Thursday, February 24, 2011

Legislation to protect the birth/first mother AND child

Jane
My bridge partner asked me the other day about the legislation I was working on. I explained that it was a bill,  gave mothers time to decide upon adoption of their newborn child (HB 2904). Under current Oregon law, mothers can sign consents to adoption immediately after delivery.Her first question:

“What about the adoptive parents?" Surely such a bill couldn't be good for them.
That’s the sort of question you hear a lot when you talk about adoption reform. (Is it fair to adoptive parents that adoptees can access their original birth certificates and SEARCH FOR THEIR BIRTH MOTHERS?) It reminded me of the discussion-ending comment I used to hear from racists in Chicago in the 1950’s. “Would you let your daughter marry one?” In fairness to my bridge partner, she was truly ignorant, not malevolent like the racists. 
The answer gods were with me and out of my mouth came: “The question needs to be what’s best for the baby. Child development experts agree that if a child can be raised with its birth family, it should be.”

I didn’t have the opportunity to point out that the child has bonded with its birth mother for nine months. That for mothers the decision to relinquish a child can seem quite different after there is a living, breathing baby. That the mother should have a little breathing room after the birth to make a decision. That one made with a clearer head--rather than when still reeling from the shock of giving birth and the flood of hormones--is surely better for her, and the child. The woman's first thought--what about the adoptive parents?--signifies how adoption has become a service for adults who want babies, not babies who truly need parents.

As for the prospective adoptive parents, they can take the next baby in line. One child is the same as another for the adoptive parents while the baby is unique to the birth parents. (Although some prospective adoptive parents delude themselves into believing a particular child was meant for them. Was I destined to be a birth/first mother?)
...
More sound and fury over giving new moms time to recover from the affects of child birth before making life-altering decisions: 

Product DetailsA blogger/adoptive mother from Happy Valley, USA (?)  identifying herself only as Mrs. R (nowhere does she reveal her real name, or location) and writing proudly that she prevailed over her son’s birth father in a contested adoption possibly in the state of Washington quotes a self-described “birth mother adoption advocate” about the perils of HB 2904. This unidentified advocate claims to have “diligently poured over Oregon adoption law for endless hours” and found what I have written to be untrue. She does not, of course, cite specific falsehoods. Ms. Diligence accuses me of having an “agenda to preserve the birth family at all cost.” If giving mothers a week to make the most important decision of their lives is the death knell of adoption, then the institution is already on shaky grounds.   (For FMF’s actual position on adoption, take a look at our sidebar.)

Ms. Diligence argues that HB 2904 takes away a birth mother’s right to choose and follow through with “an adoption plan.” This sounds a whole like an argument against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Restaurant owners claimed that giving black people the choice to eat in their restaurant would take away white customers’ choice to eat without black people around. (Right of association they called it.)

If waiting a few days adversely takes away a mother’s choice to “make an adoption plan,” her decision was on shaky ground to begin with. Mrs.R. appears to be a Mormon (see below) and she notes that Ms. Diligence is a "non-practicing Mormon." We note that the LDS Church advocates adoption, and only adoption, as the resolution for children born to single women. It has long opposed allowing adult adoptees to access their original birth certificates. 

Mormons are skitzy when it comes to choice over personal matters. They want the government to bar a woman’s choice to have an abortion; deny gays the choice to marry the person they love; and prevent adult adoptees from choosing to have their original birth certificates. But if “choice” causes a woman to give up her baby, they believe the only morally correct choice, they triumphantly play the choice card. The truth is that none of Ms.Diligence's or Mrs. R's objections to HB 2904 bill have anything to do with choice. It’s all about continuing a steady supply of babies by encouraging mothers to make hasty, ill-informed decisions. 
-----------------------
Correction: Initially the post stated that Mrs. R lived in Oregon and was a Mormon. We do not know where she resides since she lists her location as "Happy Valley: USA." No comment. We do not know whether or not she is a Mormon. However, she has many links to LDS sites on her blog and recently included a version of a  popular Mormon hymn. I initially referred to this hymn as  "Come All Ye Saints." A reader told us the correct name is "Come, Come Ye Saints." From the LDS website, I learned that there are several hymns with similar names, "Come of Ye Sons of Zion, Come All of Ye Saints of Zion, Come all Ye Saints Who Dwell on Earth." The song appears to have been removed from Mrs. R's website so I can't determine which saints song was there. Mrs. R. says that the birth mother she interviewed was "not a practicing Mormon." We received several comments noting this and have made the correction. 

Mrs. R also stated that she did not write the post, but does not state who the ghost blogger who comes to her blog and writes while she enjoys sunsets and running, is. Interestingly, Lorraine is excoriated for acting up at a Mormon-run blog, so the anonymous "non-practicing Mormon birth mother adoption advocate" who wrote the blog has been following Lorraine and Jane and First Mother Forum for a while. 

In addition to adopting apparently from Washington (in an adoption contested by the child's her birth and natural father), Mrs. R also has adopted in Utah, which, as we have noted in the past, has some of the most grab-the-kid-and-go legislation in the country. It is also the main location of a church Mrs. R may or may not belong to. We stand by the rest of the post. 


For more information: Mormon Myths and Adoption Records

25 comments :

  1. I am absolutely floored at the amount of mothers who are opposing this bill.

    No choice has been taken away. It simply extends the time one has to make up their minds. Does anyone understand that if a decision-making time period can be WAIVED then there's no protection? Someone can walk into a hospital room while a mother is tired, emotional, hormonal, perhaps under the influence of medication from birth, and ask her to sign a form that cannot be revoked??

    Do they not know this has happens to mothers quite regularly???

    All Adoptive Parents should want to know that the mother of their child make a good, sound decision and that their child is in their home because the child actually needed a home--not because the mother made a hasty irrevocable decision.

    As an Adult Adoptee, it bothers me that so many people are missing what's best for the child in this. What's best for the child is that his or her mother makes a good decision about his or her placement and has time to do so without any pressure. Period.

    As a mother, I've made a lot of decisions for my child. Medical decisions come immediately to mind in comparison. Never once did I feel it was appropriate to "waive" my right to be informed about something that I was deciding on for him and his future. Goodness gracious!

    ReplyDelete
  2. As you know I am always most concerned about the welfare of the child, it is in the best interest of the child to remain in the care of their natural (yes I said natural) families if they are willing and capable to take care of them. I do not see how giving a mother time to think about the gravity or her decision is a bad thing. Many states have a waiting period before you can get an abortion, and the very same people how see the wisdom of that legislation, think that women don’t need time to reflect on the prospect of relinquishing a child? How does that make any sense?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jane, I guess you really didn't read my post very well. I don't live in OR nor did I write the post.

    I interviewed a birth mother from OR on how she felt about the bill.

    The birth mother I interviewed is not a practicing Mormon.

    Just thought you would want to accurately portray the facts.

    Regardless, thanks for the shout-out!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Perhaps instead of mis-quoting Mrs. R. and going on a personal rant about the Mormons you could provide factual evidence of your own point.'taking the next baby in line..'? These adoptive couples wait years in this process, and as a birthmother wouldn't you want your child's future parents to have a bond with them in reference to you making light of the parents feeling that that is their child, and the child should be with them? What a cold hearted destructive life you love. I hope that oneday you understand the joy that happens during adoption.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well said. It actually does protect the adoptive parents because there is a more ethical practice. This is so weird to me. I was born in the 70s and my adoptive parents specifically went through an agency vs. private adoption because they wanted to make sure "the mother" as they put it, had time to recover from birth before signing me away. She had to wait at least 2 weeks at the time, according to her. She could have waited longer but they pressured her to sign because then I could go to my 'new home' which apparently was foster care for a few more months but they didn't tell her that part.

    People will still relinquish babies, people still make fully informed decisions knowing full well the truama associated with adoption for the child and relinquish. As one new birth mother said, "why should I care? I wouldn't care how my baby would feel if I aborted it" That is the way some women feel. Why they don't abort is beyond me, and how they feel as mothers is beyond me too, but still there they are.

    It is always about the adoptive parents though and rarely the child in mainstream culture. I would say first the adoptive parents, then the natural parents and then the ungrateful/life-ruining child.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "I hope that oneday you understand the joy that happens during adoption."

    For whom?

    and I am an adoptee btw

    ReplyDelete
  7. I actually agree with this bill. I see nothing wrong with ensuring the birth mother is emotionally prepared to hand over her baby to adoptive parents. However, I find your anti-Mormon rhetoric to be ignorant at best. Namely, your overgeneralized descriptions of The LDS church's stance on personal choice.
    " We note that the LDS Church advocates adoption, and only adoption, as the resolution for children born to single women." This is interesting to me because I was a pregnant Mormon teen who was encouraged to raise my child as a single parent. I was never pressured to give him up for adoption; in fact no one besides my mother ever asked if I was planning on raising him or not. Your post makes it sound as though us skitzy Mormons rip babies from their birth mother's womb for adoptive parents. Also, while abortion is not encouraged in our church, it is advocated in instances of abuse, rape and medical risk.
    I understand the confusion, misinformation and misrepresentation surrounding the Mormon faith, but in reality personal choice and free agency are stressed.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "I hope that one day you understand the joy that happens during adoption." I hope that one day you understand, acknowledge and respect the pain, suffering and sacrifice that many birth mothers live with their entire lives to give you that joy. We're just asking for a little more time for women to make the best choices for them and their children. Since you will get your "joy", the least you could do is show your respect by being patient and giving the bmother some time.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for your support, No Model Lady. And thanks for the correction about abortion.

    While adoption of children born to single mothers is not mandated by the LDS Doctrine and Covenants, it is promoted by LDS spokespersons through "Ensign", the Church magazine, and annual programs held at wards.

    According to the "Ensign" article I cited, and from what I've heard from Mormon women, when a single woman is pregnant, Church officials contact her and try to arrange a marriage with the baby's father. If that is not possible, they strongly recommend adoption through LDS Family Services.

    You were fortunate that this did not occur in your case and that you had the support of your family.

    The Church promotes "free agency" meaning that it does not force certain behavior. This is, of course, true of most religions since except in a few countries religious authorities do not have the literal power to make their members conform to any particular behavior.

    The LSD Church promotes aggressively what it believes to be correct behavior and thus correct choices (the correct exercise of free agency). If Church members make incorrect choices, they may suffer sanctions either now or in the hereafter.

    Let me add, the reason for bringing the LDS Church into my post about HB 2904 is that virtually all the negative comments about the bill appear to be from Mormons. Mrs. R's blog, for example, has many links to LDS sites as well as the Mormon hymn "Come All Ye Saints." LDS Family Services in Oregon has taken a stand against the bill.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am an LDS girl who get pregnant in high school. I was never forced to marry the birth father or place my son for adoption. In fact I chose to parent him. I had all the leaders of my ward as well as LDS family services support. Yes, I was told that the church does recommend that I a. marry the birth father or b. place my baby for adoption, but in the end the choice was up to me and only me. Honestly the best thing for a baby is for it to have a mother and a father. So marrying the birth father would give a baby that. If that is not possible then adoption is a great option. In my case I was told to pray about my choice and really study out my options. For me it was right to parent my son. I think each situation is different and unique. I wish people didn't think they had to speak out against the LDS church when I am sure other religions feel the same way!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Jessica nan, you said 'taking the next baby in line..'? These adoptive couples wait years in this process, and as a birthmother wouldn't you want your child's future parents to have a bond with them in reference to you making light of the parents feeling that that is their child, and the child should be with them? What a cold hearted destructive life you love. I hope that oneday you understand the joy that happens during adoption"

    My take on your point is that while adoptive parents wish to form a bond a soon as possible, the same is not necessarily true for the child. When children are reunited with family through the courts (I am a CASA volunteer) normally there is a transition plan to minimize the disruption to the child's feelings of attachment and abandonment. While it is unpleasant for many to be reminded of this fact, children - even newly born infants - have feelings and memories going back to their prenatal existence. Much of the harm done in adoption is caused by a dismissal of the infant's feelings by insisting that human children are blank slates to be "imprinted" like so many newly hatched ducks as if they will instantly bond to the first human they see in the delivery room. Sorry, that view has been long debunked.

    As to "taking the next in line", my nephew's first prospective adoption fell through when the natural mother changed her mind and decided to raise her child - he eagerly is awaiting the next available placement in April and has "gotten over" the one which failed to happen in December. I suspect the December child will do just fine without my nephew in her life.

    You are entitled to your opinion, just as everyone here is. I just try to tread as lightly as possible upon the lives of others.

    For the record, I am a happily adopted adult who still finds vast room to improve present adoption practices.

    ReplyDelete
  12. " Child development experts agree that if a child can be raised with its birth family, it should be."

    I don't think this message has been hammered home yet in the U.S. There is still a consensus that any parents will do as long as the child is placed early. Although if the bio-connection really didn't matter, then why do the vast majority of people including single mothers raise their own child?"

    "As for the prospective adoptive parents, they can take the next baby in line. "

    Maybe they are afraid there won't be a next in line because fortunately most single mothers keep their babies today. Not that I'm saying there will be no babies put up for adoption but the demand does exceed the supply. Better scoop up that baby before the natural mother changes her mind.

    @Jessica nan wrote :
    "I hope that oneday you understand the joy that happens during adoption."

    And I hope that one day you understand the PAIN that happens to the first mother and the child. I'm an adult adoptee and I'm still waiting for the joy part of adoption.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What I find so disturbing is that no other legal contract could be enforceable while signed while under heavy medication/sedation after giving childbirth. You couldn't even legally agree to get a tattoo or sign a contract to buy a house under those circumstances -- yet sign away a baby -- no problem. I think it's because that's when you're most vulnerable and if the natural mother is given more time, maybe she won't be so quick to sign; i.e. that's money lost for mega-billion dollar industry. AND just because a woman wants to adopt a baby does NOT mean that baby wants to adopt her.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Speaking of "not reading posts very well," how many times does Jane have to write a post explaining the legislation before people will read it and understand that their questions have already been answered?

    If they have actually read her posts, and still have questions, perhaps they could clarify which ones were not cleared up, based off of what Jane said, instead of just saying Jane hasn't answered anything. She has. Good grief, I feel like I could write a master's thesis on this bill already.

    --She has said who "Oregon Birth Mothers" are. She has named names. What is the claim that they don't exist based off of? Because they aren't registered non-profit status? Lots of groups aren't registered (e.g. "grassroots") and they very much exist. Some of the mother's stories were published in a magazine article which Jane has linked to at least once.

    --Jane has stated the 8 day period does not interfere with bonding. The APs can take the baby home if that is what the mother wants.

    --If time periods are waivable, then there's nothing to stop an unethical lawyer/agency from pressuring a mother to waive them. Do people understand this inability to wave the decision-making period is to prevent coercion to protect the mother and child?

    --Jane has stated that both the 8 day period and 30 day period are not "anti-adoption" barriers to adoption, but recommendations by the Evan B. Donaldson adoption institute. How in the world is following the recommendations by one of the leading adoption policy groups in the U.S. "anti-adoption?"

    --An issue with many institutions and industries is when one entity knows more than the individual making a life-long decision. I experienced this first-hand when buying my home and signing my mortgage (the unfair advantage is precisely why there's a mortgage crisis!). In adoption, agencies and lawyers hold the same advantage. Is it really that horrible that the law require them to give necessary information to a mother making a decision for her child?

    --Just because one mother had an ethical lawyer/agency does not mean another lawyer will for another mother. What is wrong making one ethical standard so that ALL mothers can receive that same ethical treatment?

    Why doesn't anyone who opposes the bill have answers to these questions?

    Is anyone who opposes this legislation reading anything anyone writes to answer their questions? I would think that those who would want others to be as madly in love with adoption as they are, would support legislation that would enable women to make sound decisions and enable APs to know that the original mother made a sound decision so that there's a greater chance that they WOULD love adoption.

    So many of we adoptees have mothers who were not given adequate time to make decisions because nothing was stopping the agencies from asking them to sign consents when our mothers were not ready and had not had adequate information (or any information at all). When I think of my mother pining all those years, wondering if she did the right thing, I don't see extended decision-making time as her automatically not choosing adoption. It's not "anti-adoption." I see it as providing her with time, when the agency couldn't have stomped into her hospital room, to really think about it and have had more peace with her decision. She deserved that peace of mind. I think it's sad that there was no law in my birth state that would have prevented the agency from treating her that way.

    ReplyDelete
  15. @Anon 8:50 PM

    I love your response. Would you mind if I share it with others? If you like, you can email me at ashleighastn@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sure, Not Just A Birth Mom, go ahead :-)

    To add,

    I really wish people would take just 5 minutes of their time to read Jane's posts and respond directly to what she's said. Jane is obviously more than qualified to speak on and interpret law, especially in Oregon. Instead of just repeating themselves and shouting the same misinformation about the law, why don't they comment directly on her explanations and tell her how she's wrong? Instead, they've come here to be rude and sarcastic to her, making remarks about her personally instead of the legislation, when she's done nothing but follow her convictions.

    ReplyDelete
  17. "Jane has stated that both the 8 day period and 30 day period are not "anti-adoption" barriers to adoption, but recommendations by the Evan B. Donaldson adoption institute. How in the world is following the recommendations by one of the leading adoption policy groups in the U.S. "anti-adoption?""

    I agree with the wait time provisions however, I don't agree with the one year wait time to claim the child back ( for what ever reason). An expectant mother DOES need time to make an informed decision, I agree totally, but the one year time frame to take back the child, no way! The child has bonded with the aparents and vice versa and it's not fair to the aparents nor child for that bond to be broken after an extended period of time. The child isn't a piece of furniture to be put on the self until the parent gets it together. And I do believe with the one year time frame, some people will abuse it.

    ReplyDelete
  18. As a natural mother who relinquished my daughter in 1969 in WI I believe that I was told they would waive the 30 day waiting time as I was from out of state (IL). I am not totally sure but I think I went somewhere to sign about 2 weeks after she was born. I was under the assumption that she was with her adoptive family directly from the hospital.

    After being reunited 36 years later I learned that she was in foster care for over a month if not longer.
    I agree with a waiting period but also think that mothers need more information before making a choice. I also believe that that information needs to be truthful.
    I know that I pretty much just went into "survial of self" mode to get myself through the process. I think that many of us started a process of denial long before we signed anything. That sounds selfish but I guess I figured there really wasn't anything I could do but try to go on. Of course after awhile I realized that I had left part of myself in 1969 and only went through the motions of moving on. I do not recall anyone being supportive of me making a decision to raise her. It was more like sign the papers and get out of the state as soon as possibile.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anon February 25, 2011 5:59 AM...

    The one year time frame is not simply an open invitation to 'take the baby back' it is a end point where if there was fraud, manipulation, irregularities in the process etc the mother or father can CONTEST the adoption, it gives them a final voice if the adoption was done wrong. It also protects adoptive parents by putting an end date to litigation. IT IS A WIN WIN WIN...

    The 30 day revocation period is when the mother can change her mind.

    I cannot understand how anyone can be upset with a really well thought out bill like this.

    It makes me sad and upset to see parents on both sides of the aisle not being able to look at things ethically, morally and in the best interests of ALL parties. People really need to stop and realize there are bad people in their world who take advantage of others and laws have to be designed to protect citizens against evil people.

    It is a good thing people...celebrate...

    ReplyDelete
  20. ElaineP wrote :"AND just because a woman wants to adopt a baby does NOT mean that baby wants to adopt her."

    I totally agree. Actually, I really appreciated your whole comment. So true!

    Anon 5:59 wrote:" but the one year time frame to take back the child, no way! The child has bonded with the aparents and vice versa and it's not fair to the aparents nor child for that bond to be broken after an extended period of time."

    Boy, do I disagree. I would have been thrilled if my n-mother had found a way to keep me within that time frame. If she told me at a later age, I would have felt very loved and valued that she couldn't let me go. I don't think I would have been so traumatized by spending a short time with APs and then returned to my first mother. The fact that my first mother wanted me would have overridden any of that.

    ReplyDelete
  21. "The one year time frame is not simply an open invitation to 'take the baby back' it is a end point where if there was fraud, manipulation, irregularities in the process etc the mother or father can CONTEST the adoption, it gives them a final voice if the adoption was done wrong. It also protects adoptive parents by putting an end date to litigation. IT IS A WIN WIN WIN..."

    I am sorry it's only an "win win" for someone who may abuse this law. What if boundaries are overstepped and the aparents want to pull back visits, or the OA isn't what the bparents envisioned and want more? Should they be able to abuse the "law" by claiming fraud because it's not how they want it? Child aren't items to be put on a shelve until the parents get it together. Giving someone a year to "claim" the child and overturn the adoption is no more than babysitting on someone else's time & dime. And let's dont talk about the potentail for blackmail.. someone is/will abuse this law

    I respectfully disgree

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anon 6:05 pm

    I have to disagree with your statement about giving the natural parent time to get it together.
    I knew within 2 months of signing that I had made a huge mistake!!!!
    If it was okay for my daughter to be in foster care that long awaiting adoption it was certainly okay for me to be able to get her back!!! Every case is different and the laws somehow need to reflect that. There will always be those who try to figure a way around a law. It only takes money.

    I was young and had no support. That is no reason for a baby to be seperated from their Mother. Those who work so hard for adoption should channel some of that time and energy into helping families stay together. Adoption may be best for a few but it is pure hell for most natural mothers and their babies. I would have loved to have had the right to change my mind and bring her home.

    ReplyDelete
  23. For those commenting:

    We are not publishing the comments that have the facts wrong.

    We are publishing comments we do not agree with, as you will see if you read them.

    We are also not attacking Mrs. R as many of you are writing, but noting she does not reveal who she is, or where she lives. That is her right, but it is then fair game to point that out. She mentioned in her blog that she adopted in a contested adoption, which we have noted. We are not discussing her adoption here, or publishing more personal details about her. That is not the topic under discussion.

    She only came to our attention as her blog contained a lot of incorrect information about the legislation proposed in Oregon.

    And that is the topic.

    For those reading here, the conversation has generally moved onto the next blog. Adoption Reform and the LDS Church

    ReplyDelete
  24. well, in a week a baby can already form its own identity. You know, because before then, they are a blank slate. The longer you wait, the more they develop, and who wants a baby with a mind / personality / identity of its own? (Inject Sarcasm alert).

    ReplyDelete
  25. Harmony - you don't know how lucky you are. Many of us did not have the support system that you obviously have. The Catholic church (I am a lapsed Catholic) were relentless in their pursuit of taking my son from me. My parents rejected me, demanding I abort. When I refused, they went behind my back and told the Catholic social workers to take my son from me, regardless of my wishes and despite being over 21. They stole him straight out of the hospital. I didn't consent to adoption. Many like myself were blackmailed into temporary foster care agreements. The social worker walked into the hospital, told me that if I didn't sign foster care papers, I would never see my son again and if I did, she would return him. She lied. She refused to return him. I hope you can appreciate that many do not have the support you have. I would never want anyone to know the anger and sadness that blight my life everyday.

    ReplyDelete

We welcome comments from all, and appreciate letting us know how you relate to adoption when you leave your first comment.

COMMENTS ARE MODERATED. Our blog, our decision whether to publish or not. We are trying to find a way to end the endless anonymous comments, which drive many of us crazy. Pick a name! Any name. Choose the NAME/URL selection. You do not need a URL. Your name does not have to be your name IRL though we appreciate those who do, and we understand due to the sensitive nature of our subject, many will prefer to use a nom de plume. Okay with us, but the endless Anons are tiresome for everyone. If you post as "anonymous" you run the risk of not being posted.

We try to be timely but we do have other lives.

For those coming here from Networked Blogs on Facebook, if it does not allow you to make a comment, click the "x" on the gray "Networked Blogs" tool bar to exit out of that frame and it should then let you comment.