Today I am heading to the National Adoption Conference in Washington, D.C. I have officially been working in the adoption field for over a year, and I have never been more confident in my career path. Since working in adoption, I have met some incredible people that are devoted to ethical adoption practices and providing support. I have had ample opportunity to connect with other birth moms nationwide, as well as brainstorm with other professionals on how we can help adoption continuously become better. I work for a fantastic adoption agency in Indianapolis, and I feel as though God placed me in this environment to be a sponge and learn everything I can. While I have been able to experience the wonderful things that adoption has to offer, I have also been exposed to a multitude of shadowy spaces in this field.
I hear far too many adoption horror stories in my job.
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably have seen my rants about these shady adoption professionals. I want you to know the details, so that you can keep your eye out for these bad practices.
First thing’s first – let’s talk adoption facilitators. An adoption facilitator is essentially a ‘matchmaker.’ What do they do as a matchmaker? Well, really not much at all. They are simply making a match – they bring an expectant mom and a prospective adoptive family together for a large fee that is nonrefundable. For example, if the expectant mom decides to parent, the adoptive family can be out tens of thousands of dollars. To top it all off, they are neither licensed nor regulated. They provide no support, no counseling, no education. Does that sound sketchy to you? Well, that’s because it is. Some states even prohibit facilitators from working within their state, and thankfully my state (Indiana) is one of them. But many other states, like California, are overrun with adoption facilitators.
Now just because adoption facilitators have a bad reputation, doesn’t mean that you are in the clear by choosing any adoption attorney or agency. There are plenty of agencies and attorneys that actively take advantage of women and families. There are some states who refuse to advance into the modern world of adoption, and rather wish to go on about their business because it’s easier not to offer the extra services. It’s freakin’ 2018. If you’re an agency or attorney that is matching families with expectant moms, but not educating and supporting all parties to the triad, what are you even doing? And yes, dummies. We see some of you out there charging over $50,000 for a domestic adoption and pocketing 75% of it. You’re on my radar. And my shit list.
There are adoption professionals who take advantage of the women who struggle with substance abuse, poverty, and mental illness. In states with no cap on birth mother living expenses, many professionals abuse this and dangle dollar signs in front of an expectant mother to get her to place her baby. And it works. Am I making you sick to your stomach yet? It gets worse. Most of these women will never see their child again. They’re promised an open adoption, but the adoptive parents split the scene because no one provided them with adoption education. Empty promises and broken lives. Adoptees, birth moms, and adoptive parents will suffer, and have suffered.
Working in the adoption field is an emotionally draining career choice – but throw ethical practices in the mix, and it gets even tougher.
Is it difficult to make sure we are keeping up on the best practices and remaining ethical all of the time? Sure! Is it impossible? Of course not. It’s totally possible. As professionals, when our hearts and efforts are directed towards a child-centered adoption with support for all parties in the triad, we are doing our job correctly. If you are looking to adopt, looking to place your baby, or know someone that is, be smart. Be on the lookout. Don’t trust anyone and everyone. Ask around, read reviews, and check them on the services they offer for birth moms, adoptees, and adoptive families. And if you’re an adoption professional that is not willing to get down for the get-down… then you should just get out.