Press Release

INSTITUTE PRAISES ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL’S ‘CEASE AND DESIST’ LETTERS; CALLS ON ALL STATES TO ADDRESS INTERNET ADOPTION PRACTICE, CHILD SAFETY; PROVIDES GUIDANCE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN, ADOPTIVE PARENTS USING THE WEB

Media Advisory: For Immediate Release

To arrange an interview or if you have questions, please contact the Adoption Institute’s Executive Director, Adam Pertman, at 617-763-0134 or apertman@adoptioninstitute.org.

 

NEW YORK, May 30, 2013 – The Donaldson Adoption Institute today called on regulatory, legislative and law enforcement organizations nationwide to follow the lead of the Illinois Attorney General’s office in taking action – which came in the form of “cease and desist” letters – on Internet-based adoption providers who don’t comply with states’ legal requirements relating to adoption and child welfare.

“It’s laudable that one state has taken the lead in this vitally important area, but adoption on the Internet occurs everywhere and affects tens of millions of people, so much more needs to be done from coast to coast,” said Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Donaldson Adoption Institute. “Once the relevant authorities understand the scope and gravity of the issues involved, we’re confident they will act.”

The Adoption Institute is conducting a multiyear, research-based project to address the historic changes that the Internet is instigating in adoption policy, practice and the lives of the affected children and families. The Institute has released a groundbreaking report on the subject, “Untangling the Web: The Internet’s Transformative Impact on Adoption,” and is planning a second publication for late 2013.

As part of this ongoing initiative, the Institute today is releasing a separate resource – entitled “Proceed with Caution: Asking the Right Questions about Adoption on the Internet” – that is intended to serve as an initial guide for pregnant women considering placing their babies for adoption, pre-adoptive parents, and anyone else thinking about or already using the Internet (including social media) for adoption-related purposes. The Institute will also issue an expanded version of this resource later in the year.

“Untangling the Web” is the first-ever examination of the Internet’s impact on adoption. It concludes that this modern technology is having historic effects – positive and negative – while raising serious legal, ethical and procedural concerns that have yet to be addressed. The report’s findings include:

  • There is a growing “commodification” of adoption on the web, replete with dubious practices, and a shift away from the perspective that its primary purpose is to find families for children.
  • Finding birth relatives is becoming increasingly easy and commonplace, with significant institutional and personal implications, including the likely end of the era of “closed” adoption.
  • A growing number of young adoptees are forming relationships with birth relatives, sometimes without their adoptive parents’ knowledge and usually without guidance or preparation.

To learn more about the Illinois Attorney General’s “cease and desist” order, read this Chicago Tribune story by Bonnie Miller Rubin. For more information about the Adoption Institute and its work, please go to www.adoptioninstitute.org or write to info@adoptioninstitute.org.