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How do you feel about agencies that are continuing to make a buck off adoption, through search/reunion efforts, years and years after the adoption?

I have a friend who is searching for her family. She went back to her agency for help obtaing info. My state, Maryland, has an intermediary program.
The sw at the agency released a several page letter (edited to blackout identifying info) and a photo of the adoptees Mother and sister to the adoptee.
The Mother had clearly wanted her adopted daughter to be able to obtain info to locate her. She left addresses, phone numbers for herself and the adoptees grandparents in the letter. She specifically states in the letter to release the info to her daughter

The agency wants the adoptee to pay their fee to search and contact the Mother. IMHO, this is blackmail! Sorry, but you must pay to get this info- and we will decide how to best contact your mother on your behalf. You are a child, and are not capable of communication with your family on your own!


Asked by adopteeme at 5:38 AM on Apr. 24, 2010 in Adoption

Level 16 (3,092 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (26)
  • I am adopted and I am not anti-adoption. But I have a huge problem with this Why should I have to pay to get information that should belong to me? For me the issue is so much bigger then just the want for contact What about my medical history? I just think I am entitled to the same rights as a non adopted person to be able to have information without paying for.


    Answer by BlessedFamily8 at 5:54 PM on Apr. 24, 2010

  • I used the intermediary program myself through my agency. I got nothing but a canceled check in return.
    My mother was not comfortable with a social worker coming to her doorstep to facilitate communication between her and I.

    But yet, she turned out to be ok with contacts with me directly. I am against forced 3rd party interferance in reunion efforts. I believe that if the searching party wants to use an intermediary for 1st contacts that should be an option, but not the 'only' way.

    I am very upset that this original mother made it very clear she wants to be found by her daughter, and the agency is insisting on $$ to make it happen all under their control.

    Answer by adopteeme at 5:55 AM on Apr. 24, 2010

  • Adopteeme-I agree. What that agency is doing to your friend is extortion. If I were her I would be very upset. The whole idea that an agency will make a profit by providing an adoptee with the adoptee's own information is wrong on so many levels. Like you said it you feel an intermediary would be helpful for an intial contact that is something the adopted person should decide, not the agency or anyone else. What else can I say-our records should be open to us when we are adults with no conditions or strings attached. As adults we should decide the way to approach reunion if that is desired.

    Answer by confused969 at 9:07 AM on Apr. 24, 2010

  • She can't get an attorney involved? That does sound like extortion. My boys were adopted in GA, they are open but, in GA you can have the records open anytime you just have to contact the court. It is easier if the child is 18 though.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:44 AM on Apr. 24, 2010

  • I think all private adoption agencies are crooks. It doesn't shock me at all that they would do anything they can to make another buck.

    Answer by BlooBird at 10:47 AM on Apr. 24, 2010

  • I think it is very difficult for people with an anti adoption agenda to look at this scenario realistically.

    Adoption agencies charge fees because it costs money to facilitate adoptions. Their work has value.

    Providing the interface between adult adoptees and birth parents is a service that has value. The agency does not have the legal right to disclose the information even if the birth parent included contact information in the letters she left with the agency. They must play go between for the parties and of course there is a fee for that labor.

    The agency is not treating anyone like a child, if your friend is capable of contacting the birth mother on her own without the aid of the agency then why is she interfacing with them at all? Why doesn't she just do it?


    Answer by Suzy_Sunshine at 1:11 PM on Apr. 24, 2010

  • I agree with BlooBird. I think it's sick and outrageous. I always encourage anyone in reunion to get the agency out of their lives ASAP. Actually I encourage that with open adoptions too. Openness should mean that the adoptive family and the birth family have direct contact. In my open adoption I wasn't getting my letters but amom had sent them to the agency. We dumped them and contacted each other directly, the adoption never closed.

    Can I hazard a guess....Gladney??


    Answer by onethentwins at 3:11 PM on Apr. 24, 2010

  • No onethen, not Gladney this time.  It's The infamous secret keepers-- Catholic Charities

     Suzy, anti-adoption? How 'bout just PRO-family! ;) 

    you say: "The agency does not have the legal right to disclose the information even if the birth parent included contact information in the letters she left with the agency."

     She not only left contact info.....but wording that the adoptee had her permission to obtain that info, and that she WANTED to be found. How much clearer could that be? It's a head game!! And the searching party is charged a fee to 'play'. IF they treated us as Adults~ they would know we CAN negotiate our own relationships without having to ask permission/ and or pay a fee from anyone to do so!!!



    Answer by adopteeme at 4:32 PM on Apr. 24, 2010

  • Have you ever seen a sign at a restaurant that states that they are not responsible for lost or stolen items in the coat check?

    Those are very effective signs. Few people realize that that sort of disclaimer is not legally enforceable. The theatre can state their claim but it does not hold up if challenged. That is also true of any number of different disclaimers, even disclaimers that customers sign. By signing most people think they are bound... at any rate, the point of all this is that the birth mother in this scenario does not have the right to convey permission to open a closed adoption to the agency through a letter. It just doesn't work that way.

    The agency is not out to get you and if you're that angry at them or about adoption in general, you cannot claim to be pro family.

    Unless you're for all families except mine.

    Answer by Suzy_Sunshine at 6:56 PM on Apr. 24, 2010

  • Just to clarify, I am not anti-adoption. Per the situation with adopteeme's friend: To charge an adoptee a "search fee" when all contact information is on a document, the redacted version of which was already given is not right-and is morally if not legally wrong. I assume the adoptee already paid a fee for the informaion already given. If they want a small fee to send a letter to make sure the bmom still wants contact -maybe- but a "search fee" when there is no search involved is not reasonable. An intermediary should be a choice rather than a requirement.

    I understand agencies must comply with the laws regarding adoption where the adoption took place. The laws are not the same everywhere and are changing. Adoptees should have access to their own records as an adult and the laws need to change to support that. Records should not cost the adoptee more than what a non-adopted person pays to obtain their BC or similar docs

    Answer by confused969 at 8:33 PM on Apr. 24, 2010