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Tom DiFilipo of Joint Council on International Children’s Services: You Owe the Children an Apology

Dear Tom:

You and I have gotten to know each other a bit on a professional level these past couple of years. We have done a podcast together. You also invited me to attend and present at last year’s Joint Council conference. Additionally, this past July I picked your brain about the adoptee citizenship/deportation conversation. And I, representing the Adoption Policy and Reform Collaborative (APRC), contacted you to see if Joint Council would be a partner for the APRC’s first conference in Minneapolis/St. Paul on November 16th, 2013. Although we disagree on various topics, issues, and such, I have grown to respect you.

Tom, I believe you to be a fundamentally good person. So, I was a bit startled to read this in the Washington Post today:

“There were only about 19 serious incidents of abuse or death out of 50,000 adoptions,” said Tom de Filippo, an official with the Joint Council on International Children’s Services in Alexandria. Moreover, he said, many American families were willing to take in older, troubled or disabled children that Russians did not want to adopt. “What drove this ban was simply nationalism,” he said.

Only about 19? Have you looked at your “Our Beliefs” statement recently? Just in case you have not, I offer the first three points:

  • All children – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, health, nationality or socio-economic standing – have an inherent right to a safe, permanent and loving family, by birth or adoption.
  • Society, as individuals and as community, has a responsibility to ensure that every child can live, grow and flourish through family life and therefore society must respond to the crisis that is any child living without permanent parental care.
  • Our response, whether governmental, organizational or individual, must;
    • Be filled with humanity, morality, ethics and love;
    • Put the child’s best interest at the forefront of laws, policies, programs or services;
    • Include the strengthening and reunification of stable families;
    • Support the nutritional, educational, medical, emotional and residential needs of each child;
    • Reflect and respect a child’s culture, ethnicity and nationality;
    • Embrace collaboration, partnership, alliance and association;
    • Be global in policy, nature and action;
    • Serve to create a safe, permanent and loving family for each child.

Only about 19? What you failed to mention is that the “about 19” are the documented cases of abuse and death.  The adoption community has no idea the true number and you know it.

Only about 19? How dare you minimize the lives these kids. As a member of the adoptee community, I am livid that someone of your stature would talk so callously about my community brothers and sisters who were abused and killed by adults who promised them loving and permanent homes. We, as a community, betrayed these kids and we need to own that.

Tom, in recent weeks you have made superficial statements that do not reflect the complex, intricate nature of international adoption. More than that, rather than honoring them, you have made insensitive and cruel statements that totally disregard the legacy of the children who have suffered and struggled upon arriving in the US for a better life. You owe these children an apology. If you are the decent human being that I believe you to be, you would do so soon.


Kevin Vollmers
Land of Gazillion Adoptees

8 Comments on Tom DiFilipo of Joint Council on International Children’s Services: You Owe the Children an Apology

  1. Oh, K! Why can’t you get to So Cal on Feb 8-9th? Critical mass, man!

  2. Reading this seriously makes me feel sick and ill. What an ignorant thing to say . . . Long fight ahead.

  3. Tom, I dare you to say that “only” 20 children were murdered at Sandy Hook. Could anyone ever imagine a slip of the tongue like that? You would obviously be nailed to the wall for such a statement.

  4. You would turn this on a 180 if this story was about the blood kin to the children,turning and twisting it so that over half of the children were abused by their birthparents as you call us ,we do take offense and will by law have it changed because it is an inflammatory word (breeders).Stop lying ,we’re not buying anything you write again.Russia just got wise to the critical mass of children abused and banned adoption,one day that will happen .Adoption will be in the past and blood kin will be the childs own parents with love and no worries about them dying from the industrys and adoptors selfishness to keep their bought babys in the dark to eveything ,even heritage ,losing ones civil rights is a serious matter in the 1930’s ,Baby scoop era 1970’s up to now 2013.We adult mothers are supposed to be afraid of our own that we have been searching for,it’s a lame law,change in the supreme court needs to change outdated laws and do away with them maybe create new ones like Russia did along with the ban,The 25,000.00 billion dollar industry that includes wall street,HRS,Catholic Churchs ,adoption Agencies and all those involved with the buying and selling of new borns will go broke and this wall will come down.ADOPTEES and Mothers of blood kin have had enough.DELETE AdOPTION

  5. lara harlow-hentz // January 14, 2013 at 8:55 am // Reply

    Reblogged this on lara harlow-hentz and commented:
    Children need us to protect them at all costs

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