Damage control in Adoptionland
This week, Adoptionland has been in turmoil over the publication of a series of articles by Reuters and NBC-news.
The articles portray the drain of the adoption system, the practice of informal re-homing of adoptees who are no longer wanted by their forever family.
Just like it is with every abuse case and every trafficking case found in Adoptionland, the mouth pieces of the adoption industry are quick and ready to down play the situation. The good name of adoption MUST be preserved, at all cost, even if doing so leads to more abuse, more disruptions, more dissolutions, and more child trafficking for adoption purposes.
As always Mr. Pertman is one of the first to come to the scene in an attempt to do damage control, after all he's being handsomely paid by the adoption industry to do so.
Like most think-tanks, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute creates reports that superficially resemble scientific studies and are specifically designed to reach industry-friendly conclusions.
It is no secret that think tanks exist to distort public opinion in the interest of certain businesses. It is well known that Koch Industries pays the Cato Institute to downplay the environmental impact of their operation. It is well known that Exxon Mobil uses the American Enterprise Institute for the very same purpose.
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, although small compared to these propaganda behemoths, is not fundamentally different from these more well-known disinformation groups.
Adam Pertman, as executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, is one of the most frequently cited voices in Adoptionland. In that sense, the adoption industry gets value for the $169,425 it pays, per year, for it's beloved mouthpiece.
In response to the series about re-homing, Pertman, an adoptive father himself, had the following to say:
The stories about `re-homing’ from Reuters and NBC News are certainly exceptions in the world of adoption, but they also are unnerving and should serve as a wakeup call for us all to finally pay attention and take much-needed action.
This is a typical Pertman reaction.
Years ago when asked to respond to the abuse of adoptees from Russian extraction, Pertman made the following statement:
The fact is that the vast majority of the 22,000-plus annual international adoptions by Americans - including 5,865 from Russia last year - are highly successful, and the resulting families are as fulfilled as those formed in any other way. You might not know it, though, from reading the newspaper or watching television.
Pertman is a master at deflection. Whenever evidence surfaces that the industry he represents contributes to further misery for children, already in a very vulnerable position, he plugs his ears and calls all wrong-doings an exception and a rarity.
In the world of Pertman, and other adoption apologists, every disruption or dissolution and every case of adoptee abuse, is by definition, an exception; each is a priori a rarity. Adoption, as it is presumed by these propagandists, is good, is done in the best interest of each child, and is done properly, no matter what the contrary evidence presents.
Pertman is not alone in his approach. Yesterday, Donald C. Cofsky, president of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and fellow recipient of the Congressional Angel's in Adoption Award, (for contributing to his own wallet, through the placement of children), wrote an opinion piece following the same nothing-to-see-here pattern
While the examples are very disturbing, we must not lose sight of the thousands of successful adoptions and the marvelous families that follow all the laws, take these children into their homes and provide them with the love and caring that they so desperately need.
If we call dissolutions and re-homing rare, if we say that adoptee abuse is exceptional, then we also have to wonder whether marvelous loving and caring families are not an exception.
Most adopters are just run-of-the-mill every-day people. There is nothing exceptionally decent and nothing exceptionally evil about this group. Some adoptees are lucky and find very good homes, other are miserably unfortunate and are placed with horrible families, with most landing somewhere in between. Such is the reality of Adoptionland.
That reality, however, is not acceptable. The horrible experiences of some adoptees shouldn't take place. The adoption process is, at least in theory, designed to find fit, decent, capable families to take children in-need of a family. In theory there is screening. In theory there is parenting preparation. In theory there are post adoption services and the adoptive parents are monitored for some time.
In reality, however, screening all too often is treated as a formality; a seal of approval is given to almost anyone who doesn't have a criminal record. Parenting preparation all too often focuses on silly things like scrap-booking, while avoiding the tough issues like mental disturbances, medical conditions, and emotional difficulties existing in adoptable children. Post adoption services are often not provided and monitoring of adoption is legally impossible to enforce.
Without these safeguards properly in place, ill-prepared and sometimes even truly deranged people end up adopting children, without being checked upon or being given proper assistance. The children in question more often than not, have complex special needs and therefore need placement with especially gifted families with access to specialized professional services and parent-figures who have an open willingness to accept long-term monitoring.
Current adoption practices are far removed from how they should be, and by downplaying the serious problems in Adoptionland, propagandists like Mr. Cofsky and Mr. Pertman, are only maintaining the status quo. By focusing on what goes right, nothing ever gets done to change what goes wrong.
Ironically, these propagandists do a huge disservice to the very industry that feeds them. If Mr. Pertman and his ilk had taken serious action in response to the death of several Russian adoptees, back in 2004, then there would have been no backlash from Russian authorities and the adoption programs would still be open.
It begs the question why the adoption industry keeps handing out money to think tanks like the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, if the work done does very little to improve the lives of children and actively harms the business interests of the industry itself.