Monday, June 27, 2011

Extending Post-Adoption Services for International Adoptees? Really?

Senator Amy Klobucher of Minnesota is touting a new bill she has introduced that is intended to extend post-adoption services available to domestic adoptees to international adoptees as well:
The Supporting Adoptive Families Act involves three main changes to existing law:

1.It would redefine the current federal definition of “adoption support services” to include American families adopting a child from abroad.

2.It would make those services eligible for [pre-existing] federal funding that would be delivered to states for child welfare-related services, and a specific portion of existing funds would go directly to caring for adopted children with mental health problems.

3.It would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve its data collection regarding adoptions -- especially those that fail -- to better develop the support services.

This legislation doesn’t require any additional spending,” said Klobuchar.
I think we can all agree that better post-adoption services are desperately needed.  The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute's report, Keeping The Promise: The Critical Need for Post-Adoption Services to Enable Children and Families to Succeed, should convince you of that if nothing else.

So surely it's a good thing to make international adoptive families eligible for post-adoption services.  We've seen countless stories of failed international adoptions that might well have succeeded with post-adoption services (poor Artyom, anyone?).

But what this legislation does is increase the pool of eligible families without increasing the pool of available services!  How is that going to help?!  The Institute's report notes that one of the biggest barriers to accessing post-adoption services is inadequate funding to serve all the families that need help. 
As the senator from Minnesota, not surprisingly, Klobuchor emphasized how this bill will help Minnesotans:

“This issue is of special importance for Minnesota, because we lead the country with the highest rate of international adoptions,” said Klobuchar. “Parenting is always a challenge -- but there can be additional challenges for parents who adopt a child from another country. We need to help adoptive families get access to the support they need so their children can thrive.”
Irony alert! Minnesota is facing a government shutdown and there is no doubt that it will affect some post-adoption services.

Without REAL increases in federal/state funds for post-adoption services, it does little good to expand the number of eligible families.  All we'll have is more families scrabbling for the same inadequate services that exist today, or in light of state budget shortfalls all over the nation, we'll have more families scrabbling for LESS services than exist today.

So, yes, include internationally adopting families in post-adoption services provided by state & federal funds.  But increase the funding to make that promise of post-adoption services reality not illusion.


Linda said...

I always chuckle whenever I see "post adoption services for adoptees". I have yet to see ANY for myself, lol. These services should include paid searches and travel fees to find our first parents.

Oh wait.....our information is off limits to us, or in many cases, non-existent for international adoptees. Oops. Silly me.

Anonymous said...

I was just going to add what Linda did and also ask if the new law overturned the sealed records law saying Adult Adoptees CAN get their original birth certificates - now to me that would be a true Post Adoption Service...did you know Minnesota was the first state to seal our records way back in 1917?

Mei Ling said...

Paid searches wouldn't help the after-effects created by post-reunion.

No amount of counseling could help with that. It's something you just learn to live with.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Mei-Ling.

And frankly was put off by the suggestion that AA's should have expenses paid for First Family searches. Access to Birth Certificates/medical backgrounds, expenses paid for reunion? Not so much.

That is a personal decision that not every Adult Adoptee wishes to embark on; I have no desire to search for my First Family; should that change, I will make that journey on my own dollar.

What is not a personal choice are the thousands of children brought home each year with institutionalized/situational issues such as RAD, food hoarding,attachment spectrum issues, etc.; families need real help to address those challenges for that child and often its not a finanacial hurdle, but more what Malinda stated: a lack of services available and in a timely manner.

Anon. Carrie

Amanda said...

Oh my agency has lots of post-adoption services I could use.

I just have to fork over hundreds of dollars to receive them.

I guess the money they collected when I was adopted, and their 25 million dollar budget isn't enough to help we adoptees out on the house.

Agencies are just expanding who they can make money off of, it doesn't mean anyone will actually get more help.