Both Ends Believing was grateful for the opportunity to participate in last week’s Adoption Symposium hosted by the Department of State. DOS convened a diverse group representing different perspectives within the adoption circle and gave everyone that wanted the chance to speak. It sparked healthy interaction and the DOS team did a superb job of synthesizing the views expressed to identify areas of common ground.

    And there is consensus! Virtually everyone in attendance supports ethical, transparent adoption both domestic and international. There was widespread agreement that accurate, comprehensive, accessible yet protected data on children living in institutions is a missing and critical piece of the solution to placing these children back into their biological families or if that’s not possible into new families. BEB’s Children First Software addresses this need and was recognized in one of the plenary sessions, as well as several sidebar conversations.

    Speakers from DOS spoke with one unified voice in support of international adoption done right. The words are there. With respect to actions, let’s not continue to debate why international adoption has declined. Instead, let’s look ahead and be encouraged that DOS took the initiative to hold this symposium and to truly listen to diverse viewpoints.

    I am confident that the actions of DOS will support their words. We can all rally around the benefits to children of being raised in loving families. We can all rally around ethical adoption as a wonderful option for a child without parents. We can all rally around DOS and create an atmosphere of mutual trust. Perhaps our adoption circle can even serve as a model in Washington of building bridges to further a shared objective.