Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Jane Aronson’

New book about international adoption, “Carried in Our Hearts”

Monday, March 18th, 2013

I’m thrilled to announce that Adoption Under One Roof blogger Lisa S has contributed an essay to a new and important book about international adoption, Carried in Our Hearts: The Gift of Adoption – Inspiring Stories of Families Created Across Continents. Authored by Dr. Jane Aronson and published by Tarcher, the book will be released on April 18, and is available for pre-order now, in both hard cover and Kindle formats.

Carried in Our Hearts: The Gift of Adoption comprises a collection of essays written by adoptive parents whose families have been cared for by Dr. Aronson, aka “the orphan doctor,” during the past 20 years. The stories reveal the deep and complex emotions felt by adoptive parents, and will resonate with anyone who has embarked on this transformative journey. The chapters are divided into ten thematic sections–“The Decision,” “The Journey,” “The Moment We Met”–each introduced with an essay by Dr. Aronson. Throughout the book, Dr. Aronson discusses the arc of her life, from pediatrician, to adoptive mother, to founder of the international foundation, Worldwide Orphans; and her ongoing commitment to the “children left behind.”

For each book you purchase before April 18, Tarcher will donate $1 to Worldwide Orphans. Going forward, a portion of the book’s proceeds will continue to benefit the foundation.

Order your copy of Carried in Our Hearts today! I did, and cannot wait to read it. Particularly the contribution by Lisa S!

Congratulations! ~

Image Credit: Tarcher Publishing


Open Letter from Dr. Jane Aronson to President Bill Clinton

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

 I saw Dr. Jane Aronson’s open letter to President Clinton on another blog, Whatever Things Are True. Dr. Aronson is founder and CEO of Worldwide Orphans Foundation, and writes with the authority of a physician involved in international adoption for some twenty years. Her message is so passionate I’m also printing it here, in the hopes of adding to the letter’s readership. Dr. Aronson’s subject is the recent news about adoption from Ethiopia, and her interpretation of its meaning.

March 13, 2011

An Open Letter to President Clinton 

Once again, tragedy strikes orphans  – children who might have been adopted into a permanent home have had their hopes and dreams demolished.  This time it’s  Ethiopia, where international adoption has been growing rapidly over the last six years, beginning with a handful of older children in the 1980’s and 90’s.  By last year 2,500 children – sweet babies and toddlers – were adopted by American families.

Now, the Ethiopian government has announced that it is reducing the number of visas approved for adoption from 50 per work day to five. The outcry from those waiting to become parents, from adoption agencies and from not for profit organizations advocating for children, is predictable and equally predictable, the world at large appears to be indifferent to the anguish this ruling is causing.  And so, the numbers of children adopted from Ethiopia will decrease, the time it takes to adopt will increase, and international adoption in general, and the children in particular, are the losers. (more…)


Another reason to love Hugh Jackman

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

… is that he’s married to Deborra-Lee Furness, the woman the Australian Melbourne Weekly describes as “film actress and fierce adoption campaigner.”  Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman are adoptive parents to two children born in the United States–Oscar, age 10; and Ava, age 5. In November 2010, Furness organized a summit in New York, Forgotten Children: International Adoption and the Orphan Crisis, featuring leaders in the field such as Dr. Jane Aronson, Ethiopian pediatrician Dr. Sophie Mengistu, and filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem (In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee).

In this profile, titled Deborra-Lee Furness: Leading the Charge, the Melbourne Weekly writes:

Actress Deborra-Lee Furness is leading the charge to change Australia’s ‘‘anti-adoption culture.’’ … She’s only been in Melbourne for a few days and an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report into local adoption rates was released this morning… While the disturbing statistics such as a 21-fold decrease in adoptions in Australia since the early 1970s are nothing new for the long-time campaigner, Furness is still furious about the personal stories of excruciating red tape and bureaucratic decisions.


After miscarriages and failed IVF attempts, Furness and Jackman adopted two children in the U.S. Furness says the kids are just sensational. “They are well travelled. Oscar is very artistic and Ava wants to be a rock star – so at least they are in the arts, which is good!”


While Furness is happy to speak candidly albeit briefly about her own brood, it’s the issue of other adopted children that really fires her up. Having founded Adoption Awareness Week in Australia in 2008, Furness recently hosted an adoption summit in New York where she pulled together the “rock stars of the field.” Together with editor of the Daily Beast news website Tina Brown, Furness invited representatives from UNICEF, Harvard, Worldwide Orphans Foundation and politicians to talk about the orphan crisis.

Furness insists that she is not pro-adoption (“I wish every child could stay with their family, but that’s not the world that we live in”), but she gets extremely frustrated with Australia’s “anti-adoption culture” which makes inter-country adoption near impossible. Of the 40,000 inter-country adoptions worldwide in 2009, only 270 were Australian. A four- to seven-year wait is the minimum for most local couples, with many having to wait up to 10 years. Most invest a huge amount of money and emotion and for some, the process takes so long that they miss out completely.

“This is a huge, huge crisis and these kids aren’t part of it,” Furness says. “They aren’t voters, there is no agenda for the politicians but I do think you judge a country by the way they treat their children and it is embarrassing. I am out there on the international stage and we are the lowest in the world as far as inter-country adoption…  I have been talking to the attorney-general and trying to speed it up, but it needs leadership – people who understand the situation and how complex it is.”

Finally, the article concludes:

Like all working mums, Furness admits it is difficult to juggle her campaigning, acting career and family, but says it’s the injustice of the adoption situation that keeps her going.

Long may she wave.


Observations by Jane Aronson, MD, the “orphan doctor”

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Pediatrician and adoptive mother Jane Aronson’s New York City medical practice focuses on childen who are adopted. By her own estimate, she has examined more than 10,000 children as patients. This article, posted on, includes thoughtful insights by Aronson, based on years of her professional observations. Two that resonate for me are:

…Aronson says that for every three months a child spends in an orphanage, he loses one month of developmental skills, causing, for example, language delays or learning issues.

“If you don’t have one adult who loves you,” says Aronson, you “don’t end up healthy.”

And the second:

Most important quality for parents to have: “To be focused on who the child is and make every effort to accept the child for who they are. (Whether) you give birth to a child, you adopt a child, you have to accept the child with unconditional love and acceptance.”

Aronson is founder of the Worldwide Orphans Foundation.

Her Worldwide Orphans Foundation [WWO], with its headquarters in Maplewood [New Jersey], provides various programs and facilities to orphans in Ethiopia, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and Serbia. In Ethiopia, for instance, some of WWO’s programs include a school whose curriculum includes global arts, such as theater, dance and music; a family health care clinic, which counts among its services the treatment of orphans with HIV and AIDS; and an orphan soccer league.

The idea for the foundation came to her in the late 1980s when she looked at the staggering number of orphans who are never adopted. Approximately 20,000 children are adopted annually; the total number of orphans worldwide is now estimated to be about 163 million, according to UNICEF.

“It became clear that the vast majority of orphans would not have permanency,” says Aronson.

Through WWO, one-to-one early intervention programs — known as granny programs — in Vietnam, Azerbaijan and Bulgaria match retired women from the community with orphans to provide the children with individual attention and education.

International adoption can never provide homes for the millions of children in need of permanency. Last year, families in the United States adopted 13,000 from around the world, and that number is dropping. My hope for the new year is the development of more one-to-one early intervention programs in the orphanages of my children’s birth country, Guatemala. Every child deserves a chance to grow up healthy.


The Daily Beast on “Forgotten Children: International Adoption and the Global Orphan Crisis”

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

The Daily Beast hosted the second “Women in the World” salon series event, Forgotten Children: International Adoption and the Global Orphan Crisis, on Wednesday morning at Urban Zen in Manhattan’s West Village, in honor of National Adoption Awareness Month. Everything about the meeting seems to have been extraordinary, from the participants (Hugh Jackman, Tina Brown, Vera Wang, Ambassador Susan Jacobs) to the discussion to the list of 9 ways to help. Please read the entire article, watch the YouTube video clips, and forward to everyone you know.

But first, know that the polled participants agreed that international adoption should never be the first option to help the 163 million orphans (defined as having lost at least one parent) living without permanent families. The first option should always be to place a child with biological family members. The second, to place a child within his community. The third is to adopt out internationally. Remember, too, that last year, only 13,000 children were adopted to families in the United States. International adoption should never be viewed as the “solution” to the international orphan crisis because it can’t possibly address the overwhelming numbers of children who need homes.

Some selected comments:

Dr. Jane Aronson, adoption medicine specialist and founder of Worldwide Orphans Foundation, speaking about the need for post-placement services:  “Children have these problems, and we have to be honest about those problems. People need to know what they’re getting into. And they need to then either step up to it, or not sign on for it.”

Dr. Sophie Mengitsu, director of the Worldwide Orphans Foundation in Ethiopia, speaking about institutionalized care for children: ”Kids are better off in the streets” than in an institution. Why? For every three months in an institution, a child’s development is delayed by one month.

Susan Bissell, UNICEF’s chief of child protection, when asked what kind of contingency is in place to protect children in countries where adoptions are summarily closed with hundreds of cases still pending, such as Guatemala: “At the moment, there is no contingency plan.”

As I said, “Extraordinary.”