The Adoption Deserves Oversight Protection, and Transparency Act of 2023 (ADOPT Act), a direct attack on the unlicensed adoption intermediary industry and its “services” hit the House hopper today The non-partisan bill proposes to: (1) protect individuals and families impacted by private domestic adoption from exploitation by unlicensed adoption intermediaries; (2) ensure that individuals seeking assistance with domestic adoption have ready access to licensed and regulated adoption providers in their communities;(3) prevent the commodification of children.
In other words: Unlawful intermediary practices will be criminalized.
I know this sounds rather altruistic, abstract,and goody-goody, especially in the baybee-rabies capital of the world, but as they say, the devil is in the details. The following actions will be prosecutable, but public child-placing agencies, privately licensed chid-placing agencies for domestic and international adoption where applicable, and licensed attorneys are exempt from prosecution.
The bill addresses:
- Unlicensed Adoption Intermediary Services
- Adoption Advertising
- Payments to or on behalf of Placing Parent
Offenders will be fined between $100,000 – $250,000. (Note: I’d like to see these schemers, scammers, and pimps go to jail, but that kind of money should put them out of business–at least for a while
Activist and co-author of Adoption Unfiltered, Kelsey Vander Vliet Ranyard laid out on Twitter (I refuse to call it X), what this is all about and why it’s needed:
- Unlicensed adoption intermediaries are unregulated for-profit entities that act as middlemen between pregnant women and adoptive families in exchange for a fee. Unlike licensed adoption agencies and attorneys, they are not subject to governmental oversight or regulation
- When unlicensed intermediaries or licensed adoption providers use online advertising to solicit expectant mothers and adoptive families where they’re not licensed, they evade regulation in the state where the birth mother resides or where her child is born.
- When working with unlicensed adoption entities or providers not licensed in their state, moms are deprived of essential support services, and adoptive parents fall prey to deceptive business practices, fraudulent omission of social/medical info, and predatory fee structures.
- ADOPT Act prohibits adoption advertising and paid private adoption services by any entity not licensed as an agency or attorney, & prohibits payments to expectant mothers unless made through a provider licensed in the state where the expectant mom resides.
- ADOPT Act sends a message that adoption is a serious matter best left to trained social workers and legal professionals who submit themselves to state oversight. Opportunistic brokers are not welcome here. Let’s pass this thing.
I’m particularly interested in outlawing advertising, but would like to see it cover The Exampted, as well. I got on the internet in 1992 and freelance intermediaries were all over the place then, advertising children, soliciting “women in crisis.” and “arranging adoptions” and nothing has changed, except now they enjoy a multiplicity of platforms and they have webpages. These skeezies would be shut down in one state and go to another, or stay in their own state and work under a new name. Believe it or not, Bill Pierce, the founding president of the dreaded National Council for Adoption, told me that if he had power (like he didn’t have a lot of power already) he would shut down all illegal AND legal intermediaries and then go after the lawyers.
As far as I know, this is the first attempt on the federal level to nail these racketeers. Honestly, I’m surprised to see this bill. It will be fun to see who crawls out of the woodwork to oppose.
ADOPT Act is sponsored by Rep. Robert Aderhold (R-AL), Annie Kuster (D-NH), and Doug Lamborn (R-CO). It has not been assigned a number yet.
(No, it will never be X!)