Saturday, November 05, 2005

National Council For Adoption (NCFA) Calls for ICPC Reform

Before you express relief at the prospect of gaining better protection from predator agencies from Utah and perhaps other states through strengthening of the ICPC mandates, you need to know that NCFA's recommendation is not for strengthening but weakening the Compact. On page 7 of NCFA's Silver Anniversary National Adoption Report, NCFA lays out its 'Adoption Policy Agenda 2005.' The agenda's intro says:

NCFA will lead efforts during the 109th Congress to inform lawmakers about a number of pro-adoption policies, including:......The importance of limiting applicability of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children to adoptions out of foster care. The ICPC interferes unnecessarily with private adoptions; there is sufficient regulation of adoption agencies and others facilitating non-public adoptions. The American Public Human Services Association will soon recommend changes to the ICPC's application......

Thankfully, despite NCFA's attempt, "private adoptions" have been retained in the Compact rewrite process. In fact, the Development & Drafting Team established a Subcommittee on Private and Independent Adoptions to draft recommendations for changes to the Compact pertaining to those specific interstate placements.

For shame, NCFA!
For shame for advocating Compact changes that would almost certainly result in Baby Tamia-types of predation throughout our nation; for attempting to undermine the effectiveness of a Compact established to protect vulnerable birth and adoptive families throughout the U.S.; for proposing a change to the Compact that would have rendered individual states' protective adoption laws impotent, reduced, in effect, to those of the lowest common denominator – Utah?

Current ICPC regulations protected Baby Tamia and her family – as determined in a court of law. Unfortunately, however, loopholes in the proposed ICPC revision may not provide the same protection in cases like Baby Tamia's. Therefore, we need to commit ourselves to strengthening adoption laws in our individual states, following the lead of Illinois, to protect our citizens in matters of interstate adoptions.

NCFA Honors Utah and LDS Family Services

This is incredible! Before this blog is even completed, The Adoption Digger has learned that the National Council For Adoption (NCFA) has inducted LDS Family Services in Utah into its self-proclaimed "Adoption Hall of Fame."

In an article published in the December 6, 2005, online issue of The Salt Lake Tribune, NCFA spokesman Lee Allen credited LDS with being responsible for drafting many of Utah's "adoption-friendly" laws. LDS Family Services has been "an extremely active, influential and positive force in adoption nationally, promoting best practices," according to Allen.

NCFA spokespersons acknowledged the recent Baby Tamia case, as well as the accusation by critics that Utah was a "baby warehouse." However, continues the article, "Adoption council President Thomas Atwood has a different perspective. Though unscrupulous agencies exist, Atwood says Utah and LDS Family Services serve as national models for protecting the "best interests of children." He added, "I would call it a pro-adoption state.

If LDS Family Services is a "national model" as an adoption agency:
  1. Why does it not comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)?
  2. Why has it not taken a pro-active stand in rooting out the "unscrupulous agencies" referred to by Atwood? One would think that an agency which promotes "best practices" in adoption would be involved in cleaning up its own state's reputation for being an 'adoption warehouse.'
And if Utah is so "adoption-friendly":

  1. Why don't its adoption brokers trust other states to cooperate in proper placement of children across state lines? (Could it have anything to do with this statement by adoption agency attorney Richard Van Wagoner, "A mother might back out of the decision or make a commitment and not show up.......So, the paperwork ends up being completed on this end. This was a technical violation..."?)
  2. Why do brokers need to resort to devious tricks and pressure tactics to get mothers to surrender their infants?
  3. Why do Utah brokers advertise with only toll-free phone numbers - no addresses - in far-off states, making it appear they are local agencies, and then lure mothers who respond away from their families and local services in their own states?
  4. Why does Utah thumb its nose at other states' laws regarding the rights of birth fathers, deliberately undermining those laws over and over again? Why hasn't it cracked down on brokers who advise birth mothers to lie about birthfather status?
  5. Why don't brokers inform mothers-to-be of all the differences in adoption laws between their home states and those of Utah - not just the the one that short-circuits birthfathers' rights? For example, an Illinois mother would have 72 hours to consider her decision to relinquish after the birth of her child in her own state, compared to 24 hours in Utah.
  6. Why does it accept as legally-binding relinquishments that have been signed in hotel rooms, witnessed only by an agency representative (who may have coerced or even threatened the mother) and a hotel maid? Why not before a judge in a courthouse, witnessed by courthouse personnel or someone of the birthmother's own choosing?
  7. Why does it permit "for profit" agencies to operate there - baby selling, pure and simple?
  8. Why does it permit "tri-state" adoptions, which result in the circumventing of laws of not just one but two other states?
  9. Why does it permit agencies' stiffing of taxpayers (Medicaid) and hospitals for birthmother delivery expenses, while collecting fat placement fees from adopters?
  10. But, most importantly, why does the state of Utah openly permit adoption brokers to "routinely" violate the International Compact on the Placement of Children? (Remember attorney Richard Van Wagoner's statement, ".... the practice is not a secret to the state"?)
By accepting Utah's adoption laws and policies, NCFA has given its stamp of approval to all of the above. And not only its approval, but its praise and honor by induction into NCFA's 'Adoption Hall of Fame.'

Not taking the initiative to clean up Utah's act means National Council For Adoption has placed itself in a position of conspiracy to violate the rules of ICPC, to defraud mothers and fathers from throughout the country, and to place vulnerable would-be adoptive parents in positions of pain and anguish.

1 comment:

BGK said...

The NCFA is wicked and evil. I hope that the more mainstream child welfare agencies step up to the plate here!