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.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

4: Uniform Adoption Act: Thankfully Defeated

As disappointing as it was to lose our battle for adoptee rights restoration by the gutting of the Draft Model State Adoption Act (see 'When Rights Came Close to Being Restored,') we would learn in the 1990s that things could have gotten a whole lot worse! And if it hadn't been for the diligence and hard work of our adoption reform activists, adoptees' rights could have been deep-sixed for over a generation.

Predictably, National Council For Adoption (NCFA) played a significant role in the horror that was to unfold. From its website, NCFA boasts: "In 1992, we educated policymakers on the need to pass the Uniform Adoption Act (UAA), which facilitated adoption placements and protected confidentiality in adoption."

What was the Uniform Adoption Act, and how would it have impacted all of us?

Rather than expound on it here, I'll simply provide links to excellent sites that others have created in response to the Act and do a little commenting to augment them.

This page by Shea Grimm explains how the Act came to be drafted, who vigorously opposed it (besides us), and gives a brief summary of its provisions.

A good commentary on the Act can be found here.

You can read the official UAA document for yourself here.

NCFA's View of the Uniform Adoption Act

If you do a Google search for the Uniform Adoption Act, one of the sites that's sure to show up early in the list is the adoption.com website. It is to be expected that NCFA would hasten to provide its interpretation of the UAA "facts" there. As expected, then, the text provided to describe UAA was credited as "Reprinted from the Encyclopedia of Adoption," a NCFA volume written by Christine Adamec and Bill Pierce.

Here, in part, is NCFA's interpretation:
Although there are many articles and publications in print and on the Internet describing the contents of the UAA, most are extremely biased. One of the best brief objective summaries is by Joel D. Tenenbaum, who served as the ABA liaison to the NCCUSL UAA committee.

Despite the substantial differences of opinion that were aired during the drafting process, the NCCUSL aims to resolve issues by compromise and consensus. Therefore, each time the UAA was taken to the floor of the NCCUSL annual meeting, it was clear that there was a large majority in favor of the act and its recommended approaches to the controversial issues under consideration.

The most heated debates, in both the drafting committee and on the floor at the annual meeting, had to do with access to sealed records. A minority of the drafting committee and a tiny percentage of the commissioners as a whole opposed the UAA recommendation that MUTUAL CONSENT REGISTRIES be used as the usual legal means whereby persons who had been involved in an adoption in which records had been sealed could indicate their interest in exchanging identifying information.

Eventually, in 1994, the commissioners voted to approve the UAA and to promulgate it. Early in 1995, the ABA overwhelmingly endorsed the UAA. The NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR ADOPTION and a number of other organizations also endorsed the UAA.

The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, according to one of its past presidents, Samuel Totaro, Jr, by contract voted to ". . . disseminate the Uniform Adoption Act to the various states for its consideration." A substantial number of organizations that had participated in the process were unsuccessful in each instance in convincing the commissioners to accept their views on controversial issues, among them the American Adoption Congress, the Child Welfare League of America and Concerned United Birthparents. These groups launched a vigorous campaign to keep the UAA from being adopted by any state.

The outlook for the UAA is uncertain at this writing. Although it has been introduced in several states, there has been little or no organized support for the UAA either from NCCUSL commissioners in those states or from state affiliates of the ABA. By contrast, opponents of the UAA have utilized a variety of means to express their objections, and have staged protests and overwhelmed hearings. In the face of such uneven support, many state legislatures have either backed away from considering the UAA, or, in at least one instance, passed legislation directly opposed to key principles of the UAA, such as the privacy of adoption records.

As the title of this blog indicates, the Uniform Adoption Act went down in flames. But we must not let down our guards. At any time, another attack could be launched against adoptee rights at the national level.

The time has come to change course from defensive to offensive. It's time to take off the gloves and begin exposing the character and deeds of those who seek to cover their tracks with sealed adoption records.

My next post will lay bare the character of one of the "players" in the UAA attempt.

1 comment: