|Is that Grandpa or Dad on the right?|
Spence-Chapin (whose name reminds me of an elite finishing school), has been the go-to agency for New Yorkers wishing to adopt since its founding in 1908. According to the letter, S-C is shifting its focus to domestic and foreign "school-age children, sibling groups, and children with special needs living in institutions," populations which have "grown considerably. There are 132 million children world-wide without families and 95% of those children are over the age of 6."
SWITCHING TO INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION
S-C is transitioning its programs that fall outside the scope of this strategy--"Korea, China, Moldova,
S-C's new focus is a correction long overdue. The decline in infants available for adoption is a cause for celebration: women have more control over their reproduction, and greater means to care for their children.
The adoption industry has been struggling for years with the shortage of infants, employing all sorts of tricks to meet the insistent demand. Agencies advertise spa-like settings to entice vulnerable pregnant women, use religious arguments, tout the benefits of more affluent homes for their children as well as increased opportunities for mothers unencumbered with a baby, sweetened with a promise of a college scholarship, seek out women of color they eschewed in the past, lure in expectant mothers through "crisis pregnancy centers," use first parents like the hapless Caitlynn and Tyler (of Sixteen and Pregnant) to promote adoption, promise open adoption although they know the agreements are not enforceable, use media personalities like Drs. Phil, Laura, and Drew to convince mothers their children belong with affluent couples, and enlist abortion providers and liberals to manipulate women with unplanned pregnancies into considering the "adoption option" as well as abortion and parenting. The industry lobbies legislators to pass laws "making adoption easier" meaning laws constricting mothers' ability to change their minds about adoption and cutting out fathers altogether. Meanwhile those desiring infants are resorting to DIY, unabashedly advertising for babies on Facebook and billboards.
|"Loving couple" advertising for a baby on a Michigan billboard|
While S-C is to be lauded for ending its infant adoption program, its new focus is troubling. We believe that children in foreign institutions, for the most part, would be better served in their countries. Child welfare advocates all over the world need to help parents keep their children and prod foreign governments to accept responsibility for their own children. Sending babies and toddlers to strange cultures is not a good idea, and the recent work of Korean adoptees such as Jane Jeong Trinka and Kevin Haebeom Vollmers, and Peter Dodds, adopted from Germany, readily demonstrates.
S-C's claims of 132 million children in institutions world-wide is highly questionable. In The Child Catchers, author Kathryn Joyce notes that commonly-used figures for the number of children in orphanages are greatly exaggerated. She points out that while the United Nations estimated 143 million "orphaned and vulnerable" children, the number includes children who lost one or both parents. Most of these children live with their surviving parent or extended family, just as they would mostly likely in the United States, Canada and most countries. Many of the children in orphanages are still connected to their families who often use orphanages as boarding schools, or places for their children to stay because of poverty or work demands during a harvest season.
IF WE BUILD AN ORPHANAGE, THERE WILL BE ORPHANS...
The adoption industry actual causes the "orphan" population to increase by expanding and building new orphanages, financed by donations from grateful adopting parents. (The idea is, "If we build it, they will come.") But as Joyce writes:
"When orphanages are created in places that didn't have them before, suddenly that region will have more 'orphans,' as poor parents see the institutions as a way to ease their burden and give their children an opportunity for better food, shelter, and education. Children who were not homeless or unparented before end up becoming institutionalized as a direct result of orphanages setting up shop in poor areas. Then adoption advocates point to the increased rates of institutionalization as evidence for the need for adoption. It's what some have come to call 'a culture of adoption,' functioning like a self-fulfilling prophecy."Although S-C is focusing on older and disabled children who historically have been ignored by those adopting internationally, these children may yet become commodities just as younger children have been. The sad smile of a child with a crutch or roaming through a trash bin can convince many an American to pay big bucks to bring him here. This occurred after World War II and the Korean War when many older children were brought to the U.S. Americans seem more willing to adopt "special needs" children from abroad than from the U.S., perhaps because the industry has convinced them that these children are more deserving and lack the emotional issues that challenge adoptive parents raising children from foster care. A horrifying but real possibility is that war lords may deliberately maim children to create invalids for the adoption market.
For the past several years, agencies specializing in international adoptions have closed as the supply of infants has dried up. We anticipate additional closures by agencies doing domestic infant adoptions or, like S-C, switching their focus to older and disabled children. Meanwhile, the demand for infants may level off or even decline as it becomes easier and cheaper to create children artificially. Oregon adoption attorneys tell me that they do fewer infant adoptions than in the past. More than half their practices today deal with issues related to "reproductive technologies" including surrogacy and egg and sperm donations.
In spite of these changes, more than 100,000 children in U.S. foster homes await adoption. Those seeking to build their families should consider these children. They are children who truly need homes, which should be the real purpose of adoption.--jane
Spence-Chapin Adoption Services
Gladney Center for Adoption
Adoption law reforms desparately needed
Adoption Bill Board
Adopt US Kids
Alms Dealers (An excellent article about the harms wrought in poor countries because of "humanitarian aid" from westerners.
How adoption agencies 'turn' vulnerable women into spokespeople for relinquishing
Former Bethany "recruiter" speaks up
Shotgun Adoptions v Crisis Pregnancy Centers
Are Open Adoptions a Boon for Birth Mothers or a Scam?
How the Internet is Changing Adoption
(Pro) Adoption Special: Dr. Drew encourages teen moms to give up their babies
Utah's anti-father policies an offshoot of Mormon agenda
Adoption Posters at Abortion Clinics...Why Not Truth-Counselors at Adoption Agencies? We Volunteer
Response to the Adoption Option
State Adoption Laws
Finding babies through Facebook. And your manicurist And...
The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption
“This intricate investigation of adoption ethics and religion is an incisive, evenhanded corrective to the view of child adoption as benign and salvific….Grim but not downbeat, Joyce’s reporting also indicates signs of hope for reform….This exemplary study deserves a wide audience among all readers involved with adoption, from policymakers to prospective adoptive families.”--Library Journal
The Crisis Caravan: What's Wrong with Humanitarian Aid? “Particularly timely just now… Polman finds moral hazard on display wherever aid workers are deployed. In case after case, a persuasive argument can be made that, over-all, humanitarian aid did as much or even more harm than good… Her style is brusque, hard-boiled, with a satirist’s taste for gallows humor. Her basic stance is: J’accuse.” —Philip Gourevitch, The New Yorker Order either or both by clicking on picture of book jacket or title.