Friday, December 10, 2010

First Mother Forum Mission Statement: What We Think About Adoption

Lorraine
Are we against all adoptions? No.

Some are absolutely necessary, and good. There will always be children who, for one sad reason or another, need to find a home and parents, and in many cases, they will not be family members.

We are against unnecessary adoptions whether domestic or international. In many cases, adoptions  occur because
mothers are not told about resources that would allow them to keep their children, nor are they cautioned about the lifelong impact adoption will have not only on themselves, but also on the children. Women are sometimes coerced into surrender by the adoption industry, prospective adoptive parents, or family members; they are pressured to sign consents within days of birth--in Alabama and Hawaii they may sign consents prior to giving birth--well before they can recover from the effects of childbirth, and appreciate their loss; mothers are also sometimes falsely promised that they will be able to maintain contact with their children, and thus agree to an "open" adoption when they would not agree to a closed one.

We are against adoptions where fathers who are eager and able to care for their child are denied this right.

Jane
We are opposed to marketing and policies that urge young and/or poor women to relinquish their children to be raised by others. By this we mean agencies offering college scholarships to young women in return for their babies; spa-like living conditions during the pregnancy that will be charged to the woman if she decides to keep her baby; travel, and other amenities that amount to the exchange of money in return for a child. We find these practices abhorrent, unethical and immoral.

We are against adoptions, both domestic and international, which close off an individual's right to know the truth of their origins whenever they ask, whether that be at five or fifteen or fifty. If they are old enough to question their identity, they are old enough to know the truth. And the answer of "I don't know" is not good enough in today's world--unless the adoption occurred at least a decade ago. Today forcing an individual to be the unsuspecting party to a "closed" adoption is patently immoral. Adoption lasts for an individual's entire life yet he or she never has a say in what is undoubtedly the most traumatic and life-altering occurrence in one's life, yet it is one he did not make.

Though Jane and I both relinquished in the era of closed adoptions, in the middle of what is known as the Baby Scoop Era (BSE), 1966, we were not given a choice as to whether we wished to remain anonymous from our children. In fact it is adoption, not surrender, that results in the sealing of records. Thus, the argument that the sealed records were to provide anonymity to the first mothers is spurious, false, and not credible.

We believe that all sealed-records laws should be repealed and all adoptees should have the right to their original birth certificates. We go a step further and also believe that first parents should have the right to learn the names of the adopted individual. The few cases where open records for both first parents and adoptees might cause trouble must be weighed against the enormous good of lifting the veil of secrecy that has plagued both first parents, especially mothers, and the children they relinquished. And we both are committed to working for reforming archaic adoption laws that hurt the two people most impacted and hurt by those laws: mother and child.

We know some adoptive parents that are understanding of not only the child's insecurities brought on by the obvious relinquishment that is at the heart and soul of every adoption: someone had to make that child available for adoption; someone had to give him or her up. We applaud those parents who make the effort to learn and understand the psychology of adoption as it affects the adopted individual. We appreciate the many adoptive parents who have posted their thoughts here that display not only an awareness of the adoptee's plight and position, but also express sympathy for the woman--now a mother--who relinquished her child, no matter her reasons and situation.

By contrast, we are highly critical of adoptive parents who have promised to maintain communication with the (birth. first) mother who bore the child, but in effect shut down communication unilaterally and thus an "open" adoption becomes a "closed" one. These people are deserving of the scorn and contempt not only of birth/first mothers, but society in general for they reneging on a promise that may have been the deciding factor in a mother's choice to allow her child to be adopted.

We do not think that all adoptive parents are grasping people who will take a child--anybody's child and not ask questions--but unfortunately we learn that all too often still remains the case today. While we sympathize with those unable to bear children, we believe that children, whenever possible, belong with the parents who bore them, and that more efforts should be made so that this is possible. We agree with this statement of UNICEF:
"The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which guides UNICEF’s work, clearly states that every child has the right to know and be cared for by his or her own parents, whenever possible.  Recognizing this, and the value and importance of families in children’s lives, UNICEF believes that families needing support to care for their children should receive it, and that alternative means of caring for a child should only be considered when, despite this assistance, a child’s family is unavailable, unable or unwilling to care for him or her."
We decry any efforts to increase adoptions as that is surely a manifestation of the mind-set today of the adopting class: men and women who delayed conception past their most fecund years or chose not to have biological children, and hope to "complete" their families with other people's children.

We write this today because First Mother Forum has been read lately by more adoptive parents who think we spew only anger directed at them. We wish to set the record straight, and when this post disappears from the home page of the blog it will be available as a permanent page under: Mission Statement: What We Think About Adoption. --Lorraine Dusky and Jane Edwards

57 comments:

Von said...

Here, here!

Lori said...

Well Said.

Robin said...

Beautiful, thank you.

Anonymous said...

As an adoptive parent, I wholeheartedly support this statement.

And I have never felt attacked by your posts. I also feel that adoption should not be a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

osolomama said...

I likee.
Thanks for committing this to virtual paper.

L said...

Another adoptive parent here who appreciates all the issues you bring to light, which I do not hear about elsewhere. Denying that my child has biological parents out there is not only unethical generally, but shortsighted and unkind. I am absolutely sure that I don't know how our relationship(s) will ultimately turn out (between birth parents, adoptive family, and our child), but I do know that putting the child's desire to know her family and the birth parent's considerations about what happens above mine is definitely the right path. Thanks, as always.

MrsPerrbear said...

Fantastic post!!!

triona said...

Well said and you make a lot of important points.

d28bob said...

I agree with all your points; as an adoptee of the BSE I regret what that era did to birth parents, which still apparently burdens mine.

Even though what I know about my adoption was ethical, and I had a great adoptive family who were also progressive for the time, I have come to realize the lifelong effects of adoption. I applaud you both for bringing ethical issues to the forefront; as you stated, adoptions are sometimes necessary when all else fails, but truth and openness mitigate the effects as much as possible.

DENISE said...

Thank you. You fully captured what I think about adoption as well.

Robin said...

While I understand the premise behind the idea that adoption might, at times, be necessary, I have to suggest that there might be a better way.

Beefing up legal guardianships and kinship considerations before resorting to the legal construct of adoption would be better for all concerned. There is no need, with a guardianship, for the wards(not adoptees) to call the guardians "Mother and Father," or for their last names to be changed and the families of the guardians be substituted for their own relatives. They can enjoy a warm, home and loving atmosphere without living the legal lie of adoption.

A judicial writ cannot change the laws of nature and being legally related on paper is jut not the same and never will be.

I would love to ask the people who have adopted that,were they asked to be the legal guardians of a child in need without the trappings of adoption, would they still do it for the child? It would certainly be more child-centered because it would allow for no fantasy of parenthood.

I know you are bowing to what you feel are the realities of life and maybe my idealism has prejudiced me, but I can't see a life-long legal bond being good for a child who already has a heritage.

Good post, but we will have to agree to disagree on this one.

osolomama said...

"I would love to ask the people who have adopted that,were they asked to be the legal guardians of a child in need without the trappings of adoption, would they still do it for the child? It would certainly be more child-centered because it would allow for no fantasy of parenthood."

The thing is, what do children have a right to? Whatever choices my daughter's parents had to make, they are not accessible to her at this moment and may not ever be. Does she have the right to a substitute parent? I believe she does and that keeping my daughter at the emotional distance of *ward* would not benefit anyone, least of all her. Ask a foster kid; most want parents. This is no way diminishes the role of her first parents. If we were ever to meet, it would be ideal to be family together. I'm sorry you think that is neither possible nor to be recommended. I respectfully disagree.

maryanne said...

Robin wrote:There is no need, with a guardianship, for the wards(not adoptees) to call the guardians "Mother and Father,"

I doubt that very many children whose parents are not able to raise them, for whatever reason, would want to be a ward, and have nobody in their life to call Mom and Dad except the ones who left them. As Osolo Mama said, kids in foster care want to be adopted, want to be loved and be part of the family raising them, not just somebody's ward.

Adoption does not have to mean severing ties with birth family members who are safe for the child to stay in touch with. It does not have to mean a loss of heritage. But it does provide legal permanence and a sense of commitment on the part of the parents raising the child, emotionally as well as legally.

Adopted people do not have one set of parents, they have two, hopefully both families loving them and considering them part of their family, but in different ways, and each respecting the other's contribution.

Adopted children should not have to give up either their birth family connections or their adoptive family connections to satisfy the adults on either side. As adults, like anyone else they can choose whom they want to associate with, but as children they need the protection and security of a real family, not some cold legal arrangement that is less than a family and leaves them without a day to day Mom and Dad.

The only place I have ever heard of a child referred to as someone's "ward" was in Batman, referring to Robin as Bruce Wayne's ward! Or "ward of the court". Not exactly a family word.

Anonymous said...

The child's rights should be first and foremost. A right to know one's parents EVEN if one has been adopted. Just saying the rights of the child come first is double-talk in adoption. By that I mean when a person wants a baby or child they use this worn out phrase. Being ALL about the child should include a Childs rights to know it's true heritage, it's identity and it's inherent right to know the. Truth. Not some social workers lies, not some adopter who just wants to secure their interest. Not some lobbyists or lawmaker who is paid to keep records sealed or to protect the lawmakers vested interest because they too have adopted under the archaic adoption laws of US. Not some religious organization that makes money off of mothers and babies pretending all the while they are helping them.

I also think we are talking about apples, oranges and
lemons here all adoptions are different that's why it's so easy to procur a baby or child for adoption. No one state
or country has the same laws or regulations.

Ridiculous to compare adoptions because closed adoption
the lemon seals records and even as a grown adult an
adoptee can't have his own records.


International adoptions are the oranges the adoptee could be an orphan could not One really never knows the truth in
that matter. If found to have acquired a child through
exploitation the child usually never gets returned by
adopters. It's just to bad for parents .

Then there are the domestic adoptions where kids just don't matter. They might be taken from family and fostered for money by fosterers. But considered to old to adopt
although these adoptions come with bonuses for adopters if
they do adopt till the child turns 18 then out on the street because these kids remember and want their family of
origin.

When I think about adoption those that adopt come out way ahead of the natural parents. There are tax incentives even in international adoptions there is money to be paid to fosterers, and those who run the returned adoptee ranches like the one in Montana that woman worked on both ends of table she facilitated and then collects money for the adopted that just doesn't fit in with the family that adopted them. Where is the help for moms that ONLY wanted their own baby none when I was pregnant for sure. I don't want a dime of my tax money used to go to adoption but di I have a say in that no way only the big action industry does.

Sandy Young said...

You said:
We believe that all sealed-records laws should be repealed and all adoptees should have the right to their original birth certificates. We go a step further and also believe that first parents should have the right to learn the names of the adopted individual. The few cases where open records for both first parents and adoptees might cause trouble must be weighed against the enormous good of lifting the veil of secrecy that has plagued both first parents, especially mothers, and the children they relinquished. And we both are committed to working for reforming archaic adoption laws that hurt the two people most impacted and hurt by those laws: mother and child.


I was surprised to see this here. I have been advocating for exactly this for some time now and when I suggest it, I am usually met with 'but,that can't be done'. I would love to talk with you about how this could be accomplished.

Robin said...

Osolomama wrote:
"Does she have the right to a substitute parent? I believe she does and that keeping my daughter at the emotional distance of *ward* would not benefit anyone, least of all her."

I have to agree. As an adoptee I do not like the concept of guardianship. It sounds like a form of long-term foster care. What a child needs most is a home and family. While I totally support all efforts and resources being provided to a first mother so that she can keep her baby, in the sad event that this truly isn't possible, I believe that the child needs the security of being part of a family and not a "ward".

I, too, have to respectfully disagree with this plan of totally eliminating adoption and replacing it with guardianships.

Lavender Luz said...

Ditto Triona.

Adoption has countless shades of nuance, and I appreciate that you address some of these nuances rather than throwing all adoptive parents (for example) in the same pot.

I am also curious about a response to osolomama's point.

Robin said...

Maryanne,

Your post was fantastic and hit the nail on the head with all the issues I have about guardianship vs. adoption.

I did have some concerns about your comment
"Adopted people do not have one set of parents, they have two, hopefully both families loving them and considering them part of their family, but in different ways, and each respecting the other's contribution."

While this sounds wonderful I don't think we live in such a utopian world yet. What with all the jealousy, insecurity and possessiveness in adoption. This sounds like an ideal but as so many have found in difficult reunions, we just aren't there yet.

Anonymous said...

Adoptions can occur without the sealing of birth certificates. It's done in England and it works just fine.

As for having a substitute "Mom and Dad"? Well, we adoptees already live with 2 of each and it works out just fine. A child's brain can comprehend a mother that gives birth to him/her and a mother that raises him/her.

maryanne said...

Robin, you are right, the idea of everyone getting along and considerate of the other parties is indeed a utopian ideal and real life often falls far short of that. But then the whole idea of what anyone wants adoption ideally to be is utopian and may not be dealing with a very complicated reality.

Utopias always fail because humans are by nature imperfect. Maybe we do better to try to make some of what is better than come up with more grand schemes of how it ought to be.

As to guardianship, in some cases it can be alternative to adoption, but it is not a replacement for adoption. More flexibility is needed in child welfare, not another rigid idea of that is ideologically correct for all.

osolomama said...

Anon 7:29, you are right. A child's brain can comprehend a lot: two sets of parents, two moms who live together, grandma or uncle only, loving foster or adoptive parent . . . just to name a few scenarios. Kids are infinitely more flexible than we are. What kids care about is whether some adult or adults care about them. Roles and names--denying titles to one and awarding to the other--is an adult preoccupation.

Mei Ling said...

"Adopted people do not have one set of parents, they have two, hopefully both families loving them and considering them part of their family, but in different ways, and each respecting the other's contribution."

That's just a theoretical sentimentality, which is not socially accepted because it is a living contradiction.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to see that you did not post my comment regarding the stereotype you are advancing of women and men who seek to adopt because they can't have children, that it is because they have waited too long to try (i.e., they are to blame for their situation, rather than the truth of the matter--women and men may not be able to have children for many medical reasons, most of which aren't anyone's fault).

Something I have admired about your blog is your honesty and integrity in sharing your experiences and advocating for your beliefs about adoption reform. It is disheartening to me, as someone who has actually recommended your blog to infertile friends who are considering adoption, to see you persist in this pejorative portrayal of those suffering from infertility.

As I said, this is NOT to say that infertile couples are entitled to anyone else's children (and I think criticizing such an attitude is totally fair), just that most of them are not to blame for their reproductive issues and it sucks to see this stereotype being advanced here again.

Please, let's be fair.

Brenda Romanchik said...

"Adopted people do not have one set of parents, they have two, hopefully both families loving them and considering them part of their family, but in different ways, and each respecting the other's contribution."


Actually this has worked with my son and I, my son,s birthfather and my son's adoptive family. In fact many fully open adoptions work that way.

Robin said...

Osolomama said
" What kids care about is whether some adult or adults care about them. Roles and names--denying titles to one and awarding to the other--is an adult preoccupation."

Don't think I totally agree with this. Names are very important, they denote one's role in the family and one's relationship to others in the family. As anon7:29 stated, children (at a certain age) can understand the concept of one mother who gave birth to them and another mother who raises them. This is why I like to see children having a mother and father rather than guardians.

Robin said...

Guardianships for orphaned wards were the way to go for centuries, as was kinship care. I know people raised by family members as legal guardians who never felt any "emotional distance." Knowing that someone loves you and is there for you is what matters...not whether or not you call them "Mommy." Children are told what they should want. Adults realize what they really needed. Guardianship denotes caring and guidance. Adoption denoted possessing. I also submit that, with loving guardians, retention of the birth name and full knowledge from the get-go, there is less damaging confusion.

Adoption is not in the best interests of any child.

And I also echo Sandy's post. She has been talking about the idea of there being no amended birth certificate for a while now, and people acted like what she said would never work. Why should it be more feasable coming from this quarter?

maryanne said...

Yes, it is a "theoretical sentimentality" to envisions adoptive parents and natural parents getting along for the sake of the child. It very seldom happens, because people are selfish, on both sides, and other complications can make it impossible.

But lots of what we live with are "living contradictions", divorce, step-parents, two parents of the same sex, being raised by grandparents or other relatives, even polygamy with one Dad and several Moms. And now we have all sorts of assisted reproduction. Now there is a huge "living contradiction"! Life is very imperfect, and not very theoretical, and children have to adjust to a great variety of living situations that are atypical. Adoption is not the only one.

osolomama said...

Robin 7:39, I see what you mean except that sometimes kids aren't raised by a mom and dad and the names are going to reflect that.

About guardianships: these may be useful when a child is too old to be adopted, doesn't want to be adopted, comes from a country in crisis and intends to return there one day, etc. These are all scenarios we've heard of. Guardianships are also useful when the need is temporary. But guardianships are not family (unless it is family members involved anyway) and what kids need and deserve is the emotional investment of family, especially when there is no other family available.

Even the hundreds of thousands of Chinese families who adopted abandoned children informally in the early '90s consider them family. In fact, many are not even told they are adopted. Not that this is ideal from our standpoint, but it is interesting that no distinction is made, even in a culture where lineage is important.

I think "ward" status would also cause terrible problems with bio-siblings. In fact, it pains me to think of the impact on the child.

unvisibleMOTHER said...

@Robin, I think you make some excellent points. I also agree with some of Osolomama's ideas.

If there are both born to and adopted children in the family then I worry the adopted ones would feel less part of the family if they were wards and not calling the adoptive parents the same names as their siblings.

I don't like mary's reference to batman , it is possible to agree or disagree with a mother of loss without making fun of her or belittling her point of view.

Certainly I think we could do away with the fake birth certificates and find ways to make adoption be less about wiping out the child's origins and more about keeping a connection to the original family.

It's a very complex area adoption, great need for compromise (obviously) and greater need for reform.

About the post, it's so clearly written, I'm very impressed with the level of writing here on the first mother blog. I agree with most of this post too.

It is lovely to see first mothers and adoptive mothers come together here and give voice peacefully. (and of course always good to read adoptee opinions that goes without saying)

maryanne said...

"We are against unnecessary adoptions whether domestic or international."

That really says it all. It also acknowledges that some adoptions ARE necessary, and goes on the detail how to make these as ethical as possible.

The idea of guardianship replacing adoption gets off this track, and into the territory of those who are anti-adoption in any form, all adoption.

Yes, in the past children were often wards with guardians, but this was far from ideal then, and for most families would not work today. Young people, including young parents, died in much greater numbers in the past, and most of the children who became someone's ward were true orphans, or at least had lost one parent to death.

Their history and name were not obliterated or changed, but often they were not treated as real family members by their guardians, were not loved, and were kept either for their trust funds if they were wealthy, or used as little more than indentured servants if they were poor. There are countless stories of children who were "poor relations", taken in grudgingly, unwanted and unloved by their caretakers.

All was far from rosy for children who were wards or taken in by relatives in "the good old days" before legal adoption. That is a myth that does not bear up to any historical scrutiny. Legally, wards were just as much owned by their guardians until the age of majority as adoptees are, with less legal standing in the family with whom they lived. For many it was a not a happy life.

No, adoption does not guarantee a good family or happy life either, but neither does guardianship, and there are less legal protections for the child, something needed in today's world that was not as crucial in former times.

Replacing adoption with guardianship would not solve all the problems of adoptees, it would just replace them with different problems. Legal adoption is NOT dependent on wiping out the child's heritage, changing their name, or cutting them off from all biological relatives. Those are bad features of our current adoption system, but they could be changed.

The idea that a child should not call the parents who raise him Mom and Dad is mean-spirited and shows who the whole guardianship idea is really about, the natural parents retaining rights and titles, not what might be better for the child.

osolomama said...

What happened 60, 100, 120 years ago is also not usually a good marker of children's rights or child-centredness.

unvisibleMOTHER said...

I have been following Robin's blog, motherhood deleted and find her anything but mean spirited. The high level of writing on many blogs here is quite remarkable, motherhood deleted is an excellent blog. I respect her highly.

Lorraine Dusky said...

Dear Anonymous of 3:10 am:

Not sure why we did not post your comment--it may have seemed off the mark or unnecessarily combative, or, well, we simply may have been tired of comments from people having trouble conceiving and who are shocked, shocked that we are not more sympathetic. We do not understand why they do not understand simple biology.

We know that infertility occurs for many reasons but we also know that the people to whom it befalls most are people past their most fertile years, to wit:

Between 1985 and 1994 the proportion of births to women in their 20s decreased from 62 percent to 53 percent, while the proportion of births to women 30 - 44 years of age increased from 25 percent to 34 percent. Since the mid 1970s there has been a four-fold increase in the percent of first births to women 30 years and older.

Yet women are most fertile between the ages of 20 and 24. As women grow older the likelihood of getting pregnant falls steeply while the likelihood of infertility rises sharply. Men can remain fertile for much longer but male fertility still declines with age, albeit less dramatically.

We are less than eager to embrace the problems (delaying conception until past peak years of probability) since it is obvious this trend is what increases the pressure to find adoptable babies. Scott Simon's book, "Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other," is a good example of what we mean.

Eileen said...

Very well said as usual! I do have to say though that I am sorry that you felt you had to write this due to pressure from adoptive parents and that you are now getting a lot of comments from infertile people as well. The title of your blog is First Mother Forum and it is one of the few places that first mothers can go to read and comment about issues from the first mother's perspective. There are many other sites on the internet for adoptive parents as well as for infertile couples.

I guess I'm just tired of feeling like first mothers always have to say that some adoptions are necessary when they are trying to be heard. Not nearly as many adoptions are truly necessary as people like to think.

Robin said...

Maryanne wrote:" the whole guardianship idea is really about, the natural parents retaining rights and titles, not what might be better for the child."

This is also what bothers me that the natural parents want to retain this tie to the child but without taking any responsibility for the child. That's why I wrote earlier that this sounds like long-term foster care rather than a family.

@Lorraine,
I don't think it is fair to discuss the increase in infertility
due to age without mentioning the enormous societal changes that occurred during this time frame. Women's career aspirations have changed. Finally, for the first time in history, women are allowed, welcomed and encouraged to pursue careers that were once the province of men only. For example, if a woman wants to become a doctor her training will take place between the ages of 18 and 31 (her prime fertile years). Even becoming a lawyer or getting a PhD will take her into her mid to late twenties. Our educational system and career planning have not changed at all to accomodate women's biology. When you add in establishing a career the age goes up even higher.

Also, for at least the last 2 generations most men are not ready to make a commitment until their mid-30s.

It certainly was easier for women to have children in their twenties when women were encouraged to get married right out of college and forego careers for homemaking and motherhood. And men frequently married in their twenties then, too. Btw, I don't know any women who were in a relationship to have children when they were only 2o to 24.

maryanne said...

Eileen wrote:"I guess I'm just tired of feeling like first mothers always have to say that some adoptions are necessary when they are trying to be heard. Not nearly as many adoptions are truly necessary as people like to think."

Indeed, there were and are way too many unnecessary adoptions. All of us here agree on that. But that is not the same as "there are NO necessary adoptions". Yes, some adoptions are necessary, and I am a natural mother and nobody is making me say that.

Most of the women writing and reading here had surrenders that were not really necessary. With a little help, encouragement, decent counseling that involved our parents, and our child's father and his parents if he was a young guy, most of us could have kept our kids and done a decent job raising them. This is also true of some young mothers still being sucked into coercive and dishonest adoption broker schemes today, also those victimized by some religious agencies.

But this is not the whole picture of adoption. With real adoption reform, capable, motivated young mothers in temporary crisis would never become birthmothers, so they would be out of the adoption picture. But there are other situations where mothers and whole families are unfit or unwilling to raise the children they bring into the world. These are the cases where adoption will still be needed.

Parents who are chronic addicts, seriously mentally ill, abusers, or just not interested in parenting will always exist. These people may not do well with open adoption or guardianship because they are dangerous or too unstable to retain any kind of parental right or relate to a minor child in any way that is healthy.

Those who propose that no adoptions are necessary and that guardianship should replace adoption are basing this on the model of all birthparents being like us, motivated, bright, rational, interested in our children and their well being and able to contribute to it. This is just not so for many kids already in foster care, and for those who would be surrendered as infants under a better system where honest counseling and family preservation where appropriate was more of an option. Those like us would go home with their babies. Those who surrendered because they truly wanted or needed to are not people we can assume are just like us who can be dealt with the same way.

Mei Ling said...

"Legal adoption is NOT dependent on wiping out the child's heritage, changing their name, or cutting them off from all biological relatives."

But that's pretty much what happens in about 99% of adoptions.

In fact, Hopgood was the first adoptee I had heard of whose parents kept her name of origin and *legally* used it.

joy said...

"Adopted people do not have one set of parents, they have two, hopefully both families loving them and considering them part of their family, but in different ways, and each respecting the other's contribution."

That's just a theoretical sentimentality, which is not socially accepted because it is a living contradiction."

Stomping my feet and clapping for Mei-Ling.

I am an adoptee who has never believed in, as wonderful as it sounds, wards or permanent guardians being a replacement for adoption or a more beneficial response to the plight of the child without parents.

At the same time, I don't believe in the ooky-feel-good of more parents to love a child and the pressing goo that there is a nice way to adopt-out a child. I would like to hear Ms. Romanchhik's son's thoughts. I should predicate that with unguarded and honest thoughts.

I think those sentiments are two sides of the same coin. The coin being the adoptee.

Adoption is not about sharing a child, adoption is about assuming as child as if he/she were your own. Just like a highway or a dog. It is about ownership and return on investment.

If it was about caring for children there are a million ways to do that without adoption. That being said, children benefit from 'ownership' when there are good owners, they benefit from investment, even when a return is expected.

Like I am fond of saying, 'communism sounds good on paper' but shared ownership of property results in neglect.

There is a lot of reform that could happen that would ultimately benefit the marginalized children that become adoptees. Saccharine rhetoric to soothe adults is not a part of that. I mean that, right there is the problem, soothing adults at expense of the children.

joy said...

one more thing:

In response to children's flexibility, I know of no adult who is not dealing with difficulties spawned in childhood. Not one.

I think this resilience and flexibility that we often hear of is actually code for inarticulate and powerless.

The very idea that you can introduce abandonment at a certain age, or through a certain agency and it will be fine, the very idea.

Self-serving that.

maryanne said...

Mei Ling, I think what we are talking about is what we would like adoption to be once it is cleaned up, not what it is today, which is not acceptable.

What I meant was that legal adoption could still occur without name changes, with a certificate of adoption rather than an amended BC, leaving the OBC open as is done in England, and with family members staying in touch. But the adoptive parents would still be the parents with full parental rights, not guardians or caretakers.

Those advocating replacing all adoption with guardianship want an arrangement where all parental rights are never severed, which is not feasible for all placements. It could work for some, not for all.

Anonymous said...

More and more these comments sound theoretical and as if they have nothing to do with the child. Anything that makes the child feel like less than a full member of the adoptive family will be harmful.

@Joy,
"In response to children's flexibility, I know of no adult who is not dealing with difficulties spawned in childhood. Not one."

Yes, everyone has issues from childhood but adoptees do have separate difficult issues on top of what children raised in their bio-families do.

Mei Ling said...

"Adoption is not about sharing a child, adoption is about assuming as child as if he/she were your own."

Following up on this:

As much as the sentimentality exists that adoptive parents and birth parents can "share" a child, it doesn't really work.

Only two parents actually raise the child (obviously...?).

Only two parents have the rights and the power of privilege. I see some adoptive parents who say "Of course we'd let our daughter have a relationship with xx birthparent."

It is easy to say that. So very easy. Adoptive parents have all the social power and privilege.

An example...

I've had some people tell me my adoptive parents were connected to my birth parents. Ha. Right.

No, they are not and never will be. If it weren't for me, they wouldn't have any association with each other at all. I am like a ping-pong ball. Can't be with one set without leaving a void in the other, right?

Mei Ling said...

"I think this resilience and flexibility that we often hear of is actually code for inarticulate and powerless."

I think so, too.

Anonymous said...

Birth and adoption records information UK:
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizen
sandrights/Registeringlifeevents/Birthandadoption
records/Adoptionrecords/DG_175567

Search and reunion information UK:
http://www.adoptionsearchreunion.org.uk/
default.htm

Anonymous said...

"The idea that a child should not call the parents who raise him Mom and Dad is mean-spirited and shows who the whole guardianship idea is really about, the natural parents retaining rights and titles, not what might be better for the child. "

I totally agree with this quote. When put into this context it's really about the birth-parents retaining the rights and privileges of a parent without doing the hard work. This is why adoption is in place now: if you can't be responsible for raising a child and expect to have "say" in how they are raised when you're not doing the work, then place the child up for adoption.

Guardianship is equivalent to long term babysitting.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding. Very well done statement. This AP could not agree more.

Robin said...

"Guardianship is equivalent to long term babysitting."
And the child could end up with no sense of family.

maryanne said...

Guardianship as proposed by anti-adoption people is not about the child, but about the adults, in this case the natural parents, retaining rights. Just as sealed records are not about the child, but about the adoptive parent's ownership being perpetually protected. Once again the child is a pawn between adults fighting over who owns him and what he owes them.

Anonymous said...

Are you serious??? Come on! You people are the reason that so many babies are abused, teenage girls go on welfare and the FAMILY is being destroyed!!! Babies deserve the world the best opportunities ever!! It is not their fault that they are born to unwed mothers, or poor mothers. It is not a SAD reason to put a baby in the home of a loving mother and father. Who are financially stable, and don't have to rely on government financial aid.

It makes me sick to see 15, 16, 17 year old girl having babies, and trying to raise them (I say trying, because their sucess rates speak for themselves. ).

You are old. You are out of touch and don't actually have any experience with modern adoption. I placed a baby 18 months ago. I am happy. He is happy. He is loved. I know he is loved. I am not his mother, I was his transportation to earth.

I wish you could see the harm you are doing.

Maybe you need to meet with modern day, YOUNG birth mothers. Not 60 year old women who felt coerced. Today there is no coersion.

I hope and pray that you don't have as much power as you think you do.
-Katie from SLC

letterstomsfeverfew said...

Dear Katie from SLC -

I won't spend the time taking apart your argument because (a) it won't do any good right now and (b) there are others much more adept at it.

Let's just say I know how it feels to desperately cling to any shred of hope that you did the right thing through relinquishing your child to people "more qualified". However, the passage of time will force you to unpack this experience in your life...and when you are left shattered and broken, I will be here to help you put the pieces together again. Not only will I be here for you, but so will others who have walked down this path much, much, much further than you. In your innocence and youthfulness, you simply cannot comprehend what lies in front of you.

And I promise I will never say, "I told you so" when you call out for help.

Melynda

P.S. I assume from your location and rhetorical stance you are LDS, as am I. I also assume you most likely "placed" through LDSFS. Have you ever stopped and wondered why on earth LDSFS would offer you a LIFETIME of free counseling? Do you think it might be because they realize you will NEVER get over losing your child and that you will need therapeutic interventions for the REST OF YOUR LIFE? LDSFS doesn't offer this service to children of single mothers (who are supposedly so damaged by being raised by a teen mom), not to adoptees, not to drug addicts, not to sex addicts, not to child molesters - they only offer it to birth mothers. For the rest of their lives.

Think about that for a moment....

tryingtoheal said...

Katie...
When the time comes that you outgrow the denial and all the lies you have told yourself about this being the best option you will understand what some of us here are talking about. When the truth finally sinks in you will realize that the abuse of you and your child came from those you thought loved/cared for you and your child.
I wish you well, it is a long, sad road that you have started to travel.

Robin said...

Dear Katie from SLC,

I am the adult version of the child you gave up. My natural mother was not my transportation to earth, she is my MOTHER. She never got over losing me and I never go over being given away. It is about far more than love. No matter how much my APs loved me it never made up for the loss of my OWN mother. I am glad you have access to lifetime counseling. You will need it when the brainwashing wears off and the lightbulb goes on.

birthMOM said...

@melyynda - you have been misinformed. LDSFS absolutely does NOT offer birthparents free counseling for life. In fact birth parents have to fight to get any acknowledgment from the caseworkers after placement, as LDSFS is understaffed, and overworked and geared towards the adoptive couple, their true clients. Its a joke trying to get the few counseling sessions that one is actually promised post placement. LDSFS, imo, treats birth mothers quite horribly. I'm def not a fan of that agency and i dont support them, but i couldnt help correcting your misinformation to 'katie in slc'. (not trying to open a whole new can of worms)

letterstomsfeverfew said...

Dear birthMOM,

I am not misinformed. Less than three weeks ago I had a meeting with Brother Olsen from LDSFS in Richmond Virginia. He informed me that not only do mothers who relinquish through LDSFS have a right to FREE LIFETIME counseling services, but ANY mother who has relinquished. Whether or not a birth mother actually receives said counseling services is an entirely different matter. As well all know, just because someone is promised something, doesn't mean it is followed through with. Bottom line: Birth mothers are entitled to lifetime counseling by LDSFS. Whether this promise is delivered upon is highly doubtful for the very reasons you explain.

Brother Olsen and I actually argued over this very point, with me saying essentially what you are asserting. It ended when Brother Olsen told me I was calling him a liar for saying precisely what you are saying. (See http://bit.ly/fzaQcS for a more in-depth discussion about what happened when I met with him on January 28, 2011).

Other than that, I agree with you completely. LDSFS treats "its" birth mothers horribly and "its" birth fathers even worse.

Jane Edwards said...

Anon,

It's sad that you were so mislead by the LDS Church as to believe you were nothing more than a vessel to bring your son's soul to earth. Common sense should tell you that if God wanted the a-parents to have your child, He would have put him in the a-mother's uterus.

It blows my mind to think any mother would be proud of giving her child to strangers. Apparently the LDS adoption workers didn't tell you how important you are to your child. All adoption experts agree that children should stay with their bio families if possible. It's tragic that your son will grow up with people who don't look like him, think like him, or share his interests because you were seduced by LDS Social Services into giving him up.

The adoption rate has no effect on the child abuse rate. More infant adoption doesn't translate into less child abuse. In fact it may increase child abuse since adoptive parents may have difficulty dealing with adoption-related behavior problems.

Babies who really need families such as babies born to drug addicted or mentally ill women often don't get placed and end up in foster care. People who adopt often want a premium baby (healthy white girl whose bio parents have college educations) and are willing to pay a premium price for these babies.

Korin said...

I am a first mother, My adoption was once open but has now been pretty much closed. My daughters adoptive parents cut my visitations and went from being in my life, to not wanting anything to do with me. They never let me discuss it before hand, they just one day decided to cut contact.
I am absolutely heartbroken. It has been 7 years since I relinquished my rights and im still grieving, more so since they cut visitiation and contact.
I blog about it now as well. you can find my blog here
http://faceofamother.blogspot.com/

I must admit, your blog has made me realize that my story is so common, and that im not alone. I thank you so much for all of your blogs and advice. Its truely helping me feel better about myself, and being a first mother.

Jane Edwards said...

Korin.
I am sorry to read you were cut off. As you know, this happens all too frequently. We need to work together for adoption reform including laws to make open adoptions enforceable. One chanhe that should be made is to allow birth mothers to recover their attorney fees if they have to sue to enforce an open adoption agreement.