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Adam Pertman
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Adam Pertman is the Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, the preeminent research, policy and education organization in its field. A highly sought-after speaker, Pertman has delivered hundreds of keynotes, trainings and other presentations internationally, and is the recipient of many awards for his work. He is the Associate Editor of Adoption Quarterly and has contributed to numerous publications on family issues. Pertman is widely quoted by journalists and has appeared as a guest on “The Oprah Show,” “Today,” “The View,” “Nightline” and other national programs.

Pertman is the author of two new groundbreaking books on adoption: Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution Is Transforming Our Families -– and America (Harvard Common Press, April 2011) and Adoption by Lesbians and Gay Men: A New Dimension in Family Diversity (Oxford University Press, August 2011).

Before embarking on his current career, Pertman was a senior journalist with The Boston Globe for over two decades. He is a member of the Council on Contemporary Families, the editorial advisory board of Adoptive Families magazine, the National Adoption Advisory Committee of the Child Welfare League of America and the Advisory Board of Orphans International, among others. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and their two children. Learn more at www.adampertman.com.

Entries by Adam Pertman

Big Lessons That Transcend the Movie: There Are Philomenas All Around Us

(2) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 10:21 AM

As I was leaving the theater over the weekend, after watching the mesmerizing movie "Philomena," a couple of middle-aged women nearby were talking about how much they had learned from the film. "It's awful what happened in Ireland back then," one of them said. "I'd never known about it before."...

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The Baby Veronica Saga: Denial of a Father's Rights and Now a $1 Million Lesson

(70) Comments | Posted November 27, 2013 | 11:18 AM

Co-authored by Bruce Boyer

The last time most of us heard about the heart-breaking Baby Veronica case was several weeks ago, when the child's Native American father gave up his years-long legal battle to retain custody of her, and her adoptive parents promised to maintain ties to her biological family.

...
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Eye-opening Insights Into International Adoption, Orphans, Special Needs and "Re-homing"

(0) Comments | Posted October 30, 2013 | 5:41 PM

Co-written with Ellen Pinderhughes, Ph.D.

A chilling story has been getting considerable attention in the news during recent weeks: Adoptive parents around the U.S., feeling unable to cope with the severity of their children's problems, are using the Internet to informally move them into new families -- without any professional...

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A Lot to Learn: As the School Year Begins, Adoption Needs to be in the Curriculum

(4) Comments | Posted September 4, 2013 | 5:37 PM

Adam Pertman and Susan Livingston Smith

Even as adoption becomes increasingly normalized in the U.S., adoptive families continue to confront roadblocks for their children in a place they expected only smooth roads: the classroom.

Interactions with administrators, teachers, peers and other parents can be complex and can impact adopted...

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Paul Ryan + Mother's Day + Gay Marriage = Doing What's Best for Children

(10) Comments | Posted May 9, 2013 | 9:13 AM

It's not yet time to declare a momentous victory, but it's certainly a sign of progress that even staunch social conservatives like U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan now support adoption by lesbians and gay men. "I think if a person wants to love and raise a child," the Wisconsin Republican

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Equal Rights for All: It's Finally Time for Adopted People, Too

(84) Comments | Posted April 1, 2013 | 11:35 AM

As our country has focused enormous attention in recent days on the rights of one minority, gay men and lesbians, we continue (alas) to give short-shrift to the decades-long effort to achieve equality for millions of people in another segment of our population: Americans who were adopted into their families.

...
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My Family Is Not a 'Second-Best Option'

(82) Comments | Posted March 15, 2013 | 4:42 PM

I hadn't known it until just this week, but Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, President Ronald Reagan, singer Marie Osmond, actor Hugh Jackman, journalist Judy Woodruff, basketball great Magic Johnson and I all have something in common: Our families are inferior.

At least that is what John Eastman, chairman...

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Legalized Infant Abandonment: Alarm in Europe, Barely a Peep in the U.S.

(27) Comments | Posted February 27, 2013 | 8:06 AM

A colleague emailed me a few days ago to suggest that I listen to an NPR story headlined "Spread of Baby Boxes Alarms Europeans," about the growing number of facilities -- now in at least 11 of the continent's 27 countries -- where newborns can be legally abandoned....

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Before It's Too Late: Understanding the Impact of Institutionalization on Children

(10) Comments | Posted January 23, 2013 | 4:33 PM

Through all the dark shadows that Russia has cast with its ban on adoptions by Americans -- on the affected girls and boys, on the U.S. citizens seeking to become their parents and on the process of international adoption itself -- a thin glimmer of light is struggling to emerge....

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A New Chapter in Adoption History: For Millions of People, the Internet is Changing... Everything

(19) Comments | Posted December 14, 2012 | 3:41 PM

It's hard to describe the extent to which the Internet is changing the everyday realities of adoption -- and the lives of the millions of people it encompasses -- without using words that sound hyperbolic. But a yearlong examination of the effects of this very new technology on a very...

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Adoption Subsidies: A Great Investment for Kids Who Need Families

(3) Comments | Posted September 25, 2012 | 3:23 PM

More than 104,000 children in the United States are waiting in foster care to be adopted by permanent, loving parents. These girls and boys, who are on average 8 years old, typically remain in temporary situations for over three years before being placed with "forever families."

The Adoption...

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Adoption in the Media: What Do Pregnant Women, Killers and Crying Babies Have in Common?

(11) Comments | Posted August 8, 2012 | 8:59 AM

When we don't fully understand something, we're prone to make mistakes when dealing with it. This not-very-profound truism popped into my head a few days ago as I was thinking about how to lead into a new commentary -- the one you're reading right now -- about the negative repercussions...

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An Unnerving Reality: We're Deporting Adoptees

(24) Comments | Posted May 29, 2012 | 12:00 PM

Imagine that your daughter, whom you raised from infancy, was convicted of forgery. You certainly wouldn't be surprised if she were prosecuted for that felony and, while it would be heartbreaking, you'd expect her to be punished, probably even imprisoned. Now let's add one more element to this real-life scenario:...

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New Realities in the Extended Family: Who Is the Woman Celebrating Thanksgiving with Your Next-Door Neighbors?

(7) Comments | Posted March 27, 2012 | 11:19 AM

Adoption has been around, in one form or another, for a very long time; to get a sense of how long, please see the Bible. As a result of its stigmatized, secretive history during much of the 20th Century, however (so stigmatized and secretive, in fact, that parents often didn't...

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When Fox News, David Brock, Identity and Adoption Intersect: Where's the Outrage?

(35) Comments | Posted February 27, 2012 | 2:56 PM

Imagine for a moment that David Brock, founder of the watchdog organization Media Matters, was African American or Asian or Jewish or Catholic or gay or disabled (I don't have a clue about his sexual orientation, ethnic background, religion or physical condition, by the way, but bear with me for...

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Are Children's Issues Only Important in Attack Videos?

(7) Comments | Posted January 10, 2012 | 12:48 PM

Politicians love children. We believe that to be true because they say it all the time (you know, things like "children are our future"). They also showcase their own kids during commercials, campaign with them if they're old enough, and even kiss babies when they get the chance.
So...

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Kids Win When We Replace Stigma With Best Practices for Gay Parents

(1) Comments | Posted November 21, 2011 | 6:16 AM

News flash: Today, in every state in America, gay fathers and lesbian mothers are raising children. For a range of reasons, not everyone in our country likes or wants to accept this reality, but it is a reality nevertheless. And it is also true that adoption -- primarily of "waiting"...

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From Steve Jobs to Kids in Foster Care: Lessons During National Adoption Month

(5) Comments | Posted October 28, 2011 | 1:21 PM

With seemingly ceaseless regularity nowadays, most recently in the coverage of Steve Jobs' passing, we are inundated by conflicting messages relating to adoption.

For the next few weeks, the wonder of adoption will be on display. November is National Adoption Awareness Month, so media outlets nationwide will be -- and...

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With So Many Kids Who Need Families, Why Are We Rejecting Parents?

(14) Comments | Posted September 15, 2011 | 3:26 PM

Politicians love to say it. Child-welfare professionals work mightily to practice it. American laws and practices promote its essential truth: every boy and girl deserves to live in a permanent, loving family.

Yet tens of thousands of children in the U.S. spend their lives in temporary (i.e., foster) care, unable...

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A Healthy Reminder: Adopted People Are Americans Too

(86) Comments | Posted March 1, 2011 | 6:10 PM

News flash: Michelle Obama didn't invent the crusade to improve Americans' well-being. Her focus (as we all know) is childhood obesity but, for the last several years, the office of the U.S. Surgeon General has been waging an even farther-reaching, get-everyone-healthy campaign that centers on this website.

...
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