In March of 1996, after 23 years of working in child
placement, 17 years working with micro-computers, and many months of planning, I secured the domain name
www.openadoption.org web site was
developed with 6 months of full time work, before and after this date, spent
writing the pages and putting them into HTML.
Originally it was hoped that a national organization of fully
open adoption agencies would be formed following the Traverse City model of
Values Based Open Adoption described best by Jim Gritter in his
Statement of Beliefs. That did not happen for a multitude of
reasons, the major ones being the amount of work involved to create such an
organization, and the fact that the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) by 2000 had
embraced many of the values of fully open adoption. The adoption standards CWLA
published that year gave us an event to celebrate.
The Child Welfare
League of America (www.cwla.org), with over
1,100 members, is a wonderful organization we all should support. Large, well
funded agencies who refuse to join CWLA need to be asked why they do not join.
Evidence indicates that the main reasons include their lack of support for
authentic open adoption. This and related actions by such agencies indicate they do not place children as their
most important clients in spite of verbal statements they may make otherwise. (Note: many excellent agencies do not have funds
available for such memberships as CWLA and struggle to balance their books while
delivering excellent service. They are truly dedicated to children and
that dedication is often obvious, even without active CWLA membership.)
The urgent need for freely available information on how
adoptions should be managed by birth parents, adopting parents, adoptees and adoption
continues. Hopefully this web site will continue to be one source for such information -
unaffected by the tragic amounts of money that it appears are still somehow
involved in the adoption process.
The secrecy of the closed adoption process
continues to hide the apparently very large amounts of money changing hands.
How can a less than fully transparent accounting system for a licensed agency
be in the best interest of the children involved? Why is current accounting information
not posted on the agencies web sites? Most folks would be bored by it, and
few would look at it, but
it would help to keep the adoption process more respectable. Yes, adoption
takes money, but the amount of money involved, and what it goes for, should
never be a secret from anyone. Why keep it a secret?
If an adoption agency helps make it's owners multi-millionaires
what is happening? Is the true focus of agency unplanned pregnancy services only relinquishment and placement?
Is the focus to help make adopting parents feel desperate so that the high fees
they are asked to pay will be paid without question?
These pages will continue to support a more gentle,
honest, and open adoption process wherein secrets are few and love for the
children and families is common. We owe that to the children we are honored to serve.
Who is Bill Betzen?
While I have a resume on this web site I can state
more simply that I worked 17 years for the Texas Department of Protective and
Regulatory Services in
Dallas investigating child abuse, removing abused children from their homes, and
placing children in safe homes while working with their families to make a
more safe and secure home available for them to return to. For 10 of those years I
supervised the Night and Weekend Investigations Unit. Then for 10 years I managed
Lutheran and Catholic agencies in Dallas supervising infant adoption and other
social services. After one wonderful year in Colorado Springs managing the
Catholic Charities Adoption Program, I returned with my wife to be closer to our
amazing grandchildren here in Dallas. I have now been a middle school computer
teacher in Dallas for the past 5 years and love the more relaxing pace in education
as compared to the hectic pace of
My wife and I are blessed with 4 adult children and 4
grandchildren, all of whom live here in Dallas except for one grandchild in
Oregon. One son and his wife are planning to adopt a sibling group as they
finish work on their Dallas home. These pages are a reflection of what I am advising
them in their adoption process.
I own and manage 3 additional web sites:
www.wearethechurch.org which give
you some idea of my interests outside adoption work. I also serve
on the board of the Texas Coalition for Adoption Resources and Education working
for legislative reform in Texas adoption law. I
help manage the www.txcare.org web site.
Finally, in the spirit of open adoption, if you google "Bill Betzen" you will probably find out
more than you ever wanted to know about my work. Here is a link to Google
if you are curious.
There are many good sources for solid information on adoption that are
developing. One of them is
Magazine. It is strongly recommend for every adoptive family that
they subscribe with
the understanding that I never agree with everything in the magazine, but it
is good to know where you stand on these adoption issues.
Adoptive Families Magazine has a wonderful listing of adoption
myths they publish that mirrors what was placed on these pages in
1996. The truths of adoption do not change quickly.
I welcome your comments and questions,
especially if any confusion remains after you have read these pages. I hope these
pages are a help in your search for accurate adoption information.
in the spirit of open adoption,
Bill Betzen LMSW (Emeritus)
July 23, 2005