letting go of various "battles" automatically makes you a calmer parent.
  • Put reminder notes for yourself in conspicuous places, "I am helping my child learn to be more calm." "I am learning to be a more peaceful parent." "I live with a deer."
  • Contrived consequences aren't all that helpful in changing the traumatized child's behavior. He doesn't have cause-and-effect thinking. This skill didn't develop due to his abuse and neglect. Natural and logical consequences are the best route to forming the necessary logical pathways in your son or daughters's brain. Natural and logical consequences are "quiet"; they occur with very little effort on the part of the parent. Again, this allows for more peaceful interactions between you and your deer-like child. It may take years (and progress is very, very slow) to see cause-and-effect develop. Be patient, be consistent.
  • "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Nice, nurturing interactions will get more  (i.e., better behavior) than frustration, exasperation and fury! Lack of nurture created the problems in the first place. Providing nurture solves many day-to-day behavioral dilemmas. Are you up for the nurture challenge?
  • Keep in mind, parenting a combination of troubled and typical children translates into "that’s not fair." Reduce the hard feelings on the part of your birth and/or previously adopted children by "starting a habit"and having regular family meetings. Typical kids, kept in the loop, tolerate parenting methods that seem biased toward their adopted brother or sister.
  • Lastly, anger simply isn't good for you or your children! Chronic anger contributes to heart disease, heart attack, prolonged stress, diabetes, more frequent colds, and a host of other health problems. Again, take care of yourself! Just like you hear on an airplane, "Put the oxygen mask on yourself first!"

Author Bio: Arleta James, MS, PCC, has been an adoption professional for a dozen years. She spent several years as a caseworker for the Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption Network placing foster children with adoptive families and then as the statewide Matching Specialist. She now works as a therapist providing services for attachment difficulties, childhood trauma and issues related to adoption. She was the 1999 Pensylvania Adoption Professional of the Year. She is currently on staff at the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio. Arleta's website is:

Arleta is the author of: Brothers and Sisters in Adoption: Helping Children Navigate Relationships When New Kids Join the Family

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Register Now For a Free Expert Q&A Webinar Taking Place Next Week

8745632e-2 Adoption Expert Q&A Webinar: Love Me, Feed Me
with feeding specialist Katja Rowell, M.D.
February 7, 2013 @ 1 pm EST

Since bringing your child home, have you encountered behaviors like hoarding, food obsession, or overeating? Have you faced sensory challenges that impact feeding? Do you encounter picky eating and power struggles on a regular basis and find that you dread dinnertime?

Join Katja Rowell, M.D., aka "The Feeding Doctor," to ask questions about the challenges you've faced. The Adoption Expert Q&A Webinar: Love Me, Feed Me will take place on February 7, 2013 from 1pm to 2pm EST (12pm-1pm CST; 11am-12pm MST; 10am-11am PST).

To participate, you'll need to:
1. Register.
2. Check your inbox for the confirmation e-mail with your webinar link.
3. Can't attend, or don't want to forget your question? Submit it in advance here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Adult Adoptees' Views of Open Adoption

A report compiled by Heart of the Matter Seminars

293f3dde2203aed4769c089a8447f2ae LEE'S SUMMIT, MISSOURI - 1-28-2013 - Heart of the Matter Seminars announces the release of the data gathered by their survey which captured the voices of 281 adult adoptees.  Because of the amount of interest shown, HOTMS has decided to make the full report public.   

Heart of the Matter Seminars' conducted a survey of 281 adult adoptees on the topic of open adoption.  Since much of the research previously available focused exclusively on birth parent and adoptive parent interviews and surveys, our report is unique and provides compelling statistics for anyone interested in adoption. 

Heart of the Matter provides research based education and practical parenting tools for today's adoptive parents and professionals. Results from the survey will be used in the upcoming course entitled  . . . 

Opening up Open Adoption: What is it and is it right for you?

.  .  . scheduled for release next month


Monday, January 28, 2013

Update on Russian Ban on Intercountry Adoptions to the United States

Dear Friend of CCAI:

Following the January 22, 2013 Russian Supreme Court Letter on Implementation of Federal Law No. 272-FZ , CCAI has continued to work closely with Members of Congress and our partners inside Russia.  In situations like these, CCAI’s priority is to ensure that the U.S. government is aware of all individuals directly impacted and have the information necessary to act on their behalf.  Please go to CCAI's blog ( ) to learn about the actions that have occurred since our last update. They include:

  • House Resolution 24: Expressing the deep disappointment of the House of Representatives in the enactment by the Russia Government of a law ending inter-country adoptions of Russian children by United States citizens…
  • January 17, 2013 House of Representatives' Letter to President Putin
  • January 18, 2013 House and Senate Letter to President Putin
  • January 18, 2013 House and Senate Letter to President Obama
  • January 14, 2013 Russian Response Letter to December 21, 2012 Congressional Letter to President Putin

Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions. 


Elle Hogan
Director of External Relations
Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute | Washington, DC
O: 202.544.8500

FREE Webinar To Discuss Adoption of Children With Special Needs

February 13, 2013, 11:00 AM CST - Webinar with special guest Martha Osborne, founder of We will discuss Rainbow Kids, Special Needs adoptions, Waiting Children, post-adoption resources, international adoption trends and other adoption issues. Martha has long been revered in the adoption community as one of its best and most knowledgeable special needs and waiting child advocates. You will not want to miss this!

Be sure to register and have your questions answered by Martha Osborne and Resources4Adoption founder Cherri Walrod! Space is limited to 100 participants.

Register Now!

Loryn Woodworth ~Administrative and Research Assistant
Office, Social Media and Marketing Manager

:  785-550-8907
Toll Free Fax Number 1-888-309-4836

Join Both Ends Burning in Raising Awareness About International Adoption Issues!

International adoption, as you know, faces ever-growing challenges placing children in loving homes, and Both Ends Burning is devoted to doing something about it.

But Both Ends Burning needs your help.

BEB is a non-profit foundation dedicated to uniting adoption advocates, raising public awareness and taking steps to reform the policies that deny thousands of orphaned and abandoned children the loving families that await them.

STUCK the documentary.

We made a full-length documentary detailing the stories of four kids from different countries around the world and the trials of finalizing their adoptions. It touches people’s hearts and – we hope – spurs them to action. STUCK won the Audience Choice award for a documentary at the Heartland Film Festival, and promises to spread the word to a wide audience about the broken adoption system.

We want everyone to experience this powerful film. So beginning March 1, we are going on the road and premiering STUCK in 60 cities over 78 days. (Click here to learn when we’ll be in your city:

In each city, we’re planning a full day of activities from media appearances to speaking engagements at universities, service clubs and other groups. In the evening, we’ll have a premiere party and finally, the movie itself, followed by a Q&A with our founder, Craig Juntunen. Our goal is to raise awareness and mobilize people to support reform for international adoption.

To make this work, though, we need a dedicated group of volunteers at each of our 60 locations.

How you can help.

We’re asking for your help in getting the word out. Some things you can do include:

1. Send details to your distribution list. This is our biggest and most important request. We’ve attached a letter you can send to your staff, your families, prospective families and people you know who are passionate about the issue of international adoption. It includes a link to our website where they can sign up to help in advance and on the day of the premiere. We need from 10-20 volunteers in each city.

2. “Like” and “Share” our Facebook page. We need everyone to go to!/STUCKthedocumentary to “like” the page and share it on their own walls 

3. Schedule your own promotional activities to complement our efforts on the day. This will be a day to raise awareness – some adoption agencies are planning open houses; individuals can schedule fundraisers … the opportunities are endless. We are asking for your support and in return we would like to support you.

Right now our biggest challenge is time. We need to set up our team of volunteers as soon as possible for this to be a success.

So please, look at the attached information, share it with your distribution lists and on your social media sites. Feel free to call us with any questions or ideas. We have a team of professionals in our office to partner with your city volunteers to make sure they have the support the need.

And above all, we all want to keep the kids in mind. Every day a child spends in an institution or on the streets is one less day they have growing up in a healthy family setting. We must act, now.

Thanks so much for your help. Please contact us with any questions you may have.

Julie Landman
STUCK Tour Director

STUCK Documentary

20089_243613092437226_1688006332_n STUCK is the award-winning documentary produced by Both Ends Burning sharing stories of kids and parents navigating the international adoption system.

STUCK, produced by Both Ends Burning, a international adoption advocacy non-profit, that uncovers the personal, real-life stories of children and parents navigating a rollercoaster of bureaucracy on their journeys through the international adoption system, each filled with hope, elation – and sometimes heartbreak.

STUCK TOUR -- The purpose of the documentary is to help the people understand the issues and create a movement that will ultimately encourage U.S. officials to force a more supportive attitude toward international adoption.

The film will premiere in 60 cities over 80 days as we roll across the country this spring on the STUCK tour bus. While the highlight of each city visit will be the premiere of the film, Our goal is to create an all-day event with media appearances, speeches and discussions in multiple gatherings. The framework for the tour gives us the possibility to make STUCK a phenomenon.

One objective while we are on the road is to gather over 1 million petition signatures asking Congress, global leaders and President Obama to take specific actions to change the landscape of adoption. The petition will be hand-carried to members of Congress in the Step Forward for Orphans March in Washington, D.C., which will coincide with the last day of the bus tour, tentatively scheduled for May 17.

Your active involvement as a member of the tour team will support the most impactful and activity the adoption community has ever engaged in. Your efforts will help drive an increase in adoption and change the lives of countless kids for many years to come.

Learn more by visiting:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Orphans Without Borders - Global Action - NEED YOUR VOICE – Jan 27

Dear Colleagues,

Orphans Without Borders calls January 27th the day of Global Action For Children's Rights to Have a Family. We invite people all over the world to support the orphans in Russia who became victims of the adoption ban.

Please, post your picture holding a sign that says - Orphans Without Borders (in your native language). Under it you can write - From Mother to Mother, From Parent to Parent, From Brother to Sister, From Father to Father, From Friend to Friend... Ask everyone to support it and "like" the page

If you do not have a Facebook page, please, send your picture to Sasha D'Jamoos (Shulchev)

Together we can help these children be with their families!

Natasha Shaginian-Needham, M.D.
Co-Founder of Orphans Without Borders
Executive Director and Co-Founder
Happy Families International Center,Inc.
Co-Founder of Artist Foundation in Russia
Documentary Producer

[NCFA - Member Agencies] Intercountry Adoption Numbers Continue to Decline


Media Contact:
Chuck Johnson
(301) 751-3750

Intercountry Adoption Numbers Continue to Decline

January 25, 2013 – Alexandria, VA – This week the U.S. Department of State released its FY 2012 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption. According to the report, American families adopted 8,668 foreign-born children in 2012, a decline from the 9,319 that they adopted in 2011 – making 2012 the eighth straight year in which intercountry adoptions have decreased since the peak year of 2004, when close to 23,000 children were adopted from other countries.

Intercountry adoptions by American families began in the 1950s, when Harry and Bertha Holt appealed to Congress to change existing law and allow Americans to adopt children from other countries. Although the numbers were relatively low in those early years, intercountry adoptions to the U.S. began to rise sharply in the 1990s, following the fall of Nicolae Ceausescu’s regime in Romania. It was learned that tens of thousands of children had been orphaned or abandoned, and were living in orphanages in Romania. Americans responded by adopting thousands of these orphaned and vulnerable children.

In 2008, the U.S. implemented The Hague Adoption Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption (The Hague Convention), an international agreement established to provide universal protections and regulations for the adoption of children and promote cooperation among signatories of the agreement.

Many advocates believed that The Hague Convention would result in increased opportunities for orphaned and abandoned children to find safe, permanent, loving families through intercountry adoption, but that has not occurred. No new countries have opened intercountry adoption programs under The Hague Convention since the treaty was implemented by the U.S., and several countries have closed to address issues within their adoption programs and reorganize under a new Hague Convention-compliant system.

The number of intercountry adoptions will likely continue to decline as adoption programs in both Hague and non-Hague nations slow or shut down. American families adopted nearly 1,000 Russian-born orphans in 2011, but Russia recently banned Americans from adopting Russian orphans as a result of the U.S. passage of the Magnitsky Act in December 2012. Two Countries, Vietnam and Cambodia, have recently announced their succession to the Hague Convention and readiness to resume intercountry adoption with the U.S. but as yet the U.S. has not agreed to work with them on behalf of children in need of a family.

“The decline in the number of intercountry adoptions has occurred at a time when the global orphan population has increased dramatically,” notes Chuck Johnson, president and CEO of National Council For Adoption. “There are millions upon millions of children living outside of permanent family care – and for many, their best chance at securing a loving and permanent family is through intercountry adoption. The continued decline in intercountry adoptions is not good for children, and it is a disgrace and a travesty that more isn’t being done to offer children the hope of a family through intercountry adoption.”

NCFA continues to support The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, which requires much stronger oversight and greater transparency in the intercountry adoption process. “The Hague Convention is a foundation for transparent, ethical, and lawful adoption practices, and now that it is in place we must use it,” says Chuck Johnson. “We must do more to expand opportunities for children in need of families to be adopted by those qualified and eager to adopt. We call upon children’s advocates, child welfare officials, and government stakeholders in all nations to work together more effectively on behalf of orphaned and abandoned children, with the sense of compassion and urgency they deserve.”

Adria Anderson
Development and Communications Associate
National Council For Adoption
225 N. Washington Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
T: 703.299.6633 | F: 703.299.6004

facebook | twitter | youtube |flickr | blog | become a member

The Hope Challenge: Growing Hearts & Building Families

Russian Supreme Court Letter on Implementation of Federal Law No. 272-FZ

On December 28, 2012, President Vladimir Putin signed into law Federal Law No. 272-FZ. This law went into effect on January 1, 2013. It bans the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens, bars adoption service providers from assisting U.S. citizens in adopting Russian children, and requires termination of the U.S.-Russia Adoption Agreement.

On January 22, the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Supreme Court issued a letter to city and regional courts explaining the implementation of Federal Law No. 272-FZ. The letter states that for adoption cases in which court decisions involv­ing U.S. citizen parents were made before January 1, 2013, (including those that entered into force after January 1, 2013 following the 30-day waiting period), the children should be transferred to the custody of their adoptive parents. [Note: the original letter in Russian can be found at; an unofficial English trans­lation is available at]

We understand that several U.S. families have already obtained final adoption decrees in accordance with this guidance. The Department of State continues to strongly encourage U.S. families, in cooperation with their adoption service provid­ers, to seek confirmation from Russian authorities that their adoptions will be processed to conclusion, prior to traveling to Russia.

The United States continues to urge the Russian government to allow all U.S. families who were in the process of adopt­ing a child from Russia prior to January 1 to complete their adoptions so that these children may join permanent, loving families. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow continue to process Forms I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, and immigrant visa applications for children whose families have obtained all required documents as part of the adoption process.

U.S. families in the process of adopting a child from Russia may continue to contact the Office of Children's Issues at The Office of Children's Issues will reach out directly to families as additional information becomes available. Further information regarding intercountry adoption from Russia will also be posted on adop­

Thursday, January 24, 2013

FY 2012 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption January 2013

Pursuant to Section 104 of the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA) (Public Law 106-279), the U.S. Department of State submits the FY 2012 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption. Download the full report here.

FY 2012 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption January 2013

Pursuant to Section 104 of the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA) (Public Law 106-279), the U.S. Department of State submits the FY 2012 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption. Download the full report here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Around the World in 60 Minutes

Join us for a new Webinar series TOMORROW!

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Want the latest on Russia, the Adoption Tax Credit, Universal Accreditation legislation, and the Action Plan on Children in Adversity? Grab your passport! Jet around the child welfare world and discover all the latest news, and our role as a community in impacting the lives of children and families around the world. Can this be done in 60 minutes? Tune in and find out.

Title: Around the World in 60 Minutes

Date: Thursday, January 24, 2013

Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM CST

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Mac®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer

Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 Becomes Law

January 18, 2013

On January 14, 2013, the President signed The Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), one of the last bills passed in the final days of the 112th Congress. The effective date of the UAA is July 14, 2014, 18 months after the President's signature.

The UAA has broad implications for all U.S. adoption service providers (ASPs) active in intercountry adoption. It affects currently accredited or approved ASPs and those ASPs with programs only in non-Hague Adoption Convention countries of origin, where federal accreditation or approval was not previously required.

The purpose of the UAA is to apply the provisions of the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA) concerning the accreditation of ASPs to agencies and persons providing adoption services in cases involving children described in Immi­gration and Nationality Act (INA) section 101(b)(1)(F) and adopted through the orphan process. By requiring all ASPs handling cases under 101(b)(1)(F) and 101(b)(1)(G) (concerning children habitually resident in Hague Adoption Conven­tion countries) to receive the same accreditation under federal standards, families adopting internationally will have the assurance that regardless from where they adopt, the ASP they choose to work with will be in substantial compliance with the same ethical standards of practice and conduct.

Previously, the conduct of accredited agencies in non-Convention cases did not generally fall under the oversight and monitoring responsibilities of the Department of State-designated accrediting entities (AEs). Such conduct is now subject to the oversight and monitoring by AEs. The UAA also extends the enforcement provisions of the IAA to ASPs providing adoption services in orphan cases.

The UAA provides for transition cases (grandfathering) in certain situations; ASPs providing adoption services in grand­fathered cases do not need to be accredited.

A copy of the UAA is available in pdf format at this link.

Additional information on the UAA is available in our UAA FAQ.  Please review the FAQ materials before contacting us for additional information.  We welcome your questions – email us at and watch the Notices section of this website for additional general information.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act

logo-gray Dear Colleague:

I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season.

I am pleased to inform you that on Monday President Obama signed the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act (UAA), which applies the Hague Accreditation and Approval requirements to all agencies and persons providing “adoptions services” in cases where a child immigrates to or emigrates from the United States for purposes of adoption.

As you may know, COA is recognized by the U.S. Department of State to accredit agencies and approve persons under the requirements of the Intercountry Adoption Act. As such, if your organization is currently Hague Accredited through COA or Colorado you have already established the necessary policies, procedures and processes to comply with the mandate. You will now, however, need to implement those practices with all your international adoptions, regardless of the country of origin.

In addition, private organizations in the United States that provide intercountry adoption services and are currently accredited under COA’s 8th Edition Standards will also need to comply with the Hague Accreditation/Approval requirements.

In accordance with the UAA and 22 CFR Part 96.12, effective July 14, 2014, an agency or person may not offer, provide, or facilitate the provision of any adoption service in the United States in connection with an international adoption unless it is:

  1. An accredited agency or an approved person;
  2. A supervised provider; or
  3. An exempted provider.
    If you would like definitions of the above mentioned terms, please access our glossary.
    Please note that the UAA includes a transition provision for certain cases that are in process of pursuing Hague Accreditation and Approval prior to July 14, 2013.
    To learn more about Hague Accreditation and to receive additional information, please contact Zoƫ Hutchinson, Associate Director of Client Relations, by email at or by phone at 866.262.8088, extension 242. If you are currently Hague Accredited, please feel to contact Jayne Schmidt, Senior Manager of Hague Accreditation, by email at if you have any questions.
    If you are interested in learning about the U.S. Department of State’s information regarding intercountry adoption, please visit:

For information regarding the Hague Accreditation/Approval process, please visit the following links on COA’s website:

COA is proud to assist in ensuring that all intercountry adoptions in the United States remain safe for children and their biologic families abroad and prospective adoptive families here.


Richard Klarberg
President & CEO

IAC 239 Results

IAC results January 01-16-2013, 2012 1 The following referrals were issued in IAC Session 239 which was held on December 6, 2012. Download the PDF here.

IAC 239 Results

IAC results January 01-16-2013, 2012 1 The following referrals were issued in IAC Session 239 which was held on December 6, 2012. Download the PDF here.

Creating A Family Radio Show Presents: Sexual Development of Adopted Children

thCAKD89UV While Sexual development follows much the same pattern for all children, there are some special issues that adopted children might face, including precocious puberty, questions about how the birds and bees applies to them, childhood sexual abuse, etc. Our guest to discuss these issues are Dr. Bradley Miller, Pediatric Endocrinologist at the University of Minnesota and Joyce Maguire Pavao, a therapist specializing in adoption and an adjunct faculty member in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

You can listen/download the show at the Radio page.

First-Ever Data Report on Family Well-Being Around the World: The World Family Map

For the first time, data are available on family well-being across high and low income countries around the world. The World Family Map report summarizes a large body of data on family strengths and challenges, as well as important educational outcomes for children and youth. The report explores the social, economic, familial, and cultural factors that tend to strengthen or undermine family life.

The World Family Map ( focuses a global spotlight on the roles that families play in promoting social, physical, economic, and psychological well-being for children, adults, and communities. Child Trends partnered with scholars at the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland, and with universities and think tanks around the world, to track central indicators of family well-being - i.e., indicators of family structure, family economic well-being, family processes, and family culture-around the globe.

Among the report's highlights:

  • In the majority of middle- and higher-income countries, children in two-parent families have more positive educational outcomes compared to children living with one parent or neither parent, even after accounting for the socioeconomic differences of each group.
    • However, in lower-income countries, children in single-parent families often do just as well or better on a number of educational outcomes than those living with two parents.
  • Two-parent families are becoming less common in many parts of the world, especially higher income countries, as marriage rates fall around much of the globe; nevertheless, a majority of the world's children still live in homes with two parents. In this study, children were most likely to live with two parents in Jordan, where 92 percent lived with two parents.
  • Most adults believe that working mothers can establish just as good relationships with their children as stay-at-home mothers, with those holding this view ranging from 47 percent in Jordan to 84 percent in Sweden.

The report is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Focus Global, and the Social Trends Institute, and co-sponsored by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, the University of Asia and the Pacific, the Universidad de la Sabana, the Universidad de los Andes, Universidad de Piura, the Netherlands Youth Institute, and Seoul National University.

Child Trends is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center that studies children at all stages of development, across all major domains, and in the important contexts of their lives. Our mission is to improve outcomes for children by providing research, data, and analysis to the people and institutions whose decisions and actions affect children.

"Orphans Without Borders" is a dialog between people...

th Dear Adoptive Families,

The Facebook page "Orphans Without Borders" is almost ready!

This is the way to reach as many people as possible to support the right of children to have a family.

In order to complete the page and send the information out we are looking for a profile picture - a child holding a globe. Under the picture there will be a sign - "Orphans Without Borders". Please, take a picture of your child/children with the globe and send it to us asap. Any variations are welcome.

There are three main ways happening right now to advocate for the families and children who are currently in the process of adoption: diplomatic dialogs between the Governments, the media and people to people.

"Orphans without Borders" is a dialog between people. This is an important platform and is very powerful. People all over the world need to share their stories advocating for abandoned children. This is an emotional and positive way to reach out to the Russian people and communicate with them. We are helping children together. There are many Russians who are against the ban. We need to have more people and more support.

Please, send your stories to us with a family picture if you adopted a child (all countries, not only Russia).

We are looking for a very simple message:

"We,... (first names are fine if you do not want to provide the last one) believe that every child needs a family. We adopted our ________ from _________ and we live in America (we want eventually to hear from different people all over the world to make it global, showing the idea of Orphans Without Borders). (It is important to say if your child had or has a medical problem and how the child is doing now). We love our (son/daughter). We hope that many other orphaned children in Russia will be with their loving families soon. We support "Orphans Without Borders". (It has to be short and strong).

If you are a waiting family currently in the process of adoption in Russia, please express your love and feelings towards the child you are planning to adopt, in a few sentences. With respect to the Russian rules, do not use last names of the child(ren). You can mention their medical condition to show how urgent the situation is and how much that child needs to have a family and treatment.

You can send just a picture of yourself holding the sign, which says "We support Orphans Without Borders" or "I Love... and want her/him to be part of our family" -any statement which you believe in, and is coming from your heart- no anger, no politics- only love to children and their well-being.

Please, send the information to Sasha (Alex) D'Jamoos

We want to put new stories every day. The page will be translated to Russian as well.

It is a hard time for many families in process and it is important to do everything possible to help them to finalize their adoptions. Hope dies last- as we say in Russia.


Natasha Shaginian-Needham, M.D.
Executive Director and Co-Founder
Happy Families International Center,Inc.
of Artist Foundation in Russia Documentary Producer

Joint Council Update - Adoption Tax Credit FAQ

Given the complexities of the new Adoption Tax Credit, the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group, of which Joint Council is a member of the Executive Committee, a FAQ has been prepared.  The FAQ provides much needed information on the various aspects of the tax credit.  We hope you find it useful in providing an explanation of the tax credit to your adoptive prospective adoptive families.

The FAQ will be available on the Working Group’s website.  Our thanks go out to the entire executive committee but especially to NACAC and Voice for Adoption for their leadership and expertise on the FAQ.

Please continue to visit Joint Council’s website for additional updates and follow the activities of the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group on Facebook.

Best Wishes,

Tom DiFilipo

The Awesome Girl On Parents Magazine: Scoop From Her Mom

Looking at the cover of the February 2013 issue of Parents magazine, you first notice how super-cute the little girl is, what a great smile she has, how fab her clothes are—oh, that frou-frou pink skirt! The fact that she’s holding onto a walker and has foot braces is almost irrelevant… except for the fact that history is being made. I’ve been a magazine editor for more than twenty years, and I can’t recall a cover ever featuring a child of different abilities. I’ve been a parent of a child with special needs for ten years, and I’ve longed to see kids like my son featured in major magazines. This. Is. Huge. HUGE.

The little girl is Emily Kiecher, age 3; she has spina bifida, a condition that affects 1 in 2500 children caused when the spinal column and surrounding tissue and skin fail to close up in utero. Emily, her mom Liz, 36, and dad Christopher, 35, live in Buffalo, New York. Liz is an at-home mom who runs a handmade hair accessories business, The Sassy Damsel (guess who her favorite model is?) and Christopher’s a high school teacher. The couple are active fundraisers for the Spina Bifida Association, and have helped raise more than $20,000.

I recently got the chance to get Liz on the phone—right before she was whisking Emily off to Disney World for a surprise vacay—to talk about her daughter, how she became a cover star and her hopes for Emily’s future. This is what she had to say:

I have to ask, what kind of walker is that? My son, Max, has cerebral palsy, and he had a rather blah silver one.

It’s a Nimbo walker. I actually wanted silver—you can match more stuff to it than gold! But it’s great for a cover!

What was shooting the cover like? What did you tell Emily?

We told Emily we were going to a photo shoot. I take a lot of pictures of her at home although we’ve never even had a portrait of her done at J.C. Penney, so I think the meaning was a bit beyond her. She had a great time–Emily rolls in every situation, she rarely cries or throws a fit in public. At one point on the set, they asked if she liked music. She loves music. She knows the songs on the radio before I do! They asked what she wanted to listen to, and she said “Lady Gaga,” so that’s what they played. She was dancing around, and pointing to anyone who wasn’t dancing! When we left, she gave hugs and kisses.

What do you think her reaction is going to be when she sees herself on a magazine cover?

We’ve made Shuttefly photo books for her. I think she’s going to think, I’m the star of everything!

That’s not a bad way to go through life, right?! OK, can you share a bit about Emily’s history.

Four years ago, when I was pregnant and went for an 18-week exam, the technician stopped and told us we needed to speak to the OB. She said the pictures showed a hole in the baby’s spine, and that it could be spina bifida. I had no idea what that even meant. I was on prenatal vitamins for a year before I conceived, I was physically fit, I led a healthy lifetyle. The doctor sent us to a perinatologist that day, who did a sonogram. She confirmed it was spina bifida. I was hysterical. She told us our baby would have paralysis, would need a head shunt, and could have various degrees of learning disabilities. She wrapped up our visit by asking if we wanted to terminate the pregnancy. We said, “No.”

How has spina bifida affected Emily?

Her hips are dislocated, but it doesn’t affect her gait, which is pretty good. She has a shunt in her head, to help drain fluid from her brain, and luckily she’s never had any problems with it. She has no surface feeling from her waist down, so I can’t put her on a slide in the middle of summer because she wouldn’t be able to feel it’s burning hot. She has low muscle tone on her left side. Every week she get physical and speech therapy, and also gets occupational therapy, aqua therapy, and hippotherapy.

I’ll bet she gets around pretty well in that walker; my son used to zoom up and down the street in his.

Oh, yes, she can walk, turn, run. For a while I had a horn and a bell on it! Long-term, we expect her to be able to walk with forearm crutches. In October, she took her first unassisted steps. The physical therapist was having her go from a table to the floor to do a puzzle. Emily said, ‘Don’t hold me, I’ll do it by myself!’ And she walked from the table to put the puzzle piece in. I get teary thinking about it.

I’m tearing up too! I know exactly what it feels like to see a child you were told might never walk take those first steps. Tell me, what do you think is the biggest misconception about spina bifida?

When I go to, say, a grocery store with Emily and her walker, the amount of people who stare is insane! I realize people have never seen a walker and they are processing and trying to get an understanding, but I think people make judgments and see her as a disabled child–not a kid who happens to be in a walker. This is an issue for any child with disability. Instead of looking at a child, people see the disability. Those kids who say “awwww” in a pitiful way about her–I’m like, “Have you looked at her? She’s happy!” Emily doesn’t realize she has a disability. When people stare I’ll tell her, “Why wouldn’t people stare at you? You’re gorgeous!”

What are your hopes for the Parents cover?

I’m not delusional–I don’t think people will see her on it and think, I’ll never again stare at a kid in a walker! But I hope some people will see that she’s just another kid. I hope it starts a discourse for people, and makes them open to seeing images of kids from all walks of life. And I hope that in the future, when I go to the magazine section, I’ll see three or four more magazines featuring kids from all walks of life!

How are you going to celebrate Emily’s newfound fame?

I’m going to spend the month going to different bookstores and groceries in the area, and taking pictures of the magazine on newsstands. And I’m mailing a copy to every doctor we’ve ever been to!

Love it! Liz, when you emailed me, you mentioned that January can be a hard time for you because it’s the month when you first learned you’d have a child with spina bifida. But this January, it seems like you’ll have much to celebrate, right?

Yes. It’s always been a tough couple of weeks, because I think back to those dark days of my pregnancy when so much was unknown. That was the hardest part. I wish I could have looked down the line and seen just a fraction of what life would be like. This is our normal. And Emily’s on the cover of a magazine showing the world that she defines spina bifida, not the other way around.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Around the World in 60 Minutes

Join us for a new Webinar series on January 24th!

Space is limited.

Reserve your Webinar seat now!

Want the latest on Russia, the Adoption Tax Credit, Universal Accreditation legislation, and the Action Plan on Children in Adversity? Grab your passport! Jet around the child welfare world and discover all the latest news, and our role as a community in impacting the lives of children and families around the world. Can this be done in 60 minutes? Tune in and find out.

Title: Around the World in 60 Minutes

Date: Thursday, January 24, 2013

Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM CST

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Mac®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer

Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet

ACTION ALERT: Russia: Contact your member of Congress today!

Opportunity for Members of Congress to Sign Letters to Presidents Putin and Obama

Members of Congress have a short window of opportunity to sign on to two letters regarding Russia’s recent decision to ban adoptions to the United States.  The first letter is to President Vladimir Putin of Russia and the second is to President Obama.  Both letters appeal to each leader to recognize the basic human rights of these children and all children in Russia to a family and to work to resolve the pending cases of children who were in the adoption process prior to the January 1, 2013 ban.

Senator Roy Blunt and Congressional Coalition on Adoption Co-Chairs Senator Landrieu, Senator Inhofe, Representative Bachmann and Representative Karen Bass are currently circulating these letters for signature by their colleagues, with a deadline to sign on to these letters of tomorrow, Wednesday, January 16 at 12pm EST.  Please contact your Senators and Representative today and urge them to sign on to these letters and lend their support to Russia’s children.  Offices interested in signing on should contact Libby Whitbeck in Senator Landrieu’s office or Kristina Weger in Senator Blunt’s office.
  • You can find your Senators’ phone numbers and email address at
  • You can find your Representatives’ phone numbers and email address at
Please distribute this information widely to your friend and family, requesting they also contact their Members of Congress prior to Wednesday, January 16 at 12pm EST.

Our Thanks to Senator Roy Blunt and Congressional Coalition on Adoption Co-Chairs Senator Landrieu, Senator Inhofe, Representative Bachmann and Representative Karen Bass and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute for their continued leadership on this issue.


Joint Council reminds those families who are in the process of adopting from Russia of the U.S. Dept. of State’s requests that families currently in the process of adopting a child from Russia email the Department of State at  Families should state the stage and status of their adoption and use “Intercountry Adoption in Russia – Family Update” in the subject line of the email

Joint Council will continue to engage in collaborative efforts with and through US and Russian government officials, the Department of State, Congressional offices, Joint Council Partners, NGOs and advocates in both countries.  We will provide updates on this situation as they become available.  To receive Joint Council updates regarding Russia, individuals are urged to sign up for our Russia email alerts, which can be done by clicking here (Select “Country and Issue Specific Information” and then select “Russia”).

New Webinar: Building Bonds of Attachment

Building Bonds of Attachment: Practical, Expert Advice

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 -  7:00PM-8:00PM  Central Time -  Q&A: 8:00PM  

Secure parent-child attachments are essential for children. Often, adoption can pose challenges to the attachment process. Circumstances prior to adoption, either in utero, in an orphanage or in foster care, can create serious barriers to attachment.

Join us for a webinar with Deborah Gray, an adoption therapist specializing in attachment, grief and trauma issues in children.  Deborah will provide practical steps that move parents toward secure attachments with their child.
  • Recognize behaviors that are common in adopted children who have experienced trauma
  • Learn bonding activities that result in healthy relationships in the short term and throughout childhood
  • Maintain relationships with children already in the home

Last Chance To Register! Expectations vs.Realities: Parenting an adopted child with special needs

Thursday, January 17, 2013  - 7:00PM - 8:00PM Central Time - Q&A: 8:00PM   

Is your child emotionally acting much younger than their age? Have special needs you weren't expecting? Behaviors that resemble ADHD?

You are not alone. These challenges are common for post- institutionalized children. Finding help, however, can be difficult.

Join us for a webinar featuring Martha Osborne, adopted person, adoptive mom and founder of the largest special needs adoption advocacy website, Martha will lead an "in the trenches" discussion on how parents can get connected and supported.
  • Learn how to build a plan to manage undiagnosed special needs
  • Consider new, outside the box suggestions on how to address unexpected cognitive and emotional delays
Understand how proactive parenting can help!


News from Armenia

Two Hopscotch families were invited to travel and meet their future children.  Travel Safe!!!

Families With Russian Children: This Is Your Opportunity To Participate In A Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty News Story

My name is Valentin Baryshnikov, I am a journalist at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Russian service. RFE/RL is an independent broadcaster funded by US Congress.

In wake of recent events in Russia where authorities adopted legislation which prohibited adoption of Russian orphans by American families we decided to produce a series of special stories to show everyday life of adopted children in US. We think that it is very important to show it to a Russian society as it has little knowledge of fate of adopted children which might sometimes not be easy but definitely is far from what Russian media and anti-American sentiments often describe.

Our idea is to produce something which might be described as a visual diary, a one day of a one child. That means that parents of adopted child would document his or her day, making photos or videos and be the end of the day send it to us along with a verbal description which might be recorded in different ways. Then we edit this and post to our site and promote through different means like social networks etc. You can get an idea of how it might look here.

We would really appreciate if you find it possible to participate in our project which we would like to start as soon as possible.


Valentin Baryshnikov

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Russian Bilateral Agreement will be Working Until 2014

MOSCOW, Jan. 10 - RIA Novosti. Agreement on the Adoption of the United States will cease to have effect in the first days of January 2014, told RIA Novosti press-secretary of state, Dmitry Peskov.

"Now the agreement is valid," - said Peskov, adding that it will last for years. According to him, the instrument will be eliminated in the first days of January 2014.

According to the document of adoption, "the agreement shall be valid for one year from the date on which one of the parties through diplomatic channels to inform the other party of its intention to terminate the agreement."

Russian Foreign Ministry officially handed over to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on January 1 note with a notice of termination of the agreement with the United States for adoption in connection with effect from the same date of the federal law "On measures against persons involved in the violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms, rights and freedoms of citizens of the Russian Federation, "which is called" the law of Dima Yakovlev".

This resonance law was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 28 December.

Russian law takes its informal name after the boy, who was killed in July 2008 in Herndon, near Washington after adoptive father on the day he left in a closed car. According to official data, the U.S. State Department, for 20 years the number of known cases of death at the hands of Russian children by American adoptive parents is 20 though adopted were about 60 thousand orphans from Russia.

"The law of Dima Yakovlev" - is Russia's response to the received in the U.S. "Magnitsky Act", which introduces visa sanctions against a number of Russians.

Russian law provides for drawing up a list of Americans who have violated the rights of Russians, or were involved in the crimes against them. They were denied entry into Russia, and they control the activities of legal entities on the territory of the Russian Federation will be suspended. This rule applies to any aliens who violate the rights of Russians, not just for Americans. Also introduces a ban on the activities in Russia from the U.S. funded NGOs and political non-profit organizations whose work threatens the interests of Russia.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

HEART OF THE MATTER SEMINARS: Learning from Adult Adoptees

Heart of the Matter presents this week's revealing insight into open adoption as seen by 281 adult adoptees...

4th Sneak Peek!
OPEN ADOPTION: How They Described Challenges in Open Adoption

An interesting glimpse of the data gathered by HOTMS' survey that captured the voices of 281 adult adoptees. 

Complete report scheduled for release later this month!

New course entitled: Opening Up Open Adoption: What is it and is it for you?
Available for parents and professionals early 2013

Did you miss one of the first Sneak Peaks?
Never fear... they are available HERE!

NEW WEBINAR: Expectations vs. Realities: Parenting an Adopted Child with Special Needs

Thursday, January 17, 2013
7:00PM - 8:00PM  Central Time
Q&A: 8:00PM   

Is your child emotionally acting much younger than their age?  Have special needs you weren't expecting? Behaviors that resemble ADHD? 

You are not alone.  These challenges are common for post- institutionalized children. Finding help, however, can be difficult.

Join us for a webinar featuring Martha Osborne, adopted person, adoptive mom and  founder of the largest special needs adoption advocacy website, Martha will lead an "in the trenches" discussion on how parents can get connected and supported.

Learn how to build a plan to manage undiagnosed special needs. Consider new, outside the box suggestions on how to address unexpected cognitive and emotional delays. Understand how proactive parenting can help!


Friday, January 4, 2013

President Obama Passes Legislation to Permanently Extend Adoption Tax Credit

Washington, DC—January 4, 2012—Late Tuesday night, January 1, Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8), legislation that included a permanent extension of the adoption tax credit. President Obama signed the bill into law Wednesday.

Since it was established in 1997, the adoption tax credit has helped thousands of American families offset the high cost of adoption or meet their adopted children’s special needs. The credit was set to virtually disappear as of December 31, 2012. Earlier this year, the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group Executive Committee established four priorities for an adoption tax credit that is inclusive, permanent, refundable, and flat for special needs adoptions.

“By making the adoption tax credit permanent, Congress has renewed its commitment to finding a safe and loving homes for children in need,” said Kathleen Strottman, Executive Director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). CCAI serves as the Secretariat of the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group Executive Committee. “We are thrilled that three of the four priorities established by the Executive Committee were included in this legislation. Unfortunately, without making the adoption tax credit refundable, many adoptive families of foster children with special needs will not be able to benefit from the credit."

The bill permanently extends the adoption tax credit and income exclusion for employer paid or reimbursed adoption expenses. While official estimates will be released later by the IRS, the projected maximum amount of the adoption credit for 2013 is expected to be $12,770.

The benefits of the adoption tax credit reach beyond the children who are adopted. A 2006 study cited by the Children’s Bureau found that taxpayers save as much as $126,000 for every child who is adopted instead of remaining in long-term foster care. Significant savings to society are also achieved because children who are adopted fare better than those who live out their childhood in foster care. With more than 100,000 children in U.S. foster care waiting to be adopted, and countless millions of children worldwide without families, the continuation of the adoption tax credit helps provide love, safety, and permanency to many of these children.

The Adoption Tax Credit Working Group is a national collaboration of organizations and individuals uniting to support the cause of adoption by advocating for the adoption tax credit. We believe the adoption tax credit is an important resource to help children find forever families and make adoption affordable for all.

Universal Accreditation Passes

For the past 5 years Joint Council has championed the concept of universal accreditation and have implemented a policy to that end for 2013 Joint Council Partners.   We are therefore pleased to report that on Tuesday, January 1st, the House voted on and passed the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (read full text).   The bill now awaits President Obama’s signature.

Best Wishes,

Tom DiFilipo

NPR: Kojo on International Adoption

Russia's move to ban American adoptions of Russian children forces international diplomacy into the lives of some families. Kojo explores the challenges of inter-country adoption.

Listen Now >

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Welcome Home Two Armenian Angels!

US Senate Responds to Russian Law Banning Adoption of Russian Children by American Families

January 2, 2013

Elle Hogan

Late last night, the United State Senate unanimously passed S. Res. 628, a resolution expressing the body’s disappointment over the recent passage of a Russian law banning the adoption of Russian children by American citizens.  This resolution, the most recent step in a long series of actions taken by Members of Congress, expresses the Senators’ deep concern with the law, which would deprive a significant number of Russia’s 740,000 institutionalized children their chance of finding a permanent, loving family.

“Given the immensity of the challenges facing the Russian government, one would think they would be taking every possible action to decrease the number of Russian children living without families,” said Kathleen Strottman, Executive Director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). “Sadly, it is the Russian children, many of whom have spent their entire childhood in institutions, who will suffer the most because of this law.”

The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Senate Co-chairs, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), echoed Strottman’s sentiments.

"Whatever issues our two governments may be facing, there is no political reason to put vulnerable children in the middle of political posturing," Landrieu said. "Children should be raised by parents, not in orphanages, institutions or alone on the street."

"It is extremely unfortunate and disheartening that the Russian Duma and President Putin would choose to deprive the children, the very children that they are entrusted to care for, the ability to find a safe and caring family that every child deserves,” Inhofe said.  “As a grandparent of an internationally adopted child, I know that this new law is against the interests of the Russian people, in particular Russian children.  The law continues the disturbing anti-American trend that has been taking place in Russia for the past several years.  It is nothing more than a political play against the United States that ultimately leads to greater hardships and more suffering for Russian children who will now be denied a loving family.

Since learning of the possible ban, CCAI has been deeply engaged in supporting this and other opposition efforts by Members of Congress.  Earlier this month, CCA Members of Congress sent a bi-partisan letter to President Putin urging him to veto the legislation. “We fear that this overly broad law would have dire consequences for Russian children,” they wrote. “Nothing is more important to the future of our world than doing our best to give as many children the chance to grow up in a family as we possibly can.”

Now that the ban has been enacted, CCAI continues to work with the State Department and Members of Congress to urge the Russian government to grant clemency for cases already in progress. In situations like these, CCAI’s priority is to ensure that US government officials  are not only aware of the personal circumstances of all American families directly impacted but also have the information necessary to effectively advocate on their behalf.  CCAI strongly encourages families that are affected to accommodate the State Department Office of Children’s Issues request for information regarding where they are in the adoption process. The State Department has requested that families email with the subject line: “Intercountry adoption in Russia – family update.”

The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute ( is a non-governmental, nonprofit organization that strives to be an objective, educational resource for information critical to advancing the efforts of federal policymakers on behalf of children in need of homes.  To learn more about CCAI, follow the organization on Twitter (, Facebook ( and YouTube (

Elle Hogan
Director of External Relations
Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute | Washington, DC
O: 202.544.8500
M: 202.578.7485 

Joint Council Update - Adoption Tax Credit Passes

Late last night the US House of Representatives passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act (full text) which includes a permanent extension of the adoption tax credit. As a more complete understanding of the law’s impact becomes available during this week, we will publish the details and specifics on how this impacts children, families and our Partner organizations.

This victory for children and families once again shows the need, value and strength of working as a united coalition. Our thanks go out to the more than 50 Joint Council Partners who engaged with us on the tax credit and helped make it happen.

Joint Council also thanks those members of Congress who championed the adoption tax credit and ensured that children and families will continue to benefit from this very important assistance. As a founding member of the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group Executive Committee (see full list below), we also thank the more than 130 organizations involved in the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group for their diligent and important work with Congress and the Obama administration.

Please be on the lookout throughout the week for more information on the law’s impact and on our continued advocacy efforts.

Best Wishes,

Tom DiFilipo 

 The Adoption Tax Credit Working Group’s Executive Committee