NCFA

e-Memo for August 2004

Popeye to adopt Swee’pea at NCFA’s Kids at Heart 2004

Children and families will celebrate adoption in a very special way at Kids at Heart 2004, NCFA’s annual festival held in New York during National Adoption Month. At Kids at Heart this year, Popeye will officially adopt Swee’pea, the foundling left on the “Sailor Man’s” doorstep. As part of its relaunch of Popeye on his 75th anniversary as a cartoon character, King Features Syndicate is partnering with NCFA to promote adoption awareness through this unique event. Part of the Hearst Entertainment & Syndication Group, King Features Syndicate is one of the world’s premiere distributors of comics, columns, editorial cartoons, puzzles, and games to newspapers.

As Popeye is relaunched in a new, state-of-the-art, 3-D animated format, the character of Swee’pea will also be reintroduced to the public. Since Swee’pea was never formally adopted by Popeye, King Features has asked NCFA to host the official ceremony for this special adoption at Kids at Heart.

As a reminder, this year’s event will be held on Sunday, Nov. 21 from 1 – 4 p.m. at the historic Puck Building in New York City. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering for this very special event, please contact Megan Lott at (703) 299-6633 or e-mail mlott@adoptioncouncil.org.

For more information on Kids at Heart, click here.


Subcommittee on Human Resources introduces bill, “Child Safety, Adoption, and Family Enhancement Act of 2004” (Child SAFE Act)

On July 19, Congressman Wally Herger (R-CA), Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Ways and Means, introduced the Child SAFE Act (HR 4856) to provide states with improved incentives, more flexibility, and increased funds to develop child welfare services that meet the needs of children and families.

Since November of 2003, the Subcommittee has heard from a total of 41 witnesses through the course of five hearings on this subject. These hearings have revealed widespread consensus that federal foster care financing needs to be reformed. At a recent hearing on July 13, the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care shared the Subcommittee’s desire to protect children from abuse and neglect. Many of the Pew Commission’s recommendations are incorporated into the draft bill.

“No one thinks the status quo is acceptable,” said Herger. “Every week, stories of children lost, abused – or worse yet, killed – appear in newspapers across America. We owe it to them, and to the half million children in foster care, to improve this system.”

If passed, the bill would allow states the flexibility to reinvest unspent foster care funds into other services; expand and improve child welfare waiver options for states; guarantee rising foster care payments; and de-link federal foster care and adoption assistance income requirements from the 1996 AFDC income standards.

To learn more about this bill, click here and type “HR 4856” in to the “Bill Number” box.


On the horizon: Congressional adoption agenda

Over the next few months, there are several bills that NCFA will continue to monitor closely and provide updates as necessary. The following bills are important to adoption:

Child SAFE Act. If passed, this bill (HR 4856) would allow states the flexibility to reinvest unspent foster care funds into other services; expand and improve child welfare waiver options for states; guarantee rising foster care payments; and de-link federal foster care and adoption assistance income requirements from the 1996 Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) income standards. Currently, the bill has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

To learn more about this bill, click here and type “HR 4856” into the “Bill Number” box.


Orderly and Timely Interstate Compact of the Placement of Children (OTICPC). This bill (HR 4504) has bipartisan support and advances “much-needed efforts to reform the outdated Interstate Compact of the Placement of Children (ICPC) by setting enforceable time limits for the placement of children across state lines and by removing other potential barriers to timely, permanent placements for children. Currently, this bill has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

To learn more about this bill, click here and type “HR 4504” into the “Bill Number” box.


Adoption Tax Credit of the Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act. This Act, sponsored by Rep. Jim DeMint, repeals the sunset on the expansion of the adoption tax credit to $10,000, set to expire December 31, 2010. The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee (H.R. 1057) was re-introduced, which passed the House last year (H.R. 4800, 391-1) and would make the expanded adoption tax credit permanent. Currently, this bill is in review by the House Committee on Ways and Means.

There is an identical bill in the Senate, S 1931, sponsored by Senator Jim Bunning.

To learn more about the House bill, click here and type “HR 1057” into the “Bill Number” box.

Intercountry Adoption Reform Act of 2003 (ICARE). If passed, this bill (HR 3896) would establish an Office of Intercountry Adoption (OIA) within the Department of State, transfer all Citizenship and Immigration Services’ intercountry adoption responsibilities to the OIA, and modify laws governing intercountry adoptions. Currently, this bill has been referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims.

To learn more about this bill, click here and type “HR 3896” into the “Bill Number” box.

Natural Born Citizen’s Act. If passed, this bill (S2128) would add to the definition of ‘natural born citizens’, any person born outside the United States who derives citizenship at birth through adoption by US parents, or who is adopted by 18 years of age by US parents. Currently, this bill has been read twice and has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

To learn more about this bill, click here and type “S 2128” into the “Bill Number” box.


Adoption Information Act. This bill (HR 1229) would require family planning projects and programs to provide clients with unplanned pregnancies pamphlets containing the contact information of adoption centers. To date, this bill has been referred to the Subcommittee on Health.

To learn more about this bill, click here and type “HR 1229” into the “Bill Number” box.


Dave Thomas Adoption Act of 2003. If passed, this bill (HR 584) would allow penalty-free withdrawals from individual retirement plans for adoption expenses. Currently, this bill has been referred to the Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

To learn more about this bill, click here and type “HR 584” into the “Bill Number” box.


For more information on international adoption agencies in the US, click here.

German Chancellor Schroeder adopts Russian girl

A new addition to German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s family is his recently adopted three-year old daughter, Viktoria, who is from Russia. For the last few weeks, Viktoria has been living with the Schroeders in Hanover, Germany. Chancellor Schroeder has been reported to have expressed concerns for the plight of needy children during his visits with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

To learn more about the Chancellor’s adoption, click here.


ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act) update

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a federal law which regulates placement proceedings involving Indian children, was created in 1978 by the federal government to re-establish tribal authority over the adoption of Native American children. Since then, there has been much debate about this law.

Currently, an ICWA amendment bill is in the House and contains some adoption-related provisions. ICWA would be detrimental in several ways to the best interests of Native American children who could benefit from adoption. The bill would include: vest jurisdiction over adoption proceedings in the tribe, exclusively in some cases, concurrently with the state in others; require notice to the child's tribe; extend the authority of tribal court judgments to other courts; and grant rights of intervention in state court proceedings, including the right of the child's extended family to intervene.

To read the bill, click here and type in “HR 2750”


Infant Adoption Awareness Training Program – Resources with Impact

As year three of the Infant Adoption Awareness Training Program draws to a close – the final three-day training events concluded this month – Program staff are realizing just how powerful and in-demand the training and related resources truly are. Since 2001, the Program has developed and distributed compelling training and informational resources designed to reach various audiences with messages promoting the positive option of adoption. The response has been very gratifying and the requests for Program materials have often been overwhelming. To date, NCFA has distributed more than 425,000 Program brochures in both English and Spanish versions, reaching a wide audience of birthmothers, birthfathers, birth grandparents, and the counselors who serve them. The Program has also mailed 22,000 copies of its quarterly newsletter and more than 17,000 “Thanks for Considering Adoption” posters.

To learn more about the Program and the available materials, click here.


Two new books help families navigate overseas adoption process

The U.S. State Department issued a report “Immigrant Visas Issued to Orphans Coming to the United States” citing the number of children adopted internationally by U.S. parents, increased this past year by 1,517 children, from 20,099 in 2002, to 21,616 in 2003. Over 11,000 of those adoptions were finalized in Russia and China. Adopting a child can be one of life’s most rewarding experiences. Unfortunately, complex policies, legal risks, and fear of the unknown can also make it a difficult process. Two new books by John Maclean, “The Russian Adoption Handbook” and “The Chinese Adoption Handbook” are comprehensive guides to adopting a child from overseas. From the pitfalls to the practical, the rewards to the risks, the Adoption Handbooks lead parents through the maze of:

How the international adoption process works. How to start the process.

What you need to know before traveling to Russia, Eastern Europe, China, or Korea.

Making the most out of your trip - the inside scoop on customs, hotels, shopping, and food.

The children's homes, the courts, the U.S. Consulate visit, and the questions that need to be asked.

Medical issues, special adoption doctors, and travel requirements.

Post-adoption procedures, and much, much more.

Practical, accurate, and written with a father’s sense of humor, the Adoption Handbooks are among the most comprehensive and up-to-date guides to intercountry adoption available.


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National Council For Adoption
225 N. Washington Street Alexandria, VA 22314
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| ncfa@adoptioncouncil.org

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