Allow me to be more transparent and vulnerable than I am comfortable with. I need help.
For several years I have fought for ethical adoption practices. I've spent long nights negotiating with stakeholders in the adoption market. I've driven the six hour round trip to the capitol multiple times to see Act 1022 become law. I've met with legislators and adoption advocates. I've never turned down an interview or speaking request in hopes that talking about the issues will keep the conversation going and result in further reform that protects children, expectant mothers, and hopeful adoptive parents. I've sparred with lawyers who've hurt people and stood in the gap between unlicensed adoption practitioners and those they prey upon. Through it all I've never asked for anything that benefits me personally.
That paragraph was exceptionally hard for me to write. I read it and see the potential for others to take it as boastful and arrogant. Please see and hear my heart - I have no desire for self promotion. On the eve of battle, King Henry in Shakespeare's Henry V disguised himself and spent time with his soldiers. Among those who chastised the King not knowing it was the King to whom they were speaking, King Henry said of himself "I could not die anywhere so contented as in the king's company, his cause being just and his quarrel honorable." Henry V, Act 4 Scene 1. I feel the same way. I know the cause of child-focused, ethical adoptions is just and the fight for reform is honorable.
I'll fight until I can't fight anymore, but that point is closer than I want to admit. Between the trips to Little Rock, preparation time, all nighters, research, and fights in the legislative and judicial branches of government I have funded all I can fund. A modest estimate of the amount I have personally invested in this cause between litigation costs, hotel rooms, travel expenses, and time diverted from income producing activities in just the last twelve months is no less than $40,000. I've lost paying clients because of the time this effort has required. I've put myself between detractors and friends to absorb heat that could have ended a good thing. I've declined cases that I could have permissibly taken because perceptions might be wrong. My family has suffered. I don't know how much fight I have left. My position just isn't sustainable, and so I write to ask for your help.
Join me. Join me in the fight to see Arkansas setting the bar nationally for basic standards of ethics and competency for adoption practitioners nationwide. Join me in the struggle to clean up the mess left behind by people now behind bars for their unethical adoption practices. Join me in protecting those who are vulnerable, marginalized, and victimized. Join me in preparing to clean up more messes as more adoption practitioners are expected to be indicted any day now. Join me in preparing the final push for meaningful, systematic reforms to adoption law that starts next week.
That's right - despite everything going on in the judicial arena, I will be in in Little Rock on November 4 presenting legislation to the House Committee on Youth, Aging, and Military Affairs. It is labeled as Interim Study Proposal 134 (ISP-2019-134). What isn't printed in the ISP are other ethical issues that we must raise: racial cost disparities in adoptions, inadequate enforcement of licensing laws, and the recognition of open adoptions. That will cost a full day, gas, printing costs, preparation time, and more. We are fighting a war on no less than two fronts; we are burning the candle at both ends.
Based on where what I expect to come in the near future, I need to raise around $16,000 over the next two months to keep the fight going. After that, we should be able to sustain things on just $2,000 per month until we can declare victory. This recoups monies I've personally spent to clean up the mess resulting from Mr. Petersen's arrest and establishes a modest fund from which we can draw to press home legislative reforms going into the 2021 Arkansas General Assembly. With the momentum we have right now, this fight must be pressed forward on all fronts. We stand to see major victories if we can just find it within our hearts and, at the risk of sounding crass, within our pocketbooks to stay the course and keep fighting until we see the reform we know we need.
The cause is just and the quarrel honorable. Two scenes after King Henry uttered these words the battle had come. Henry addressed the troops: "From this day to the ending of the world, we in it shall be remembered - we few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother." Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3. Those who have been so vocal and passionate about adoption reform are relatively few. We few will be remembered for the fight we face. We may not shed our actual blood, but if we are to be victorious it will cost us all. I thank you in advance for paying that price with me, brothers and sisters.
Will you donate now?
If 100 people could spare $80 per month for the next two months we'd have this first goal licked. If those 100 people gave just 25% of that every month after that, we'd be able to make huge strides. A company in the army consists of about 100 people. Will you join me in an Adoption Reform Company?
What if we could raise a battalion? A battalion is made of at least three companies (usually). If 300 people could spare $60 per month we'd have this mission accomplished. If we kept that going we could expand to even more states, engage in public opinion campaigns, hire professional lobbyists, and have dedicated staff. What if we could raise a regiment? A regiment consists of usually at least three battalions. If 1,000 people could spare $20, we'd meet our goal before Thanksgiving.
The point is we need donors to be recruiters too. After you donate, would you like and share this blog post?
Again, thank you for your help!
I follow Christ. I have a beautiful wife Megan and three wonderful children, Harrisen, Rebekah, and Carter. I am a candidate for a Ph.D. in ethics from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, have an M.Div. from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and a JD from the University of Arkansas, am licensed to practice law in several state and federal courts, and live in Rogers, Arkansas. I write a blog and produce a podcast. And I do it all that others may know Christ.