|Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan|
ANLC's website creates the impression that their service--offering "Free Confidential Assistance...24/7" is local. However. When I clicked on from my home in Portland, Oregon, I got "Help with an Unplanned Pregnancy...in Washington or Adopt a Newborn Baby in Washington." Is it because direct marketing by unlicensed practitioners is illegal in Oregon? Or are these folks are geographically challenged? I don't know.
Regardless of the state, though, the information is the same. I was quickly on sites offering "Unplanned Pregnancy Help," or "How to Adopt a Newborn Baby" and "Finding the Perfect Family for Your Baby." It's all very slick.
ADOPTION INDUSTRY SLEAZE
The website does not, however, disclose who's behind the business. A search of California's Secretary of State's Business Registry shows two dissolved corporations with the name Adoption Network Law Center, Inc., both created in 2002. This first in Laguna Beach with Stephen Lamb as the registered agent and the other in Lake Forest with Richard Mowery as the agent. Both are California attorneys. A Google search didn't help me find the magicians behind the screen but did come up with "Our Awful Experience with Adoption Network Law Center" by adoptive parents, The Chittister Family. Their site in turn led to other complaints about ANLC including one in Ripoff Report from a first mother stating that, among other things, she was not told that open adoption agreements were not enforceable in her state.
The law was passed in response to the "Baby Tamia" case: a six-month old girl was nearly adopted by alleged drug-users in Utah after her birth mother, suffering from postpartum depression, gave the baby to a for-profit agency, A Cherished Child, doing business in Illinois through newspaper ads. "A Cherished Child" we discovered, is based in Utah, where adoption is a major industry. Linking on "A Cherished Child" takes us to "A [sic] Act of Love," a candidate for the 2011 Demons in Adoption Award. A [sic] Act of Love was responsible for illegally placing the children of fathers Ramsey Shaud, John Wyatt, and others for adoption.
We commend the State of Illinois (my home state!) for taking a tough stand on the adoption industry, but states can't fight this battle alone. Adoption Network Law Center may continue in business in Illinois by having Indiana or Missouri pop up when Illinois residents access its website, and convince would-be adopters and vulnerable pregnant women to come to neighboring states for its "services."
FEDERAL REGULATION NEEDED
It's common for the seamy adoption practitioners to operate across state lines, selecting "adoption-friendly" states and making it difficult for their victims to contest adoptions. The husband-and-wife team of attorney Raymond Godwin and Laura Beauvais-Godwin, operator of Nightlife Christian Adoptions, and self-described "devout Christians" are based in South Carolina, but snatch Indian children from Oklahoma. Victimized parents include Dusten Brown, who lost custody of his daughter when the U. S. Supreme Court eviscerated the Indian Child Welfare Act. Another Oklahoma father, Jeremy Simmons, is fighting the adoption of his daughter Deseray, also taken to South Carolina. About that case, there is some good news! Pursuant to court order, Deseray has been removed from the custody of the would-be adopters, Bobby and Diane Bixler, and placed in foster care. The Bixler's are in their 60's; their two adult children say they are abusive parents.
Illinois can reform its adoption laws and go to court to enforce them but in many states, reform is unlikely. Thanks to the lobbying of LDS adoption attorneys, Utah hasn't fixed its laws in spite of horrific abuses by the adoption industry documented in the Salt Lake City Tribune. Raymond Godwin received an Angel in Adoption Award at the recommendation of former South Carolina Senator James DeMint, which ought to make anyone who is nominated for this award leery of joining its ranks. It is clearly by and for the adoption industry.
Trying to control sleazy adoption practitioners through state laws is kind of like playing Wack-a-Mole; Con-artists open up shop in one state when they are shut down in another. Anything short of federal legislation is unlikely to stop vultures like ANLC, A [sic] Act of Love, the Godwins, and others. We've seen this scenario before. When the Great Depression hit, it became apparent that state laws regulating the sale of securities and banks were ineffective. Congress enacted laws in the 1930's which worked well until Congress weakened them in the 1990's, laying the ground for the recent Depression.-- jane
PS: Thanks to one of our readers for calling our attention to the Illinois legal action.
PPS: The only reason we can think of for A [sic] Act of Love to use so obvious a grammatical error in their name is so that the business would beat out all other adoption sites in alphabetic listings.
PPPS: Convicted child sex offender Jerry Sandusky was also an Angel in Adoption although we understand he has been stripped of his award.
Illinois files 'historic' lawsuit against for-profit adoption agency
Adoption Law Center
Adoption Network Law Center -- Facebook Page
Governor Blagojevich signs legislation establishing Illinois as national model for adoption reform
Our Awful Experience with Adoption Network Law Center
Second Indian Infant Whisked to South Carolina for quickie adoption
Raymond W. Godwin
Nightlife Christian Adoptions
Baby Deseray removed from the Bixler's Custody in South Carolina
How the Internet is changing adoption
Vote for your favorite Demon in Adoption!
Adoption in Utah: No place for birth fathers
Utah: Sewer Pit of the Adoption Industry
The Baby Thief by L.J. Sellers is a novel we stumbled on (but have not read). To our mind it certainly looks like a promising read. It is a detective novel, Sellers is a popular writer (who lives in Eugene, Or, the setting of her books), and this book has a lot of Amazon reviewers who read here. This is from an one reviewer, Gina Gilmore: "In this book, Sellers addresses the issues of egg harvesting and cults. I really don't want to say much more in fear of giving away the plot - but if you think the idea of stealing and/or arranging to buy another woman's eggs in order to resell them to a couple desperate to have a child, just take the time to research the topic - you'll be amazed and appalled by what is going on out there." Well, we might be horrified, but we won't be amazed.
The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry
by Mirah Riben "Expose of the privatization of the adoption industry; the indistinguishable line between gray and black market; the scams and rip-offs; exploitation in both domestic and international infant adoption markets where the children are the commodity and prices are set based on quality (i.e. age, race, health)while 143,000 children linger in foster care. Extensively researched and documented inside report of the lack of regulations that allow anyone to call themselves an adoption "professional" and arrange adoptions. Questions whether the money can be removed from adoption and return it to a service which puts the best interest of children first instead of simply allowing anyone who pay - including pedophiles - to "adopt" a child." --Amazon. This is chock full of facts and figures. It is too bad that it never has gotten the attention is rightly deserves.