Monday, April 26, 2010

Child Adoption Needs Transparency to be Safe and Ethical

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) out of Georgia reports "Adoption agencies break rules, escape punishment: Weak oversight on private adoption agencies"

The newspaper reviewed more than 1,500 reports of inspections and investigations found that:
regulators repeatedly forgave violations of rules fundamental to safe adoptions: failing to check parents’ criminal records, for instance, or not documenting safe environments in adoptive homes.
A Deep Valley of Greed, Lies and Deception

Valley of Hope is a Christian agency claiming on their website that all children
are “wonderfully made by the Creator” and are offered as a “free gift” of “everlasting life.” Free, that is for an average price of $40,000.

Valley of Hope broke the rules even before it completed its first adoption.
Erin Chaffee, a licensed social worker who had worked for another adoption agency, established Valley of Hope in January 2008 as a for-profit business. State law requires adoption agencies to operate as not-for-profit organizations to guard against the appearance of baby selling.

Chaffee accepted the agency’s first adoption application fee from prospective parents in June 2008 — two months before Valley of Hope received a state license allowing it to do so, records show. In her e-mail Saturday, Chaffee said regulators “had trouble understanding” that she was working with those parents through a separate consulting company.
I encourage you to read the full report which involves pre-birth matching - of course.

But the crux of the issue for all of adoption lies in the fact that such misconduct is referred to as being in a "gray area" that is, it doe snot cross the line into out-and-out black market baby selling and so it is is ignored, or slappe don the wrist and allowed to continue.
Several agencies received citations for failing to show that payments to birth mothers covered only legitimate medical or living expenses. At least one agency — Valley of Hope Adoption Inc. of Woodstock, with which the Arduzes worked — was cited for having money for a birth mother’s expenses deposited into its executive director’s personal bank account.

None of those violations resulted in penalties.

State law allows fines as high as $25,000. But officials say they prefer to persuade agencies to comply with the rules than impose harsh penalties.....
The Valley of Broken Dreams Agency eluded punishment for almost two years, even though state officials knew it was violating adoption rules. But the state didn’t share information about the agency with the public until late 2009.

Erin Chaffee, Valley of Hope’s founder and executive director, declined repeated requests for an interview. In an e-mail to a reporter late Friday, she said, “Adoption is a highly personal and confidential business and for those reasons it is not appropriate for me to engage in a discussion with you.”
And therein lies the beauty of adoption corruption. In words that might have been spoken by the Queen of baby selling Ms. Georgia Tann, or by bessie bernard, or Stanley Michelman or any of our notorious baby brokers. The operate best under the shrouded cloud of secrecy and thus why NCFA supports keeping it that way - keep the records sealed to protect whom?? The baby brokers!

The exact opposite is what is needed. There cannot be any regulation without transparency and full disclosure of what is going on., Mothers are told not to reveal the names of fathers...mothers are taken from one state to another - give birth here, sign papers there, while the agency mailing address, if they have one, is elsewhere. ALL of this needs to stop! And yet who will do so?

The Stork Market, via its forward by Evelyn Robinson, compared U.S. adoption practice with that of Australia which has systematically reduced adoptions to nearly none by providing humane family preservation programs for families in crisis. Now, Australia has apologized actions committed in the past when such programs were not in effect while the U.S. simply continues to exploit women and commodify children to meet a demand.

NOW, in the 21st century, knowing full ell the lifelong effects on mothers and their children form such separation, we not only allow the process to flourish, but we allowed it to go on unregulated. As L. Annn Babb and Adam Pertman both have recognized - anyone can hang up a shingle and arrange adoptions. Airline hostesses, used car salesman all have done so! And nail salons are more regulated to protected clients than are adoption agencies. And it goes on and on and on...

The only complaints come when a paying customer is ripped off. When mothers and father are ripped off for their kids, who cares? It's their own fault: they should have known better and not had had that sex to begin with!And if you can't afford to support a child then others deserve to take it from you so its not a "burden" on the state and taxpayers who re busy paying for more important things like war and corporate and political welfare.

No Ethics Without Transparency and Accountability

When will it end? Will anyone ever wake up and smell the coffee and see beyond the lies? Does anyone care about their welfare of these children and their families, or are they just wrapping on "free gifts" for those who can pay the price tag?

The pundits are calling for reforms in the wake of the Hansen give-back debacle. Russia should become Hague compliant. That won;t help domestic adoption messes like those conducted by Valley of Hope and hundrds of other slipshod "gray area" agencies acorss the country.

Agencies should be improve vetting processes and ensure pre-adoptive parents are well informed as to what to expect and receive full medical disclosure. Sure. All great ideas. Who will enforce any of it? There is no federal oversight of any of this and states hand out adoption agency licenses s they do for anyone to operate any business making the transfer of babies no different than the sale of any other merchandise.

Ethics is the new catch phrase in adoption organizations. Everyone agrees. No one is pro-unethical adoptions. yet what does it really mean? It's like saying we want "honest" car salesman and "nice" politicians running our country. What are the standards, the requirements for operating an adoption agency? We don't allow people who call themselves "competent" to operate on us or prescribe medication - we require many years of education and training and certification.

What education, what certification to arrange adoptions? Who provides impartial counseling for mother sin crisis considering adoption - those who profit from their loss? Where is legal counsel for her as she goes through with an adoption on the promise of openness?

Russia is now - again - insisting on follow-ups after placement of their children in American homes for adoption. They insisted on it after freezing adoptions in 2000 and then allowed them to reopen with unkept PROMISES. We do not thoroughly screen pre-adopter as the Masha Allen case made all too obvious, and we do not check up on them afterward as the Torry Hansen case illustrates. We do not do it for Russian children, or guatemalan, or Ethiopian of Chinese...and we do not do it for our own American born babies! They go to whomever can pay the fee. Period. End of story. In some areas, might makes right. But for the most part, in the good old U.S. A, Inc., money gets you whatever you want, no questions asked.

We need transparency, accountability and regulations with teeth in them to quickly shut down violators and not let them reopen in another state or under a different corporate name as is now done. There must be federal control of this INTERSTATE TRAFFICKING with a national board that one could go to and see how many complaints have been filed against any particular agency, how many law suits filed, how many criminal cases involving the agency, and how many scandals of any kind... and what the outcome was.

And, even all of this is a stop gap measure on the way toward eliminating all unnecessary, unwarranted adoptions as Australia has.

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