My Letter to Congressional Reps: Thank You for Not Co-sponsoring CHIFF

The fallout and division that is CHIFF did not have to happen. Tremendous common ground exists: who disagrees that children deserve safe, loving families?

Unfortunately, the folks who crafted CHIFF (Children in Families First, S. 1530 and H.R. 4143) did so in a vacuum, excluding significant constituents: international adoptees and original parents. That short-sighted decision has come back repeatedly to haunt them. Perhaps they felt the rhetoric of “children deserve families” is enough to bring everyone on board. It is not.

Instead, there is an increasing amount of pushback from many corners of the international adoption community, a mounting demand not for shallow rhetoric but for genuine, thoughtful policies that meet currently existing needs.

The legislation, introduced in the House over a year ago and the Senate 6 months ago, has failed to gain traction. It has incurred much controversy, perhaps due to its evangelical proponents, perhaps due to its many supporters who oppose gay people as adoptive parents, perhaps due to its unclear cost (a “modest portion” of $2 billion), perhaps due to its decision to censor those who disagree or question them, or perhaps due to the concern that aid provided by CHIFF to other countries will be tied to the country’s participation in intercountry adoption. For whatever reasons, it has been hammered from many sides, seemingly to the surprise of its supporters.

I’ve been among those criticizing CHIFF. I’m an adoptive parent, and I deeply believe that all children deserve families. I believe in adoption, when it is done in an ethical, transparent way that genuinely meets the needs of all involved, not just at placement, but over lifetimes.

Could this controversy, criticism, and lack of traction have been avoided? Perhaps, had CHIFF proponents reached out to the international adoption community in a meaningful way. Perhaps, had they held hearings on current, glaring needs of internationally adopted adults and children, and of marginalized international first parents. Perhaps, had they insisted on better pre- and post- adoption services, with equity, access, and affordability for everyone.

I am sending a letter to my US Senators and Representative, thanking them for not co-sponsoring CHIFF, explaining my concerns, and providing suggestions for better international adoption policies. Here it is:

As an adoptive parent, I want to thank you for not co-sponsoring the Children in Families First legislation (CHIFF, S. 1530 and
 H.R. 1403). CHIFF’s intent, from their web page, is this: “We protect children by preserving families, reunifying families or creating families through adoption.” Everyone agrees that children around the globe deserve safe, loving families: it’s a laudable goal. Family preservation, domestic adoption, and international adoption are ways to achieve that goal, especially for vulnerable children. I am the parent of four children through adoption: 2 sons from the US, twin daughters from Ethiopia. My children, all in their 20’s now, are my life’s greatest blessings.

CHIFF, unfortunately, ignores many important realities of international adoption.

It fails to include the voices of adult adoptees and of first/original international parents, the people affected most directly by this legislation and the most knowledgeable about international adoption and family preservation.  CHIFF proponents appear to have made no effort in seeking out these groups, especially prior to introducing the legislation. Indeed, the main supporters of the legislation (as listed on the CHIFF webpage) are adoption agencies and adoption attorneys, who have a significant economic stake in increasing the numbers of international adoption, and do not have expertise in family preservation. Internationally adopted adults and international first parents should have a significant place at the table of any international adoption policy. That is not the case with CHIFF.

Several current, glaring problems in the international adoption community must be solved before CHIFF is even considered.

One example is that the US government currently does not provide citizenship for all international adoptees. Adoptees who were brought to the US for the purpose of adoption by US citizens prior to 2000 have been deported to Brazil, Korea, India, Germany, and elsewhere. It is regrettable that CHIFF proponents, especially adoption agencies, have been unable to move the citizenship legislation, which would affect adoptees they placed years ago, and who are now promoting legislation to expand international adoption. I hope that all supporters of CHIFF would be deeply motivated to demand the US citizenship legislation for all adoptees now, in the name of fairness and integrity, and well before advancing an enormous piece of expensive, controversial legislation.

Another example that CHIFF does not address is the huge, gaping need for genuine, rigorous pre-adoption preparation, and for substantive, effective, accessible post-adoption counseling and resources here in the United States. Surely we can craft adoption policy far better than CHIFF, in terms of preparation and counseling of birth/first parents and of adoptive parents prior to adoption, and in terms of post-adoption resources and services for everyone. 

 I’d like to see some degree of equity in counseling and services (before and after placement) for international birth parents as compared to US adoptive parents. One possibility is re-vamping the US adoption tax credit as one means of doing this. No new money–just an equitable, sane distribution of revenue (billions of dollars) that the US federal government is already providing to adoptive parents. So far, the US has given some $7 billion in tax credits, primarily for international and private adoptions, and a fractional amount for the original intent of US foster care adoptions.

 A third example: CHIFF does not address the grim cloud of corruption and fraud over international adoption. Many US families have brought children to the US only to find out the children have families who wanted to keep them, but were trafficked or otherwise brought to the US in unethical circumstances. Adult adoptees have traveled back to their home countries and learned very different stories from what the agencies told their adoptive parents. 

CHIFF minimally acknowledges the corruption that exists in international adoption. The fraud and corruption should be acknowledged, researched thoroughly, and (ideally) eliminated.

 Fourth, CHIFF does not address the tragic and disturbing practice of “re-homing” here in the US, recently cited in Reuters’ articles, which looked at re-homing practices over 5 years. Better preparation and better post-adopt services (including respite, training, access to therapists who understand adoption, trauma, and related issues) surely would have prevented some of these complex cases.

 Fifth, while CHIFF does not meaningfully address current needs here in the United States regarding international adoption policy, it would use USAID and other taxpayer money to increase international adoptions, to create new bureaucracy within the State Department, and to establish new programs around the globe. The CHIFF web page is decidedly vague on the amount: “a modest part of $2 billion” is the amount listed.

Before anything like CHIFF goes forward, before we use additional funds and resources to increase the numbers of internationally adopted children, we need, at a minimum, the following:

▪                Good data, solid research, and substantive information about current realities in the US international adoption community.

▪                Good data, solid research, and substantive information about fraud and corruption in international adoption practices.

▪                Inclusion and buy-in from adult international adoptees and from international birth/original parents, and not solely from adoptive parents, adoption agencies, and adoption attorneys.

▪                Funding and training for pre-adoption and post-adoption resources that are effective and accessible.

▪                Legislation and/or other resources that provides guidance and oversight for families in crisis, with transparency for adoption disruptions and services for children.

 I believe in adoption, when it is done in a transparent, ethical way. I believe in equitable services for all those involved in adoption, including original (birth) parents. I believe we need to address current problems in the international adoption community before undertaking huge new programs around the globe.

 CHIFF excludes vital stakeholders, is expensive, and ignores genuine needs in the US and international adoption community. It should not move forward. Surely we can do far better than this, and truly meet the needs of vulnerable children and families.

 Thank you again, for not co-sponsoring this legislation.

 Sincerely,

Maureen McCauley Evans

 

 

 

 

 

Research on Ethiopian Birth Families: A Must-Read

As an adoptive parent, I feel very strongly that the voices of birth parents need to be heard and listened to, in our own families as well as in adoption legislation and policy.

A few salient quotes from an academic research report, Birth Families and Intercountry Adoption in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:

“70% of adopted children have a surviving birth parent in Ethiopia, making it painstakingly clear that most of these parents are not offered other types of assistance…

The conceptualization behind intercountry adoption obscures focus on the most inexpensive and highest quality option–enabling a child to remain with his/her living birthparent and assisting that birthparent to make a local plan for after his/her death…

Some of the most impoverished communities in Africa have proven capable of caring for orphans and vulnerable children, even in the context of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, when nurtured by programs that identify and seek to repair the holes in the safety net…”

These excerpts are from a 2010 thesis written by (US citizen) Sarah Brittingham for her M.A. in Development Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague.

IMG_2096

 

Despite their obvious and vulnerable role in international adoption, birth/original/first parents have received too little attention in terms of academic work, and certainly in terms of post-placement services. This thesis sheds additional light, along with the MSW work of  Kalkidan Alelign. You can read Ms. Alelign’s important thesis in my post, Ethiopian Birth Mothers After Relinquishment: MSW Research from Addis Ababa University.

Sarah Brittingham’s research has an extensive amount of references, including research on Marshall Islands’ adoptions that is remarkably relevant to Ethiopia: “If I Give You My Child, Aren’t We Family? A Study of Birth Mothers Participating in Marshall Islands–US Adoptions.” Brittingham’s research echoes that of the Marshall Islands, in that “Few (Ethiopian) participants showed an understanding of intercountry adoption as complete severance of ties with their children. Instead, adoption seems to represent ‘a link between two families creating a relation of kinship for support and expanded rights.'”

That notion of “a link between two families” is challenging to define, as it is a form of open international adoption. I believe that will be the model for the future of inter country adoption, a model that relinquishes fear and falsehoods. If adoptions are to continue, they must be ethical, transparent, and fair.

Here is a quote from an Ethiopian birth mother, comparing her experience to that of a close friend’s:

We both gave our children through the same agency, but I don’t hear about my children. When I went to the agency to demand information, they told me contact is based on the adoptive parents’ willingness and personality. Some want a picture, calls, etc., and some don’t, and they can’t do anything about it. It is up to the adoptive parents. But I think that if it is the same agency and the same law, it should apply to all parents…

I would love to hear the insights of adoption agencies on this, on what the agreements or inferences were and are regarding post-placement contact. My sense, based on anecdotes, is that increasing numbers of adoptive parents are reaching out and contacting Ethiopian birth families on their own, but I have no hard research on that.

I do feel certain that enormous confusion exists over what information the birth families were promised, following the placement of their children. There is great hope, even expectation, among many Ethiopian birth families that their children will go back to Ethiopia, and contribute to the country, and perhaps to the birth family as well.

One participant in the Brittingham thesis says “I wish for God to give me a long life so that I will be able to see (my children).” An adoptee “believed that intercountry adoption was the best way to help her mother, stating, ‘it’s better we go outside, and when we have something of our own, we will help you.’ ”

We–adoptive parents, adoption agencies, and adoption policymakers–need to hear these voices of Ethiopian original parents and of adopted persons.

We need to insist on additional research on intercountry adoption outcomes, especially as related to birth families.

We need to insist on improved, equitable services for all involved.

Many thanks to those who are researching these issues.

May those who are proposing new laws, policies, and funding genuinely hear the voices and the needs of marginalized first families.

 

 

 

 

US Grand Jury Accuses Adoption Agency of Fraud in Ethiopia

The US Department of Justice announced today that 4 adoption agency employees have been charged with fraud in connection with Ethiopian adoptions. International Adoption Guides (IAG) has been working in Ethiopia for several years. This could be a very big deal, one that hopefully begins to punish those who are responsible for fraud and corruption in Ethiopian adoptions. 

justice.gov web page

justice.gov web page

Here’s the full press release from the US Justice Department:

“Four current and former employees of International Adoption Guides Inc. (IAG), an adoption services provider, have been indicted by a grand jury in South Carolina for allegedly conspiring to defraud the United States in connection with IAG’s adoption services in Ethiopia. IAG is a South Carolina company that identified children in Ethiopia for adoption and arranged for their adoption by U.S.-based parents.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney William N. Nettles of the District of South Carolina and Assistant Secretary Gregory B. Starr of the Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security made the announcement.

“The defendants are accused of obtaining adoption decrees and U.S. visas by submitting fraudulent adoption contracts signed by orphanages that never cared for or housed the children, thus undermining the very laws that are designed to protect the children and families involved,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman.  “As today’s indictments show, the Justice Department, alongside its partners both here and abroad, will respond vigorously to these criminal schemes and will act to protect the many families and children who rely on the integrity of the adoption process.”

“The Bureau of Diplomatic Security uses its global presence to vigorously investigate any fraud related to the acquisition of U.S. visas,” said Assistant Secretary Starr.  “The Department of State’s Bureaus of Consular Affairs and Diplomatic Security are firmly committed to working with the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate and bring to justice people who victimize children and families by abusing inter-country adoption system and bribe officials to facilitate their actions.”

The international program director and coordinator for IAG, James Harding, 53, of Lawrenceville, Ga., was arrested today in Georgia.  Alisa Bivens, 42, of Gastonia, N.C., who oversaw the Ethiopian operations from the United States, is scheduled to make an appearance at a later date in U.S. District Court in Charleston, S.C.   The company’s executive director, Mary Mooney, 53, of Belmont, N.C., was apprehended in Belize by Belizean authorities and transported to the United States.  Haile Mekonnen, age unknown, an Ethiopian national who ran IAG’s operations on the ground in Ethiopia, was also charged in the indictment.

According to the indictment, the defendants allegedly engaged in a five-year conspiracy to violate laws relating to the adoption of Ethiopian children by U.S. parents.  The scheme involved, among other things, paying orphanages to “sign off” on contracts of adoption with the adopting parents as if the children had been raised by those orphanages — even though the children had never resided in those orphanages and had not been cared for or raised there.  These orphanages could not, therefore, properly offer these children up for adoption.  In some instances, the children resided with a parent or relative.

As part of the charged conspiracy, the defendants then allegedly submitted or caused to be submitted these fraudulent contracts of adoption to Ethiopian courts in order to secure adoption decrees, and submitted or caused to be submitted the fraudulent contracts of adoption and the fraudulently procured adoption decrees to the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia in order to obtain U.S. visas for the children to travel to the United States to be with their new families.  The indictment also charges that the defendants’ scheme involved paying bribes to an Ethiopian government official and agreeing to create counterfeit U.S. Customs and Immigration Service forms that were to be submitted to the Ethiopian government.

The charge of conspiring to defraud the United States carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the value gained or lost.

The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

If you believe you have been a victim of this crime involving the named individuals or International Adoption Guides, please call 1-800-837-2655 and leave your contact information.   If you have questions or concerns about adoptions from Ethiopia in general, please contact the Office of Children’s Issues at the Department of State through the email address AskCI@state.gov .  If you have specific questions about an adoption from Ethiopia that IAG facilitated, you should contact the Office of Children’s Issues at the Department of State through the email address IAGadoptioncases@state.gov .

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.   The prosecution is being conducted by Assistant United States Attorney Jamie Schoen of the District of South Carolina and Trial Attorney John W. Borchert of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.”

The US State Department issued a brief statement about IAG here.

Note that while the IAG program director is named James Harding, he is not the same James Harding that was affiliated with Christian World Adoption, an international adoption agency that declared bankruptcy suddenly in 2013. CWA had also worked in Ethiopia, and was featured in an Australian Broadcasting Company 2010 report Fly Away Home, alleging substantial fraud.

The Department of Justice does not rush lightly into indictments; this one appears to have involved five years of investigations, many interviews, many lawyers, and many inquiries about fraud and corruption. These arrests and the indictment must be making many adoption agencies look carefully at their own records and activities, here in the US and in Ethiopia. I hope policy-makers, especially those involved currently with the Children in Families First legislation, are also pondering the implications.

I’m sure many adoptive parents are also looking at their own children, and wondering if their adoptions were indeed ethical. Many adult adoptees have learned a great deal about the realities of their becoming available for adoption. Many Ethiopian families may learn what truly happened to their children. May justice be served, for everyone.

It’s Time to Oppose CHIFF

CHIFF–the Children in Families First legislation–at first glance seems a no-brainer. Shouldn’t all children, especially orphans, have permanent, safe, caring families? Absolutely. I am an adoptive parent (US and Ethiopian adoptions, infant and older child adoptions, transracial adoptions) of 4 now young adults. I believe in adoptions that are done with integrity and transparency, that meet the genuine needs of the child (not the wants of the adoptive parents), and that treat everyone involved equitably and respectfully. I also believe family preservation should always be a primary goal.

And I oppose CHIFF.

I hope you will join me in raising your voice in opposition to this legislation.

Several current, glaring problems in the international adoption community must be solved before CHIFF is even considered. One example is the failure of the US government to provide citizenship for all international adoptees. Adoptees have been deported to Brazil, Korea, India, Germany, and elsewhere. Adoptive parents: make sure your children have the Certificate of Citizenship and full US citizenship documentation. Read more here.

I hate to think that CHIFF supporters would include the deportation legislation–which has been shamefully languishing for years–in the CHIFF bill, as a means of forcing adoptee support for the bill. I hope they have the backbone to move the citizenship legislation through Congress quickly and unencumbered, as it is a humane, overdue legislative need. I would hope that all these supporters of international adoption would be deeply motivated to demand that the US citizenship legislation, in the name of fairness and integrity, be enacted without linking it to an enormous piece of expensive, controversial legislation.

This and other issues must be addressed fully before undertaking new legislation using millions of dollars and creating a new bureaucracy.

Please join me in writing to Secretary of State Kerry, as well as to the main sponsors of the legislation: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) at the US Senate, Washington, DC 20510, and Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) and Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), at the US House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.

Here is a modified text of a letter I sent to Secretary of State John Kerry, US State Department, 2201 C St. NW, Washington, DC 20520.

January 6, 2014

Dear Secretary Kerry:

I write with a respectful request for Congressional hearings and a thorough review of the proposed Children in Families First (CHIFF) legislation.

As an adoptive parent of 4 wonderful children, now all young adults, I fully support the goal of all children growing up in loving, safe families. I support adoptions that have integrity and transparency, that genuinely meet the needs of the child, and that are respectful to all members of the first and adoptive family (and to the child, of course).

However, I (and many others) believe that CHIFF is arguably well-intentioned, but in reality falls shockingly short of identifying and meeting current gaping needs for children and families involved in international adoption. Many of the arguments for the legislation are based on an inadequate understanding of current adoption realities.

Thoughtful, thorough oversight hearings should take place as soon as possible, and certainly before any consideration of CHIFF or other adoption-related legislation.

I further recommend that the following issues related to international adoption policy first be resolved. Then, pending the results of Congressional hearings, CHIFF might possibly be reviewed.

  1. Examination of currently existing needs in the international adoption community, such as adequate post-adoption resources for families and children.
  2. Ensuring that all individuals brought to the United States for the purposes of adoption have US citizenship.
  3. Establishment of equity in the services provided to the first families (sometimes referred to as birth families) of children placed for international adoption.
  4. Examination of the current use of the adoption tax credit, on which the United States government has spent almost $7 billion, primarily reimbursing adoptive parents for the costs of international adoption (hotels, meals, travel, etc.).
  5. Identification of already existing NGOs and non-profit organizations currently involved in family preservation, so as not to create even more bureaucracy and waste additional money, time, and resources.

The proposed CHIFF legislation is not timely or appropriate, as it ignores current existing needs in the international adoption community. CHIFF supporters are primarily adoption agencies and attorneys–who have a clear financial stake in the success of this bill, though I don’t argue that many are deeply concerned about children–as well as academics and adoptive parents.

The CHIFF legislation does not have the support or endorsement of any significant groups of international adult adoptees. Thousands of international adoptees (Korean, Vietnamese, Indian, Russian, Colombian, Ethiopian, Chinese, etc.) are now adults. They are actively engaged in adoption policy, asking for a place at the table in adoption policy discussions. CHIFF does not include them or their views. That alone is an outrage, and reason to put the brakes on this bill.

Here is a list of some adult adoptee organizations that could have been included, but are noticeably missing from CHIFF supporters:

Adopted and Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora, Adoption Policy and Reform Collaborative, TRACK- Truth and Reconciliation for the Adoption Community of Korea, Adopted Vietnamese International, Hong Kong Adoptees Network, Gazillion Voices, AdopSource, and more. Additionally, there are dozens of international adoptee professionals who would be insightful in these discussions, but none appear on the list of CHIFF supporters and certainly not on the CHIFF Executive Committee.

CHIFF does not have the support of adult adoptees, the people most affected by international adoption legislation and policy. Nor are the voices of first/birth parents present in any meaningful way.

Another glaring example is the failure of CHIFF to address currently existing enormous problems in the international adoption policy arena. Each of these should be addressed before CHIFF is considered.

(1) It is shameful that the US government still does not provide automatic citizenship to those brought to the US as babies and children for purposes of international adoption. Congress has had this matter before it for years, and it is still not resolved. Meanwhile, international adoptees brought to the US as minors (prior to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000) by US citizens for purposes of adoption face the possibility of deportation.

(2) It is shameful that some adoptive parents “re-home” their adopted children through methods that are illegal and/or unethical at best. CHIFF proponents would do well to demand better pre-adoption screening and vast improvement of post-adoption services to ensure that all internationally adopted children are safe and cared for appropriately, subsequent to being adopted.

(3) It is shameful that first parents in the countries from which adoption agencies place children receive services that are marginal at best, that often prey upon economic inequities, that are increasingly shown to be deceitful, and that have no post-adoption resources whatsoever.

Further, please consider the use of funds by the US government for the adoption tax credit (ATC). Originally designed to encourage the adoption of children from the US foster care system, the adoption tax credit is now used primarily for international adoption, to reimburse parents for hotel, airfare, meals, legal costs, and so on. Many CHIFF supporters lobbied assiduously for the adoption tax credit.

According to a GAO report, “Since the original provision was enacted in 1996, taxpayers have claimed about $4.3 billion in adoption tax credits.” That report (GAO-12-98) was issued in October 2011. Estimates for tax year 2011, according to Joint Tax Committee reports, are $1.2 billion.

The US government has dispersed somewhere in the neighborhood of $6.5 billion (yes, billion) as reimbursement primarily to adoptive parents for international adoption expenses.

 US foster care adoptions cost very little. In stark contrast, international and private adoptions are far more expensive (ranging between $10,000 and $60,000).

A Child Trends Research Brief (Publication #2007-24) looked at 1999-2005 data from the US Treasury to see who used the ATC. The results are significant:

  • The vast majority of tax credit recipients were for international or private adoptions, not foster care adoptions.
  • Nearly all international adoptions were supported by the tax credit.  Only 25% of US foster care adoptions were supported by the tax credit.
  • Children adopted from foster care in 2004 represented only 17 percent of the money spent on the tax credit.
  • Nearly 90% of ATC tax filers with incomes above $100,000 adopted internationally or privately.

While the tax credit eases the ostensible burden of the costs of international adoption for adoptive families, it does nothing to provide resources, counseling, or any other equitable services for first/birth families around the globe. These are among the most marginalized, powerless people anywhere: the original parents (grandparents, siblings, aunts, cousins) of internationally adopted children. They receive no follow-up counseling or support after placing their children. Increasing numbers of adult international adoptees are searching and reuniting with their original families, and finding that the families were devastated by the loss of their children through fraudulent or corrupt practices.

Is the adoption tax credit, then, really helping vulnerable orphans, whether in the US or around the world? No, because many of the children placed for international adoption are not true orphans, in any traditional sense. They may have living family members, though they may be poor, ill, or otherwise unable to help. The children may have unrelated community members willing to raise them. The word “orphan” is used far too loosely and inaccurately in adoption policy discussions. It is emotionally powerful, nonetheless. And it has been used extensively in support of CHIFF.

CHIFF would have the US government using even more funds to place children for international adoption, without adequately meeting (or even calling attention to) current needs.

One alternative is that the funds currently used for the adoption tax credit could be used to improve pre-adoption and post-adoption services, including for first/birth parents. I have not yet heard any CHIFF supporters endorse such a use of the adoption tax credit.

Further, and this is a potentially valuable part of CHIFF, I urge you to ensure that international family preservation efforts genuinely focus on keeping families together. Efforts to encourage local adoption in-country deserve far greater attention and funding than what currently exists. I respectfully suggest an evaluation of already existing family preservation and reunification programs, and then funding them in a meaningful, sustainable way. There are multiple examples, around the globe. One solid, effective model is ReuniteUganda, which has had much success in keeping families together and in reuniting children wrongly separated from their parents. In Ethiopia, where my now 25 year old twin daughters are from (they were 6 when they were adopted), three organizations come to mind that are deeply involved in effective family preservation: Selamta, Bring Love In, and AHope for Children.

CHIFF has bipartisan cosponsors, suggesting at first glance that Congress is aware of the huge challenges surrounding international adoption. Unfortunately, many eyes need to be opened far more widely to the current needs of the international adoption community. It is easy to give blind support to the notion of “helping vulnerable orphans.” The issue, however, is far greater than that.

Thank you for your concern and attention to the realities of the world’s most vulnerable children, as well as their families.

Sincerely,

Maureen McCauley Evans

Maureen McCauley Evans is the adoptive parent of 4 children, now young adults all in their 20’s, adopted from the US and from Ethiopia. While she has not worked professionally in adoption for many years, she was the first executive director of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, and worked for two adoption agencies, The Barker Foundation and Children’s Home Society and Family Services-East. She writes about adoption, art, and family issues on her blog, lightofdaystories.wordpress.com, which has received over 110,000 views since she began writing 9 months ago. She is passionate about the needs of vulnerable children and families, and insists that the voices of adult adoptees and of first parents be heard in adoption policy.