Not Again! Yet Another United States' Plan To Support International Adoption

Reason doesn't seem to sink in with Senator Klobuchar and Senator Blunt, who after two failed earlier attempts started a new, yet undisclosed initiative to support international adoption through diplomatic channels. The senators are obsessed with international adoption as a solution for children in adversity all over the world. In their obsession they seem to have missed all the information that was brought up in the earlier discussions.

They didn't get that a budget at the Department of State to support international adoption would be used much more effectively and help many, many more children than the handful of individually adopted children which are 'saved' now, if that budget would be applied to community care, family reunion and family support in developing countries.

They didn't seem to understand that international adoption for adoptees is a mixed blessing: children in behavioral treatment centers consist of 40 to 50% of adoptees, schools for children with learning disabilities are for a high percentage peopled with adopted children, the suicide rate of adoptees is 4 times higher than in the general population, the regulated and unregulated rehoming of 'acting-out' kids turned into a common practice and a thriving business, they didn't seem to understand that the waiting rooms of psychologists and therapists all over the country are filled not only with adoptees but also with their parents.

They haven't read the blogs, books and articles by adoptees and particular adoptees of color that show how growing up in mostly white American families is for many of them a hard call. They seemed to have missed standard literature from last century on the complexities of adoption by adoptee Betty Jean Lifton (Journey of the Adopted Self) and adoptive mother Nancy Newton Verrier (The Primal Wound) and missed the loud and often provocative adoptee movements in this century embodied by web collectives like Land of Gazillion Adoptees and Lost Daughters.

Klobuchar and Blunt didn't see that United States itself became a 'sending' country of mostly African-American babies to The Netherlands, Germany and recently Ireland.

They didn't see the havoc and the horror international adoption - paid for in hard currency - creates in the sending countries in Africa, Asia and South America: corruption, fraud, child trafficking, baby farms. They just didn't Google: Guatamala, Vietnam, China, India, Nepal, Congo, Haiti, Nigeria and so on, to trip over the endless cruel cases. They didn't see how adoption by Americans is seen as something negative, as a form of neo-colonialism, particularly in African countries.

What they didn't see is the excruciating pain of dead poor mothers and fathers giving up their children, the pain of urban and rural communities who are lied to by 'child catchers' as Kathryn Joyce in her book of the same title coined them, child catchers who promise the return of their then educated and helpful children, but promised them to their American 'forever parents' at the same time.

What Klobuchar and Blunt did see is the misinformation from agencies with their shiny and happy savior websites and ads, the misinformation from trade organizations, the misinformation from religious zealots who abuse Gods' word to legitimize the often illegal import of babies of color by snow white Evangelical Christians, the misinformation by left leaning lofty and colorblind liberals who want to save the world, starting with one child from a dark place, the misinformation from those who falsely apply adoption arguments for kids in foster care to the adoption of newborns.

So here we stand again for a new initiative to support international adoption by Klobuchar and Blunt, who failed with two earlier similar initiatives. They opened up to the members of National Council For Adoption in the following letter in which they ask for their support and through them for political support for their plan. I know what will happen: another tedious and useless fight. I know the anti-international adoption and the adoption reform activists are ready and I know the supporters of this bill are ready as well to grab their pens and start arguing. This all will end, like before, in shelving this initiative after about a year or two.

Can Klobuchar and Blunt for one time, just for one time inform themselves about international adoption as it plays out in the real world and not on the happy stage as it is set up and decorated by saviors, believers, deceivers, legal and illegal business people. Maybe they then come up with an international child and family welfare initiative, which focuses on keeping children with their parents, their extended families or in their communities, instead of a plan focused on adoption that takes away these children from their parents or their communities. It might be that a few kids are still in need of international adoption, but I doubt even that.

Here the letter:

July 12, 2016

Dear NCFA Members:

For many years, NCFA has worked to bring much needed legislative reform to intercountry adoption. Our previous support of the Families For Orphans Act and the Children in Families First Act did not result in their passage.

This week, Senators Roy Blunt and Amy Klobuchar plan to introduce the Vulnerable Children and Families Act of 2016 (see attachment), a significantly re-tooled and simpler version of the two former pieces of legislation, yet something very affirmative to promoting intercountry adoption among other viable permanency solutions.

The Vulnerable Children and Families Act of 2016 will accomplish many important objectives:

· It will re-enforce Congress' and the American people's commitment to intercountry adoption when this is the appropriate option for a child to have a family.
· It re-prioritizes and affirms the U.S. Department of State's responsibility to be better advocates for this population of vulnerable children and opens doors of opportunity for them to be adopted by qualified American citizens.
· It provides the U.S. Department of State mission-specific instructions regarding their role in advancing the cause of intercountry adoption when no other domestic solution is available for a child to have a family, including establishing priorities that seem inherent in appropriate Hague Convention implementation.
· It creates better communications between several U.S. Government offices charged with carrying out various international child welfare activities and services, among them domestic and intercountry adoption options - and creates, in our opinion, more accountability and cooperation between the U.S. Department of State, other government offices, and the U.S. Congress.

Passage of the Vulnerable Children and Families Act of 2016 has the potential to change the current concerning trajectory of intercountry adoption in the US. The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption has failed to live up to its potential. Millions upon millions of children are in need of a family globally, and this legislation will to better serve the desperate needs of this population of children. Because the legislation is nearly all affirmative and mission-specific, it only requires a reallocation of existing resources without significant costs, while at the same time giving the U.S. Department of State a new mandate to better assist orphaned and abandoned children in need of a family and the American citizens who want to open their hearts and home to these children through adoption. The very same mandate we believed was given in 2008 when the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption was implemented in the U.S.

I am asking for your immediate and urgent help. Senators Blunt and Klobuchar have circulated the legislation to their colleagues in the Senate and are seeking additional co-sponsors before they introduce it THIS week; hence the urgency of the matter. Please call your Senator NOW (there is not yet a version in the House that is coming soon) and ask them to contact either Lauren in Blunt's office or Lindsey in Klobuchar's office and co-sponsor the Vulnerable Children and Families Act of 2016.

We have spent years working to this point. If you support intercountry adoption and want to see key reforms to how the Department of State views its mission as Central Authority and a better implementation of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, then you really need to call your Senator and secure their support. Without passage of this legislation, then you can expect more of the same approach by the US Government on Intercountry Adoption.

Also, the following Senators were previous supporters of CHIFF. It would go to reason that they'd be inclined to support our new bill. If one of these Senators is your senator, then please remind them of their previous support CHIFF:

Roy Blunt (MO) - already supporting
Richard Burr (NC)
Robert Casey (PA)
Thad Cochran (MS)
Christopher Coons (DE)
Kristen Gillibrand (NY)
James Inhofe (OK)
Angus King (ME)
Mark Kirk (IL)
Amy Klobuchar - already supporting
Carl Levin (MI)
Edward Markey (MA)
Claire McCaskill - (MO)
Bernard Sanders (VT)
Charles Schumer (NY)
Jeanne Shaheen (NH)- already supporting
Debbie Stabenow (MI)
John Thune (SD)
Elizabeth Warren (MA)
Roger Wicker (MS) - already supporting