In Roseburg, Oregon, a small town 175 miles south of Portland, a woman I do not know will deliver a baby within the next 30 days and give her infant to the clients of Portland attorney, Scott Adams. An adoptee himself, he is a long time adoption practitioner.
Perhaps she responded to a "Dear Birth Mother" ad, perhaps she knows the prospective adoptive parents, friends of relatives, a couple she met while waiting tables, or a couple referred by her pastor. I do know that unless a miracle happens, she will leave the hospital with a flat stomach and searing lifelong pain.
An attorney she has met only recently perhaps for only an hour, hired by Adams and paid by the prospective adoptive parents, will within a day of the birth present her with a consent form prepared by Adams. Once she signs, the attorney will send the paper immediately through electronic means to Adams who will file it as soon as possible at the courthouse. Once filed, the consent is irrevocable.
|An adoptive mother on the|
real cost of adoption--to the
More common, though, is the path being taken by the expectant mother in Roseburg, often referred to as a "private adoption," that is, without agency involvement These adoptions are promoted through such books as "Fast Track Adoptions" and "Adopt the Baby You Want." Attorneys, like Adams, connect prospective adoptive parents with expectant mothers, typically by running ads for "birth mothers," working with doctors, or by advising those wishing to adopt how to locate "birth mothers" through contacts, Facebook, Penny Ads, local newspapers, even paper placemats in casual restaurants. The attorney's staff may coach them on writing "Dear Birth Mother" letters. Unlike agency adoptions, the child is relinquished directly to the adoptive parents.
Once the attorney lines up the mother-to-be and the prospective adoptive parents, the attorney prepares the consent and the open-adoption agreement, if any. In states like California, the attorney represents both the prospective adoptive parents and the natural parents, at least until something goes wrong. Then the attorney represents only the adoptive parents.
|A birth mother on the|
of giving up a child
A few days ago, Adams posted a request on the Oregon Family Law list soliciting an attorney for the expectant mother in Roseburg. His post is set forth below. It makes me angry just to read it. To Adams, the mother's consent is not a life-altering event, but a mere legal formality. The mother's attorney is not obligated to help the mother find resources to keep her baby. The attorney is not obligated to tell the mother she can negotiate the terms of the open-adoption agreement, allowing her to believe, for example, that a picture and a letter once a year is standard. The attorney is not obligated to tell the mother that the open adoption can close at the desire of the adoptive parents, and she will have no legal recourse in most states.
And, later, if the mother wants to contest the adoption for misrepresentation, or assert her rights under the open adoption agreement, the attorney will tell her he/she doesn't represent her.
These appalling events happen every day all over the country. ---jane
Scott C. Adams' 5/23/19 post on the Oregon Family Law list: "I am looking for a referral to a Roseburg attorney to explain adoption consents to a birthmom (woman placing her child for adoption) and potentially birthdad expected to give birth in Roseburg within the next 30 days. I represent the adoptive parents and will prepare all the paperwork.
You would generally meet with her/them once prior to her giving birth to go over the papers--this meeting is often in a more casual place than your office depending on her needs. Then when she does give birth you will take the papers to her/them in the hospital, explain them, get them signed and get them back to me electronically. Working with birth parents requires a lot of out of the box lawyering; you have to be available to take or respond to a birth parent's phone call/questions within a few minutes (they may be standing there with a nurse or doctor needing your input) and you may have to be available for an evening or weekend trip to the hospital (with a day's notice usually), and then be able to immediately send those consents to me. Experience in other adoptions/paternity helpful but not a must. It usually takes 2-3 hours which the adoptive parents will pay for. (emphasis added)
Self-referrals are welcome."
Are Laws Tilted Towards Adopting Parents? Well, yes, even in Oregon
Finding babies through Facebook. And your manicurist. And ...
US Dept of Health and Human Services, State Laws on Domestic Adoption
The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child
I knew I had some subconscious or unconscious "issues" from having been adopted, but I didn't truly understand them until I read this book. If you are adopted, get this book. If you have adopted children - or are even thinking about doing so - get this book. I learned a lot about myself while reading this - it explained a lot of my behavior as a child, and even as an adult. Being adopted IS traumatic, no matter what age it happens at - I was adopted as a baby, but still had issues because of it. My parents used to tell me that I was "chosen," and while they were trying to make me feel good and "special," it always made me sad to hear. Not because I didn't like my adoptive parents, but because - even as a child - I knew inside somewhere that to be "chosen," I first had to be given away. I didn't understand those sad feelings as a child, but thanks to this book, I understand them now.
Hole In My Heart: memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption