Third Mom's letter to the CCAI
Following is my letter to Kathleen Strottman of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption voicing my opinions on the failure of the CCAI and Senate Foreign Relations Committee to specifically seek the input and participation of adopted individuals and first parents and their representative organizations in the upcoming roundtable on intercountry adoption. I know others are writing, and hope we open some eyes and minds.
Dear Ms. Strottman:
I am writing to you today to voice my disappointment in the Congressional Coalition on Adoption's and Senate Foreign Relations Committee's exclusion of adopted people and birth/first parents from your upcoming roundtable on intercountry adoption, and in your surveys seeking adoptive parent and adoption agency feedback on the intercountry adoption process.
I am the adoptive parent of two young adults who were adopted from Korea as infants. I can therefore relate to the frustrations of prospective adoptive parents with a process perceived to be intrusive, lengthy and expensive. I also understand that the CCAI and Senate Foreign Relations Committee will want to review these processes periodically to confirm and improve their performance.
However, 24 years after the beginning of my personal adoption experience, I can say with certainty that adoption wait time, government staff cordiality and the number of updates received are far less important than ensuring that every single adoption protects the rights of every participant - birth/first parents, prospective adoptive parents, and, most of all, adopted persons - during the adoption process and throughout their lives.
We will never reach that point as long as the agencies and organizations with the power to influence adoption politics, policy and practice continually turn to adoptive parents and adoption agencies as their primary sources of information. Perceptions of adoption processes, practices and laws will always be skewed if we continually ask the wrong questions of the wrong people. Adopted persons and birth/first parents must be included in every discussion of adoption policy. Their lives are forever changed by these, often with negative consequences, as exemplified by the failure of Congress to correct U.S. law to grant U.S. citizenship to all intercountry adoptees and the activities of coercive adoption facilitators.
I hope that future rountables invite the participation of the many experts in the adoptee and birth/first parent communities. I also hope that the CCAI will help change the current adoption paradigm by acknowledging its failures, partnering transparently with adopted persons, birth/first parents and their representative organizations in the same way it partners with adoption agencies and adoptive parents.
Thank you for listening.