Fifth Annual Demons of Adoption Awards

Every year the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute(CCAI) organizes a gala where Members of Congress can give an Angel in Adoption Award TM to constituents of their state or district who have been advocates for adoption.

Originally intended to champion the adoption of children from foster care, the Angels in Adoption Awards have grown into an adoption industry love-fest, awarding adoption attorney's, directors of adoption agencies and other representatives of the adoption industry.

Many of the recipients of the Angels in Adoption Awards have nothing to do with adoption from foster care, and their main achievement is making a sound business out of the commerce in children.

In 2007 Pound Pup Legacy instituted the annual Demons of Adoption Awards to raise a voice against adoption propaganda and the self congratulatory practices of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's annual Angels in Adoption Awards.

Interest in the Demons of Adoption Awards has grown and so has the number of nominations we receive. This has led us to the decision to allow our readers to vote for candidates in different categories.

The industry

The Adoption Industry, while claiming to be a noble institution that finds families for children in need, resembles much more a commercial enterprise than a social service. Lawyers and agency directors make very handsome salaries over the misery of other people, exploiting the needs of vulnerable mother's, the desires of prospective adopters and the dependency of small children.

Unethical business practices are all too common in the field of adoption. Improper screening of prospective adopters, forging of paper work, coercive relinquishment and violations of father's rights happen on a daily basis.

Some of this year's most serious offenders include:

A Act of Love Adoption Agency for purposefully finding ways to circumvent father's consent,
Adoption by Gentle Care for keeping a young boy (Thad Wyrembek aka Grayson Vaughn) from his biological father
Lifetime Adoption for predating on vulnerable pregnant women
Adoptions by Shepherd Care for coercive domestic adoptions out of Florida
Celebrate Children International for their association with Guatemalan kidnapping cases
Susana Luarca for her involvement in Guatemalan kidnapping cases
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for running one of the largest baby peddling rings in the world
A Act of Love Adoption Agency
12% (27 votes)
Adoption by Gentle Care
19% (41 votes)
Lifetime Adoption
7% (16 votes)
Adoptions by Shepherd Care
0% (1 vote)
Susana Luarca
4% (9 votes)
Celebrate Children International
19% (41 votes)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
38% (82 votes)
Total votes: 217

The regulators

Adoption regulators should in principle provide the legislation to keep the adoption industry honest. Unfortunately more often than not, legislators see lax adoption regulation as a means to pander to their constituents. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute is a prime example of the incestuous relationship between the adoption industry and legislators.

Without proper oversight, adoption has become a government sanctioned form of baby brokering, where children are sold to the highest bidder, without considering the suitability of the adopting family.

This year's most notably negligent regulators are:

U.S. Department of State for its prolonged silence in the on-going Guatemalan adoption-kidnapping cases
Senator Mary Landrieu for ignoring all ethics concerns regarding adoption and promoting the business interest of the adoption industry in congress
The State of Utah for their draconian adoption laws, especially with regards to father's rights
Florida Department of Children & Families for their lack of monitoring in the Nubia and Victor Barahona case, and for allowing some of the most unethical agencies to set up shop in the State of Florida
U.S. Department of State
16% (27 votes)
Senator Mary Landrieu
31% (53 votes)
The State of Utah
45% (77 votes)
Florida Department of Children & Families
8% (14 votes)
Total votes: 171

The mouth-pieces

What and where would the multi-billion dollar international adoption industry be without dedicated advocates and promoters? The mouth-pieces of the adoption industry play a very important role, as these are the names, faces, and voices that reach the public, thanks to the internet and much help from local and national media. Unfortunately, the powerful adoption lobby and its acolytes can be found almost on a daily basis in various media formats, covering-up (and down-playing) the many ethical concerns that exist in recent and current day adoption practices.

The end result is a dis-service to many as these reports and focus-points are often limited portrayals of the adoption experience, as they really exist for so many touched - and harmed - by adoption. Nominees for the most myopic and misleading mouth-pieces in Adoptionland include:

Both Ends Burning for their reckless approach to expand the business of adoption
Adam Pertman for claiming to be a critic of the adoption system, while at the same time promoting the interest of the adoption industry for censoring all valid criticism towards the adoption industry
Dr. Jane Aronson for fiercely promoting adoption while being entirely blind towards unethical practices
Elizabeth Bartholet for recklessly promoting inter-country adoption even in the face of child trafficking and adoption fraud.
Both Ends Burning
6% (11 votes)
Adam Pertman
15% (25 votes)
29% (50 votes)
Dr. Jane Aronson
15% (26 votes)
Elizabeth Bartholet
35% (60 votes)
Total votes: 172

This ballot will remain open until October 31, 2011. At the start of Adoption Awareness Month, November 1, PPL will present the "winner" of this year's Demons of Adoption Awards.


Adam Pertman may be annoying and self-promoting, but he is hardly in the "Demons in Adoption" category, unless all who are not anti-adoption are considered Demons. I do not think including him here was fair, and hope this does not start a trend of people nominating other adoption reformers with whom they have an ideological or personal disagreement as Demons. There are enough real enemies out there, like the many already nominated here, who want to keep records sealed and keep promoting unethical, greedy, and corrupt adoption practices.

A deserved nomination

Adam Pertman has on several occassions been asked to comment on the killing of Russian adoptees. His standard reply is that these are isolated incidents and that instead of looking at these cases of abuse we should focus on the many adoptions that go well.

His response makes me think of the King of Swamp Castle in Monty Python's film The Holy Grail, where after a slaughter at a wedding, the host says: "Please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let's not bicker and argue over who killed who."

Adam Pertman is not an adoption reformer, he is the head of an adoption research institute funded by the adoption industry. He takes certain reasonable positions that don't harm the business interests of agencies like Spence Chapin and Holt International, but he is not an independent voice for adoption reform.

Adam Pertman deserves his nomination for down playing the seriousness of abuse taking place in adopted families.

Pertman's safety record

First of all, can we please get rid of the labels?  One can be critical about adoption practice and policy without being anti-adoption.  In fact, it would behoove those who choose the adoption-option to be a wee bit more critical, as the way things still stand and exist, many practices had in Adoptionland are neither good nor beneficial to any child.

The troubling problem that plagues Pertman is simple: he chooses personal safety over a more noble mission.  He demonstrates an obvious preference towards less-than critical adoption issues, (leaving the tougher-stuff for others to handle), and his criticisms hardly point a finger to real problems or problem-solving.  For instance, Pertman will acknowledge there is an over-pricing in adoption costs, leading to many an adoption-scam,  but he will make no mention how profiting from an adoption plan can and does raise many ethical flags.  He will pontificate the virtues of trans-racial adoption, but he will ignore - or side-step - the biased (bad) treatment many children experience due to regional racial discrimination -- the every-day stuff experienced at home.  And to date, I have yet to hear his opinion about adoption from China and whether or not he thinks ICA enables the Chinese government to continue it's One Child Policy and foul treatment towards females.

Pertman seems content to become Mr. Popular within the American adoption industry.  He tries to come off as every APs friend and supporter, but he fails adoptive parents because he's not as discriminating, open and honest as he should be.  [Yes, there are certain types of AP's that should be singled-out and admonished, publicly.  Why does he choose to remain so silent?]

Meanwhile, to gain adoptee approval, he champions the safe easy cause:  open OBCs.   Even a newbie can see the on-going legal battle for original birth records can easily lead itself to a much bigger issue:  non-transparent adoption practice, and why that needs to change.  But when does Pertman's concern about falsified documentation, baby brokering, or child abduction/trafficking ever enter his side of the OBC discussion?

I have yet to read a quote showing a real genuine interest in the well-being of children put in ill-prepared adoptive homes, or criticism towards attachment therapies used on adopted children. In fact, when it comes to criticism, Pertman seems very limited.  He will be slightly critical of an offending sending country, he will be critical of orphanage care and adopted child behavior, but he will not criticize poor choices made by adoptive parents OR those opportunistic undesirables found working for the adoption industry.  Is he afraid to offend his friends in high-places?

As an adoptive dad who receives all the praise and benefits that go with the being executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a New York nonprofit devoted to improving adoption policy, he sure owns a strange bias.  Then again, it all makes sense:  just because the organization he speaks for is a nonprofit organization, that does not mean their chosen mouthpiece is not receiving a salary.  It's not like Pertman's job is one big act of charity... his job is study and render an educated opinion.  As an educated adoptee, myself, it would be nice to actually get one from the former Pulitzer-nominated journalist.

To summarize: 

  • Pertman fails to speak-up and about the more pressing, more critical adoption issues many adopters and adoptees are forced to face.
  • Pertman fails to bring problematic policy and practice to the general pubic via his many media darlings.
  • Pertman limits his criticisms, often limiting them to the wrong people and causes.
  • Pertman has yet to prepare a strong platform that advocates child safety within the adoptive home.

If these issues, combined, don't earn a person's place on the dark demon-side, what will earn such a nod?

Lorraine Dusky I totally

Lorraine Dusky

I totally agree. Pertman is not the enemy.

black and white thinking

I think we made a pretty good argument for the inclusion of Adam Pertman, so I am not going to repeat that.

While the Demons of Adoption, is a parody of the Angels of Adoptions, we don't subscribe to the notion that Adoptionland is divided in good guys and bad guys. If the problems in the world of adoption were purely limited to real con-artists and blatantly unethical agencies and lawyers, there would be no need for the existence of PPL. If adoption was that black and white the Better Business Bureaus would suffice.

Unfortunately the issues in Adoptionland are systemic. There are no good guys in adoption, because nearly all agencies and lawyers use more or less the same supply chains and similar practices.

Organizations such as the National Council for Adoption, the Joint Council on International Children's Services and the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, all say reasonable things from time to time, but they also exist to perpetuate the status quo. With an annual compensation of $134, 971 (FY 2010), I am quite certain Adam Pertman knows which side of his bread is buttered.

Qualifications for demonhood--Pertman

The ordinary meaning of "demon" is: 1. An evil spirit or devil, esp. one thought to possess a person or act as a tormentor in hell. 2. A cruel, evil, or destructive person or thing.

 While I can appreciate your frustration, and perhaps sense of betrayal, at what seems to you to be political dancing by Pertman, the failure to criticize certain entities or attack in certain ways simply cannot, without more, make a person cruel, evil, or destructive--or whatever other adjective falls under the spirit of the "demon" metaphor used here. To put Pertman on the same page of listed demons as, for example, the State of Utah, and some of the adoption agencies nominated, really goes too far.

Erik L. Smith

Thanks for the reply

Fortunately, the vast majority of readers DO recognize the difference between categories of nominees presented (ie. mouthpieces v. adoption agencies), and the numbers prove people like Pertman, Bartholet, and Aronson are not the transparent "angelic" God-sends Adoptionland needs for those touched by adoption.

The question remains: who among each specific group is the worst of the worst?  We shall see in November.


Utah, shove it down your throat adoptions and Larry Jenkins

So, how in the hell did Larry Jenkins escape any of these lists.


Larry Jenkins is certainly a worthy nominee and actually made the list last year. Since the A Act of Love Adoption Agency was already nominated, adding Larry Jenkins to the list this year, seemed superfluous, especially given the fact that the State of Utah and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were already nominated too.

The Demons of Adoption should in principle cover adoption practices all over the world and not just point out the greatest villain of Utah.

Larry Jenkins should be at the top of the list

He is behind A Act of Love, and other corrupt adoption agencies, and he is behind the State of Utah - writing it's legislation laws. To give him this "award" would be equal to giving the award to all those he represents. As for the LDS Church, I'm sick and tired of people blaming the church, the church didn't do anything - PEOPLE in the church did. And not all people in the church are happy with some of the adoption practices either. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ would NEVER EVER condone what goes on in Utah, EVER.

Trick and treats, make bio moms weep.

It's a ghoulish time in adoption land.
November 1, will determine the fate of
all of the devils on the Demon's Slate.

Is An Act of Love, or Gentle Care,
worthy of a witches stare?

If the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints
does not win, I will simply faint.

Dept. of State, the Senator, Florida and the Bee Hive state of Utah.
I gamble on Utah, or there was a defiant tallying fax pas.

Burning, Adam, Bartholet, Arnson, the devil's horns,
the bio parents mourn.

For it is 2011, and non of these self-serving will be soaring to heaven.

The cauldron pot smokes with lies, corrupt adoption agency owners draw flies.
Ghost of Halloween past, linger in the minds of children who are hidden in masks.
Spooks write home-study's, coated with sweets, while bio-mothers weep.
Jack O Lantern, the perfect adoptive dad, has hidden sex additions that make the adoptive child sad.

Utah, serves up a witch's brew, legal jargon that is hard to chew. Bio-dads spit it out, it taste like religious goo. Bobbing for apples on an Autumn night, judges snicker to each other, "that Jenkins, creates laws, no other state can fight". It's haunting to know that babies who enter the state, all meet with questionable adoption fate.

Black Widow Spider's crawl around poor countries at night, poor uneducated mothers fight to keep their children out of their sight.
Not just on Halloween, Adopted children are dressed as Tarzan and Jane, throughout their lives they try not to go insane.

A. parents tell their wee gremlins they have been saved, the dirt road you were found on will never be paved. Were giving you a home, with windows and doors, a real education that will help you soar. We gave you your first pair of shoes, a barbie doll, toy trucks, and our religion too. We cast a spell on you child, forget your culture and you home, we will fill your head with fairytale poems.

God's will not, but it is the devil who reigns, get the child to the State's and change it's name.

Hallow Eve's adoption children cry boo, not just to scare you, it is just they are afraid to scream hoo.
An adoption trick is not a treat in adoption land.

wow... that gave me chills

great poetic post!

YOU TA,,, adoption by power of religion.

Never heard of a member of the LDS church returning an adopted child that they received via default. The courts in that state and other LDS controlled courts by default award an LDS adoptive parent children in custody battles. The legal process is d r a w n out, so that the child in question has been in a Mormon home for years. Religious Favoritism at it's best.

So do not say the PEOPLE of LDS are not a fault, because, they never seem to have a conscience and give the child back to whom ever it really belongs to, including bio fathers. The PEOPLE are the representatives of the CHURCH. If there are by some slim chance LDS members, that are horrified by the actions of the courts in Utah, or being represented by Larry Jenkins, then they should speak up because it is criminal. But this type of activity has been going on for over a century. Does Meadow Mountain Massacre ring any ding-a -lings bells?

Clearly, this is history repeating itself.

And how did Deborah-Lee

And how did Deborah-Lee Furness escape???

Refer to DOA nominees # 3 (2009)

 See: Third Annual Demons of Adoption Award Nominations

Time will tell if we will see her name again.

Why isn't Deborah Lee

Why isn't Deborah Lee Furness on the list? She is running a campaign in Australia is to make us more like the US and to introduce private adoption agencies.

Hello from Australia.

Hello from Australia. Several of my friends here would belately like Deborah-Lee Furness included!

Pound Pup Legacy