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.