for January 2005
will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2005. Please help us
commemorate this milestone in adoption history. Be sure to
mark your calendars for April 7 when we host our 25th Anniversary
Adoption Hall of Fame 2005 Awards Banquet at the beautiful
Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC. It will be
a stellar event. Awardees include CNN's Judy Woodruff and
Al Hunt, Kenneth Feld owner of Ringling Bros. and Barnum &
Bailey Circus, and adoption pioneer and practitioner Theodore
U.C. Kim. Other adoption leaders from the highest level of
the US government have been invited but may not yet be announced
at this time. Immediately following the 25th Anniversary banquet
will be NCFA's National Adoption Conference on April 8-9,
at the Washington Court Hotel.
more information on the banquet, please contact Megan Lott,
vice president of development at (703) 299-6633 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
information on the conference, contact Chuck Johnson, director
of training and agency services at (703) 299-6633 or at email@example.com.
to visit NCFA's Web site for updates on these special events.
Board member and 2004 Adoption Hall of Fame inductee, Dr.
Gregory Foltz passed away on December 29, 2004. Dr. Foltz
served as a member of the NCFA Board for more than 15 years.
was a man of great integrity, humility, and wit. Throughout
his career of compassion, he tirelessly served women in crisis
and children in need. As a faithful Board member and officer,
Greg was instrumental in building and leading NCFA in its
adoption expertise and advocacy.
read his fellow NCFA Board members' comments about Dr. Foltz's
contributions to the cause of adoption, click here.
has been an outpouring of compassion from Americans interested
in adopting children orphaned as a result of the Indian Ocean
tsunami. NCFA has been contacted by concerned individuals
seeking guidance and requesting information regarding the
adoption of tsunami orphans. NCFA does not anticipate that
many tsunami orphans will be free for adoption, at least,
in the short term. The most affected countries do not have
extensive international adoption programs. Moreover, notwithstanding
the scope of this tragedy, basic adoption procedures must
continue to be followed, to protect the affected children
and families. Before the adoption of a tsunami orphan can
move forward, it will need to be determined that the child
truly has been orphaned, that there are no other family or
community members who will care for the child, that the child
is legally free to be adopted and the case has been ethically
handled, and that the child is emotionally ready to be adopted.
information on specific countries' international adoption policies,
visit the US Department of State's Web site.
Voice of America's interview of NCFA president Thomas Atwood
on this subject, click here.
contact NCFA member agencies that operate in some of the affected
regions, please click here.
U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review Florida's 1977 law
that prevents homosexuals from adopting children. The rejection
means that Florida's uniquely worded law — "no person eligible
to adopt under this statute may adopt if that person is a
homosexual" — will stand. Governor Bush and the state of Florida
argued that children should be placed in homes with a mother
and a father, ensuring that the 8,000 children awaiting adoption
in Florida will not be entrusted to two homosexuals or two
lesbians. This decision might lead other states to enact similar
measures to ensure that children are placed in homes where
they have the opportunity to have both a mother and a father.
to NCFA's “Adoption First Principles,” preference in adoption
placements should be given to families that offer married
mother-and-father parenting. Recent research has confirmed
the teaching of centuries of historical experience that married
mother-and-father parenting is most likely to produce the
best outcomes for children.
here to read NCFA's “Adoption First Principles.”
more coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court's action, click here.
encouraged its constituents to contact the Fox Network or
their local Fox stations and ask that the “Who's Your Daddy?”
program be removed from the schedule. Over the objections
of the adoption community, on January 3, Fox aired the show
which featured a young lady placed for adoption as an infant,
attempting to guess the identity of her birthfather for a
$100,000 prize. One Fox affiliate WRAZ-TV in Raleigh-Durham
decided not to air the program because it did not "reflect
the prevailing standards of good taste for the local community."
the best of circumstances, the broadcasting of adoption-reunion
stories tends to intrude and exploit. But “Who's Your Daddy?”
took the media's misguided fascination with adoption openness
to ridiculous new lows, and added to the media's distorted
presentation of the openness issue. The show was so poorly
conceived and delivered that it achieved the lowest rating
for its time slot and Fox management decided not to air the
other five episodes that had been filmed. The American viewing
public and adoption community have spoken.
read NCFA's letter to Fox, click here.
County Judge Waddell Wallace of Jacksonville, FL. ordered
Evan Scott, nearly 4 years old, to be removed from the home
of Gene and Dawn Scott who had sought to adopt him and cared
for him since his infancy. Judge Wallace ordered Evan placed
in the custody of his biological mother, but Evan's permanent
placement has still not been determined after all this time.
As NCFA President Tom Atwood said on “Larry King Live” regarding
this case, “Evan, this little boy, is entitled, and all along
has been entitled, to a timely and responsible permanent placement
decision. It is the job of the courts to make that happen.
The courts let Evan down. They did not resolve the issue of
the biological father's rights in a timely manner. And they
allowed what should have been a decision about the best interests
of this little boy to become a debate over parental rights.”
Atwood spoke similarly on Evan's behalf on the CBS network's
“The Early Show” and on ABC's “Today” show. He also a ssured
prospective adoptive parents that such cases are “exceedingly
rare,” though they should “never happen” at all.
courts' failure with respect to this case provides further
illustration of the need to establish performance measures
for courts in order to hold them accountable for their handling
of adoption cases, both private adoptions and adoptions out
of foster care. To avoid future “Evan Scott” cases, standards
should be established for courts requiring that, in private
adoptions disputed by the biological father: the case is assigned
to one judge, one court (there have been nine judges involved
in Evan's case to date); a best interests hearing is held
within a short period of time (30 days, perhaps) after the
biological father files for custody of the child (there was
never a best interest hearing held for Evan); and the permanent
placement decision will be issued by the court within a short
period of time after the biological father's petition for
custody (60 days perhaps).
cases lingering for years, such as Evan's, are rare in private
adoptions, the problem of children languishing in foster care
due to poor court performance is quite common. NCFA is developing
recommendations for performance measures for courts that policymakers
and the general public can use to hold courts accountable
for performance that better serves children in foster care.
Monday, December 6, the New Jersey Senate passed SCS S1093-S620,
a bill that threatens the privacy rights of birthparents by
opening confidential records from past adoptions and eliminating
future birthparents' option to choose confidentiality and
privacy. If passed, this legislation would empower adult adopted
persons to obtain birthparents' identifying information and
impose unilateral contact without birthparent consent. The
vote was 23 for, 14 against, and 3 not voting.
bill has been sent to the Family, Women and Children's Services
Committee in the Assembly. A unique coalition of New Jersey
Right to Life, New Jersey Catholic Conference, American Civil
Liberties Union of New Jersey, and the New Jersey State Bar
Association have joined with NCFA to oppose this legislation.
read more about this bill, click here and type in S1093.
read NCFA's overview of how this bill harms adoption, click
funding by The Pew Charitable Trusts, NCFA has launched the
Adoption Leader Engagement Project (ALEP), to better serve
children in foster care. Building upon the work of the Pew
Commission on Children in Foster Care, ALEP is designed to
educate policy makers, judicial leaders, the media, and the
general public on the importance of establishing performance-based
measures for family courts, promoting judicial leadership,
and allowing states greater flexibility and accountability
in federal foster care funding.
continue to monitor NCFA's Web site for more updates. Click
here and read our news release.
Sunday, November 21, NCFA celebrated “National Adoption Month”
with the its annual Kids at Heart festival. This year's fun-filled
event featured performers from Ringling Bros. and Barnum &
Bailey Circus, generously donated by Feld Entertainment, Inc.,
and was held in the historic Puck Building in New York City.
highlight of this year's Kids at Heart was Popeye's adoption
of Swee'pea. More than 550 adopted children, their parents,
and other friends of adoption witnessed the special ceremony,
officiated by Judge Greg Mathis. Other witnesses included
Olive Oyl, honorary co-chair and actress Dana Delany, and
actor Luis Guzman, accompanied by his wife Angelita and their
more information on Kids at Heart 2004 or to find out how
you can still make a donation, please contact Megan Lott,
vice president of development, by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone at (703) 299.6633.
here to visit the NCFA Web site and see exciting photos from
this year's event.
e-Memo is a monthly publication distributed free of charge.
can contact NCFA by mail, phone, fax, and e-mail:
Council For Adoption
N. Washington Street Alexandria, VA 22314