It is past time to give adopted adults access to their original birth certificates, and the Gladney Center for Adoption is working to make that happen. As with everything else, adoption is ever evolving. Even with this evolution, everything surrounding the adoption is intended to protect everyone involved, including the best interests of the child as well as the rights and needs of the birth parents. When the child grows up and wants to search for his or her birth parents, we must continue to be respectful of the birth parents, allowing them to have some control over having their story exposed. In the new age of technology and genetic testing, limiting access to birth records does not protect birth mothers. Giving easy access to birth certificates will not only allow adopted adults to search out and possibly connect with their birth parents, it will give birth parents the opportunity to choose their next steps in a world where privacy is not guaranteed.
Giggles, excited screams, somersaults, and painted faces greeted two judges and an abundance of amazing volunteers at our Third Annual Gladney Adoption Day. November is recognized as National Adoption Month around the country, and Gladney hosted a Texas-sized celebration. Conference rooms were converted into court rooms, and our usually quiet campus became a festival of bounce houses, kid-friendly activities, fun food, and a surplus of photo opportunities.
We have continued to advocate for the belief that every child deserves a loving and caring family. Every child. Everywhere. No one can make this happen alone. It will take the larger community of committed child advocates and parents, continuing to give a voice to the often forgotten children, in order get this message to the men and women in government and in the legislature.
Gladney has been placing children from foster care for many years. In October 2018, the Gladney Center Board of Directors voted to further advance Gladney’s focus and mission by creating a task force to grow and improve adoptions from foster care. The purpose of the task force is “to create a sustainable and replicable model that places every adoptable child waiting in Texas foster care.” The members of the task force include Gladney board members, Gladney parents who adopted children from foster care, and Gladney staff, with input from outside experts in relevant fields. Gladney board member Roger Metz serves as the chair of the task force. This group begins its exciting and strategic work this month.
In preparation for the creation of the task force and its work, Gladney staff spent the summer and fall researching questions and issues affecting foster care and pulling data, information, and anecdotal evidence regarding children in foster care who are waiting for adoption. Gladney staff will continue to work closely with Our Community Our Kids in Fort Worth, in order to identify children who need adoptive homes much earlier in their legal process than in the past. Our staff are also communicating with Child Protective Services and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers from around the state who are advocating for children throughout the legal process. In addition, Gladney has begun to open lines of communication with agencies across the United States who are screening, educating, training, and offering supportive services to prospective families who want to adopt children from foster care.
The task force will begin to assess what would be the highest and best use of Gladney’s strengths and what Gladney’s primary role should be in meeting the needs of these waiting children. They will approach the issues from three directions: impacting external systems to serve children and families; constructing the best internal systems to create scalability; and ensuring long-term sustainability. Once the initial work is started, the task force will work to create strategies for success, set objectives with clear measurable goals, and provide input and evaluate Gladney’s progress against the strategies’ short, intermediate, and long-term goals and desired outcomes.
Gladney’s mission is Creating Bright Futures Through Adoption. With the work of Gladney’s board, committed staff, engaged volunteers, and collaborative partners, we hope to impact the futures of thousands of children who are waiting in foster care for a forever family, because every one of these children deserves a loving and caring family.
Every child deserves a loving, caring family, including children in other countries who have been orphaned. The adoption community-waiting families, adoptive families, adopted adults, licensed agencies, faith communities, child advocates, and support organizations-believes that connecting children with families provides the best opportunity for many of these children to live healthy, cared-for, productive lives. There are millions of children waiting, many dying, and most aging out of orphanages, with little hope for the future. And there are many thousands of families in the U.S. waiting to offer themselves to a child needing a family.
Oklahoma passed legislation which could improve outcomes for more children. H.B.2858 makes a significant addition to what courts must do at the initial hearing when a child is removed from the parent(s) by the state for drug exposure or allegations of abuse or neglect. Beginning November 1, 2018, courts will be required to tell a parent at the initial hearing that he/she has the right to make a voluntary adoption placement through a licensed child-placing agency.
According to the latest report published by the U.S. Department of State, International Adoptions continue to decline to the U.S., with another drop reported for 2017. Since the peak in 2004, we have seen an 80% decline in international adoptions to the U.S.
Yesterday, The Federalist published an article regarding the State Department making international adoption rarer and more expensive than ever to consolidate government control over private agencies. Please read "Bucking Trump Deregulation Agenda, State Department Chokes International Adoption".