- Maureen WarrenPresident and CEO
- Amy BrendmoenDirector, Communication & Marketing
Demand Post-Adoption Services from Children's Home Society & Family Services (CHSFS)
Declaration of the Rights of Adoptees, Adoptive Parents, and Birth Parents
(Please take note of the corresponding letter to Children's Home Society & Family Services)
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for THE constituents of the adoption community - adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents - to assume a position different from which that they have hitherto occupied, but one to which they are entitled, it requires that THE constituents of the adoption community should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents have a fundamental right to particular services; that they have certain inalienable rights as THE constituents of the adoption community; that among their rights are the right to a readily available post-adoption program that offers, at base minimum:
- vibrant search and reunion services and access to personal history;
- substantive education courses led by professionals from a variety of different fields that help adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents navigate their place in their communities;
- mental health counseling and support groups lead by professionals who understand adoption from adoptee, adoptive parent, and birth parent perspectives;
- thorough list of resources and referrals that includes support and social groups and organizations, mental health professionals and healthcare providers who are versed in adoption.
When any adoption agency neglects to acknowledge and meet these needs, it is the right of THE constituents of the adoption community to refuse allegiance to the agency, and to insist upon the establishment of new agency approaches.
- President and CEO
- Director, Communication & Marketing
In its 120 years of history, CHSFS has placed close to 24,000 children with families. The agency has had a long and storied history in Minnesota, winning the respect of many in the state and abroad. Indeed, CHSFS has enjoyed all that comes with being one of the largest adoption agencies in the world. However, while obtaining its reputation and forwarding itself as an organization with “gold standards,” CHSFS has repeatedly neglected to fulfill a promise that it makes to adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents - that CHSFS will be there for them for the rest of their lives.
As you know, CHSFS clearly proclaims: “Every day we guide children into loving, caring, nurturing homes, and we help each adopted child seek a sense of his or her culture and history.” We believe that this statement is, at the very least, misrepresentative of the truth. We ask you:
- How does CHSFS help adopted children, pre-teens, teens, and adults seek a sense of their culture and history when the agency’s post-adoption program is virtually nonexistant?
- How does CHSFS offer substantive post-adoption programming for the thousands of adoptive families the agency fondly calls “CHSFS families” with its 2.5 member post adoption team?
- How does CHSFS provide support to adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents in outstate Minnesota when the nonexistent post-adoption program only provides outreach, education, and counseling services in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro Region?
- How does CHSFS promise access to future services that do not exist to potential adoptive parents and birth parents?
- Why does CHSFS mislead its philanthropic supporters who believe that they are funding an agency that meets the needs of its constituents?
- Are members of the CHSFS Board of Directors and staff who are adoptive parents satisfied with the post-adoption services provided by CHSFS?
We the undersigned are a diverse group of individuals who have different beliefs and attitudes about adoption. However, we all agree that CHSFS, like all adoption agencies, has a moral obligation to offer substantive post-adoption programs, services, and support. It is not nearly enough to offer:
- a post-adoption program that exists under the umbrella of adoption, which focuses almost all of its time on financially beneficial acts of recruiting new adoptive parents and forging new and sustaining old relationships with domestic and international partners who may help CHSFS to “find” children available for adoption;
- search and background services run by two individuals when the agency has thousands of adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents;
- education and support services that essentially exit only online;
- a post-adoption helpline that sends adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents to a third party with no particular interest in CHSFS families;
- a birthland tour that only takes adoptees and adoptive parents to South Korea and not to the numerous other “sending” countries;
- a very small individual and family counseling program, of which most of your constituents are unaware.
To say all of this differently, CHSFS has wholly underserved and neglected adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents. CHSFS focuses its attention on the creation of adoptive families and not on the important task of meeting the needs of the adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents after the fact.
Ms. Warren, in the sentiments of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s Declaration of Sentiments, we demand the type of post-adoption program that we outlined in our Declaration of Adoptees, Adoptive Parents, and Birth Parents. We have inalienable rights, and CHSFS has a moral and ethical obligation to respond to us appropriately. Please know that we will be watching CHSFS closely in the next few months to see what actions or inactions it takes.
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