The Demons of Adoption Results are In and the Winners Are…

The votes are tabulated, your voices have been heard.   Yesterday the winners of  Pound Pup Legacy’s  2011 Demons of Adoption Awards were announced.  And what a fine group of well-deserving winners they are:

The Industry:  L-d-S Family Services

The Regulator:  The State of Utah

The Mouthpiece:  Elizabeth Bartholet

Although Bastardette voted for hometown favorite Adoption by Gentle Care  (let me count the reasons!)  we couldn’t be more happy that L-d-S came out on top. The actions of Adoption by Gentle Care pale in comparison to Mormon family building. And the entire state of Utah!  You go voters!

Elizabeth Bartholet.  What can I say.?

I’ve been online over 18 years, and she was one of the first industry folks I ran in to, at least by name. “Industry” may misrepresent her though.  Betsy is her own special force, an adopter who can even make industrialists cringe.

Like when she spoke at the July 2010 National Council for Adoption conference at National Harbor.  There, in some truly twisted win-win eugenics argument,  she proffered that adoption empowers impoverished countries. That is, when the Third World sends children to be adopted in the First World, the Third World boosts its economic standards.  Running this idea domestically,  she argued that children of poor African American families as well as poor white families,  (but she stressed  that African American homes are full of neglect and abuse) should be removed and placed permanently with strangers of comfortable economic status.  Thus, the poor  would be “empowered” to raise their standard of living, since I suppose, they’re not strapped with whiny babies and child expenses.  She  complained that social workers, policy makers, and child advocates  who believe that children belong, whenever possible, within their biological families or communities  were putting biology  and “birthparent rights” over the  discrete rights of  children. The “we all love heritage groups,”  she argued destroy children’s potential.”  Afterwards a couple people with unhappy inflections asked,  “Did she just say what I think she said?”  Yes she did.

Niels and Kerry have included in their announcement an essay deconstructing the adoption industry. through the lens of  crony capitalism,  church-state collusion,  sexism, and globalism.  Using  the Angels in Adoption Awards dinner as a model, .they  illustrate how adoption is, on face,  de-polititized to accommodate political, corporate, and religious ideology::

For Members of Congress, the star-studded gala has more perks than being able to meet their benefactors without having to disclose it as a lobby-contact.  The event allows each participant to present himself as a caring humanitarian with a deep concern about the needs of children… 

Sen. Beauregard Claghorn

…The Angels of Adoption Awards gala also allows Members of Congress to show their credentials. Liberal politicians can show their undying devotion for the LGBT community by nominating gay-friendly adoption agencies, while Conservative politicians can enjoy the opportunity to  pander to their pro-life constituencies…

One element that gives me a classic WTF moment,  is the curious connection between  Big Adoption and  Big Oil at the yearly Angels in Adoption: ritual:

Still, for members of congress, the adoption industry is interesting enough to throw a well sponsored and supported gala, where friends of The American Petroleum Institute, the US Chamber of Commerce, Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhilips are invited to attend.


The interest of the oil industry in the field of adoption is so overwhelming, at least one representative of big oil is seated at every table at the gala. Could it be they take the chant “Drill, Baby, Drill” far too seriously, or is such placement more about more mundane issues like having easy access to members of congress in an ambiance of commercial charity?

Though mission-diverse, Big Oil, Big Christianity,  (and Big Everything else) make a neat fit with global adoption.creating opportunities  for back scratching and new new webs of special interests, economic, political, and personal..

Niels and Kerry close their  essay with a description of the corporate adoption state (though they don’t cal lit that:

The amalgamation of industry, legislature and intelligentsia has lead to an adoption system that is rarely challenged and effectively has no checks and balances. This year’s Demons of Adoption Awards have shown that our readers see this collusion of power and have spoken strongly against the cozy relations between those that shape the practice of adoption.

Please go over and read the entire essay.  It’s a good focus for discussion on  the growing interest in  neo- and post-colonnialism, and the nexus of church, state and corporations.  While I’m familiar with church and state adoption interests, I’d not seen corporate interests, outside of  adoption corporate interests, tossed into the pot, and it’s real food for thought.

On a somber note, Pound Pup also memorialized  three new Rohner’s Angels, adoptees murdered by their forever families. The page contains links to each child.

Hana Grace-Rose Williams

Mollie Sliker

Nubia Barahona

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2 Replies to “The Demons of Adoption Results are In and the Winners Are…”

  1. As with other blogs, you really have your fingers on the pulse with this one, Marley. How about Bartholet arguing “children of poor African American families as well as poor white families, (but she stressed that African American homes are full of neglect and abuse) should be removed and placed permanently with strangers of comfortable economic status.”
    Oy vey.

  2. Bartholet’s whole talk verged on the shocking, and it was clear she was NOT preaching to the choir. I wish I’d recorded it.
    There’s nothing wrong with discussing the role poverty plays in domestic violence and child neglect and abuse. That’s not a particularly controversial idea, but Bartholet, as I remember the presentation offered no ideas about relieving poverty. It was sort of a “let ’em rot” let’s “save the baybees”– with a very clear eugenics message. Her way to end poverty is to take the children of the poor and turn them into middle class happy-dappies. A neat way to just let the poor die out. Or course, now with our present economy…

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