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.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
"It shall not be a violation of the privacy of a parent whose rights were terminated, for a record to reveal the identity of such parent to his adult son or daughter."
"The rights of access to records established by this Title shall have retroactive effect, and shall not be limited by reason of prior law or of assurances of confidentiality not required by this Act."
"...that there can be no legally protected interest in keeping one's identity secret from one's biological offspring; parent and child are considered co-owners of the information regarding the event of birth."
"I support vigorously the adoptee's right to have their records opened. For some time now, I have been opening records with tremendous success. Therefore, I support Title V of the Model State Adoption Act and urge that everything be done to insure its passage." Robert B. Watts, Judge, Supreme Bench, Baltimore City
"In the name of mental health, which is consistent with freedom, understanding and love, we would like to keep that core of the Model Law that demolishes the stonewall which has so frustrated adopted adults search for identity." Terry J. Zenner, Director, Catholic Social Services, Diocese of Lafayette, LA
"If we believe in 'one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all', then we should fight to the end for that group of citizens who are adopted and who are deprived of fundamental decency and justice." Wade S. Weatherford, Jr., Resident Judge, Circuit Court of South Carolina
"Not all adoptees will wish to know the birth parents, nor to meet her/him. But surely the option should be there as opposed to a rigid secrecy which can leave adoptees feeling that there is some monstrous secret in their past. We therefore applaid the concept of more open records..." National Assn. of Social Workers
"This Act was produced in 1979 by a 'runaway' advisory committee... Because of the 'open records' provisions and other noxious elements in the Act, Ruby Lee correctly concluded that, if the DMSAA were to become law, domestic infant adoption would be snuffed out and tens of thousands of women who made adoption plans in previous decades would be betrayed."
"raised money and awareness, enlisted adoption agencies across America to get involved, and handpicked some of Gladney's best volunteers to serve on NCFA's board."
"Within two years, DMSAA was returned to its original focus on children with special needs. And NCFA was launched, a strong advocate for adoption, despite shaky finances."
Chairman: William E. McKay, Pres., Fort Worth Chevrolet DealershipSecretary: Michael Barone, Political Analyst/Writer, Washington, DCTreasurer: Dr. Frank Mastrapasqua, Economist, Portfolio Investment Strategist, CT
Saturday, January 15, 2011
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.
Friday, January 14, 2011
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.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
As little as four years ago, adoptive parents in Texas were not entitled to see their children’s medical, educational, social and other records. A page or two of background information was usually all they received.
“In many cases, no records were sent,” said Mr. Cogan, who filed a number of lawsuits on behalf of adopting families whose initially healthy children later required medical or psychological treatment.
But in 1989, the Legislature passed laws requiring the release of specific information to potential adoptive parents. The information includes medical and psychological records and family health and criminal histories.
“The reform allows folks to look at the records and decide if they can care for the child,” Mr. Cogan said.
The Burgesses had previously filed a complaint against Smithlawn with the Texas Department of Human Services, which monitors 168 private and state-run facilities involved in child placement.
Investigator Barbara Clark subsequently determined that Smithlawn had violated several state regulations in dealing with the Burgesses and other families. The agency, she said, “withheld vital information from adoptive parents, failed to provide needed medical treatment for a foster care child, divulged confidential information and pressured birth mothers to place their babies.”
In Smithlawn’s November 1991 answer to that report. Mr. Hulett said the home admitted no wrongdoing but had made policy changes and would comply with state regulations.
- Exerting pressure on mothers-to-be who come to them for help to forgo their own God-given maternal instincts so that others, deemed to be more deserving, could enjoy the blessings of parenthood. It's pretty difficult to picture Jesus approving of this.
- Disenfranchising fathers in defiance of laws designed to protect their interests in their own children.
- Risking failed adoptions and creating heartbreak for adoptive parents by trying to sneak adoptions through without acquiring legal consent of fathers.
- Concealing and/or lying about medical backgrounds in infants it placed.
- Permitting an attorney member of its own board of directors to represent a couple filing suit against them.
- Bowing to the dog-eat-dog pressures of "the adoption market" that was "putting the squeeze on them" by lowering itself to the least common denominator of professional practice.
CONTINUED: To read additional accounts of NCFA member agencies conducting unethical practices, click on individual agencies listed on archive column, under the numbered entries.