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Adam Pertman
Adam Pertman is President and Founder of the National Center on Adoption and Permanency, a unique “one-stop” organization that provides information, resources, education, training, consulting and advocacy to improve the lives of children, families and the professionals who serve them. NCAP is the child welfare division of Myriad Strategic Partners, a consultancy that provides organizational, strategic, financial, policy and communications services to nonprofit and business clients.

Pertman brings his experience and expertise from two highly successful careers to Myriad and NCAP. For the past decade, he established himself as one of the most effective and respected thought leaders in the child welfare world as head of the Donaldson Adoption Institute, a national nonprofit that he built into the pre-eminent research, policy and advocacy think tank in its field. Pertman also served as Associate Editor of the scholarly journal Adoption Quarterly and is a widely published author, including of the new edition of his classic book, “Adoption Nation.” Previously, he distinguished himself for over 20 years as a senior reporter and editor with the Boston Globe, where his honors included a Pulitzer Prize nomination for his writing about adoption.

Pertman has delivered hundreds of keynotes, trainings and other presentations internationally. His commentaries on families and children have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, Baltimore Sun, Miami Herald, Huffington Post and on National Public Radio, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox News, as well as in publications around the world. As a leading expert on family issues, he is widely quoted by online, broadcast and print media, such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, among others, and he has been a guest on many programs, including “Oprah,” “Today,” “The View” and “Nightline.”

Pertman’s honors include an Angel in Adoption award from the U.S. Congressional Coalition on Adoption; the Special Friend of Children Award from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; the Dave Thomas Center for Adoption Law’s first award for “the nation’s greatest contributor to public understanding about adoption and permanency placement issues;” the President’s Award from the African American Cultural Council of Virginia; a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Florida Adoption Council; and, when he was a journalist, an award from the American Adoption Congress “for his eloquent witnessing of contemporary adoption.”

Pertman’s positions at the Boston Globe included Foreign Editor, Washington News Editor, Diplomatic Correspondent, National Political Correspondent, Family and Children’s Issues Reporter, and restaurant reviewer. His assignments included the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Philippine revolution, the first Gulf War, the Mideast peace process, the O.J. Simpson trials, and several presidential elections. He is a member of the Council on Contemporary Families, the Editorial Advisory Board of Adoptive Families magazine and the National Adoption Advisory Committee of the Child Welfare League of America. He and his wife, Judy Baumwoll, live in Massachusetts with their two children, Zachary and Emilia.

Entries by Adam Pertman

The Life-Altering Impact of China's One-Child Policy on Adoption in the U.S.

(0) Comments | Posted November 23, 2015 | 3:06 PM

A version of this commentary first appeared on

There's no question that China's one-child policy has had an enormous impact on that country and its people during the 35 years it was in place, and its repercussions will continue to be felt well into...

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(0) Comments | Posted November 12, 2015 | 8:31 PM


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Impeding LGBT Parents Does Not Help Children Who Need Families

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2015 | 4:54 PM

Eventually, every candidate running for president will probably say it. Child-welfare professionals work mightily to practice it. U.S. laws and policies promote its essential truth: Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, permanent, loving family.

Yet tens of thousands of children in our country spend too much...

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Beyond Kentucky: Equality For All Should Include Adopted People, Too

(8) Comments | Posted September 4, 2015 | 1:35 PM

At the beginning of the 1900s, grim predictions punctuated the debate over women's suffrage. Everyone in the family unit would be damaged in innumerable ways if this outrage were allowed to happen, argued the critics, some of whom went so far as to predict the end of civilization itself.


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Against the Backdrop of Selma, Another Injustice in America: Deporting Adoptees

(0) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 9:41 AM

It's somehow fitting that this story -- about the pending deportation of yet another American who was adopted into his family -- is occurring during the 50th Anniversary of the Selma march. I'm not suggesting the two are exactly analogous, but pointing out that there are many areas...

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A New Organization and a New Focus: Enabling Children and Families to Succeed

(2) Comments | Posted January 26, 2015 | 6:23 PM

Finding safe, permanent homes for children in foster care -- usually through adoption when they cannot return to their families of origin -- has become a federal mandate and a national priority during the past few decades. That's obviously a very good thing, but there's a too-little-discussed downside to this...

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Do We Support Children and Families After Adoption From Foster Care? Not So Much

(2) Comments | Posted April 29, 2014 | 3:52 PM

By Susan Smith and Adam Pertman

For over three decades, the U.S. government has focused considerable effort and funding on promoting adoptions from foster care, resulting in huge increases in their numbers -- from an estimated 211,000 in FY 1988-1997 to 524,496 in the most recent 10 years, FY2003-2012. We...

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

(2) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 11:21 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 | 12:18 PM

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 | 6:41 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 | 6:37 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 | 10:13 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 | 12:35 PM

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 | 5:42 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 | 9:06 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 | 5:33 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 | 4:41 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 | 4:23 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 | 9:59 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 | 1:00 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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