Raising Awareness, Affecting Change

16 08 2011

Last week we distributed an Executive Report to Joint Council Members which forecasts the continued suffering of children in need of a safe and permanent family. If current policies are not changed, in the next ten years over 250,000 children will be denied their basic human right to a family.

On August 26th, the folks over at Both Ends Burning will bring much needed attention to this tragedy through their Step Forward for Orphans March. The march will highlight the needs and suffering of children living without parental care and the impact the crash of intercountry is having on them.

The march from the National Mall to the Capital is intended to raise awareness, motivate public action and most importantly, to enable more children to live in permanent, safe and loving families.

For more information on the March or to learn how to participate, see the Both Ends Burning Invitation Video or Events Page.

CCAI Foster Youth Congressional Briefing

2 08 2011

As a summer intern with Joint Council, I’ve had great opportunities to meet inspiring people, learn tons about international child welfare, and participate in the meaningful work Joint Council does. As my internship rapidly approaches its conclusion, I can say attending the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) Foster Youth Intern Briefing last week has been one of the highlights of my summer.

At the Briefing, CCAI’s Foster Youth Interns, fifteen young adults who have personally been in the US foster system, presented the policy recommendations they developed this summer for US foster care. Well-researched and well-formulated as they were, the personal experiences the interns interwove was what gave the recommendations the most weight.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget when one of the interns told the spellbound audience that he had just been adopted at the age of 25. Whether born in Baltimore or Beijing – whether 2, 12, or 22 years old – every child needs the opportunity to have a permanent home so they can experience the love only family can provide.

Sarah Neville
Community Outreach Intern


22 04 2011

After two weeks of no updates (thanks to our very successful Annual Conference!), we’ve finally been able to update the website with news and information! Check them out at jointcouncil.org or see below for new specific country updates:


Ethiopia (1)

Ethiopia (2)

News regarding adoption, featuring Adam Pertman


Russia (1)

Russia (2)




Rachel – A Joint Council intern on her last day

6 08 2010

Rachel Heend is currently a sophomore at the College of William and Mary. She intends to double major in Psychology and Hispanic Studies. Rachel spent her summer interning at Joint Council.

Walk in, say the “Good Mornings!” to Tom and Rebecca, chat with my fellow interns, sit at my desk and start my day. This is the routine that I have grown accustomed to since June 1st. It’s weird to think that a little more than 2 months ago I was just starting at Joint Council. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was nervous, excited, eager, and somewhat intimidated by Tom, although I tried my best not to show it. Now it is my last day at Joint Council, and I can for sure say that I no longer feel nervous or intimidated. My experience at Joint Council has surpassed my expectations. Tom, Rebecca, and all the interns have provided me with such an open, comfortable, educational and fun environment, making me always feel excited and able to NOT dread coming to work. I couldn’t ask for anything more after hearing my friends’ horror stories from their internships.

Coming into this internship as the youngest, I thought that connecting with my fellow co-workers, and gaining respect for my work and from my peers was going to be difficult. From the first day, all my preconceived notions and worries were wiped away. Like I mentioned before, the atmosphere at Joint Council is absolutely incredible. There is a sense of team-work and a unique collaboration effort between everyone that has created a positive environment and successful organization. Observing Tom and Rebecca, and collaborating with the interns has taught me so much and has opened my eyes to a whole new career path. Although I am sad to leave Joint Council, I am also very excited to start my second year of college with this great experience under my belt.

It is now nearing the end of the work day. Instead of finishing up file organization, cleaning up my desk for the day to only get it messy again tomorrow, and saying the “see you tomorrow’s!” to everyone, I am now completing the file organization (thank goodness!), clearing out my desk, and saying my final “good-bye’s!” to everyone in the office.  This has been a wonderful summer internship, and I want to spend my last few words thanking Tom, Rebecca, Jamie, Michelle, Karissa, and Megan for making that possible. Finally, I want to pass on some useful advice to the new interns: there is no shame in bringing delicious baked goods into the office. From my own experience at Joint Council, some home-made or even store-bought cupcakes are always a crowd pleaser and have been proven to increase work efficiency. ; ] Good luck!

Joint Council Meets Ambassador Jacobs

8 07 2010

Joint Council’s Tom DiFilipo and Rebecca Harris had the pleasure of meeting Ambassador Susan Jacobs, the newly appointed Special Advisor to the Office of Children’s Issues (OCI) at the Department of State.  The meeting also included Mike Regan, Bill Bistransky and Jill Larson, all with the OCI. (click here for our posting on Secretary Clinton’s appointment of Ambassador Jacobs).

While being ‘on the job’ for only a few weeks, Ambassador Jacobs demonstrated a breadth of knowledge on key issues including the Hague Convention, the Families For Orphans Act and the challenges of ensuring that intercountry adoption serves children not only in concept, but in reality.   She also stated that her position as Consular Chief  in Romania in the mid ’90s, during which she was responsible for intercountry adoption and visited many orphanages, brings a valuable familiarity to the needs of children to her new position.   Ambassador Jacobs also expressed that her desire to work in children’s issues stems from her work with children as a teacher and (day-care provider), camp counselor, baby-sitter, mother and grandmother..

Recognizing that Ambassador Jacobs faces a (relatively steep) learning curve on both intercountry adoption and international child abduction, Joint Council has offered to meet with her to provide Joint Council’s perspective on the many issues, opportunities and barriers facing every child’s right to a permanent and safe family.  In addition, we also offered to conduct quarterly meetings during which specific country issues can be addressed.   Ambassador Jacobs stated her willingness to utilize Joint Council and other NGOs as part of her ongoing efforts at the OCI and to engage on issues of concern to the intercountry adoption community.

Joint Council again extends our congratulation to Ambassador Jacobs on her recent appointment as Special Advisor and looks forward to working with her as we collectively advance the rights of our world’s children.

Tom DiFilipo

Secretary Clinton Appoints Special Advisor

7 07 2010

Secretary of State Clinton has appointed Ambassador Susan Jacobs as Special Advisor  to the Office of Children’s Issues (the office responsible for intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction).   The Secretary’s announcement can be found below.

We are very encouraged by the creation of the position of Special Advisor and the selection of Ambassador Jacobs.   Both international parental child abduction and intercountry adoption are important to ensuring that children live Read the rest of this entry »

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