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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Adoption agencies & Credibility

With adoption rackets bursting around us on a regular frequency and sourcing of children to place in adoption is being improvised to despicable levels, credibility of adoption agencies is immediately questioned. Why is credibility important and more so in adoptions?

Before we answer that question, let’s look at what credibility is? Dictionaries seem to state that it is a characteristic worthy of one’s belief or confidence. For example, “he is a credible witness” said in the court of law, and “his credibility is questioned” said in professional ethics etc. Credibility is something that cannot be asked or bought but must be earned by nothing but one’s own character.

Now coming to answer the question, credibility is absolutely essential for an adoption agency because the commodity (for lack of a better word) that they trade is a defenseless human life. They must go to any/ every extent possible to earn the confidence of not just the adoptive parents but also of every stakeholder such as the government in specific and the community around in general. It is absolutely essential.

So why do people (let’s say adoption agencies) indulge in activities of less credibility? Almost always they do it for selfish reasons and greed. They go hand in hand. So if we address someone’s greed, do they get encouraged to become credible or being credible in itself will lead to address one’s needs? Well….history has shown that addressing one’s greed is like jumping into a bottomless pit but building credibility has rewarded people. Take for example Mother Theresa who had begun her work with empty hands but with a steely resolve to stay credible. Rest is history. Lesson in short: “CREDIBILITY ALWAYS HAS REWARDS”.

But what can anyone do when one want to engage in an activity that is as precious as placing a child in adoption doesn’t want to be credible? Can the society do anything? Can the government do anything? It’s not a question of “CAN” but it is about “SHOULD”. CARA needs to be proactive in building credibility of adoption agencies by requiring them to comply with few tangible measures.

I suggest that CARA require that every adoption agency become a member of “Credibility Alliance” or CA (http://www.credal.org.in) – a consortium of non profit organizations of India that is promoting transparency and accountability among the non profit organizations within India. Membership of CA must be contingent for licensing and renewal of license. CA has stringent requirements to become/ remain a member. They also have accreditation process in place. Of course this comes with a price tag but it is only to process your application but not to buy credibility outright.

Apart from building credibility, this membership also brings in a basket of goodies. There are some funding agencies (http://www.giveindia.org) willing to fund non profit activities only when one has CA membership. They are willing to make a link to collect online donations from their website for the recipient. There are several hundred organizations enjoying this benefit and I don’t see any reason why adoption agencies cannot enjoy the same!!

Sometime back I heard a saying that when one loses money, they lose nothing. When they lose health, they lose half but when they lose character, they lose everything. We should not be asked to deal with an adoption agency that has no credibility or should I say one who lost everything?

RN

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