' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Favorite Adoption Quotes

Favorite Adoption Quotes

 “Adoption Loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful.” --The late adoption scholar and activist, Reverend Keith C. Griffith. 

Adoption Law

"Apart from slavery there is no other instance in our laws, or in any other jurisprudence in civilized system of jurisprudence, in which a contract made among adults, in respect of an infant, can bind that child once he reaches his majority." Cyril Means, the (late) attorney on the suit brought by ALMA to unseal birth records for the adopted

Family Preservation 

"Contrary to what some parents might believe or hope for, children are not born a blank slate. Rather, they come into the world with predetermined abilities, proclivities and temperaments that nurturing parents may be able to foster or modify, but can rarely reverse."--Jane Brody, The New York Times Science section, 11/5
"The Court's opinion, it seems to me, needlessly demeans the rights of parenthood. It has been the constant practice of the common law to respect the entitlement of those who bring a child into the world to raise that child. We do not inquire whether leaving a child with his parents is 'in the best interest of the child.' It sometimes is not; he would be better of raised by someone else. But parents have their rights, no less than children do. This father wants to raise his daughter, and the statute amply protects his right to so do. There is no reason in law or policy to dilute that protection."--Justice Antonin Scalia, U.S. Supreme Court, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (Baby Veronica case)
"The right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children is among the unalienable rights with which the Declaration of Independence proclaims all men [and women] are endowed by their creator." - Justice Antonin Scalia, U.S. Supreme Court, Troxel v. Granville (the parents rights case)
"Kinship care is as old as humankind and family connections are truly deep in our DNA. ... Children do better when they are cared for by relatives." - Lois Ann Day, Director, Oregon Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Program
"Other things may change us, but we start and end with family."--Anthony Brandt
"The most powerful ties are the ones to the people who gave us birth ... it hardly seems to matter how many years have passed."- Anthony Brandt,  writing about Blood Ties in Esquire.
"Adoption Loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful." - The Reverend Keith C. Griffith, MBE
"Every child has the right to know and be cared for by his or her own parents as far as possible. Families needing support to care for their children [should] receive it." - Articles 7 and 18, Convention on the Rights of the Child, United Nations September 2, 1990

"Every society, including our own, accepts that it is generally in the best interests of children to be raised by their biological parents unless they cannot or do not wish to do so." - Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents

"The only [child welfare] systems that succeed emphasize family preservation." - Richard Wexler, National Coalition for Child Protection Reform

“Short of preventing harm to the child, the standard of ‘best interest of the child’ is insufficient to serve as a compelling state interest overruling a parent's fundamental rights…. To suggest otherwise would be the logical equivalent to asserting that the state has the authority to break up stable families and redistribute its infant population to provide each child with the 'best family.' It is not within the province of the state to make significant decisions concerning the custody of children merely because it could make a ‘better’ decision.” - Justice Barbara Madsen, Washington Supreme Court, In Re Smith (parents rights case) 

"The birth family constitutes the preferred means of providing family life for children." - Child Welfare League of America, Standards of Excellence for Adoption Services

"Preserve the birth family whenever possible. Adoption professionals should take care to explore and offer adoption alternatives to expectant parents considering adoption for an unborn child and to parents whose children have been involuntarily removed from them through the judicial process. Expectant parents should be taught about the worth they have to their children. ... Every attempt should be made to preserve the family of origin, and when family preservation is not possible, to safely place the child in the extended family." - Adoption Social Worker L. Anne Babb, Ethics in American Adoption

Relinquishment is an "aberration of a woman's natural instincts of nurturing her infant." - Adoption Social Worker Linda Cannon Burgess, Adoption: How It Works

The Uniform Adoption Act calls for the protection of "minor children against unnecessary separation from their birth parents."

Stephen Frears' "movie about my story is meant to be a testament to good things, not an attack. It is a testament to the undying bond that exists between mothers and their children, something that I've found that time and distance have no bearing on. It is a testament to the willingness to never give up on keeping that bond alive, even if all odds are pointing you against it." - First mother Philomena Lee in a letter to critic Kyle Smith. 

"We can fund wars and build bombs, but we cannot empower mothers to keep and care for their children?" - adoptee Jennifer Lauck, Found: A Memoir

Right to Know One's Origins

“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage- to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness.” - Alex Haley
To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.
- Cicero

Until I hold my original birth certificate in my own hands, I can only be sure of whom I am not, not of who I am.- Robert Wilson Harrington McCullough

"Everybody wants to know where they come from, even if it doesn't turn out like you wanted it." - Our totally favorite comment from ABC's Find My Family message board:

“There can be no legally protected interest in keeping one’s identity secret from one’s biological offspring; parents and child are considered co-owners of the information regarding the event of birth…. The birth parents’ interest in reputation is not alone deserving of constitutional protection.”- U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) about the proposed Model Adoption Act of 1980.

Abuse in Adoption

“Regrettably, in many cases, the emphasis has changed from the desire to provide a needy child with a home, to that of providing a needy parent with a child. As a result, a whole industry has grown, generating millions of dollars of revenues each year. ...” - United Nations, Commission on Human Rights, 2003  

"The primary purpose of adoption is to provide a home for a child, not a child for a home." - Judge Virginia Linder, Oregon Court of Appeals, McCulley v. Bone (case allowing mother to withdraw consent) 

"If ... the best interests of the child is to be the determining factor in child custody cases ... persons seeking babies to adopt might profitably frequent grocery stores and snatch babies from carts when the parent is looking the other way. Then, if custody proceedings can be delayed long enough, they can assert that they have a nicer home, a superior education, a better job or whatever, and that the best interests of the child are with the baby snatchers. Children of parents living in public housing or other conditions deemed less affluent and children of single parents might be considered particularly fair game." - Justice James Heiple, Illinois Supreme Court in the "Baby Richard" case (father's rights case).

“It is true, as the dissent notes, that the result of this decision means hardship for Baby B. and her adoptive family. It is equally true that the opposite result would mean hardship for a father whose rights to form a relationship with his child and be a part of her life (and arguably Baby B’s right to know him and benefit from his care and concern) would be cut off notwithstanding the statutory protections afforded him. The legislature may well, as the dissent asserts, have identified maternal privacy and finality in adoptions as primary values. But antecedent to these goals are constitutional rights, inchoate or realized, that all biological parents have in associations with their children.” -- Chief Justice Christine Durham, Utah Supreme Court in Manzanares v. Byington (father's rights case)

"While some children in foster care do indeed need to be adopted the [Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997] encourages the indiscriminate adoption of children without regard to whether they could have remained safely in their own, loving homes.

...As adoptions level off, the pressure to increase them again--and cash in on the bounties--is likely to have another pernicious effect. It is likely to prompt [state] agencies to target the children most in demand by prospective adoptive families: healthy infants from poor families. Agencies will rationalize that the parents really are 'unfit' even as they continue to turn their child welfare systems into the ultimate middle-class entitlement: Step right up, and take a poor person's child for your very own." - National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, Family Preservation and Adoption

"Almost everyone believes that at some level birthmothers make a choice to give their babies away. ...Adoption is rarely about mothers' choices; it is, instead, about the abject choicelessness of some resourceless women." Rickie Solinger, Beggars and Choosers

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke