Bethany Christian Services recipient of the Demons of Adoption Awards 2009

Every year the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) presents the annual Angels in Adoption AwardsTM, an award for those, who according to CCAI, made a contribution to the promotion of adoption of children from the American foster care system and other "orphans" world wide.

While presenting adoption as nothing but a good cause, CCAI is in effect one of the few industry lobbying groups in Washington that actually consists of active members of congress. It is a well known practice that politicians, after leaving office, join lobbying firms to further the interests of particular industries. CCAI is exceptional in that it looks out for the interests of an industry, while its members are still being in office.

Much more than a good cause, adoption is a largely unregulated business that offers jobs for ten thousands of people working for thousands of organizations directly or indirectly involved in the placement of children. It also provides children for families that usually are affluent and likely to be voting constituents. For legislators, there is much to be gained by making adoption as easy a process as possible, while politically there is not much to be gained by promoting stricter regulation.

The incestuous relationship between the adoption industry and members of congress, has led to the creation of the annual Angels in Adoption AwardsTM, which are given to more than a hundred individuals, couples and organizations, every year. The awards are presented during a gala, taking place at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington DC, sponsored by the Freddie Mac Foundation, corporations like Chevron, SUPERVALU, Dow Chemical and adoption agencies such as Holt International Children's Services and Bethany Christian Services.

Many of the recipients of the award are couples that adopted children, some of which after having opened their house to many foster children first, but others mainly for adopting through one of the agencies that sponsor the Angels of Adoption AwardsTM.

Of course CCAI not only honors the customers of the industry, but also the businesses involved in Adoption.

Long time sponsor, Holt International Children's Services is a recurrent recipient of the award, through several volunteers and such employees as: Susan Soon-Keum Cox, Lynn Sims, Patricia Keltie, Rose McBride, Todd Kwapisz and Yue Jian Chen and through its co-founder Bertha Holt. America's largest adoption agency Bethany Christian Services, also a long time sponsor of the event, was awarded through such employees as Belinda Geertsma, Renee Eggebraaten, Peggy Lowe, Joann E. King, Pat Wheeler and Sandra McLaughlin and its branch office in Fredericksburg and in Hampton Roads. The latter even received the award twice, once in 2003 and once in 2008.

There are several other adoption agencies directly or indirectly honored with the award, but by far the largest adoption industry related group of recipients are adoption attorneys: Albert G. Lirhus, David J. Radis, Donald C. Cofsky, Edith H. Morris, Gene Kelley, Herbert A. Brail, Herbert D. Friedman, Irene Steffas, James Fletcher Thompson, Jeanine Castagna. Jeanne Tate, Jodi Sue Rutstein, Larry S Jenkins, Marc D. Widelock, Martin W. Bauer, Michael Shorstein, Michele Jordan, Michele Zavos. Seth A. Grob. Stephen W. Hayes. Steven B. Sacharow, Steven M. Kirsh and Thomas Taneffare only some of the adoption attorneys that have received the Angel in Adoption Award TM.

All of these people received the award merely for having run an adoption associated business. After all, adoption attorneys work for profit and many, if not all of them, are very much involved in domestic infant adoption. This line of business has nothing to do with helping children from foster care and  "orphans" world wide to find families. For attorneys, domestic adoption is a far more lucrative form of adoption than either inter-country adoption or foster care adoption.

At least five Angels in Adoptions were awarded to people working for anti-abortion pregnancy counseling centers, Lisa Gould (Ark-La-Tex Crisis Pregnancy Center), Tami Wessen (Riverside Life Services), Tracy Okus (Women’s Pregnancy Center of Ocala), Barbara Beavers (Center for Pregnancy Choices) and Cheryl Bauman (Crisis Pregnancy Outreach).

Anti-abortion pregnancy counseling centers have been a growing phenomenon since their invention in the early 1970's and are one of the main suppliers of infants for the adoption industry. With more than 1100 anti-abortion pregnancy counseling centers, Heartbeat International is one of the largest supply chains of infants. Three out of the five aforementioned, Angel in Adoption receiving centers, is an affiliate of Heartbeat International, and so is the subject of this article, Bethany Christian Services.

Like many adoption agencies, Bethany Christian Services started as an amateur run organization when in 1944, Mary DeBoer and Margueritte Bonnema wanted to establish a Christian residence for homeless children. Today Bethany Christian Services has 81 offices in 31 states and has international presence in 17 countries. Their services include abstinence education, adoption, foster care, pregnancy counseling, home studies and post adoption services. With that they cover the whole spectrum of child placement services. In that sense, Bethany Christian Services is the Walmart of adoption agencies, the one-stop shop for all Christian child placement services.

For pregnant women seeking help, this one-stop shop is in many ways also a one-way ticket towards adoption, that eventually leads to the relinquishment of a child and to the permanent placement of that newborn with a Bethany approved Christian family.

When facing pregnancy there are in principle three options: parenting, having an abortion, relinquishing the child for adoption. Of these three options, Bethany Christian Services and its supplying network of pregnancy counseling centers, abortion is simply not an option, and parenting is often strongly discouraged. Through the tactics of moralistic and financial pressure, women are effectively coerced into choosing adoption, thereby artificially creating "orphans" for Christian couples to adopt.

The creation of "orphans" and the constant inflation of the meaning of the word "orphan" to enlarge the pool of adoptable children, is part and parcel of the Christian adoption wave that has been rolling over the United States in the last decade. Bethany Christian Service is at the epicenter of this orphan crusade movement. It is the most prominent member of the National Council for Adoption (NCFA) and despite it's deceptive name, nothing more than a membership organization of Christian adoption agencies, with an influential voice in Washington DC.

Bethany Christian Services is also a prominent member of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, a coalition of Christian adoption agencies, foster care agencies, orphan care organizations and churches, supported by Campus Crusade for Christ and Focus on the Family. The Christian Alliance for Orphans and its programs Hope for orphans, Faces of the Forgotten, Cry of the Orphan and Orphan Sundays, aggressively market adoption through churches. Bethany Christian Services plays a major role in this movement, sponsoring training sessions to further spread the adoption gospel, motivating Christians to not only adopt children, but to adopt as many children as possible.

To generate the number of adoptable children for this market expansion, the term "orphan" has undergone serious inflation over the years. Its original meaning related to children whose parents had both died. Under the influence of Christian adoption, the word now relates to every child that either doesn't live permanently with its family, or has lost at least one parent. This definition creates the illusion there are hundreds of millions of children screaming to be adopted, helping adoption agencies to expand their client base. In reality, the demand for adoptable children has for more than a century exceeded the supply of adoptable children. Therefore, the inflation of the term "orphan" has two effects, it generates more demand in an already overheated market and it puts pressure on policy makers to make adoption practices even more lenient than they already are, enlarging the pool of adoptable children.

Through its close ties to organizations like CCAI, NCFA, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, Joint Council on International Children’s Services, Bethany Christian Services is in a position to influence political decisions that directly benefit their business. They have already received millions of dollars in grants from the federal government over the past decade. This grant money has gone toward operational purposes as well as embryo adoptions and abstinence-only education (a tool to create more unplanned pregnancies). Bethany Christian Services stands even more to win when congress puts the Families for Orphans Act into law. The current bill reads like a pipe dream for all adoption agencies and has strong support of Bethany Christian Services, who indirectly contributed to the draft of the bill, introduced by CCAI chair Mary Landrieu.

This brings us back to the incestuous relationship between US congress and the adoption industry of which Bethany Christian Services is the most prominent party. It is not uncommon for an industry to write bills for members of congress to introduce. It is not uncommon for former politicians to be involved in lobbying for particular industries, but it unheard of that an industry writes its own bills, has an organization of active members of congress lobby for it and receives awards from those very members of congress mainly for running a business.

To raise a voice against adoption propaganda and the self congratulatory practices of CCAI's annual Angels in Adoption AwardsTM, Pound Pup Legacy initiated the Annual Demons of Adoption in 2007. This year there were many "worthy" nominees, but members and visitors of PPL's website decided Bethany Christian Services to be most deserving to receive the award. Bethany Christian Services has over the years used coercive tactics on pregnant women to obtain infants for adoption and has used its influence, both in the US and abroad to create "orphans" to further expand their business.

Hopefully this year's award will help raise awareness about the predatory practices of the adoption industry and the incestuous relationship between the industry and lawmakers that have the task to regulate that industry. One day it may no longer be necessary to call out agencies on their practices. One day the Demons of Adoption awards may no longer have to be presented anymore, but until that day, PPL will keep a close watch on the adoption industry and annually put one of its members in a spotlight they would rather avoid.

Bethany Christian Services is hereby Demon of Adoption 2009 and is given the exclusive right to carry the banner of this year's edition on their website.

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kind of sad about this...

kind of sad about this... because honestly Bethany was the best thing in the adoption world I saw here locally... I worked with public foster care Va Beach DSS... sad, sad things happend there.... I worked with Lutheran Family Services (they were in it for the money they could make off of public foster care kids) United Methodist Family Services was the most sad, they took more than one child, kept that child hostage in their system until they were 12-13 then dumped them, never letting the child be adopted... they were also very in it for the money and took thousands off a would be adoptive parents and never made any placement; then we also have Open Heart Adoption, Shore Adoption, and some others... all charging parents about $15,000 to adopt...

Bethany locally would charge as little as $2,000.... Bethany locally never kept hold of a child just to keep getting money for a foster placement.... Bethany locally is one of the good guys...

but no, it is not right that nation wide they tell moms not to parent their children... but so many of the other agencies locally are just so much more bad... I did actually 4-5 years back go to every free intro meeting of every agency 2 hours or less away from here because I wanted to see what they had to say, what they were selling so to speak.... I wanted to see how their agency ran; if anyone would be willing to do a homestudy for placement of a child from foster care (most were not willing to do that, one of the reasons so many children sit in foster care in USA) Bethany charged the lowest amount, was willing to work with just about any adoption situation; even those where people were fighting social services for a relative or wrongly removed foster child (social services does that here a lot if you buck their system.... )

it was clear that most of the others were very much in it just for the MONEY they were making off children.... :(

I'm confused

I'm a little confused about faith-based adoptions. Do both the birth mothers and the adoptive parents have to be Christian (or Jewish or Muslim) to use a faith-based agency? And do all faith-based adoption agencies get substantial governments grants to aid in operation, or is Bethany exceptionally specially chosen because of it's direct link to congress?

Faith based agencies

As far as I know, the adopters in the Christian adoption equation have to be Christian, where sometimes there is even debate over what constitutes Christianity. I know Bethany Christian Services changed their policy not so long ago to accept Catholic families too, as they were previously not considered to be Christian.

Like most Christian agencies, the Jewish ones only work for Jewish families, while Muslim adoption agencies don't exist. Oddly enough Christian adoption agency Gladney has quite a number of Jewish customers, but Gladney is more a country club adoption agency where income and status counts than truly a Christian adoption agency, which they are more or less in name only.

As far as I know there are no such demands to the supply side of the adoption business. Many internationally operating Christian adoption agencies have their biggest programs running in China, which is not known for its embrace of Christian religion.

For some adopters the fact the child is not from a Christian family is even an encouragement, believing they have saved one more soul for the Kingdom of God. Here is an excerpt from one blogger, who recently adopted a boy. renamed Sterling:

we also have the advantage of understanding our host culture’s worldview and their very deep superstitious beliefs.  thus, we were not surprised that sterling was given to us with a jade luck charm - a  buddhist charm meant to bring good luck, fortune and protection.  we, however, know that this charm is associated with spiritual forces meant to keep people in bondage.  thus, we smiled and accepted it as we should, and then later went to the park, broke it, and threw it into the pond, and prayed for our sterling that all spiritual bondage over him would be broken.  these spiritual forces are alive and real, and manifest themselves in more obvious ways (but with the same degree of power) than in the west, but we know that the power and grace of the God who created the heavens and the earth is infinitely greater than the forces of evil.

from: the “cultural” advantage

As far as federal funding of adoption goes, there are some more organizations that received grants, though the biggest recipient was not an adoption agency, but the National Council for Adoption, an organization with very close ties to Bethany Christian services.

Conversion v. preservation

It's quite funny to see how faith-based adoptions have grown and "matured" over the decades.  My "good Catholic" AP's adopted the baby that came from a not-so-good Catholic woman.  The irony being, both mothers were about the same age, and both had first pregnancies before marriage.  Go figure the logic behind what makes one mother fit or unfit, but I digress...

Nowadays, it's even better if the no-good non-religious pregnant "girl" gets knocked-up and converted just before she signs the relinquishment papers.  Such an act of God and man proves adoption is a divine intervention.

<cough, sputter, gag, vomit>

Meanwhile, I'm not so sure if Muslims are not in the adoption biz.  According to a piece posted a while ago, there is, at the very least, much talk about the ways in which the Muslim community can keep those of like-faith together and unmixed.  [See:  Islam is a way of life ]

Faith-based adoption agencies -- let the war of the numbers begin.  [Scary how this can get, isn't it?]

Not always

I adopted my daughter via a Jewish agency and I'm not Jewish, nor are a lot of the adoptive families posting on the agency's web site. Nor was my daughter's biological mom, for that matter.

Bethany Christain

In 2007 Bethany Christian Services of Grand rapids, MI, with offices in Georgia -- which received $803,225 from the Georgia Department of Human Services for supervising foster children in 2009 -- paid the CEO $169,000, and $178,000 to the agency’s vice president. 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.

More at: http://familypreservation.blogspot.com/2010/04/not-so-non-profit-when-it...

Mirah Riben,author, "The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry"

Christian movement and activity

One of things that disgusts me about Bethany's "Christian" outlook is the way in which they operate and help "chosen" people.  It's no secret Bethany works very hard to find and match girls facing a "crisis (unplanned) pregnancy" with those struggling with the tragedy of infertility.

"Our primary goal as an agency is to help young women and their families in an unplanned pregnancy make good choices for their children, based on their situation," says Hurt. "If she feels she isn't ready to parent her child, we can help her make an adoption plan that she can feel good about."  [From:  Adoption:  an answer to a couple's prayer , May 1, 2010]

Imagine if almost four out of every five dollars of Bethany's budget did NOT go towards management expenses...  imagine what would happen if that 7.2 million dollar budget went towards first-mother support services, so young soon-to-be-mothers (who don't want to abort, but don't have the money/resources a mother needs to provide for the child man/God helped her conceive) don't have to relinquish their children to an adoption agency, or another family/couple that may or may not respect the first-mother's wishes.

Gee... how terribly Christian would that sacrifice really be?

eye-opener / 3 QUESTIONS

That article is an eye-opener. I did already know that there were financial incentives around elsewhere that went against the interests of children, but mostly I knew of the child 'treatment' places such as boot-camp, juvenile detention/'treatment' companies, etc. I had read of the terrible case of a judge who actually was charged with taking kickbacks to make sure kids were kept in the court system and sent to such a place (or places)!

My questions on this article are 3:

1) Who was the first recipient of the Demon of Adoption award? Has Congress been the recipient yet?

2) Do the members of Congress who lobby for these adoption companies just lobby for them - or do they also receive something in return? Is what they'd receive in return mostly campaign contributions from the adoption companies and adoption lawyers? (Of course it helps a congressperson's image to be seen as promoting child-welfare/adoption-of-orphans in some way, so creating a congressional award referring to businesses as 'Angels' is in itself a conflict of interest of sorts.)

3) Is there an organization (or are there organizations) that u know of who lobby or have lobbied Congress to put better oversight/regulation on adoption money-makers? Has there been much of an effort to lobby congress to reign in the 'conflict-of-interest/money-making aspect of adoption businesses' vs 'the best interest of children'?

I realize that if a non-profit, pro-children's-best-interest lobby group does not have as much money to contribute to congressional campaigns then they'd have less influence in that way compared to for-profits. The most significant thing that could stand up to for-profit campaign contributions is public awareness of this issue which would publicize the scandalous aspect of the issue. Members of Congress wouldn't want to be seen as doing things that are in any way scandalously against the best interests of children (to the conflict-of-interest financial benefit of for-profits). Anyone who can answer any or all of those 3 questions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

3 1/2 answers

It's interesting you bring up the boot-camp and juvenile correction/treatment/torture centers, because there is a certain overlap between the two. I am not able to immediately find back the proper articles, but I remember statements that adoptees were largely overrepresented among the kids sent to these abuse centers.

Another similarity is the fact that adoption agencies as well as juvenile torture centers flock to the State of Utah, because the laws there allow them to get away with nearly everything.

That said, let me respond to your three questions.

1) The first recipient of the Demons of Adoption Awards was the National Council for Adoption (NCFA), which unlike its name suggests, is a trade association of Christian adoption service providers, aimed at blocking federal regulation of adoption. Bethany Christian Services, this years recipient is one of NCFA's main sponsors, together with the Gladney Center for adoption and LDS Family Services, the only adoption agency in the US allowed to operate as a church.

1a) Congress itself was never nominated, though the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) has repeatedly been nominated, but never was voted to be recipient.

2) The relationship between members of congress and the adoption industry is somewhat more complicated than with other businesses. It's a well known fact that those members of congress that receive the most money from an industry, usually promote legislation that benefits those industries. The same can not be said about adoption. Despite being a billion dollar industry, the money the adoption industry can put into bribing members of congress, is simply too little to be of much influence. Members of congress may be swayed with a few hundred thousand dollars in campaign contributions from large oil companies, financial institutions and the like, but that is not the kind of money adoption agencies can spend.

Adoption agencies have a disproportionate influence in congress, because members of congress adopt disproportionately. There are several reasons for this: Members of congress are usually wealthy, and wealthy people adopt more than less wealthy people. Adoption stories sell really well and are usually received with admiration. Members of congress are often away from home most of the time and as a result have little time to practice the gentle art of procreation. Finally there is the Stepford-effect. To become part of the exclusive inner circle of wealthy, powerful adopters, one has to adopt too.

Apart from the disproportionate number of adopters in congress, there is of course also the effect of image. For members of congress it helps to look good, and since adoption is generally regarded as one of the most selfless acts possible, it is a good investment for members of congress to speak positively about adoption and a career backlash can follow for each of them that would want to regulate adoption.

3) Some member of congress themselves have tried since the 1950's to promote stricter oversight of adoption, but always failed in their attempts. One of the problems is that adoption is a state issue, not a federal issue. Lobbying the federal government is expensive, lobbying 50 state governments is even more expensive. There is no money to be made by seeking stricter regulation, so there are hardly any organizations capable of lobbying government, whether on federal or on state level.

Wow.

Wow.

Thank you and thanks for the extra info, too.

Something has to be changed somehow. The entire profits-to-be-made off of treating kids like commodities - especially that 'torture camps' / juvenile detention tragedy has absolutely got to be fixed.

Journalism?

I just read the article you referred to and I wonder how much money Bethany Christian Services pays to get this tripe published. Such a piece has the same journalistic value as an article: "How God wanted me to own a brand new Chevrolet Equinox".

Maybe I am asking too much of the Hattiesburg American. After all we are in the Christian conservative heartlands of Southern Mississippi, still a little sign above the article stating it was an advertisement would be in order.

Adoption: an answer to a couple's prayer, briefly tells the story of Wade and Ramona Wicht and how benevolent Bethany Christian Services has been in their services towards their customers.

The Wicht's after having a baby of their own, had difficulties receiving a second child and were advised that a another successful pregnancy was unlikely.

But the Wichts, committed Christians, didn't believe that was the end - that perhaps God had plans for them in a different way. They began to pray about adoption.

"During that period as we prayed, many Bible verses about taking care of little ones and orphans were very much on my mind," says Ramona. "It seemed more and more that the Lord was leading us to adopt."

I am not a religious person myself, and I don't necessarily want to mock the use of prayer, but isn't it somewhat overly coincidental that praying for adoption leads to the notion that God wants people to adopt. From what I know about prayer, though my knowledge is second hand, God does not necessarily give a lot of direct feed back to what people wish for in their prayers. He won't speak from a thunderous cloud: "thou shalt not adopt", or appear as a burning bush to declare His approval of an adoption. So people probably claim to be lead in a direction they want to go for themselves anyway, with God's will simply being the excuse.

The bible verses, speaking of little ones and of orphans, usually also speak of widows and their distress, but oddly enough rarely any couple in want of a child, seeking guidance from the bible, ever ends up adopting a widow, they always end up adopting an infant, often one that isn't even an orphan.

The Wicht's continue:

"I thought, 'Great - they'll just hand us the baby through a curtain, all the ties from the past would be severed and we would go on and raise the child as our own,'" Wade recalls.

I must assume that this kind of backwards thinking makes the Wicht's look human in the eyes of the reader of the Hattiesburg American, but to me it shows how horribly uninformed people are about adoption, especially the consequences of adoption. Apparently there are no thoughts about the effect adoption has on a child, just take it in, raise it as your own and nothing more complicated will ever happen. The mother, what mother? Oh, that uterus behind the curtain, who cares.

The issue is not necessarily the Wicht's. People like that exist, and apart from their oblivion towards adoption, they could easily be very nice people, so it's not my intention to blast them. The real issue I have is with the organization they speak so highly of: Bethany Christian Services, America's largest and most successful adoption enterprise, so falsely calling themselves a "ministry".

The daftness of the Wicht's creates the perfect backdrop for Bethany Christian Services to present their humanitarian side. No word about coercive practices, no word about one-way-street "guidance". No word about Bethany's involvement in abstinence-only education, to maintain the level of unwanted pregnancies. No word about Bethany's relations with  crisis pregnancy centers that use ultra sound equipment, to make women that prefer an abortion, to listen to the heartbeat of the fetus, thereby influencing their decision into the direction of adoption.

Not a word of criticism in the Hattiesburg American, only praise of the adoption enterprise claiming to do God's work.

When a couple of month's ago Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, said his company was doing God's work, he was rightfully ridiculed in the press. Personally I don't see much difference between Goldman Sachs and Bethany Christian Services, both benefit from other people's misery, both make bets to profit from human failure. Both claim to have God on their side. Unfortunately, Bethany Christian Services doesn't receive the same level of journalistic scrutiny, Goldman Sachs usually gets. Instead they are allowed to run promotional articles in news papers like the Hattiesburg American and present themselves favorably on MTV.

It's time to take adoption enterprises like Bethany Christian Services as the businesses they are. There is nothing benevolent about their activities, and there is nothing honourable about their religious calling. Bethany Christian Services is just another business, just like the Catholic church has always been.

Niels: quick question

Hi Niels: Thanks for the response to my questions. I've just read the first sentence of your response (the comment w/subject-line 'Journalism') but before I read further I just want to be sure you read the same article I read. The article I was referring to is titled 'Demons of Adoption Awards 2009'. (The subject line of the comment it appears in is 'Bethany Christian Services recipient of the Demons of Adoptions Award 2009.')

quick answer

This particular response was not in reply to your questions but to Kerry's comment, which quoted an article in the Hattiesburg American. After I finished this reponse, I tried to answer your questions, in a separate reply.

Oh. Thanks.

Oh, okay. Sorry, I had misunderstood and thought it was meant to reply to my comment/questions. Thanks for clarifying that. {No wonder it didn't seem like u had read the same article. :)   }

I am appalled to read this

I am appalled to read this entry. I have first-hand experience adopting through Bethany and I know many birthmothers who have had wonderful experiences being loved and counseled by Bethany Christian Services when other agencies offered no assistance to birthmothers. If you read the entire article in the Hattiesburg American, you would realize that Mr. Wicht's comment explains what he USED to think about adoption before he was educated about the process. Further, this family has a wonderful relationship with the birthmother, who had such a favorable impression of her experience with Bethany Christian Services that she is now studying to be an adoption counselor. Most importantly, the family loves their adopted child and considers how EVERYTHING affects their little girl.

I know this because I AM the adoptive mother in this story. I have tears in my eyes as I write this, because we have seen only positive, loving things from Bethany...never a single ounce of coersive or negative behaviors. Our daughter's birthmother would be sickened by the things written here and elsewhere on this website. There are so many fallacies and half-truths on this site that it would take a lifetime to refute them. Fortunately, the facts are readily available for your readers elsewhere. I only hope that other readers will do their due diligence to learn the truth about adoption. It certainly isn't presented here.

You state that your intention isn't to blast our family, but you do so by questioning our motives, intelligence and understanding of adoption. Further, you blast me by questioning my faith, my Biblical foundation and my understanding of Christian apologetics. It is clear, on many levels, that you are not a religious person. I will pray for you and your readers.

About the Wichts

In all my years being active in Adoptionland, I have never heard of a single relinquishing parent who had a wonderful experience.  Relinquishing a child is never something wonderful, it's almost always a heartbreaking process filled with grief and loss for both parent and child.

Relinquishing parents may be counseled by Bethany workers, but that doesn't say for whose benefit that counseling is. Does it really serve those women seeking help in times of a crisis pregnancy, or does it serve the interests of an adoption agency needing infants to fulfill the desires of their clientele?

I also wonder how far the "love" of Bethany workers goes beyond the moment of relinquishment. Much "loving" counseling in Adoptionland stops the minute the transaction is committed. If Bethany workers truly "love" the relinquishing parents they counsel, I wonder how professional their operation is. Some professional distance is required in the field of social work. Does this "love" remain when the relinquishing parent decides to keep the baby? Will the love and wonderful support from Bethany counselors and adoptive parents be as strong and passionate, when plans suddenly change?

There are many truths about adoption. Much of what is presented as truth about adoption on the internet is in fact promotional material from adoption agencies and attorneys. This biased information sugar-coats all that can and does go wrong in Adoptionland. PPL presents another perspective on adoption. One that shows the consequences when the best interest of the child is not the guiding factor. Those consequences we have documented in our sections:

The adoption industry, of which Bethany Christian Services is one of the biggest players, by and large have other interests prevailing the best interest of the child, whether those interests are financial, religious or both.

As to your statement of fallacies and half-truths on our website, I would ask you to please enumerate those for us. There are some 30,000 pages on this website, which I assume you have all read. Despite the quality standards we try to maintain, I am willing to accept that there will be some pages containing factual errors, we'd gladly correct those when called upon.

I must disagree with you that the facts are readily available outside this website. As a matter of fact, this website was created because there was a general lack of reliable information about adoption on the world wide web. Most "information" out there is promotional material of the adoption industry and its affiliates, and as far as I know that is still the case.

My original comment, was mostly to blast the so-called journalists of the Hattiesburg American and the adoption industry as exemplified by Bethany Christian Services. The Wicht family chose to become a mouth piece of this industry and therefore was a good example to show how simple minded adoption is still approached these days and how ignorance helps organizations like Bethany Christian Services to continue their practices.

The Wichts are actually unimportant to the larger story. There are thousands of Wichts all across the US, willing to believe the good intentions of an industry that does not serve the best interest of children, despite claims that suggest otherwise. Had the Wichts not chosen to go public with their all too common story, they would not have been featured on our pages.

Bethany

Bethany should turn itself into a non-profit structure. Good point about the almost 4 out of every 5 dollars and imagining first-mother support services as an alternative to adoption.

sounds like

I'm very glad to see that the Demon Award was created to counter the Congressional conflict-of-interest, adoption-business Angel Award. But according to one commenter's post, it sounds like Bethany is actually better than the rest (at least in its area). The would make it sad that Bethany was singled out for a Demon Award simply based on them being the largest or oldest of its type of organization. I know it's hard to know all of the comparative details between organizations and can be hard to judge organizations from a distance so-to-speak. It sounds like, before voting on who gets the Demon Award, it would be a great idea to solicit input from boots-on-the-ground people who have actually worked with Demon Award nominees. I'm not sure if that was done or not, but if not, it would seem to be a great idea to solicit that kind of input.

Regarding 'Bethany Christian' comment above

Ok so that is just plain ill. That is a for-profit business structure & that is the problem. There needs to be some kind of return to or advancement to the ideal of a NON-PROFIT that in only in existence to serve the best interests of THE CHILDREN. In other words only to serve the children. Compensation to managers only needs to be sufficient to draw talented people who can make a decent living working for the non-profit, but those salaries mentioned above are ridiculous.

Non-profits r only given things like seals-of-approval (of sorts) when the fundraising and management percentage of their income is very low. Years ago, for example, I used to donate on a regular basis to the Christian Children's Fund. (They don't have anything to do with adoption. They serve children within the communities where they live & the children and families do not have to be Christian to receive help.) More than 80% of its income goes to program-services to children as opposed to the management of the organization. That type of organizational financial-structure needs to become the only acceptable standard for child organizations that receive government grants & other government money. If nothing else, until government money is withheld from for-profit child businesses there needs to be at least better regulation of the for-profits in the meantime to keep them in line.

Bethany's lucky 13

Fresh from the press, the following statement comes from the Bethany Christian Service camp, celebrating a 13% increase in adoption-sales:

adoption placements through the organization increased by nearly 13 percent from 2009 to 2010, as more than 1,900 children were united with their forever family last year

[From:  Bethany Christian Services Reports Increased Adoption Placements in 2010 ]

Let us all remember, in order to unite a newborn with a forever family, a mother-child and father-child relationship must be severed... legally, of course, and theoretically, with God's Blessing.

 

no picnic from the other side...

If you think Bethany is rotten to the birth parents, you should see how they treat the other side. They treat adoptive parents like dirt unless you're dropping off a check. I wish I had found this article before we wasted 18 months with these people. Still no match... and now they've added even more hurdles to the never-ending microscope-up-your-anatomy application requirements.

The only thing I've learned from it all is the entire adoption-agency machine and all its bureaucracy is flawed from beginning to end, and preys upon desperate people... on both sides of the equation.

Bethany is greedy

Its no picnic on the foster care end of things either. There is no support for foster parents, nor birth parents. The children in care are a commodity, and it is hell for a birth parent to get their child back once in care here. Case managers drag their feet and even when a birth parent makes progress, they will ask the court to take it slow. Anything to drag the case out, getting it to a point the judge will goal change to adoption. Each branch of the agency talks about the others with distaste. Staff who have left the agency have never had anything good to say. Foster parents who have left are thankful to be gone. Foster parents I have come across are simply afraid of any backlash to speak up. While you are there in any aspect, you simply do not cross the beast or there is hell to pay. Its all about the $$$$$. The agency charges a fortune for the domestic infant adoptions, they make a fortune on the children in foster care, and a healthy amount on each adoption from foster care. This isn't taking into account the grants they get. They should get the Demon award year after year.

Pound Pup Legacy