' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Should a natural mother be able to visit a child after adoption?

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Should a natural mother be able to visit a child after adoption?

Where is my baby? 
"Working on a show: Should a birth mother retain visitation rights to a child she chose to place for adoption?"  That's the question over at Dr. Phil's Facebook page...and as I write there are hundreds of comments and nearly 500 shares.

The responses are all over the place, but a good number of them reveal the anger and ownership feelings of many adoptive parents, and even adoptees, to wit:
"No. You chose to put a child up for adoption and you have no rights after you sign that page."
"I totally think that once one gives a child up for adoption, that is the last time one sees them! I have a brother whose birth mother came to warn my parents of the fact she was "dying" and the knowledge of my brother was in her will! Since then she's been in his life and he even calls her mother, I for one get heated and my temper starts going!"
 "i think that depends on the way the adoption took place! As a child that was adopted i am glad i didn't have that to deal with. it was hard enough being adopted the pull between the two sets of parents would have been more than i could have handled......by saying that i would have love as an adult to have access to medical records so that i could know what i was geneticly exposed to" [sic to all the errors]
Handmade card from my daughter
I've been thinking about this all day off and on, and keep thinking how difficult it would have been for me to have an "open adoption," from the time my daughter was born because I was having such a hard time just existing and going to work after surrendering her. I would have wanted to snatch her and leave! But of course I wouldn't have been able to do that. After I found my daughter Jane, at 15, the adoption was "open," of course, and she lived with me and my husband (not her father) for several summers, and on and off at other times for years.

ADOPTION: THE NEW NORMAL
And today, when society is not condemning of unmarried mothers, when choice to terminate a pregnancy is an option, I don't understand these young women, sometimes in college, who give up a child to another family. With all the literature available about the damage that adoption does to both mother and child, why? With the available--but little touted--statistics about the high percentage of women who relinquish a child and never have another, why? Because, I fear, the adoption industry and the liberals who want to adopt and the Christians who do so because "god" is urging them to do so have done a better job directing the dialogue than adoptees and natural mothers have. Thus, we read of "the adoption option" as if it were as simple a choice as between butter and margarine.

Even the American Adoption Congress, in their recent bulletin, published a piece by a young mother who relinquished a child--when it didn't seem necessary, and in doing so, encouraged other young women to give up their children. I find I can hardly read these stories; I skim them and want to throw the magazine across the room. Adoptions like this happens not because of drug and alcohol addiction, or incarceration, but because society has now made such adoption practically the new normal.

Lorraine
Can't get pregnant? Adopt! Waited to long to have children and want one or two now? Adopt! Interested in "saving" all those orphaned children in Ethiopia, Columbia, Guatemala, Vietnam, Nepal? Adopt! (The fact that the children may have been kidnapped, left by their parents at a place during harvest season, urged by "Christian" workers to leave their children, etcetera, is never mentioned when rich Americans show up with the big bucks to line the pockets of the earnest scam artists selling the children.)

I'm getting off the track here--let's go back to the original question: If an adoption does happen, should the mother be able to visit the child?

Absolutely.

TRULY OPEN ADOPTION LEAVES NO WHERE TO RUN
For one thing, if the adoption is fully open, and the mother visits, adoptive parents cannot change their minds and move away, change their phone numbers, disappear into the proverbial woodwork, and leave the mother bereft and scammed and the child unaware of that his natural/birth mother wanted to stay in contact. Which, as we unfortunately know, happens. We've heard from many such mothers here. A study by the Donaldson Institute found that mothers whose "open" adoptions closed are the most grief stricken of all. To prohibit the visitations should require a valid reason, and other than danger to the child, I can't think of a single one.

I can foresee problems. Say that nice college girl--the natural mum--comes to visit, and she has her life together, and gets along with the child extremely well--and the child wants to go live with her. Now what? I don't have the answer. I would bet that given the number of open adoptions today this dilemma has already occurred and been answered in any number of ways. I would even suspect that in some corner of America, some adoptive parent has terminated the adoption and the natural mother has adopted her own blood child at a still tender age. And you know what? The kid is almost certainly better off for it.

That is not to say that the adoptive parents were unloving or anything at all bad. But they came to understand what the child needed, and put her or his interests first. We already have heard from one mother--Jay Iyer--who did this before an adoption was formalized, even though it was difficult, and even though the child was going to an uncertain life.

Should open adoptions include visitations? No one needs even to ask. If adoption is about the best solution for the child, of course the only reasonable, ethical, moral and just answer is: yes. Absolutely, finally, yes.--lorraine

FROM FMF:
(Pro) Adoption Special: Dr. Drew encourages teen moms to give up their babies

________________________
TO READ
Ten Thousand Sorrows
"In a transcendent account of one woman's refusal to yield to the oppressive dictates of religion and custom in two vastly different cultures, Kim traces her evolution from a traumatized childhood in postwar Korea to her emotional awakening as a young abused wife in America. Currently a journalist based in California, she re-creates her uncle and grandfather's gruesome "honor killing" of her rebellious mother, who returned to her village with the baby of an American GI--a grim event that launched Kim's painful life as a tainted "half-breed" in a society that reveres its ancestry and traditions. Eventually, Kim was left at a Christian orphanage where disinterested American missionaries provided a steady diet of hymns, biblical parables, small bowls of rice and little else. 

"Desperate to be loved despite her forbidden mixed-race heritage, Kim hoped her fortune would change when she was adopted by a white, fundamentalist American couple. However, their pious tyranny was matched only by the harsh, racist abuse Kim endured at school from her classmates, described in simple heartrending prose. Seeking to escape, she married the young deacon at her parents' church, who turned out to be an abusive schizophrenic. Fortunately, Kim avoids melodrama in chronicling her flight with her daughter from her tormentor, instead rendering her arduous climb to emotional and spiritual renewal with unflinching honesty. While this skillful, understated narrative may not quite live up to its publisher's comparison to Angela's Ashes, it is a stirring account of one woman's hard-earned victory over prejudice and tragedy. --Publisher's Weekly

THANKS FOR ORDERING THOUGH FIRST MOTHER FORUM.  Even cartridges for your computer! 

34 comments :

  1. I was a 1960 BSE totally closed adoptee who found my mother and sister when I was 23. I had wonderful adoptive parents, no complaints there. I remember feeling, and believing, for a very long time, that I was glad I waited until I was an adult, because I thought it would have been awfully confusing as a child. But seeing now what adoption has really done to my mother, my sister and I, and although I know it would have not been possible for an open adoption in the 60's and visits even, I think now it would have been so beneficial for all of us. It may not have been pleasant for my adoptive parents to have to "share" me, and believe me, the family loyalties are difficult even now, but I think it would have helped 1) me, to feel that I was loved by my mother and was not unwanted and abandoned - which I grew up thinking because we had no information. That fear, terror, of abandonment still haunts me today. Genetic mirroring would have been nice.. 2) my mother - while it may have been difficult to come and go in and out of my life, and see me in another life, I think it would have eased her mind a lot, would have possibly eased her terrible grief and her blaming herself and hating herself all her life. Some contact may have been healthier than knowing NOTHING. At least she would have had some access to me. 3) My full sister and I, 15 months apart - as hard as it is that I was relinquished and she was kept 15 months later, and that may have been confusing as a child, we NEEDED each other. We have been together since ages 22 and 23, but think of all the years before that, when we both needed each other. She was raised as an only child by my mother and grandmother; I had only a younger adopted brother who really had some issues, including an intense dislike of his older sister, me, which continues to this day. I begged my adoptive parents for a sister. I used to pretend I had an imaginary sister. I used to pretend my best (adopted also) friend was really my sister. I KNEW, somehow, that she was out there. All my cousins close in age were boys. All our neighborhood kids were boys. I don't know if that open of an adoption would have worked in the 60's, I'm imagining not, but maybe these days it could. That's the one thing my sister and I regret the most - that we didn't grow up together, didn't know each other until adulthood. Too late for us, but hopefully not for other moms, adoptees, sibs.

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    1. Janie--your story is exactly why closed adoption should be abolished. Period.

      I was not adopted, never had a sister, and never imagined that I did, and never tired to make anyone else a "sister." Through ESP or whatever you want to call it, you knew your kin was out there. So glad that you were able to connect at least in your early twenties, and have many years going forward.

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  2. dear janie, all i can do is cry...i am so sorry for you, your sister and your mother. only adoptees can understand how much you need your real family - back then, now, and for as long as you live.

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  3. I find ratings - driven "questions" like this maddening, front-page, full-color check-out - line material. It's a false construct; as if there's a grand rule maker somewhere sitting extra to the Goddess of Necessity and her spindle. And once again, adoptees are defacto recipients of this kind of "silliness"- Screw Dr. Phil.

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  4. As one of the open adoption adoptees that included visits, it was tough to be in that arrangement. The issues that adult adoptees face in reunion were the situations I had to navigate at 6 years old.
    I think it's absolutely sick that potential adoptive parents promise open adoption and often close it once the adoption is finalized or soon after. OA has become a coercive tool.
    In the end, my opinion is that every adoption should be open to the extent that the adoptee doesn't need to search and has updated medical information. I don't think visits should be part of the arrangement in every situation, but if the natural mother is no threat to the adoptee, I don't see why we (as a society) don't simply offer her the support necessary to keep her baby in the first place.

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    1. Kim: Exactly. Society does not offer good supports for poor, or young women to keep their babies, but instill the idea that she can give such a "great gift" to a couple who are acccchhhing to have a baby. So the natural mother tells herself that she is doing a good thing.

      And the child is given up.

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  5. I believe that all children have the right to know their blood kin. The earlier the better in my opinion. That being said, Adoption agreements are often reached between natural parents and adoptive parents and some are "closed" and some are "open", although my understanding is now that most adoptions are "open" to different degrees. I believe that the adoption agreement that is made should be stood by for both parties. I really dislike the fact that these agreements are not legally enforceable; and adoptive parents can promise and sign on agreeing to an open adoption with visitation and then arbitrarily close it or cut of part of it (such as visitation) for any reason they choose on a whim, if they are so inclined. I believe that these agreements need to be legally enforceable. That being said, both parental parties need to agree that the arrangement being made is to be to the benefit of the adoptee; with the needs to the natural and adoptive parents coming second to the child's needs. I believe there needs to be a neutral 3rd party conflict resolution in place, so that the adoptive parents cannot close the adoption for trivial reasons, but could close the adoption should rare but extenuating circumstances arise.

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    1. The adoption becomes closed often because the adoptive parents move, have unlisted numbers, lied about who they were, all "openness" is arranged by the agency, letters must pass through the agency,etc., and so the agency says they are "open," they are really closed, except at the whim and discretion of the adoptive parents.

      Many "open" adoptions are scams to get the baby.

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  6. I never had a sister, always wanted one, had imaginary female friends as a little child, and often wished I had an older sister like the girls on the basketball team my dad coached when I was in nursery school. No, there was no surrendered sister out there for me, just a vivid imagination of a little girl with only one younger brother who was no fun because he did not do "girl" things. What I did have was best friends I still have, who were as close as sisters. One was just diagnosed with early Alzheimers, and I could not be more heartbroken if she were a blood relative. Love is not just about bloodlines, nor is family. She is as much family to me as anyone.

    I do know a case where a 12 year old boy was given back to the first mother, many years ago, but this was not because the adoptive parents were so understanding. This was someone from our local NJ group, Julie Welsh. Her story was written up in one of the big women's magazines in the 80s. She searched for her young son like many of us did in those days, did a little spying, and was concerned that she saw no signs of boy at the home where he was supposed to live.

    One day she drove by and on impulse, stopped to speak to the old man in the yard. It turned out he was her son's adoptive father, and she was in for an awful shock. Instead of being upset that she showed up, he said "I haven't seen Jeff in three years, he is at the boarding school we sent him to, and if you want him, you can go get him"! Just like that, cold as ice.

    It seems the adoptive mom had died when Julie's son was 5, the father remarried the stereotypical wicked stepmother, and she did not want him or the other children in the home, one a bio son much younger and the other an adopted girl. These children were later removed from the home because of abuse. Eventually our group was able to connect the adopted girl with her original mother, but that girl was put into foster care.

    Julie got her son back, and she and her husband had to eventually legally adopt him to get full custody. The adoptive father didn't give a damn what they did with him. He was not a bad kid or disturbed and grew up with his mom and her two other sons, his half-sibs. The last I heard they were estranged due to problems with the woman he married. No fairytale ending.

    I am fully in favor of open adoptions staying open and visitation is part of it, as long as that is what the child wants. I know I would never have wanted to snatch my son, because that would be a horrible and frightening thing to do to any child. I saw my son when he was 8, we asked him for directions to the school and drove away. The idea of snatching him never entered my mind, because he did not know me..Why should he? My son's adoption could never have been open because the adoptive mother was hiding her mental illness from the outside world and that would not have worked, but many open adoptions work fine because all the parties are sane and really do want what is best for the child.

    Adoption was a disaster for me, but I do not feel it is my place to condemn those who surrender today by their own choice, even if their reasons are not ones that would have been mine. Some women feel abortion is wrong, so that is not a choice for them, legal or not. Some honestly feel they cannot raise a child or honestly do not want to, as they have other goals in life. I am not those young women, and it is not up to me to judge their choices. I just hope they really have a choice and are supported in whatever they decide.to do. I do not think every woman who gives birth has to raise her child or be considered bad or selfish. Wasn't enough of that thrown at us back in the day? Nobody can really know what is in another person's heart.

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  7. Maryanne
    I have not posted much or been around here that much but I find that so often what you say is exactly in agreement with how I view things. I'm adopted and never really thought about other siblings and you are right that friends are often closer than family. In my situation open adoption would not have worked since my birth mother would not have wanted any contact but it does work out well for some people. I do think the feelings of the adoptee and whether this benefits them or not should be the deciding factor and this can change over time. As far as adoptive parents moving, that is life, and sometimes moves are dictated by jobs or other commitments and it may be hard for the birth parents but it happens.
    That is a sad story about Julie and I am glad she was able to find out what was going on with her son and the other children in the home and be able to change the situation and have her son back in her life.

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    1. Adoptee 123< I was not referring to the fact the people move because of jobs, etc. I have heard from a number of women who deliberately "got lost," move far away, to deny any contact with the mother of the child.

      And often agencies present women considering adoption with profiles of parents from cities and towns several states away, as in the case of Catelyn and Tyler. There were no willing adoptive parents in all of Michigan? Instead, the parents of the child are in one of the southern states, I don't recall which.

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  8. I am all in favor of natural parents having visitation rights. One result would be fewer AP's with an "ownership" attitude. It might result in fewer adoptions.

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  9. adoption should be open just like fostering. adoptive and foster parents are agreeing to caring and providing for a child and cannot insist on demands from that child. i suppose birth parents can relinquish their parenting 'rights' but in fact legally the child cannot enter into a contract so the whole thing is absurd imho - the child cannot relinquish his or her rights, in this case, rights to knowing about the birth parents.

    much of family law recognizes rights of grandparents and other relatives, and even children of certain ages, but tends to ignore the rights of the 'just born' and that needs to change. - nj (adoptee)

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    1. Fostering is not always open, and in some cases the foster and bio parents are not allowed to meet. Nor do they necessarily work together in any way. I voluntarily put my child into foster care at birth, because I was too distraught to decide what to do. The agency suggested this while I "made up my mind". I was never allowed to know anything about the foster parents, even years later after I had found and reunited with my son. This was NOT a termination of parental rights case where the child was in any sort of danger of abuse or any other mistreatment. Foster care can be as much of a trap for new mothers as adoption. I eventually did surrender as my self-esteem continued to erode, just what the agency wanted. It certainly was nothing like a working open adoption.

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  10. The question is wrong. the question should be does a child have the right to see his or her mother? And the answer is absolutely YES!

    Does anyone have a link to this on Dr Phil's website?

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    1. just scroll down at FB. Haven't bothered checking his website.

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  11. If you are going to ask that question, you have to take it a step farther: Should biological grandparents of an adopted person's children be allowed to see and know their grandchildren?

    I was denied for a VERY long time (one is now 18, the other 10) because the father thought that I should be denied since I "gave away" my child. Now, when he is realizing it costs a lot of money to put a child through college and he has 4 to send to college, that maybe I am worth something after all..... at least that is what I am feeling at the moment. This may only be my perception of the situation.

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    1. Lori--Gross is all I can say to that.

      But I do know that some adoptive parents freak out over the thought that there is another grandparent (as in related to) grand children of the adoptee. It's weird, but the lack of sharing (until maybe you can pitch in) is mind-boggling. Their willingness to now seek money from you is pathetic.

      As for me, I remember so clearly....my daughter's adoptive mother saying: If Jane and X get divorced, I'll take X. Nice, huh, that that is what she said. I don't know if her Alzheimer's was coming on yet but she said it twice to me a year apart. I wish I had said, I don't have such a choice and let that sink in. At the moment, I was too stunned to say anything.

      My daughter did cause a lot of commotion--but to say that? To her mother? Clearly, she didn't feel like Jane's mother.

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    2. Honestly, I think a lot of adoptive mothers do not feel like they are the adopted persons mother. Not all, of course, but I personally know 3 that call themselves "mother" but then they are the first to walk when the adopted person is a pain in the ass. Reality, I, like you, don't have such an option. No matter what she does, she is my daughter and while I can refuse to let her into my world, if she really needed me (truly, not the bs that has been the norm for her) I would be there. It isn't an option, it's built in I AM HER MOTHER.

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  12. I'm still absorbing all of this. My child was adopted in 1970 when I was 14. I think of my child everyday. I was taken by my parents to a home for unwed mothers and privately had the child. My siblings, husband and current children do not know. I want my child to have my health history. I'm not sure I'm emotionally equipped to have a reunion. Still thinking it through. Sadly through printing the birth mothers packet and watching the well made video on the OJFS website I determined the mothers address is not removed from the form. I still have family living at the address. An easy internet search will show who has lived at any address. The redaction process does not protect the birth mothers privacy. So sad this was not thought out. So when the stats come out that few birth mothers requested redaction be aware of the fact that it does not really protect them and it will be a factor.

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  13. Kat, I really appreciated what you had to say. I have read anything and everything I can find about adoptees who grew up in open adoptions because I am concerned on how it will impact my daughter.

    As an adoptive parent in an open adoption (where our level of contact has always been and still is determined completely by my daughter's parents), I would like to say that I find the comments on that FB page absolutely deplorable. The best interests of the child should be every parent's, adoptive or first, main concern. That is not at all what I see reflected in the comments. So much selfishness and an attitude that the child is a possession to which the adoptive parents have purchased the full rights. It makes me rather sick.

    My husband and I have always felt any child deserves to know his or her parents and family. That is their right. We also feel that someday, probably as a teen, our daughter will form her own relationship with her parents, and she has every right to do so to the level she desires. We have a very open adoption, but right now, my daughter's parents have little physical contact because I believe it is very hard for them, emotionally, to say goodbye over and over. I respect that. I've decided that like Kat says, it's hard for a child to be in that situation, so maybe this is for the best. It's certainly different from what we all talked about, but the changes towards less contact have been made by the first parents, not by us.

    Both legally and morally, I do not believe adoptive parents should have any ability to restrict the post-adoption contact agreement without mediation between all parties and a new court signed contact agreement. Frankly, the whole thing upsets me as I feel open adoption has been used as a carrot by adoption agencies and that was never the intent. Or at least, that was never the overt intent.

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    1. Tiffany, I agree that while many go into open adoption with good intentions, it is very difficult for those relationships to be worked as the actual situation may completely differ from what had been anticipated. It is definitely more complex than what many realize.
      There are very few open adoption adoptees who are outspoken about their experience. (I blog about it and if you click on my name, it should take you there). But, I hope that we will see many more OA adoptees talking about it more soon. They are the only voices that can describe what it's like as a child in that arrangement.

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    2. Kat, I've been reading your blog for a very long time. I really appreciate it because as you say, there are few OA adults out there talking about it. I have a lot of friends who are adopted, and some have searched, but none were in OA. It makes it hard because like you said, only those who live it can understand and convey it.

      It's challenging to know, as an adoptive parent, how to navigate these murky waters for my daughter. I have no concerns with her having a relationship with her other parents and no desire to keep them from her. What I do have are intense feelings of wanting this to be as easy as possible for her and wanting to be the supportive parent she needs. Unfortunately, there really isn't a map for that. I don't know exactly the best way to go about supporting her in having the relationship she will want with her parents. I have a hard time finding books that I like for adoptive parents. I find tons by first mothers and adoptees that tell me what *not* to do or how it feels to be an adoptee. And oh, I appreciate those so muh! I do. But I have a hard time finding sources to help me help my daughter navigate the complications life has handed her. I want to know what I *should* do. I recently was looking for a child's adoption book for her. Well, that didn't go very well. They all contained objectionable themes ("I grew in my mommy's heart..." blech!!) with the exception of one that was geared more towards foster care. It's a real struggle...

      Sorry if this is off topic.

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    3. Tiffany, I don't think this is off topic at all (and hopeful that Lorraine agrees). The fact is that, exactly as you've described, working out the intricacies of open adoption is complicated. I think it's one thing to say that OA is best, but an entirely different subject to talk about the most practical ways to work it out.
      I was raised in OA but couldn't say with any certainty how to do it "better" or "right." It's a complex web of relationships - probably one of the most complex ever. You're right - there are books/blogs from adoptive parents and a few from biological parents, but until we have many more OA adoptee voices, we really won't have an understanding on a larger scale.

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  14. Guardianship only would be quick and permanent end to the selfish ''the child is our possession and we have ownership'' crap. This attitude is absolutely nothing new nor surprising to those of us who lost our children to this nasty practice called adoption. It has been the prevailing attitude and is much of the reason for the creation of the word ''adoptoraptor.

    It's the absolute misery that is caused to both the natural parents and to the child that makes adoption practices -open or closed- ABOMINABLE! Natural mothers/fathers should be allowed, supported and encouraged to raise their child. A child deserves to be raised in their family. That is their right by birth. No visitation required. ...and when and if a child must be raised by other than their own parent/s or family......Guardianship. No unnecessary abandonment issues, no closed records, no lies or secrets. no genealogical bewilderment, no why can't I live with my mother/parents?, nor any why didn't they keep me but they are raising sib/s?, why can't I go home with them? and my siblings? no nothin' but normal. And NO SELFISH, ENTITLED OWNERSHIP OF A HUMAN BEING. or dehumanizing abuse of another (i.e. mother/father) End of discussion. So tired of this.

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  15. Visitation rights should be legally upheld in open adoptions, unless first parents becomes a threat to safety, in which case there is legal recourse. It should be like divorce, when non-custodial parents' visitation rights are enforced by law. I don't think any first parent should be encouraged to enter an open adoption in the strength of promises alone. They need to have their rights legally protected..

    Lorraine said "I would even suspect that in some corner of America, some adoptive parent has terminated the adoption and the natural mother has adopted her own blood child at a still tender age. And you know what? The kid is almost certainly better off for it."

    Has anyone seen the story out of France-the two girl babies who were mixed up at birth and given to the wrong families in Cannes? Both families sued the private clinic and have been awarded $2.13 million dollars to be split between the two. They discovered the mistake early on and met when the girls were ten. It sounds like they were open to getting to know each other but "parents and daughters had trouble building any rapport, and they eventually stopped seeing each other. In the end, after some discussion, both families preferred to keep the child they had raised, rather than taking their biological one."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/25/world/europe/in-france-a-baby-switch-and-a-test-of-a-mothers-love.html?_r=0

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  16. Wow, that story of the baby switch from France is really different from the usual narrative where there is an instant biological bond. Anything is possible, I guess.

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  17. @Cindy A.

    Not the simplistic solution you might imagine. I was a child brought up by extended family and bandied about based on the whims of my natural Mother. There were times when it suited her quite nicely to be a Mom, but sadly many more where having a child did not allow her enough personal freedoms or flexibility. Raised by relatives, some of whom were openly disdainful of my Mom's choices and others who had no interest in actually parenting me, short of accepting the financial support I came with in the form of a Social Security check. ( My natural father died when I was an infant.)

    Guardianship didn't solve my problems and I too was plagued with feelings of abandonment, compounded by her occasional visits and even longer periods of absence. In fact the only thing it did secure me was absolutely NO TIES to any one family. My natural Mother eventually terminated her parental rights and I spent time both with outside family and in Foster Care. I longed to be adopted into ONE family; to be legally bound to another - to be good enough to be WANTED by one family, even a so-called possessive adoptive family.

    In fact......for many of us who bounced about, a possessive parent doesn't sound quite so bad. I guess its all in the eye of the beholder and such. I also know many parents who would qualify as ¨jealous and possessive¨ parents who are not adoptive parents. I think that less than stellar quality crossed many groups.

    On to this specific topic: my feeling is that parental visits should be enforced if initially agreed upon, but it needs to be fluid and based on comfort levels of the child. But please don't mistake that with the legal protection adoption affords those children who still find themselves in need of it through no fault of their own. Some of us would have given almost anything for that stability.


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    1. Jana, thank you for making such excellent points, especially about the need for stability and that visits should be based on the comfort levels of the child.

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  18. Hi Jana, The definition of simplism: The act or an instance of oversimplifying; esp: the reduction of a problem to a false simplicity by ignoring complicating factors -- simplistic adj. simplistically adv.

    For starters I could counter that adoption is simplistic. As it certainly ignores (many) complicating factors. The wants, needs and feelings of a good many human beings for one. Closed records for another. Coercion, human trafficking, open adoptions being closed. The lifelong issues and struggles it creates for so many. The list is long.

    The 'guardianship' I was referring to, is a familial relationship with -one- family. Not as in the foster care system. Your life growing up, although called a guardianship, it was implemented in the manner of foster care except your mother was the one who moved you around instead of the state/agency. No stability. No permanence of family - belonging. Yes, that is hard.

    I would like to see guardianship, established with **one** family from the start, to be --the-- family with all rights, privileges and responsibilities. The laws can be set up in such a fashion as they have been for adoption. The name of the family can and should be hyphenated with the child's original name. The family can use which name they choose (for their benefit and the child's) and the child has the option to use which name/s they care to as they get older. If the child has been permanently removed for irresolvable safety issues/or had been freely surrendered and no complications with coercion, etc. are raised, that at such time as the child is able to make the 'choice' for themselves (the child being fully informed as to the future issues of such a decision in regard to the aspects of adoptions closed records) they be given the right to agree to an adoption or can continue guardianship. I see this as being able to do away with the foster care (bounce me around) system as well. Stabilization for EVERY child that is unable to live with or is surrendered by their natural families. While providing greater protection for mothers/fathers who want their children and have been coerced, forced, or taken advantage of in any way to 'surrender' their child. Also for those who want to be involved in their child's life... but have been shut out due to open adoptions being closed by the adoptive parents. There are too many ''injustices'' in -the systems- form of adoption. There is a way to work this out to were it is *****equitable***** for everyone involved. The system as we know has many deficiencies that need to be changed and all those that the current system affects, perhaps even the children who are currently in foster care and those who are young adoptees-- need to be involved in finding a more equitable and loving solution.

    Jana I'm sorry you had such a difficult and I wouldn't wonder often times sad childhood. Sorry your natural father died before you knew him or he you.

    I realize there are as many possible outcomes and situations in life as there are human beings. Do I have this guardianship thing all ironed out? No. Do I want to see things equitable for everyone? Yes. Do I have the answers for that? No. Am I being simplistic ... a dreamer. Yes, perhaps you're right.

    I feel that with the 'you are our child and *only* our child for forever into eternity' (by the act of adoption) attitude, even legalizing visitation in open adoptions is not going to change that mindset or the difficulties it creates. Nor is it going to fix the difficulties of nmother/father here and then gone again and a distressed child and the adoptive parents wanting to close the adoption through the courts. It would leave some feeling boxed into a corner and that can be detrimental to the child. Fix the core problems and this won't be an issue. Treat the cause, not the effects. If parents truly didn't want their children, they would surrender to adoption, walk away and never give it another thought... somethin' is wonky with the system.

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  19. I can't imagine that many parents who do surrender in the circumstances you describe in your final paragraph would simply ¨walk away and never give it another thought.¨ That seems opposite of the main essence of this very blog. My own Nmother could not bring herself to just ¨walk away¨ or at least not for many years, though clearly she didn't wish to parent. My very upbringing serves to highlight this point. I could point to her as being that very ¨greedy"and selfish¨ parent for her refusal to either parent me or terminate her rights in a timely way. She wanted it all ways and all ways pointed to her self serving motives. Maybe there is a definition for that too?

    At any rate @ Cindy A., I shared my own experience in what you described as Guardianship and can attest that for me, it was not a workable solution or one I would wish for any child. My experiences don't summarize all such nuances involved in what you propose but they do perhaps highlight that adoption is not likely ¨fixed¨ easily and as it stands, with adoption servicing individuals as vaired as the next, any ¨fix¨ would likely need to be individualized as well. IMO

    Finally, please consider that like life, an adoptee is not static. Your assertions that once adults, adoptees could choose their own course free of corercion, deciding on names, family affiliations, etc. - all of that sounds fine except it doesn't take into account the child adoptee who might yearn or be desperate for that one family to call their own. It just doesn't. It doesn't consider feelings of loyalty to the family they were raised in and how heart wrenching a decision that would be to make, regardless of unbiased counsel or othwerwise.Children in those situations or Foster Care believe intuitively that if they were truly good enough or desirable enough, they would be adopted into a forever home. That's just kids or many kids for you. Will they one day grow and feel differently? Perhaps. But any solution needs to accomodate the WHOLE adopted child not just the adult adoptee. Because in between counts too. Adults looking back see things with great clarity - children just want to be like their peers.

    It seems in part, to me anyways, that your solution mostly benefits the natural parent(s) first and foremost. That's just how I see it.

    Finally, thank you for the definition of ¨simplistic¨ - it actually felt slightly patronizing and just highlights that oftentimes adoptees are seen as perpetual ¨children¨, never quite knowing what is best for themselves or quite trustworthy enough to outline their own experiences. That may not have been your intent, but it came across in that way.

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    1. Jana, I have great respect for you speaking from and about your personal experiences with in-family guardianship and little stability while growing up. Any childcare arrangement, adoption, guardianship, foster care, needs to be first and foremost about the needs and comfort level of the child, not the adults involved. Child welfare issues cannot really be equitable for all involved for the reasons you state, the needs of a child during childhood are different than the needs and wants of adults and should come first. Guardianship should be one option for some children in need of care, but not all, and in-family placement is not always ideal either. No, adoption and childcare issues are not simplistic at all, that is why there is so much controversy, and every situation is unique.

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  20. Jana, I believe you're right, any 'fix', would likely need to be individualized. I do understand that children need stability and I also agree that any solution needs to accommodate the WHOLE adopted child (or rather the whole adoptee - as they are not forever children (~_~). The place to care for the WHOLE adoptee, as is the same for all children, is in childhood.

    I'm sorry it came across that I was saying ''once ---adults---, adoptees could choose their own course free of coercion, deciding on names....'' What I actually said was, 'at such time as the child is able to make the choice for themselves.. I was referring to an actual child. Not an adult.

    Jana you said, "I can't imagine that many parents who do surrender in the circumstances you describe in your final paragraph would simply 'walk away and never give it another thought'."
    Maybe I should have made another paragraph for clarity. The only thing in that sentence that I related to a parent walking away and never giving it another thought was --If parents truly didn't want their children--. That is all.

    I wanted to be 'good enough to be wanted' as a child too. After my mother died (I turned seven 4 days later) and my dad remarried, I felt resented instead, like an unwelcome guest, a servant girl... and could never do anything to be "good enough"...or so it seemed. I was grieving, we all were... and none of us new -how- nor did we recognize one another's grief. I understand the feeling of wanting to be wanted, cherished, loved and to belong. I get it.

    I appreciate your thoughts and feelings about this. They are yours, they are real, they are valid. My thoughts and feelings on this do not make yours wrong or invalid.

    Re the definition: I always look up words that are directed to me to get a greater clarity and to see if and how they are valid so that I can, hopefully, make a course correction or at least be aware of something to 'work on'. I do that when I get called names even... sometimes it helps to 'open my eyes'. I wrote the definition out, due to my next comment about adoption being similarly situated (only my opinion of course) and to show *where* or *how* I saw the connection. It was not meant to belittle you in any way. As it did come across that way to you, I'm sorry

    I do suppose I do have a vested interest in the ''benefitting of natural parents'', being as I am one...I'm also a second generation 'adoptee', so I have lived with the results of adoption.

    I would, *strictly from my point of view of course*, love to see adoption changed drastically and in many cases eliminated. Obviously, I base it on ---my--- experiences, thoughts and feelings as you base yours on the same. I respect that.

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  21. I've been reading a bit about Parental Alienation and there seems to be a groundswell movement to clarify civil and even at times criminal laws in reaction to the many divorces in which various degrees of parental alienation occur... isn't closed adoption the most fundamental form of parental alienation? Does anyone know more about this and how it has been used legally?

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