e-Memo for November 2004

NCFA continues to sail away with Kids At Heart 2004

NCFA is working diligently to ensure that Kids at Heart 2004 is a huge success. Over the last five months, NCFA has been busy working with King Features Syndicate, one of the world's premiere distributors of comics, columns, editorial cartoons, puzzles, and games to newspapers. King Features partnered with NCFA as part of its re-launch of Popeye on his 75th anniversary to promote adoption awareness through this unique event, since Swee'pea was never formally adopted by Popeye. Judge Mathis of Warner Brothers' “Judge Mathis” TV show, will preside over the adoption ceremony.

In addition, Dana Delany, star of the hit television drama “China Beach” will serve as Honorary Chair and join the fun at Kids at Heart 2004.

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

Continue to stay tuned for more on Kids at Heart 2004!

For more information on Kids at Heart, click here.

Update: Senate's turn to now support Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act (HR 1057)

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act (H.R. 1057), by a vote of 414 to zero. H.R. 1057, sponsored by Rep. Jim DeMint, would repeal the sunset on the expanded adoption benefits authorized in the Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act of 2001. Senator Jim Bunning has introduced identical legislation (S 1931) in the Senate.

The Senate should act quickly to support this compassionate, commonsense policy. If the sunset is not repealed, fewer children will be adopted into loving, permanent families, especially children with special needs.

To learn how you can help, read NCFA's Action Alert. .
To learn more about this bill, click here and type in “HR 1057.”

NCFA and JCICS send joint letter to address concerns on international adoption arena

Joint Council on International Children's Services (JCICS) and the National Council for Adoption (NCFA) sent a letter to the State Department to address the concerns regarding current international adoption policy and practice.

With the recent concern over escalating threats to international adoption systems over the last several years, NCFA and JCICS have committed to working together to advocate for reform regarding international adoption action as needed.

NCFA hopes that this letter will help to convey the growing concern over escalating threats to international adoption systems that has been developing over the last several years, and to respectfully request a more pro-active US response. By joining forces, both JCICS and NCFA hope to work more closely with the State Department in order to establish and enforce ethical international adoption practices. NCFA and JCICS champion international adoption as a positive option for children in need around the world.

To read the full letter, click here.
For more information on international adoptions, click here.

Update on Belarusian adoptions

Adoption processing was interrupted in Belarus following President Lukashenko's request of his government to look into international adoptions. According to the Department of State (DOS) and the Belarusian National Center for Adoption, adoptions for which a child had already been identified were to be processed, while clarification was needed with regard to adoptions for which a child had not been identified. The Belarusian government has not issued any official clarifications about the status of adoptions there, despite the fact that there have been cases in which courts have refused to hear an adoption already approved by the National Center for Adoption.

DOS has been in contact with the American Embassy in Minsk, as well as with the Belarusian National Center for Adoption and other government officials. NCFA maintains frequent contact with the DOS, and updates its Web site ( as soon as information becomes available.

Click here for the most current DOS notices.

Update on adoptions in Sierra Leone

The Department of State (DOS) notified the adoption community recently that Sierra Leone will no longer waive the requirement for parents' personal appearance at the court hearing. Additional changes are under consideration.

Click here to read the October DOS notice.
Monitor the DOS Website for future updates by connecting here.

Update: New Jersey's mandatory openness bill, SCS S1093-S620, would violate birthparent privacy

New Jersey's mandatory openness bill, SCS S1093-S620, would violate birthparents' privacy rights by opening their confidential adoption records without their knowledge or consent, unless they filed a request for nondisclosure within 12 months of the bill's enactment. For all birthparents prospectively, this harmful legislation would completely eliminate the option to choose a confidential adoption, and impose onerous reporting requirements, and penalties if the requirements are not met.

The legislation has passed a Senate committee and is likely to come to the Senate floor for a vote within several weeks. Similar legislation, A3237, has been introduced in the Assembly and been referred to the Family, Women and Children's Services Committee.

To express your concerns regarding this legislation, especially if you are from New Jersey, contact the offices of Senate President Richard J. Codey, at (973) 731-6770, and of Assemblywoman Mary T. Previte, Chair of the Assembly Family, Women and Children's Services Committee, at (856) 857-0777.

If you are from New Jersey, please also contact your own senator and Assembly representative as well. You can find them at:

NCFA Participates in Care Net's National Pregnancy Center Conference

NCFA offered its Adoption Specialist Training to attendees of this year's Care Net National Pregnancy Center Conference held in Vienna, VA from September 22–25. This 11-session workshop was led by three seasoned Master Trainers from Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. All participants who completed the training were awarded certificates and are now certified as Adoption Specialists. During its three-year Infant Adoption Awareness Training Program, NCFA trained more than 100 Care Net employees as Adoption Specialists nationwide.

Care Net is a nonprofit organization that supports a network of over 750 pregnancy resource centers in the United States and Canada. These centers offer free pregnancy tests, peer counseling, post-abortion support and other practical help to empower men and women facing pregnancy related concerns.

To learn more about Care Net, click here.

Family Life's Hope for Orphans hosts summit to promote faith-based adoptive parent recruitment and orphan care

On October 21-22, Family Life hosted the “Adoption and Orphan Care Summit” at its offices in Little Rock, Arkansas. The summit convened over 25 leaders committed to inspiring people of faith to live up to the biblical mandate to care for orphans. Summit participants represented adoption agencies, orphan care ministries, churches with adoption and orphan care programs, foundations, and advocacy organizations. The group discussed ways of preparing church members to consider adoptive parenting, foster care, and other ways they can personally care for orphans. Collectively, summit participants possessed: (1) working models for church-based adoptive parent recruitment and orphan care ministries; and (2) personal and communications networks for organizing the movement and inspiring others to the calling. Participants had the sense that the summit may prove to be a turning point in a cause that has the potential of benefiting many thousands of children around the world.

To learn more about Family Life's Hope for Orphans, go to

New book examines the struggles and successes of transracial, cross-cultural adoptions

Nineteen years in the making, Butterflies in the Wind: The Truth About Latin American Adoptions, by Jean Nelson-Erichsen, LSW-MA, spans the lives of three children adopted at infancy and elementary school age. With sensitivity and humor, this personal record tells of their development, along with the couple's Caucasian son. The book, re-published by popular demand, was first published in 1992. Every parent wonders what to expect from family life. Butterflies in the Wind gives us a glimpse of a delightful childhood, a complicated adolescence, and a well-rounded, successful adulthood. Nelson-Erichsen says, "I wrote this book to enhance the lives of adoptive parents in societies where color still matters. The message I want them to walk away with is, 'Never give up.' "

Save the Dates: NCFA celebrates 25 years of adoption advocacy

NCFA will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2005. NCFA has been a champion of adoption since its founding in 1980. Please help us celebrate 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.

Immediately following the 25th Anniversary banquet will be NCFA's National Adoption Conference on April 8-9, at the Washington Court Hotel.

For more information on these event, please contact Megan Lott, vice president of development at (703) 299-6633 or at Continue to visit NCFA's Web site ( for updates on these special events.

NCFA's e-Memo is a monthly publication distributed free of charge.

Subscribe online.

You can contact NCFA by mail, phone, fax, and e-mail:

National Council For Adoption

225 N. Washington Street Alexandria, VA 22314

703-299-6633 (Phone)

703-299-6004 (fax)