The messages are clear – we must rescue more orphans, cut red tape, privatise adoption like in the US, and anyone who opposes us, especially the government, is anti-adoption. The reality is the informed members of the adoption community (and there are many) understand intercountry adoption for what it is – a very complex matter.
Everyone has a right to an opinion but when a small, well-connected and media-savvy group of lobbyists claim personal opinion as fact and claim to be the voice for the adoption community in Australia, there is a problem. My PhD research shed light on the tactics used by lobbyists in Australia – keep the message simple and emotional.
“There are millions of orphans in the world that need to be saved” fits that bill. It sounds a lot better than “a single mother is encouraged by an adoption agency to send her child overseas for adoption and then when she changes her mind and returns the next day, she is told it is too late” or “the family who does not understand what intercountry adoption really means and thinks their child is leaving to go to school” or “some children adopted into Australia have been trafficked”.
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