The Critical Difference Between Foster And Infant Adoption

It’s National Adoption Awareness Month, and many of us in the adoption community are writing about adoption–not the feel-good articles you’ll see in the press, but writing that gets to the truth of what adoption actually is. And some of it, perhaps even most of it, isn’t very pretty.
A number of folks have pointed out that NAAM, which started as a way to promote adoption of kids already in foster care, has turned into a gigantic singalong in favor of infant adoption. So I thought I’d explain the difference between infant adoption and foster adoption.
  • Foster adoption is adoption of kids who have already been separated from their families, and are living in foster care.
  • Infant adoption is adoption of children, often newborns but sometimes slightly older, whose mothers are unable (either by choice or, more often, through clever coersion and familial/societal pressure) to care for them.
Do you see the critical difference? In foster adoption, family separation occurs BEFORE adoption. In infant adoption, separation occurs FOR adoption.
Foster kids are desperately in need of homes. But they’re older and may have suffered abuse or other situations that deem them, in the eyes of some prospective adopters, less than “ideal.” They often come with inconvenient birth families and awareness of their own origins. There is also a stigma attached to adoption from foster care, as if adopting a foster kid means taking on “damaged goods.” An infant, on the other hand, is considered a tabula rasa. In fact, healthy white or pass-for-white infants are such a prize commodity that they go for tens of thousands of dollars. While there is also stigma attached to infant adoption (indeed, adoption of any sort), it’s more likely that neighbors and friends are going to congratulate you on adopting an infant than adopting an eight-year-old out of foster care with, say, medical issues and birth family members still in the picture. That might take *gasp* reordering of one’s life on a massive scale. It’s “not what we signed up for.” (Never mind that life is full of things we “didn’t sign up for.”) Infants are cute and cuddly and, above all, malleable. As I’ve said before, why rent when you can own?
NAAM should be about finding homes for foster kids, the ones who truly need it. Instead it’s become about infant adoption: how to encourage it, how to advertise it, and how to convince as many expectant mothers as possible to surrender their top-quality tabula-rasa infants, because that’s what the market wants.
That’s not to say that there aren’t infants in foster care who need homes. And that’s not to say that there aren’t adoptive parents who open their hearts to children who are actually in need, infants or otherwise. But there is also the side of National Adoption Awareness Month that most people won’t see or don’t want to see–the adopters with entitlement mentalities, who think they deserve a child simply because they want one, and who turn that want into an obsession that drives them to go to any extreme to fulfill it. (Try the Vaughns for one despicable example.) These are the people who drive the market for infant adoption.
Infant adoption is rarely needed, certainly not the number of infants who become available for adoption. Think of all the time and money that is spent on infant adoption. Now, imagine that time and money being used to get as many kids out of foster care and into loving homes as possible. Also imagine that time and money being used to help expectant mothers who find themselves without resources. Oh, but then they might decide to raise their own children, meaning less available product and therefore less money made by adoption agencies. Infant adoption, not foster adoption, is where the real money is. And adoption agencies, despite their “charitable” reputations, are in it for the money. Anyone who tells you otherwise is, ahem, selling something.
Next, think about the efforts made to recruit infants from other countries, to the extent of lying and outright stealing children. Imagine if, instead, the resources spent on these expensive and unnecesary adoptions were spent instead to provide safe, effective, affordable care within such countries, to promote extended family adoptions when parents are truly unable to support children, to promote in-country adoption to preserve the children’s heritage, leaving international adoption as a very last and rare resort.
In the current atmosphere, this would never happen. There’d be an outcry from agencies, prospective adopters, and the general public, ostensibly on behalf of the poor “orphans.” What is not known to most people is that a lot of those kids have parents and/or families, and are designated “orphans” for the sole purpose of making them more adoptable/profitable. Again, that’s not to say there aren’t true orphans in need of help, but there’s also a whole industry that has been built on marketing children from other countries to Westerners. Which is why so many adoptees, upon expressing discontent with adoption as it is practiced today, are scolded with, “Would you rather have been raised in an orphanage?” or “Would you rather have been aborted?” as if the logical choice–being raised in one’s original family–was never an option. The adoption industry needs the perception that there are more orphans languishing out there than there actually are, in order to keep the profits coming. And, let’s be honest, there are some prospective adopters who get off on the idea of being the “rescuers” of “orphans.”
The unfortunate fact is, not everyone who wants to be a parent is going to get that opportunity. There are other ways to matter to children besides obtaining a child by any means necessary. Is it really that important to own? Has our society become so materialistic that we can’t put aside avarice for altruism? Why can’t we help children stay in their families of origin instead of wasting all those resources on unnecessary adoptions? The way adoption is currently practiced only encourages unethical and illicit behavior.
This is one reason that adoption agencies, private “facilitators” and some adoptive parents try to diminish the voices of adult adoptees, first mothers and fathers, and those scant few adoptive parents who dare to speak out against corruption in adoption. First mothers (and fathers!) can speak to their experience of being coerced into giving up their children. Adult adoptees like me (I was adopted as a newborn) can speak to the fact that no infant is a tabula rasa. Adoptive parents can speak to the corruption that they have personally witnessed.
No, the adoption agencies and those adopters who consider themselves “entitled” would be much happier if we keep National Adoption Awareness Month as squeaky-clean as possible. Let’s put these myths to rest. Foster adoption is about finding homes for children who need them. Infant adoption is about selling children to people who want them.

Will The Haiti Incident Reform The Adoption Process?

See also my previous posts on Haiti here and here.
In watching and reading the news coverage about the ten Americans arrested for child trafficking in Haiti, I’ve been wondering if this might be the catalyst that starts some serious reform in adoption.
When this incident first occurred, I figured the news media would do what they always do: gloss it over. I was expecting a lot of whining about “poor Americans”, plus condemnation of the Haitian government which would capitulate to U.S. pressure and give these people a slap on the wrist. And who knows, maybe that will still happen. Personally I would like to see the lot of them get convicted in a Haitian court and receive the highest possible term in a Haitian prison. That Laura Silsby seems like a piece of work. The Haitian judicial process will have to determine the culpability of the rest of the group. “God told us to” is not a defense.
But on a broader level, I would like to see this be the catalyst to cease ALL private facilitation of adoption. If we’re going to have adoption–and I’m under no illusions that we’re going to get rid of it–then it should only be done by accredited agencies that are monitored by independent third parties. As this incident illustrates, anyone, regardless of qualifications, can set themselves up a “non-profit” and start facilitating adoptions. That has GOT TO STOP. Contrary to the whining of some (mostly prospective adopters), I don’t think that would make the adoption process harder or more expensive. I think it would offer greater protections for everyone, including prospective adopters. It might reduce the number of adoptable kids… but did you catch what was said on Anderson Cooper (CNN)?
COOPER: It’s — and so they’re handing this out. I mean, essentially, what we now know is, they were around in Port-au-Prince trolling for kids, I mean, going around, trying to collect kids under the age of 10, so, for whatever reason, they could take them to the Dominican Republic.
And what they — we had also just learned today is they told that guy David Louis they were actually going to bring some of these kids into the United States, or they had offered to — to bring Richard’s kids into the — back to the United States, which, you know, the fact that Richard and his wife — that his wife said, look, do not go to this orphanage where our kids are in the process of being legally adopted, and they went anyway to try to get them, to me, that just raises all sorts of red flags.
PENHAUL: It certainly does raise red flags, as well as the fact that they were looking for children aged from zero to 10, kids aged under 10.
I asked an NGO specialist about that. Why zero to 10? He says kids zero of 10 are much easier to send in adoption. You can bet your bottom dollar, if those kids were going to be sent into adoption, they were not going to be adopted in the D.R. They would have been sent abroad for that. Maybe the D.R. was a halfway house.
I don’t know that for sure, though, but, certainly, the people that you have talked to tonight, you can piece it together. It seems like that. And, yes, certainly, they were trawling for orphanages as well, because the three translators that we have spoken to extensively have said that they also were asked to telephone another orphanage, and that other orphanage also declined help.
These people were deliberately going after kids ages zero to 10… BECAUSE THEY WERE MORE ADOPTABLE. In other words, more lucrative, more palatable to prospective adopters. Read the rest of the transcript for more on how blatant they were about sweeping in and snatching children, including those who were already cleared for adoption by American families (and whose adoptive families told them outright to stay out of it). So, yes, restricting who can facilitate adoptions might result in less children available for adoption, but you know what? That’s a good thing for prospective adopters. Unless you’re saying you don’t really care where the kid comes from as long as you get one…
My adoption was private. It was facilitated by the delivery doctor and two attorneys. One attorney took my mother’s relinquishment and passed it to the second attorney, who happened to be my adoptive father. The first attorney and the doctor were affiliated with a highly-regarded adoption agency here in the Chicago area, but for mysterious reasons they were able to moonlight a few private adoptions, like mine. I have been asking myself why for a long time and the only answers I’ve come up with are unpleasant. There were no checks and balances, no accredited entities verifying the procedures, no one independently advising my birth mother on her options and rights. There was just the handing off of a newborn in a hospital parking lot. I think that’s wrong and I want it to stop. And the only way it’s going to stop is if we quit letting any random bozo facilitate adoptions, and if we throw the book at people when they’re caught.
I’d also like to know why it is that no one is investigating other incidents of potential child trafficking, like the Rendell raid or Mike Roberts, the Texas businessman who’s trying to pull a raid of his own. Apparently if you’re the governor of Pennsylvania or a hotshot CEO it’s okay to snatch kids. Laura Silsby’s problem was that she was an amateur, flagrantly flaunted the rules and got caught. I think the Haitian prime minister is exactly right in requiring his personal approval for each and every child leaving the country.
But I’d like to see more protections from the U.S. side, starting with a public outcry over baby brokers of all stripes and utter refusal on the part of prospective adopters to deal with these sorts of criminals. Only by shutting down the market demand will we see an end to baby selling.

What Needs Reform In Adoption? Everything!

This month’s Grown In My Heart blog carnival asks the question, “What do you think needs reform in adoption?” I could fill whole stadiums with answers to that one, but I think everything that concerns me boils down to one word: TRANSPARENCY, or lack thereof.
Take, for example:
  • Domestic and international adoption scandals: children targeted for adoption, mothers coerced into surrendering, adoptive parents duped into a false sense of security about the adoption process
  • Situations like Haiti, where crises are used to exploit children and families
  • Sealed adoption records, the myth of birth parent “privacy”, the discrimination faced by adult adoptees and their mothers, and the facade of compromise legislation
  • The lure of open adoption, which is rarely enforcable by the birth mother
  • “Crisis pregnancy centers” which are often fronts for adoption mills
  • Misinformation about the long-term effects of adoption, especially for transracial and transcultural adoptees
  • The general public’s lack of understanding about adoption, which is promulgated by the adoption industry so clandestine and questionable practices can continue. Part of this is driven by media bias in adoption reporting, which leads me into…
  • GET ADOPTION OFF TELEVISION. I have to wonder why there isn’t legal protection for minors exploited on television (think Jon & Kate or Balloon Boy). I think about these kids whose adoption stories are being told on TV (e.g. Teen Mom, 16 And Pregnant) before they even have a chance to know for themselves. Can you imagine how devastating that will be for them? It’s one thing to have consenting adults on these shows but something far different when we’re talking about babies and children. And even when it’s consenting adults, the information is almost always skewed. Let’s face it, reality shows and made-for-TV movies are not solid journalism, but most people base their ideas about adoption from them.
If adoption were transparent, if the procedures were scrutinized, I think there would be far less (although not zero) corruption. People will always find a way to game the system, but transparency and repercussions make it harder. Ratifying the Hague Convention would be one step. Restoring original birth certificate access to adult adoptees AND birth mothers would be another. We need more education for prospective adopters. We need independent and transparent regulation of adoption agencies. We need to get rid of private adoptions that too easily fall into the gray-market or black-market category. We need to eliminate pork-barrel legislation that turns original birth certificate access into a windfall for politicians and their well-connected cronies. We need to distinguish between infant adoption and foster-care adoption. We need to support mothers and families. We need to turn adoption from a boutique industry into a system in which kids who need help will get it.
But what we most need to do is take the profit margin out of adoption. If there is no money to be made, profiteering will decrease. I don’t anticipate this will happen anytime soon. Adoption is big business, with the funds and resources to hire lobbyists to maintain the bottom line. What we, as individuals, can do is demand transparency of adoption agencies and practitioners, and of our elected officials. We can also continue making scandals public, so that those who do game the system are caught. And we can educate the general public about adoption, including its flaws and misconceptions.
Adoption should be a last resort. We should strive to support children: with their parents where possible, with extended family where not, via domestic adoption in their country of origin and via international adoption only as a last resort. Yes, that means less adoptable children, but this isn’t about finding a child for everyone who wants one. The adoption industry sets very unrealistic expectations while continuing to sweep necessary reform under the rug. Let’s return adoption to its roots–finding homes for children in need–and do away with the corruption that currently defines it.

Haiti: Adoption Snatching In Action

Some people are trying to use the earthquake in Haiti as an excuse for a mass snatching of children for the adoption mill. I’m not even going to try to compete with the stellar coverage of other bloggers, so read on to learn about Operation Pedro Pan from the 1960s and how it is being replayed today.
The answer to this horrific tragedy is not to take these children from their culture, but to reunite them with extended family wherever possible and help Haiti as a whole regain its footing. I can’t say it any better than Bastardette:

We do not object to Haitian children, orphans and otherwise, being sent to credible and documented parents or family members in the US legally for temporary or permanent care depending on the circumstances. We do object to the unethical and possibly unlawful mass transfer of traumatized children, many with family status unknown, to foreign shelters and foster care, removed from their culture and language, with little hope of reunification. We also object to children being used as commercialized foreign policy pawns. Although Pedro Pan had positive outcomes for some, its intent and motives make it an illegitimate model for today’s Haitian earthquake child victims. Cold War politics destroyed Cuban families. Unchecked adoption industry greed, pap entitlement, and soft neo-colonial foreign policy cannot be permitted to disenfranchise a generation Haitian children.

Gray Market Adoption: The Twin Who Didn’t Die

This is a guest post from Rose, who is kind enough to share her experiences. I hope there is someone out there who can help with her search. Tis the season, and we could use some miracles…
My name is Rose and I am an adoptee who was reunited with my birth mother in 1988 with whom I had a very close relationship until her passing in February 2001. To honor her life and the memory of my twin that I thought was stillborn I wrote the following story:
Two tiny spermatozoa maneuver their way through the dark passageway in search of the prize when suddenly two large oval shaped masses loom in front of them. Each sperm cell burrows its way into the warm gooey side of its respective prize and becomes one with the egg, fertilizing it and thus beginning the cycle of life anew as it has done since the dawn of creation.
The now fertilized eggs begin the trip back down the same way that the sperm traveled up not too long before. As they travel, toward their new home for the next eight months, the eggs begin to divide becoming multi-celled organisms. They eventually reach the uterus where they burrow into the soft lining and continue to grow and divide.
Six weeks pass and by then the host knows of the presence of the two travelers and she welcomes them, but not all are happy about their arrival. The host is told to get rid of the ‘unwanted mass of cells’ but she refuses to. She does her best to protect the two little travelers but it is difficult. On two separate occasions violent earthquakes rock the cocoon that envelopes the twins. They do not know that is happening, only that what was thought to be safe and secure is not. The twins grow more anxious as each day passes, afraid of what will happen next.
Though on the outside, the next six months pass by without incident, all is not well within as the food supply becomes non-existent. The smaller of the twins grows weaker each passing day and it becomes apparent that it will not survive to see the outside world. The Littlest One, as it is called, musters its remaining strength and telegraphs the message to the one in front that it can no longer hang on. As a bright light appears and surrounds The Littlest One, it telegraphs a final good bye to its companion and is lifted by gentle hands into the loving embrace of the Creator and carried into the light. ‘But, wait,’ The Littlest One asks, ‘What about the one left behind? I can still see her.’ ‘Don’t worry’, says the One with the gentle hands. ‘She will be born very soon. She will not know about you until many moons have passed but she will never forget you because she will carry that knowledge deep within herself that you indeed existed. You will not be forgotten. Fear not little one and rest now, for you are home.’
No one knew whether the Littlest One was a boy or girl nor did they care, except for the remaining one. She mourned the loss of her companion, yearning to once again see his/her face. It was the Creator of all Life who reached down and took the Littlest One home, where He named the child and where He continues to gently rock the little waif in His loving arms, even to this day.
With each anniversary of my mother’s passing, and my birthday, I would think of my twin. In December 2007, all of that changed when I found out information that changed my life for ever. While going through paperwork on Mom’s family tree, I came across what I assumed was Mom’s hospital records from my birth. Curious, I started to read and there it was in black and white: a ‘delivered and a healthy male infant…’ My twin, a brother, had been born alive!
I wish that my story had a happy ending and I could report that I found him and we are living happily ever after, but that is not the case. Unfortunately, my twin is just another statistic in the world of gray market adoption. For reasons that are known only to the doctor who delivered my twin and I, he felt that it was necessary to place my twin with another family. The couple who took him only knew that the birth mother could not care for him and he needed to go to a home that could give him what she could not. What the family did not know was that the fact that the birth mother had not given her consent and in fact did not know that the child had been born alive. She had been told that it was stillborn. The hospital records were altered to look as if Mom had given birth to only one child, me. However, fortunately for me the doctor did not completely alter the records so that the records I held in my hand contained the first clues as to what happened those many years ago.
As a result of the deception on the doctor’s part over fifty years ago, finding my twin is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, a haystack marked the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is not only a closed records state, it’s locked tighter than Fort Knox. In fact, it would be easier to get into Fort Knox than it is trying to find out anything from the powers that be. Pennsylvania, as in many of the other closed adoption records states, feels that the records should be permanently sealed to protect the privacy of the birth mother. In my case, protecting her privacy is a moot point as she is now deceased and she never wanted it protected in the first place. The only person that is being protected is the doctor who perpetrated this crime that has affected three innocent people, not to mention our spouses and children.
Since that December night, I have been on a search for one thing and one thing only: The truth. That is all I want to know, for in knowing the truth, I know that I will be set free and no one can take that away from me.
Rose
ISO twin brother, Pottstown Memorial Hospital, Pottstown, PA, March 17, 1959

Adopting A Child To Replace A Deceased One

In the WTF category, this article (Houston Chronicle: Family eases grief of lost child through adoption) makes me sick, sick, absolutely sick. I feel so sorry for this girl and the expectations that are going to be heaped on her, above and beyond those expected of most adoptees.

The adoptive parents are in mega-denial:

“I’m convinced Marin [the deceased child] and Sioban [the Chinese adoptee] met in passing,” Lori [the adoptive mother] said. “Marin told her, This is how you get to Daddy’s heart, and this is how you get to Mommy’s heart.'”

No, I bet the former was pissed off at missing out on her life, and the latter is… well, pissed off at missing out on her life. What is most telling to me is this paragraph:

So they settled on adoption. And they decided on China, because most of the infants there are healthy and, because of the one child policy and male bias, there is a preponderance of girls up for adoption.

Translation: International adoption is easier because it’s less likely those pesky birth families are gonna come searching. It’s also easier because the records are more readily obfuscated. I don’t suppose this family bothered to learn anything about the real state of international adoption, such as the number of children who are being kidnapped–yes, kidnapped–in China and elsewhere to fulfill Western desires to adopt:

More telling quotes from the article:

The adoption itself was a 21-month process. Flying to China, Lori cried and cried. Was their adopting a child really God’s will? Were they supposed to have just three children? What if she didn’t feel love for this new baby? “But that second they put her in my arms, it was instantaneous,” Lori said. “I was like, This is my baby.’ It was very clear cut that our daughter just happened to be born halfway across the world.”

This is NOT YOUR BABY. This child HAS a family IN CHINA. The fact that you used the coercive and corrupt American adoption system to purchase a child does NOT make it “God’s will”. It’s blatant delusion. It’s failure to process grief. Who the hell approved these people to adopt? They already have three kids, for crying out loud! These are not desperate infertiles. These are people who had their hearts set on four kids and dammit, they are gonna have four kids even if they have to swipe one from somebody else.

And the couple says she has helped make the family whole again. “I tell you, she’s got McGrath blood in her,” Lori said, cradling Sioban in her arms.

No, she DOESN’T, and she never will. Does anybody think this family is really going to encourage this girl to explore her origins when she is old enough to understand? I’m betting on Chinese fairytales and the occasional take-out dinner as the extent of it, if that.

The next time somebody gripes at me about mentioning an entitlement mentality among many prospective adopters, I’m showing them this article. And if that makes me “anti-adoption”, then you can bite my bastard ass.

Thanks to Amyadoptee for pointing out this article, I think. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to be violently ill.

Targeted For Adoption II

Don’t drive through Texas if you want to keep your kids.

According to the Chicago Tribune that’s the message being sent by a small Texas town, where cops are alleged to have racially profiled motorists, telling them they had to forfeit their cash, possessions, and even their children.

[T]he police seized $6,037 that Boatright [one of the motorists] said the family was carrying to purchase a used car—and then threatened to turn their children, ages 10 and 1, over to Child Protective Services if the couple didn’t agree to sign over their right to their cash.

“It was give them the money or they were taking our kids,” Boatright said. “They suggested that we never bring it up again. We figured we better give them our cash and get the hell out of there.”

Several months later, after Boatright and her husband contacted an attorney, Tenaha officials returned their money but offered no explanation or apology. The couple remain plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit.”

I’ve blogged before about children targeted for adoption by social workers and others in authority. This article makes me wonder if there was some sweet deal between the police and CPS, or if the cops were simply using the time-honored tactic of bullying people by threatening their children. Either way it’s abhorrent. We all know once CPS (or whatever they’re called in your state) gets involved, parents are guilty and have little recourse however wild or unfounded the allegations. Which I’m sure was exactly why those motorists surrendered their money to the cops instead of their kids. Who wouldn’t? I’m just glad they’re taking their case public to demonstrate the sorts of atrocities that too often happen behind the scenes. I also wonder if we are seeing an uptick in this sort of behavior given the economy, the federal funds behind adoption subsidies, and the pretty penny to be made adopting infants. In this case I’m guessing they’d have bunted the 10-year-old to foster care in order to snatch the more marketable 1-year-old sibling. Sounds like Nebraska.

Targeted For Adoption

It’s a dirty secret that children are targeted for adoption. This time it’s happening in my own backyard. Check out this story from the Chicago Tribune.

The lawsuit charges that authorities “tore a healthy and happy toddler from her innocent parents.” Then, it alleges, child welfare investigators “held the toddler hostage until the parents agreed to forfeit their constitutional rights to live without unwarranted restrictions.”

Two child welfare investigators and two Tinley Park police officers visited the Evans home and found her “safe and well-cared for,” the lawsuit said. Days later, DCFS social workers took the child from her parents for several hours.

The social workers then, according to the suit, threatened the parents with the continued custody of their daughter and placement in a shelter “unless they signed a so-called safety plan restricting their custodial rights.”

Note that the initial investigation found her “safe and well-cared for,” yet Illinois DCFS shows up days later to take the child. Also note the mention of a “safety plan restricting custodial rights,” because that’s how it begins. Once an allegation is made, no matter how wild, parents are considered guilty and are hard-pressed to prove otherwise.

Why target children for foster care and adoption? Because it’s lucrative, as explained in this article about babysnatching in Britain:

Meanwhile, millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money has been given to councils to encourage them to meet high Government targets on child adoptions… This sweeping shake-up was designed for all the right reasons: to get difficult-to-place older children in care homes allocated to new parents. But the reforms didn’t work. Encouraged by the promise of extra cash, social workers began to earmark babies and cute toddlers who were most easy to place in adoptive homes, leaving the more difficult-to-place older children in care.

The secrecy surrounding foster care and adoption works to the snatchers’ advantage. From the same article:

Crucially, the courts’ culture of secrecy means that if a social worker lies or fabricates notes or a medical expert giving evidence makes a mistake, no one finds out and there is no retribution… From the time a child is named on a social services care order until the day they are adopted, the parents are breaking the law – a crime punishable by imprisonment – if they tell anyone what is happening to their family. Anything from a chat with a neighbour to a letter sent to a friend can land them in jail. And many have found themselves sent to prison for breaching court orders by talking about their case.

Another example comes from Kentucky, where social worker whistleblowers accused the state’s Child Protective Services of pressuring birth families and staff to boost adoption rates. Further, those in positions of power were actually able to place orders for children:

The high-adoption trend apparently began in 2004, when adoptions in Kentucky ballooned to 724 while the federal bonus money more than doubled from $452,000 the previous year to more than $1 million.

“The Cabinet puts pressure on stats because federal and state money come from statistics,” said another social worker who wants her identity concealed for fear of retaliation against her family. “You get praised. The Cabinet praises you for terminating rights and adopting kids out immediately.”

She said the concerted effort to take children away and put them up for adoption was so brazen, she actually saw someone successfully place an order for children.

“Someone could not have a child and wanted a child so within the community,” the social worker said. “This person saw a family in distress, having a hard time, relayed to workers that they would like those children, and that’s exactly what has happened.”

And a former CPS supervisor, who also wants anonymity for fear of retaliation, said if an order for a child was delayed or denied, her supervisors would overturn local decisions.

“This one family was promised a child, and when it happened that this child was going to be reunified with the parent, they called our regional office, and our regional office came in our county and they harassed the birth parents and that kind of thing because they didn’t agree with our decision,” the former supervisor said.

There’s no guarantee that a child will be protected once in foster care. In a recent case in Georgia, the natural parents were scant weeks away from getting their child back when the foster caregiver let the girl suffocate in a van. One little boy named Donte May from Peoria, Illinois, is remembered only in a scattering of blog posts:

All wars have casualties, and the war against child abuse provides no exception. In the state of Georgia alone, 433 of our children have died while in the hands of the state over a period of some several recent years. Even a cursory review of recent press accounts reveals: In Peoria, Illinois, the state’s child welfare agency “rescues” Donte May from a neglectful and possibly abusive mother, only to place him in a foster home where he dies suspiciously from bleeding in the brain.

Of course, the canonical example of targeting children for adoption is the recent Texas “sect” case, in which officials were clamoring to adopt the kids out practically before they even raided the compound. And, as we all know, Texas was forced to return those kids. That’s the exception, not the rule.

Illinois DCFS has had a boatload of problems in the past, charged with failing to provide basic services and allowing negligence and abuse. And it appears to be common knowledge that Illinois DCFS targets children for adoption. Such targeting is more widespread than is generally believed, so much so that there are web sites and blogs dedicated to helping people fight false allegations and try to reclaim their kids.

I hope this lawsuit sheds light on this reprehensible practice, and that these families can find some healing after such horrific experiences.

Adoption-Fortified Pro-Life Slogans

This election really has me in a lather, as far as the abortion debate. Some pro-lifers seem hell-bent on stopping abortion with no thought whatsoever to *gasp* actually supporting mothers and children in need. Instead they chuck those infants into the adoption mill, which is about as savory as a puppy mill. The message “abortion is murder” implies that adoption is salvation, but adoption can be murder too, as sadly memorialized here, here, and here. Please take a moment to light a virtual candle for murdered adoptees, and those who still suffer abuse and neglect.

I think it’s high time we added adoption to anti-abortion slogans. In the spirit of the marvelous yet truly disturbing Adoption Apparel Translator (baby bibs reading “Born In Africa, Loved In The USA,” perfect for publicly humiliating your infant adoptee), I humbly offer the following Adoption-Fortified Pro-Life Slogans. Delicious, nutritious and chock-full of all those inconvenient truths that seem to be missing from the Right To Life brand. And it’s melamine-free!

  • Abortion Stops A Beating Heart…
    Adoption Sells It To The Highest Bidder
  • Abortion Kills…
    A Perfectly Good Chance To Make A Buck Selling Babies
  • It’s Not A Choice, It’s A Child…
    Buy Yours Today – Or Be Like Brangelina And Adopt A Complete Set!
  • One Abortion: One Dead, One Wounded…
    One Adoption: Two Life Sentences
  • Abortion: Infant Genocide…
    Adoption: Human Trafficking
  • Abortion Is Like Magic: It Makes Babies Disappear…
    Adoption Is Like A Fun-House Mirror: It Distorts The True Picture
  • Abortion: The Hand That Robs The Cradle…
    And Pockets The Proceeds
  • Pregnant? Scared? We Can Help…
    Ourselves To Your Marketable Infant
  • Adoption: The Caring Option…
    Caring About Our Agency’s Profits
  • Keep Your Laws Off My Tiny Body
    But Feel Free To Adopt Me To Pedophiles And Murderers
  • Blacks Didn’t Choose Slavery, Jews Didn’t Choose Genocide, Babies Don’t Choose Abortion
    We Don’t Choose Adoption Either, But That’s Not In The Brochure
  • Smile! Your Mom Chose Life!
    Frown If She Was Forced To “Give You A Better Life” Through Adoption

and a personal favorite:

  • Choose Life
    But For Heaven’s Sake, Don’t Give Those Bastards Their Birth Certificates Or It Will Be THE END OF THE WORLD!

Adoption Stereotypes-Bring Your Twelve-Sided Dice!

I’ve talked before about the stereotypes we find in adoption. Today I’m going to lay them out, Dungeons and Dragons style, so we can see what they really reveal.

  • THE PERPETUAL CHILD

    Strength: None
    Intelligence: None
    Charisma: None
    Weapon: None
    Armor: None

    The Perpetual Child is an NPC (non-player character) that anyone can control. You can easily obtain one at any tavern, inn, or local gnome’s lair. They’re worth a fortune to the seller, but their only power is the Spell Of Assuaging Guilt In Adoptive Families.

  • THE CRAZY ADOPTEE

    Strength: 18
    Intelligence: More than expected
    Charisma: None-adoptees are insignificant
    Weapon: Wand Of Searching
    Armor: Shield Of Origin

    The Crazy Adoptee (also called the Searching Adoptee) lurks inside every Perpetual Child, and emerges when the glow from the Warm Fuzzy Orb Of Adoption fades. Any questions about adoption can bring on the transformation, so if you see an adoptee begin to ask about his or her origins, better run ’em out of town before they turn, like werewolves, into Crazy Adoptees!

  • THE STALKER ADOPTEE

    Strength: 18 (+20 in Berserker mode)
    Intelligence: 18 (-5 when dealing with Reputable Adoption Agencies)
    Charisma: None
    Weapon: Vorpal Sword Of Original Birth Certificate Access
    Armor: Elven Chain Mail Of Ingratitude

    Eventually Crazy Adoptees become Stalker Adoptees, haunting the shady dens of late-night news and made-for-TV movies. Obsessed with search, the Stalker Adoptee pursues any avenue to track down and harass blood relatives. They thirst for birth names, and hunger for unconditional records access. The worst ones (“Bastards”) can be found hunkered behind blogs, screaming their misshapen notions at the world.

  • THE STALKER BIRTH RELATIVE

    Strength: None-birth relatives have no power
    Intelligence: Not as much as Kind Social Workers
    Charisma: -1
    Weapon: Crossbow Of Determination
    Armor: Blood Ties

    Like the Stalker Adoptee, the Stalker Birth Relative can be found seeking the dark recesses of reality television and horror movies. Stalker Birth Relatives prey primarily on Loving Adoptive Families, eagerly awaiting a chance to snatch away a Perpetual Child (or at least turn them into Crazy Adoptees).

  • THE BIRTH MOTHER PROMISED “CONFIDENTIALITY”

    Strength: -1
    Intelligence: None (or so the Reputable Adoption Agencies assume)
    Charisma: -1
    Weapon: The Mother-Child Bond
    Armor: Shield of Ablative Motherhood, rusted

    The Birth Mother desires privacy at all costs, and will immediately hide in her shell should a Perpetual Child or Crazy Adoptee appear. At the sight of a Stalker Adoptee she will scream, siren-like: “I was promised confidentiality!” to every legislator and Reputable Adoption Agency within hearing. She has never regretted her decision and has been able to move forward with her life just as the Kind Social Workers promised.

  • THE SLACKER BIRTH FATHER

    Strength: 20
    Intelligence: Neanderthal
    Charisma: 12 (+30 to Birth Mothers)
    Weapon: Broadsword Of Virility
    Armor: A Wink And A Nudge

    All Birth Fathers are Slackers. They abandon Birth Mothers and could care less about the Perpetual Children they sire. None of them ever offered support, and none of them wish to know adoptees, crazy, stalker, or otherwise.

  • THE KIND SOCIAL WORKER

    Strength: 18
    Intelligence: 10
    Charisma: 18 (+20 with Reputable Adoption Agency)
    Weapon: Rogue’s Dagger Of Half-Truths
    Armor: Cloak Of Concealment

    The Kind Social Worker will gladly take that Perpetual Child off your hands. She is smiling, cheerful, and full of wise sayings, like “Most birth mothers forget” and “Children deserve two-parent homes.” Like the eyestalk of a Dalek, the Kind Social Worker has one weakness: she is vulnerable in the face of Pregnant Women Who Educate Themselves About Adoption. But if you give her your Perpetual Child, she’ll disappear in a blink.

  • THE REPUTABLE ADOPTION AGENCY

    Strength: 50
    Intelligence: Less than estimated
    Charisma: 50
    Weapon: Adoption Stereotypes
    Armor: Gauntlets Of Wealth

    The Reputable Adoption Agency has everyone’s best interests at heart. They’re a charity, in case you can’t tell from the gold-painted walls, and they would never do anything so horrible as deal with known baby brokers or offer children whose parental rights were terminated illegally.

  • THE LOVING ADOPTIVE FAMILY

    Strength: Taken by infertility
    Intelligence: Minimal near Kind Social Workers and Reputable Adoption Agencies
    Charisma: See Strength
    Weapon: The Promise Of A Better Life
    Armor: Plate Mail Of Public Opinion

    All adoptive families are Loving, if you missed the brochure. Adoptive parents are screened to make sure they aren’t pedophiles or murderers. They always tell Perpetual Children and Crazy Adoptees the truth about adoption, even when it conflicts with their own desires.

See, isn’t it fun playing the Adoption Game? Let’s keep playing before the Thought Police come to take away our Player’s Handbooks and painted miniatures.