One thing you can count on in adoption–hypocrisy is never far from mendacity.
Last month Working Mother Magazine named Stephanie Bennett’s adoption agency A Child’s Waiting one of the 25 Best Small Companies of 2007. The magazine offers a snapshot of the “family friendly” workplace. You need to check out Akron Beacon Journal business reporter Kerry Clawson’s follow-up for the full studio portrait. The place employs 17 women exploiting women, 4 of whom are “single moms”–adoption status unknown. Free on-site nanny care, a toy-filled playroom, baby swings, and a crib room for napping babies. And get this: a private nursing room! Did I mention flex-time, no set hours, and 1-month paid maternity leave? Employees who adopt (who woulda thought?) receive up to $1000 to cover expenses.
It is especially edifying to know that ACW’s professional child recruiter Ronda Berger can stick her youngest in the toy room with the nanny while she’s on the road bringing home the bacon.
How can the Desperate and Pregnant resist the sales pitch?
Anyway, just when you think you can’t take another ACW happy working mom story, reporter Clawson invites the dark spectre of Stephanie Bennett into the workers’ paradise. Here’s her little chat-up about the Bennett case with ACW co-owner Crissy Koralik, who by the way, according to Clawson, is looking for a little girl to adopt as her very own:
A Child’s Waiting was in the news in December and again last month after Stephanie Bennett, 17 and her parents Ranza and Judy Bennett of Canton, fought two counties to regain custody of Stephanie’s baby, Evelyn, after the teen had gave up her daughter to A Child’s Waiting for adoption.
A Stark County Family Court dismissed one lawsuit in February ruling that the teen had knowingly and voluntarily signed papers surrendering her daughter to the adoption agency. No ruling has been made on the second case which was heard last week by Magistrate Diana Stevenson in Summit County Court.
Evelyn is now 11 months old and has been placed with an adoptive family.
The teen had accused A Child’s Waiting of encouraging her to run away so she could more easily sign the adoption papers without her parents knowledge.
“The allegation is ridiculous,” Bessemer-Koralik said. “That’s not something we would ever condone especially for a minor.”
“Of course, our heart goes out to the birth family. A Child’s Waiting always has the best interest of the child in mind.”
Bessemer-Koralik said this is the first custody dispute the agency has experienced in its seven years.
Of course, it’s ridiculous, Crissy! We know ACW’s heart goes out to the Bennetts. Just like its hand goes out to the billfolds of adopters.
ACW feels the Bennetts’ pain. And we know ACW wants to stop it for both your sakes. Unhappily, taking 2 aspirin before you go to bed and calling Bastardette in the morning, won’t make that pain go away. Help, however, is close at hand. Your hands! Fess up! Tell the court to send Evelyn home to her mom and grandparents. The Bennetts’ pain will dissolve instantly. But since this is all about you, and I know that’s what you’re really worried about, let me give you a little advice. At first you may occasionally feel a waft of remorse or loss or loneliness, but remember–you did the right thing! A selfless act of compassion and love. Someday soon you’ll forget all about Evelyn and the Bennett family and the adoptive folks whose lives you’ve ruined. You’ll move on with your life as if nothing happened. You’ ll have a clean slate. You’ve done it before.
Susan Gerstenzang, associate editor of Working Mother told the Beacon Journal that she wasn’t aware of the Bennett dispute or if other editors were aware of it before ACW was honored.
Huzzah to Kerry Clawson!
To purchase your very own lousy t-shirt and help bring Evelyn home, go here.
A fund to assist the Bennetts has been established at:
123 N. Reed St.,
Malvern, OH 44644
Make checks payable to “Send Evelyn Home”
and they will be deposited into the correct account.