Joint Council on International Children's Services recipient of Demons of Adoption Awards 2010

When Pound Pup Legacy started the Demons of Adoption Awards in 2007, it was very much a spur-of-the-moment action, triggered by the sugar coated news surrounding the Congressional Angels of Adoption AwardsTM. Over the last couple of years the Demons of Adoption Awards have grown into an anticipated annual event, followed by many in the adoption community, and a critical voice kicking off Adoption Awareness Month.

This year we want to add an even more sobering element to the start of the adoption love-fest, introducing Rohnor's Angels, honoring those children who died this year due to abuse in their forever family.

Over the years we have documented abuse in adoptive families and raised awareness for increased safety in placement procedures. Despite our efforts, every year several children die at the hands of their adopters and many more are physically or sexually abused. Rohnor's Angels is part of our ongoing effort to make the public more aware that, even when many outcomes appear to be good, adoption practices continue to be unsafe and reform is still needed to serve the best interest of children.

This year's edition of the Demons of Adoption awards drew unprecedented attention. Several bloggers raised awareness for the awards and helped by posting PPL links to their pages, encouraging readers to vote for their preferred Demon of Adoption. As a result we can proudly state that this year 70% more votes were cast than in any previous edition.

Readers of Pound Pup Legacy nominated 14 candidates, all "worthy" candidates to receive the Demons of Adoption Awards. A full month of polling showed a clear neck and neck race between two contestants: LDS Family Services and the Joint Council on International Children’s Services. The two nominees constantly remained within a few votes of one another, leaving all other nominees far behind.

LDS Familiy Services was a most "worthy" nominee. The adoption agency has a particularly bad reputation due to the many father's rights violation cases they are involved in, showing a clear pattern of disrespect for the parental rights of those that don't conform to the religious ideal that children only do well living with married couples sealed into the church.

LDS family services is also one of the least transparent agencies operating in the US. It is the only American adoption agency recognized as a church and as a result doesn't have to file a financial statement with the IRS. The agency is notoriously secretive and little information about its workings reaches the outside world because they only provide services to members of the Mormon church.

The State of Utah, under strong influence of the Mormon church, has furthermore drafted adoption friendly legislation, making Utah a virtual paradise for adoption agencies. This is a particularly dangerous situation since domestic infant adoption is making a strong come-back. In the last years many adoption agencies that previously only engaged in inter-country adoption, have opened domestic programs to make up for the declining numbers of foreign adoptions. Due to the political influence of the LDS church, Utah may well become a legal haven for all sorts of adoption entrepreneurs, seeking legislative refuge in a state that barely regulates its adoption business.

LDS Family Services was a formidable candidate for this year's Demons of Adoption Awards, but was beaten with just three votes by the Joint Council on International Children's Services (JCICS).

JCICS presents itself to the outside world as an "advocacy group working to ensure that every child lives and grows in a safe and permanent family by birth or adoption". In reality JCICS is a trade association of adoption service providers, advocating for the interests of their member organizations, cloaked as a child advocacy group.

Earlier this year, an internal document, the so-called stakeholder's initiative, was leaked to Pound Pup Legacy, which describes in detail the financial problems of JCICS and the credibility challenges they are facing. According to the document:

Joint Council is seen by many public policy makers, the press, NGOs and the public as:

  • Serving the self-interest of Adoption Service Providers
  • Not having Adoption Service Providers of the highest quality, ethics or standards
  • Having an inherent conflict of interest
  • Protecting individual Adoption Service Providers
  • A trade organization, rather than an objective advocate

This perception of public policy makers, the press, NGOs and the public is mostly accurate. In each case of widespread corruption in sending countries, JCICS has promoted an agenda to keep the gravy train running. Despite knowledge of child trafficking in countries like Romania, Guatemala, Peru and Vietnam, JCICS maintained the position that closing corrupt programs was not in the best interest of the child. As per item #1 of their own bullet list, this can be translated as: closing corrupt programs was not in the self-interest of the adoption service providers, forming the members of JCICS.

The bullet list is also correct in stating that JCICS represents adoption service providers that do not meet the highest quality, ethics or standards. The following agencies were members of JCICS, when the Department of State denied them Hague accreditation:

JCICS also represented organizations like Claar Foundation, Inc (known for defrauding adoptive parents) Focus on Adoption (Guatemala lobby),  Reaching Out Thru International Adoption (ROTIA), (responsible for the adoption of Masha Allen). To this day JCICS has members such as last year's Demon of Adoption, Bethany Christian Services and nominees of this year's award such as: LDS Family Services, Gladney Center for Adoption and Christian World Adoption.

Ethics and standards have always been a problem for JCICS, because they consistently put the fox in charge of the hen house. Jeannene Smith, former executive director of ROTIA and responsible for the adoption of Masha Allen by pedophile Matthew Mancuso, served on JCICS ethics committee. How can an agency director who is incapable to even uphold ethics and standards in her own organization be responsible for the ethics issues of JCICS?

The conflict of interest JCICS mentions as a perception of public policy makers, the press, NGOs and the public, is also totally justified. JCICS is a memberships organization whose activities are paid for by membership's fees. The vast majority of JCICS' members are adoption agencies, whose existence depends on the number of children placed. As a result JCICS is dependent on keeping the pipeline open, not as they claim in the interest of children, but to maintain their own existence.

All this makes JCICS not an objective child advocacy group, but a trade association, just like Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America is a trade association of the pharmaceutical industry and not a healthy living advocacy group. Claiming otherwise is hypocritical.

In the last five years, most JCICS members have seen their revenues go down. In the years 2004 and 2005, the US imported close to 23,000 inter-country adoptions per year. In 2009 that number has dropped to under 13,000.

To counter the decline in revenues from inter-country adoption, JCICS has formed the Families for Orphans Coalition, to author a piece of adoption agency friendly legislation and push it through congress. The Families for Orphans Act 2009, is an adoption agencies pipe dream:

  • The Families for Orphans Act artificially increases the number of "orphans". The act redefines "orphans" in such a way that many more children will be deemed adoptable than now is the case. A child placed in a foreign foster care system is defined an orphan, for whom an adoption plan should be made. A sick child, being at a hospital is defined an orphan, for whom an adoption plan should be made. A child living with other family members without legal formalization is an orphan, for whom an adoption plan should be made. A child living with its parents at a shelter is an orphan, for whom an adoption plan should be made.
  • The Families for Orphans Act allows the United States to legally bribe sending countries to keep their borders open, or to legally bribe sending countries to reopen their borders for inter-country adoption, by making foreign aid dependent on the number of children placed for inter-country adoption.

The Families of Orphans Act uses language similar to that of the orphan crusade movement, popularized through the Christian Alliance for Orphans, inflating the number of orphans in the world by willfully misinterpreting estimates made by UNICEF and redefining the meaning of the word "orphan" to include every child that is not raised in a two-parent family with legal ownership of the child.

JCICS has found a powerful ally in the orphan crusade movement, which is not surprising since many of the agencies seeking business expansion in the Evangelical community are members of JCICS (Bethany Christian Services, Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services Inc, Christian World Adoption, Nightlight Christian Adoption and many more). For JCICS and its members the orphan crusade helps create demand for inter-country adoption; for the evangelical movement it helps them present a softer image, after decades of railing against all that they deem wrong in modern society.

As the trade association of adoption service providers, the Joint Council on International Children's Services is at the center of all that is wrong in inter-country adoption. They demonstrate a willful ignorance when it comes to illegal and corrupt practices in sending countries, and they constantly downplay abuse in adoptive families and disruption issues.

We hereby declare the Joint Council on International Children's Services Demon of Adoption 2010 and given them the exclusive right to carry the banner of this year's edition on their website.

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