Today is November 1, marking the start of Adoption Awareness Month. For Pound Pup Legacy this marks the day to announce the “winner” of the Demons of Adoption Awards.
The Demons of Adoption Awards have grown into an anticipated annual event, followed by many in the adoption community, and is a critical voice kicking off Adoption Awareness Month.
Last year we added 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.
Five years ago, we started the Demons of Adoption Awards, because we were sick of the sugar coated language of the Congressional Angels in Adoption Awards, and the industry-packed list of nominees worthy of special note and recognition.
The Angels in Adoption Awards is a strange and unique beast. There is no Congressional award for most effective foreclosure mill of the year, or an award for the bank most capable dodging financial regulations.
At first sight this may seem strange, since it is no secret that Congress maintains incestuous relationships with all sorts of industries.
Adoption, however, is one of the few industries where members of Congress can get away with their lewd embrace of a business community. Due to some treacherous semantic transformation, adoption is not seen as a business, but as a charitable activity.
This is why an adoption attorney or agency owner making a very handsome and sometimes vulgar amount of money out of the commerce in children, is treated as a philanthropist instead of an entrepreneur.
Unlike any other industry collectively cuddled by Congress, it is not so much campaign contributions that define the relation. Adoption, while still a billion dollar industry, simply doesn't have the buying power of the pharmaceutical industry or the financial sector, and it's less than a speck of dust compared to Big Oil.
Still, for members of congress, the adoption industry is interesting enough to throw a well sponsored and supported gala, where friends of The American Petroleum Institute, the US Chamber of Commerce, Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhilips are invited to attend.
The interest of the oil industry in the field of adoption is so overwhelming, at least one representative of big oil is seated at every table at the gala. Could it be they take the chant “Drill, Baby, Drill” far too seriously, or is such placement more about more mundane issues like having easy access to members of congress in an ambiance of commercial charity?
For Members of Congress, the star-studded gala has more perks than being able to meet their benefactors without having to disclose it as a lobby-contact. The event allows each participant to present himself as a caring humanitarian with a deep concern about the needs of children.
Unfortunately, this concern for the needs of children only goes skin deep, as there is no equivalent gala for the plight of 1.5 million homeless children in the United States. Children have no voting rights, so why would a Member of Congress care about them? It is fair to say the care and concern is mostly for the adoptive parents.
Adoption is a voter-friendly plight to stand behind. Adopters, by and large love adoption, and over time, they have formed a small but significant fraction of the electorate. Winning the adopter constituencies can mean the difference between being able to hold on to a seat in congress, or losing it, especially when elections are won with a difference of only 1 or 2 percentage points.
The Angels of Adoption Awards gala also allows Members of Congress to show their credentials. Liberal politicians can show their undying devotion for the LGBT community by nominating gay-friendly adoption agencies, while Conservative politicians can enjoy the opportunity to pander to their pro-life constituencies.
Sick and tired of such blatant display of cronyism and propaganda, Pound Pup Legacy decided five years ago to institute an anti-award, the Demons of Adoption, to raise awareness about the corruption and unethical practices of the adoption industry.
Unlike US Congress, Pound Pup Legacy is of the opinion that adoption very much is a commercial activity, where the demand for children is leading.
Adoption takes place because adults want to adopt, not because children need homes. If the latter were the case, society would provide 1.5 million homeless children with a roof over their heads.
Adoption is not about children, it's about adults fulfilling their needs, their desires, and their views about society.
These views upon society play an important part in the field of adoption; it would be wrong to think adoption is only about the money.
Money does play a large role in the field of adoption. Some private agencies are nothing more than blatant baby peddling operations benefiting only agency-directors. For the salary-minded individual, working under the guise of a humanitarian effort, an adoption attorney or agency executive can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year behind a non-for profit facade.
However, money is not the only driving factor. Children are also being placed in adoptive homes for ideological reasons. The pro-life argument regarding adoption is well-known and so is the ideal of the nuclear family, consisting in hierarchical order of a father, a mother, and their children.
Some adoption agencies love to enforce their beliefs about ideal family structure upon their tradable goods. This is most notable for this year's winner of the Demons of Adoption Awards: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
In a world already enshrined in secrecy and obfuscation, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints stands as the epitome of opacity. Every single not for-profit adoption agency in the US is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)3, obliged to file an annual report about their finances.
LDS Family Services is the only exception to the rule, having registered itself as a church and thereby being exempt from financial disclosure.
With 96 offices throughout the US, LDS Family Services is likely to be one of the largest agencies in the world. Even adoption behemoth Bethany Christian Services has fewer offices than the LDS Family Services, but it is impossible to know the extent of their enterprise and the number of adoptions they approximately process.
The workings of LDS Family Services are so murky and obscure it took us months to even find out the names of its board member. Eventually we were able to find that information after an extensive search through the business registries of all 50 states.
Being a church, there is effectively no distinction between LDS Family Services and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, they are one and the same, much like there is hardly a distinction between the State of Utah and the LDS Church.
This collusion of church and state, has made Utah the pirates nest of adoption, with legislation that has influences far beyond the borders of the Beehive State.
Most notable in this respect is the number of father's rights violations, where the state of Utah alone contributes more to this injustice than all other states combined.
Unmarried, pregnant women are lured to Utah to give birth and immediately relinquish the child for adoption without proper notification of the child's father. Legislation in Utah is set up such that it is nearly impossible for father's to claim their rights to the child.
A central figure in this baby peddling scheme is Larry S Jenkins, an attorney almost entirely dedicated to defending this practice. For his disservice to humanity, Larry Jenkins was honored by US Congress with an Angel in Adoption Award in 2005. Fellow church-member Senator Orrin Hatch proudly selected Larry Jenkins for this prestigious award.
Luring women from across the United States to relinquish their child in Utah has become an entire cottage industry, revolving around such agencies as: The Adoption Center of Choice, A Act of Love and of course LDS Family Services.
This injustice done in the name of a world-view is possible because business, religion and state are actually all one and the same in the State of Utah. It is the perfect blend of theocracy and corporatocracy. This working-triad creates a level of opacity no adoption service should have, and it provides valid reason to name The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints the recipient of PPL's 2011 Demon of Adoption Award for most questionable industrial provider.
Marking our Fifth Anniversary, when we started this year's Demons of Adoptions Award process, we decide to add a novelty feature. Instead of having only one overall winner, we decided to break up the nominations in three categories: The Industry, The Regulators and The Mouth Pieces, hoping we could pay attention to more than just the wrong doings of the industry. After all, industry regulators and PR spokes persons are just as guilty aiding and abetting unethical practices.
Ironically our attempt to broaden the subject immediately shows that a separation between industry and regulators does not exists. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints received the overwhelming majority of the votes in the industry category, while the State of Utah received the overwhelming majority of the votes in the regulator category.
There is no separation between Members of Congress and representatives of the industry with regards to the Angels of Adoption, and there is no separation between industry and regulators either.
Neither industry nor legislature could pull off this coup d'état without an intellectual justification. This is where our third category "the mouth pieces" come into play.
Just like the robbery on Wall-street, leading to the crisis of 2008, was justified by the teachings of the Chicago School of Economic, so are unethical adoption practice justified by the teachings of Elizabeth Bartholet, Professor of Law at Harvard.
Over the years, Elizabeth Bartholet has either down-played ethical issues in adoption, or declared them unimportant in the greater scheme of things, also known as the policy of the end justifies the means.
Even after corruption and malfeasance was rigorously proven with respect to Guatemalan adoptions, Elizabeth Bartholet kept justifying the practice, claiming it was in the best interest of the child no matter what. She even insists we should aggressively expand the scope of inter-country adoption. Either Elizabeth Bartholet doesn't realize that aggressive expansion of adoption leads to an excessive expansion of corruption and unethical practices, or she simply doesn't care. Based upon her writings, it's fair to conclude she doesn't care.
Overwhelmingly, our readers voted for Elizabeth Bartholet as most demonic mouth piece in Adoptionland.
The amalgamation of industry, legislature and intelligentsia has lead to an adoption system that is rarely challenged and effectively has no checks and balances. This year's Demons of Adoption Awards have shown that our readers see this collusion of power and have spoken strongly against the cozy relations between those that shape the practice of adoption.
We would like to thank our readers for their nominations and for their votes, and hereby declare the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints overall "winner" of the Demons of Adoption Award 2011.
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