“Advocates” Who Pit Needy Children Against One Another Suck

Advocates of inter-country adoption and domestic adoption used to find themselves in separate camps, promoting their cause while ignoring or criticizing the other one.

Fortunately, most child welfare advocates today no longer see the need to beat down some needy children to uplift others.

But not all.

In a Washington Post piece called “Congress should focus on interstate rather than international adoptions,” Jeff Katz, the Executive Director of Listening to Parents, draws attention to the need for more interstate adoptions by getting the facts about international adoptions wrong. And distorting the few he has right.

Katz implies that the Children In Families First Act (CHIFF) attempts to circumvent the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoptions. But CHIFF does not weaken the Hague Convention, it strengthens it.

Katz then argues that abuses in international adoption have been “widespread.” But records and investigations demonstrate that in spite of sensational media attention, abuses have not been widespread.

If Katz had cared about fairness and accuracy, he could have said “instances of abuse” or “allegations of widespread abuse.” Or better yet, he could have refrained from attacking a piece of legislation that would save lives and does nothing to detract from foster adoptions. Instead, he could have promoted his cause without tearing down solutions for foreign children.

A friend of mine held this little boy in her arms. He'd been beaten recently and was in an orphanage in Vietnam. He needs a family. He was limp and as light as a feather, and it was if the life had already left him.
A friend of mine held this little boy in her arms. He’d been beaten recently and was in an orphanage in Vietnam. He needs a family. He was limp and as light as a feather, and it was if the life had already left him.

Everyone I know involved in international adoptions has avoided calling any attention to problems in foster adoption. And I will continue to do the same. There are problems I won’t mention, including child-on-child abuse in foster homes, ineffective systems that block foster kids from being adopted for years on end, and bigoted agencies refusing to place children with qualified parents because of their biases. Those problems I am not going to mention I’m sure constitute a tiny percentage of foster adoptions anyway.

Let’s be clear: Jeff Katz is hurting thousands of children (out of millions in need) with his errors and advocacy. He is going to work against them by smearing a piece of legislation that would save tens of thousands of them from early death or being trafficked for sex or forced labor.

That’s not classy. Or fair. Those children, both in and out of our United States, deserve better.

3 thoughts on ““Advocates” Who Pit Needy Children Against One Another Suck

  1. I was so mad to see comments on my senators FB page when he announced his plan to help families stuck in the DRC adoption process. Filled with “taking care of our own” as if all children don’t deserve a family. Well I know clearly what happens in my own state’s foster system. It’s a broken system that does not always look out for the best interests of the child. I wish these outspoken folks, whether normal citizens or high up politicians, would attempt to foster or adopt from anywhere before they shoot out such opinions!

  2. I have several comments about your blog. You are 100% correct. Many people who speak out against international adoption do not have all of the facts about domestic adoption. Each type of adoption has its joys and its heartbreak. For those who say that domestic adoption is the only choice that should be made, I would like to let them know that if they think there are social workers in the foster care system sitting by the phones waiting for people to call and say I want to adopt the waiting children I saw on your website, they are wrong. You can respond through a state waiting children website and receive no response. You can call a specific social worker and receive no response. If people think they are waiting for those calls and will respond to them because they want all kids in homes, you are wrong. If you think somehow that the domestic foster care and adoption system is efficient and functioning for the benefit of the kids who need homes, wrong again. Secondly, I have seen many foster parents come through my husband’s office and the stories they tell of not only what the child is going through as a human custody football but how hard it is to get care for the child that they need, would make your face turn red. The kids in our foster care system are not cared for they way the public would like to think. It is not the pretty, happy-ending picture people want to think of. For those of us choosing international adoption, we have our reasons. For those who choose an open domestic adoption, they have their reasons. For those who choose closed domestic adoption, they have their reasons. No one should stoop so low as to criticize anyone willing to give an un-parented child a home and love. This is not a football game. This is not us against them. Think about your responsibility in the world to others and then erase the lines you have drawn as your geographical boundaries for those tasks. You will see more if you open your eyes to the world.

    1. Yes, yes and yes! I have opinions of course about domestic and international adoption, and foster care. But, as long as people are willing to pursue these kids, and as long as there are kids in need, I would never think of blocking or slowing down any of those avenues. When ALL homeless and parentless kids are with families, THEN I’d be willing to talk about which avenue is “best.” I would love to have that discussion sometime in my lifetime.

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