The above-titled presentation was given as a plenary presentation at the Annual Symposium of the Joint Council on InternationalChildren’s Services (JCICS) on April 18, 2012. Below is a link to watch a slightly modified version of the Power Point slides we used at the presentation. We corrected some typos and made some editorial adjustments, but this is 99% the same as what was used at the event. Unfortunately the event itself was not taped, so there is no audio.
It is important to note that the original context for this presentation is Intercountry Adoption to the United States. Some of these points may also be relevant to domestic adoption or to Intercountry Adoption to nations other than the United States--for example, to Canada, Italy, Spain, etc.
Especially at the event itself, with our own commentary added, this was a presentation not just on abusive adoption practices, but especially on how the intercountry adoption system, as shaped by the United States government and United States adoption agencies, is “designed for failure.” Abusive adoption practices thus are not merely problems in themselves, but they are also symptoms of a system that chronically produces abuses and breakdowns in the system: a system that fails to self-correct and thus is self-defeating.
Further, the point was made that these features of the current dysfunctional system were not necessarily inevitable, but have arisen from specific choices made by the U.S. government and by U.S. agencies during the construction of the system. The governing rules they advocated for, and chose, created the dysfunctions that have doomed the system to continuing cycles of abuse.
This is very much a presentation about the inestimable human costs of those failures for all those impacted by adoption: not only adoption triad members, but also siblings, extended families, communities, and even nations. It is also a presentation about a system that fails to assist or recognize its own victims.
This presentation was a joint project,: David and Desiree each wrote about half of the material, and each critiqued the other’s materials. The process of converting material into PowerPoint format was done initially by Desiree, although again the final product was reviewed, modified, and critiqued by both. Overall, the concepts and information presented represent years of working together to analyze adoption systems.
Comments/questions can be directed in the comments section herein. Or, if you prefer, our email addresses are listed on the powerpoint itself.
We certainly do not expect everyone to be happy with these materials and critiques may come from all sides. Please keep in mind that the powerpoint cannot embody all that we said; also please keep in mind the original audience and occasion for the presentation. We had one hour in which to summarize our information and so we couldn't say even a fraction of all that needed said; things were necessarily simplified.
Finally, we do NOT presume to speak for the victims of abusive adoption practices. Victims must and should speak for themselves. In fact, we urged the attendees to seek out the victims' own writings, memoirs, blogs, films, etc. What we hoped to do here was to give a small glimpse into the kinds of problems and reactions that such practices cause. We speak as victims only for ourselves as adoptive parents of children illicitly sourced and given false information.
We welcome vigorous and respectful dialogue, from which we hope to learn, as so much of what we do know to this point in time is due to the many people who have shared their experiences and thoughts with us.
So here, without further commentary, is the link to our Powerpoint presentation. We tried to upload it to the blog in a box, but the translation through Google documents couldn't handle some formatting issues:
The Aftermath of Abusive Adoption Practices in the Lives of Adoption Triad Members Victimized by Abusive Adoption Practices: Responding to Adoption Triad Members Victimized by Abusive Adoption Practices
David and Desiree Smolin