Monday, March 3, 2014

Celebrating the Art and Culture of Korea



My daughter Jennifer and I attended the opening of the new exhibition of Korean art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art over the weekend. This offers a large and quite wonderful collection of all sort of objects produced in Korea during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The exhibition continues until May 26. For anyone interested in a family outing that is both educational and just plain fun, this is the place to go.

Jennifer took this photo of us standing in front of an enormous 17th century tapestry now hanging in the museum's Great Hall; it has never before traveled outside Korea.

Peter Conn
Emeritus Member of the Board of Directors
Pearl S. Buck International

Friday, February 21, 2014

Children in Families First: Forever


Pearl S Buck firmly believed that every child deserves to grow up in a loving family. Our Welcome House adoption program has echoed this sentiment for 65 years as it advocated for parentless children and brought them to loving families.
 
Pearl S. Buck International’s advocacy efforts were reinforced this week by Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick (PA-8) who co-sponsored the bipartisan Children in Families First Act (CHIFF)[H.R. 3323/S. 1530]. The legislation aims to realign structures and reallocate resources within the federal government to make children in families a priority.
 
“This bill offers an effective solution for an adoption system that is crippled and allows children to languish in orphanages while couples here in the United States desperately want to adopt,” said Janet Mintzer, President and CEO Pearl S. Buck International sitting alongside Congressman Fitzpatrick at a press conference in the Cultural Center on site at the historic landmark Pearl S. Buck House.
 
CHIFF would create a leadership position in the State Department to prioritize child welfare diplomacy and international adoptions, as well as remove duplicative regulations that slow the adoption process. This landmark, bipartisan legislation has over 45 co-sponsors in both the House and Senate, and has been recommended to the House Committees on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs.

Adoptive families and couples who want to adopt are encouraged to visit www.childreninfamiliesfirst.org to see if their legislator has co-sponsored the bill. If your legislator is not listed reach out to urge them to co-sponsor the bill.
 
“As a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, I’ve committed myself to working toward sustainable, pro-family adoption policies that encourage – not discourage – the process of giving a home to every child,” Fitzpatrick said. “The Children in Families First Act has a simple goal: Realign U.S. adoption policy with the fundamental human truth that every child deserves to grow up with a loving family.”
 
Since 1949, Pearl S. Buck International’s Welcome House adoption program has been finding families for parentless children. Currently, the program facilitates adoptions in Costa Rica, Colombia, China and Korea. Our full continuum of adoption services includes pre-adoption information meetings, webinars, and home studies, through post-adoption counseling, respite and other resources.

Friday, February 7, 2014

College Scholarship for Welcome House Adoptees



Pearl S Buck firmly believed that every child should have the opportunity to receive an education. It is in this spirit that the Mabel Lew Trust donated $100,000 to Pearl S. Buck International in 1997 to establish a scholarship program in the name of Mabel Lew. College students or college bound high school seniors who were adopted through our Welcome House adoption program are eligible to apply for the $5,000 one-time scholarship.

The award criteria set up by the Trust stipulates that applicants should be gifted, economically disadvantaged, Asian-descended Welcome House adoptees who are US citizens.  The award will be paid directly to the educational institution and will only be valid for a four-year undergraduate degree program.

Application deadline is March 3 at 5:00 pm. More information on the scholarship can be found at www.pearlsbuck.org/scholarship.


 



Friday, November 1, 2013

National Adoption Month: A Time for Celebration and Reflection


November is recognized as National Adoption Month in observance of those agencies and individuals whose mission is to ensure that all children grow up in loving families. It is a mission that Pearl S. Buck herself took up in 1949 when she founded Welcome House®, one of the nation’s first adoption programs focused on meeting the needs of multiracial children. National Adoption Month also recognizes adoptive families who have opened up their hearts and their homes to children in need.
However, as we celebrate National Adoption Month at Welcome House, we are disheartened that some much-publicized worldwide adoption stories about other agencies’ practices have cast a shadow on the world of international adoption and have left many children stuck waiting for forever families.

Pearl S. Buck International’s Hague-accredited Welcome House adoption program embraces the tenets and code of conduct put forth by the Hague Inter-country Adoption Convention. The Hague Convention seeks to ensure that growing up in a loving family is of primary importance and essential for the happiness and healthy development of the child. It recognizes that inter-country adoption may offer the advantage of a permanent family to a child for whom a suitable family cannot be found in his/her country of birth.  The Best Interest of the Child is the guiding, central principle that our mission upholds in accordance with the Hague Convention for each and every adoption we facilitate.
Whenever it is not possible for a child to be raised by birth parents or extended family, permanent care with a safe, loving family in the child’s country of origin should be considered.  Permanent institutionalized care is not an adequate substitute.  Institutional care should be a last resort after ALL other options are considered.

However, ensuring the safety of the world’s children begins before an adoptive family and home is identified. Safeguarding against the abduction, sale, and trafficking of children begins by protecting birth families from financial exploitation and undue pressure, ensuring that only children in need of a family are eligible for adoption by preventing improper financial gain and corruption.
At the same time, international adoption agencies must adhere to strict standards related to evaluating families that have the ability to care for a child from a different culture who may have emotional or medical needs that require families to provide rehabilitative care.  They must adhere to standards related to training these families and then providing sufficient post-placement services.  This responsibility is very important in stabilizing the long-term permanency of children and preventing adoption disruptions or mistreatment once the child is adopted internationally. 

The same standards need to apply to adoptions of children in our own country.  The PA Statewide Adoption Network, (SWAN), requires significant parent training and post placement support to prevent disruptions.  They also provide post placement services for all adopted children, including those who are adopted in the US, Internationally, or are part of a kinship or legal guardian arrangement. Welcome House is a SWAN post-placement service provider.

Welcome House has been building families since 1949 and supporting them along their post-adoption journey ever since. Today, we are searching for loving families for children through our adoption programs in China, Korea, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Kazakhstan.
During this National Adoption Month, we celebrate along with our adoptive families who have opened their hearts and welcomed a child into their homes.
Whether you are an adoptive family or not, the multicultural fabric that makes up our community, created by the threads of adoption, is truly something for all of us to celebrate.

Educate yourself and others about child adoption at www.pearlsbuck.org/adoption.

                                                                                                                            

 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mabel Lew Scholarship Awarded



In 1997, the Mabel Lew Trust donated $100,000 to Pearl S. Buck International to establish a scholarship program in the name of Mabel Lew. In accordance with the donor’s wishes, Pearl S. Buck International annually invites college students or college bound high school seniors who were adopted through our Welcome House adoption program to apply for the Mabel Lew Scholarship


Pearl S. Buck International is pleased to announce this year’s scholarship recipient is Cory Saunders from Doylestown, PA. She was adopted from Sanshui, Guangdong Province, China in 1997 when she was two years old. Cory will begin her freshman year at Haverford College in the fall to study mathematics. Cory stated, “My family greatly appreciates Pearl S. Buck International’s gesture of kindness. We were brought together by the opportunities Pearl S. Buck International provided for us, and we're so thankful that it has extended its kindness once more to assist me in my pursuit of higher education.” 


Teri Mandic, vice president of programs at Pearl S. Buck International said,  “the selection committee chose Cory as the 2013 scholarship recipient because, she exemplified academic excellence and alignment with all eligibility criteria more so than the other applicants.”
Cory Saunders accepted the Mabel Lew Scholarship Award at the Pearl S. Buck House Grand Reopening Celebration on June 26 from David Yoder, Chairman of the Pearl S. Buck International Board of Directors and the first child helped by Welcome House.
Criteria for the scholarship include: 
- The applicant must be a United States Citizen.
- The applicant should be a gifted, economically disadvantaged, Asian-descended Welcome House adoptee The award will be a $5,000 one-time scholarship which will be paid directly to the educational institution and will only be valid for a four-year undergraduate degree program.

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Welcome House team at Pearl S. Buck International is celebrating today's signing of a one-on-one relationship with a Zhenjiang orphanage. The occasion is even more significant given the fact that Pearl S. Buck lived in Zhenjiang while in China.
Signing ceremony at the Adoption Center of Jiangsu Province with Director Li of Zhenjiang Social Welfare Institute, Pearl S. Buck International CEO Janet Mintzer, and Director Meng of the Adoption Center of Jiangsu Province.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Little Support Can Go a Long Way on the Adoption Journey


Raising children and supporting them as they navigate toddlerhood or adolescence can be challenging. If you add early childhood trauma, identity or developmental issues to the mix, the challenges can present even greater challenges.

Confronted with these struggles, adoptive families may feel overwhelmed as they build a solid, loving foundation for their child while helping them acclimate at school or home.

A little support can go a long way to arriving at the solutions your child needs. Post-permanency services offer support and aim to help adoptive families who feel isolated, frustrated or overwhelmed. The goal of the Pearl S. Buck International’s Welcome House post-permanency services is to develop a supportive plan that draws on each family’s strengths. Recognizing that each family’s needs are different, the solutions presented guide adoptive families along a road map of sorts to enable them to successfully navigate life’s challenges based on their individual strengths and individual goals.  

The individualized plan may include resources for parenting a child with physical, emotional or other special needs, as well as offer support and advocacy for educational issues or learning disabilities.

Funded through the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN), the program can be accessed by calling 1-800-585-7926 and requesting a referral to Pearl S. Buck International’s Welcome House program. 

All adopted children residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are eligible for services as well as families with permanent legal custody or families caring for their relative’s children (kinship placement).