Thursday, September 20, 2012

SB 416: Creating More Korean Orphans

S.B. 416 "North Korean Refugee Adoption Act" is about to be voted on. This bill is a travesty that will create more Korean orphans to market.

This article, The Fiction of the North Korean Refugee Orphan, explains exactly what this bill proposes and why it is an evil plot to exploit using words as weapons to redfine children as faur ganme for baby brokers, all coated in sugary charitable language:
Recently fast-tracked to the House floor, HR 1464 (“The North Korean Refugee Adoption Act of 2011”) has passed the House. Exploiting the rhetoric of humanitarian rescue, the bill identifies North Korean hunger as the problem and proposes U.S. adoption of North Korean children as the solution, making the figure of the hungry North Korean orphan a matter of U.S. legislative concern.  ....  Modeled on a failed series of North Korean human rights bills that stretch back to 2003, the North Korean Refugee Adoption Act of 2011 proceeds from an outdated portrait of on-the-ground conditions and distorted premises. Empirically speaking, the bill misrepresents the reality of the children whom it purports to help. As a placeholder for children who are, by and large, not North Korean, not refugees, and not orphans, the “North Korean refugee orphan” is a dangerous fiction whose elastic license with the truth imperils the welfare of the children this legislation stands to impact. The bill’s alarmist image of “thousands of North Korean children [who] are threatened with starvation or disease” does not, in point of fact, correspond to the reality of the children who—albeit often poor and sometimes in the care of a grandparent—actually have families, have household registration papers, attend schools, are relatively well-nourished, and are Chinese citizens. Strategically loose on the supply-side details, this bill risks instrumentally construing these children as adoptable when, in fact, they are not. Far from ensuring the best interests of the child, as specified by international protocols, including the Hague Adoption Convention to which the United States is signatory, the North Korean Refugee Adoption Act, if passed, will give legitimacy to practices that shift U.S. adoption policy toward child laundering more here.


If you wish to take action on this bill it that action needs to happen VERY SOON :-)
Below is a list of members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and links for contacting them. I got squashed for time and so didn't include phone numbers for all but you can find them on the links.
Contacting your U.S. senator would be enormously helpful -- by phone today or tomorrow, if possible, and then if you can follow up with an email message by the end of the weekend...that would be GREAT!  Here's the list:
Senator Johnny Isakson GA
Senator John Barrasso WY
Adoptivrefather, Samford University law professor and reknowned expert on child trafficking for adoption, David Smolin writes:

I am writing to support...opposition to HR 1464, The North Korean Refugee Adoption Act. I have been tracking this law for some time. As a law professor I find this legislation particularly ill-conceived and dangerous. For all those who have worked to provide some safeguards in intercountry adoption for children and families, this law is a frightening conception, for it supplies a broad end-run around normal nationality, immigration, and Hague safeguards. The proposed law defines “large numbers” of children under the ill-defined labels of “de jure or de facto stateless refugees” and “stateless, orphaned children,” and proposes alternative intercountry adoption procedures that strip out the basic protections of nationality. Although focused on “North Korean” children in North Korea, China, and South Korea, the law instructs the State Department to search for “stateless, orphaned children” of all nationalities throughout the globe. The law baits us with visions of starvation and disease in North Korea that have little or no relationship to the proposed “solution” of new intercountry adoption procedures....

I do not doubt that there are some good intentions behind this law, but nonetheless HR 1464 would create a terrible precedent. In that way, its negative significance could go beyond the particulars of the situation its title addresses. 
David Smolin

CALL TODAY!!  Tell your legislators to stop intefering in N. Korea and instead to fiocus on the half nmillion in U$ foster care, more than 100,000 of whom COULD be adopted!!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Adoption Services Associates' Agency Closing Leaves ASA Birthparents in the Lurch

Elizabeth Jurenovich writes:12:14pm Sep 14
I wanted to make you aware of a project my agency has taken on, which I think could accomplish more if we could somehow appeal to the interest of those who are invested in the need for adoption reform... because we've found ourselves in over our heads, frankly...

As you may know, one of Texas' largest and most notorious adoption agencies went under this year. ASA (Adoption Services Associates),
which did "semi-closed" adoptions (my words) abruptly shut its doors and claimed bankruptcy in April, leaving a reported 5k birthparents with no hope of receiving promised updates or mail forwarding services, their only means of contact with the children they placed there.

Likewise, it left just as many birthparents and adoptive parents with no source of post-adoption services, either. The attorney general has filed charges against ASA and its owners, but nobody seems concerned about the disenfranchised birthfamilies.

My little agency started by launching a private Facebook group to enable the ASA birthparents to find each other (figuring there's strength in numbers?!) We put out a press release and we've been overwhelmed by the response.

While ASA emailed its adoptive parents to inform them of the closing, they didn't bother contacting birthparents, and every week, we get tearful, panicked calls from former ASA birthparents who are just now learning they've lost their only channel of communication with their children's adoptive family.

It's heartbreaking. While Abrazo's adoptions are fully-open with direct contact between adoptive parents and birthfamilies in the years following placement, these ASA moms were told they, too, had "open adoptions", yet most know nothing more about their child's adoptive families than their first names and the state or country in which they lived.

Thus, what we've been trying to do (the three of us who work at Abrazo) is to get whatever info we can from the ASA birthparents about their child's adoptive parents, then hunt for the families online (again, with little more than first names, location, and sometimes occupational information.) We've actually found about a third of the adoptive families for whom we've searched, so far, but the adoptive families' response to our calls has definitely been mixed.

We try to educate them about the importance of ongoing and direct contact, especially in the light of ASA's closing, but even those who are receptive to our requests for updates for the birthfamilies are unwilling to engage in direct contact, leaving us in the awkward position of "having" to agree to serve as intermediary (which runs counter to our belief in full-disclosure) for fear that not doing so will cost the birthparent/s any opportunity for updates at all.

Do any of you know of any search angels who might be willing to participate in this project? Do you have any insight as to how we could better appeal to the adoptive families we contact? We have no fiduciary obligation to any parties, as we are doing this on a strictly charitable basis: do you think we are within our rights, ethically, to turn over whatever identifying information we find to the birthfamilies who have requested that we search for their child's adoptive families?

These ASA birthparents have been twice victimized, once by the agency which misled them into placing thinking they had open adoptions when they clearly didn't, and then by abruptly cutting off their only avenue of communication and making no effort to provide alternative sources of post-adoption care; we don't want to further harm them by failing in our endeavor to help reconnect them with the children they placed.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and for whatever insight or advice you may have to share,

-- Elizabeth


UPDATE: 9/15/12

International adoption handled through ASA have also caused problems, according to this report at PundPuppy Legacy:
In a lawsuit filed in March, the nonprofit agency accuses its former director of international adoptions of failing to disclose medical problems of children to adoptive couples, mistreating and threatening prospective parents, separating siblings without informing the adoptive parents, and costing the agency $300,000 in damages.
During three years, according to the lawsuit, Adoption Services Associates "received at least one complaint a week, every week, calculating to approximately 156 complaints," against the international adoption director, Orson Mozes.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Reflecting, Remembering, Grieiving

Living in the tri-state (NY) area, television news programming is filled with 9/11 memorial services. Loved ones remember and reflect. Local towns throughout the east coast have memorial programs to memorialize the anniversary, commemorate the devastating losses.

Family members of those who lost their lives that day, solemnly - some tearfully - speak of how they keep their mothers, fathers, son, daughters and spouses alive in their hearts. Some are children who never met or were too young remember their parents who perished. Heartbreaking.

"Never forget" is the battle cry of the world's Jewish population who lost so many during The Holocaust. They too memorialize their loved ones in monuments, museums, documentaries, history books... to see to it that no one ever forgets, lest the horror be repeated.

No one dares to dishonor the loss these survivers by labeling them angry, yet I would imagine some, if asked would decribe that along with grief and sadness they experience a great deal of RAGE at what occurred.

No.... I am NOT comparing the loss adoption inflicts on adopted persons and their natural families to death or to horriffic acts of senseless mass violence - or to acts of war or terorism.

I personally have experienced both losses - adoption and the death of my child. I can thus attest to the fact they are not equal or to be compared.

Nor, do I in any way wish to lessen or detract from the magnitude of death of a loved one. I just wonder why it's OK to diminish our losses and to label us perjoritavely when we express our grief over our loss.

No one would DARE call 9/11 mourners, Holocaut survivors or ANYONE grieivng the death of a loved one "disgruntled" or BITTER! Can you imagine the outcries?

Why then is it acceptable to so demean our losses?

The answer is simple: Because unnlike these deaths, our losses created joy for others and those others want to perpetuate more losses to make others happy.

It's like promoting more fatal auto accidents in order to have ample organs desperately needed for transplant.

"Adoption Loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful" - The Reverend Keith C. Griffith

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Big Bucks in Non-profit Adoptions

Sometimes and article is so important it bears repeating in full. This is such a case. By repeating it and creating searchable tags to it, hopefully it will be seen by more people who might then begin to understand the concept of adoption as a multi-billion dollar industry - and hopefully chose not be part of the problem:

Nonprofit adoption agencies often profit someone other than children, families

AJC investigation: Big portions of agency budgets go to top executives

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By law, private adoption agencies in Georgia are supposed to operate as nonprofit organizations.
The law, however, doesn’t preclude big salaries for the agencies’ executives, or self-dealing by their corporate officers or high overhead costs that don’t benefit the children the groups are supposed to help.
For many private adoption and foster care agencies, nonprofit status in the child protection business leaves plenty of room for lucrative rewards, according to an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The newspaper’s review of federal tax returns and other public documents found numerous examples where top executives’ compensation accounted for one-fourth to one-third of agencies’ budgets. In many instances, administrative costs exceeded expenses on direct services for children.
owns (on an annual basis, the rent payments would total $16,800). It paid $40,971 to rent office space from a company belonging to the chairman of its board.
For example, Faithbridge Foster Care Inc., in Alpharetta, spent $293,311 in 2008, according to the tax return it filed for that year with the Internal Revenue Service. It paid its executive director $70,325. It spent another $4,200 to rent a building the director 
Altogether in 2008, the agency devoted almost 40 percent of its budget to its top officers.
Another agency, Dayton, Ohio-based Phoenix Homes Inc., which operates a branch in Snellville, paid $1.8 million in 2008 to a management company belonging to the nonprofit’s president. Phoenix also paid its president about $200,000 in salary and other compensation. A vice president who also works for his boss’s management firm collected $117,000 in salary from the nonprofit.
Families First Inc. of Atlanta paid six employees more than $100,000 each in 2008, according to tax documents. It also paid about $32,000 to a board member’s company for investment services; meanwhile, the value of the portfolio the firm managed for the agency dropped by almost $1.1 million.
Many executives of adoption and foster care agencies say government budget cuts and fewer charitable contributions have left them strapped for money. Financial troubles recently forced the Catholic Diocese of Savannah to announce it would close St. Mary’s Home, which has housed foster children since 1875.
The agencies’ finances — especially concerning how they spend, rather than raise, money — is a touchy topic for many nonprofit executives. Most of those contacted recently declined to discuss the matter.
A lack of industry standards and government rules enable people running such agencies to spend freely for their own benefit, said Pablo Eisenberg, a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership.
“What you’re finding is certainly the trend in nonprofits,” Eisenberg said. “An increasing number of people are pushing for a kind of free market in nonprofits.”
He described directors who don’t challenge excessive spending as “totally incompetent.”
“There’s no accountability,” Eisenberg said. “There are no guidelines by the IRS, even on self-dealing. It’s just appalling.”
Big salaries, overhead
For many agencies, the free market approach especially applies to executive salaries.
For example, Chinese Children Adoption International, which has an Atlanta office, paid its top two officers — who are married to each other — a total of about $410,000 in 2006, the latest year for which its tax returns are available. The total budget for the agency, headquartered in Centennial, Colo., was $5.2 million.
Similarly, in 2007, Open Door Adoption Agency Inc. of Thomasville paid a total of $201,000 to its two top executives, also a husband and wife, out of a $1.2 million budget.
Some agencies devote significant portions of their budgets just for one executive’s salary. For instance, Alpharetta-based AAA Partners in Adoption Inc. told the IRS that its executive director’s total compensation for 2008 was $107,747 — one-fourth of all its expenses that year.
The adoption and foster care agency Bethany Christian Services, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., with offices in Atlanta and Columbus, paid 72 employees at least $50,000 in 2007, according to its tax returns. The chief executive earned $169,000, while the agency’s vice president collected $178,000.
Bethany had a total budget of $9.1 million. However, $7.2 million, or almost four of every five dollars, went to management expenses. Another $1.2 million covered fund-raising costs — far more than the $694,000 that went to programs that directly served children.
The agency put more into employee pension plans than into children’s services.
Bethany collected $803,225 from the Georgia Department of Human Services for supervising foster children in 2009, state records show. The state money covers administrative costs as well as direct services to children.
Faithbridge, where the executive director and the board chairman received 40 percent of all spending, received about $75,000 from the state in 2008. The agency said in tax documents that the public money helped offset $145,969 in expenses for placing foster children. In its tax documents, the agency said it “partnered” with state agencies to “provide foster homes for children and return children home to extended families.”
Bill Hancock, the agency’s executive director, did not respond to messages requesting an interview.
Faithbridge disclosed to the IRS its dealings with its officers. But it generally avoids public scrutiny.
“The organization,” Faithbridge says in tax documents, “does not make its governing documents, conflict of interest policy and financial statements available to the public.”
Dimmed outlook
At some agencies, executives work for next to nothing, or even less.
Adoption Planning Inc. of Atlanta, for instance, reported on its most recent tax return that it paid its executive director, Rhonda Fishbein, just $2,500 in 2008. The same year, the tax return said, Fishbein lent the agency $28,000 in “working capital.”
The Giving Tree Inc. of Decatur received a $25,000 interest-free loan in 2007 from its executive director, Yvette Bowden. Her compensation that year totaled about $67,000.
And Christian Homes Inc. of Pavo, near Valdosta, reported on its most recent tax return that none of its $54,580 budget went to salaries or any other expenses other than services for children.
For many agencies, especially those that rely on public money, the financial outlook has dimmed.
The state has cut payments to many agencies because of deep budget shortfalls. Consequently, some organizations say they are struggling to survive.
For eight years, Morningstar Treatment Services based its annual budget on state payments to house 58 children in its Youth Estate group home near Brunswick. But now the state pays only for 48 children, and Morningstar is “taking a $60,000 to $70,000 hit a month,” said Barry Kerr, the agency’s chief executive officer.
“I don’t think there’s an administrator you could interview who would not say it’s not having a significant impact,” he said.
Morningstar spends relatively little on fund-raising — $186,000 of a $10 million budget in 2008. Executive salaries also trail those at many other agencies; Kerr’s salary and expense reimbursement totaled $115,000 in 2008. The only self-dealing the agency reported to the IRS involved the payment of $51,304 to a consulting firm owned by a Morningstar employee.
As public money becomes scarcer, some agencies have tried to get more private funding. For instance, The Bridge, a group home in northwest Atlanta, has increased its reliance on private donors to an amount equal to one-fourth of its annual budget, said Tom Russell, the agency’s chief executive officer.
Even so, only about 5 percent of its spending goes into fund-raising efforts.
By contrast, Georgia Agape Inc., an Atlanta foster care and adoption agency, spent $273,000 on fund-raising in 2008, or 17 percent of its total budget — even though it relies heavily on government appropriations.

Frozen Embryo Adoption

According to a recent Huffington Post article entitled Evangelicals Embryo Adoption: Devout Christians Seek A Future For Thousands Of Frozen Embryos:
It's estimated that there are more than 600,000 embryos frozen in storage in the U.S., but it's not clear how many of those are available for adoption.....In 2003, about 8,000 fresh and about 3,500 thawed embryos, all donated, were transferred to adoptive women. By 2010, about 9,300 fresh and about 6,100 thawed donated embryos were transferred. More transfers are resulting in live births, too. In 2003, 50 percent of fresh embryo transfers and 30 percent of thawed embryo transfers resulted in live births. By 2010, 55 percent of fresh and 34 percent of thawed embryo transfers resulted in live births.
The article also states that:

During a decade-long stretch of federal funding to promote embryo adoption, evangelical organizations received most of the $21 million doled out. 
I have very mixed feelings about Embryo Adoption and I'd like to engage readers in a discussion of the pros and cons.

First, I am overwhelmingly appalled and disgusted that federal dollars were ever given to PROMOTE this practice! WHY in the God's name would our federal government care about this when there are more than 100,000 real live children in foster care - costing state and federal dollars to care for - who COULD be adopted? This funding - which thank goodness has stopped - was a clear case of religious influence on our government.

Of course, like ALL adoption, I despise the idea of anonymity that obliterates a child's God-given right to know his earthly creators or procreators as the case may be - his or her genetic heredity. The truth of the person's origins, genealogy, ancestry, blood lines, and medical history, etc. I find it vile, dangerous, and offensive that all that VITAL information can be flushed away permanently and a human being denied access to it.

Likewise, the idea that evangelicals see these unborn cells as miniature soldiers for Christ is appalling to me. 

On the other hand, most who adopt want the baby as young as humanly possibly to make it easier for them to pretend they gave birth to it. In this case, the CAN actually give birth to an adopted child!  So, part of me wants to say: Go ahead. Snatch up these little icicles because maybe, just maybe the more people who go after these yet unborn embryos, the less demand to adopt already living children. Thus, pressure there would be on mothers in crisis to relinquish and perhaps even less child trafficking for adoption worldwide.

What do you think?  What other aspect have I failed to see? (I'm sure there are many different views on this topic.)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Inter-racial Adoption: Helping "Ask Debra" Help Others

Ask Derbra is a Christian oriented advise column in the Palestinian HeraldThe author of 54 books, Debra White Smith holds an M.A. from U.T. and is the featured relationship specialist on the Fox News Radio Show, “Plain Jane Wisdom.” She and her husband, Daniel, co-pastor Palestine Church of the Nazarene. For more information, visit Got a problem? E-mail Debra at

In her Sept. 8, 2012 opinion column she replies to reader's concerns about Inter-racial Adoption. Seems at least one relative is telling this woman not to adopt a child of another race and suggesting that their community would not readily be accepting of a child of another race.

Debra advises her to disregard these concerns and go ahead with the adoption if that is what she feels "led" to do by God!     It all appears here.

My reply sent via email to

Your answer is well meaning, but unfortunately misguided.  It fortifies adoption as the selfish fulfillment a desire (need?) to be a parent, regardless of what it is in that child's best interest.

I urge you to read - and advise anyone considering interacial adoption to read - the writing of persons who were adopted transnationally and transracially and see how THEY feel about having this done to them. 
  • Read "Transracial Adoption According to a Recovering Adoptee" - a beautiful and articulate description by and adoptee who says: "I am neither protransracial adoption nor antitransracial adoption. I readily accept that in my own personal circumstances, had I not been adopted I may not have lived to see my fifth birthday." 
  • Read the excellent books of Jane Jeng Trenka: 

  • The Language of Blood, Graywolf Press, 2005
  • Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption, South End Press, 2006
  • Fugitive Visions: An Adoptee's Return to Korea, Graywolf Press, 2009

  • And read the writings of Tobias Hubinette. Hubinette and Trenka are both adults who were adopted transnationally and transracially and describe the challenges, as well as the advantages, it presented for them.
  • See films of inter-racial adoption such as "On The Fault Line" and "Somewhere Between"
It is bad enough when some adopt with so-called "color-blindness" - the supposed inability to recognize and thus HONOR differences. But it is far worse to  knowingly and with forethought subject a child to discrimination!

No one should adopt transracially without considering the state, city, town and neighborhood in which they plan to reside and the ethnic demographics of the schools in their district. To subject a child to a life of being "different" from all his peers is CRUEL, as is subjecting him to family members who are less than fully accepting of and willing to embrace who he is and his cultural roots.

You should have advised this woman to re-think her decsion, based not her own needs, wants and desires but on the best interest of the child. You should have advised her to wait, think, educate herself, and learn what is at stake for this child and her family, which becomes a minority family, before acting on impulse and ignoring warning signs. Sometimes prayers are answered, but it is just not the answer we want or expect, so we ignore that answer. Think of the parable of the preacher on the church roof waiting for his prayers of recuse to be heard as the flood water rose. As he prayers and waits for a message from God, he ignores the boats coming to his rescue. This woman's relative is giving her an answer - a warning; a sign from God - but she is ignoring it.

Think too of the story of the boy scout who drags the old lady across the street when she really wants and needs to be on the side she started on. We can often get too caught up in wanting to "help" that we overlook asking what help is needed.  Taking children one at a time out of poverty does nothing to ameliorate the conditions of their family, village or nation. The tens of thousands of dollars spent to adopt one child, tearing him from his culture and heritage, while leaving his mother, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins behind, could instead provide a well for clean drinking water, medicine, or a school for his whole village. Which is the higher altruistic solution? 

Ninety percent of children in orphanages worldwide are not orphans but have family, as was the case with the two children adopted by Madonna. Families all over the globe use orphanages to provide food, medical treatment and education for their children - not unlike boarding school - but have no desire for them to be taken by strangers for adoption. Children are being kidnapped, stolen and trafficked for adoption worldwide to meet the DEMAND for adoption. We can choose to be part of the solution or part of the problem.

Simply put yourself in the shoes of a child and ask yourself what would that child pray for? Someone to come and "rescue" him or her by snatching him up and sending to a far off land - or someone to help his entire family remain together safely as a family?  Would YOU choose better "opportunities" and material advantages over YOUR family?

You can do God's work and help entire families in crisis by contributing to Christian Children's Fund, SOS for Children, Amor del Ninos, Unicef.  You could also help children in need by fostering American children in need or by being a Big Brother or Sister. There are unlimited volunteer ways to assist families in crisis without tearing them apart and exploiting their poverty, even possibly winding up unwittingly supporting unscrupulous baby brokers and child traffickers. (Read "Finding Fernanda" by Erin Siegal.)

I hope you will print this to help children and families do the right thing.  

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