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, May 31, 2013

A Act of Love Adoptions - Part One

Utah's High Profile For-Profit Adoption Agency

If you do a lot of Internet research on adoption as I do, you quickly learn that one of the most prolific advertisers, bar none, is a Utah-based for-profit adoption agency, 'A Act of Love.' I swear those ads stalk me everywhere I go!  They're horizontal rectangular ads; they're square ads; they're vertical rectangular ads. I can't even pay a visit to a recommended inspirational video without having my sensitivities assaulted by one of this business enterprise's obnoxious ads. To wit:



Notice that these ads aren't addressed to prospective adoptive parents. Nope. No, they're meant to attract vulnerable, probably frightened mothers-to-be without resources. Strictly supply-side advertising.


Now, come on. Just how do you suppose a for-profit adoption agency that can afford nation-wide obnoxious box ads like these would "help" a vulnerable pregnant woman who is genuinely seeking assistance in dealing with a crisis pregnancy? These deceptive ads touting "act of love" don't mention adoption. They're designed to cause her to assume an "act of love" would reach out to her to help her deal with a difficult life situation. How could she know from these ads that A Act of Love pays big bucks to high-power advertising companies to overwhelm the Internet for the singular purpose of procuring babies for adoption? And once a vulnerable woman clicks on the 'click here' button, her computer's browser will be inhabited thereafter by these ads in perpetuity.

Yellow-pages Internet Ads Throughout the Country - in Your State?

I haven't been able to locate (yet) the advertising entity that produces the obnoxious box ads that plague me, but I have learned how this agency gets listed literally everywhere throughout the country - a company called DexKnows. To see how A Act of Love uses this service to reach its tentacles into every geographic area of the country, click this:

When you get there, click on one of the listings and scroll down to see the coverage area for just that listing. I don't know how many pages of listings there are, but I went as far as page 12 and they continued on from there.

Notice the blurb on this one for Iowa: "Placing your baby for adoption can also mean being a good parent. - Pregnant and searching for answers?"

Where have you read that gem before? From the Mother Ship, maybe?



Mother Ship? You mean National Council For Adoption? A For-profit Agency Member in a "Non-profit" Organization? Are you sure?


Well, yes and no. And it's very complicated. Just how the puzzle goes together has yet to be determined. However, it's obvious A Act of Love Adoptions can't sustain its massive advertising budget and CEO salaries and benefits solely on "non-profit" reported income.

First of all, according to Utah's Business site, A Act of Love Adoptions is one five active DBAs under the umbrella of a corporate mother agency, Act of Love AdoptionServices, Inc. Here's the list:



So now let's look at 'Mother' Act of Love Adoptionservices, Inc.



Notice the NAICS code? Adoption? Social Services? No. Nothing to do with adoption, but 'Grantmaking and Giving Services.' This qualifies this corporation to transfer human babies from one family to another....how?

Here's an earlier listing with the Utah Department of Commerce. Notice:
10,000 shares of common stock.



So What Difference Does it Make That It's a For-Profit Agency?

The bigger questions are these:

What part does this for-profit agency play in the financing of the "non-profit" agency known as A Act of Love Adoptions?

And what financial benefit does the for-profit agency enjoy via its "non-profit" counterpart?

And if there is a financial connection between the two, how can A Act of Love Adoptions be considered a legitimate "non-profit" agency for tax benefit purposes?

And who is the person behind the curtain here? Surely Kathleen Kunkel, whose only qualification to run an adoption agency is that she is an adoptive parent, couldn't devise, maintain, and handle financing for an enterprise as lucrative as this. So if not Kunkel, when who?

If, indeed, there is a shadow for-profit entity behind A Act of Love Adoptions, it's clear that NCFA has accepted the non-profit counterpart as one of its own.

From the NCFA website:



Here's A Act of Love, posted on NCFA's current membership list.


Even given a proper welcome by NCFA in the summer of 2005



Ah, yes! The coveted Congressional Angel in Adoption Award!


How The "Non-Profit" Counterpart of this Agency Helped Kill Attempt to Apply ICPC Rules to Out- of-State Mothers Brought to Utah to Give Birth

It's no secret that Utah agencies fly pregnant women from far and wide to their state to give birth where adoption laws are 'friendlier.' 

Is Utah a 'Baby Warehouse'?

"The Utah adoption debate: Phillip Lowry, an Orem attorney who has filed lawsuits for fathers and another Chicago grandmother attacking Utah adoptions, says Utah's laws attract parents and birth mothers from other states.

"Utah has come to be known as a baby warehouse," where mothers and adoptive parents can "minimize legal hassles," Lowry said. "There are no guards at the door going in or out."
• • • • • •

Quick! Put a Plug in it!


A Act of Love Adoptions, facing the possible loss of 'products' if imported pregnant women and babies' fathers were to be protected under the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), joined with two other Utah agencies to make sure that didn't happen.

Adoption Agencies Sue State Over Out-of State Mothers' Rights

Excerpts:
Each year, more than 100 expectant mothers from other states travel to Utah to deliver their babies and surrender them to adoption agencies.


Their reasons for coming vary -- from the desire to distance themselves from an adoptive family to preferring parents who belong to the LDS Church. Critics suggest other motives in a small number of cases: attempts to avoid birth fathers or stricter laws requiring the fathers' consent in the home states.


"These girls . . . wouldn't come here if staying home was a good option for them," said Salt Lake City attorney Larry Jenkins, who represents Act of Love, Adoption Center of Choice Inc. and ATLC Adoption in the lawsuit. "This potentially eliminates an option for them." 

The state says otherwise, contending it has a duty to make sure adoption agencies and expectant mothers are making placements in the best interests of children. 

"

Any mother who wants to come to Utah for the purpose of giving birth is welcome to do that," said Adam Trupt, policy and planning administrator for the state Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS), "but when there is an agreement with an agency for her to come do that, that's when the compact is activated."

Provo adoption attorney Phillip Lowry commended the state's efforts to enforce the compact. Lowry is representing a North Carolina man who is trying to stop the adoption of his son, who was born and placed for adoption in Utah without the father's knowledge. 

"There is unilateral transportation of children going on, and some [mothers] come to Utah to place the children because Utah has a very strict adoption code," Lowry said. "They avoid the ICPC because that presents the chance that the natural father will find out. And if the natural father finds out, he can enjoin the mother from going out of state."
. . . . .

Three agencies sued, contending Utah is incorrectly using the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), a law drafted in the 1960s and later adopted by all 50 states to protect children taken across state lines for adoptions. Applying the ICPC to unborn children effectively makes fetuses residents of the mothers' home states, and unfairly limits a woman's right to travel, they claim.
....
Utah officials base their position on a 1986 opinion issued by a national association of ICPC administrators. The opinion says expectant mothers crossing state lines as part of a "placement plan" should be subject to the ICPC, lest they be allowed to manipulate the delivery location to escape oversight.

Outcome of this lawsuit:

Court says interstate agreement doesn't apply to unborn children

Excerpts:

Utah adoptions require confirmation by a state judge. But in 2001, the state Department of Human Services warned adoption agencies it was cracking down on those who begin adoption arrangements for out-of-state women without notice to Utah or their home state.
Three agencies sued, arguing the enforcement was unconstitutional, arguing that applying the law to unborn children effectively makes fetuses residents of the mothers' home states, and unfairly limits a woman's right to travel.

Larry Jenkins, a Salt Lake City attorney who represented Act of Love, Adoption Center of Choice Inc. and ATLC Adoption in the lawsuit, said the ruling would benefit adoptive and birth parents throughout the state.

• • • • •


A Act of Love in Action

Here's how this agency and others in Utah are able to bypass ICPC regulations by transporting mothers-to-be into their lairs. Bear in mind that once in Utah, these vulnerable women not only are subject to that state's agency-powered laws, but they are effectively separated from family and any potential support systems in their own states. How free would a new mother feel to decide to parent her own child when she would be dependent on the agency to fly her back home? And to whom would she turn to help her with her immediate needs and those of her baby? Yes, the agency has seen to it that she is enrolled under Utah's Medicaid to pay her medical bills, but would she know how to get additional state help for postpartum care?

And that's just the mother's dilemma. Then there is the father's battle to assert his rights.

Did Utah four-day work week cost dad rights to his child?

Excerpts

Shaud immediately filed with Arizona's Putative Father Registry but said he was unable to locate information on government websites about what he needed to do to protect his rights in Utah. He hired a Utah attorney, who on Jan. 12, 2010, filed a paternity petition and faxed a notice of paternity to the state records office.

Daniel Drage, Shaud's attorney, also mailed a notice that day to the records office, which marked it received on Jan. 14. With the baby due in February, Shaud thought he was acting in plenty of time.

But Tew gave premature birth to a baby girl on Jan. 15.

The records office happened to be closed that day, a Friday, because of the state's four-day work schedule, and was closed the following Monday, which was a federal holiday. A clerk filed Shaud's paternity notice on Jan. 20, a day after Tew relinquished her rights and the infant was placed with adoptive parents through A Act of Love Adoptions.

A trial court judge ruled Shaud had failed to met a statutory deadline and had no right to object to the adoption. Drage argued the lower court improperly refused to let Shaud submit evidence detailing his filings.

"In this case, Mr. Shaud ran this race, ran through the maze and initiated his paternity proceedings and filed his notice prior to the birth of his child," his appeal states. But, the office failed to act in a timely manner, a failure that was "unquestionably the result of gross negligence.

"To bar Mr. Shaud from asserting his biological right to his daughter in these circumstances contravenes all notions of fairness and due process," Shaud's petition states.

Ethics in Keeping with the Mother Ship?


Remember this: The whole is equal to the sum of its parts.

A Act of Love Adoptions is a 'part' of National Council For Adoption, which makes the following claim on its website:

"For 33 years, NCFA has been the authoritative voice for adoption. Our research, education programs, and advocacy have led the way in promoting sound, ethical adoption policies and practices that have enabled children to find nurturing, permanent families through adoption."


Uh huh. Case in point: A Act of Love Adoptions


UPDATE:


The pieces of the puzzle may come together in my next post.


14 comments:

  1. I wish we could sue for damages, for the children, whose adoptions were forced, coerced, and illegal. Mine was and I know many others who also were forced to give up their children.

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  2. What a grand tie-up of the court system that would bring about! Lots of out-of-court settlements - lots of revoked licenses and bankrupt agencies. Whee!

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  3. How many premature births have happened with A Act of Love??

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    1. That would be interesting to know, indeed! The possibilities are endless, aren't they?

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  4. What super wonderful digging!~ Hat's off!

    I'm linking to this on MOTL! More people need to see the connections that you have so perfectly detailed!!

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  5. Oh.. and I forgot to add. Those adds that keep following you are around.. it's called "re-marketing". And while other industries use remarketing ads, they are very expensive and not something that an agency can do themselves! They have had to hire a pretty pricey marketing form to do this work as it is tied into a network of ad space. It shows a clear use of serious money and an intention to send the same messages over and over, which is the point of the ads.

    This form of advertising was created based more on the social concepts of "perceived authority, personalization and constant branding" Meaning the average internet user would see the same ads over and over based on websites they have already visited. It is supposed to build trust with the brand by making them seem like "leaders" in what ever field, which will influence the consumers likelyhood of clicking on the ad.
    What I consider more dnagerous with adoption agencies using this form of marketing is that a vulnerable expectant woman is more likely to be be looking for answers. And without being aware of the marketing ploy, she could see the repeat of such ads as a 'sign" or a message. There is already enough confusion with "God lead me to this" so to ad another layers is frighteneing.. and I am sure a reason why A Act of Love is more apt to spend the big bucks on this form of advertising.

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    1. Thanks so very much for that additional information, Claudia! I knew it had to work something like that, but you explained it in language we can understand. And you're exactly right about the repetition part - kind of like being followed around with a benign entity that is only trying to help! (AS IF!)

      I'd sure love to know how much this obnoxious advertising is costing them. I'd even like to know what company they've hired to do it. I'll keep digging, though!

      By the way, have you read all the stuff I published on here about Adoption House and the Tenenbaums, father and son? If not, expand the 2011 posting list at the top of the page and you'll find two entries there on this disgusting (now defunct, thankfully) agency that was once a major player in NCFA.

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  8. Explanation for two deletions: They were bot postings advertising legal tax services.

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  11. My reason for deleting vabna is the same as previously. I stated it wrong in my comment just before this.

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