Monday, February 28, 2011

Should Birth Parents Be Allowed to Sue to Get Their Babies Back?

Jane

HB 2904 introduced into the Oregon legislature amends Oregon’s adoption law to ensure that parents have sufficient time and information to make informed decisions about adoption for their children.  A reader posted the following comment:

“’I don't have a problem with the eight and thirty day waiting period [in the bill], a mother DOES need time to make a decision. What I DO have a problem with … was the ONE YEAR OPEN WINDOW the mother and father have to claim the baby.”

HB 2904 does not give parents a ONE YEAR OPEN WINDOW to claim the baby. It clarifies current law allowing by parents to bring lawsuits within one year to overturn an adoption if the adoption was obtained by fraud or duress. As reader Ansley noted, fraud is hard to prove.  Permitting lawsuits allows judges to rectify wrongs when they occur and acts as a deterrent to shoddy practices.

We all know that laws are worthless if they are not enforced. We’ve seen this in the financial industry where federal regulators ignored serious violations of the law until our economy was on the verge of collapse.

Unfortunately, adoption, has become a big business. More people want to adopt babies than there are babies to adopt. Unscrupulous adoption practitioners take advantage of unsophisticated parents to meet the demand for babies. Corruption abounds in countries such as Guatemala and Nepal where enforcement is week. Children, especially children in poor countryies are literally stolen from their parents.

Wide-scale corruption has happened in the United States as well. In the 1930’s and 40 Georgia Tann operated the Tennessee Children's Home Society, an adoption agency in Memphis, Tennessee. According to Wikipedia “Tann used pressure tactics, threats of legal action and other methods to take children from their birth parents—mostly poor single mothers—and sell them to wealthy patrons…. Tann's crimes were accomplished with the aid of Memphis Family Court Judge Camille Kelley who used her position of authority to sanction Tann's tactics and activities.” Tann placed children with prominent people including Joan Crawford, June Allyson and Dick Powell, and New York Governor Herbert Lehman who signed a law sealing birth certificates from New York adoptees in 1935.

Other than the good faith of those who work in adoption, the only real deterrent to corruption is to allow parents who lose their children through fraud or coercion to have the adoption set aside. Under current Oregon law, however, parents have difficulty asserting their rights in court.

In 2006, a young mother, Janette, filed a law suit eight months after her son’s adoption became final claiming she lost her son through fraud and coercion. The Oregon Court of Appeals said Janette did not sue in time and dismissed her case even though Oregon had a statute setting a one year limit for suits to overturn adoptions.

It gets tricky here so bear with me. The Court said that the law establishing the one year limit for filing suits did not give Janette the right to sue. Parents like Janette could sue under a court rule--but it was up to judges to decide if suits were commenced in time.

Several years later, another mother filed a law suit to set aside an adoption 364 days after the adoption became final. The Oregon Supreme Court (a higher court) allowed the suit but it did not overturn the ruling in Janette's case. So what’s the law? One year, eight months, or something else. As long as the law remains uncertain, attorneys will spend time arguing whether a law suit was begun in time. This will put money in the pockets of attorneys but will cause delay to the detriment of child, the birth parent, and the adoptive parents. HB 2904 solves this problem by stating flatly that natural parents have one year to contest an adoption.

Providing birth parents a clear remedy increases the odds that adoptions are done properly. It allows adoptive the comfort of knowing that their child came to them through ethical practices, and isn't that what all adoptive parents want? We hope so. 
_________________________________
Both The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoptionand The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry are excellent titles of eye-opening books about how the baby business has become such a multi-billion dollar industry today. Suggested reading for anyone interested in how adoption came to be, and we recommend both highly. The Baby Thief is written by an adoptive mother, Barbara Bisantz Raymond, who believes in openness in adoption, and the book is a fascinating and compelling story not only of Georgia Tann, the woman behind modern adoption practices, but also of the treatment of vulnerable mothers and children throughout history. The Stork Market by first mother and bloggger, Mirah Ribben, is an expose of adoption policy and practice in the United States today. Highly recommended for anyone considering adoption.

51 comments :

  1. I am just shaking my head in disbelief that anyone has a problem with the proposed changes.

    For the AP's and PAP's reading...Don't you want to be able to tell your children that when they were adopted that their adoption was completely above board and ethical? Because that is what the proposed changes will allow you to do - look them in the eye and tell them it was ethical...

    Really it is that simple. If you don't think ethics in adoption will matter to your children - think again...this is the most important thing you will ever do - it has to be without the merest hint of suspicion - keep that thought at the front of your mind in everything you do and say.

    If it isn't being handled completely transparent and as you would want your sister, mother, friend treated - don't walk away - run - it is not worth it.

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  2. Excellent explanation, Jane.

    Few people understand just how many, many adoption laws and practices came about and are still here because of Georgia Tann as well as because of a few sensationalized cases in the media that stigmatized the surrendering parent, narrowing and narrowing the rights of all prospective surrendering parents under the law.

    All of Tann's 5,000 adoptions were illegal and were retroactively declared legal giving the natural parents no recourse or rights.

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  3. Jane:

    If I am not mistaken didn't the bmother try to overturn the adoption (after eight months) because the aparents wanted to scale back visits because the bmom was overstepping boundaries? In the other case you sited, the bmother waited ONE WHOLE YEAR to challenge the adoption.

    This is why I stated in my previous post that some people will abuse this law. These are two examples of that. Look, like I said before, I'm all for the eight and thirty day grace period. But after you pass that time, NO MORE OPEN WINDOWS to change your mind.

    A mother has nine months and then more time to make the decision..there's a problem here if she needs more time after that. It leads to blackmail and people abusing the law.

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  4. If a birth-parent wants to challenge after 8 days and before one year, s/he MUST PROVE FRAUD OR DURESS. It is NOT permitted "just because" s/he changed her/his mind.

    Why is Anonymous blind to this distinction??

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  5. Anon 3:35, as Jane said, the current law already allows for abuse. This new bill would actually limit the instances that you're worried about. While it's not the "no more backing out time" statement that you're looking for, it is a significant improvement to the very thing you dislike.

    As the Adopted Ones said, few people realize the various concepts that adoptees have to process. One common one is "why am I here in my family?" Adoptees want and need to know that they are in their families because they needed to be and not because their mothers were taken advantage of. Clear guidelines in the law that are up to ethical standards allow for more confidence in answering very important questions adoptees may have during their childhood and lifetime. Adoption is already full of paradoxes and messages that are hard to process for children; let's make it better and not perpetuate the current nonsense.

    These things may not make sense to everyone else--which is why people need to be listening to adoptees. We don't expect people to understand what it is like to be one of us, but you ought to be listening. People seem to want to leave adoption law untouched and for adoptees to just get over it and not care. Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

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  6. If a birth-parent wants to challenge after 8 days and before one year, s/he MUST PROVE FRAUD OR DURESS. It is NOT permitted "just because" s/he changed her/his mind.

    Why is Anonymous blind to this distinction??

    Cathie:

    I am not blind to this, what I am saying is this leaves the window open for anyone to "claim" fraud or duress. Let's take Carla Moquin (the woman in Utah trying to get her daughter back), Carle claimed the aparents committed fraud by promising a VERY open adoption. When in fact, according to some, Carla started overstepping boundaries and the aprents limited visits to once a year. She later when to court to get the child returned because she said she was lied to about openness. Do you see where I am coming from? Anyone can claim fraud or duress until a year. Adoption is not about that.

    It's about transferring the rights and responsibilities of raising a child from one set of parents to another-with no strings attached.

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  7. Cathie:


    I also wanted to add that my primary concern is the fact that up to one year, anyone can file a petition to overturn the adoption. Do you know who much money the aparents would have to spend to prove no fraud was committed. That money can be used for the child's education.

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  8. Anon points out that allowing birth parents to sue allows them to bring suits when they are dissatisifed with the open adoption agreement, falsely claiming they were defrauded or coerced into consenting to the adoption. Others may use the threat of a suit to try to get money out of adoptive parents.

    Keep in mind that the current law allows suits; it's just the time for filing them is unclear.

    It is true that some people will file frivolous lawsuits over anything. The legal system has procedures to short stop these suits without barring them all together. The alternative, barring all suits, including those with merit is not an answer.

    The way to prevent frivolous suits is to do things right in the first place. Assure mothers have adequate information and legal counsel before they consent to adoption. If conflicts arise over open adoption agreements, take them to mediation rather than engaging in an adversarial relationship.

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  9. Anon asks "If I am not mistaken didn't the bmother try to overturn the adoption (after eight months) because the aparents wanted to scale back visits because the bmom was overstepping boundaries? In the other case you sited, the bmother waited ONE WHOLE YEAR to challenge the adoption."

    The case was dismissed because it was filed too late so there are no findings on whether Janette's consent was obtained through fraud or coercion. I can't comment on what precipitated her decision to contest the adoption. However if it was, as you say, because the adoptive parents wanted to scale back visits, it shows the importance of upfront counseling. The parties may have had different understandings of the open adoption agreement.

    The reason for Janette wanting to contest the adoption does not negate the fact that there may have been fraud or coercion.

    The delay in filing the case was due to the difficulty in finding an attorney and apparently the attorney's decision to try to get the records from the court first. The attorney was not able to get the records, apparently because of a fire in the courthouse.

    On a different note, it is a shame that the parties cannot now come together and work out contacts. Perhaps a professional mediator would help. An adversarial relationship between Gabriel's birth mother and his adoptive parents cannot be in his best interest. Put it another way, I believe that an amicable relationship between Gabriel's adoptive parents and his birth mother would be beneficial to all, especially Gabriel.

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  10. I was just telling my sister 3 weeks ago about all the horrible things Georgia Tann did -She literally stole children off the playground in parks. My sister was horrified. I wonder how many people would be similarly horrified to know she is the reason behind many of our current adoption laws... Probably not many, sadly :-/

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  11. Anon said "I also wanted to add that my primary concern is the fact that up to one year, anyone can file a petition to overturn the adoption. Do you know who much money the aparents would have to spend to prove no fraud was committed. That money can be used for the child's education."

    The adoptive parents don't have to prove anything. The burden is on the birth parents to prove fraud. It is true that the adoptive parents would spend money defending the adoption. It is likely, though, that the adoption agency would shoulder much of the defense since they are the one's most likely accused of perpetrating the fraud.

    If the birth mother does not have evidence of fraud, it's unlikely an attorney would take her case. Most birth parents have little money to hire an attorney.

    Again, though, it is unfortunate that people can file frivolous lawsuits, the alternative of silencing people is worse.

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  12. This is one instance of formulating an entire opinion on a piece of law based on one case. The Moaquin case has nothing to do with this. Moaquin surrendered her daughter under the impression that she was agreeing to an open adoption when, unbeknownst to her, the adoption was not going to be open.

    The remedy to that situation is not to make it so that mothers cannot change their minds in cases of fraud and duress, but rather, make open adoptions legally enforceable. Mothers should not be encouraged to surrender under the premise of openness when there is no intention for the promise to be followed through with. 24 states have made progress in this area.

    But again, this bill isn't about open adoption.

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  13. Once again, anonymous, I will second that in the eyes of the law 'claiming' duress or fraud is vastly different than PROVING fraud or duress. And as Jane said, a lawsuit can already be brought under the current law- HB 2904 just clarifies when and how the lawsuit can be brought.

    As an adoptive parent, I absolutely want to be able to tell my children their adoptions were as ethical as possible. It is one of the main factors in choosing to adopt them. The reason I support this bill is because I believe all adoptive parents should want and be able to confirm the same for their children.

    -Ansley

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  14. Dear Anonymous:

    Why do you sound so much like a lawyer? We know that Jane is one, but you? A wolf in lawyer's garb? A lawyer for an adoption agency? Mrs. er, Diligence? A representative of Families Supporting Adoption where it says:

    Oregon Families Supporting Adoption

    Families Supporting Adoption is an organization sponsored by LDS Family Services which advocates a positive view of adoption and provides support to birth parents, adoptive families and all friends of adoption.

    (ho ho, is my comment--supporting birth parents? Only biological parents who wish to donate a kid) and:

    · Do not portray yourself as part of Families Supporting Adoption. Examples: “I am a birth mother and placed my child # years ago…” or “I am an adoptive parent of three children…” or or “I am a concerned citizen…”

    http://oregonfsa.blogspot.com/2011/02/negative-adoption-law-change-your.html

    If you had any balls you would tell us who you were.

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  15. Viktoria:

    I am an adoptee and while I do support the extensive wait time, I cannot support the one year time frame. It serves no one except the bparents in this case and leaves an opportunity for someone to abuse it ( not to repeat myself).

    Adoption is adoption, no matter if it is open or closed, it is not a free one year guardianship /babysitting plan that is valid up till one year.

    Again, I support the eight and thirty day grace period to change one's mind but after that, no more time.

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  16. The Adopted Ones said:

    "Don't you want to be able to tell your children that when they were adopted that their adoption was completely above board and ethical? Because that is what the proposed changes will allow you to do - look them in the eye and tell them it was ethical..."

    Exactly. Adoption reform benefits everyone. Good for you, Jane, for fighting the good fight here and combatting the disinformation campaign about HB 2904. You also made some excellent points about having transparency from the start so that open-adoption "breakdowns" (which often result from mismatched expectations or outright deception) are minimized. It's a good piece of legislation and it should be supported by everyone in the adoption community. Thanks for all the great analysis.

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  17. I just wanted to address the comment about adoption not being a free one-year guardianship.

    Yes, adoption is not guardianship, absolutely. But if adoption is not ethical there is no way to prevent some very serious questions from emerging down the road. Many parents who adopted internationally 10 or more years ago are questioning whether their adoptions were ethical, whether their kids were stolen. We know some were: that's a fact. "Returning" children has come up and will come up again. Sometimes when fraud has been committed adoptions are opened successfully; at other times children as old as 10 have been "returned" but often these situations don't work out because the children are too attached to their a-parents and too oriented to their new environment. In cases like that, there is no satisfactory outcome for anyone--certainly no justice for the original parents or child--which is why if there is to be adoption, it ought to be done right. But my point is that the same situations can occur domestically, people running roughshod over other people's rights. Allowing it to continue will only cause more problems and heartache down the road.

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  18. Anon
    "Its about transferring the rights and responsibilities of raising a child from one set of parents to another-with no strings attached."

    Your statement proves that you really have no clue about adoption or any feelings for the mother who is relinquishing her child or for the child who is losing their mother. If you were really understanding what many, many natural mothers and adoptees have to say on this blog you would understand that there will always be strings attached. Neither you, society, church, nor our families have been or will ever be successful in severing that tie between a child and its natural mother.
    Open your ears and heart and shut your mouth and realize that adoption should always be the last resort. You have a right to your opinion but if you have no experience as a natural mother or an adoptee then thats all it is.

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  19. A lawyer once said" The truth is irrelevent in a court of law" The truth here which is very clear to me in this law is that the natural mother/parents are being forced into making a life altering decision for themselves and their child in a matter of days.
    There are laws on the books that give people years to sue and recover. People buy a car and change their minds, get married and change their mind, enter into all sorts of contracts/leases and change their minds. A child is not a material object or a piece of property. That mother and child should have every protection guaranteed by law working to keep them together. The laws should reflect their rights not the rights of those who stand in line waiting to purchase.

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  20. Anon 12:35: I lost my son to grandparent adoption and I was defrauded and under duress. I set up an in loco parentis for my son to be cared for by them for up to a year. It was the same as granting custody except I was doing it and I could revoke it at any time. They understood the situation was temporary. My MIL went out the door with my son saying "Just think of this as a trip to Grandma's until you get back on your feet." (My husband had just been convicted of B&E and grand larceny and was locked up at Fort Knox. I was having to start over again with pretty much nothing.)

    Soon as they had him home they sued for custody. It just so happens he has a central auditory processing deficit, meaning he can hear but he can't always parse, which had made him six months to a year behind in verbal ability. No other adult in my life had noticed it and he was my first child, and you know how people say boys are slower to learn to talk? I had no idea anything was going on, and he'd seen doctors regularly for well-baby checks and he'd been in daycare extensively. No one ever said anything to me. They didn't actually diagnose his CAPD until three years after his grandparents got custody. They just knew he was behind. I was a sitting duck. No money to contest and I wasn't sure I should. I mean, at that point, for all I knew, I had done something to mess him up.

    Then a year later they said, "Look, we know you want a divorce, but if the divorce goes through and we still have Sean, you and Mike will both be liable for child support." By that point, with me still in poverty, my car had died. I was living with my dad again. I was out in the boonies with few jobs available. I barely had enough money for myself, much less a lawyer. If I didn't pay the child support I would wind up in jail or so far in arrears that I would never climb back out. I mean, I'd been screwed on the custody without a lawyer. No interview by family services, no home study, they just took custody away from me. I didn't believe for one minute that a judge would be fair about the child support either.

    It was basically sending me a relinquishment document and going "Sign here and you need X number of witnesses." No advice about my rights. No offer of help. NO NOTHING.

    Come to find out many years later that in Florida it's like it is in Oregon, you can revoke an adoption in case of fraud. Of course no one told me this at the time. And what my MIL said to me was all verbal so I couldn't have proven it anyway--I had my stepmom there with me but I don't know if she heard what Cheryl said. So I'm totally screwed.

    I don't care what you think you want. If you are all ate up with the Stockholm Syndrome then bully for you. Some of us, me for instance, don't think this sort of law goes far enough. I think that in an adoption situation they should require the first mom, MINIMUM, if not both natural parents, to be in the courtroom and to testify that they are willing to relinquish. Absent that testimony the most any adult should be able to do with another person's child is take long-term guardianship of them. Which is MORE THAN ENOUGH to get the child's needs met. There is NO NEED to alter a child's birth certificate or make them call you Mommy or Daddy in order to take adequate care of them.

    (To their credit, my in-laws have never done the latter. But my son's birth certificate has now been changed such that his grandparents are his parents and his father is his brother. What the everloving frack.)

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  21. Anon,

    Far too many posting here to even keep track
    of whose writing anonymously.

    I must say abuses by moms aren't even close
    to the abuses of those that adopt. Adoption is
    a business it's about getting a baby to those
    who need one along with the coercive practices
    that have been in existence since Georgia Tann
    she was a piece of work.

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  22. In the UK, no one is allowed to consent to adoption until 6 weeks after the birth. It is not considered informed consent as there are many factors here. Pre-birth agreements are considered unethical and illegal here. What if after the birth, you found out that you could not have any more children (as is the case for up to 50 percent of mothers whose first born end up adopted). As for having 9 months to decide before-hand - how many women know they are pregnant the second they conceive, seriously. Many don't know they are for up to three months or so if their periods are very irregular (I only had a period every 6 months, I didn't know I was pregnant until I was at least 3 months gone). The law has to take into account a number of issues. Taking a consent 8 days after birth is not considered ethical in many parts of the world.

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  23. I think the Bill is OK. It is conservative by American standards. But I would prefer to see a period of six weeks *at least* before signing, as well as a longer revocation period.
    But I think it would be unrealistic to expect that to be accepted in the US. Especially seeing the furore that Jane's very reasonable proposal has stirred up. So what's the big deal if there's a little discomfort for some now if it will result in greater peace of mind for all later?

    Here is a link to the Relinquished Children Protocol procedure as practiced in the UK:

    http://www.proceduresonline.com/wakefield/
    childcare/pdfs/
    RelinquishedChildrenProtocolAug07.pdf

    For "Information for Birth Parents", scroll down to annex 4.

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  24. I would like to see a lot more emphasis on encouraging young parents-to-be to not even consider adoption in the first place. It seems that this "trying to lock the barn after the horse has escaped" (so to speak) is painful, difficult and most often futile.

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  25. Thanks for the info from the UK, Anon. It really helps put things in perspective.

    Readers might be interested in comparative adoption statistics. England and Wales with a population of 57 million has about 100 to 150 adoptions of children under the age of one each year. Oregon with a population of less than 4 million has about 350.

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  26. "Open your ears and heart and shut your mouth and realize that adoption should always be the last resort. You have a right to your opinion but if you have no experience as a natural mother or an adoptee then thats all it is."

    I am an adoptee and adoption should be the last resort and, if it is, then the combined thirty-eight days for a mother to make-up her mind is more than enough time.

    Again, adoption is the legal transferring of parental rights and responsibilities not a free babysitting pass good till one year. Really, how much time does a person need to decide they were coerced or fraud was committed? Do you think a bmom needs one year to decide?

    And for people concerned about bfather rights ( which they should have), what about the cases where the bmom puts bfather unknown and one year later he reappears because she told him about the child they have? If anything the bmom, in cases like this, should be charged with committing fraud.

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  27. "In cases like that, there is no satisfactory outcome for anyone--certainly no justice for the original parents or child--which is why if there is to be adoption, it ought to be done right. But my point is that the same situations can occur domestically, people running roughshod over other people's rights. Allowing it to continue will only cause more problems and heartache down the road."

    Oslomama:

    In regards to what you are talking about, in most cases the fraud has been committed by the bmother.

    There have been many cases where a mother has stated that she "doesn't know" who the father is when in reality she does; usually he "reappears" months/a year later. In cases like this, as I said before, the bmother should be charge with fraud.

    To prevent situations like this from happening Jane should add an amendment stating that if a woman purposely states unknown father ( and she knows who he is) it will be considered a felony. This will prevent MANY people ( the child, aparents and bfather) from getting hurt and save them a lot of time, money and emotional anguish

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  28. Anon,
    We agree. Mothers should never state the father is unknown if he is known. I've heard, however, that unscrupulous adoption practitioners encourage mothers to state the father is unknown.

    The laws of some states prohibit including a father's name on a birth certificate unless the mother is married or the father has filed an affidavit of paternity. Rather than leaving the space blank, the person collecting the information adds "unknown" in the space for the father's name.

    I saw an Oregon birth certificate from 1969 where "negro" was put in the space for the father's name.

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  29. "We agree. Mothers should never state the father is unknown if he is known. I've heard, however, that unscrupulous adoption practitioners encourage mothers to state the father is unknown."

    Jane:

    With all do respect, please add this as part of your amendment, and include agencies as well for being liable for fraud
    ( punishment by crime). I TRULY believe this will avoid a lot of problems.

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  30. Anon asks that we add to our bill an amendment requiring prosecution for fraud if a mother or adoption practitioner falsely claims the father is unknown. It's too late to add such a provision to the bill now. However, we hope to be working with folks interested in adoption reform to develop a model adoption bill.

    Such a bill would increase protections for father including disincentives to mothers and agencies to lie about the identities of fathers.

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  31. I present you the Relinquishment Hell of the Netherlands...

    Before birth the intention to relinquishment has to be made known to the FIOM.
    After birth Guardianship given by court to an office. Child goes to neutral foster family. Two weeks after birth mom has to go to court.
    Mother has three months from birth to decide whether she really wants to continue with relinquishment. Then she has to sign and guardianship goes to potential adoption parents, after. Wishes about potential aparent can be expressed. At this stage there are still three possibilties, Back to Bio mom who wants and can raise, problem solved HELLO MAMA to Foster (Bio mom wants to raise, but cannot yet), to PAPs.
    If PAPs, PAPs are selected by office, if possible together with bio-parent(s).
    After a year fostering the PAPs can adopt, mother is invited in court, and could still block the stuff, but not easily, anymore the Judge will have to seriously investigate why this late change of mind. Until the Finalization of the Adoption, the process is favouring a return to the normal condition, i.e. child parented by bio-parents, who are until finalization the legal parents. Whole process takes at least 15 months from Birth, mom wants to think it over, three months added, Single Adopter? Add two YEARS. And I see people complaining about a measely eight days?

    And, to end the description of hell to adopters:

    The Adoption is almost indestructible, unless young adult adoptee goes to court and tells that he wants to restore familie ties with reunited bio-family.

    Count your "blessings", Oregon.

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  32. Theodore:

    That's insane!!! IMO, when it takes someone that long it means they have no intention of parenting and are abusing the system!

    Talk about potential aparents being in a limbo!

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  33. "Oslomama:

    In regards to what you are talking about, in most cases the fraud has been committed by the bmother."

    I don't care who commits the fraud, and Jane's point is valid. Adoption agencies sometimes offer erroneous advice to first mothers, PAPs or both in an effort not to derail the adoption. When everyone goes into it knowing there is a remedy for fraud or coercion, it lessons the likelihood of those things occurring.

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  34. Dear Anon Adoptee who sounds like a lawyer who deals with adoption with a financial interest in seeing that they occur...in Oregon?

    Did I get that right? If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, etc...

    I have never heard an adoptee argue so vigorously against allowing a mother more leeway before the adoption of her child is final and she has no recourse.

    You may be an adoptee, but certainly show no compassion towards mothers, and it is amazing to us that you keep coming her to argue endlessly about something that you have indicated that you only stated interst is that you are an adopted individual.

    Something in you has hardened beyond reach. The adoptive parents who have commented here have more compassion towards other adoptees and their natural parents than you do.

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  35. You may be an adoptee, but certainly show no compassion towards mothers, and it is amazing to us that you keep coming her to argue endlessly about something that you have indicated that you only stated interst is that you are an adopted individual.

    Something in you has hardened beyond reach. The adoptive parents who have commented here have more compassion towards other adoptees and their natural parents than you do.

    Lorraine:

    I am far from that. I do believe and agree with the combined thirty-eight day grace period but as I asked before, how much time does a person need to determine if they were forced to place or fraud was committed? One year is a lot of time to decide? And no, I am not lawyer just a person who believes in fairness for all.

    Osolomama:

    To avoid bfathers being denied the right to parent I think Jane should try ( I know she said it's too late)very soon to add the amendment ( make it a felony to lie about unknown father).

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  36. Lorraine,
    My thoughts exactly to Anon. I don't know too many mothers who would initiate an adoption of their child in order to get a years free babysitting.
    I can only speak from my experience and I know for a fact that within 2 months of signing I knew that I had made the biggest mistake of my life. I wanted to take it all back but of course it was too late.

    Theodore,
    I have a real hard time finding sympathy for the adopted parents having to wait. As a natural mother I have lived through hell and back because of my decision. Even after being reunited after 36 years the pain is still there. The bottom line is that we as mothers gave our children the one thing their adopted parents could never give them...life. Adopted parents in return should give the mother every minute, hour, month, she needs to be sure of her decision.

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  37. As to natural fathers, I gave the agency my daughters fathers name, age, place of residence, race, hair color, weight, etc.. but guess what, on the papers she received from the agency yhe father is listed as "unknown".

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  38. In regards to naming the birthfather, I remember when I was pregnant and applied for AFDC, The social worker in the welfare office was a man and when he asked me the father's name and I told him, he was very annoyed at me. I later found out that I was either supposed to say I didn't know or that I had been raped-it was less work for the social worker-he didn't have to contact him too. And I finally figured out that the reason they pushed adoption on me was so they wouldn't have to pay me all of $90.00 a month.

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  39. Trying to heal and Lorraine:

    I give-up it is obvious that a difference of opinions (even in agreement half way) isn't respected.

    I just wanted to give another POV in regards to the bill. Under this bill, tryingtoheal, you would be able to get your child back within thirty-eight days, which I agree with.

    But to say after the thirty-eight days expire a woman haves up too an additional 365 days to decide if she has been "had". It's not fair to the child or aparents. And, if someone should wait until 365 days to file a petition, then what does that say about their motives? Thirty-eight days after you(general) sign those papers you can come back 364 days later and file a petition..it doesn't add up, but that's abusing the law.

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  40. Jane:

    ETA

    I appreciate your explaining and being open to hearing others POV and suggestion. Thank you. Now I will respectful withdraw from the conversation

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  41. With the amount of coercion and lying that go on in adoption, the one year grace period for filing lawsuits related to fraud in adoption seems reasonable to me, and as Jane stated, other states have no time limit. It is about protecting rights, and as people have said, making adoption as transparent as possible to protect the CHILD. If I found out that my aparents had blocked anything in order to protect their hold on me, I would have been furious.

    I really don't see it as free babysitting, at all. Aparents go into this wanting to take care of a child, and if something shady occurred in the adoption, they should be made aware of it. Problem is, turning a blind eye to shadiness is easy. And to call ethical adoption "free babysitting" is a way of doing just that.

    Frivolous lawsuits are filed all the time. They are terrible, no doubt. But as Jane said, the burden lies on the nparents to PROVE the fraud. The system is weighted so much in favor of aparents.

    I can see where an adoptee might be triggered by the idea of a child being removed from the caretaking parents (aparents, presumably) at the end of a year and given to "strangers" (the nfamily).

    I couldn't forgive either set of my parents for being less than honest. In my case, the agency was full of lies. The agency lied to my nmom and lied to my aparents. It was all about the money. My aparents paid for my nmom's hospital expenses, supposedly. Nope. The hospital were paid by my grandfather, and my nmom saw nothing of it. The agency pocketed it all! What ethics?

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  42. In regards to father's rights. I am 100% behind such an action but, as mentioned before, there are many factors that can go in to a father being listed as unknown.

    I always knew and made known the identity of my son's father but Colorado law back then stated that, since we were not married, his name could not be added to the birth certificate and so he was listed as unknown.

    I had no control over that and I had no choice and neither did my son's father because law demanded he be listed as unknown when he was known from the very beginning.

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  43. I am adopted and am an adoptive Mom and if the adoption is done correctly with no shady deals going on, then I have no problem with the bill that makes sure the child goes to honest law abiding APs and nothing less. I guess if peole have to rush an adoption through, then they would oppose this law giving time for an adoption to be done lawfully and honestly.

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  44. Anonymous: It's Dutch, if you ask me, it is designed to prevent unnecessary relinquishments at all costs. Who has no intent to parenting? PA-parents? They get a call, Hello, all's well, you can adopt this baby, do you want to? And in two weeks they are the child's foster parents, and are just parenting happily away until the year is past and they finalize the adoption in court. Moms who clearly want to parent their own children, do not have their children placed with PAPs

    To me it rather seems that a relinquishing mother is dragged through hell, all the way to the centre.

    Theodore:

    That's insane!!! IMO, when it takes someone that long it means they have no intention of parenting and are abusing the system!

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  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  46. I know of specific instances where birthmothers did not realize they had been lied to or coerced about their children's best interests until well after 30 days. In one case the mother discovered the adoptive father was a paranoid schizophrenic. In another case that one of the adoptive parents was abusing the child physically and emotionally. In another that the adoptive grandfather had previously mollested a family member.

    The question has been asked "how long does it take" to discover youve been coerced (or lied to?) Sometimes it takes until the truth comes out. Unfortunately for some children that's too late. A year in any of these cases wouldn't have been a bad thing for the children at all.

    lm

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  47. Why are there so many people named "Anonymous" lately on this blog? It's really a coward's way out, and so uncreative. At least make up a ditzy screen name, so we can have some idea who is saying what... You can post it under Name/URL and not include any URL.

    Keep up the great work, Jane. You're my hero! It's kind of scary how much flack you're getting from APs on this bill. The lies and distortions going around the Internet about the legislation are frightening...and so predictable.

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  48. The nine months argument is tired. Even the most supported mothers who feel very bonded with their in-utero children report being struck anew by the love and bond they feel upon their children's birth.

    The "then more time" (apparently 30days) assumes that a mother is offered truth and informed consent to begin with. All one has to do is look around to know that CPC counselors often have a vested interest in a mother not getting the truth in order that she may more readily relinquish.

    The comments about the Moquin case by anon appear to be speculation and, therefore, irrelevant here. Only someone who knows those involved can say whether Ms. Moquin overstepped or whether the adoptive parents intentionally deceived her in order to gain her child.

    The "problem here" is the almost complete lack of regulation and ethics within adoption as practiced today and the fact that it banks on the vulnerability of mothers and children quite intentionally. It would seem that is an abuse of law, from which a kind of blackmail (we'll let you see your child if you suck it up and don't tell anyone we lied) can emerge.

    It seems what is being hoped for is that the transfer of rights and responsibilities for a child be based on truth and free from coercion. True, anyone can claim these just as anyone can claim they did not occur. All the more reason for laws that spell it all out... including informed consent, enforceable contact agreements, and some recourse for a mother and her child in the case where her rights and the child's rights were violated and in cases where the child is not best served by a potential adoption going through (and, yes, scenarios exist where this has been discerned after 30 days for numerous reasons including extensive fraud by agency reps or potential adoptive parents).

    This was well said by one of the anonymous posters:

    "Adoptees want and need to know that they are in their families because they needed to be and not because their mothers were taken advantage of. Clear guidelines in the law that are up to ethical standards allow for more confidence in answering very important questions adoptees may have during their childhood and lifetime. Adoption is already full of paradoxes and messages that are hard to process for children; let's make it better and not perpetuate the current nonsense."

    I don't get why this is so hard to digest.

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  49. "Moms who clearly want to parent their own children, do not have their children placed with PAPs

    To me it rather seems that a relinquishing mother is dragged through hell, all the way to the centre."

    Theodore:


    It seems to be the PAP are the ones dragged along. One whole year with more time(afterwards) to make a decision? Sounds like some of the women are abusing the system for free childcare/babysitting services

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  50. Dear Trying-to-Heal

    "Theodore,
    I have a real hard time finding sympathy for the adopted parents having to wait."

    They don't have to,the Dutch Domestic Adoption system is a side show, the main game is international adoption. Yes, it is initially exciting to the PA-parents, being in the process in two countries, but nothing much happens in the Dutch one and they forget, kept busy trying to get a kid from China, or the USA or so. Nothing happens, until suddenly the mighty Council of Child Protection, calls one of them, does some social talk, status checking, and tells them: There is a such-and-so baby and YOU, yes, you alone, have been chosen to to be allowed adoption of this child, do you accept?"
    But even as a natural mother, well, can you imagine a mother who has been given three months the time to reclaim the baby, in a culture where the worst complaint about her making that decision will be something like "Couldn't you come to your senses a bit earlier, dear?", such a mother, who braved that temptation, trying to recover her baby from its 2nd foster family, the one intended to become its adoptive one?", barring a great change in external circumstances. So the fostering year is really, WE HAVE OUR BABY!!!, getting it the adopted status is just paper work and formalities.

    I called it a relinquishment hell, because the system and culture is pro-natural-family preservation, if the PA-parents will not get the babies, they will never know how close they came and will have nothing to mourn about. I mean delivery room change of hearts, are so common, it's cruel to play with their hopes. Yes, they will have a year to get to know and love their baby, if they get one, but a mother who can fail to reclaim her child in a three month No-Hard-Feelings period, is very unlikely to change her mind, in the next twelve months. That's not waiting, that's just accepting that formalities take a long time, and IF the mother (before Finalization, she has relinquished parental "powers", but not the family relationship and can claim the maternal powers back, so still THE mother, even if the kid may have has some foster mothers already) might change her mind, or circumstances might change so that she can reclaim her baby, and is allowed to do so by the court, that's bad for them, but they cannot feel deeper pain, than the pain she is soothing. I mean, having "your baby" returned to its natural family, maybe with an Open Adoption Failure, in which the adoptive parents get the visting rights, and letters and pictures instead, may feel very bad, but compared with the worst, the death of your baby, it must be paradise.

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  51. It can take time to discover one's child has been placed into an abusive home and-or that the mother was lied to in order to gain her relinquishment.

    If so, and the court of law proves it, a year is a reasonable amount of time for recourse. Recourse with proven good cause is a far different animal from "free babysitting" -- which seems rather a trivial way to frame something of such magnitude.

    Lying about/withholding information from the father is wrong (even as it is encouraged by some agencies). Perhaps a potential felony charge will cease it from happening. Perhaps a potential felony charge will also stop some potential adoptive parents from lying in order to secure an adoption.

    Equality is the birthright of all people, and I look forward to the passage of any bill that promotes some level accountability to this end.

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