Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pro Adoption = Family Dissolution

The adoption reform community is well aware of - and grateful to - the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute (EBDAI) for their support of open adoption and equal access for adult adoptees.

Most (some?) are also aware that besides fixing those two issues and giving lip service to ending corruption and exploitation that is endemic in adoption, EBDAI is totally pro-adoption.

The American Adoption Congress (AAC) is likewise pro-adoption as long as it is open and adult adoptees get their birth certificates. Both organizations rely heavily on the financial support of adopters.

The AAC holds warm-fuzzy support groups workshops at all its conferences, which along with membership are the source of the organization's self-sustaining existence. Such support groups are very helpful and always needed as long as there continues to be a steady flow of new adoptees, new LDAs and new birth parents, siblings etc.

Both EBDAI and AAC are very good ambulances at the bottom of the cliff....there to dry your tears and bandage you up after you were torn apart by the very thing they promote.  Just like adoption agency businesses who also provide fee-paid post adoption support, preventing the tragedies, the loss, the grief, the guilt, the shame, the lack of self-esteem...would put them out of business.

They are both as disingenuous as BP oil company which runs TV ads on how they are restoring the Gulf - without mentioning that it was they who destroyed it!  They are analogous to cigarette companies running anti-smoking campaigns and state lotteries adding a note at the bottom of their ads that if you have a gambling problem call 1-800-GAMBLE!

The facts are very clear and they are not hidden. Donaldson Institute owes its existence to Spence-Chapin Adoption Agency which founded the "think tank" and is still a partner along with the Cradle adoption agency. See "History" under "About":
The Adoption Institute was established in 1996 through the initiative of the Board of Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children, which saw a need for an independent and unbiased adoption research and policy organization. 
Evan B. Donaldson was a member of the Spence-Chapin Board of Directors continuously from 1977 on, serving as president from 1986 until her death in 1994. She was energetically involved in the planning of the Institute. Dedicated to the value of families, Evan Donaldson worked tirelessly to enable infants and children to have permanent loving homes.
 All EBDAI partners here.

(A bit less transparent, is the story of EBDAI's  Executive Director, Adam Pertman's personal adoption journey. Read on...)

But first, be aware that EBDAI also receives support from Hugh Jackman and his wife, the Aussie couple who adopted from the US and are well known for trying to overturn Australia's family Preservation policies:
HUGH JACKMAN's actress wife DEBORRA-LEE FURNESS is challenging politicians in her native Australia to relax adoption laws so more prospective parents can take in orphans
Jackman's wife, Deborah-Lee Furness serves as executive director of the Worldwide Orphans Foundation in her native Australia, and wrote an opinion piece for CNN.com, detailing her frustration at the "global orphan crisis." 

Of course the real crisis is the FAMILIES failing to receive the support and resources they need, whether it is a single Mom of three in California (see below), an AIDS victim in Africa, or street urchins in Mumbai. But why prevent a "crisis" when it can be exploited to the advantage of so many "deserving" couple and those who earn their livelihood in transferring kids...and come off as saviors at the same time? What a win-win adoption is -- for all but the children and their families -- for whim its a trade off a material possessions and advantages for heritage, truth....
Click "Adoption Gear" tab above to get your own sticker and more.

How does a mother of multiple children - or her other children - benefit from losing one of their kin? One less mouth to feed in exchange for a lifetime of guilt and grief?  And the public applauds the Jackman's and the Pertmans (read below) and the Joneses and the Smiths as "heroes" and "rescuers" for nobly snatching a child they covet, lust after and feel entitled to because they are somehow judged as "better."  And our laws continue to promote and encourage more and more family deconstructions and recreations.

What Has EBDAI Done?

Adam Pertman has been quoted as calling American adoption practice "The Wild West" referring to the lack of governmental oversight and regulation. Ann Babb, in her book The Ethics of American Adoption, states that adoption agencies in the US are less regulated that nail salons. What has the Donaldson Institute done or suggested be done - as think tanks do - to change this?  What does EBDAI suggest needs to be done and by whom?
Why is it that Real Estate brokers and agents have a code of ethics, but none exist for child adoption agencies and their employees and contractors as well as adoption attorneys who are adept at finding loopholes and state-directing clients? What has EBDAI to SUGGEST any such ethical guidelines within the adoption industry?  

How is it ethical for adopters to pay the attorney fees of the mothers whose babies they seek?

Adam Pertman's reaction to the recent Reuters report on re-homing was to call for more help for families who adopt troubled children. Again - attempting to "fix" life altering problems rather than prevent them. Why did was not more and better vetting beforehand suggested?  Does not having adopters pay for their own home studies create a conflict of interest? Why has EBDAI not set guidelines for adoption agencies to ensure that prospective adopters understand the difficulties they may face? And why were no penalties suggested for those who re-home?

There is also a conflict of interest - and distorted expectations - in domestic adoption when adopters pay the legal fees and expenses of expectant mothers. Could this not be resolved by having such funds held in escrow or in state repositories rather than used to intimidate, coerce and instill feelings of indebtedness?  

Who protects the best interests of the children being transferred via adoption that is entrepreneurial and caters to the one paying client? Does EBDAI see a need for more protection for the children? What are they doing in that regard?

The EBDAI supports adoptee access to their original birth certificate, but the institute has been silent on the falsifying the vital record of their birth in the first place. When a child needs extra-familial care, is falsifying their birth certificate - sometimes changing date and place of birth - in their best interest or should that practice be stopped as well?
The institute favors open adoption but are not open adoptions in most states  a disingenuous promise to make to an expectant mother since there is limited enforcement in a limited number of states? Does EBDAI support enforcement of such contracts?
Where was EBDAI stand on cases of fathers' rights abrogation such as Baby Veronica and now Deserai? Why have they not submitted briefs to the courts denouncing these practices?

FINALLY, what is the relationship between the Evan B. Donaldosn Adoption Institute and Spence-Chapin Adoption Agency, and The Cradle Adoption Agency?  Do these relationships not create a conflict of interest for this "think tank"? Is Adam Pertman, the Exec Dir of EBD, a paid spokesperson for the adoption industry and its member agencies? 

Adam Pertman the Executive Director of EBDAI: 

With all due respect for the venerable top US media go-to "expert" on adoption today - with no training or credentials in social work or anything related... The following were his thoughts, his words, in 2001 when he adopted his second child - taking her from her Mom and two siblings in California, and leaving her to explain to explain their baby sister's disappearance from their family: 
"...after bonding with a pregnant Erin in 1997, the [Pertmans] leaped at the chance to attend Emmy's birth and spend a week with Erin and her two kids. "Zackie played with his sister's siblings, who aren't his siblings," says Pertman. "It's a modern American family."
Pertman was one of the early "open" adopters in what seems to be - or were - in actuality identified adoptions.
"We can now tell him things about her." 
Read it all in "One Big Happy Family" by Joanne Fowler in People, June 18, 2001, Vol. 55, No. 24.

The justification for taking a child such as this from a family is that if they don't, someone else will. NOT if the family was fostered. All they need is a year or two help. It's so doable.  See Sponsor a Family.
  • Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because his conscience tells him that it is right. ~ Martin Luther King
  • All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ~ Unknown
  • I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. ~ Elie Wiesel, Nobel Price for Peace, 1986

We all have to chose to be part of the problem of part of the solution. Holding hands and lamenting is not a solution.

It's amazing how when adoptees or birth parents speak out we are called bitter or it is noted that we have an agenda.  But adoptive parents such as Pertman - with credentials no different from mine - personal connection to adoption, passion about it, and an ability to write articles and a book (or two)...is given a title and a salary and backed by an "institute" as their paid spokesperson.... and the media looks to him as "THE expert" on all things adoption! Just a guy who got two kids he wanted and made a career of it.


Krista M.-LCSW said...

The AAC does not rely at all on prospective adoptive parents. AAC invites all members of the adoption triad as well as professionals and is not specifically pro or con adoption. The AAC mission statement says: "Is comprised of individuals, families and organizations committed to adoption reform. We represent those whose lives are touched by adoption or other loss of family continuity. We promote honesty, openness and respect for family connections in adoption, foster care and assisted reproduction. We provide education for our members and professional communities about the lifelong process of adoption. We advocate legislation that will grant every individual access to information about his or her family and heritage."

AAC does not and has NEVER placed children for adoption, nor financially benefits from any adoption. See more at the American Adoption Congress website to ensure that your readers are given accurate information about the organization.

Mirah Riben said...

Thank you, Kritsa. As a former AAC Directior, I am well aware of their mssion, and know VERY well that they are not an adoption agency and never suggested or implied otherwise.

I suggest you re-read my post. I NEVER said the AAC "relies" on PAPs. I said they RELY on membertship and conference fees. And, I said they run workshops on how-to-adopt.

Phantom Mom said...

I am also on the board of the American Adoption Congress (AAC) as the Southwest Regional Director. You and I are acquainted from our former relationship with OriginsUSA. The AAC does not run workshops on how-to-adopt. It may have done so in the past, but this is no longer true. The AAC conferences hold workshops about dealing with adoption issues, not how-to-adopt. The AAC does work for opening adoption records, not adoption reform, per se. The AAC neither supports adoption nor condemns it. The AAC works with first mothers/fathers and adoptees and helps with healing from the issues that adoption creates. Please contact me and we can discuss it further.
Kathy Aderhold

Phantom Mom said...

I am also on the board of the American Adoption Congress (AAC) as the Southwest Regional Director. You and I are acquainted from our former relationship with OriginsUSA. The AAC does not run workshops on how-to-adopt. It may have done so in the past, but this is no longer true. The AAC conferences hold workshops about dealing with adoption issues, not how-to-adopt. The AAC does work for opening adoption records, not adoption reform, per se. The AAC neither supports adoption nor condemns it. The AAC works with first mothers/fathers and adoptees and helps with healing from the issues that adoption creates. Please contact me and we can discuss it further.
Kathy Aderhold

Mirah Riben said...

Hi Kathy,

Yes, the AAC helps adoptees and birth parents heal but does nothing to PREVENT the continuation of the harm they require healing from, nor anything to "reform" any of the ills of adoption practice. They are clearly in thne business of cleaning up the damage adoption does to people's lives. And as long as adoption continues to meet a demand, there will always be those needing post-adoption support.

As for "how-to" sessions, I am pleased to learn this has changed and will edit my post to reflect that fact.

Mirah Riben said...

Please note that "reform" is part of the AAC mission statement.

Wouldn't it be great if the AAC DID hold some sessions to educate PAPS?

Invited speakers like Erin Siegal author of Finding Fernanda; Kathryn Joyce author of Child Catchers.
Panels could include the Smolins and Julie Rollings talking about how it feels to find out you adopted a child who was STOLEN. (I believe David may have spoken at AACs).

Hold workshops or panels about the truth of the so-called "orphan crisis" and the many ways other adoption to help orphans.

Held workshops or panels on being realistic about the problems facing children coming out of orphanages to help stem the tide of the awful re-homing and other abuses and killings facing IA children because of lack of preparedness and false expectations on the part of aps...

These seem like reasonable things the AAC could do in addition to wiping up the messes after the fact.

What about workshops on keeping open adoption promises? These seem like they should be at every conference every year, even if they have been in the past....or have they found that those that need such info avoid the AAC, or don't know they exist?

Thirty-three years ago - 1980 - the original Origins was formed as was CUB. ALMA was in existence as was Orphan Voyage. There were in-person support groups in cities coast to coast.

Will we still be holding people's hands and lamenting the pain adoption caused them in another three decades with the addition - as duly noted by the AAC - of very much the same issues facing children of reproductive technologies?

It's like continuing to treat lung cancer - and making money providing that treatment - while doing absolutely nothing to curb cigarette smoking, and it INFURIATES me!

Mothers are being exploited, lied to, duped, coerced every day of the week here and abroad to fill a demand for their children. My heart cries for them that it goes on unabated, causing irresolvable, lifelong guilt and grief.

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