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A belated farewell to Mary Landrieu


January 3, 2014 marked the departure of Mary Landrieu from the national political scene and with that, her 18 year tenure as leader of the adoption lobby within congress.

During her years in the Senate, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCA) grew out from a caucus that promoted adoption from foster care, to a full fledged lobbying arm of the adoption industry.

Most notable in that regard, was the foundation of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), in 2001. This tax exempt, charitable organization, went far beyond the original intent of the adoption caucus, and became a front office for the adoption industry and religious organizations,.

CCAI's first executive director Kerry Marks-Hasenbalg, may have run the organization initially from  her kitchen table, the organization itself was registered at 6723 Whittier Ave, McLean, VA 22101. The very address of adoption agency America World Adoption Association.

This same address was in later years used by Shaohannah's Hope, run by husband Scott Hasenbalg, who happened to be the treasurer of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, also registered at the same McLean address.

Such ties between CCAI and ideological organizations are unbecoming of an organization that claims to be bipartisan. Congress should be informed about issues of importance based on serious research, not based on the propaganda of one particular religious movement in need of reinventing itself.

On it's website CCAI makes the following claim:

CCAI does not lobby on behalf of any individual piece of legislation or government program. CCAI does not take official positions on issues related to adoption and foster care, but rather seeks to provide policymakers with the resources they need to make informed decisions.

CCAI is part of the working group that drafted the The Children In Families First Act (CHIFF), a bill aimed to increase adoption from foreign countries.

Technically, one could make the claim that drafting legislation is not the same as taking a position on it, but how realistic is that? Has there ever in history been an organization that took the effort to help write a bill, they had no position on?

The claim that CCAI just "seeks to provide policymakers with the resources they need to make informed decisions" doesn't stand up to scrutiny either. Adoption and foster care are mired by serious issues, such as improper screening, leading to abuse. There have been hundreds of documented cases of child trafficking in inter-country adoption. There are serious problems with respect to rehoming, yet CCAI has never even made an attempt to inform congress about these issues.

Instead of helping make adoption and foster care safe and sound, CCAI has focused its attention only on promoting more adoptions. This of course fits neatly with the interests of adoption agencies, adoption lawyers, and religious organizations that want to adopt the world, but it does little to make the lives of children in adverse situations better.

Under Mary Landrieu's leadership, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption has moved away from its original intent, and instead has become a front office for the adoption industry and religious organizations. In that regard, it's a good thing CCA is losing its most prominent member.

But the good news doesn't stop there. Apart from Mary Landrieu, the following CCA members have also left congress.

Carl Levin
Carolyn McCarthy
Dave Camp
Frank Wolf
Henry Waxman
Jay Rockefeller
Jim Gerlach
Jim Matheson
Lee Terry
Michele Bachmann
Phil Gingrey
Saxby Chambliss
Steve Southerland
Thomas Petri
Tim Bishop
Tim Johnson
Tom Harkin
Tom Latham

As a result of the elections in 2014, CCA has become only a shell of its former self. In 2015, CCA was only able to persuade one member of congress to join their causus, Markwayne Mullin, the representative of Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district.  Right now, CCA has fewer even members than it had fifteen years ago.

With the departure of Mary Landrieu, we hope that the Congressional Coalition on Adoption and its associated institute will further decline. The blatant intermingling of politics, ideology and business has gone on far too long. Instead of promoting as many adoptions as possible for the benefit of adoption agencies and religious organizations, it's time congress took seriously the safety of the placement system where rehoming and abuse in adoptive families remains an ongoing issue in dire need of attention.

by Kerry and Niels on Thursday, 09 April 2015