Is the US State Dept. Opposed to Inter-Country Adoption? - A rebuttal | Pound Pup Legacy

Is the US State Dept. Opposed to Inter-Country Adoption? - A rebuttal

This weekend, the Christian Post published its third installment of their saga about inter-country adoption, under the title: Is the US State Dept. Opposed to Inter-Country Adoption?

It is a curious little piece, claiming to give an answer to the question why the number of inter-country adoptions over the last 8 years have dropped significantly. Unfortunately the article doesn't investigate the matter, but tries to prove a preconceived idea, that the Hague Convention, UNICEF and the policies of the Department of State are to be blamed for this decline.

The bias of the article is overwhelming, so we'd like to dissect it for our readers and put this piece into perspective. The author starts with the following:

In 2004, Americans adopted 22,991 orphans from other countries. That number has steadily declined to only 9,319 in 2011, according to State Department records. This decline is happening due to a set of complicated factors based partly upon different views regarding what is best for an orphaned child.

While the numbers mentioned are not disputed by anyone, we have to remind ourselves of the aphorism popularized by Mark Twain, which states that there are lies, damned lies and statistics. This is certainly true for the use of inter-country adoption statistics.

Let's look at a graph representing the time-frame mentioned in the Christian Post's article.

This picture seems to suggest that up until 2004, everything was fine in the world of adoption (at least according to the proponents of inter-country adoption), but then a decline set in, leading to "only" 9319 inter-country adoptions in 2011.

However when we take the time frame 1995-2011, we get a very different picture.

Those of us who have at least read some of the economic news of the last decade, will immediately recognize this as a bubble. The question therefore is not what caused the decline, but what caused the preceding boom.

From 1995 to 2004, the number of inter-country adoptions more than doubled, an increase of 13,445 adoption per year. This rise in the number of adoptions was almost entirely caused by increased exports from only three countries: China, Guatemala and Russia, which together contributed to 87% of the overall rise.

China alone contributed to 37% of the increase of foreign adoptions, being the result of starting inter-country adoptions in the early 1990's, in response to its one-child-policy and an overall expansion of its foreign exports.

Russia, after the fall of the communist regime in the early 1990's was still very much in turmoil and didn't have appropriate child care facilities of their own, leading to large numbers of children being sent abroad.

Guatemala up until the mid-1990's was involved in civil war; once the dust settled a very lax legal system was implemented, leading to ever increasing numbers of children being put up for adoption. At some point one of every hundred children born in Guatemala ended up being adopted by an American family.

Ironically, none of these countries had a huge orphan problem, at least not when using the conventional definition: a child whose parents both have deceased.

The decline in inter-country adoptions between 2004 and 2011, can largely be contributed to the same three countries that were responsible for the rise of inter-country. China, Russia and Guatemala together, were responsible for 93% of the fall of the number of adoptions over the last 8 years.

The Christian Post claims there is a complicated set of reasons behind this decline, but singles out one particular issue: different views regarding what is best for an orphaned child.

While it's understandable that the Christian Post focuses on this particular issue, it is after all the only wedge-issue that can be introduced into the discussion, it doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Both China and Russia are big and powerful countries that set their own agenda, irrespective of international pressure. Together these two countries contribute to 69% of the decline in inter-country adoption, making the different-views reason only a marginal issue.

Let's get back now to the article.

The Christian Post spoke to several international adoption experts to understand why the decline is taking place, and why adoptive parents have recently run into difficulties with the State Department when trying to bring their children home.

Part one of this series was about Becky Morlock, a missionary in India who has been living there for four years because she has been unable to get a visa from the U.S. State Department to bring her child home. Part two followed the Carrolls, Gerigs and Reeveses as they struggled with alleged falsified information and witness badgering from State Department officials when they were getting visas to bring their adopted children home from Ethiopia.

Interestingly enough, the first case is a very odd and rare situation where an American living in India adopts a boy there and later on has difficulties receiving a visa for his entrance in the USA. Formally this is not even a foreign adoption. At the time of the adoption Becky Morlock was a resident of India, working there as a missionary, so the adoption itself was purely a domestic Indian issue. Therefore the whole visa-issue is entirely immigrations related and has nothing to do with inter-country adoption.

The second case is somewhat more interesting, but the reporting is so overwhelmingly one-sided that it is impossible to distill any useful information from it. The article takes the information of the prospective adoptive parents at face value and prints it without any validation. It's not all that difficult to find three families angry with the Department of State, but that doesn't necessarily make a story. If this piece were journalism, at least an attempt was made to contact the American Embassy in Ethiopia for their side of the story, but no such effort seems to be made.

"It's an enormous collapse of a really valid service to children. It didn't just happen by accident. There's a reason that this all happened," Tom DiFilipo, president and CEO of Joint Council on International Children's Services, said in a Jan. 19 interview with The Christian Post.

Sure there is a reason, may we hear it too, or is this just a statement to make things sound nefarious.

Which is a priority: a child's need for a loving family or a child's race and ethnicity? How one answers this question drives some of the disputes over inter-country adoptions, according to Jedd Medefind, president of Christian Alliance for Orphans and former head of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in the George W. Bush administration, in a Feb. 2 interview with The Christian Post.

"Both internationally, as well as domestically in the U.S., there have been fierce debates over which is more important, a child's ethnic background, or their need for a family," Medefind said.

For those who place a high priority on keeping an orphan close to their country of origin and with families who share their race and ethnicity, an international adoption is a low priority.

"Most everyone is, theoretically, supportive of inter-country adoption," Medefind explained. "Some just place it as such a last resort that it effectively never would happen."

Though a diversity of opinions can be found, the United Nations and UNICEF, the U.N.'s program to help children, tend to be biased toward placing race and ethnicity at a higher priority than a family, according to Medefind.

Never shy to create a false dilemma, Jedd Medefind, here comes to the central argument of the Christian Post's series about inter-country adoption, and of course it has to do with race.

Race, just like abortion and gay marriage is a convenient wedge issue that takes our mind off the issues that really matter. It also helps to instigate there are problems that effectively do not exist.

Like we demonstrated earlier in our post, both the rise and the decline of inter-country adoption is by and large the result of the internal affairs of three countries, two of which (the biggest two) are far too powerful to be influenced by either UNICEF or the US Department of State.

Of course, Medefind knows this, but transparently chooses to throw in this wedge issue to prevent us from looking into what is really going on.

As head of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, Medefind was responsible for the distribution of money for public services to religious organizations. As such money was funneled to adoption agencies to promote infant adoption promotion campaigns, abstinence only education and various other programs.

After his stint at the White House, Medefind became President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, a group of churches, christian media moguls and adoption agencies.

Throughout his career Medefind has shown a great interest in the financial position of the adoption industry, which has taken a huge hit over the last couple of years.

In short, adoption business is not what it used to be, but since that is too crude to mention, let's instead talk about race issues.

The U.N. is an important player in international adoptions due to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption, which was designed to facilitate inter-country adoption and help ensure that every inter-country adoption is done ethically and in the best interest of the child.

In every country where the Hague has been implemented, however, inter-country adoptions have declined, according to attorney Kelly Ensslin in a Jan. 10 interview with The Christian Post.

Ensslin specializes in representing parents in international adoption cases and was hired by the Carrolls, Gerigs and Reeveses. She first got involved with inter-country adoption cases when she adopted a child from Vietnam four years ago and also ran into difficulties with the State Department.

"I'm a trial lawyer. I used to just fight about money. When my own kid got stuck, I realized there were not very many people in the country who could help me get her out. So, I had to figure out, on my own, how to fight the system, and when the system is your own government, it's damn crazy," Ensslin said.

Ensslin represented 25 families who had adopted children in Nepal in 2010 and is currently representing close to 20 families who adopted children in Ethiopia.

Kelly Ensslin, also a party with financial interest in inter-country adoption, of course knows better than to make silly statements like these. All receiving countries have ratified the Hague Convention, many of them as early as the mid-1990's. Nearly all these countries imported large numbers of children from both China and Russia, and nearly all these countries have seen the number of inter-country adoptions fall, because these two countries reduced their exports.

It is silly to contribute the decline to the implementation of the Hague Convention. If so, it would be equally valid to state that the Hague Convention leads to an increase of inter-country adoption, since France, Spain, Italy, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Finland all saw the number of adoptions increase, immediately after ratification, during the boom phase between 1995 and 2000.

The U.S. State Department appears to take the position that all inter-country adoptions should, eventually, be done through the Hague Convention. Susan Jacobs was appointed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the newly created Special Adviser for Children's Issues in 2010. The Christian Post contacted her to get the State Department's view on these issues, but she has not returned our call.

A press release announcing Jacobs' appointment stated, "Secretary Clinton has created this new foreign policy position to address inter-country adoption and international parental child abduction."

Concerns over child trafficking, or child abduction, could also be driving some of the State Department's greater scrutiny of international adoptions. There was a case where a couple in Missouri had adopted a child from Guatemala in 2008. Three years later, the child's birth mother claimed the child was stolen from her and went to court to get her child back.

All three experts that The Christian Post interviewed believe, however, that concerns over child trafficking are overblown.

"The claims of child trafficking are definitely not rooted in fact," Medefind said.

We know it is a strong accusation, but when someone lies, we do call him a liar, and in this case Jedd Medefind proves to be a liar.  On this website, we have documented 151 cases of child trafficking related to inter-country adoption. These cases have all been investigated and many articles in notable news outlets have been written about these cases.

Child trafficking for the purpose of inter-country adoption is a proven fact and has been demonstrated over and over in nearly all sending countries. Claiming otherwise makes Jedd Medefind a blatant liar.

The Christian Post is not without blame here either. Though not as obviously pinocchio-like as Medefind's statement, their portrayal of child trafficking is entirely disingenuous. From their article, it seems as if there has only been one case of child trafficking and even a dubious one.

The Christian Post also spoke with a source in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) who confirmed that fraudulent adoptions are very rare.

There are so many truly orphaned children around the world that a potential child trafficker would have little to gain financially by stealing or paying for children. Those involved in adoptions still need to remain diligent, though, to avoid the possibility of child trafficking, Medefind believes.

At least in this case, Medefind keeps to his beliefs, which are completely false, but at least a belief cannot be called a lie. As is the case with beliefs, they are not necessarily rooted in fact. The fact is that there is child trafficking for the purpose of inter-country adoption, and people do make financial gains by stealing or paying for children.

The reason Medefind's belief are refuted by reality lies in the fact that not all orphans are equally adoptable. Prospective adopters have a preference for infants and children up to the age of five. Yet loss of parents has the exact opposite pattern. There are far more orphans in the age-group 12 to 17 than in the age-group 6 to 11, while the age-group 0 to 5 contains the fewest orphans.

With such a skewed distribution of both supply and demand, there is an incentive to create "orphans" in the age-group 0 to 5 to meet the demand for adoptable children. This is especially true since the number of sending countries with a considerable inter-country adoption program is relatively small (70% of inter-country adoptions come from only five countries).

"Poverty, in some cases, is so severe that the promise of a certain amount of money could lure a parent who is on the edge of survival to give up one of their children in exchange for money."

The most difficult adoptions do not have anything to do with fears of child trafficking. Rather, they have to do with figuring out what is in the best interest of the child when the mother is in a desperate situation.

"The place where the hardest ethical decisions are made," Medefind explained, "are when there is a parent, who is still alive, that potentially could still care for this child, but that parent has chosen to give the child up. And the decision of whether to accept that child for adoption or to force the birth parent to keep the child, and to do all you can in supporting them in that, can be a very difficult decision."

Again, the discussion revolves around a subject only partially related to the issue at hand. The top five sending countries (70% of the supply) in 2011  are: China, Ethiopia, Russia, South Korea and Ukraine. Of these five, only Ethiopia is a really dirt-poor country, while South Korea is actually a rich country. China's population may not be the richest in the world, but the country itself is capable of financing much of the debt of United State of America, so should be very well capable of taking care of its own children.

While DiFilipo, Ensslin and Medefind all support the concept of a properly functioning Hague Convention, they all agree that is has not worked in practice.

DiFilipo put it this way: "A good law that can't be implemented is a bad law."

One of the issues with the Hague Convention is that many developing countries do not have the resources to implement it. The Hague Convention requires a plethora of documentation to prove that a child is an orphan before she can be adopted.

"One of the complaints in Ethiopian cases," Ensslin said, "is that the police don't adequately document their investigation into abandoned infants. Well, you go to these police stations and they are essentially lean-to sheds with a desk and a cot and 64 officers. No computers, no filing cabinets. What would we have them do?"

It's funny how Ethiopia is suggested to be an example of how the Hague Convention does not work properly in practice. Ethiopia has not even signed the Hague Convention! For that matter neither have Russia, South Korea and Ukraine. In fact, only 29% of inter-country adoptions relates to children from Hague countries.

The issue then becomes, how much should be demanded to ensure that a child is an orphan before allowing them to be adopted? The more that is demanded, the more orphans there will be without a chance to be adopted by a loving family. The less that is demanded, the more the possibility that children could be adopted for whom adoption is not the best option.

The U.N. and UNICEF also tend to be biased toward making inter-country adoptions more rare, Medefind believes, because officials at these agencies generally believe that orphans are better served by reducing poverty and government corruption than by inter-country adoption. The two approaches to caring for orphans do not need to be exclusive, however.

"Many in the foreign aid world see a zero-sum game between a focus on investing in programs and an openness to inter-country adoption. It doesn't need to be that way," Medefind said.

UNICEF not only tends to be biased towards making inter-country adoptions rare, it is rightfully a goal to do so. Inter-country adoption exists by the fact that sending countries don't have the means or the will to take care of children without parents. Instead of maintaining a dependency on foreign countries to absorb their unwanted children, UNICEF rightfully aims to help countries to become capable of handling their own issues. Calling such a laudable goal a bias, can only be seen as a smear.  Of course maintaining a dependency is good for the adoption industry and for prospective adopters, but has nothing to do with the plight of children in need.

The recent events in Ethiopia and elsewhere suggest that the U.S. State Department may also share a bias against inter-country adoption.

"What you're seeing is a clear position by the U.S. government," DiFilipo said. "There is a strong preference for international adoptions to be completed through the Hague Convention. And, countries that are not party to the Convention, you're seeing a lot of push, and a lot of criticism, and a lot of accusations about corruption and poor practice."

Ethiopia decided this past October, just a few weeks before the backlog in adoptions occurred at the U.S. embassy in Ethiopia, that it would not sign onto the Hague Convention.

Of course, the US government has a preference to work with countries that have signed the Hague Convention too, why else ratify a treaty?

Governments and NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) also tend to favor solutions that can be delivered on a mass scale, such as food aid and rooting out corruption in government.

"Adoption cannot be delivered by governments, so, those seeking to solve problems through large scale programs naturally would emphasize the types of solutions that they are best at delivering," Medefind explained.

What a curious statement: "adoption cannot be delivered by governments". Has Medefind ever heard of a country called China, which happens to be the largest supplier of adoptable children, a program run by government officials? Has Medefind ever heard of adoption from foster care in his own native country, programs ran by state governments? Of course it reads well to the small-government crowd, but please keep it fact based.

Domestic politics can also be a source of reductions in the number of adoptions, according to Medefind. A party out of power may criticize a party in power by pointing to the number of adopted children leaving the country as evidence that the government is not working well. The party in power may respond to the criticism by reducing the number of inter-country adoptions.

Sure it can

The USCIS official said there are no current plans or discussion of plans to stop inter-country adoptions from Ethiopia. They also said that they were working closely with officials at the U.S. embassy in Ethiopia to alleviate some of the problems the embassy had processing the adoptions, and they are satisfied with the progress made thus far. The Christian Post also discovered from a congressional source that a meeting was planned for mid-February among the State Department, USCIS and members of Congress or their staff to work out some of the difficulties in the inter-country adoption process.

In the Ethiopian cases investigated by The Christian Post, the problems that the Carrolls, Gerigs and Reeveses faced were not simply a matter of the embassy being more diligent or applying greater scrutiny. They were problems that could only have been created by either incompetence or an intentional desire to reduce adoptions.

"What we're finding, in every [Ethiopian adoption] case," Ensslin said, "is that the children are orphans. The indicators of fraud are nonexistent and are really the product of sloppy work, at best, by the embassy."

Are your pants on fire too, Ms. Ensslin?

The suggestion by the Christian Post that the "problems" created were either incompetence or an intentional desire to reduce adoptions, is again an example of a false dilemma. The Department of State has every incentive to be of assistance to the citizens of the United States as long as it prevents international scandal. Dubious and fraudulent practices in Ethiopia have been rampant and well documented. Of course this has created an atmosphere within the Department of State to be careful about adoptions from Ethiopia. Turning this into a desire to reduce adoptions is not only false, it is completely silly.

Adoption, through-out the ages has been a great topic for politicians of every political leaning to pander to their constituents. Nearly every politician likes to present him/herself as a champion for adoption, because it pays political dividend. Claiming otherwise is foolish beyond reason.

DiFilipo offered suggestions for improving inter-country adoptions out of Ethiopia and making the Hague Convention more workable.

The U.S. embassy in Ethiopia should have more resources to deal with the number of inter-country adoptions from that nation. Plus, the embassy should have a USCIS officer on site to help process the visa applications.

Also, if a developing country is encouraged to sign onto the Hague Convention, there should be resources offered to help that nation implement the convention so that there is not a sudden drop in adoptions.

"Partnerships must be brought to bear. Resources must be brought to bear. Not just encouragement. Not just criticism. There needs to be partnerships and financial assistance," DiFilipo said.

Sure, Tom. Whatever you say.

0

Another Reason for the Increase

Aside from the wonderful commentary and analysis of the Christian Post article, I wish to add the following.

Another "bubble" which contributed to the increase in I.A. in the 1990s & 2000s was the credit boom. How else could Americans afford $25,000 + for an I.A. People dipped into home equity loans, retirement savings, IRA accounts, savings accounts, stocks, bonds, 401(k)s - you name it, they borrowed against themselves to pay the agency and "foreign source" fees. Debt fueled the adoption boom.

Don't forget the federal "adoption tax credit" enacted in 2000. At first it was $5,000. Then it was raised to $10,000. Agencies jumped all over it and raised their fees accordingly.
Elizabeth Case

Re: Another Reason for the Increase

Excellent points Elizabeth Case. Those, in conjunction with this:

Race, just like abortion and gay marriage is a convenient wedge issue that takes our mind off the issues that really matter. It also helps to instigate there are problems that effectively do not exist.

prompt me to focus on two bubbles, here: the white American AP ego, and the economy that produces them, and props them up, über Alles.

Social matters like race, abortion, gay marriage are not distractions or extraneous wedge issues, they are foundational to the adoption racket, as those people are the marks for ICA human trafficking confidence tricks. The two issues are directly related.

The basic idea is, these dumb bastards from everywhere else on planet earth are really functionaries of rich whites, to do with as they please. (Well, rich whites, and those living above their means by dipping into those inflated equity loans and whatnot.) And how DARE the State Department or any other state or non-governmental actor get in the way of their material pursuits, in this case, child-collecting.

Their very identity itself hinges on these ideas.

Intercountry Adoption Numbers Dropping

Wow! Pound Pup Legacy seems to be a HUGE part of this problem! You don't seem to care about the eventual life outcome of the children involved any more than anyone else. Disappointed in your coverage of this important social issue. Whatever happened to the 'best interests of the child?' You are sad, sad people...

huh?

Dear Coupon Mom,

While we always appreciate comments from our readers, your's leaves me a bit bewildered. What we tried to present in the this post was the biased and erroneous reporting about inter-country adoption in an article published in the Christian Post, this weekend.

I won't rehash any of the content of our post, since it can be read on this very page.

However, you left me confused how you came to the conclusion that we don't care about the eventual life outcome of children. Nothing in our post even refers to that topic, so I wonder how you come to your conclusions, and why that warrents calling us names, something I don't find particularly polite of you.

 

Famous.Last.Words

Whatever happened to the 'best interests of the child?'

Sigh.

Out of curiosity, what is

Out of curiosity, what is the experiential background of the Pound Puppy founders? Do you spend time in orphanages doing outreach work or reuniting children with their birth families? Do you raise funds to temper the financial strains that often result in child abandonment? Do you read the research on attachment disorders in order to fully appreciate how institutionalization is a cancer to the very soul of a human? Or is PPs only mission of existance to make wide assumptions about those of us that do the above activities?

a guideline

Hello Lisa,

I guess this is the first time you post on PPL, so I understand you don't yet know the way this site operates. As rule of thumb, I would say, it's common practice here to respond on topic.

You may not have noticed, but there is a piece at the top of this page, discussing a recent article in the Christian Post.

If you have something to add to the piece we wrote, or have a different point of view on it, please feel free to share your thoughts.

I'll try to keep on topic

First, Lisa expressed a simple reaction to your piece that attempts to dig out the motives and back story of those advocating for IA. Clearly, your position is against it. She was looking for your motivation. It seems a fair extension of the conversation. If that is what this is...

Second, your quote: "Inter-country adoption exists by the fact that sending countries don't have the means or the will to take care of children without parents." Really??? Intercountry adoption exists because there are orphans - children without families who care for them. Those orphans live in countries where two things are true: there are not enough loving families willing to take them in; and there is a legal method of those orphans being adopted by a family in another country. The key FACT here is that both UNICEF and you? are missing is: living in an orphanage or on the street is damaging. It is loss of their development, of their potential, of their life's arc. Surely you would not say that an orphan would look at their skin color, what piece of land they live in, and say "I just want this" if given the opportunity to live with a loving family? A loving family is a child's first and most important right. Starting from scratch we could likely come up with a near utopian society just by keeping this as our central legal concept.

Lastly, if you use an economic model, you will see economic effects and implications. You will deaden your ability to feel for the children who are in desperate need. You will miss important clues about why participants in this conversation are saying what they do. If you really are seeking any of this, lose the economic model approach. Look at the whole picture - include the flow of money and how it changes behavior. But rely on the numbers in perspective. For instance, 151 trafficing cases out of how many? We are not perfect. Errors in judgment will happen. Appropriate (HEAVY) punishment should be handed out. Including to those who would stop or even slow adoptions for political reasons.

The children count on us to be honest and loving. Be honest first with yourself, then with those you love, then with those in important conversations like this one.

My son only made it to our family because we fought with USCIS and DoS to stop their infighting and process paperwork that was filed correctly, but they processed with errors, real and in judgment.
My son's time in his orphanage, despite some very good people there, created developmental delays and lingering flinching learned from bullies.

His touch is the most gentle I have ever felt.

So, please, let's keep it about the kids. Not the politics, the economics, the personal issues, the "who's right".

Get your facts right

Get your facts right Barry. Yes there are MANY orphans in this world and there are MANY street children in this world...but...those are NOT the children offered for ICA. Statistics don't lie. The overwhelming amount of adoptees adopted from Guatemala, were under the age of 1 and they were NOT orphans. The small orphanages (known as hogares) were set up by adoption attorneys for the sole purpose of ICA. After ICA closed in Guatemala, so did the hogares. You may want to review some of that info on PPLs archives or on other sites as well.

I actually have my facts

I actually have my facts right. Thanks for attempting to imply otherwise... I think you'll find a heavy punishment phrase in my first post. It applies best of all to Guatemala. And officially, statistics say what their producers say they will. See Niels' comment. He makes a medium good point about the "hump" shape in IA. Even that though is incomplete.

I'm after a big picture. How to make this help children. (Period)

If you are angry, good. Use it. The children need advocates to keep them safe just as much as they need ones like me to get them into loving homes. We need not "take sides."

Where were you???

Barry, I agree, we should not "take sides". Just a quick question in respect to your comment:
"If you are angry, good. Use it. The children need advocates to keep them safe just as much as they need ones like me to get them into loving homes."

Where were you when AP after AP got bashed for speaking up about injustices in ICA? Apparently you are not even supportive of a site like this that advocates for transparency and the safety of children.

It is sad that you think that by adopting a child, you are actually helping a child. To the contrary, you are part of larger problem that fuels corruption and coercion. Even sadder, you don't see this.

hmmmm... My son would

hmmmm...
My son would disagree. With us, he has education, healthcare, a warm bed, nutritious food, and most of all a loving family.

I posted the first day that I found this site. I disagreed with many of points made in this thread. So, I joined the discussion. You can follow my conversation and contributions because I put my name on them. My contributions stand for themselves. How I am greeted and welcomed will be part of my decision to support others here. I understand emotions run hot. Under the circumstances. civility requires a lot of poise and self-awareness.

Look, whatever experience you have had that leads you to believe your last three sentences, I am sorry. There is an entire larger and loving side to this that you are missing. If you choose to ally yourself with your fears and bad experience, they will only get stronger. I choose to work mine by taking precautions, engaging in conversation with people (some here) who might be able to bring more light to bear on the situation. Most of all, I don't act out my fears. "I have my fears, but they do not have me." -Peter Gabriel

There is corruption in IA. Money and parental drive fuel it. Is that better? But those two things alone do not create it. Individuals choose to manipulate and change the system for bribes, special treatment, etc. Those people are the true source of corruption. They are the ones that should feel your wrath. They are the ones that create the spark, and attend to the fire, just so, to benefit themselves, to the detriment of the children.

There is also corruption in sports, in advertising, in commerce of all kinds, certainly in politics. Do we simply not engage in something because corruption is present? Surely not. We act with eyes open, with knowledge and resources at our disposal. This site can stand as a witness to the failures of many systems, decision makers and parents.

But if you want listeners, if you want people to hear the wrongs that have been done, you have to meet them in a different place. One where flames like "where were you???" and "get your facts" are held back.

I am sad that you cannot see that the loving part of adoption is worth fighting for.

keeping it about children is a disservice to children

If it were simple, we could indeed just talk about the children, but adoption is not that simple. How can we keep economics out of it, if we can plainly see that adoption is a multi-billion industry, whose trade associations have a near monopoly on the messages about adoption in the media.

Keeping politics out of it is equally inconceivable.

In the mid-1950's a congressional hearing was held to investigate baby-brokering taking place at the time. The hearings were led by Senator Estes Kefauver and revealed coercive practices and adoption fraud taking place throughout the US. Despite thorough investigations and plenty of evidence, nothing was done to prevent baby brokering, because politicians feared a backlash from their constituents.

A similar investigation followed in 1964, resulting in similar finding, again nothing was done for the very same reason, politicians were afraid of losing their adoptive constituents if they enforced or strengthened the laws with respect to adoption.

Another hearing was held in 1975, one was held in 1978 and another yet one in 1983. Each of them presented evidence of baby brokering, and in later year, child trafficking, each of them resulting in congressional inactivity.

Given this history, it's impossible not to think of adoption in terms of politics. On an even more fundamental level, if not for politics, there would be no adoption. After all, adoption is a legal procedure before the court of law, something that can only take place because politicians created those very laws making adoption possible. Those same laws should also prevent adoption from becoming a commerce in children.

That latter issue has always been difficult to handle. Ever since the late 1900s, people have specialized in providing adoption services to families wanting a child. In earlier days those "specialists" were mostly mid-wives, doctors and attorneys, while later on they became more and more replaced by social workers employed by adoption agencies.

No matter how you slice it however, the business model hasn't changed much. Prospective adopters contact an adoption specialist and pay for services to receive a child. Not calling it the purchase of a child is mostly a question semantics, since no prospective adopter would be willing to pay for the services without receiving a child.

Adoption service providers generally don't work for free, and in some cases make exorbitant amounts of money. Such is and always has been the reality of adoption. Another reality of adoption is that demand always exceeds supply. For every healthy infants there are easily ten couples or singles wanting to adopt that child.

Certainly there are many children in need of help and assistance, and many of them would benefit from having a family life, but most of them are not considered desirable. Only a fraction of children adopted is above the age of five, only a fraction of the children adopted has a permanent handicap.

In a market where the demanding party has all the financial power, supply is created to meet that demand. This is not new, it's a practice we have been able to trace down to at least 1883.

Nowadays most baby brokering doesn't take place within the United States. These practices moved abroad over the years, lastly recorded in the late 1980's in South Carolina.

With the decline of baby brokering in the United States, child trafficking from abroad started to pick up. The practices are the same as they were in the US during the preceding century, only the location differed.

Already during the 1980's child trafficking practices were rampant in Latin America, eventually resulting in the Hague Convention. Most Latin American countries instituted strict adoption laws and, apart from Guatemala, child trafficking for inter-country adoption ceased to exist on that continent.

During the 1990s, the adoption landscape changed dramatically. China entered the market and the countries formerly on the other side of the iron-curtain opened their borders. Inter-country adoption made a huge leap from several thousand children in previous decades to tens of thousands of children during the 1990s. Yet, despite a large influx of fresh supply, demand for adoptable children remained high and has even grown over the year due to the promotion of adoption in certain Christian circles.

This promotion has a relentless focus on the children, which sounds laudable, but is at the same time very narrow minded. Numbers like 143,000,000 orphans are thrown around as if there is an enormous adoption-crises going on. Hardly ever is it mentioned that most of these 143 million children has one living parent, that even more of these children are being taken care of by extended families. On top of that, most of these "orphans" are not desired adoption material, because they are considered too old by most prospective adopters.

Just talking about the children may sound sympathetic, but I consider it neglectful. Adoption doesn't take place within a vacuum, adoption happens in world where money talks and where politicians shape the laws that apply. Ignoring those issues is a disservice to children. No child wants to be adopted to later find out his/her parents were coerced to give up the child. No child wants to be adopted to later find out he/she was stolen from loving parents.

Those are children we pay attention to, since very few otherwise will. Far too many adopters live in the fog that all they do is charitable, that their choice to adopt is a noble one, ignoring the fact that that desire for nobility fuels the demand for adoptable children, eventually leading to the corrupt practices so often found in sending countries.

Interesting that most of

Interesting that most of what I wrote was not integrated into either of the two responses thus far.
I very specifically noted that the whole picture is critical. But if we talk exclusively in economic or political terms, every result we get will be within those realms. NB: both fields, economics and politics, have developed past their purpose - to serve as a medium for analysis and discussion of human activities. They are NOT fields unto themselves.
I was personally interested in adopting from Guatemala in 2007. My family chose to adopt elsewhere because there were signs of corruption - signs that even a newbie could see. If it's not clear, we did not adopt from Guatemala specifically because of reasoning just like Niels in his 2nd to last paragraph. So let's be done with reciting history and talk present and future.
The politics that I am addressing is maneuvering for either career gain or intercountry strategy or pure CYA when a mistake has been made.
There is no discussion of adoption in a vacuum. Whole picture, remember. But we must have a central, centering principle. One that can test new and improved processes and procedures. That can only be the welfare of the children. Not the backbone of politicians, the bank accounts of agencies, not the desire of the parents, not the image of the US or UN.
So, let's accept that there is a demand and money in the system, and that both can make bad things happen. No one in their right mind would argue that there isn't. The point is to balance safeguards against the harm that children experience without a family. Having a Zero Tolerance attitude doesn't work within the social work field. Please don't pretend that it will. Crime will occur in adoption just as it does in other areas - and punishment must be swift and just. If there is no adoption, every child in an orphanage will stay there and deteriorate, a drain on that society.
So, accept the demand. You can't control it. I will happily submit that agencies should push PAPs toward more needy groups: older, disabled, etc. They could even financially skew the process for this. Some already do. They can even help PAPs become more aware of the effects their parental drive and money have on the process. But understand that if the children who are younger and without disability are left in an orphanage due to a "blanket" policy approach, they will become just that - older and developmentally and emotionally delayed. And join the ranks of the less desirable.
I understand too, that adoption is not THE solution. Clearly, there are economic, ethnic, social and on and on issues that have to be addressed to help every child 143M of them. But it is a part that is a definite, tangible good for some children, their families and even the "sending country". After all, the burden of care shifts. Adoption may go away if the larger inequalities are ever balanced. I can't see that in my lifetime.
I have seen the fog in fellow adoptive parents. I have fought through it myself. Blaming someone trying to do good for a naturally occurring blindness is not compassion. How does it further your position?
I'm about making this work. You?

Personal experience

It was asked what our experience with adopter, adoptees, and birth mothers has been, and for myself I have dedicate 10 years of volunteer outreach support for all three.  I myself have professional experience as a RN working in teaching hospitals, local community hospitals,and long-term care facilities.  I am very well aware of the effects long term abuse, neglect and institutional living can have on a human being.  I am very well aware of the effects stress and trauma have on the development of children.  With that (and more), I feel comfortable with my role rendering both a professional and personal opinion on the care or lack of care that happens in the realm of child-care facilities and adoption services  FWIW, I was also the product of an ICA program fraught with baby brokers and adopters demanding they be given healthy babies.  I am also the product of an abusive adoptive home.

Far too many adopters fail to recognize two facts that remain unaddressed complex adoption issues -- these facts need further discussion.

First, not every child put on the adopted block is adoptable.  This is not only due to fraudulent paper work to appease adopters, it's also due to poor reporting.  Thanks to neglect, malnutrition, and poorly run institutions where abuse is rampant, these children are damaged beyond repair.  They will NOT thrive in family/home situations,  they will be a threat to others, and to pretend love is all they need is nothing more than a Disney scripted fallacy.

Second, the money made by agency and orphanage directors is too attractive to make necessary improvements found in many orphanages.  While directors are buying second or third homes, cars, and fur coats, the children in-care are still being fed diluted formula and left to languish without safe loving adult human contact... even the ones who have PAPs sending hundred of dollars for child care.  Just ask a few angry APs if this is true. 

The end result, as politics and economics currently exist is, the care for children in-care remains poor; the treatment of birth parents remains criminal, and the aftermath results show  very distraught depressed parents (both birth and adoptive), and very sick and damaged children.  I don't know what your experience is with such parents, but the very sad truth is, that there is not enough social services and caring mental health professionals to care for them.  The politics and economic interests need to change, the attitude and interests of "child saviors" needs to change, for the sake of ALL children put in-care.... not just the cute healthy ones that were made available through private brokers.

So, let's accept that there is a demand and money in the system, and that both can make bad things happen. No one in their right mind would argue that there isn't. The point is to balance safeguards against the harm that children experience without a family. Having a Zero Tolerance attitude doesn't work within the social work field. Please don't pretend that it will. Crime will occur in adoption just as it does in other areas - and punishment must be swift and just. If there is no adoption, every child in an orphanage will stay there and deteriorate, a drain on that society.

This attitude disturbs me, even though it's very common.  The fact that it's an assumed given that these children will deteriorate in a system that refuses to improve (because the adoption seems to be the best form of making money AND removing children with expensive needs and demands) is the very attitude that enables these horrible practices to continue.  This attitude guarantees necessary change within care systems will not be seen. So much for putting the child's best interest, adopted or not, as a top priority.  It's my opinion that ICA is not the solution these children need; the solution is found through improving domestic care, and improving the services orphanages can provide its residents.  Period.

Last I'd like to add, contrary to pro-ICA rhetoric, many in-care do not want to leave their home-land and assimilate to a white standard.  For many angry ("ungrateful?") adoptees, the ones who have been abused in their adoptive homes, agree, given the choice, they'd rather have stayed and lived in their orphanage because is where they had friends and familiarity. These friends and some of the better care-takers were their family.  Sure, such living arrangements are not as a pro ICA advocate would deem "ideal", but just because a family-system is different and not "American" doesn't make these group homes for orphans bad or wrong.... it just creates a solution that is different and not so AP-centric.

"The fact that it's an

"The fact that it's an assumed given that these children will deteriorate in a system that refuses to improve is the very attitude that enables these horrible practices to continue. [Parentheses removed] This attitude guarantees necessary change within care systems will not be seen ... the solution is found through improving domestic care, and improving the services orphanages can provide its residents."
Wow. and Yes!
Adoption is not the enemy here. If things worked well enough, IA wouldn't be needed. Easy enough. But, for now, the deterioration is scientifically pretty well established. Niels was kind enough to point out an exception in Africa. It has references. The system does not refuse to improve. There are very specific people who decide. The challenge is to get these decision-makers to decide otherwise. And to enable good ones to do even better - with money typically. The good ones will spend money on new shoes, more formula, better soap, a new hot water heater, etc. For these decision-makers, IA is an invaluable source of support - not as the result of an adoption - in my experience, money was not allowed to change hands. But grateful and often changed APs ought to send support, whether in actual physical resource and labor or in money.
Getting rid of bad directors or bad internal policy-decision makers is much more challenging. Simply taking it on risks the label of "imperial", and with some merit. That being said, people of good conscience must speak, stand and act. This ought to be overwhelming for a newly expanded family. APs that have not spoken up do have culpability. Would you really refuse to give good people the opportunity to act, to learn, to change? and use their influence to help change conditions?
I'd love to see an independent, multi-source NGO. One that would provide the "hard information" that agencies might not want to - what to look for in the orphanage, from the director, from the agency, what to do if solicited for a bribe, etc. AND to insist on having the hard conversations about grief and loss of homeland, friends, etc. Currently, that can't be this group. There are some of the fundamentals here - experience and education. But not the willingness to connect, to build bridges. Unless you are willing to engage, without these levels of accusation, you won't be invited back for a civil discussion.

Building bridges, and meeting half-way

While this thread is now going way OT, a few comments really captured my attention, so I'd like to respond.  

Getting rid of bad directors or bad internal policy-decision makers is much more challenging. Simply taking it on risks the label of "imperial", and with some merit. That being said, people of good conscience must speak, stand and act. This ought to be overwhelming for a newly expanded family. APs that have not spoken up do have culpability.
I agree.   Adoptees and birth parents need to speak, stand, and act more, as well, but doing so is not as easy as it sounds, especially if/when speaking out seems to create more enemies than friendly supporters.  For instance, let me share some of my own personal experience before I agreed to co-create PPL back in 2006.  Before the popularity of personal blogs and sites with "anti" reputations, many of us giving voice to the dark-side have been banned and black-balled by members of the adoption community, as seen on popular "commercial friendly" sites/forums.  While these sites advertise themselves as being created for "all sides" to discuss their adoption issues, what they really mean is, any member of the triad is welcome, provided your story and information is kept adoption-friendly.  As time went on, the bigger commercial sites, like adoption dot com (owned by a lawyer) did introduce more "hard information", but it was sugar coated and kept to a minimum, so as not scare too many potential clients, but at the same time, providing a modicum of truth.
 
Still to this day, members of the adoption industry interfere with all sides getting down to serious discussion and business.  What I mean here is, both sides -- the happy and satisfied and the outraged and burnt --are often deliberately kept away as much as possible because mixing the two sides could prove bad for business and dangerous to personal and professional reputation.  How is this division done? Easy.  Banning members and deleting/censoring information from a commercial website is one example.  In other cases, some within the industry will choose the legal-route to end public note sharing.   I know certain adoption lawyers, agency directors, even adoption "specialists" working as therapists are the first to slap libel/slander lawsuits on anyone who posts "questionable" accusations without "documented proof".  And clever guys that they are, many will try to remove all proof -- all incriminating documented material that was once distributed by them -- to show they have done nothing wrong in the past.  Amusing, isn't it?  
 
So, on one hand, newcomers to the dark-side require proof behind shocking accusations, but the clever wrong-doers do what they can to remove that documented proof and then they make legal threats against those speaking out.  Not only that, but in some of the more extreme cases, like those cases involving corruption and abuse against women and children, those who have tried or do speak-out, unless they are within their own secret "safe" group, they are often criticized, shunned, even bullied by members within the adoption community.  In some cases, even death threats have been made.  Here's the best part: when the determined speaker still tries to reach those outside his own circle, and tell more about what is being done to keep him silent, that person is labeled as "crazy" by those protecting the side with much to hide.
 
Knowing this, it's no wonder smaller sites featuring shameful harmful practices are not around as they need to be... they are seen as a threat by questionable businessmen, politicians, even members of the clergy; and those people with good conscience who dare to speak and act are often cut out and shut down. 
The danger to expose unwanted practices is real and so is the fear.... so I applaud anyone who comes out.  It takes real courage, and the venom in their tone is well understood.  My heart goes out to these victims, but more importantly, I strongly believe before any pro-active work can be done, the more difficult problems and tragedies need to be acknowledge and accepted as truthful experiences and more than single isolated events.  The voices of angry victims needs to be heard, even if it does make one uncomfortable and afraid to return.  
 
With that, I'd like to discuss PPL a little more.
I appreciate your remark that you see some of the much-needed fundamentals like education and experience are found here on PPL, but you see these levels of accusation (made by whom?) make it so the accuser won't be invited back for a civil discussion.  This explains why I was banned from other sites so long ago.  To be honest, I'm surprised and proud PPL has endured as it has!   I often tell Niels, God must be on our side, because in spite of so much criticism and threats, we have been blessed with wonderful contacts who truly value what it is we're trying to do:  educate and inform others in a non-commercial format.  Since it's conception, if you will, PPL has not been very well-liked by industry favorites, or many APs for that matter, but in spite of that, it has become a site like no other.  It has become an educational and inspirational resource for investigative journalists, and for members of NGOs doing what they can do to fight child trafficking.  It has become a valuable resource to those who dare to share a story that cannot be trusted as being true. [Our archives provide much needed examples as proof in a conversation.]  We are neither supported nor funded as we want or need to be, but we continue to do what we can, voluntarily, within our means and limits, all so we may bring a bigger, stronger awareness to issues most pro-adoption folks don't want to acknowledge, let alone discuss in-public.  We do this because our passion is for better practice, for the sake of the children and parents.  Not bad from only two people, eh?

 Would you really refuse to give good people the opportunity to act, to learn, to change? and use their influence to help change conditions?

I'm not sure what your question or implication is here.  As I mentioned multiple times,  I myself have been refused the opportunity to teach and explain on various "adoption friendly" websites, support groups, and forums.   Then again, I knew I was the unwanted black sheep.  After PPL was officially launched, I found many APs were interested in our stories, and they started writing to me privately.   Over the years I have found many concerned and very loving APs and I found their concern very heartwarming and inspiring.  I believe many of us from different sides agree far more than we disagree.... it's a neat little fact that has developed over time, and it was discovered through long intense conversations. 
 
So in my own case, bridges were built; it took an enormous amount of work and dedication, but I saw the end-result was a wonderful thing.  I'll be frank, Barry, without this encouraging feedback from genuinely interested members of the adoption community, I'm afraid I would still be the very angry closed-minded individual I was 20 years ago.  These people who met me half-way taught me people DO care, even if the story is not their own. So in short, I find many bridges often form in the most unexpected places, and in the most unexpected ways, between the most unlikely people.  God, Life, Fate, Karma is silly and goofy that way... and I believe it's up to us, the individual, to be open to the funny and strange possibilities that may happen when two seemingly opposing sides meet and listen, hear, and communicate. 
With this, Barry, I hope you understand PPL, as a website, wasn't designed to create sides or make enemies by insulting them or shutting them out... it was created to expose an often hidden (and well-protected) side of the adoption industry.  It was created to get people on the same page and act as a virtual stepping stone.... one that may eventually lead others to a greater opportunity to act, not just speak and vent.  But before proactive action can take place in a civil organized movement, all active participants need to be on the same page with a clear understanding of the more serious issues.  I see the first order of business  is a very important and ugly one:  bring an awareness that there's another side to the more popular well-liked adoption story.  This side we present is a very disturbing side, one that can and will bring many tears, worries, and heartbreak to people, but this step must be done because for generations now, bridges to reach out have been burned.  The topic material we continue to present has been overlooked and not discussed as it should for many reasons, including the power of politics and money and the fact that many of the unsafe unwanted practices should never have been part of the new norm created by those within the adoption industry, in the first place.  
 
Finally, as far as I'm concerned, PPL has only begun.  We have much to do in terms of making the site more focused and user-friendly, but what we have is a start... and by being available, reaching out, I believe positive effective change can eventually take place in the form of adoption reform.  Who knows, this may even happen sometime during my own lifetime.  Nevertheless, I am certain of this: change takes time; patience and a little forgiveness is needed, not to mention greatly appreciated. 

Genuine and appreciated

Kerry,
Thank you for writing from the heart. It is clear that you have become far more compassionate - a good change!
If I may be so bold, placing some writing like this on the pages closer to your home page would likely make a big difference.

What you offer should not be on the fringe or beyond. Meaning the content. Niels' concern with the original article - namely it's bias - is also apparent in what he wrote. I'm not suggesting we can't write in a way to express our own experience. But we have to be constantly aware of how our audience changes and if we want connection with them, we must change how we communicate.

1) attacking adoption itself - the values that it requires - will get you black sheep status
2) expressing personal pain in an angry or in-need-of-therapy way will not gain you friends from the happy-with-adoption camp
3) consciously avoid expressing even implied solidarity with groups that don't need your support, but will garner you the ire of adopters (in this case DoS and USCIS)

As you have done, contributors should do their own personal work to alleviate #2. I'm not making this a small task by any means.
As you have begun to do, carefully and delicately, separate out adoption practices and individual choices from adoption. Your site simply won't get traction if you allow attacks on "adopters in a fog", who trust their government to vet agencies, who trust a process that has so many checks and rechecks, and then get an angry blast through that fog from those that would make them wary. Your site will become the monster, not the lighthouse.

And then this thread - Niels is attacking or derisive:
Are your pants on fire too, Ms. Ensslin?
Sure, Tom. Whatever you say.
It is easy to get carried away. And if his intended audience is members of this site, he does well. It stirs the angry soul. But it repels ones seeking more than that.

I'm glad it has only just begun. We have a loooong way to go for social justice.

Three truisms

But we have to be constantly aware of how our audience changes and if we want connection with them, we must change how we communicate.

1) attacking adoption itself - the values that it requires - will get you black sheep status
2) expressing personal pain in an angry or in-need-of-therapy way will not gain you friends from the happy-with-adoption camp
3) consciously avoid expressing even implied solidarity with groups that don't need your support, but will garner you the ire of adopters (in this case DoS and USCIS)

I love it when APs offer unsolicited -- also predictable -- advice to the Angry Adoptees™ on how we must communicate with them in order to spare them the indiginities of having heard a perspective different from theirs, or one considered socially beneath theirs. Especially when it's the same old shut-ups that characterizes our entire experience as adoptees in the first place: SHUT UP YOU DUMB BASTARD and behave like we tell you to, or else.

"Adoption itself" has not been "attacked" at PPL, though practices of the industry and related state agencies are regularly critiqued. Even if it ever was, those who are overidentified with the adoption industries promises of family-making and beast-building need to learn better communication skills to express their frustrations, while posting here.

Expressions of personal pain are part of the range of human emotions. When adoptors such as the cases found in the annals of PPL stop being the progenitors of such pain, APs overidentified with the promises of the adoption industries and related state agencies won't ever have to hear them.

As for the ire of adoptors, who's afraid of it? Said ire controls no regular poster's behavior at PPL, not to my knowledge, anyway.

I have noticed, these things make the more self-righteous adoptors -- who garner every social benefit and the sympathetic ear of the world for their heroic acts of saving the babies -- very nervous. Probably because their own identities are built on such flimsy premises.

 

we must change how we communicate.

 

You're right. We all must change how we communicate, Barry. That includes indignant APs commenting at PPL for the first time, communicating with adopted persons unwilling to prop up the general AP's version of reality.

 

missed this one

I responded to much of what is here in a later post with the exceptions:
"if we want connection with them" is a central clause in what I wrote - it seems unacknowledged or actively ignored. Which is fine, I suppose, especially if you have no intention of building a connection.

Clearly, your experience, suffering particularly, is present in your response. That you are unwilling to write directly to me shows me some of it. The implications that you leave throughout show your aversion to connection and the change that can accompany it. We clearly come from different worlds here. I have, really, attempted to adapt my communication with Kerry and Niels in this thread.

If I may point out that you seem to perceive my indignation to be of a different quality that yours. Mine is bad because I have posted on something like your "home turf" - that my indignation (and I'm not saying that's what it is!) would be better expressed in circles that prop up "the general AP's version of reality".

And again, this is my first thread I've felt a need to express myself on, that I have a valid contribution to make. Because central tenets of the original article ARE true, in my life's experience, not just in what I believe, independently of the level of bias in the writing. So, I took a position opposing what Niels wrote. I have presented both my belief and experience in good faith that those here would take the abuse of power from USCIS and DoS seriously. You seem to have little "filter" when someone presents far less information about state governments' abuses of power or hiding behind anti-human "policy" decisions. For example, the Father's rights section has far less shared information, far less detail. That's appropriate, I think. But I have offered more, and received far more criticism seemingly because of the group I belong to. That is an unfortunate pre-judging of me and the material I present here.

I get that emotions run hot. They are rightly so on both sides. Much of the information on this site makes adopters very nervous: a father coming "out of the blue" - with a strong moral or legal argument that his rights were violated; adoptees with horrible stories of abuse at the hands of their adopters. These go well beyond nightmares.

I'll try this again:
IF you want to reach the adopters, the ones who put the money into the system, you aren't going to do it by luck, or by doing the same things you've always done. Using rhetoric, using a "bumper sticker" approach to complex issues, implying insults - none of this will bring in anyone who isn't already open to the ideas you present. Taking a tone that is threatening on top of content that threatens family security, to people who have, by their family's very structure, a sensitivity to creating and maintaining a sense of security for that family just isn't a good recipe for anything productive.

I see significant good that can come from productive dialogue between members of this site and adopters. And in short order. So, in my newbie way, I may write something you find distasteful. That is not my intent. I am not here to grind a thorn in you from within your safe place. I am here for that dialogue. I think there could be incredible good rising from an undivided adopter-adoptee community. Obviously, the criminals would get no excuses. But it starts with eliminating prejudice, being willing to see beyond initial reaction, being vulnerable and open to new perspective - all made possible by better communication.

So, please: don't shut up!

Your approach is all wrong

You should understand a few key things, if you're going to try and continue this dialogue.

First, no one will ever shut me up. So your concerns are duly noted, but they weren't necessary.

Second, you're no victim of pre-judging here. The group I suppose you identify the most with, whatever that was -- it wasn't clear -- is secondary to the actual content of your posts. That's what I'm responding to.

Third, this is not my home turf, it's not my site, it's not my anything, and I'm not a representative of PPL, just a regular reader and contributor. Don't make the mistake of blanket-judging the site owners and all of PPL using the pretext of what you read in my personal posts.

Also, I don't know how many online communities you've been a part of, and this is not to pull rank, but I've been part of them since the early 90s. I'm just talking about message board etiquette. One significant thing I have noticed, though, is at PPL, there is indeed a certain dynamic expected to be upheld by the vast, vast, vast majority of AP regulars I've seen, including you, which is that you're here to lecture, educate and guide, with as little pushback and challenge as possible. The Angry Adoptees™ must in turn be your audience, learn from you, and, you know, change.

In fact, we can't "change" anything, otherwise. Right?

That attitude has got to go, Barry. It will never work with me on a personal level, and it won't work if you want to do this kind of work, or even attempt this communication process you're talking about. That was the entire point of the "Three Truisms" post.

okay...

First, no one will ever shut me up. So your concerns are duly noted, but they weren't necessary.
- Good. I wasn't shooting for necessity. I was recognizing you.

Second, you're no victim of pre-judging here. The group I suppose you identify the most with, whatever that was -- it wasn't clear -- is secondary to the actual content of your posts. That's what I'm responding to.
- I'm clearly an AP. Your previous posts are filled with AP references, along with medium snarky comments meant for them, often with the implication that I am a member of that group and should latch on and adapt accordingly despite them not being directed to me.

Third, this is not my home turf, it's not my site, it's not my anything, and I'm not a representative of PPL, just a regular reader and contributor. Don't make the mistake of blanket-judging the site owners and all of PPL using the pretext of what you read in my personal posts.
- I am doing nothing of the sort. Two of the primary PPL folks contributed to this thread. You are a "regular" member of the community; you are welcome to react to it protectively and think of it as "mine". I have addressed each of my posts directly to each of you, for you, tailored to what each of you wrote. Nothing blanket here.

As for the blanket, I'm still trying to get out from under YOURS - with yet another reference to the triple vast majority of AP comment in this last post. I do have an educational bent to my posts- I am sharing my perspective, I think it has merit, I'm trying to do it in a way that is firm and balanced as well as tailored to my audience. Bring on the push back - it doesn't bother me in the least!

So, let's get down to brass tacks:
Donning the trademark of Angry Adoptees indicates a rallying point, a common trait that is central to the group. Meaning challenging it or moving away from it is something akin to a traitorous choice. Am I wrong?

I don't expect to stay the same person during or after ANY significant conversation I engage in. You are free to choose to stay angry, to remain loyal to whatever guides your life, completely changeless if that is where you truly want to be. In a true conversation, the purpose for each person is shared as part of the getting-to-know-you discussion. That is all I have done. I will gather what I can from this site and the conversations I have here. As a members of the adoption community, we ought to be able to find common ground more easily than this.

"That attitude has got to go, Barry." is an ultimatum that will not shut ME up. It is a red flag that our communication has touched on a taboo topic. On the one hand, you insist that I change my attitude, and refrain from suggesting that "if _____, you should change how you express your anger" you are setting a double standard. It is called hypocrisy. It muddies the waters, making it hard to get anything healthy from it.

Wrong and presumptuous as ever

So, let's get down to brass tacks:
Donning the trademark of Angry Adoptees indicates a rallying point, a common trait that is central to the group. Meaning challenging it or moving away from it is something akin to a traitorous choice. Am I wrong?

I don't expect to stay the same person during or after ANY significant conversation I engage in. You are free to choose to stay angry, to remain loyal to whatever guides your life,

That makes two of us, Barry. Wow, you really are utterly clueless on what I said earlier re: wallowing in your AP-supremacist identity: I don't need your permission or validation to do anything.

I'm always tickled by indignant, guilty-conscious APs who come acting out, frothing and spittling their/your anger at PPL and whatever governmental agencies standing in the way of their personal, anecdotal missionary/messiah experience, yet are so eager to lecture all others on all our legendary Anger™.

Hilarious. Absurd.

Thank you Barry

Thank you Barry for giving me permission to:

"free to choose to stay angry, to remain loyal to whatever guides your life"

You are truly kidding, aren't you? You are you are. You have to be. No one can be this full of themselves.
Is this what you say to your adopted child? Oh dear.

in the interest of children

In the medical field a fundamental principle is: Primum non nocere (first do no harm). I think this applies to social work as well. So before stepping in and trying to change the situation for children in other countries we should ask ourselves if we improve the situation or actually make it worse through our interventions.

There is plenty of evidence that the adoption industry actually made thing worse in countries such as Romania and Guatemala. Money that could have gone to child welfare programs was spent on nurseries that specialized in providing children for the adoption markets in the US and Europe. You may say, this is history, but there is no guarantee at all that history will not repeat itself, it has done so many time.

A more fundamental question is whether we should intervene at all in foreign countries and if so, to what extent.

Over the years, the number of 143 million has been used and abused to generate funding for relief/orphan care/adoption organizations. This particular number of 143 million is staggeringly huge and when compared to the number of inter-country adoptions, it's fair to say that adoption doesn't do anything to alleviate the problem at large. It influences the lives of some children, but it does nothing for the vast number of children otherwise stuck in the statistics.

Let's first take a look at the actual number so often quoted. The figure stems from a report called "Children on the Brink, published by UNICEF. This is the same UNICEF so often vilified by adoption proponents. Apparently when it comes to (ab)using their numbers, the UN organization is all of a sudden less suspect.

The context of the UNICEF report was to raise attention to the problems of HIV/AIDS in sub-saharan countries. According to the reports 143 million children world-wide had lost at least one parent. Not all of those losses can be attributed to HIV/AIDS, but according to UNICEF, a large number of children in fact did lose at least one parent to this deadly disease.

Unfortunately the figure of 143 million has started to lead a life beyond this particular context and has somehow created the impression that 143 million children are in desperate need. This is far from a true representation of the problem. Certainly there are children that need better care, but there are also many among those 143 million that are being taken care of, either by a surviving parent or by extended family.

The actual number of children in need is unknown, and I won't venture here to make an estimate. Some of the children without parent live in children's homes/orphanages and those are usually singled out as all being a target for adoption.

A reasonable question is whether children in children's homes/orphanages really are in need of intervention. Far too often an atmosphere of utter gloom is used to describe orphanage, but is this picture accurate? Not so much, according to an article in Scientific American titled Orphanages Rival Foster Homes for Quality Child Care, which states: contrary to popular melodramas and musicals, orphanages in many countries seem to take care of abandoned children just as well as adoptive homes.

So before launching into a permanency-based world-spanning save-the-orphan action, we have to ask ourselves, what is really in the best interest of children and what can reliably be done.

Your assumption that all children will deteriorate in institutional care is not founded on reality. Certainly there are and have been Dickensian situation, mostly in Eastern Europe, but that doesn't necessarily mean the same applies to Africa and South-East Asia.

Another question is whether children are really better off being adopted. It's a hard question to answer, since we can never directly test this. We do know that some children are actually worse off, being adopted into abusive families. For others it remains to be seen. The United States is a very competitive society with little or no compassion for those that are not successful. Children adopted from foreign countries may not be as successful as children born within the US for various reasons, and with that end up at the bottom of society where life is hard and dangerous.

On top of that, there is a group of children that is really so damaged that family care is not a reasonable solution. Quite a number of children adopted from foreign countries ends up in residential treatment centers in the US, because they are a danger to themselves and/or to other family members. In such cases how much better would it have been if the money spent on the adoption and subsequent treatment was used to provide local help.

Permanency, as it is promoted by adoption advocates, works in the interest of organizations providing permanency, but such a rigid ideology doesn't serve children. Each case should be treated on its own merits. Some children are well taken care of by their extended family and interfering in that is a gross invasion of privacy, no American family would accept if it happened to them. Some children are well taken care of in institutional settings and changing that would be detrimental to the child. The American ideal of a family with a mom a pop and a bunch of kids is not necessarily the ideal in other parts of the world, trying to force that upon other countries amounts to cultural imperialism.

ahhh... some main dish, let's eat!

"contrary to popular melodramas and musicals, orphanages in many countries seem to take care of abandoned children just as well as adoptive homes"
Leaving out where those adoptive homes. Medium sneaky. The adoptive homes in question are in country and the orphanages appear to be community created - not government run. c.f.
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.00081...
Original research link. Interesting and eye-opening. Thank you.
"Conclusion
This study does not support the hypothesis that institutional care is systematically associated with poorer wellbeing than community care for OAC aged 6–12 in those countries facing the greatest OAC burden." Meaning 5 countries in Africa. Good to know. But thinking this all the way through: institutional care for orphans in this study is about as good as the care Orphaned or Abandoned Children (OAC) receive with one parent or extended family. Okay. I'm actually glad that the orphanages there are up to that. But it may also say something about how poorly the other children are living too. There is no "benchmark" here - only a comparison.

In the article:
1) Orphanages specifically handling international adoption were excluded.
2) "If this represents a new kind of care structure that minimizes some of the damage to children demonstrated in past studies and in different contexts, then researchers and policy makers need to: 1) gain a better understanding of these organic care structures and 2) ensure that they are not hindered by blanket policies about institutions."
I couldn't agree more! I love that (at least some of) these orphanages are the community's response to an increase in need.
But notice that these sorts of institutions are surprising! They are NEW! To a team of researchers in the field. The expectation was that they would find institutional care essentially damaging the children. And this "damage to children [was] demonstrated in past studies." Come ON! This is a "new kind of care structure". And this kind of care structure is off the grid - one of the challenges to the study was to even find these orphanages. The government (the one that would issue a passport to an orphan for international travel) only knew of 3 orphanages. The study found 23. IA simply won't reach these institutions. Which I think is good - clearly it doesn't need to.

So, let's factor out the children who have been so damaged that they become residential patients. [Consider though: if they remained in the orphanage, what would that mean for the staff and other children there? Surely, you aren't supposing that an orphanage resources could handle the disruptions from such a child without inhumane isolation or significant further damage to the other children?]

Let's not factor out the abusive families. Let's effectively end the careers of the social workers that were responsible for placement. And harshly handle the abusers.

As to whether adoption makes children better off, I don't think it's an especially hard question to answer. We can simply ask them. Now that infant adoption is nearly gone from IA, most children can be asked if they would rather stay in their current situation. Some are asked. My son screamed uncontrollably as we left him after ~12 hours of contact time on our first country visit. When we returned 6 weeks later, he happily waved goodbye to all the other children and staff in shoes that actually fit his feet. We bought new shoes for everyone of them. We spent a week massaging him with scabies cream and moisturizer so that his skin wouldn't feel like sandpaper. At 4 years old, his vocabulary was less than 20 words. So, really?? But if you'd like science on it I'm sure adult adoptees can also be surveyed.
I was lucky enough to spend 9 weeks in my son's country of birth. During that time I had many conversations with urban adults that included comments like: "He's very lucky." and jokingly "Can you take me too?" Their understanding of life in the US may certainly have unrealistic elements; and they may not have known what they'd be giving up. But they aren't put off by perception of competition. Real competition, without a safety net, is hard to find in the US. Retest in school, apply to a different college, choose a different career, and until recently, just get a different job. Not a fruitful vein here...

I will try to qualify this next part as well as I can:
I am not trying to speak for the adoptee community.
I am not trying to characterize any particular person or group or impose my values, imperially or otherwise. BTW, what is the competing, better model for the family?
I simply believe that the security, sense of belonging, and overall lifelong benefits of a permanent, loving family (whatever it's make-up) has no equal on this earth. Spin it as you may, children have a NEED for structure, the more loving the better. It is how they grow best.

how to help?

You make an in my opinion important observation "ensure that they are not hindered by blanket policies about institutions."

Ever since the 1970s, child welfare policies in the United States have centered around the notion of permanency, which is more or less treated as if it were gospel. The idea of permanency centers around the notion that a child is always better off living in a family than in any other form of care-situation.

The notion of permanency was developed in the mid-1970s, based upon a study performed in Oregon which concluded that children adopted from foster care had a better average outcome than children that remained in foster care or children placed in institutional care.

The key-word here is "average", meaning there is a distribution where some children do worse, some children do equally well and some children do better in adoptive families, where the distribution is skewed towards doing better.

Unfortunately the result of this study has resulted in a rigid belief that adoption always gives the best outcomes for children. The adoption industry and its spokes persons, especially, have been beating the permanency drums ever since, though their motivation to do so can be explained as self-serving, given the amount of money made within that sector.

This has been a major theme for this website. We believe that the best possible care-situation should be chosen for a child in real need, taking into consideration all possible solutions. When it comes to foreign countries it also mean having an open mind towards the care solutions provided locally.

Every country in this world, whether its history is well documented or not, has a long tradition of child care, and no country in this world has been spared  the problems of taking care of children without parents.

It's not as if Africa doesn't know how to handle orphans. Due to war and epidemics like HIV/AIDS, the care systems in place are stretched beyond their capacity. It would be foolish to assume there is no knowledge of child welfare issues. Sometimes, we in the West, don't know better than those who are rooted in their local tradition.

In that sense, I am personally in favor of mostly a hands-off approach towards other countries, especially if we deem them underdeveloped.

I know a hands-off approach runs counter to the desire for religious conversion so often seen in the Western World, but I believe that people's right for self-improvement trumps the rights to evangelize.

With a hands-off approach, I don't mean isolation per se, or refusing to offer any help. What I mean with a hands-off approach is that help is supportive, not leading. I don't think it is our place to go to a foreign country and take over the care systems already in place.

Inter-country adoption often doesn't follow this pattern. There are two clear patterns. Either adoption is started by lawyers in sending countries, or it is started by an adoption agency in one of the receiving countries.

Latin America throughout the last 40 years has predominantly followed the lawyer-based model. It is also most evident that this model is aimed to legally purchase a child. Lawyers don't habitually know many orphans, but they do know paying customers.

The down-side to the lawyer-based model was recognized by the writers of the Hague Convention, which deliberately steers towards an agency-based model.

The agency model starts with an initiative in a receiving country, usually a humanitarian crisis in some other country. This model, and it's down-side is perfectly demonstrated by Holt International, which more or less started this form of inter-country adoption. At the time, South Korea struggled with the issue of babies fathered by American soldiers during the Korean War.

Every country has its struggle with children born out-of-wedlock and every country has its struggle with children born across racial lines. South Korea is certainly no exception to that rule. The difference with many other countries is that in South Korea, the traditional means through which such tensions are solved, was overridden by an intervention from abroad. Instead of finding an internal solution, either by means of child welfare initiatives or an attitude change, an outside solution came along and institutionalized itself.

The down-side to this approach is manifest in South Korea to this day. Forty years after Holt's intervention, South Korea is still in the top five of sending countries. South Korea is by no means a country with an orphan-problem, nor does it have a poverty problem larger than that of the receiving countries. The problem with South Korea is that it has no domestic system to regulate its response to children born out-of-wedlock.

Before Holt's intervention, South Korea had a social system in place dealing with children born out-of-wedlock. That system may have been cruel, it may have been wrong headed, but it existed, just like such a system existed in the United States and in Europe during that same era, no matter how cruel and wrong headed those systems were at the time.

The Korean system to regulate its response to children born out-of-wedlock and across racial lines, was overloaded due to the arrival of American soldiers during the Korean War, so some solution was needed. Holt's solution was to take these children from South Korea to the United States, thereby undermining the traditional systems in place.

What was a temporary problem (children of the 'wrong" race born to GI's that were temporarily in South Korea), ended up becoming a near permanent solution.

With Holt's intervention, South Korea was denied the chance to evolve its response to children born out-of-wedlock and children born across racial lines. Instead of doing good, approaches like Holt's in fact helped sustain bigotry.

This is also what worries me most about approaches to child-care in Africa and South-East Asia. Financially well funded organizations with professional and well-trained staff go to countries to set up a system of child care that easily drowns out existing solutions. 

Interventions are seldom without ulterior motives. The Catholic Church has for years created schools and orphanages in third-world countries, not just to help but also to convert people to their world-view. Adoption agencies have for years supported orphanages in third-world countries, not just to help children, but also to find children for their paying customers.

As a result an overburdened local system is wiped out by well-funded professional system tailored around the ideals and goals of another country. This doesn't bode well for those countries that accept such help. Such countries are by no means capable of setting up a system as well-funded and professional as the one set up for them. As result no local child-care system can develop. The evolutionary path towards a more capable system is denied.

Our interventions easily have the effect of sustaining the problem. As long as we take over, instead of support existing systems, our interventions hinder the progress local systems make.

Of course, I understand the love adoptive parents feel towards the children they adopted. Without any doubt a fair number of children are effectively better off as a result of interventions, but the side-effects of those interventions can overshadow the good we do.

I can understand it may be hard for adopters to accept the idea that it is sometimes better not to help one particular child that we happened to know, because in the larger scheme of things, more children will suffer because of it.

It is very easy to see these things with a very personal lens. When I watch a documentary about the suffering of a human being anywhere on this planet, I have empathy for that person. At the same time, I realize that there are seven billion people on this earth with a significant percentage suffering, meaning a helluva lot of people on this earth suffer, so I have to spread my care thin, particularly when the care-need is way outside my social circle. This doesn't mean no help should be given, but help should be given in the large.

On a personal level, we tend to help individually. Some people in a community look after one elderly person, other people look after another elderly person, yet another person looks after children that need looking after. On a local level this works really well, on a larger scale it becomes too much a situation of pick and choose.

Why do some children have the advantage (though in some cases ending up to be a disadvantage) to be adopted abroad, while a much larger number of children doesn't have this (in some cases dubious) opportunity? Wouldn't it be much better if we pooled our money and energy to help all disadvantaged children?

What children in many countries need is not so much adoption, but a chance to have a decent life. Far too often, receiving countries are instrumental to the social devastation found in the poorest countries in this world (although these countries are minor with respect to inter-country adoption). What one hand giveth, the other often taketh tenfold away. 

The Western World doesn't have a great track-record when it comes to dealing with, what we call, developing nations. A thirst for natural resources often trumps our morality. Profit made on the sales of arms often trumps our ethical concerns. Free trade agreements in exchange for debt relief, often benefit large corporation more than anyone, and more often than not to the detriment of local industry.

So if we want to help children in third world countries, we should first of all do no harm. Let's stop borrowing countries more money than they possibly can repay to force them to accept trade agreements that are designed to benefit Western interest. Let's stop providing arms to countries that will either use those arms against their own population or start wars because of those weapons. Let's stop regime changes. Let's stop "giving" countries seeds that are patented such that those same seeds need to be bought from a Western company the next year.

Instead of zooming in on the microscopic world of personal suffering many miles away, we should spread ourselves thin and collectively treat other countries better. Doing that, saves a lot more children from a horrible life, than picking out a "chosen" few.

I know it's impossible to look at an individual child and not being compelled to help, but getting to know one individual child is a choice, and it's made possible by the very organizations benefiting from that help. If not for the desire to adopt, few adopters would know the child they eventually call their own. Adoption from a distance is a self-enforcing system; it creates its own emotions.

Without the knowledge of a particular child, there would be no more than a general sadness about the condition so many people in this world live under. And maybe that would actually be for the better. If we all felt that general sadness, we would probably be more compelled to treat other countries more fairly. Now we can make a donation to Save the Children, spend a year of our life working for  charity, spread the gospel among heathens, or adopt a child from abroad and with that "pay our dues". It is easier for the other hand to take when the one hand giveth.

Perhaps it bears direct

Perhaps it bears direct expression. My dues are not paid. I'm still alive. Nuff said.

It IS easier for the other hand to take when the one hand giveth. And it takes tremendous discipline to avoid that indulgence. And it would be a zero sum if the contents of the giving and taking were equal. Which they are not. And it also fails to be a zero sum because adoption is a public event. One day, a family has one population and the next, plus one. The implications can be denied, and the changes that "should" happen resisted, but that takes effort at every exposure. Often, that child looks nothing like the parents. Creating the opportunity for everyone that comes in contact with the new lives together to actually think - or not. Either way, some bit of learning happens. This broad ripple effect extends well beyond the nuclear family, the extended family, and even the local community. All of the -isms that are based on appearance rear their ugly heads here. It is the additional responsibility for parents with an "exposed" adoption to not only protect their child, but to make sure that defense has an educational, compassionate purpose as well. Even, if this were the extent of the dues, they would never be paid.

And, if you were hoping to slam dunk the whole mixed family, for the sake of the children, think on this: mixed race marriages are becoming commonplace; the little corners that hatred used to be able to hide in are being exposed, not just in adoption but in other expressions of love. Love doesn't give hatred strength by fearing it. My son will be stronger not only because I prepare him to face ugliness when I'm not with him, because I defend him against those who would attempt to plant fear or confusion in his heart. So, don't attempt to spread it here. Love doesn't know color of skin or any of the other indicators of a mixed family.

So, there is no happily ever after story here. Your site implies as much. This has to come from somewhere. Adoption changes the "natural" order of things, breaks down the importance of "bloodline", of race, of ethnicity, and for IA of international borders. I get that there are multiple sources for the scorn, railing, even semi-reasoned arguments against adoption. None of them hold water, whether socially or spiritually.

The best of them - you've alluded to - that in an ideal world, there would be no need for adoption. I agree. Next, that adoption effort and dollars would be better spent on lasting change and support for the local community, including extended family that might have turned away a double orphan. You spin the support of orphanages by agencies as essentially baby farming. How better to bring irresistible positive ripples of awareness, first hand exposure and care to places that may otherwise never reach a point of relevance, of connection to American daily living? If the media and government are so tied to their own interests, if sites that have potential, like this one, remain fixed on their own agenda, if real change can only happen through direct contact, and not "simply" reading internet words... What then?
Adoption exposes human underbelly, our failings, bad decisions, poor prioritizing, lack of vision; it should be disgusting - pale and almost rotting - but we have to blame ourselves for it either allowing it to get that way or to stay that way. It isn't the fault of adoption. The abuse suffered by orphans and adoptees has no excuse. The neglect of social support structures in favor of corporate economic development is unconscionable. Abuse and neglect are the result of individual choices.

Every trip by a family or agency representative or social worker into an orphanage carries ripples of change. That change includes lifting that underbelly up off the ground, for everyone involved to see it. You can't get that from sending in money. You can't get that from administrative change. You can't get that from policy shifts. It tests the conviction, indeed, the better side of humanity in those present. Sometimes those involved fail that test.

Bringing a child home is barely the end of anything. The real work (beyond traditional parenting) is just beginning. I completely agree that treating adoption as a cure is wrong. It is closer to a cutting of the wound to expose infection. It only works on certain patients and it is very messy more often than not. But this kind of "harm" is included in good medicine. It is also included in good social work. And we should be looking at improving our national and international priorities so there are fewer ways for this injury to happen.

Fundamentally, adopting requires an openness to others. That alone is a good in itself. That adoption challenges all kinds of social ills, crosses all socially constructed boundaries, questions existing beliefs and priorities, well, that should make it a centerpiece for what you are suggesting, not the pariah.

"It is the additional

"It is the additional responsibility for parents with an 'exposed' adoption to not only protect their child"

That's very true.

"mixed race marriages are becoming commonplace"

...and their biological children are making "exposed" adoptions less "exposed." Two of my friends are an Asian man and white woman, husband and wife. After they have a baby, on days when the kid's at the playground with Mom instead of with Dad or with both parents, some people may look at them and think "she must have adopted that baby" (well, if the kid comes out looking more like Dad than like Mom). Some other people will look at them and think "she must have an Asian husband." One of these days someone will look at a white mother with an Asian baby she adopted and think "she must have an Asian husband" because of other families like my friends with their mixed race marriage and their future mixed-race children...

Adoptions US vs Germany

Just adding to the conversation. This is an interesting review of the differences between adoption in the US as opposed to the system in Germany. Sometimes American APs need to look at other systems to expand their views on adoption which is considered downright holy in the US.

http://readerinternationaladoption.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/attempt-to-a...

"Not so much, according to

"Not so much, according to an article in Scientific American titled Orphanages Rival Foster Homes for Quality Child Care, which states: contrary to popular melodramas and musicals, orphanages in many countries seem to take care of abandoned children just as well as adoptive homes."

THANK YOU FOR THAT LINK!

Not "against" ICA

First, Lisa expressed a simple reaction to your piece that attempts to dig out the motives and back story of those advocating for IA. Clearly, your position is against it. She was looking for your motivation.

In fact, the response was written to me, not to Niels, personally.

The position of PPL is not "against" ICA, it's ICA-critical. There is a very basic difference.

So, please, let's keep it about the kids.

In my view, it's never about the kids, which is what prompted my "famous last words" response in the first place, as well as the predictable response that followed. The adoption industry and its corrupt side rackets are always about serving the needs of parents who are able to pay it some money. ALWAYS.

ALWAYS

Taking the kids out of it so that our discussion matches your perspective on reality leaves no room for your position to change. No room for building a bridge to someone who believes the kids should be part of it, let alone central.

Not to mention, that taking an All-or-Nothing stance leaves no real room for discussion in the first place.

Not to mention, that smearing social workers (the vast majority) in the adoption industry with a 100% brush is clearly foolish. So, the money they spend on orphanage support is ENTIRELY 100%, in every agency, a "clever" cover to their greed for parental income? A business investment that they would rather not make? There is no industry representative that does this as a genuine response to the needs of the children in those institutions?

If not, then your position is "softer" than your words represent.

If so, this is certainly interesting place to come from if your goal is to Constructively criticize the industry. Unless, the position is not Constructive - and it is, in fact, "against" ICA.

Reread the disclaimer, please

Taking the kids out of it so that our discussion matches your perspective on reality leaves no room for your position to change.

When someone writes "in my view", it's simply a disclaimer about one's own view, not an attempt to force an entire discussion to match one's perspective. The effect is normally just the opposite. I'm curious, though, why it's so important to you that I change whatever you believe my position on ICA to be. Your community isn't changing its position and is simply digging in its heels. Yet I'm supposed to undergo some personal transformation about this topic because... ?

I do regret the deeply personal tone this thread has taken, Barry. I take responsibility for my central part in it. But in posts like the above, I smell the very distinct scent of AP control-freakery, and someone not so clear on their own need to defend ICA to those critical of it, but again, that's just a personal perception based on a few posts of yours I've read. It could be wrong. I hope it is.

BTW, at no point have even I tarred the ICA and general adoption industry with one of those clichéd 100% "broad brushes". My perspective on this old, worn-out "won't someone think of the children" clché is just that: one person's perspective. I'm certain APs who come to PPL and read a few Angry Adoptee™ posts of mine will survive it.

The focal point is not

"in my view" - that is a good disclaimer
"ALWAYS" and "never" are the focal points - they express a certainty that makes discussion substantially more difficult - potentially even pointless.
As I have mentioned in other posts, there are only two ways to be critical - constructively or destructively. Both involve change. Without active choice for the constructive, and all the thoughtfulness and associated structure, criticism falls to the destructive. To be adoption-critical fits one of these categories. To which one would you like to align your energy?

Without change, there will forever be a divide between some members of PPL and the fog-immersed AP community. I don't accept this. Nor do I think it is a good thing. As I have written in other posts, I value the experience and perspectives I have found here.
If that doesn't let you know that whatever control-freak scent you pick up isn't mine, I'm not sure what will. I am not a deny-deny-deny fountain. I have engaged every argument and persuasion I've met here. Genuinely. I have softened my perspective on (some) orphanages because of my discussion with Niels.

My defense of ICA has been clear (I think) from my first post. I have defended it for itself - for its unique ability to cross and crush borders and false boundaries; for the sake of a larger audience (including Niels) who did not know how USCIS and DoS behaved in our family's adoption experience; for the caring and love that is the driving force behind it. The tragedy and corruption in it from money, from political or bureaucratic manipulation, and criminal treatment or neglect of the children are all that: tragedies and corruption. They are not central to the process. In a constructive criticism conversation, these issues are defined, their influence mitigated or negated by appropriate reforms.

Entering a conversation as far apart as we are - me: children are central; you: it is never about the children - makes for some bumpy patches. Obviously.

My central tenet: the adoption system should be designed or reformed in accordance with the best interests of the children. In all their aspects. I (AP) can't envision that well without the experience and perspective of adoptees who are critical of the process. It is why I am here. But unless you (whether by transformation or otherwise) are willing to engage with some tolerance of bumps and even bruising, there won't be constructive changes that takes your perspective into account. If not from you, I will still hope to find people here who will share and be a contributor to change.

So, constructive (with a high likelihood of change) or destructive criticism? Which criticism will it be?

DOS requirements

It is always fun to read APs complaining about DOS/USCIS and being critical of them, when it delays their process. Maybe the raids in orphanages or kidnapped kids or, as in your case, the age of your child EXCEEDED the approval age that DOS/USCIS stamped approved you for. Remember, that age of the child that YOU wrote in and that was approved for by your Home Study that you paid for.... has something to do with the delay. It is up to the PAP to update their documents and update their Home Study if any changes do occur. DOS/USCIS was just doing their job. It would be ...um...illegal to issue a visa for a child whom was OLDER that what you were approved for.

right, because human pain should be fun

It would have been illegal, if that were the case. It wasn't.
As my original post stated:
1) we did what we were supposed to do - searched our hearts, evaluated our family situation, and came up with a paragraph's worth of disabilities that we thought we could handle. Having another child in our home already, we wanted to err on the side of caution for birth order concerns.
2) we found a high integrity and experienced agency who ensured that "at time of referral" was included in our home study - especially since this country was recently Hague and there were plenty of processes that had not have even had a single trial run yet
3) USCIS approved all this, but did not include this phrase in their approval (remember paragraph? - can't all fit into tiny text box)
4) no changes were made by us
5) due to their ineffective and uncoordinated "crackdown", DoS via their Embassy decided that despite their access to the source document (home study) that was summarized in the USCIS approval, that they would not issue a visa AS THEY HAD DONE IN MULTIPLE CASES prior
6) because this "crackdown" was not coordinated with USCIS, their officer claimed (almost rightly) that she had done her job according to their guidelines
So, our responsibility was to do what exactly??? Sit in on Embassy meetings to make sure they were communicating their changes with their partner organization?
We and our agency director had to persuade not only this one officer at USCIS, but her superiors, to not only change our document for the edification of DoS, but they decided that they had to create a special handling process for the others JUST LIKE US who were caught in this incredibly poorly managed process. So, it wasn't a retype and resend. It was 6 weeks of waiting in an orphanage needlessly.

There is more detail in this post, but the essentials were in the one you are responding to. I am upset that you would spew at me the same tired rhetorical approach based on a skim - if you even did that.

Agency responsibility

"we found a high integrity and experienced agency". Bwa-hahahahaa! Sorry, but that is funny...and sad. No matter how ethical an agency is found to be by a PAP, they ain't. The agencies work with facilitators and jaladores in sending countries. Just count yourselves lucky not to have been drained of mucho money.

Before and after Hague, the DOS/USCIS/USEmbassy would scrutinize paperwork and cause, what is perceived as, "delays" to PAPs. The last thing anyone wants to do there is touch a potential kidnapped kid by issuing them a visa. It is a PAPs responsibility to get a new Home Study if changes are made to either the PAP home situation, job or age of the child. There are some things that are in the control of PAPs and keeping their paperwork updated is one of them. You can see how an adoption agency pressuring USCIS to change a PAPs paperwork can be viewed as "pressuring". Many PAPs have had to wait and some even have waited longer than you have...some are still waiting. Glad your paperwork was fixed.

QFT

It is always fun to read APs complaining about DOS/USCIS and being critical of them, when it delays their process.

QFT

How dare the government stand in the way of my personal messiah complex! How dare they, it's not FAIR!!!!

Changes

"I will still hope to find people here who will share and be a contributor to change."..."Without change, there will forever be a divide between some members of PPL and the fog-immersed AP community."

Are you talking about yourself? Because you sound pretty foggy.

"The tragedy and corruption in it from money, from political or bureaucratic manipulation, and criminal treatment or neglect of the children are all that: tragedies and corruption. They are not central to the process. "

I disagree with you on that, they ARE critically central to the process. The key to reform is not changing one AP views, but reforming laws and strengthening social services so that children can be taken care of in their home country. Children are not for export.

"The best interest of the children"....why do APs think that living with a white family in the America is in the "best interest of the children"?

You are an AP, your child is an adoptee. I am sure most APs had the best of intentions when they adopted ICA and I am sure the majority of APs have little knowledge of the history and customs of the ICA country that they adopted from (albeit a tourist view of the country that they love). I am also pretty sure that they care deeply for their child, but the reality is that that child living in your home and in the US getting accustomed to a new way of life, language, customs is not something that the AP will experience, but the adoptee will. They will always want to fit in the US society, but won't. Your adult child may share that with you or not, as so many adoptees do not want to hurt their APs. School and racism issues will arise. Adoptees will want to see their home country and reunite with their biofamilies again, as we have witnessed so many APs bringing their children back to Guatemala to reunite (not "meet") their mothers, fathers and siblings and spend extended time with them. By all accounts, many of these birth family visitations are quite wonderful and the family is thriving. That is the reality. One cannot help but wonder why then was that child relinquished in the first place.

Thank you, Anonymous Adoptee

for pointing out some of the not-so-wonderful things to be considered in the world of adoption.
And thank you, Niels and Kerry, for all you have been doing as a great service to all touched by adoption.

To Barry: If facts are not presented in a way we appreciate of, does that change any of the facts?
We can all discuss communication skills, (or, what seems to be your claim, the lack thereof), for ages. It will not change the facts presented here.

An adoptive parent

"in my view" - that is a

"in my view" - that is a good disclaimer

Why thank you. Next time, read more carefully the first time around so I won't have to point it out to you.

So, constructive (with a high likelihood of change) or destructive criticism? Which criticism will it be?

Hey, stick around. Find out, if you're willing to set aside your insufferable, pretentious lectures to people you don't even know.

Or, you could just click on my name and read my archives for yourself and find out.

These are very entitlement, superior attitudes you display in post after post, Barry. People keep telling you about them. Forget what I say, perhaps if you listen to the others noticing, your passions about ICA might be taken more seriously.

Such entitlement/supremacy issues

I have softened my perspective on (some) orphanages because of my discussion with Niels.

That's mighty white of you, Barry. Thanks.

Was that a leading question, or just a red herring?

Or is PPs only mission of existance to make wide assumptions about those of us that do the above activities?

Not sure why this was posted under what I wrote, and I'm not a founder of Pound Pup Legacy.

But I can say that your response is one reason I've been a PPL reader and contributor. No one has made any assumptions here about those who do the things you claim to do. What I find interesting is this rank indignance when an industry like the adoption industry, and the state agencies that purport to regulate it, are critiqued instead of worshiped as holy institutions, its practitioners treated like priests and deities.

In the west we make fun of the idea of the sacred cow. But no one can speak a word about the adoption industry, especially the ones who have been deeply harmed by it.

I find that fascinating.

back on topic, really, okay almost all the way

If I may, I'd like to step back from the discussion that I have laced with questions about this site's purpose. I will stick to that.

I'd like to address the role of our government in IA.
"Of course, the US government has a preference to work with countries that have signed the Hague Convention too, why else ratify a treaty?"
True for as far as it goes. But when the US government uses its resources to further slow a slow process, at the expense of the health and development of children... You get people like me and as DiFilipo said. "There is a strong preference for international adoptions to be completed through the Hague Convention. And, countries that are not party to the Convention, you're seeing a lot of push, and a lot of criticism, and a lot of accusations about corruption and poor practice." If you are willing to accept correlation statistics for the adoption "bubble" tied to credit or to ego or to Russia & China, then you ought to be able to recognize a pattern of behavior in our government. [BTW, @Marion and @Elizabeth, lurk on adopters' blogs and groups if you can - the love they show is contagious. And for many, the fundraising they do to afford adoption and ALL the support (financial and time and effort) afterwards comes from making "hard" choices about what is truly important. Their allegiance is to people, not a stance or meme.]

Let me throw it down:
"The Department of State has every incentive to be of assistance to the citizens of the United States as long as it prevents international scandal." is wrong. They have every incentive to avoid the appearance of international scandal, or serve other key interests, while being of assistance to citizens in between. Pretty much in that order. They are not some enlightened bureaucracy, driven to greater and greater heights of service! Careers are made on following directives from the top and avoiding career ending missteps. The people at the top stay there as long as the issues they "let" come up aren't too inflammatory.
USCIS and Department of Homeland Security was put together in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. It has been marinating in that infusion of fear since.
When a foreign power does not investigate allegations of unethical or suspicious behavior in connection with adoption, TO THE SATISFACTION of DoS or USCIS, they begin the using their tactics. Talk about imperialism! We will come in and do the police work for you. We will question your citizens and officials. We will doubt and criticize your record-keeping. We will insult your ability to hire and train a competent and non-corrupt police force. We may or may not maintain any standards for diplomacy or human decency while we do it.
Switch countries:
You work in a hospital in the US so crowded that LUCKY pregnant women await delivery two to a bed, often parked in a hallway. And they had to make sacrifices just to get to this hospital. It is the BEST one in the country!
You rush through the paperwork documenting the mother's wish to give her child up for adoption, trying to respect her feelings about a permanent and life changing decision. Did I mention: in a hallway? All with extreme urgency so you can get back to the "real" work of delivering babies and saving lives. Or you really try, but you don't get the paperwork to the mother before she leaves the hospital of her own volition - having given either a fictious name or address or both.
You are later questioned by local police. Scary! To the best of your ability... And you go back to work...
Even later, 12-18 months later, you are questioned by officials from Germany, asking the same questions, aggressively, suspecting and attempting to find evidence of corruption.

Check in on yourself: could this ever happen? Your disbelief level should be bumping near new territory.
Hold that feeling while I ask you to think through more of your embedded values and beliefs.

Here, we would INSTANTLY have a media circus! But this happens as a matter of routine investigation in the countries singled out for "the push." Reality check: Paperwork is all that is left by the time the officials arrive. It really should be the last priority. As a result, it often appears just that way. That alone is not a reason to label anything about that child's relinquishment "suspicious." But, that is what fear does. Why was USCIS created? To deal with threats. Fear tips the scale away from a clear sighted understanding of the whole situation and veils excuses in the power of reason. Meaning other agendas can be enforced under the cover of pointing-to-this and fearing-this. Diplomacy ain't what it used to be. Or maybe we have a foggy belief about how our country acts on the world stage. Don't deny your own fog too quickly - that would be suspicious!

My son's hospital was one treated just so. He was left in his orphanage for 6 additional months, while our government tried to shake evidence out of a hospital. Or get us to "choose another country". Really??!!?? USCIS wrote us a letter suggesting EXACTLY that. Talk about serving citizens: this is too hard for us as public servants. Talk about turning children into commodities! My son's hospital, the very best hospital in the country clearly did not measure up to the worst nightmare of day in the very worst hospital in the US. But that does not make his mother or any of his nurses or us into child trafficking monsters. Nor does it taint his adoption in any way. But he got to wait, undiagnosed as lactose intolerant, "enjoying" milk based formula for six extra months, in a single room without screens but plenty of mosquitoes. But for what purpose???

Step back for minute, as USCIS and DoS should have, but did not: Would it not be MORE suspicious if IA infants came from pristine hospitals with impeccable paperwork??
Through a life changing decision by my wife, we were able to contact someone in DoS assigned to then Vice President Cheney's support team. He revealed that not only was the hold-up not with the original investigator, the Officer-in-Charge in country as we had been told repeatedly through our Senator's aide from discussions with USCIS - but the hold was generated by an USCIS committee in the US. Stateside. They were reviewing all cases that were "not clearly approvable." So, unless the paperwork WAS impeccable, they would attempt a game of chicken - who would give up first? Spoiler alert: not us! I spoke to the chairperson, and made the following point: if the investigation is concluded, if there will be no further developments on my son's case, why would you not make a decision? Wouldn't it make you even more suspicious if new evidence suddenly materialized that made his case "clearly approvable"? Two weeks later, and three weeks before the termination of adoptions from my son's country, they relented. They had nothing specific to my child's case except where he was born. My case was one of 22 cases being held just so. For a rough average, that is 11 years worth of child's life that could have been spent in a family. Humanity lost.

Can it get worse?
The case load started at 45 - but due to the pressure from our government - a nun, who ran an official religious outreach for unwed mothers who committed not to have an abortion, released the names of 23 women who had stayed in her facility. She had documentation that was acceptable to USCIS attesting to the woman's desire to relinquish her child. I'm sure she resisted for a time - or others in the organization did. Think about her conflict: to keep those women's names private (as I'm sure they were promised) vs. the future she KNEW first hand would face those children. Now, think about the length and depth of disregard our government expressed for religious practice and dignity. Freedom for us. Screw them. Still want to defend them?

I'm about to respond to Niels - not quite off topic, fair warning...
My child was sent to an orphanage. To spend the rest of his life in that country's underclass, potentially as a slave for labor or sex. The FEAR that agencies use support of orphanages as "baby farms" selecting just the right ones, pales in comparison to the REALITY that sex traffickers and slavers DO use orphans from orphanages. Sure, the US is a competitive society, but here he has mobility and stability. And a chance to thrive, feeding off of that competition. In his home country, as resourceful and wonderful as my rosey glasses show me that he is, he would not even have known where the game is being held, let alone the name, or the rules, or had one iota of practice, if by star struck luck he wandered onto the field. Someone has to do underclass jobs - scooping up trash from the street by hand and shovel. In this country they don't use trash bags.
But wait, there's more: he would almost certainly have had crippling emotional and spiritual damage - his inner life would have formed in the chaos of institutional life. Not saying good people can't come from such beginnings. Really, I'm not. But throw that on top of the heap too??? He might never have known shared love, how incredible family feels, have had chances that most of us take COMPLETELY for granted.

The collateral damage to children is too high to wait for our national and international priorities to shift. To "spread ourselves thin" and pray and hope and want and try and ____

Add to that our government's role is slow and murky at best.
Adoption can phase out when we have the resources and will to make at least some of those other changes a reality.

Adoption can phase out?

Adoption can phase out when we have the resources and will to make at least some of those other changes a reality.

Interesting concluding sentence. Who is phasing out adoption, and where, in your view?

It's a natural evolution

When families everywhere are able to support themselves, hopefully purely locally, or with international assistance.
When extended families are willing and able to step up and adopt orphans and care for them as peers to biological children.
When the local community is able and willing to do the same in the absence of extended family.

There won't be a need for ICA. Nobody will have to "do" anything.

Of course, this is predicated on: advanced economies interacting fairly with developing ones; on those same governments taking on more of an empowering "teach a man to fish" role; on international corporations acquiring a great deal more ethical guidance; on people generally working on their own prejudices.

So, several hundred years, provided the current population growth and decline in natural resources don't make for a worldwide "reset" to a purely agrarian, less technological point on the developed world continuum. I don't expect to see it myself. Doesn't mean that I won't push for it.

Several Hundred Years

Sounds like pie-in-the-sky thinking, to me.

I reject the idea that there is a "need" for ICA, too. Unless one considers that one of those "needs" driving the adoption market is manufactured by social conditions that tell people child-collecting is the quickest/dirtiest way to social validation, i.e. the appearance of normalcy and normativity.

So in your view...

USCIS and Department of Homeland Security was put together in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. It has been marinating in that infusion of fear since.
When a foreign power does not investigate allegations of unethical or suspicious behavior in connection with adoption, TO THE SATISFACTION of DoS or USCIS, they begin the using their tactics. Talk about imperialism! We will come in and do the police work for you. We will question your citizens and officials. We will doubt and criticize your record-keeping. We will insult your ability to hire and train a competent and non-corrupt police force. We may or may not maintain any standards for diplomacy or human decency while we do it.

Sorry but this hyperbole is just absurd.

So in your view, a state actor ensuring -- or at least purporting to ensure -- the safety of a citizen, i.e. young adoptee, is using post-911 totalitarian anti-terrorism tactics.

If you really want to get your adoptor's ire up regarding the failure of state agencies in adoption, just take a few days and peruse the enormous case archives of PPL - everything in them comes from mainstream news sources and agency sources themselves, not conspiracy sites or personal blogs. See just how many times state, municipal and federal governments have failed our most vulnerable citizens by placing them in supposedly loving, forever-homes that turned out to be lethal.

Or, non-lethal, if you like. Sexual abuse? Disrupted placements? Deportations? Father's rights violations? Wrongful removal/wrongful medication cases? See, something for everybody here.

Indignant APs overidentified with the promises of the adoption industry have a lot to learn before berating the site owners and other participants with their self-aggrandizing rants and personal anecdotes.

Pretty close

The safety of the child is the primary reason USCIS and DoS have given on multiple occasions - to me directly and to my federal Senator's office. And they are purporting to protect the child, while still a citizen of another country, while employing tactics as I've described against the adults in that same country - officials, hospital workers, police, etc. Those tactics are NOT diplomatic. They ARE driven by fear and a very real change in attitude towards other countries post 9-11. Don't know where "anti-terrorism" came from...

If you can bear yet another "self-aggrandizing rants and personal anecdote" - of how fear of embarrassment burns brightly: the fiasco of the AP who "returned" her child to Russia occurred in the midst of my son's adoption. USCIS had completed their paperwork, it made it through the birth country's process, and reached our Embassy there. They issued a letter to us stating that because our son would hit his birthday and no longer match the USCIS paperwork's age before he entered the US, he would not be issued a visa. Our home study very specifically noted that his disabilities and age matched what we could handle "at time of referral". The USCIS officer did not transfer this phrase to the text box on the I-800. (Hague, FYI) The Embassy had the source document - the home study. Neither organization would bend - the USCIS officer claimed that she had completed her part correctly (at the time); the Embassy lawyer claimed that our son would not match the criteria set out in the USCIS approval. So, where is the real problem of ego, obstruction, disregard for common sense, even for the degrading of human life? Right where I claimed it was. There is no real alternative view here. Their motivation might have been more bureaucratic than fearful, but the change in their rules - without thoughts for the consequences - CERTAINLY came from fear.
All because one AP made a horrible choice, on top of an agency and social workers not providing guidance, support and/or hard critical perspective. Tell me that isn't over fear. Of it happening again - creating an internationally visible embarrassment. But the "crack-down" wasn't according to any meaningful measure - we were aware of birth order concerns - that's why the age was included as a criteria in the first place.

Oh right, in the "over-identified AP". That makes sense. Because the "safety of the child" is mission critical for our government. Equally implausible given the facts.

Come now, we agree on this.

There is no hyperbole here.

I'm pointing out the inconsistency of defending either of these organizations as Niels did - sure they appear to be critical of adoption, and thus, aligned with your purpose. But this is accidental and they are source of further disregard for the dignity of the human beings involved in the process.

I'm not especially interested in the specifics of how you achieved your perception of what I wrote as "berating site owners", but I was simply not. If you remove the "if" from an "if, then" sentence, and read it out of context, I'm sure you can stoke your own fire. Feel free. But don't put that on me, please.

The only reason my anecdotes even surfaced here was to point very specifically to the behavior of USCIS and DoS that ARE the source of why I and others in the adoption community view them as we do.

Make them a bed fellow if you will. But their stink will transfer to the bed...

Wash Your Own Sheets, First

Make them a bed fellow if you will. But their stink will transfer to the bed...

Before you can comment on the state of anyone else's bedroom, you ought to make sure your own is clean.

If you can bear yet another "self-aggrandizing rants and personal anecdote"

At this point in my life, they're a predictable cliché. Expect them whenever talking to any front-liner in the PAP/AP Martyrdom/Poor-Us brigades. What's one more.

This conversation was spawned by my bit of cynicism regarding that old saw about "safety of the children". Sorry you had a delay in rescuing the boy you adopted because the gargantuan self-centered ego of yet another screened, tested, home-studied, child-endangering unfit AP messed up...and this time it actually made the news.

There is no hyperbole here.

I'm pointing out the inconsistency of defending either of these organizations as Niels did - sure they appear to be critical of adoption, and thus, aligned with your purpose.

Birds of a feather, right? Nefarious family-wreckers just itching to end adoption, right?

No, that's incorrect, and an alignment of your own making. As Kerry has said, in this thread and many other times at PPL, not everyone critical of adoption is aligned with the purpose(s) of PPL. It may surprise you, but I've seen how the effort also gets plenty of critiques from some corners that doesn't think PPL is critical enough.

Also:

I'm not especially interested in the specifics of how you achieved your perception of what I wrote as "berating site owners", but I was simply not.

I did not mention you, specifically, so there's no reason to get so defensive. It was a general comment, made because there are others here who have done just that. That's not some warped personal perception of mine, it's a fact borne out by simply reading this thread...and so many others at PPL.

I really encourage you to stick around, and keep reading the case files and commentary at PPL. You won't find much of an alignment with state actors like the totalitarians at USCIS and DoS, no matter how satisfying it may feel to force one.

I have been perusing

I haven't enjoyed what I've read. Entirely appropriate given the content.

It saddens me that so much human suffering is tied to adoption. From the height of what adoption should be to that pit of what it absolutely shouldn't be makes it more of a tragedy than "normal" situations of criminal behavior towards children.

It doesn't get my fingers typing the same way because there is very little words, especially here - can do.

I wish anyone who has experienced such suffering the clarity of a path forward to healing, to peace, to love, to a way to change the process, even to a place where they might be able to experience what they should have experienced: security, belonging and joy as part of a family of their own.

I'm still searching for ways to help make any of that a reality.

It is why I offer (really, offer) the advice I do on how to express your perspective. I am willing to engage you in the face of your anger and disgust and all the other "natural" emotions that your experience generates. I think your perspective and experience deserve a greater audience. But, as Kerry has done, that takes some healing and some work. The motivation to change things will still be there without the emotional wave that "turns off" others. You need not stay attached to it for that reason. The facts will still retain their potency to shock and motivate others. But your audience will be willing to process it more deeply - it will change them more dramatically.

Or would you rather things stay just as they are? for your own inner places and for the process of placement and follow-up?
We all know that answer, but it takes some work to make it real nonetheless.

Offer Rejected

It is why I offer (really, offer) the advice I do on how to express your perspective. I am willing to engage you in the face of your anger and disgust and all the other "natural" emotions that your experience generates. I think your perspective and experience deserve a greater audience. But, as Kerry has done, that takes some healing and some work. The motivation to change things will still be there without the emotional wave that "turns off" others. You need not stay attached to it for that reason. The facts will still retain their potency to shock and motivate others. But your audience will be willing to process it more deeply - it will change them more dramatically.

Lol! This is precisely the personal attitude that will ensure rejection of your condescending, self-righteous, self-aggrandizing, albeit typical and predictable Adoptive Parent/Martyr/Savior/Messiah attitude by adopted adults such as myself.

You are not my superior, in any way. I am not your adopted child; you are not my AP. Leave that dynamic at the door when addressing me.

You have nary a clue about this fabeled anger, disgust, or emotional attachments of mine, or any work I've done around it; and since you haven't asked me, you're not even clear on my personal motivations on being here, which -- this might shock and surprise you so I hope you're sitting down -- are much more centered on self-education on these issues than trying to change, motivate, or convert others to my view.

I don't have an evangelical mentality about this topic, so don't presume I do.

Don't ever lecture me on this topic again, Barry.

Ditto

Ditto. Well said Marion!!!

Barry, you are not my superior either, nor my AP, nor am I an adoptee. I am an adoptive parent. I am disgusted by APs that display this type of condescending self-righteous savior attitude that fuels ICA to happen in the first place. ICA occurs so the same players can make money, while so many children continue to suffer, both in their home country and in some AP homes. ICA creates children for paying people. Yet children who really need homes are not adopted, nor do sending countries strengthen their social services programs. ICA is the quick fix that so many APs are duped into.

Here's a heads up moment for you. Who do you think alerted DOS about corruption in Guatemala, Vietnam, Ethiopia and etal? It wasn't DOS coming forward with evidence that they had for YEARS. It wasn't DOS acting on a higher level of ethics or morality. It was the APs who saw corruption and did not turn a blind eye to it. YET, their fellow APs bashed them for speaking out on so many sites and forums.

too many boxes

I am glad that APs did not turn from it. They should not have. If I have the chance to thank them, I will. In ALL of my contacts with USCIS and DoS, they have NEVER once mentioned APs as a source - they always took the credit as part of their own investigations.

I will not slap a label any contributor here or elsewhere. Those boxes impair our ability to relate to one another.

We should not expect that adoption itself should fix anything at a society level. It should shine a light more brightly on conditions that need attention. It is then up to the witnesses of that scene to do the right thing. I get why people get upset about the motivations of some adopters, about the effects of money on the process, about the failures of people, agencies and governments to do the right thing. But we give up on a process because some people suck?

I will happily stand in whatever flames APs bring against anyone standing against corruption. Post a link. The fog mentioned on this site is real. I have felt it and know how it alone can distort perception. Bashing people of conscience who have the strength to stand against corruption, with the stakes being so very high, it's horrible. Conflict and bashing (present even in your post to me) is no way forward. Unless you are certain that adoption is and was essentially a mistake, that there is nothing worthwhile in it.

The question then: is ICA worthless?

If you would, consider question also a more complex one: not as you experienced it (duped?), not in it's current state, but as a process of a child crossing national boundaries to be a part of a family, with appropriate safeguards and education and checks in place, is it worth doing?

Oh brother

Unless you are certain that adoption is and was essentially a mistake, that there is nothing worthwhile in it.

That's what we call a "tell".

You will not find anyone at PPL calling adoption a "mistake", not any regulars, anyway.

Martyr complex, pfft.

Where?

I agree with Marion. WHERE do you find on this website ANYONE ever posting that adoption was a mistake???

I also have to agree with others on this, before you post Barry, how about if you familiarize yourself with this site and it contributions first before chiming in with your white elitist American wisdom. As history shows, that line of thinking hasn't worked in the past. If you haven't figured it out yet, this is not just an "American" website, but viewed and read by people all over the world that contribute to it.

A little upsetting that you would take it this way

That you couch this in terms that I represent your AP and you are my adopted child...
That I fit the AP label is true. That I offer advice doesn't make me superior or presumptive. I have a different perspective. I have predicated ALL of my suggestions with "if" statements. Because that "if" didn't apply to you, you were free to ignore anything that came in the "then" section. It was not intended for you. If other APs have treated you this way, I suppose I can tread more knowingly, but ...

I would offer exactly this advice to ANY adult with anger in their communication. I would not engage in this kind of communication to anyone but an adult. Adults, adopted or otherwise, typically expect to engage in conversation, even on topics of great passion and intensity, with some understanding of the tolerance to anger directed at one another. There isn't ANYTHING in my posts worthy of disturbing your peace. So, I hope they haven't.

I'm not shocked - but I was sitting down - and I am extremely pleased you felt comfortable enough to share your motivation.

I am sorry to have implied or suggested any characteristics of your inner world without a much longer discussion and better relationship. How you express yourself, with the level of all-or-nothing, anger and labeling, paints a picture of sorts for me. It was wrong of me to indulge in describing that picture without first sharing and asking questions, and otherwise developing the relationship.

You are coming across

You are coming across very entitled Barry. PPL has long been advocating for transparency and for reform, it seems odd that you would question this of them. They have been faithful in posting the hurt and damage that the social experiment that adoption is and has caused over the years. They have also informed many APs and adoptees on the abuse and death of children by their APs. They have documented agencies that have caused hurt to APs and adoptees. There is an extensive record of the corrupt practices by agencies and attorneys on this site. They have bravely posted information about kidnapped children sold into ICA. I am grateful to the people who started this site and to all those have contributed. I am also very appreciative of the many adoptees that take the time to share their stories and answer questions. Your kindness in educating others will never be forgotten. I know I have lurked for many years, but felt it necessary to post.

From Another AP

entitled to?

How so or entitled to what exactly?

ditto

I can only second this - as an AP, I am grateful for the great work done here.

If all the institutions concerned with ICA and adoption in general did their jobs, sites like this would not be needed.

From yet Another AP

Your clinging to your self-superior position is funny to me

I am sorry to have implied or suggested any characteristics of your inner world without a much longer discussion and better relationship.

Oh but see, don't apologize, as that kind of behavior is par for the course.

You don't represent anything to me, your presumptuous, patronizing posts do that well enough on their own.

The self-righteous, publicly self-flaggelating martyr/AP always knows adult adoptees they've never met better than we know ourselves.

Bears repeating

The suggestion by the Christian Post that the "problems" created were either incompetence or an intentional desire to reduce adoptions, is again an example of a false dilemma. The Department of State has every incentive to be of assistance to the citizens of the United States as long as it prevents international scandal. Dubious and fraudulent practices in Ethiopia have been rampant and well documented. Of course this has created an atmosphere within the Department of State to be careful about adoptions from Ethiopia. Turning this into a desire to reduce adoptions is not only false, it is completely silly.

QFT

That adoption-critical = anti-adoption is a myth and indeed a false dilemma. Exposing it as a myth, however, can also reveal some guilt feelings of those participating in it, at least those types with the emotional need to believe they are doing some noble deed of righteous light against the darkness of evil, or whatever. Having one's myths busted and other crises of faith can be that way. I don't envy any AP going through it; been there myself.

Getting back to the article- rebuttal

Just wanted to point out a few things.

"Prospective adopters have a preference for infants and children up to the age of five. Yet loss of parents has the exact opposite pattern. There are far more orphans in the age-group 12 to 17 than in the age-group 6 to 11, while the age-group 0 to 5 contains the fewest orphans."

"Guatemala up until the mid-1990's was involved in civil war; once the dust settled a very lax legal system was implemented, leading to ever increasing numbers of children being put up for adoption. At some point one of every hundred children born in Guatemala ended up being adopted by an American family."

"Ironically, none of these countries had a huge orphan problem, at least not when using the conventional definition: a child whose parents both have deceased."

Pound Pup Legacy