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Breaking News: Did the NCFA Just Add Adult Adoptees to their Mission Statement?!

Yes, they did!

The National Council for Adoption’s mission statement now reads,

Our areas of focus are infant adoption, adoption out of foster care, and intercountry adoption. Passionately committed to the belief that every child deserves to thrive in a nurturing, permanent family, we serve children, birthparents, adoptive families, adult adoptees, adoption agencies, U.S. and foreign governments, policymakers, media, and the general public as the authoritative voice for adoption.

This change to the mission statement follows the NCFA’s recent involvement in the fight against adult adoptee deportation, and their participation in the creation of an amendment to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 in an attempt to provide retroactive citizenship to inter-country adult adoptees whose citizenship was not obtained on their behalf as children.

When informing me of the change yesterday, Nicole Callahan, adult adoptee and Editor of NCFA’s Adoption Advocate, issued this statement to LGA:

NCFA recently added adult adoptees to its mission statement as a way of reaffirming the lifelong impact of adoption, and distinguishing adult adopted individuals from adopted infants, children, and youth. Our advocacy for those who find permanent, nurturing families through adoption, as well as their birthparents and their adoptive parents, does not end with placement or childhood. We are committed to advocating on behalf of all members of the adoption triad, including birthparents, adoptive families, and adopted individuals of all ages. 

The NCFA is the main, if not the only, national adoption group that has taken a political stance against the restoration of the right of adult adoptees to their Original Birth Certificates.  I hope that adding “adult adoptees” to the mission statement, which acknowledges adult adoptees as a community with their own unique advocacy needs, leads to greater changes and to further dialogue on NCFA policy that pertains to adult adoptees.

About Amanda (22 Articles)
Amanda serves the adoption and foster care communities through individual and family clinical work, group work, writing and presenting, and policy advocacy. Her writing and presentations reach broad audiences through multiple books, magazines, news and radio interviews, and conferences, and she has engaged legislators at the state and congressional levels. Her writing and work focuses on the experience of being adopted, intersecting social justice issues, and adoption community centered & initiated movement toward positive change. Amanda is a Yahoo!Voices featured mom activist and is listed in the Top 20 Adoption blogs by Adoptive Families Magazine.

20 Comments on Breaking News: Did the NCFA Just Add Adult Adoptees to their Mission Statement?!

  1. I believe the NCFA will eventually join the ranks of those who understand an adoptee’s right to factual and accurate records of their natural parentage is an unalienable right, protected by the Constitution of the United States of America. And when they do, perhaps they will start to use the full weight of their lobbying force to work towards repealing the onerous state laws in place which currently prevent adoptee’s from accessing their original and unaltered birth records.

    Bravo NCFA (did I just say that!?) for doing the right thing and *finally( acknowledging the needs of adults who were adopted. Now lets keep the forward momentum going.

  2. It is step in the right direction – thank you.

    I would encourage the NCFA to review and assess whether their stance against adult adoptee right to their own original birth certificate is still makes sense to them with so much research and knowledge, and support from all areas within adoption showing the opposite.

    Strength and the willingness to put doing what is right is shown by admitting prior positions were not in the best interests of the adoptee, and working towards rectifying old wrongs. Please take the time to review the actual legislative historical laws and changes over the years by state AND how righting the laws in open states has actually made things better.

  3. I dunno, the words “lip service” come to mind when I read this. I guess we’ll see what action, if any, comes of this.

  4. I think this is a big step forward and I am looking forward to the possibilities this change may signify for the adult adoptee community.

  5. This is exciting news! I hope that, like “jimm” said, it’s not just lip service.

  6. TAO said, “I would encourage the NCFA to review and assess whether their stance against adult adoptee right to their own original birth certificate is still makes sense to them with so much research and knowledge, and support from all areas within adoption showing the opposite. Strength and the willingness to put doing what is right is shown by admitting prior positions were not in the best interests of the adoptee, and working towards rectifying old wrongs.”

    ^^^This^^^ x the number of adoptees who are still denied full and unfettered access to their original birth certificates.

  7. Laura Schwartz // August 2, 2012 at 3:48 pm // Reply

    I can’t help but think, cynically, what do they want?

    Has the opposition adult adoptees have provided finally brought about change or are they just looking to shut us up for a while?

    If their motives are pure, great. However, I’ll adopt a wait and see attitude for now.

    • Hi Laura,

      Good question and one I probably should have addressed in the post. The change to the statement was made because some adult adoptees requested it.

    • sabres4jeff // August 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm // Reply

      It could be to appease the adult adoptees who were once children NCFA sold. Perhaps it is a marketing ploy to get these current adult adoptees to “feed the beast” by drawing them into become AP’s as well? The potential is there for the NCFA to appear as though the are becoming more progressive when in actuality they are stepping backwards and exploiting their clientele for the sake of further record profitability.

  8. Carla Moquin // August 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm // Reply

    I think it’s a major step forward… I hope that active support on their part for open records follows soon!

  9. This addendum to their mission statement is a good sign. Though it will likely take years, or even decades, for them to grab the next rung on the ladder at the very least they currently acknowledge we exist as an adult adoptee community. Now it is time for us to add more heat to the burner and perhaps push them further skyward.

    It brings to mind one of my favorite quotes,

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
    – Mohandas Ghandi.

    NCFA has so far ignored and laughed at us. They think they have extended our posse of “angry adoptees” an olive branch in our fight for equality, but they haven’t. It’s more like a dead flowerless rose branch filled with thorns and beetle dung.

  10. I would love to see them partner up with every group working toward adoptee rights. OBCs are important to us, not just out of curiosity. I am a Florida Adoptee and lost a lifetime friend who was also a Florida Adoptee because he could not access his 4 biological siblings for potential bone marrow matching. I wonder how many adoptee’s who are victims of closed records have met a similar life threatening illness or death due to closed records. If he had his OBC, much time could have been saved on his behalf.

  11. The NCFA has claimed to serve “birthparents” for a long time, but what have they done for that group lately? Invent ways to increase their numbers.

    I’m glad the NCFA is advocating for international adoptees who are facing deportation. However, I see absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe that changing two words in their mission statement would give even the slightest indication that the organization would ever consider backing access to original birth records.

  12. The inclusion of adult adoptees in NCFA’s mission statement is an interesting shift, in the past they have argued for language and terms, such as “adopted person”, that implied that adoption was a singular historic event, not a continuing existential reality. How this impacts its policies is anybody’s guess. Some of us have speculated for some time that NCFA’s policies opposing adoptee rights to their birth records were on the clock, that eventually they would let their opposition wither away, that their focus was elsewhere and opposition simply wasn’t mission-critical to them anymore.

    • If they were to just exit the debate over adoptee records access, that would be spectacular. Personally, I almost think it would be better than if they decided to support access. I just can’t see the NCFA, as an organization, reaching a point of understanding the issues of inequality–at least not any time soon. If they were to just drop the issue entirely, I would celebrate!

  13. jeannette4175 // August 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm // Reply

    I am glad that NCFA is taking a step forward by writing in their mission statement that they serve adult adoptees along with the rest of the triad including adoption agencies. I want to understand better how they are supporting adult adoptees. Are they coming to Chicago and and standing with adoptees at the Adoptee Rights Demonstration? Are they helping us fight 44 states to get full open access to every sealed OBC? I want to know that this is more than just talk. I want to see action. I want all of my children to have access to their records. My oldest daughter’s life did not begin with adoption. She deserves to have access to her records without asking me or her adoptive parents. My other children have access to their true unfalsified birth certificate, why can’t my oldest?

  14. Please remember that the NCFA was originally created to specifically defeat legislation that would have restored equal access laws for adult adoptees in every state. And they succeeded in that goal. If not for the NCFA, every adult adoptee in this country would have had their own OBC’s about 30 years ago. They are a political lobby group consisting solely of adoptive parents, adoption agencies and adoption attorneys. They cannot represent the rights of adult adoptees because they were created to do exactly the opposite. If they were truly representative of adoptees, their members would stop contributing & there would be no reason for their organization to continue to be in existence at all.

    Just because they agree that adult adoptees should not be deported does not mean they are on board with equal rights for adult adoptees. When words & actions do not agree, look at the actions for the true intention.

  15. Big step forward!

    Now, when I see the NCFA actually DO something to correct the incredible misunderstandings they have created around adoptee access to the OBC and start lobbying HARD for unfettered access, I’ll believe the added words have meaning. Wish I could feel more positive about this change, particularly since I have had direct contact with NCFA staff who have helped in situations in which other adoption groups and lobbies did nothing. In my opinion, however, unfettered OBC access for every single adoptee is what it will take for legal parity, and until the NCFA are totally on board and working toward this goal, I will not be able to fully trust them as an organization.

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