Friday, January 3, 2014

If LDS Family Services ends adoption, it won't be soon enough

Lorraine
UPDATE BELOW
As we described yet another LDS Family Services adoption scam yesterday, one designed to cut out the natural father, it is merely one more in a long link of such fraudulent adoptions that the state laws were designed, if not to condone, to promote. In Utah the laws make it difficult--if not impossible--for a father to raise his child if the mother chooses adoption. It is apparent that social workers, LDS (Latter-Day Saints) Family Services, an organization with dozens of adoption agencies world wide, but most particularly in Utah, the seat of the Mormon religion, are not interested in ethical adoptions, but speedy ones instead.


Consequently, Utah has become a haven for women from all over the country who wish to fool the fathers of the children they bear, and prevent these men from raising their biological children. Given the facts in case after case, it is most likely that some unscrupulous social workers school pregnant women how to manipulate the process with outright lies, so that the fathers lose out before they know what has happened. And as one of the LDS lawyers stated, fraud is not a basis to overturn an adoption. Basically he is saying that fraud is permissible. This ought to be a national story, not something just written about in Utah papers and blogs like this one.

RELIGIOUS RITE MORE IMPORTANT THAN MOTHER AND CHILD BOND 
In other words, the LDS Family Services game plan appears to be: we will help unscrupulous women steal the child from the father, and grease the wheels for a speedy adoption, and it's: too bad for you, Dad. We can only assume that this unethical behavior derives directly from the teaching that the children of single parents cannot receive the blessing of the sealing covenant, a major ritual of the Mormon faith, and thus such children cannot connect with their parents as the children of married parents can. While we do hear that some social workers associated with LDS Family Services no longer push adoption as the only correct option, still that influence of the LDS faith cannot be dismissed. If there is some trickery involved--as well as money to be made--well, isn't that better than the child not being able to connect with their parents in the afterlife? And be proper Mormons with all the advantages of the religion? This is a rhetorical question. 

Today the LDS response to single parenting is on a par with their reaction to gay marriage: it opposes such a union theologically, and by supporting legislation against it, actively tries to outlaw it. Utah's legal arguments against gay marriage reflect the tenants of the religion of the ruling class in that state--the Church of Jesus Christ of  Latter-Day Saints. Legal arguments before the U. S. Supreme Court about Utah's recently over-turned ban focus heavily on whether gay and lesbians can be suitable parents. According to an AP report, lawyers for the state of Utah filed a 100-page brief that made numerous references to their belief that children should be raised by straight couples. It is well known that the Mormon faith is adamantly opposed to gay marriage, gay sex, gay anything. While the particulars are different, the argument against gay marriage is connected to the argument for encouraging single women to give up their babies: even if they are heterosexual, how can they be suitable parents? There is only ONE of them.

People get upset when I criticize LDS Family Services--and thus the Mormon Church behind this behemoth adoption organization. They say that I am unfairly biased against their religion. The "Locator" Troy Dunn, a Mormon who paradoxically has made a successful business out of reuniting people separated by adoption, is among my critics. In truth, I don't give a hoot about the religion, and am neutral about Mormons in general; but I am thoroughly and completely opposed to a system that fosters taking children from their mothers if they are unmarried, and also encourages lying to fathers who wish to raise those children. All this is done, it appears, so the children can be adopted by people--only couples need apply--whom the LDS authorities deem worthy, and can pay their bills. Now it appears in the Strickland case, as well as others we have written about, that the adoptive parents involved knew all along that the birth father was being conned and that the adoption had problems. Yet it went forward and was finalized. The boy involved in the Stickland case is now three. Call it legal if you will, but his adoption was totally and wholly unethical. Have those involved no decency? Have they lost sight of simple morality? If you accept the concept of karma, they will one day pay for their sins. And I will go on condemning them, and the LDS ethos, until real change is effected in their policies and practices. 

LDS AGAINST UNSEALING BIRTH CERTIFICATES
LDS Family Services is one of the two major organizations behind the Washington, DC lobby group, the National Council for Adoption, that in the past has taken the lead in opposing unsealing the original birth certificates of adoptees in state after state. (If all states were to unseal the birth records of the adopted, the profitable business of Dunn, and other search organizations such as OmniTrace, would dry up. In fact, some search organizations have been known to lobby against unsealing birth certificates, all in the name of the first mothers who must be "protected." Rubbish. They are protecting their business model and bottom line.

Recently a man who would like to adopt wrote to us noting that we and those who comment at FMF typically wrote about adoptive parents in less than glowing terms, to put it mildly. We have been accused of being anti-adoption and heartless when there are so many children waiting for families, in horrible orphanages from Russia to Nepal. 

But how are we to encourage adoption when the kind of fraud we are writing about here exists? How are we to encourage adoption when every adoption--particularly intercountry adoption--breeds yet more? An adoptee who used to work in the adoption industry realized that his success actually resulted in creating more adoptees. Once he understood that, he got out ASAP. Adoption so often is a very dirty business, and the Strickland case is one more nasty example. 

How are we to encourage adoption when we hear so many stories of adopted individuals who cannot get over their feelings of abandonment, despite their adoptive parents best efforts and love? Yes, the world is a messy place and there will always be adoptions--and some are a necessary blessing--but we cannot condone the wholesale practice of separating mother and child, a practice that has been encouraged by the buckets of money now involved. There are too few babies for all the people who wish to raise someone else's child, and thus there is a booming market for babies. And today, if we know anything about adoption, it is that while it may seem wonderful and uncomplicated when a child is brought into a home prepared to love and raise that child, adoption is anything but uncomplicated for the child as he grows from infancy to adulthood. The numerous books and articles and research papers have have been written as testament to the emotional sorrow involved.
As for adoption in Utah, we can list several cases where fathers were lied to in order to gain the children for adoption: Terry Achane, Ramsey Shaud, Robert Manzanares to name a few. Shady adoptions happen elsewhere too, as the Veronica Brown case in South Carolina and Oklahoma proved. The Salt Lake Tribune and a reporter named Brooke Adams have done yeoman reporting on a number of cases, and much of our material is taken from his reporting. A lawsuit for $130 million as Jake Strickland and his attorney, Wes Hutchins, are bringing against LDS Family Services, their attorneys, an LDS social worker, the adoptive parents and the first mother involved might put a damper on LDS practices--one can only hope. Last fall we published a story that LDS Family Services was shutting down its adoption practice in this country. The world will be a better place if they follow through on this--and soon.--lorraine 

Added on 1/7/14: The latest on LDS is that they are going to stay in the adoption business. Word is that too many would-be adoptive parents pitched a fit about where they would be able to get babies without spending a mint if they closed their program, which is subsidized by the tithing of the general membership. According to a good source, LDS Family Services charges on a sliding scale based on income and no one pays more than $10K for a baby. So you can imagine all the parents in the pipeline who thought they would only have to fork over $4000 for a baby now facing "real" adoption fees of $25K+. They were not happy.
The source also says that many offices are no longer accepting new prospective adoptive parents, so essentially, those who are in the the pipeline already will remain until they get a baby, but no new families will enter the adoption pipeline.

__________________________
RELATED FMF POSTS: 
At last: LDS Family Services and fellow travelers sued in adoption scam (yesterday's post about the lawsuit)
Adoption in Utah: No place for birth fathers
Utah adoption attorney exposes corruption in Utah adoption agencies
Utah's anti-father policies an offshoot of Mormon agenda
Utah to Birth Fathers: Go Back to the Grave!
Utah Supreme Court delays return of Baby Teleah to her father
'Baby Veronica' adoption will go forward
AND THERE ARE MORE. 


BOOKS
Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self This groundbreaking book uses the poignant, powerful voices of  adoptees and adoptive parents to explore the  experience of adoption and its lifelong effects. A major  work, filled with astute analysis and moving  truths. Highly recommended not only for adoptees and adoptive parents, but also first parents, especially around time of reunion. It will help you understand the particular stresses and influences of being adopted. 

Adoption: Uncharted Waters
Examines adoption issues of abandonment, loss, rejection, attachment, bonding, birth-parent fantasies & split-identity; as reflected in what some have called the Adopted Child Syndrome (ACS) and evidenced in extreme cases of adoptees, Clinical and forensic issues in adoption are explored in high-profile cases. Not an easy read, but enlightening. By a therapist who specializes in adoption issues. 

Thank you for ordering through FMF. Click on the book jacket or title to be taken to Amazon. 

40 comments :

  1. O/T

    Does anyone know if it is possible to get a copy of the OBC if a person was adopted in an open state but not born there? I'm assuming the court would have the OBC in their file, although it would not be available from that state's Bureau of Vital Statistics.

    I appreciate any help you can give me.

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  2. Robin, I have always wondered about that myself. I hope we get an answer. I'll put this up as a sidebar.

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  3. re: Sidebar

    "Or what about if you were born in an open state but adopted in a closed?"

    In this case, I believe the adoptee would definitely be able to get their OBC. When an adoption is finalized, the court notifies the birth state to amend the record and, if it is a closed state, that state then seals the original. As far as I know, in the United States only the individual's true natal state can issue a birth certificate.

    I'm sure if I contacted the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the state where my adoption took place they would refer me to my birth state.

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  4. The laws of the state where the person was born apply to birth certificate access, no matter where the person was adopted or now lives.

    Some states have weird laws where the place of birth can be changed on the amended BC; I think there is one in NJ for foreign adoptions.

    Searches I have known of that had cross state adoptions, born in one state and adopted in another, sometimes were complicated by missfilings and other irregularities. But access to the OBC was strictly in the state of birth, no matter what the laws of the state of adoption were. I'm no legal expert, this is anecdotal, but it is what I have seen

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  5. Maryanne, thanks for the information.

    Regarding foreign adoptions, do you mean that in NJ if a person was born say, in Ethiopia, the birth certificate could be amended to say he was born in Patterson?

    If so, very weird. Then the certificate because an ever greater skein of lies.

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  6. Maryanne, thanks for the information.

    Regarding foreign adoptions, do you mean that in NJ if a person was born say, in Ethiopia, the birth certificate could be amended to say he was born in Patterson?

    If so, very weird. Then the certificate because an ever greater skein of lies.

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  7. Hi Lorraine, I think that is the case, adoptive parents can request that the Ethiopian child be listed on the ABC as born in Patterson where they live. Maybe Jane could research the legal aspects of this.

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  8. I've been giving this more thought. I bet if a person is adopted in an open state, but not born there, s/he would have to petition the court to get a copy of her OBC. And the results would probably be the same as any other adoption related petition to release sealed records, slim to none.

    Foreign born adoptees probably get an amended certificate showing they were born in the states so that they don't have problems later with citizenship. I know that some adoptive parents never completed the necessary paperwork for their internationally adopted children and those children never officially became citizens of the United States, causing all kinds of problems.

    Everyone should be entitled to their OBC with all factual information.

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  9. I can't give a legal opinion but here's my understanding about birth certificates.

    Child born in state A and adopted in State B: The adoptive parents or their attorney sends a copy of the judgement of adoption which the judge signed and a form requesting a new birth certificate to the vital statistics registrar in state A. State A prepares a new birth certificate changing the names of the first parents to the names of the adoptive parents. The child can access the original birth certificate without a court order only if state A is an open state.

    Child born in foreign country and adopted in that country by US parents: Adoptive parents or their attorney sends a copy of foreign decree with a translation, the forms allowing the child into the US from Immigration, and a form requesting a new birth certificate to the vital stats registrar in the state where parents live. I suppose they might also send a copy of child's original birth certificate if they have it to vital stats registrar as well. Vital stats registrar prepares a birth certificate showing child born in foreign country to adoptive parents.

    Child born in foreign country and adopted in US by US parents. Same as above.

    The amended birth certificate does not give the child US citizenship. The adoptive parents need to file papers with US immigration to obtain citizenship for child.

    The reason that the state registrar prepares the birth certificate for the child adopted from a foreign country is that child will need a BC to enter school, sign up for Little League, obtain a driver's license, and so on.

    In most cases, the only way foreign child can get original birth certificate (assuming one exists) is from foreign country.

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  10. Just think how much easier if, upon adoption, the individual was issued a "certificate of adoption" into the new family, with the names of the adoptive parents and the adoptees's new name (if desired)--but his original birth certificate always left as is. Too simple. Too much like reality.

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  11. I agree, changing to a certificate of adoption good for legal ID and leaving the OBC as it is and available to the adoptee at any time would fix a lot of what is wrong with secret adoption.

    By the way, what ever happened with LDS Social Services to end adoption services?

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  12. Lorraine said, "Just think how much easier if, upon adoption, the individual was issued a "certificate of adoption" into the new family, with the names of the adoptive parents and the adoptees's new name (if desired)--but his original birth certificate always left as is."

    I do so agree with you there, Lorraine. But I guess it makes too much sense.

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  13. Maryanne, I have no more news about LDS. As I said in the previous post, it is not likely to happen with a major announcement.

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  14. Lorraine said, "Just think how much easier if, upon adoption, the individual was issued a "certificate of adoption" into the new family, with the names of the adoptive parents and the adoptees's new name (if desired)--but his original birth certificate always left as is."

    I am not an adoptee (I'm an adoptive mom), but this only concerns me from the point that I want my daughter to choose if she cares to reveal her adoptive status or not, not have her birth certificate reveal it for her. I've had to use birth certs for a lot of things with both my children, and I personally wouldn't want that for my daughter. I would assume that to verify ourselves as parents, we would have to use the certificate of adoption quite frequently. I have had to show birth certs at airports, even. I would prefer not to have "the adoption discussion" every time that happens as it might eventually grow uncomfortable for my daughter.

    We had a very sudden adoption, and we weren't working with an agency, so everything was new to us. I honestly did not know they modified and sealed birth records in this day and age of open adoptions until we were completing some of the necessary paperwork. I would have ordered several copies for my daughter had I known; as it is, I guard the one we have like it's gold! My husband had to take it to get our daughter's social security card, and I was on pins and needles until it was back home and in the safe again. I shouldn't have to have such ridiculous worry over a piece of paper, but if we lost it, my daughter might never be able to get a copy ever again. That's so very wrong and completely unjust, and it angers me deeply.

    What I would like is to see a second birth certificate with the adoptive parents names but no sealing, making the original completely available to the adoptee at any time she should so choose to access it. Really, I would like to see a wholesale change to birth certificates across the board so that there doesn't have to be a lie for adoptees (I don't like it being stated that I gave birth to my daughter when in fact I didn't) without isolating them and "outing" them as adoptees anytime they use their birth cert, but still making their original one the one they can use. I'm not sure how that would work... but I'm sure something could be figured out. We did not have a name change (which, it turns out, causes an awful lot of complications), so my daughter's original could be used easily, but something would have to be figured out for name changes as well because that would trigger a new birth cert in itself.

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  15. "Recently a man who would like to adopt wrote to us noting that we and those who comment at FMF typically wrote about adoptive parents in less than glowing terms, to put it mildly. We have been accused of being anti-adoption and heartless when there are so many children waiting for families, in horrible orphanages from Russia to Nepal."

    I can understand why adoptive parents and/or potential adoptive parents may feel this way. As someone who is passionate about adoption reform, I've taken great care in the past year to adjust my mindset to also be sympathetic to the struggles of this part of the adoption triad. Not just for the pain that infertility brings, but because they are victims of the adoption industry too. They do not lose nearly as much as the relinquishing women and adopted children, but they still are at the whims of the unethical adoption industry.

    To the man you referred to in your article, it sounds like he is a victim to their lies and misconceptions. To the man Lorraine is referring to: of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with giving a family to true needy orphans. But please must realize that this is rarely what happens in adoption. Because of the adoption industry, adoption usually occurs even though a child has living, capable, loving parents who do not want to let their children go. It is not acceptable for an industry/agency to facilitate an unnecessary adoption. Please understand the difference between these scenarios. If all, or even MOST adoptions were ethical and necessary, this website would not exist. Always keep in mind that adoption agencies work for money. Remember that "non-profit" does not equal "not for money". There is a difference. Research the darker side of the adoption industry and their tactics so you can protect yourself financially and emotionally. You can create your own ethical adoption situation but please remember that adopting is about giving a child a home first and foremost, not about your desires to have a child. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh. I realize it is absolutely unfair and devastating to not be able to raise your own child from birth like most of the world gets to do, and you are suffering an unfair loss in that sense. While I am sensitive to that and most people will be, please remember that it is not fair to any potential adopted child to make the pain of infertility your main motivation in adopting. This is not ideal, despite that it seems like the normal and sensible thing to do, remember that that mindset is perpetuated by an industry that wants your money.

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  16. This website would exist for a lot of reasons, not just if all adoptions were ethical. Yesterday I spent well over an hour on the phone with a woman who is in deep pain as her daughter--it was an open adoption 25 years ago--will not meet her and is sometimes abusive on the phone, other times not crying and needy. For many, no matter how "ethical" the adoption, the sorrow and grieving of first mothers is an open wound. Some recover better than others. But for many, the pain continues, despite whether the adoption is open or not. The three women who started this blog in 2008 were all in reunion. (Linda, who was with us for a while, found that she needed not to focus so much on adoption and quit writing for us some time ago.) Reunion did not erase the issues, or fully assuage the pain, that has colored our lives.

    Incidentally, the man who wrote to me said that he and his wife were going to adopt from foster care--an ethical adoption.

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  17. You all gave up your children and now you think you have rights...ummm, no. You shouldn't have been having a child in the first place. You have no rights tho that child...you abandoned them.

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    Replies
    1. Back in your hole, troll (Anon 6:48). Unless you'd like to tell us why you're flinging poo on a site meant to be a site for first mothers and adoptees--PRIMARILY!--to share their thoughts and feelings.

      Delete
  18. Oh please, anonymous, go elsewhere. You know nothing. And you give all adoptive parents a bad name.

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  19. Tiffany, you are being admirably sensitive to your daughter, but so long as she is raised knowing she is adopted, which I assume is the case, your worry that she might feel uncomfortable at having her adoptive status made known in the kinds of situations you describe is probably groundless.

    Thorough identification checks at airports are important for a number of reasons, including to safeguard against child kidnappings. If you think that showing an adoption certificate in this kind of situation as "outing", I fear it could cause her to feel being adopted is a shameful thing, which I am sure you know it is not

    From experience and observation I have found the fears of parents communicate themselves to their children. I could be wrong but my guess is that if you don't worry so much she won't either. Sometimes these kinds of worries can be self-fulfilling prophesies

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  20. Re LDS continuing adoption, and added to the blog on 1/7/14:

    The latest on LDS is that they are going to stay in the adoption business. Word is that too many would-be adoptive parents pitched a fit about where they would be able to get babies without spending a mint if they closed their program, which is subsidized by the tithing of the general membership. According to a good source, LDS Family Services charges on a sliding scale based on income and no one pays more than $10K for a baby. So you can imagine all the parents in the pipeline who thought they would only have to fork over $4000 for a baby now facing "real" adoption fees of $25K+. They were not happy.

    The source also says that many offices are no longer accepting new prospective adoptive parents, so essentially, those who are in the the pipeline already will remain until they get a baby, but no new families will enter the adoption pipeline.

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  21. Anon 10:27am wrote:"Tiffany, you are being admirably sensitive to your daughter, but so long as she is raised knowing she is adopted, which I assume is the case, your worry that she might feel uncomfortable at having her adoptive status made known in the kinds of situations you describe is probably groundless."

    As an adoptee, I have to disagree with you and instead agree with what Tiffany wrote. Being adopted has always and probably will always have a stigma attached to it. And young children should not be forced to have their adoptive status made known and brought up every time their identity needs to be established. Young children are very sensitive to having differences from other children and having to show a different form, for example when enrolling in school, could be very uncomfortable. Adoptees still represent a very small percentage of the population and many people in positions of authority may have never even seen an 'adoption certificate'. The lack of familiarity with the document may cause difficulties in proving its legality and usage.

    Also, many people are quite insensitive (often unintentionally) when dealing with adoption. Each time a child is enrolled in a new school, or gets on a plane, she does not need to hear "so this isn't your real child" or "you aren't her real parents". And believe me, the minute adoption comes out of anyone's mouth, the REAL child/REAL parent issue pops up.

    I don't have a problem with a 2nd birth certificate as long as the original is available to all adoptees.

    My APs were already divorced by the time I was in grade school and my mother signed my paperwork with a different last name. Since divorce was not as common back then, I had many difficulties with teachers not believing that my report cards, etc. had really been signed by my (adoptive) mother. I think having to show an 'adoption certificate' instead of a birth certificate would be a very similar experience for adoptees. Uncomfortable and alienating.

    It's not a question of the child not knowing s/he's adopted. But that the issue does not need to be brought up to every Tom, Dick and Harry who is checking a form. My $.02

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  22. Anonymous at 10:27

    Thank you for your input. Maybe I didn't choose my words very well. I'm not really anxious or fearful, just thoughtful about the impact that using an adoption decree might possible have on my daughter. Especially in the teen and young adult years, it is difficult to be perceived as different. Perhaps it is something that wouldn't bother her at all; maybe using her modified birth cert will bother her even more. I would understand that, too. I really can't know. I can only go off of what I have heard from other adoptees, and that was the general impression I have received- that having to use a piece of paper that specifically identifies the person as adopted is not the most desirable of available options. As I said, though, we didn't realize her birth cert would be changed. We would have been fine with it listing her birth parents. We have no secrets, and I am proud of my daughter's origins and feel no shame in her adoption.

    The main issue is to get rid of closed records, and I fully and 100% support that because I believe my daughter has a right to be treated as an equal to non-adopted persons.

    As to how the details surrounding changing the OBC and issuing and amended one work out, I would acquiesce completely to those who have a personal stake in the decision and represent my daughter by virtue of actually being adoptees. I was just offering the opinion I have read put forth by some adoptees.

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  23. Robin said "Adoptees still represent a very small percentage of the population and many people in positions of authority may have never even seen an 'adoption certificate'. The lack of familiarity with the document may cause difficulties in proving its legality and usage."

    Yes, definitely. This has been our overwhelming experience. We had a nightmare getting a SS card, and it was a good thing my husband was the one dealing with the incompetent and incredibly insensitive government workers because had it been me, well, orange has never been my color.

    Robin said "Also, many people are quite insensitive (often unintentionally) when dealing with adoption. Each time a child is enrolled in a new school, or gets on a plane, she does not need to hear "so this isn't your real child" or "you aren't her real parents". And believe me, the minute adoption comes out of anyone's mouth, the REAL child/REAL parent issue pops up."

    Yes again. People can say the most appallingly offensive things even with the best of intentions. I've got all my snarky retorts down pat since I've heard the same things so many times, but I don't want my daughter having to deal with such nonsense every time we have to produce a legal document. She will have to deal with it enough without that added layer of differentiating her from non-adopted people.

    I do think first moms and adoptees are generally on the same side of this debate. All that is desired is transparency and truth, something that should be as available to adoptees as anyone else. First moms shouldn't have to depend upon the inherent goodness of the adopted parents (who are fallible humans, after all) to ensure their child is able to contact them if they wish. And adoptees also shouldn't be at the mercy of their adoptive parents, especially once they reach adulthood, to provide them with links to their own history.

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  24. "The main issue is to get rid of closed records, and I fully and 100% support that because I believe my daughter has a right to be treated as an equal to non-adopted persons. "

    I completely agree, Tiffany :)

    "I don't have a problem with a 2nd birth certificate as long as the original is available to all adoptees."

    Robin (if I am understanding you and Tiffany correctly), a 2nd "birth" certificate with only the adoptive parents' names on it - implying that they are the biological parents - is not a birth certificate at all.
    It is another subterfuge.

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  25. Anonymous said "Robin (if I am understanding you and Tiffany correctly), a 2nd "birth" certificate with only the adoptive parents' names on it - implying that they are the biological parents - is not a birth certificate at all.
    It is another subterfuge."

    I was hoping Robin would reply, as she is an adoptee, but maybe she will pop back in later.

    You are correct. I feel that my daughter's modified birth certificate with mine and my husband's names as her parents of birth is a lie. We are not her parents of birth.

    But, under the current way BCs are done, there is no way to have it be different without isolating her out as an adoptee. My general understanding, as Robin said, is that many adoptees (I can't speak for percentages or if it is the minority or majority) do not support this, and I can understand why based on our experiences. Adoptees are already isolated out as being different, and this would be just another way to mark that difference.

    My husband and I are our daughter's legal parents, and her modified BC is supposed to reflect this relationship. Although we did not give birth to her, the state views us as having an equal responsibility to her as if she was. We are legally responsible for her care, and she is legally entitled to inheritance, etc. That is what the 2nd BC is meant to represent and legally bind the adoptive parents to- it's for the protection of the child.

    Now, closed records are a different matter, and the creation of those were solely for the benefit of the adoptive parents. Closed records impact both first parents and adoptees. It would seem the majority support open records, which I support as well because I feel my daughter has a right to be treated as equal to non-adopted persons. For me, if all adoptees always have access to their original OBC, then the issuance of a 2nd BC is really moot in terms of perpetuating a lie since the truth is readily available. The 2nd BC, while technically a lie, would offer protection to the adoptee while keeping the OBC unsealed and accessible at any time maintains the ultimate truth and satisfies the need for biological faily information.

    I really think adoptees are the best to speak on this subject, but I have based much of my opinion on those of adoptees I know in real life and online. I have no issue with my daughter's origins and would willingly use her OBC with her bio parents names on it, but for her, as an adoptee, I can see why there is a 2nd BC issued. And although she will always have her OBC from us, the fact that she legally cannot obtain it from the state is wrong and something I will continue to fight against.

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  26. @Tiffany,
    I agree with everything you said. As you have discovererd, adoption is not a one-time experience, it is, for the adoptee, a lifetime of dealing with an endless array of psychological and practical issues. Interesting that many of the potential pitfalls I foresaw with the existence of some kind of 'adoption certificate', you mentioned that your family has in fact experienced.

    Using my 2nd birth certificate doesn't bother me at all. Though I'm sure there are plenty of adoptees who are bothered by it because it is not technically the truth. It has gotten me enrolled in school, gotten me a social security card, a driver's license, a passport, etc. without a hitch.

    I should mention, though, that my amended birth certificate was filed before my first birthday. Due to changes in Homeland Security, many adoptees whose adoptions were finalized more than 12 months after they were born are having difficulty with getting their driver's licenses renewed, getting a passport, etc. Not surprisingly, the effect on the adopted population was not considered when this new law went into effect.

    Of course, every adoptee should be able to access his or her OBC, and adoptive parents should routinely be given a copy as well. We all have the inalienable right to know where we came from biologically.

    I think a great solution to this conundrum is what Jane recommended in her next post. Schools and government agencies should accept a short form birth certificate that lists the child's information but does not reflect parentage. That way the issue of adoptive or biological parentage doesn't even come up.

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  27. Tiffany: May I ask what state you are in? And if it is OBCs are still sealed there, I implore you to get involved. If more adoptive parents did, the records would fall open as quickly as you can imagine.

    Thank you for your commentary here. It is welcome and valued.

    I must admit, your name makes me want to sign off as--Cartier.

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  28. Robin: Yes, we have experienced a number of issues. Although our daughter is of a different racial background than my husband or I, she and I actually look enough alike to generally escape questions. If she was to use her adoption decree instead of a 2nd BC, that could potentially cause negative feelings for her. She shouldn't have to explain being an adoptee to random government workers. I'm not in the least bothered by her adoptive status or having her parents listed on her BC and using it, but it's not me I am concerned about, it's her. Although her 2nd BC is technically a lie, I feel it does offer her protection from that stigma that definitely exists. As you said, she will spend her lifetime as an adoptee. It is not a one-time event.

    Due to some of my research indicating what you mentioned regarding passports, we worked hard to finalize our daughter's adoption within a year. It is incredibly frustrating that these new post-911 laws have had such a negative impact on some adoptees because that same government issues them new BCs.

    Lorraine: I live in California, as do my daughter's parents. We are in a closed record state. I have become as active in adoptee rights as I can right now with two young kids at home. :) I have done some letter writing to various state representatives in my state and others, and I keep track of any demonstrations in my area. I'm not ready to leave my youngest overnight yet, but I'm looking forward to someday participating in the big yearly Adoptee Rights Coalition demonstration.

    I wish more Adoptive Parents would get involved. I view it, in part, as a parenting responsibility I have for my daughter who is adopted. She deserves better than the current laws. For me, it's the same way I would advocate for either of my daughters if they had a disability, a sickness, an interest in a sport that didn't allow girls to play, a need to have additional help at school... so many things. I believe parents owe their children their support and action in matters that impact their children's lives. And also, I feel it is simply the right thing to do and now that I am aware of the situation with OBCs, I want to lend my voice to enact change.

    I cannot tell you how much my husband wishes my name was Kaye instead of Tiffany. ;)

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  29. I want to clarify something I said in my previous comment that I think maybe didn't come across right. My daughter is of a different racial background, and we are very aware of the implications of growing up in a home with parents not of her race. This is one reason I am thankful her other parents are in her life. All I meant was that it can sometimes be very obvious that a child is adopted, and that can cause people to often say hurtful things, even unintentionally. My daughter and I look oddly similar,and I just meant that it helps her in terms of not getting those comments from total strangers standing in line at the grocery store. I didn't mean to imply that her race isn't important or that we believe that her coincidental similarity to me fixes any issues that arise from being of a different race.

    I just wanted to clarify that because I think my phrasing lacked sensitivity.

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  30. Lorraine,

    This is my first time attending this site. I am LDS and a natural mother who relinquished my son believing/being told that it would be the"best thing" for him to have a married couple raise him. I have lived with this sorrow and loss for 17 years so far and will have to for the rest of my life. I wanted to mother him but because of my age and married status I was told that he would have a harder time in life if he didn't have the advantage of two parents. I've heard the saying,"drank the KoolAid" and I sadly have to say I fit into that category. I realize at the time that there wasn't enough information at my disposal and so there was no way I could've fought the system. Compounding my situation (besides the lack of information on how destructive adoption is for ALL parties) I did not have family support. I was young and pregnant and without any resources.

    The LDS community is uneducated on the effects of adoption and their stance on adoption does need to be changed. I believe that they are trying to do good. They are about the family. They just need to be reminded that as a society we need to support the mother and child first for that is the start of "the family" and let adoption be the last resort. Also, help those that are infertile deal with that loss/trial. That is where the discussion at this site and voices in the adoption community are critical! As I see it that is how things will change. I have started sharing my voice about the destruction and saddness surrounding adoption and it is amazing how many people have fallen subject to the propaganda that is out there. For instance there is a video out there about a priest in S. Korea and the baby box. I watched it with my friends. Their accolades for this man was very loud. I asked them to think about the mothers. Why did he only take in the children? Why not both the mother and child? At least for a time? Obviously there is more cultural issues that needed to be addressed surrounding the"baby box". But my friends started to see that the solution for a problem in S. Korea was started by that priest but not complete as far as helping the whole of society. At least the discussion was started and people started to critically think about the issue.

    As for Utah laws, again I was swept up in that dishonesty. My son's father wanted to keep him. I sadly dismissed him. I followed what the lawyers told me to do by not putting his name on the birth certificate. It would make it financially more difficult for him to fight for him. I repeatedly have apologized to him for this erroneous error. The truth of it is I stole from him. Utah does need to start recognizing that fathers have a voice and rights. The laws need to be changed for the health of our society.

    As far as birth certificates go, why not just let the adoptees keep their biological names and original records? I guess there would have to be a lot of mindset changes in our society. I look to Australia a lot. In Australia children who do end up being adopted keep their natural parents names. Think about it, if you adopt from the foster care system do you change the children's names? Usually not. Seems to me that keeping the children's natural names keeps things real.


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  31. Tiffany-

    If you love your daughter and truly appreciate the gift you were given then why don't you tell those insensitive people that you are her guardian because her mother couldn't take care of her? Then there isn't a fissure in that little girls life. She will eventually feel like she has to "choose" which one is her mother.

    That is the tragedy of adoption. The children ultimately pay.

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  32. I find it interesting that in the comment section, here and at other blogs, some sensitive adoptive parents show more understanding and concern about how the experience of being adopted is really affecting the child. Several first mothers' comments are coming across as being more concerned about their own needs than the child's. But you aren't there. It is the adoptive parents who are raising the child and seeing what s/he has to go through, day by day, living as an adoptee.

    I realize that in most cases you wanted to parent your child and you should have been able to. I would always support any child who is safe being raised by a natural parent, mother or father, rather than an adoptive parent.

    But I do want to applaud adoptive mothers like Tiffany and Jay who are doing their best to put the adoptee's needs first. They come across as being realistic about the child's experience while trying not to cause any unnecessary harm.

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  33. Jane - I'm not sure if the choice of "guardian" instead of "mother" was intentional or simply a random occurrence, but I am not my daughter's guardian. I am her mother. She has two mothers, and we are of equal importance in her life. I actually do tell this to most people- that she has two mothers. And I never, ever let anyone say unkind words about my daughter's parents. We simply say the difficult circumstances caused her parents to not be able to keep her- the particulars would explain a lot, but they are private and not for us to share.

    Interestingly, I have had adoptive parents tell me I'm not a mother because of the very open relationship we have with my daughter's other parents and my refusal to use "birth" as a qualifier before mom and dad for them.

    y daughter wasn't a gift; we were entrusted by her parents to provide her a family because crappy life circumstances prevented them from doing so. When her mom and dad walked away and left her... the pain felt by the three of them was so immense, and I grieved for them all.

    Although I wasn't the arms she expected to hold her, I loved my daughter all the more strongly in the face of her loss, and she needed me to be her second mama. I promised both her and her mother that I would love her and be the best mama I could be. I take that very seriously. My daughter deserves to be intricately woven into our love with no qualifiers. She is not genetically mine, no, and I fully acknowledge that. But my heart knows no difference in the love I feel for her, and it shouldn't. I would not be fulfilling the promises I made if I was only a guardian. I would not be giving my daughter what she deserves, and I would be letting down her other parents and adding to their grief.

    My daughter experienced a great loss, and I can never heal that, but I can refuse to add to it. She will never have to choose between mothers because of me. I believe there is enough room in her heart to love us all, equally. Our older daughter (biological) says it quite simply: "my little sister has two mamas and two papas."

    Robin - Thank you for your kind words as well. I appreciate blogs like this and adoptee blogs that allow me to learn how what I could never know on my own.

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  34. Tiffany: Can you be cloned?

    Robin: While your comment, I feel, was not meant to be harsh, let us not forget that FMF is a blog written by and for first mothers. It is as place where they should be able to let out their feelings about the experience that happened to them--adoption is a shared experience, but FMF of all places is where they should feel safe about talking what happened to them, and not feel they have to filter or dilute their experience because it might sound as if they are less interested in their children--of course they are! That is why they are here. We were quite surprised, in fact, when we discovered that we had so many adoptee and to a lesser degree, adoptive parents, who read and comment, but I feel it is unfair to criticize first mothers for claiming this space as a place where they can freely comment. We don't agree with all of them, of course; but they should be able to comment here without being told they are not up to snuff--and that the adoptive mothers who leave comments sound, er, better. Some mothers have been terribly wounded and hurt by the process of adoption.

    Just as anyone who has not been adopted cannot understand what that is like, no one who has not given up a child understand what that was like, or how much real pain it inflicted. When I read adoptee blogs, I do not see that first mothers complain there that the adoptees who write and comment are not inclusive enough to their first mothers. In general, we have to take a back seat to the parents who raised our children: we come on the second day when a grandchild is born, if the adoptive parents don't want us there; we often don't get to share birthdays or holidays, no matter what, and we mostly take this in stride because we understand we did not raise our children, and that is the outcome. But FMF should be a place where first mothers do not have to say always worry about what they say; and remember that Tiffany and Jay and others such as Margie--as but a few; the vast majority of adoptive parents think quite differently from them.

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  35. Lorraine,
    I do understand that the purpose of FMF is for natural mother's to express their feelings and POV. But what I wrote is one of the pitfalls of being an inclusive blog. I will always look at adoption from the POV of the adoptee and will always advocate for the adopted person first. Not all of my comments will come across as supportive of all first mothers, and I would be being disingenuous if they were. Just as I have read hurtful comments about adoptees on first mother blogs.

    But, as you are well aware, I would certainly have rather been raised by my original mother and do not believe that mothers should ever be manipulated, coerced, pressured, etc., into giving their children up for adoption.

    I know you have always been very welcoming to me and other adoptees in the past, but it is self-evident that we will never be able to see eye to eye. Our experiences and their effect on us are just too different.

    No offense was intended by my comment, but I am someone who is true to my beliefs, while trying (though probably not always succeeding) not to be intentionally hurtful.

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  36. Hello everyone,

    I know I have said this multiple times, but I learn so much from this blog and the diverse commenters that my heart and brain brimmeth over! Thank you so much. Between all the first mothers (Lorraine, Jane, Cherry and too many others to name in a single comment) and thoughtful adoptees and adoptive parents like Robin and Tiffany, I feel I am covered in terms of the wisdom I need to sustain me through the rest of my life.

    It has been very hard for me to comment lately. At the core of the posts at FMF resides one powerful, searingly painful concept: loss. And right now, I feel pretty immersed in loss, too immersed to comment without wanting to cry. True, I am feeling the ache of not knowing how my precious foster daughter Nina and her mother Rayna are surviving these days - but the loss that really is causing me much grief is not my own but what my son Lenny is experiencing as a result of his adored soul mate (yes, soul mate is the word you would use too, if you see them together) Nina's abrupt disappearance from his life.

    Lenny, even at 5 years old, is a wise old soul and these days I am seeing more than ever before how acutely he feels what he has lost from his young life: his birth parents, his first foster mother "Mama Brenda" and now Nina. It is excruciatingly painful to converse with him these days, to witness his pain "Will I never see my parents that I lived with before, for my whole life? Has Nina been killed? How do you know she is not dead? My heart is so, so sad Mom, why does Nina not want to talk to me anymore? When will my parents that I lived with before get better again?" And then yesterday when I brought him home from school, there was the holiday card I had sent to Brenda (his first foster mom), back in our mailbox, marked "Return to Sender." "Mama Brenda's" home, where Lenny spent the first year of his life, is very important to him. I spontaneously blurted out, "OMG where did Brenda go?!" and Lenny said, "Have I lost Mama Brenda for the rest of my life too?" Luckily, "Mama Brenda" is not lost - she is there, still loving Lenny, there is some mix-up with her mail that she is trying to sort out.

    But you get the picture - Lenny is terribly aware of loss these days, despite all we do to fill them with other people and things and happy events that he treasures. I am reminded even more so these days of why it is so appalling that an adoptee, a victim of fate, cannot access the records that give him his identity. As Lorraine said in her later post, why is she still having to fight for the most fundamental right to identity, all these years later?

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  37. Tiffany

    Check the dictionary.MOTHER(n)a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth.

    Come on you know full well it was not a random occurrence. Guardian is not a negative word. It was not meant that way. When I was a foster parent I was the child's,"guardian" per the law. Using that word doesn't mean you love her any less than a mother. And having a profound and interdependent relationship with anyone is not dependent upon definitions. In fact you use the word entrusted with some reverence.

    Please don't place the "love us all...equally" on your little one, because would if she doesn't? Although it would be nice.

    And adding to their grief? Why don't you help them to parent????? Did all of her biological relatives die?(assuming your not related)

    That is the problem with our society. People want the children but don't empower the natural mothers or are unwilling to take in the mothers too.

    And Robin,

    What is it that you think the needs of natural mothers are? To be quite honest we are concerned for our children! PERIOD. I guarantee most of the natural mothers relinquished because they were fed the propaganda and wanted, "what's best for our children." When we come to realize how destructive adoption is to the adoptee we can not sleep, eat,or function knowing that we've caused that kind of a primal wound. We did this to our child.

    I am a MOTHER to six other children besides the one I lost. I view them as gifts. I view every child weather I bore them or not as a gift. Our future....I'm here to find support for my loss. I'm here to try to prevent other needless"fracturing".

    Yes, I am defensive.

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  38. Jane wrote:" When we come to realize how destructive adoption is to the adoptee we can not sleep, eat,or function knowing that we've caused that kind of a primal wound. We did this to our child."

    That's why it is best for an adopted child to use documentation in line with what non-adopted children use. There is no need to cause an adoptee any more unnecessary stress. And certainly having to bring up the issue of adoption with every stranger when enrolling for school or going to the airport will, in many cases, be stressful for the adoptee. An unnecessary reminder of her 'differentness'. That's why I don't support the idea of an adopted child having to use an 'adoption certificate' as his or her proof of identity rather than a birth certificate like all of the other kids. A short form birth certificate, that doesn't include the parents' names, sounds like the perfect solution.

    I don't think my mother caused my primal wound. It certainly wasn't intentional. It wasn't her fault that society was so f--ked up.

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