ISS-USA November Newsletter
A message from our Executive Director
Dear Friends of ISS-USA,

As November comes to a close, we reflect on some of the key events of this month. 
National Adoption Month is a time to increase awareness of the need for adoptive families for thousands of children in the U.S. awaiting permanent families. National Adoption Month shines a spotlight on the critical need to find families for older youth, as more than 20,000 children age out of the U.S. foster care system every year without ever having found a permanent family. It is also a time to think critically about how we can better protect, support and advocate for children; prevent family separation; connect children to families; support and protect children post-adoption; and provide ongoing support to understand and serve adopted children's needs through adolescence and into adulthood.

In addition, we have been horrified to watch stories unfold of hardships faced by Syrian children and families as they risk their lives to flee in order to seek safety and refuge within Europe's borders and beyond. We have cried at the senseless loss of life caused by terrorists in Paris, Beirut, and other places. We hold our breath as fear causes many otherwise well-meaning Americans to turn their backs on welcoming Syrian refugees into their own communities. 
ISS respects and acknowledges that there are different paths and perspectives to achieve the globally accepted goals set forth by UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is now in its 25th year. Regardless of how we achieve these goals, most of us agree that all children deserve protection at all times.

This holiday season, I encourage you to do three things:
1) Give an extra hug or support to a child or children; their futures depend on our collective love and support;
2) Give to ISS-USA, since our future also depends on your support; and
3) Stay informed about these issues. Fear and ignorance can cause us to act in misguided ways. The issues surrounding the refugee crisis, the path to citizenship, and complexities of adoption are all incredibly complicated subjects. Please visit our blog and website to learn more about refugees, intercountry adoption, and ways to support vulnerable populations.

Best wishes,
Celebrate #GivingTuesday & #MarylandGivesMore by Supporting ISS-USA!

Join us in celebrating #GivingTuesday, tomorrow, December 1st! By donating to ISS-USA and using the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #MarylandGivesMore, you can make history to help make Maryland the most generous state in America. Help spread the word about ISS on #GivingTuesday by sharing our fundraising page, or by donating directly to us on our fundraising page. Thank you for your support!
Felicity Sackville Northcott, Director of External Partnerships & International Services, ISS-USA
ISS Organized Cross Border Child Protection - International Conference

Jean Ayoub, CEO and Secretary General, ISS General Secretariat, and Julie Rosicky, Executive Director, ISS-USA
The General Sec retariat of ISS, in collaboration with the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, held a Cross Border Child Protection International Conference & Workshop in Geneva on October 21-23, 2015.  Over 280 experts from 66 countries attended. This conference promoted and strengthened the effective implementation of the Hague Child Protection Convention of 1996 and facilitated dialogue on the socio-legal dimensions of international child-protection. Both Felicity Sackville Northcott, PhD, ISS-USA Director of External Partnerships and International Services and Julie Rosicky, ISS-USA Executive Director, presented at the conference.

To see photos from the conference, visit our Facebook album. To learn more about the conference outcomes, please visit this page for conclusions and recommendations .
Understanding the Refugee Crisis

As an organization that has a 90-year history of serving vulnerable populations that include refugees and migrants from a variety of countries, ISS-USA believes that refugees should be welcomed and helped rather than feared and discriminated against. To help stay informed of the current refugee crisis, check out our blog post which includes facts, tools, and resources from other experts in the field.
We Never Outgrow the Need for a Family

This November, National Adoption Month emphasizes the importance of the adoption of older youth in foster care because "We Never Outgrow the Need for Family." This year, let's create awareness surrounding the need for older youth in foster care to find adoptive families. Youth aged 15-18 make up 5% of the foster care population.  Creating lifelong connections and finding loving, permanent homes for these young people is critical to help them prepare for adulthood. Help promote and support the adoption of older youth with resources provided by the Children's Bureau.

ISS Federation 2015 Global Report

We are pleased to share the ISS 2015 Global Report. The report highlights the work and accomplishments of the entire ISS Network.  Did you know that ISS handles an average of 20,000 individual cases reaching around 100,000 people per year?

Universal Children's Day

ISS-USA celebrated Universal Children's Day on November 20th. The date marks the day on which the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. The Convention, which is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty, sets out a number of children's rights including the right to life, to health, to education and to play, as well as the right to family life, to be protected from violence, to not be discriminated against, and to have their views heard. 

Thomas Waterfield: The Adoption Story 

To reflect on National Adoption Month and ISS-USA's history, we had the pleasure of speaking with Thomas Waterfield, the adopted son of Jane Russell, the actress and Hollywood icon. Thomas' controversial adoption story in Ireland in 1951  sparked Russell's advocacy efforts in the field of adoption. 

To read more about Thomas Waterfield's unique adoption story, Jane Russell's work with the World Adoption International Fund (WAIF) and ISS-USA's efforts to ensure that every child has a right to a family, check out our blog post. To stay informed about intercountry adoption, please read ISS-GS's Manifesto for Intercountry Adoption.
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