Friday, June 19, 2009

Pro or Con?

I recently read, and recommend, "THE PERVERSE EFFECTS OF THE HAGUE ADOPTION CONVENTION ," an article by Roelie Post of the European Union and author of Romania: For Export Only.

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


O Solo Mama said...

"a unique partnership to enhance service offerings to and best practices by corporations throughout the United States relating to adoption, foster parenting and diversity in family life"

What does this mean and what will these people actally do? There's an article on pregnancy on the LifeCare site but I can't read it unless I join. I'm having a hard time reconciling the goals of these two groups and what they would actually achieve together in the work setting. "All things adoption" I guess is what you're saying, but how might this play out?

maryanne said...

When you state that you must be either "for or against" anything with no middle ground, you are vastly over-simplifying a complex issue, and polarizing people who could otherwise work together on issues that they do agree upon. Aren't you the one who has written so many times that we should all get along and work together? Now, it is you are either "with us or agin' us." That cuts out a whole lot of people, not just EBD.

I too have questions about the EBD Institute and their new partnership with Life Care. That seems like strange bedfellows to me. I would also like them to do more to promote programs that help families who do not want to surrender stay together. I am not impressed with them, although they have done a few good things, and while their new partnership raises more questions, I not willing to see them as the Great Satan either.

I am not anti-adoption; it has its place. For some people it is the better choice or the lesser evil. I do not think anyone who does adoption or promotes adoption is either evil or unethical, although some are and I am opposed to those agencies and individuals. I do not see family preservation as always the ideal answer. I do not think adoption should be abolished, although I personally would not promote it. I think there should be far fewer adoptions, but I am not willing to demonize all adoptive parents or anyone who has anything to do with adoption placement.EBD is largely an adoptive parent group, which one can hardly expect to take a hard-line anti-adoption stance.

So I guess that makes me an enemy in your eyes, since one is either "for or against". That leaves no room for discussion or disagreement, just hard-line ideology. Not for me, and not for a lot of other people either who are hardly "profitting from adoption" or supporting baby sellers.

AdoptAuthor said...


You and your comment are nothing if not predictable! I almost could have written it for you and you did not hesitate to come through post haste! Love ya! :-)

I actually find your take quite polarizing, as I have, and will continue to network and work with not only EBD nut also NCF on areas in which we do agree.

What I said - very clearly and plainly is that you are either for against PROFITEERING is adoption.

I work with all these orgs but I do not pussy foot around. Everyone knows where I stand and I feel more comfortable having a firm footing. To each his own.
I just think no one should be misled by those who are less direct in their positions and ultimate goals, and pretend to be our friends while stabbing our causes in the back for a buck.

Strange bedfellows, OSolo? Are they really??? t best all EVB has done for FP or even equal access is all LIP SERVICE! And let's see how much further to the right they move now - they seem a lot closer to the goals of the NCFA than mine! And BTW, I credit the NCF for their forthright pro-adoption position and a lot less ass kissing of reformers!

maryanne said...

I have some of the same questions as Osolomama about what this whole thing is about and do not understand what Lifecare does, really, or how it relates to what EVD does. Too much corporate doubletalk in the press release and web site. It is indeed suspicious, but at this point mostly unclear.

I'm not sure how it all relates to "profiteering" either, though. Of course I am against profiteering in adoption, but not against reasonable fees for expenses by ethical agencies.

Not sure what we and NCFA would be working together on either, nor do I understand how you could work with either them or EVD if you see them as profiteers. That is confusing.

I guess everyone knows where I stand as well since I am so "predictable". I guess being predictable works for both of us:-)

O Solo Mama said...

Yes, but what will they do in the workplace? The devil is in the details. Is this adoption missionary work, encouraging adoption versus FP, or is it the dissemination of info already out there. . .what the hell is it?!! Again, I just can't figure out what these people are doing together.

I agree with Maryanne that most issues have their grey area. And if you do cooperate with adoption groups on issues you can agree on, then it might be said that you are also giving them your time and energy. One thing that can be said is that the EBDAI is probably farther along because of people like you, Bastard Nation, FMF, etc. And that's a good thing.

AdoptAuthor said...

Reasonable. Ethical.

Ah, there's the rub! Without specific guidelines such word are MEANINGLESS!

"According to Lutheran Social Services, though you can't buy a baby, birth mothers can receive up to $5,000 in some cases. But that's only for a birth mom's needs such as medical expenses, helping with rent, and transportation costs."

Is that reasonable? ethical? apparently is legal! What s the diff between this and other "agencies" offering scholarships that you shared my dismay about? It's all coercive and baby buying.

You can't pay "reasonable" expenses" any more than one can be a little bit pregnant. That's pissing on my leg and calling it rain!

We cannot nitpick what is reasonable and what is not. We need to END ALL PROFITEERING. End all privatization of adoption! Period. Those who adopt should pay simple filing fees and nothing more. NOT fees for baby finders here or abroad (read: PIMPS). Not fees that indirectly pay for marketing campaigns to convince mothers to place their babies as advocating by the NCFA.

It should cost no more to adopt than to marry. All expenses for the mother (counseling, legal representation, housing, medical, etc.) and for adopters (home-study) should come from a state fund like legal representation for criminal does! And they should be totally separate and impartial.

Maybe divert tax credits going to adopters to pay these expenses instead!

Not so difficult!

When you provide family preservation services - as ws done in AU and even in Guatemala - unnecessary adoption drop to almost zero. Only children who have no parents living and able to provide safe care are left. those are handled by the state now anyhow and cost very minimal fees!

END PROFITEERING in adoption because it creates a supply to meet a demand!

AdoptAuthor said...

"One thing that can be said is that the EBDAI is probably farther along because of people like you, Bastard Nation, FMF, etc. And that's a good thing."

Yes! And Origins-USA. I personally wrote to EBD and Ethica about their language -- particularly their use of the word "birthmother" when referring to an EXPECTANT mother! - and saw an immediate change at the conference that followed. Small tiny baby steps and lip service t that, but I agree better than nothing...*IF* we do not allow ourselves to get fooled into complacency or believing they support or positions. We need to be clear on which side of the divide their bread and butter lies.

NOW -- if we could just get the AC to take a firm stance on one side of the fence or the other...

I debate speaking at their conferences. On the one hand is an opp to educate, on the other THEY CHARGE ME to go there as a speaker and I hate to support these orgs!

As for what work benefits - i imagine incrasing adoption work benefits that are n place in major large firms tody. Also airlines that offer discounts for flight to go oversaes for the purpose of baby snatching (no offese intended).

AdoptAuthor said...

Here's a link to adoption employment benefits - what it appears EBD is seeking to INCREASE:

O Solo Mama said...

None taken. Still wouldn't be able judge the initiative without knowing the details.

Parental leave in the US is pathetic. It should be regulated, equalized, and more generous.

AdoptAuthor said...

Amen! So much in the us is pathetic -- like adoption policies...BECAUSE we are overly capitalistic with far to fee controls. Anything to make a buck is ok.

AdoptAuthor said...

"Their combined knowledge and resources promise to provide unparalleled support and guidance to people seeking to adopt or who are already touched by adoption or foster care."

LifeCare offers counseling or counseling referrals (not clear)

So, likely they are planning more than just benefits to help people who are adopting. Maybe they are planning to offer "counseling" for expectant mothers??

may even post adoption counseling??? ya think???

Anonymous said...

look under authorities for Kent county council

CEO (chief executive officer) Peter Gilroy is also a social worker, as are many of the MP's in the UK

children are being stolen for child trafficking for profit and the UK judges are rubber stamping the authorities claims to these children

anybody who dares to stand up to them is taken out by corrupt lawyers who also get paid by the state - families stand no chance

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget