National Committee for Adoption



The National Committee for Adoption, now the National Council for Adoption, is inarguably, the leading force in sealed records and the adoption status quo. It's no surprise, since they were formed for the express purpose of maintaining the sealed status quo, and in fact, for strengthening it. The year was 1978, Carter was in the White House, and sealed record systems were firmly entrenched worldwide, but most particularly in the U.S. Carter convened a panel of independent experts in the field of child welfare to address the issue of 'special needs' adoption, and to draft some model state legislation. The panel instead came up with a Model State Adoption Act that threw open records to adult adoptees, and instructed adoption agencies to serve as intermediaries in searches by birthparents for their adopted children. It is at this point, that a very telling period in modern-day adoption reform commenced. In response to this legislation, whom do you suppose formed a lobby group designed to defeat it? Hearing the arguments of the sealed records supporters, one would assume that legions of birthparents would have rallied to try and uphold their promised and desired confidentiality. Or perhaps legions of adult adoptees would organize to send a message of their happiness with their silenced status. Well, that didn't happen. Instead, it was the Edna Gladney Home, an agency in Fort Worth Texas, who went to its supporters, comprised mainly of adoptive parents, to raise money for a lobbying organization to defeat the open records provisions of the Model State Adoption Act. The result was the National Committee for Adoption. The NCFA and at its helm, William Pierce, convinced Senators such as John Tower and Jeremiah Denton to argue that open records threatened adoption, and when Reagan took over the White House, the original Model State Adoption Act had been supplanted by an anemic version that did away with the open records provisions, as well as many other reforms. The shortened act formed the basis of the Uniform Adoption Act currently making the rounds in several state legislatures.


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