Roelie (pronounced Rue-lee) begins her article with this disclaimer:
"I would like to distance myself from pro and anti-adoption labels and direct this discussion back to the heart of the matter: is intercountry adoption a child protection measure, or do children have rights in their own country and is intercountry adoption the ultimate breach of such rights?"
With all due respect for my learned colleague, I take a different position. I do not feel the need to distance myself or in any apologize for my firm family preservation position.
Language often puts us pigeonholes of others' making. That is why the right to label oneself as one sees fit is an integral and important aspect of self-determination. I am extremely proud and stand tall as an advocate of the rights of mothers and natural families.
I likewise have absolutely no difficulty or shame whatsoever in opposing all adoption profiteers.
Let us make no mistake where the lines are drawn - because you are either pro or con, there is no in between mid ground. You either profit from family separations that result in adoption placements - directly or indirectly - or you do not.
Secondarily, you either support organizations who do so with your membership, your volunteerism, and your dollars or you do not.
Politicians notoriously play middle of the road and are adept at using vague language that makes them appear to be on both sides of the fence of an issue at once. Adoption organizations, and many of their members and supporters, try to play the same "please everyone" game. The losers in that game are clearly those striving for family preservation and reunification.
Organizations claim to be on the side of activists who seek equal access and an end to falsified birth certificates, however what have they actually DONE to help accomplish these goals? Are they in fact just placating us and telling us what we want to hear while carefully balancing (and far more concerned about) the goals of their adoptive parent and prospective adoptive parent supporters whose funds the rely heavily on?
Organizations claim to be on the side of activists - and to represent all parties touched by adoption, but what are they doing to eliminate unnecessary and unwarranted family separations that result in adoption; to eliminate coercion and exploitation?
Many of these organizations are very fond of the term "ethical" adoption - a term as meaninglessly vague as the word "nice" without working to ensure any specific guidelines to prevent unnecessary losses and provide meaningful representation and impartial option counseling to mother considering voluntary surrender or facing the termination of their parental rights.
A case in point of trying to be all things to all people is The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute (EBDAI). If you had any doubts before on which side the fence Donaldson's feet were firmly planted, the ruse of being on both sides ended today with the announcement of their partnership with LifeCare for the sole purpose of "encouraging employer support for adoption."
"Encouraging employer support for adoption is critical to our mission of improving the lives of everyone touched by adoption," said Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Institute. "By partnering with LifeCare, we now have the potential to reach employers of every type and size nationwide and the millions of people who work for them. We look forward to making significant progress with LifeCare and the families it helps to build."
Why does adoption need encouragement? They will tell reporters savvy enough to ask that it is because of the thousands of children in foster care. The same poppy cock used to increase the federal tax credit for adopters year after year. If either workplace assistance or tax benefits for adoption were limited to the children who might really benefit from permanent family and cannot be reunified with their own kin, that might be a good thing. However, less than 10% of adopters are foster care and all benefit from these programs that are sold to politicians as noble.
Would it not be far more charitable, moral and ethical to use the same moneys and resources used to encourage and assist stranger adoptions to sure up families in crisis?
Where are the efforts to enhance the lives of mothers in crisis? Nowhere, because there is no profit in that! The Donaldson Institute derives all profits from those who want to see adoptions thrive, prosper and even increase.
Adoption profiteering you're either for it or against it. You either buy into the rhetoric with kindly pats on the head and a few well turned phrases that sound supportive by those who are in the business of stomping out the rights of natural families for a buck - or you don't.
NOTE: It is unclear at this point in time what resources Donaldson Institute will be offering and partnering with LifeCare and which members of the so-called adoption "triad" and at what point they will be aimed at or available to. For example: resources to assist those interested in adopted? post adoption counseling resources and search help for adult adoptee employees? services for expectant mothers considering adoption?
I requested clarification from Adam Pertman, Executive Director of EBDAI, and received the following:
Hi Mira. It’s good to hear from you. For now, our partnership is quite nascent – so we haven’t devised any specific projects other than to commit to LifeCare that we will provide our information/products/expertise in the areas described in the press release. In my mind and in discussions, the adoptions we’re talking about are for children who genuinely need homes (I think, probably, mainly from foster care) or who already are in adoptive families. But we also will educate them from the research we’ve done on birthparents rights, adoptee access and the array of other work not only relating to parents (first and adoptive) but also adopted people and the families pre- and post-adoption. That’s the lay of the land so far. Because of our own limited staff/resources, we’ve made clear that we will make decisions on specific collaborations on a case-by-case basis. I can’t give you more info than that because, frankly, that’s about all I’ve got. Stay tuned … Adam.
Adam Pertman, Executive Director
Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute