What You Need to Know About NCFA Member Agencies

The time has come to expose the foibles of member agencies of National Council For Adoption, the organization that makes the following claim on its website (since removed):

"For 30 years, NCFA has been the authoritative voice for adoption. Our research and education programs have led the way to promoting sound, ethical adoption policies and practices that have enabled children to find nurturing, permanent families through adoption."

Spotlighting a large number of NCFA member agencies on this blog does not imply that all NCFA members conduct themselves in ways that call to question their "sound, ethical adoption policies and practices." However, a whole is always equal to the sum of its parts – all of its parts.

The issues dealt with on this blog stretch far beyond ethical adoption policies and practices. They involve public trust, credibility, authenticity of purpose, and common human decency.

As you read the accounts of NCFA member agencies here, ask yourself how they reflect the "sound, ethical adoption policies and practices" touted by the trade organization that represents them before legislatures throughout the country.

Before we begin, however, I invite you to explore the origins of this organization. We need to begin with how adoption policies and practices relative to adoptee rights morphed from being deemed "sacred" to being deep-sixed to shield private adoption agencies from accountability and liability. In the process, what was "best for the child" became severely tainted by the business of adoption. And a business it is! A multi-billion dollar annual business!

NCFA was formed to protect, enhance and perpetuate that business.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Adoption Mafia? Adoption Cartel?

Two weeks before the United States signed the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption (which wasn't ratified until 2007 and enforced in 2008), a battle was raging in Washington between treaty-supporting and treaty-opposing factions. The latter insisted on the continuation of the status quo: privately-brokered foreign adoptions. The former supported the Hague Convention's agency-only provision that included the establishment of a federal authority to regulate and oversee its implementation.

National Council For Adoption, with Bill Pierce leading the charge, was a Hague Convention proponent, and for admirable reasons, but that was only part of its enthusiastic support. NCFA envisioned itself being appointed - or anointed - as the regulating federal authority. Puffed up from over a decade of declaring its tiny clutch of private agencies "the authoritative voice for adoption in the United States" (from its website), NCFA had been positioning itself to make the biggest coup yet: international clout.

The battle between factions was described in an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer on March 7, 1994. Here's an excerpt, beginning with the expressed concern of an adoptive mother who previously had adopted two children from Colombia with just the help of an attorney:
She and others expressed worry about the treaty's requirement that the U.S. government establish a federal authority to regulate and oversee each of the 6,500 annual adoptions of foreign children by Americans.
They're worried about the influence of a Washington lobbyist who represents the National Council for Adoptions, a private association that has been mistaken by at least three nations – Russia, Ethiopia and Poland – for a federal adoption clearinghouse.
Critics contend that the lobbyist, William Pierce, perpetuated that mistaken assumption. Pushed by complaints, the State Department last fall wrote to 50 nations explaining that the National Council for Adoptions was not an official agency and that governments could work with whomever they choose.
"I've been accused of running an adoption mafia, of trying to set up an adoption cartel," Pierce said. "It's absolutely nuts."
Pierce says he never misrepresented his organization, which charges 125 U.S. adoption agencies up to several thousand dollars to join. National Council for Adoptions researches and lobbies on adoption and provides information, for free, to the State Department.
Thankfully, NCFA was neither appointed nor anointed to oversee the Hague Convention protocols and enforcement. However, implementation of the Convention would eventually bite at least one NCFA member agency in the butt, as it had to desist its exportation of U.S.-born Gerber babies to Europe and elsewhere.

More on this in the next post.


  1. It just sad to think such things happen everyday and nobody pays much attention to it.

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