|Lorraine, incognito at the capitol|
How many signatures were needed? 25,000 signatures within 30 days. How many adoptees are estimated to be in the United States: Six million? Eight? How many of them are over 13, the age required before signing the petition? How many are denied access to their original birth certificates, and for many, the right to learn their true identities? It must be at least several million.
WHERE ARE THE ADOPTEES?
While the OBC access petition failed because of lack of interest, the Russian adoption petition received about 55,000 signatures in less than a week, more than double the number required for a White House response.
The plea to get signatures on the petition for OBC access for adopted individuals was around for a while. On November 30, I posted this on my Facebook page: "Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines. I hope that not only my adoptee and first mother friends sign this petition, but others too who believe in equal rights for all, adoptees included, who are denied the right to know who they are by law. PLEASE LOOK THIS OVER AND SIGN." I posted another comment asking people to share the petition on their page.
While first mothers and fathers could sign, and did sign, this was not a petition that asked for anything for first mothers per se. The petition did not ask the White House to consider giving birth mothers access to their children's adoption records. Even if the White House acted on this, Congress followed and the President signed an executive order based on this petition, we would not have the ban on information to first mothers lifted. First and foremost, this petition was for the rights of adopted individuals.
ADOPTION MUST KILL CURIOSITY
I have adult adopted friends--two of them, highly successful individuals in their private and personal lives--but neither of them have made the final step to find out their identities. Both made halfway attempts, one contacting the agency where he was adopted from in Minnesota for whatever health information available, but he refused when asked if he would like the agency to contact his natural parents. The other went so far to hire a searcher in Nebraska, but as he got close, the adopted individual pulled the plug and stopped the search. Mutual friends wonder why they are not curious, because we all wonder--how can they not be? Not being adopted, they see no reason to rein in natural curiosity on a question that seems so obvious. I've answered the question for myself because I have learned how frightening it is for some adopted individuals to seek their biological parents, after all these years. Questions that were not answered when first raised as children get stomped down, and there they must lie. The woman says she is happier imagining her father is a king. I did not ask either of these intelligent, adult adoptees to sign the petition. They all know that I am involved in adoption reform, and I know my asking would have been seen as a violation of our friendship.
Yet people--all kinds of people, people who want to adopt, people who know people who want to adopt--can get so worked up about the ban on Russian adoptions--something they can't really control--that they got nearly double the number of signatures needed in a matter of days? The petition regarding Russian adoptions was posted Dec. 21. The White House response was posted less than seven full days after the petition was launched, while it usually takes weeks or months for a government response after passing the numbers threshold.
“Children should have every opportunity to grow up in loving families; their fate should not be linked to unrelated political considerations,” the official White House response stated. "The United States and Russia concluded a bilateral agreement on inter-country adoptions, which entered into force on November 1, 2012. The Agreement provides additional safeguards to better protect the welfare and interests of children and all parties involved in inter-country adoptions." It then goes on to explain the diplomatic background.
"The Russian action was reportedly in response to the Magnitsky Act, a provision of broader legislation President Obama signed this month, which would freeze the assets of Russian human rights abusers. The provision was named for Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in prison after accusing government officials of fraud.
IF WE CAN'T EVEN SIGN A PETITION, HOW CAN WE GO THE DISTANCE?
Today this is what the We The People site says if you look for the adoption petition:
I read this today and wondered what in the hell I have been doing with my life if we can't even get enough signatures on a petition to give adopted individuals their original birth certificates.--lorraine
for FMF's earlier reaction to the Russian adoption ban:
Russians say "nyet" to US adoptions
for earlier posts from FMF about Russian adoption
Foreign Adoptions Aren't Plunging Fast Enough
Open Adoption is "one free baby-sitting scam".... (about a Russian adoption)
Good news: Foreign Adoptions Decline
International Adoptions (Opposing Viewpoints)
"The viewpoints are selected from a wide range of highly respected and often hard-to-find sources and publications. By choosing from such diverse sources and including both popular and unpopular views, the Opposing Viewpoints editorial team has adhered to its commitment to editorial objectivity. Readers are exposed to many sides of a debate, which promotes issue awareness as well as critical thinking. In short, Opposing Viewpoints is the best research and learning tool for exploring the issues that continually shape and define our turbulent and changing world."--Amazon
Sources: Concerns About Russian Legislation That Would Affect Adoptions and Civil Society
and on the failed adoption petition: