“Unethical adoptions, coercion and scheming – That doesn’t happen in adoption anymore.”
We’d all love to believe that we’ve come so far in the world of adoption that ugly words like “lying” “manipulation” and “coercion” don’t happen anymore. The sad (and not at all shocking) fact is they do.
For Example: Caroline (“Carri”) Stearns and Camden Stearns.
The overview – Carri found herself in crisis due to circumstances surrounding her pregnancy. In reaching out during the crisis, she called an Ohio Adoption Agency called Adoption by Gentle Care. Once Carri was in their sights, the tactics employed by the agency included repeatedly contacting Carri and her family members, threatening that Carri’s son would go to foster care if she didn’t comply with their plan and having Carri deny her Native American blood line to avoid ICWA.
You can read much more about the details HERE but an extremely important fact is that Carri’s doctor testified that Carri was under the influence of powerful prescribed medications and in crisis and would NEVER have considered adoption under normal circumstances.
Social workers should not take advantage of pregnant women in crisis. They should provide help and support. If they are unable to do that and their professionalism is being compromised, they should excuse themselves.
Once Adoption by Gentle Care had Carri’s baby Camden, they wouldn’t let go. Camden was placed with a potential adoptive family. Once the potential adoptive parents found out about the unethical practices Adoption by Gentle Care used, they returned Camden so he could be with his mother. Instead of giving Camden back to his mother, the agency placed him in foster care where he remains as they prepare to battle Camden’s mom Carri in court. Is that what adoption is supposed to be?
So yes, coercion, lying and unethical adoptions DO still happen. So what should we do about it?
Educate ourselves. We need to know that manipulation and coercion are STILL happening in adoption. We need to know the methods adoption agencies employ. We need to understand coercion when we see it. A “crisis pregnancy” does not equal adoption. Sometimes, a person needs help, support and resources. Carri received none of those things from Adoption by Gentle Care.
Speak out. Let’s talk about these things. Don’t be bullied or shrink into silence. We all have a voice. Let’s join together to use it. One voice may be small, but 10,000 saying Bring Camden Home is a force.
Get active. Add your name to petitions like this one for Carri and her son Camden. Contact the press. Contact legislators.
And the next time you are talking about the ethics (or lack thereof) in adoption, and someone says “that doesn’t happen anymore,” use your voice to educate them. Hopefully they will add their voice to the growing army of those who want to see ethics in adoption.