Press Release



April Dinwoodie, Chief Executive

Hollee McGinnis, Policy Director
212-925-4089 or 646-263-9236

NEW YORK, Feb. 23, 2006 – The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute today expressed its gratitude to the Parisian Division of Saks Incorporated for halting the sale of dolls for “adoption,” saying the action showed that “people in business aren’t always concerned with only the bottom line.”

The Institute has spearheaded an effort to end the doll “adoption” campaign by the manufacturer and the retailers who participated in it. Parisian is the only company to date to respond to the Institute’s initiative.

“Thank you for meeting with us and for your concern,” said a letter from Parisian to Executive Director Adam Pertman, After reviewing the issues raised by the Institute, it added, “we have decided to remove references to adoption from our process. …

“As we originally discussed, our intent has been to create a positive experience for our customers related to their dolls,” the letter continued, “and we never intended to offend or demean the seriousness of adoption.”

Pertman said he was heartened by and grateful for Parisian’s action. “It shows two things: that people in business aren’t always concerned with only the bottom line, but can also show their regard for deeply important issues; and that advocates for families and children can have a real, on-the-ground impact.”

The Institute launched its effort late last year, arguing that the sale of dolls through “Newborn Nursery Adoption Centers” wasn’t meant to cause anyone harm, but was nevertheless problematic because it was “based on antiquated, discredited perceptions of adoption.” The sales concept was devised by Lee Middleton Dolls and is used by other stores including FAO Schwartz. The Institute’s concerns about it included:

  • It implicitly eliminates key participants in the adoption process – i.e. the women and men who give life to the babies, and who in infant adoption today typically choose the new parents for their children.
  • It suggests adoptive parents shop for babies as they do for products and perpetuates damaging myths about how adoption works – including a notion that adopted children are commodities.
  • By furthering an inaccurate portrayal of adoption, it risks fomenting another generation of negative, uninformed attitudes toward adopted people, their parents by birth and adoption, and adoption per se.

The Adoption Institute is the pre-eminent policy, research and education organizations in its field; its mission is to provide leadership that improves adoption laws, policies and practices – through sound research, education and advocacy – in order to better the lives of everyone touched by adoption. Because it is independent of any interest group, the Institute has long been a source of accurate, unbiased information for journalists, researchers and policymakers. Its award-winning website contains extensive information on adoption-related issues, including ones relating to ethics and best practices.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact April Dinwoodie at 212-925-4089, or The Institute website is