The adoption industry and politics, an incestuous embrace
As foreplay to Adoption Awareness Month, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) held its annual Angels in Adoption Award gala, October 4. The Angels in Adoption Awards have become a formulaic adoption love-fest, praising an industry no politician dares to regulate, with the occasional celebrity to give the gala an aura of importance.
This year, CCAI was able to book Kristin Chenoweth and Rhea Perlman, to honor them with an award. Over the years, CCAI has given awards to celebrities such as Rosie O’Donnell, Bruce Willis, Muhammad Ali, Jane Seymour, Patti LaBelle and in 2005, CCAI was even able to get the First Lady to accept an Angel in Adoption Award.
The gala is of course not only a meet and greet with celebrities, it is also a means for certain industries to approach lawmakers. Boeing, Target, 3M and the American Chemistry Council were cheap dates, going for the $5,000 table. BP, Disney, Textron and PhRMA had more money to burn, booking the $10,000 table. Chevron, Exxon Mobil, FedEx and Mortgage Insurance Company of America coughed up $25,000 each, to have access to the congress men and women participating in the event, while the Freddy Mac Foundation and the American Petroleum Institute even paid undisclosed amounts in excess of $50,000 for their tables.
For some reason the energy sector had a huge interest in the plight of "orphans", with further tables sold to: Marathon Oil Company, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Duke Energy, Entergy and Palo Verde Oil.
With 55 attendants, the Angels in Adoption Award gala certainly attracts more senators than a daily session on Capitol Hill, while the House of Representatives was present with 115 of its members.
Not only big business, but also adoption related organizations had bought their political influence. Holt International Children's Services had a $5000 table and so did Buckner Children and Family Services, Bethany Christian Services, America World Adoption Association and the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys.
In return for sponsoring the event, the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys received three Angels in Adoption Awards, for its members Barbara C. Jones (nominated by Gerald E. Connolly Rep-D VA), David P. Broome (nominated by Jo Bonner Rep-R and Jeff Sessions Sen-R AL) and Frederick M. Corley (nominated by Lindsey Graham Sen-R SC).
Bethany Christian Services got its annual award too; Janice Carter Lessard branch director in New England, received an Angel in Adoption Award out of the hands of Carol Shea-Porter (Rep-D NH). Holt International Children's Services also received its annual reward as one of their customers was elected as Angel in Adoption by Peter DeFazio (Rep-D OR).
The industry received several more awards:
- Alison Foster executive director of Family Connections Christian Adoptions, nominated by Dennis Cardoza (Rep-D CA)
- Andrea Faris Roberts executive director of Reece's Rainbow, nominated by Chris Van Hollen (Rep-D MD)
- Debbie Schwartz adoption coordinator of Adoption Connection at Jewish Family Services of Greenwich, nominated by Jim Himes (Rep-D CT)
- Elisa Esh director at Diakon Adoption & Foster Care (Mechanicsburg), nominated by Todd Platts (Rep-R PA)
- Matt Shaffer adoption coordinator at Diakon Adoption & Foster Care (Mechanicsburg), nominated by Tim Holden (Rep-D PA)
- Vicki Peterson director of Wide Horizons for Children, nominated by Ed Markey (Rep-D MA)
Of course the religious right was present at its worst. Carolyn Hammond who works for Ark-La-Tex Crisis Pregnancy Center, received an Angel in Adoption from John Fleming (Rep-R LA) and diaper boy David Vitter (Sen-R LA). For John Fleming this was not the first time he nominated an employee of the Alliance Defense Fund related Crisis Pregnancy Center, having done so the year before when handing an Angel in Adoption to Lisa Gould.
Particularly noteworthy was Dianne Feinstein's (Sen-D CA) candidate: Lynne Jacobs executive director of Adopt International and Domestic Services, the agency Lauryn Galindo used to be a facilitator for.
Altogether, the Angels of Adoption Awards gala 2010 was once again an incestuous copulation of industry and politics under the pretext of the well-being of children. Adoption is one of the few subjects that allows Big Oil, defense contractors, the media, the financial sector and Big Pharma to openly go all the way with members of congress. There is no Angels in Anti-depressives Award, or a Let's-blow-up-another-oil-rig-in-the-Gulf-of-Mexico Award. Only adoption allows members of industry to mate politicians out in the open. The adoption industry has it even both ways, they make out with members of congress while being sucked up simultaneously.
Politics and business love adoption. Every Debby Downer, speaking of illegal adoption practices and disastrous outcomes has to be shunned at the party. They are the creepy anti-adoption people that don't understand the love for children emanating from BP and Exxon. They are the party poopers that can't see how Boeing bleeds for orphans and bastards.
The incestuous embrace of politics and business is unstoppable, but we are in for a deal: If the adoption industry stops screwing children, we will stop trying to interrupt the coitus of Congress and Special Interests.