Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Is Promoting Adoption Healthy and Wise?

Are Family Separations Healthy and Desirable?

By Mirah Riben

The National Council for Adoption (NCFA), the nation's largest lobby for adoption agencies has issued the following statement that calls for an increase in "quick-trigger" adoptions to the detriment of mothers and children.

"Only one to two percent of children born out of wedlock are placed for adoption. Without presuming to judge any individual decision, it seems to be in the best interests of children and their birthparents for significantly more of these children to be placed for adoption. Social science has directly correlated the rise in children languishing in foster care to the number of single-parent households. The number of single-parent households is
directly correlated to the decrease in infant adoptions. Here are some of NCFA's policy priorities to help create healthier attitudes towards infant
adoption and make it easier for birthparents to choose adoption."

The statement begins with the word "only" bemoaning the "decrease in infant adoptions" followed by the pejorative, outdated label "born out of wedlock" - a phrase offensive to single mothers and their children, adopted or not.

Reports of decreases in teen pregnancies, coupled with more mothers having the resources, support, and ability to care for their children would be an indication of a healthy society is something to warrant rejoicing, not concern. This is especially true in light of the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever that it is "in the best interests of children" or their parents "for significantly more of these [bastard] children to be placed for adoption."

The fact is quite the opposite. The largest study to look at the effects of foster care provides "the first viable, empirical evidence" of the benefits of keeping kids with their families, says Gary Stangler, executive director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, a foundation for foster teens. Stangler says it looked at kids over a longer period of time than had other studies. "It confirms what experience and observation tell us: Kids who can remain in their homes do better than in foster care," says Stangler. He says some kids, for their own safety, need to be removed from their families, but in marginal cases of abuse, more should be done to keep them together.1 Additionally, programs that work to keep families intact, providing drug rehabilitation and other resources have proven to be more cost effective and have better results.

Who/what is the NCFA and why are the promoting increased family separations? The NCFA lobbies on behalf of adoption businesses who profit from the redistribution of children. The paid clients of these agencies are willing to pay $10-$20,000 per child. It is, thus, a simple matter of dollar and cents to encourage and promote the relinquishment of children for adoption in order to add to the coffers of those whose livelihood depends on such family disruptions.

The NCFA is notorious for intentionally fallacious statements and invented "facts" such as alleging that mothers who relinquish children for adoption are promised protection of their privacy form their own children. That lie is perpetrated in order for the NCFA o campaign against the rights of adopted citizens to their own records because the agencies they represent operate with more ease under the cloak of secrecy, making it clear that they have no concern for the best interest of adopted persons, or their mothers. They in fact act contrary to all organizations that represent mothers and adoptees.

It is, thus, not wonder that the above claim is based on "correlation" and vague "social science" - typical of NCFA's spurious arguments. A "correlation" can imply a possible causal relationship, but cannot indicate what the causal relationship, if any, might be. The causes underlying the correlation, if any - in this case a "rise in children languishing in foster care" and "the number of single-parent households" - may be indirect and unknown. Establishing a correlation between two variables is not sufficient condition to establish a causal relationship (in either direction). If, in fact more children in foster care are from single-parent households, that indicates merely that single parents need more support such as adequate day care, than they are receiving. It in no way indicates that more children would be better off permanently severed from their families.

The NCFA's solution - referred to in typical sugar-coated newspeak as "healthier attitudes" - is the promotion of what are called "quick-trigger adoptions" and have been criticized all over the country. 2

The solution for marriages in trouble is not quicker divorces. The same is true of families in crisis. Tearing children from their parents, siblings, grandparents and other extended family causes far more harm than working to keep such families together.

Permanent care for children in temporary foster homes who have no family to return to is preferable and there is a need to promote suitable families to come forward and provide homes for the tens of thousands of orphans who might benefit. But the public, and lawmakers are duped when the NCFA encourages legislation using foster care as a foot in the door. There is a failure (deliberate on the part of he NCFA) to distinguish the adoption of such children who have no families, and infant adoption which is a vast, unregulated money-making industry involving coercion and exploitation and needs to be discouraged not aided.

The NCFA gets away with mendacious claims because the public wants to believe that adoption is a warm-fuzzy, win-win. We cling to a vision of adoption in which love can cure all and that adoption is "the same as if" a child was born to you. We are fond of accepting the illusion of adoption as "rescuing" kids and bringing happiness to those suffering the heartache of infertility. We embrace these myths and fairy tales so much, that fundamental Christians and our government - not just the NCFA - promote and encourage adoption.

The promotion of adoption is counter to the promotion of a healthy society. Being adopted creates feelings of rejection, abandonment and identity crisis that results in a disproportionate high umber of adoptees in all mental health and criminal facilities, and a disproportionate number of serial killers were adopted. This is in addition to the lifelong post-traumatic stress suffered by mothers who have lost children to adoption.

Adoption is a permanent, irrevocable solution for temporary problems. The purpose of adoption is to find homes for orphans children and the thousands of children already in foster care who cannot be reunited with families, not creating more separations.

1. Wendy Koch, "Study: Troubled homes better than foster care" USA Today July 2, 2007.

2. Valerie Honycutt Spears.Panel works on law to slow quick-trigger adoptions. Lexington Herald-Leader. November, 2006.

1 comment:

Marley Greiner said...

I love this line, Mirah: "The solution for marriages in trouble is not quicker divorces."

NCFA follows the Pat Fagan line that everybody is better off being adopted, that is, kids who are adopted have better outcomes than anybody, including those brought up in intact married families. If biology isn't important, then why bother with matching up baybees with their mothers at the hospital; why bother with birth certificates, why spent thousands of dollars on fertility treatments? I'm waiting for a proposal to just hand out baybeees helter-skelter from the backdoors of hospitals to whoever wants one...or two...or three.

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