15 Solutions To Fix Adoption in America

I am revisiting this post and giving it a brush up and edit. The original was published on Jan 14, 2006.

People ask me what ARE the solutions to Domestic Voluntary Infant Adoption in this country. I have a few ideas about where we can start.

I concentrate my efforts on domestic voluntary infant relinquishment. While I have feelings on International Adoptions, and foster care adoption, they are not my “specialty”. I did not live them. On the other hand, I have lived the life of a birthmother for over 25 years now. I have been researching and learning about adoption for over 12 years now, so I have a pretty good idea of what I am talking about.

So, let’s make sure we are clear on some things first:

Standard Adoption Disclaimers

I draw a HUGE line between a voluntary placement and anything having to do with possible abused and CPS involvement. That is not to say that I think the mothers who are in such bad situations that their children are removed hurt any less, or love their children any less, but I can’t go and solve all the world’s problems. I am sticking now to the one closest to my heart, the one that I know. Plus I do NOT believe that this is a perfect world, nor that I can close my eyes to the fact that abuse happens. It does, and it shouldn’t and NO, children should not be in danger and made to suffer. So being anti-adoption, or a natural family preservationist as many prefer, is not anti child or supporting child abuse. Clear? Domestic Voluntary Infant Adoption does NOT save a child from potential child abuse.

Domestic Voluntary Infant Adoption is what we are discussing here. Women facing and unplanned pregnancy and “choose” adoption rather than parenting. Nothing to do with abortion. Nothing to do with abuse. This is the “making a loving adoption plan” that is under fire here; infant adoption as it is practiced in the USA. If you aren’t aware of adoption facts, then you might not be aware of the need for reform. Go read the link and catch up.

So How Do We Fix Adoption in the USA?

Well to begin with .. we look to Australia where they have managed to do all this and it has worked. In Australia the rates of relinquishment has dropped by over 95% when they reformed the adoption process.

1. Day 1 of Adoption Activism; NAAM2013- Help Jeff Educate Social Workers and Adoptive Parents Restore Adoptees OBC Access

I believe in restored access to the original birth certificate for all adult adoptees. Nationwide, across the board, no grandfather clauses, full identifying info available at age 18. Original birth certificates granted and full rights to adoptees to decide themselves, as adults, what they want to do. Forget this “protecting the birthmothers”. It’s a red herring. If nothing else, full medical records should be made available even if the adults can’t handle a relationship. Let’s give the adoptees their rights as humans to their history, their medical heritage and stop treating them like perpetual children.

On a side note; If the US would ratify the UN Declaration on the Rights of a Child, then we would HAVE to allow adoptees OBC access. But, the adoption lobby group don’t want Adoptees to know their truths so only the USA and Somalia have not yet ratified the Rights of a Child. Nice, huh?

2. Day 3 of Adoption Activism; NAAM2013- The Proposed Adoption Bills in Michigan    Come Up with Something Better than the ABC: a Legal Lie

I would like to see the end of amended birth certificates that perpetuate the lie “as if born to”. A birth certificate says who you were born to, and adoption decree can state who you were adopted by. Why lie? I think something could work out with permanent guardianship, but people seem to be very shy of that wording. There have been suggestions that the OBC should stand and always carry the birth parent information, yet have listings for the adoptive parents to show legal parenting. . Don’t want to make a big deal out of the “adoptee is different” by a different document? OK, then the OBC is for BIRTH records and a legal parenting document is for custody. There can be different lines for genetic parents and legal parents. That would also take care of the donor assisted issues and same sex parenting as well. We can really be progressive and have areas for step parents right there or even domestic partnerships. I don’t care, but the lies on the ABC have got to stop.

3. Day 3 of Adoption Activism; NAAM2013- Sign Adoption Petitions Family Kinship Care First

If a parent cannot take care of a child, try to keep the child within the family first rather than offering it up to strangers. This is making adoption about the child, not about the desires for a child. Most child welfare advocates form  UNICEF to the UN  maintain that children do best when raised by their families of origin. It is the RIGHT of a child to stay within his people. The importance of identity, natural heritage, and genetics  must stop being undervalued in out culture. Family Preservation First!

4. Day 4 of Adoption Activism; NAAM2013 - Vote for Adoptees     Standardize Adoption Laws Across the USA; No more Adoption “Friendly States”

Infant adoption now, in America, is a free for all. I hate “adoption friendly” states, and moving pregnant moms to take advantage of lesser revoke laws, using Utah laws to avoid the parental rights of fathers, etc. Let’s stop this state to state nonsense. Nationalize the whole thing. That would take care of a HUGE bucket of loose ends.  Including…

 

  Day 5 of Adoption Activism; NAAM2013- HelpBring Hailey HomeNo Pre-birth Consents

No pre-birth consents by fathers or mothers. You can’t decide if you want to parent an idea or an issue. Have the baby first. There are states like Arkansas where you can sign pre-birth to relinquish and shorten your revoke time form 10 days to five. Then you give birth and the clock starts ticking. By time you even can begin to think, it’s over.

 

6. Day 6 of Adoption Activism; NAAM2013 - Help STOP CHIFF  No Signing Relinquishment Consents in the Hospital

No relinquishment papers signed until a week (minimum) after birth. Let the woman out of the hospital first! Let her feel for at least a week that she has some recourse, some power, some time to decide. Let her process her feelings after giving birth. Let the hormones settle down. I would like to see contact between mother and child, so they really KNOW what they are giving up. Let the child become a real thing, let the natural bond happen.

7. Day 7 of Adoption Activism; NAAM2013- Petition Open Sealed Adoption Records   Six Week Revoke Period Across the Board

Make a standard of 6 weeks for relinquishment revocation. Now why six weeks you might ask? Well the way I see it, the Federal government already sees that a woman needs 6 weeks to recover after a normal birth. They give us 6 weeks of disability (9 for a C-section)  before we are expected to rejoin the work force, so it’s kind of already established that a woman is still recovering from birth during that time frame. I would rather see double the time, but I can deal with 6 weeks.  Now, I know that means that the adoptive parents have 6 weeks of wondering and being worried. And I am sure that that part of it will really suck for them, but…at least them you know that you have given some time for the natural mother to make a real decision, at least them you know that she is feeling that she can live without her child. I don’t know..I would think that 6 weeks of wondering would be better than a life time of wondering. I mean it’s not all about who gets complete legal control first, right? We aren’t making folks sign as quick as possible so we can thumb our noses at them and say “Nanny, nanany poo-poo! You can’t do anything about it now! Ha ha, mine, all mine!”

Plus,  while I am getting slightly ahead, if there was no more pre birth matching, then the adoptive parents wouldn’t HAVE to worry at all. Once they got “the call” then the baby would be ready to adopt! Oh maybe it’s a 7 week old baby, rather than right from the womb, but 1) It allows for mother child bonding and breast feeding which are both important to the physical, emotional and mental development of a baby and 2) if it’s acceptable to adopt a 3 year old form China, why can’t you wait 6 or 7 weeks? They only pee, poop, sleep, cry and eat for the first weeks anyway. Get some sleep and be ethical at the same time. Wait for a longer revoke period!

7. Day 7 of Adoption Activism; NAAM2013 Today Show and Craigslist!   No More Closed Adoptions

Enough with the secrecy and lies. If adoption is considered “just another way to build a family” then why and how do we turn around and deny the existence of all the parties that made it come about? Closed adoption should just not even be presented as a choice. Numerous studies have shown that it is healthier for children to know the truth rather than wonder.   There needs to be serious pre adoption education and post adoption support for both birthparents and adoption families so they understand the realities of an  open adoption, the benefits of the open contact for the child and the tools needed to navigate the relationships successfully.

Day 9 of Adoption Activism; NAAM2013- Petition Enforceable Open Adoption Agreements

Openness agreements must be enforceable. Now, I am not sure how that would be done. I don’t think jail time is really necessary except in extreme cases and I hesitate to really get the courts involved as they are overworked and I don’t have the greatest fate in them as it is. Plus, I can’t see how forcing people who are battling with each other to have to hang out does a child any good. Like that makes me think of the possibility of some really nasty fights at the “neutral ChuckE Cheese’s”. But, I hate it when I hear of parents closing an adoption “because it was confusing” or ” she was so upset and sad” or some other weird arbitrary judgments. Or they just take off and drop out because they CAN and the natural parents have no other recourse. Maybe a central data base were both adoptive and natural parents MUST keep their whereabouts current. This central data base would also make any future searches and reunions a heck of a lot easier in the cases of closed adoptions. Now in the cases where the original agreement needs modifications or someone is having trouble honoring it, I could see a panel of mediators involved to work it out and make a final decision. Kind of like the supreme court of adoptions? Say nine folks..three adoptees, three adoptive parents, three birthparents..no ties. Maybe they are elected “officials” from the adoption community..and they look at problems on a case by case basis and made rulings that were fair and ethical.
I think if open agreements were known to hold more weight than the paper they are written on, then we would see less lies and people would be apt to be more honest about what they would be willing to do.

10. Day 10 of Adoption Activism; NAAM2013 - Help Adoptee Rights in Ohio Oversight of Agencies and Other Professionals

Adoption agencies, lawyers and facilitators MUST be regulated, credentialed, verified ,overseen and held accountable by a single entity. There should be nationwide standards that clearly state what is ethical and not ethical and make those standards enforced.  There should be standards on what an adoption costs. A cap on fees. Non-profit needs to mean something real.. not a tax break and 2 million in assets plus paying the Executive Director 6 figures. Every domestic infant adoption should cost the same..and much less than they do.

That would eliminate the serious marketing for “happy” adoptions that we see now. Agencies would no longer need to attract “customers” to keep a constant supply of babies coming in and feed the coffers. The CPC Adoption agencies funnels would be moot.

Day 11 of Adoption Activism; NAAM2013 Pam's LawMandatory Independent Pre-Adoption Counseling

Those considering placement should have mandatory independent counseling. Information of the long term emotional ramifications to both the relinquishing family and the adoptee should be openly addressed. None of this “you’ll get over it, you’ll feel sad for a while” crap. Informed consent of possible PTSD, secondary infertility, panic attacks, eating disorders, depression, identity issues, latent anger, attachment disorders, etc, at al. Let them know for real what they are in for and in for life. Let them know what this might mean to their child, not just “I gave him more”. If they are really soooo bad, and it is really “better” to place,..then why hide the facts?

12. Day 12 of Adoption Activism; NAAM2013 - Adoptee Rights No More Pre Birth Matching

Pre birth matching makes an environment where the expectant mother becomes too involved in the happiness of the adoptive parents and transfers much of her possible happiness to them in an unhealthy and unrealistic way. I know too many who really wanted to change their minds but could not “be selfish” and hurt the “great couple who I just love”. That said, I realize that the ideas of trust and intimacy that need to be forged to build a healthy and respectful open adoption are often contingent on the early part of matching. I think this is where mandatory counseling and good ethical agency practices come into play. If matching is made with the ideal that it is an “adoption plan” rather than an implied promise. I think any adoptive parent going into such a situation needs to be informed, again and again, if necessary, that nothing is in stone until after the child is born and the mother remakes her decision based on her emotional fortitude. The adoptive parents should be just as supportive of her decision to parent as to place. Parenting a possible adoptable child should not be viewed as a failure.

Demand Post-Adoption ServicesNo More Per Birth Expenses Paid

Birthparent expenses should come out of a general slush fund and not footed by individual prospective adoptive parents. The expected parents should not feel beholden for costs of living and food contingent on handing over their baby. I don’t even like the whole pre-birth expenses thing in general. There should be general services that allow an expectant mother to be pregnant and have resources for living because that’s the right thing to support in a society. Heck, many agencies already do this. They get the mom to be on the public Medicare rolls and then go back and get “fees” paid from the  prospective adoptive parents.  Guess who keeps the money? Take away the expenses and adoption just got a whole lot more affordable.

Day 14 of Adoption Activism; NAAM2013 - Anti-adoption Adoption Agency Advertising MUST Stop

If there were unbiased crisis pregnancy centers that truthfully informed parents of all options then the need for advertisement would be moot. The choices should be out there, but with realistic truths, both positive and negative for all involved. Give all parties the actual research done on adoption. Things can be done on an individual basis, but with nationwide standards citing what is ethical and reasonable and real. Both adoptive parents and prospective relinquishing parents should be made aware of all sides and issues and possibilities. Nothing should be painted with rose colored glasses and money should be taken out of the equation completely.  We can’t have adoption agencies pretending to be other organizations offering “information”  We cannot say a woman made a ‘choice’ if she is not given all the available information. No, she might not have had a gun to her head, but she had no idea what she was really agreeing to since most of any adoption agency website or information booklet is 95% marketing message and selling bullshit created to convince her to give up her child. We have truth in advertising laws already; apply them to adoption!

15. Day 15 of Adoption Activism; NAAM2013Take the Profit OUT of Adoption Completely

No incentives to place, no free ride if you give up your baby, no scholarships, no ride on the sainthood express to heaven for either parties. No more 30, 40, 50, 75 K fees for adoptive parents to be exploited out of by their desires to have a child. No more. And guess what happens when we take the profits out of adoption? We will see an end of corruption, of baby trolling, of forced adoptions, or the lies, of the broken promises because the agencies will have lost their motivation to make more adoptions happen.

 Improvement Will Not End Adoption

I do not believe that we will see the end of adoption completely, but these solutions could very well produce a country like Australia where the relinquishment rates dropped about 95%. That is not unrealistic to me.  Ideal, yes, but… People will want children that they cannot bare, and here will be people who have children who do not have any desire to ever be a parent. Yes, adoption will still be there, but let it be a safe guard that provides families for children who need homes rather than finding children for families that want them. Adoption relinquishment should be seen as the last possible choice and, as a society, I would love to see us honor the bonds of natural families and not think that children are so transferable. I think if that honor was bestowed on natural families, then the fallout would be that the adoptive family was also more respected and understood.

Maybe these ideas won’t work for ALL people, but I am trying to think of what works for MOST people..and make those standards of care across the board.

How Do We Get To A Better AdoptionLand?

Now how to achieve all this…ah, that is the quandary.

I obviously, spend a lot of time talking about all this. I believe that we need to have open dialogue and understanding by all involved. I think we have to make ourselves rise to a higher standard of acceptance and understanding of each other as human beings and people. Ok. So the way I see it, until you get to know me and can understand and sympathize with me, as a birthmother, as a real live person, then how are you gonna care a lick about some pregnant teenager in Kansas when she might have the perfect baby for you? And it goes the other way too. I don’t want very adoptive parent to be the “bad guy”. I do want you to be on the same side as me..the right side ..because it is the better, more moral, way to be and we all want to sleep at night and be able to look our children in the eyes and not flinch. We have to work together, side by side, for the benefit of ALL our children and then the future children to come.

I spend a lot of time talking to those pregnant and considering; telling them what the agencies don’t want them to know. Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don’t. when they don’t then I spend time keeping them breathing and alive though the grief.

I spend a lot of time talking with other birthmothers trying to figure it all out. I have to admit, that my least favorite are the super “happy birthmothers” who are like walking talking billboards for adoption. And it is hard, because I know I too, walked around for 10 years parroting, “No regrets, I have no regrets! Squalk! Adoption good. Win-win situation!” Thank goodness I was pretty much cut off from the world and didn’t really talk about adoption, or I would have more to atone for. I did try to talk one of my friends into adoption once. I am very glad she didn’t listen.

I wrote a Congressional bill for adoption reform one weekend. It’s Called NIARA. It needs lots of work and revision, but I have a better idea now of what it could be, and how it could happen. I think it’s 70 something pages now and probably should be simplified. I wish there was more interest in it, but I do think that OBC Access for Adoptees must come first.  Maybe then, it’s time will come one day. I have dreams.

So, do I have the ultimate solution? No, but ideas carefully collected over the years, careful listening, and gathering then up. They could be shaped into something more. It takes time and effort, but I think I have both.

I think something like this has to be designed on a grassroots level and then presented as something that we demand. That as a society, we expect something better than what has evolved to the modern adoption industry. There are lots of us..especially when you start to put the numbers together. If we all gather to one side, we can tip the boat over.

As I said, I dream big.

 

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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine, Adopt-a-tude.com, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

55 Comments on "15 Solutions To Fix Adoption in America"

  1. Many of your ideas are great. Actually only 2 that I disagree with: 1) I think amended birth certificates are okay, because it allows adoptees to decide who they want to know about their adoption rather than any school, employer, etc. who ever looks at their birth certificate. 2) I don’t agree with legally enforceable open adoptions. Of course, I think there is a moral obligation and I would hope that all parties to an adoption take it seriously, but bottom line is that the adoptive parents are the only legal parents while the child is growing up. They have the right to make decisions for their child, just like any other parents. They are no different under the law. The thing that really needs to change is making sure prospective birth parents KNOW this. They need to hear “this is what the aparents are agreeing to NOW, but they may not keep the promise, circumstances may change etc…do you still want to make an adoption plan for your child being cognizant of that fact?” Then put it in the hands of the birthparents. Because bottom line is that once they hand their child over to new parents and once they sign those relinquishment papers, that is really IT for the child’s childhood…they are no longer a parent to that child, even though biologically they are mother/father. I’ve adopted and like it or not, my kids are my kids and I get to make all the decisions…I decide where they go to school, whose houses they can sleep over, etc. No one else besides my spouse gets to help with those decisions. Now it’s a different story once the kids grow up and can have a relationship with their bio parents. But waiting 18 years for a relationship with your child is an awfully long time to wait, which is why birthparents need to be damn damn sure before they sign those papers. Because after that, they have no more legal right to anything about that child than some stranger off the street. Sounds harsh, I know, but it is legal reality in the United States.

    • You sound very well versed in “open adoption”. That’s ‘IT’, huh? Even when adopters make promises they know they will not keep to get their hands on another woman’s infant, they get to walk away scot free with this blatant fraudulent act? Hardly. That isn’t “it”. More and more women are hearing these stories of how so many women were duped and are not going through with this bogus crap. Then people like you won’t be here tooting their own horn about someone else’s child being yours and yours only. The child you covet is not yours and you know it.

  2. I’d like to add not signing termination of parent rights and if the situation is not healthy or is abusive in the adoptive family then the natural mother should be able to lobby to have her child placed back in her care.
    Open adoptions should of course be legally enforced, the option to close adoptions against the will of the natural mother and adopted child should not be legally possible.
    It should be encouraged that the child go home with the mother first and that she try parenting herself first (as is done in Australia and it has very successfull results).
    Make it easier for women to keep their children, give them the tax breaks and the financial help instead of just to potential adopters.
    Make home studies MUCH stricter so that people who are what I now call the Rumplestilskin adopters can be filtered out. See comment above me for description of a milder form of the Rumplestilskin adoptive parent.
    Love what you wrote Claud and how you wrote it. SO clear, intelligent and simple enough for people to understand.
    Also I think get rid of the private adoption agencies and only have one system that is regulated and monitored against coercion.Turn the tables and instead of everything being geared towards empowering those that want to adopt, give the support and power to the natural mother.

  3. HELL of a post, woman! This, along with AfrIndiemum’s post also suggesting specific reforms, holds a lot of promise. What if we were to do a website with articles written by natural mothers, adoptive parents, adoptees, and adoption professionals? And really got the conversation going somewhere other than our little blogging network?

  4. God bless you.

    And I never considered the whole “six week” thing, since it takes six weeks for many employers to even LET you come back to work, let alone for your doctor to give you the thumbs up. (Longer if it happens to be a c-section.)

    I LOVE the nationalization of laws for adoption. !! That was one thing that screwed me over for some issues. Stupid people.

    And God, can we GET someone to watch these G.D. agencies?! WTF. Honestly.

  5. You sound like you shoudl definetly get into politics – these are really good ideas – i don’t agree with every one but i get where you are coming from on all of them. One thing I understand from both sides is the amount of time for termination. I do see where the mother should have time after because she can hold the baby and decide if she can parent. However, we have to also consider what is best for the child and studies have shown there are bonding issues when waiting a length of time between birth and parenting…..
    All in all – i think there are a lot of faults with the adoption system and people like you (with a passion) should jump in there…..

  6. Oh juicy things to think about!!Now we are talking…
    So 1)They need to hear “this is what the aparents are agreeing to NOW, but they may not keep the promise, circumstances may change etc…do you still want to make an adoption plan for your child being cognizant of that fact?” Then put it in the hands of the birthparents. Because bottom line is that once they hand their child over to new parents and once they sign those relinquishment papers, that is really IT for the child’s childhood…they are no longer a parent to that child, even though biologically they are mother/father. Yes..I have to agree that this MUST BE SAID. For that is the reality of adoption without the open bandaid neatly covering that wound. I guess I see it as maybe more as a divorce like kind of thing…like Mom (legal folks) has soul physical and legal custody and soul parental rights, but Dad has visitation (nat.folks.
    Of course…people aren’t on their best behavior in a divorce even if it is for the good of the children involved..so that might not work either. I think that’s why mediation is a good ideal…Like in a worse case senerio, and the apas are thinking she is acting weird and hostile, but really she feels slighted over their response to her new pregnancy and no one does anything but stews. All htse case workers and other adoption professionals that we would have to reprogram with mind chips and reassign…They could all now be mediation specialists…ah, I digress. Heck, I know of an adoption that was closed by the adoptive parens because the child wanted to bring her naural mum to the “Muffins and Mommys” at the nursery school. A clear cut case of heartache prevented for both mother and daughter if some education and compassion were enforced. Can we make people be kind?
    KIm…yes, yes, yes..to it all. Though as above, I think that the methods of agreement enforcement might ba an area of compromise as above.
    Thank you, and thank you, Sster.
    You know what..the information is out there. Maybe if there were individule pieces and stats and studies that support the proposed changes, then I could see trying to get it all in one place.
    At this point..it’s kind of like a “make it, they will come” thing.

    I think to keep talking about it is the key.

  7. Umm..the bonding issue.
    That’s come up before. Maybe that is one area where we have to make it informed consent. A mother is given information. She gets told that she has time free and clear to get to know her baby. She cannot sign anything until a week after birth no matter what. It is encouraged because it is shown to be better for her.
    Now if baby is with her, then that is pretty much good. She’s the mother. Say she feels pretty sure and doesn;t want to. She is given information on bonding of children. She feels it imprtant that the adoptive parents take the child to facilate the bonding. She still cannot sign any relinquishment for a week.
    Now the adoptive parents have the choice to have the baby for a week or the baby is in foster care for the week. And maybe that is something that they all talk about before hand during the “plan”. The what if’s. Because the plan can change, as we all know, when you introduce the emotional aspects.
    So say, they all decide to take not take the emotional risk, and the baby goes to foster care for the week. It’s not just any foster care, but a special infant focused bonding facilating type place.
    Now the afolks can take the baby in too, if mom wants that..but tey are perfectly informed that they know that it is a risk and mom can get the baby back. In fact, she still has the other 6 weeks to get the baby back if she revokes consent. But they are OK with that because that is what they expect from ANY adoption.
    Plus studies really do show that things are pretty much OK until the 6 month mark. A long as they are cared for, the infant will mostly have the separation anxiety from being deprieved his natural mother. I don;t think the week will make much of a difference.

    So informed consent..I think tht is the answer,. Give the mother options here that she can choose from. And that’s why it is unbaised options counselling. She gets to fiqure out which is good for her and her child.

  8. Claud, do you post at alt.adoption and are you familiar with Bastard Nation? All of your ideas are reform ideas that have been advocated for years now and there really are people out there lobbying for them. I think it might be helpful to you to make contact with these folks. Alt. adoption is a tough place, but a good place to start.

  9. Many agencies already are doing the foster care type situation that you describe. Again, I’d recommend getting over to alt.adoption, because you will be surprised at how none of this is new. The agencies we used to adopt had foster type homes that could take babies during the legal risk period if the adoptive parents were not up for the risk. I also know many adoptive parents whose childrens’ biological mothers DID take them home for a week or so before placement, then they did entrustment ceremonies. Modern adoption really does include quite a few ideas of the ideas that you have. More promotion to more agencies and attorneys is needed.

  10. Hey, I am not claiming to have thought these up by myself! And yes, some of the prectices are used sometimes, by some agencies, for some mothers…and then there are all the other ones, and the “other” situations. And that is what I think is the key..not sometimes, standards..all the time.

    BN does great work on the open records front and is a great voice for the adoptee, And Alt,A is a fabulous storehouse of information. There is CUB, Ethica, AAC, etc. at el. Plenty exisit…and have yet to come together as one strong voice..though I think BN has done the most in that area so far.

    I am not trying to discount what anyone else has done..for every baby step of progress is a strp in the right direction.
    I guess what I envision is something comstructed so tight, so all encompassing, that to is sweeping..and becomes maybe the flad that binds us all together, making that one voice very stong, uniting, and demanding that the changes happen.
    Visions of grandour, I suppose, but it’s a beautiful dream.

  11. Kim, Not sure exactly what you mean by “Rumpelstiltskin aparents.” I’m a realist. I’m also an adoptive parent who has gone above and beyond our original agreements, so I’m not sure you want to say “there’s a bad adoptive parent” to me, but whatever.

    Claud, I think that you may wrongly believe that all of your proposed reforms would stop voluntary infant adoption. The reality is that there would still be some women who can’t or won’t parent no matter what you do. Are you going to be able to live with that? I think that there is a tendency for people to want to believe that everyone has the same experience as them. “If I’m unhappy with my choice to place my child for adoption, every other bmom must feel exactly the same.” Well, that would be wrong. My child’s birthmother said to me recently “I don’t regret placing her for adoption at all, because she is the only child out of all of my children who is not living in turmoil and difficulty.” She feels at peace that she made the right decision for this child. Does she love her less than you love your child? No. Does she wish she could have parented? Heck, yes, but she wanted this child to have a better life than she could offer. And since she is parenting other children, she sees how difficult it is and that at least the child she placed for adoption has what she could not give. There are also bmothers who are 100% at peace with their decision during the first few years of their child’s life…then they regret it. Nothing can really be done about that; it was a choice that seemed right at the time, but didn’t work out as they had hoped. I just think that even with all of your reforms, you are still going to see voluntary infant adoption at a pretty consistent rate. As it stands now, less than 1% of unplanned pregnancies end in adoption. Adoption is now unheard of among teenagers…they are the least likely age group to choose adoption, believe it or not. Birthmothers today are older (twenties), often married, 80% are already parenting at least one child (both of my kids’ were second children)…these are not naive girls. They know what they are making for a choice.

  12. There is this funny thing going on…see, natural paents, in an open adoption..they don’t really tell the adoptive parestt of their child what they feel. They really can’t, often. For they really fear making them uncomfortable, or saying the wrong thing..and having the adoption be closed. So what everyone says that “their child’s birthmother says”..honestly, I take that with grain of salt to a degree. Not saying that you’re lying…not saying she doesn’t feel that way, but in the darkness of chats..the stories do change and the real feelings come out.
    I have talked to enough natural moms who have said..they wish they “simply had known” how much it hurts. I have talked with enough that were never told “hey, you CAN parent”. I have tlaked to enough who have willingly walked into it, parrotted the “right lines” made the right moves and then hate themselves for being played a fool by agencies with agendas.
    Thanks, I know the stats. One mother and child are separatd though adoption every 10 minutes. Naive or whatever, There is no way that anyone can tell me that these agancies are really ALL letting them know the facts. Hard to make a choice if you really don;t know the whole truth.
    Clearly, I have said..I don’t expect adoption to dissapear. Clearly, I think that there will always be women that take that path no matter how many warning signs are in place. But if you look at South Austrlia’s model of adotion reform….when given the resources, support and truth of adoption…more women choose to parent. And the numbers dropped considerably.
    So if we are looking at an ideal, that makes it moral, right, fair, ethical, safe, and still provides choices…what’s the down side?
    The way I see it…the only critism really is that there mght be less babies to adopt. And unless you can freely admit that you selfishly want to see babies separtaed from loving parents that have the full ability to care for them…Wat’s the resitance? really?

    Heck, maybe it won’t work..but you never know until you try. I think it’s worth trying for. Just because there are those who say it won’t change anything?? Nah…that only makes me more determined to make it work.

  13. To quote third anonymous: Birthmothers today are older (twenties), often married, 80% are already parenting at least one child (both of my kids’ were second children)…these are not naive girls. They know what they are making for a choice.

    I’d like to call bullshit.

    BULL. SHIT.

    Your stats may be somewhat correct but saying that these women know what they are making for a choice is complete and utter bullshit. No one tells these women, ESPECIALLY the agencies that they are working with, any of the emotional turmoil that comes with being a birthmother. Sure, they say open adoption will be great! You’ll see your kid! HUZZAH! They just neglect to say that seeing your child will continuously bring forth a wide array of emotion that no one, even in the therapy world, really knows how to handle. But, oh, you’ll have to handle it. Because if you don’t and you look even remotely emotionally disturbed, bam, door closed. Bye, bye, birthchild.

    No one tells these women who are trying to figure out what is “right” and what is “wrong,” that there will forever be a hole in their heart. They are told that they are brave and wise. They are told that they are selfless. The decision to place is so talked up that these women begin to feel SELFISH for WANTING TO PARENT THEIR OWN CHILD.

    The agencies are so far gone in trying to assure that the woman places her child that they are doing a disservice by neglecting to tell the woman ALL of her options.

    No, these women do NOT fully know what their choice entails until it is FAR too late.

  14. See, when you say that every 10 minutes a mother and child are separated through adoption, you must realize that this is not just voluntary placements (if it is even true). Many are state led separations, because it’s in the child’s best interests, as are many voluntary placements. I have to admit that you are one of the few blogging bmoms I’ve read where I haven’t thought “this woman would make a lousy parent.” Of course, that’s just my opinion. But some of the blogging bmoms sound too unstable to be parenting.

    You are right about the honesty issue. Although one of my childrens’ birthmothers is very honest with me; I know all about the pain and angst of being a bmother through her. She does not hold back at all and it has brought us closer together in the long run. She does have regrets, but could she have parented? Honestly, no.

    It is impossible to have a federal law for adoption reform, just as there is no federal law that covers abortion or any number of other issues. Separation of state and national government. You need to start state by state.

    I don’t think anyone out there will be upset by fewer voluntarily relinquished babies. Reality is that there are fewer and fewer adoptive parents willing to adopt American newborns. More aparents are turning to int’l adoption or foster care adoption. For many agencies, it has gotten to the point where they have more relinquishing bmoms than prospective adoptive parents. Amazing to realize this, but so true. Some people want to believe in fantasies.

  15. Ms. Mom, you have to realize that not all agencies are like how you describe. Some are extremely upfront. I just last week spoke to a birthmother counselor at a local agency. She is a brilliant young woman who is also an adoptee (one who is actually well-adjusted and had wonderful adoptive parents). She tells prospective birthmothers her own birthmother’s story and how difficult it was for her. She explains to birthmothers how the agreements are not legally enforceable so they realize what they are getting into. If you met this woman, you would have your stereotype of the big, bad, baby stealing agency blown away. But you need to believe what you need to believe. Problem is that it’s not real.

    As for these promises of open adoption, I think open adoption with visitation is a crock. I don’t agree with visitation at all, and think everyone needs to be upfront about their views on it right from the start. I agree with you that too many aparents think they can handle it and make promises that they shouldn’t. Promise less, deliver more was/is my motto about adoption. We are currently adopting baby number three and I am very honest with the prospective bmoms we are meeting. I’d rather have them move on and look for other adoptive parents. I know we will find the right situation even if it takes longer.

  16. I think the anonymous above is a crock.

  17. Ok again we are playing with little words such as “all” and “some”…no not all agencies are horrible, but alot are..and that’s just one too many. Adoption has EVOLVED and some places are bottom feeders, some are morally cool. I like the idea of making the botom feeders an extint species. Maybe your experiences have not been with big bad agancies, but you can’t say they don’t exist because you know of ONE good counselour? Obviously you need also to believe what you want to believe too.
    I don’t want to go state by state. Slavery was not abolished state by state, women were not given the right to vote state by state. Roe vs. Wade was not state by state. Who says?
    And more relinquishing mothers than people willing to adopt????
    OH, now please…that’s just too funny. If that was the case, then there would be no waiting parents. If that was the case then we would not need adoption recruiters. If that was the case then the agencies would not need to advertise. And then there is this littel tid bit:
    Adoption agency planning to close – Newton MA firm says not enough babies to meet demand – After 15 years, adoption agency sees end, by Sarah Schweitzer, NYT, B1.
    …Adoptions with Love..\..one of the area’s largest adoption agencies, plans to shut its doors in June…. Said Elizabeth Quackenbush, the agency’s director…”There appear to be fewer women plancing these children up for adoption, and many birth fathers won’t sign the paperwork.”…
    Adoptions with Love is one of 52 adoption agencies in Massachusetts, where state law requires that a licensed agency oversee an adoption. In the last three years, there have been two other private agency closures, according to Kate Arsenault, a spokeswoman for the Mass. Office of Child Care Services, which licenses adoption agencies.
    Adoptions with Love has long been considered one of the premier agencies in the area. Families seeking healthy babies born in the United States flocked to it, receiving assurances that a baby could likely be theirs within a year. The agency only placed domestic-born children, with many coming from other states…. Quackenbush said the decision to close the agency was heart-wrenching…but…”To have kept people waiting even longer would have just been cruel.”
    [Maybe if we dropped the taboo on inter-racial adoptions, now that Americans are adopting thousands of Latin American and Chinese babies anyway?…]
    Now look..if you don’t have anything positive to contribute to the conversation, could you quit being the nay sayer? Please.
    I mean, I just love the pople who just want to tell you how wrong you are and how your idea will not work. Umm thank, right, but I am niot listening OK? Got an idea? Share it. That I will listen to.

    An Ms. Mom…good call. I am trying to be nice. Could you be my alter ego??

  18. Claud, i tell you what, I so applaud youur strength in being willing to continually have these debates. When I hear things like, “few blogging birthmothers would make good moms,” I wonder who gets to decide that? And how do you know how emotionally stable a woman would be if she had kept? Yes, most bio-moms have issues. They are dealing with the tremendous trauma of having lost their children. Who are you to judge?

    I have decided to be completely honest on my blog because I know who I am. Have I had plenty of struggles? Yes. Do I still? Yes. But the truth? I already am a wonderfull mom. I am reliable, I am emotionally available at any time. I am a fabulous cook, I collect the most wonderfull childrens books, educational toys, games etc that you can find. I come up with ideas for activities, art, clay, imagination games. Plenty of opportunities to talk about feelings and share. I spend every unce of my life on providing a stable environment fr my daughter and at that, I succeed and always will.

    That takes a lot out of me, particularly since I am parenting from afar and dealing with the seperation. I maintaindeligtful relations with the adoptive mom, and my adoptive family, as well as all of my bilogical family members. I balance all of this in my personal life and I take out the remaining emotions on my blog. This is such a difficult journey, and I iam 100% dedicated to providing resources to women who are trying to parent. EVEN if they are needing emotional support, and help with dealing with the issues you have decided would make them, “not good mothers.”

    I believe this is a very worthy cause, and I happen to know of programs in my area which target women who are at risk of making placements or losing custody and provide a supportive environment for them to be the women they need to be for their children.

    If you wish to condemn my parenting skills, please, try getting to know me first.

  19. Sure. Alter ego it is. I’m not feeling very nice as I’m pretty sure that one of your anonymous commenters got pissed at me, bounded over to my blog and decided to say that biological parents aren’t as good as adoptive parents.

    So yeah, I’m pretty pissy today. Lemme attem.

  20. And just for the record, I never said agencies “stole” babies. I said agencies have one thing in mind: money. Duh. Learn how to read. It’s good for the soul. Mmm, soul food.

    Okay. I’m done. 😉

    Not really. If you need me, dear Claud, yell.

  21. MY anonymous posters…why do I always get the blame?? LOL

    Now I have to go see what they did at your house!!

    And..it is funny ( not in the LOL way, but in that sad way) how they can now judge how our mothering skills are based on blogs.

  22. i haven’t had time to read all of the comments yet, but just wanted to say that i think this is a *great* post! i think all of your ideas are spot on.

    i’m an adoptive mom, and my son’s first parents signed consent forms at day 8 (could have been as early as day 3), but didn’t relinquish parental rights until 3 months. in pennsylvania, that has since been changed to 1 month. i have to admit, those were a difficult 3 months for us, but i know the pain i would have felt had micah been taken from us would have been no more than the pain his first parents would have felt had they changed their minds after it was too late. as an adoptive mom, 30 days seems more reasonable than 90, but i can totally see your point about 6 weeks.

    as for legally enforcable open adoption agreements, i really think that’s the only way open adoption can be ethical. and there is certainly precedent for that — courts have enforced visitation rights for grandparents and other people (such as lesbian moms who do not have a legal relationship with their kids) who stand “in loco parentis.” there’s no reason why open adoption agreements couldn’t also be enforced by the courts. it would take a lot of education of potential adoptive parents to make them understand that their family is *not* “just the same” as if they had had their own biological children, but that is precisely what needs to happen! would fewer folks adopt? probably, but that would be a good thing, because under a truly ethical adoption regime, fewer mothers would place their babies for adoption.

    i agree with sster that we need some sort of a forum to get this discussion more into the mainstream. if there were a place for adoptive parents to be part of such a movement, it would be an honor for me to participate.

  23. aah, the she said, she said game.

    here’s the thing, in my mind. all those statistics we all like to quote? well, they’re only sampling a small part of any population. to rely on them as ‘the word’ is just useless. we just won’t know until adoption in the u.s. is federally regulated and tracked.

    i hate the conversations where we start fighting. it’s not doing any good for anyone. let’s talk real solutions instead of telling each other we’re bad parents or selfish because we don’t want to see babies available for adoption taken away. there’s no basis for those statements.

    claud – i agree with your post. i think some things would need to be wiggled this way or that in order for mainstream america to accept them. but let’s find that middle ground and go for it! it can only help, right?

    and – yes, there are good agencies and bad. good counselors and bad. i like the idea of what the cradle does – counsels women on all of their options, and when they give birth, if they still aren’t sure, provide a loving, safe, healthy environment (their nursery) where their babies can be placed if they want time to think. they can stay there as long as the women would like. the mothers can visit them whenever they like, 24/7. it’s a really good option. and i like that it’s not foster care – it’s a veru regulated environment. i have pages and pages of daily logs telling me when z pooped, what she ate, and what her disposition was every second of every day. the agency uses the money we pay for placement to care for the babies there. and they wouldn’t even let us see z through the glass before pea signed the papers.

    i guess i see both the good and the bad in agencies and the world of adoption. because i know there are some shitty ones out there. but we’ve all got to put aside our personal biases and see all aspects of adoption – good and bad.

  24. Roe vs. Wade was a state decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court. To this day, abortion law is governed by states, not the national govt. Adoption law, unfortunately, is the same. It will be like nailing jello to the wall trying to convince the federal government to make adoption their issue, and take it out of the hands of the state. I hate to sound so negative, but as an attorney (and adoptee), that tends to be my job sometimes. It’s like with the open records laws that are gradually passing in each state. There is just no way to make that a national law – it has to go state by state. A drag, but just the way it is. The one hope is the Hague Convention to Adoption, which the U.S should soon be ratifying. Hopefully this will have some good effect on domestic adoption too. And it will at least cover the growing numbers of American newborns being placed for adoption by their birthparents out of the country (Canada and Holland are the 2 big countries who have citizens coming here to get American newborns). Good luck. I do think one of your posters was correct in saying you must start state by state. Mason, an unreunited adoptee waiting for open records in my birth state

  25. Yes, yes, yes, and yes!!!

    I am tired of fighting. It’s like everytime I say “hey, A and B bad thngs still happen”..someone can tell me that “well we did C & D”..which is great, but A & B still happened! I want to see C & D across the board!!

    I know I can make some huge proclamation of radical abolish adoption thingy..and NOTHING will happen with that. It will sit and gather dust. As it is, NOW..I am finially really hearing ALL folks start to really say some of them same things abour reform.

    I know what you mean about the stats, BUT we have to have some backing, even if it isn;t all “right” because you know we are gonna get opposing stats thrown our way.

    What I would eventually like to see…the actual bill in a way that we think is workable and passablefor mainstream America.
    A real life interpetation of what all that Congressinal nonsense means..like a study of how it would work .
    Personal stories and facts and the evil stats to back it up.
    Then, it will need the physical backing..petitions, oganizational endorsements, signantures, grassroots excitment.
    Aftr we have backing…then a blitz.
    ALL of congress gets a package..siting that this is the problem, but look! Here is the solution. PLus I thnk thay using the current atmosphere of pushing adoption as the answer to abortion can be used in our favor. Kind of like “hey, don;t push it yet..it’s broken..fix it like this..and THEN you can do it..or else you are doing americans a disservice”
    I think the blitz on congress needs to be timed with a blitz to the media…and honestly..a group of strangers coming together online to rewrite america’s future….that’s a human interest story right there. If we get the media onto it..then the government might have to take notice. It might be good if we can find some friends in high places..

    Ok..but first..got to knock it out somehow…GAME ON!

  26. HR1057/S1931: Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act.

    S2128:The Natural Born Citizen Act.
    Clarifies that the term “natural born Citizen,

    S1934/HR3896: The Intercountry Adoption Reform Act of 2003
    HR 1229: Adoption Information Act.
    Requires family planning projects and programs to provide clients with unplanned pregnancies pamphlets containing the contact information of adoption centers HATE THIS ONE!!!

    HR 584: Dave Thomas Adoption Act of 2003.
    Allows penalty-free withdrawals from IRAs for adoption

    HR 7: Charitable Giving Act of 2003.
    Includes a provision that provides funding for maternity group homes to provide pregnant women with information regarding the option of placing children for adoption through licensed adoption service providers; assistance with prenatal care and child birthing; and pre- and post-placement adoption counseling UGG..

    Anyway..yes.it is NOT the standard method of doing so, BUT the one of the biggest problems with adoption is the state to state issue.
    They do get involved..even if they don’t like to.
    Again, worth a try!

  27. One of our States here in Australia has recently brought in rights for under 18’s.It has my enthusiastic support.

  28. Great post and ideas, Claude. These similar thoughts have been swirling in my head for YEARS. Just don’t know what to do with them, ya’ know?

    And to those aparents who believe everything their child’s first mom is saying in regards to having no regrets, being “at peace” with everything…about, uh, 10 years ago, my daughter’s amom would have told you the same thing…”Oh we’re like one big happy family! It’s a win/win/win for ALL of us! How does her birthmom feel about it you ask? Well, she says it hurts sometimes, but overall, she is at peace and enjoys the visits as much as we all do!” Nothing, NOTHING could have been further from the truth. I’d let little things slip sometimes, but I covered up SO MUCH…I couldn’t let her know how much it hurt all of us (her/my daughter included). We could have been shut out, and that wasn’t worth the risk. That would have been sure death for me as well as her birth-father(husband now), and lots of pain and confusion for her full-blooded, younger siblings. I guarded my secret very closely, until a breaking point came at my (birth) daughter’s graduation week-end. Amom wanted to take our story “public” (meaning writing to Oprah or whomever) and let everyone know how well the open adoption worked out, how we were all doing “just fine” with everything, and it’s such a positive option, etc. I didn’t say anything at the time, but went home and back to my psychologist. Together, we wrote a very non-attacking, thoughtful letter to the aparents, letting them know “my truth” about the adoption, repeatedly thanking them for allowing us into their lives, etc. It changed our relationship for the worst, as they felt I was living a lie, which I was, and basically that I was a fake. That was 10 years ago, and we have had little to no contact since. THAT creates a difficulty in our daughter’s relationship with us too. So, I’m not saying ALL birthmother’s cover their true feelings, but many do. The thought of adding more loss to the situation prevents many of us from being honest. And apparently, there are some aparents who don’t want to hear it…

  29. And as far as making open adoptions legally enforceable, I’m not sure as to what the answer is, but there has to be some sort of repercussions for aparents who renege on their end of the deal. It’s just not right to make promises beforehand, then take the baby and run, or come up with some flimsy excuse on why it’s not working out. I have seen this happen way too many times, and it’s just heart-breaking and disgusting.

    Still pondering the answer to this one

  30. Catherine Lynch | January 31, 2013 at 3:47 pm |

    These suggestions are great for the short-term. However, the only way to improve adoption in the long term is to think of it like slavery – as something that must be phased out becuase it is a cruel practice. There are thousands of children in foster care who need permanent homes – there is no need to sustain a market in new-born babies and traumatise them by removal from their mothers at birth. Abandonment of babies should be illegal as it once was under the common law until adoption legislation made it legal. If people cant have children they should help the ones already in foster care who so need love and a permanent home and not participate in the cruelty of infant removals. America and Sweden must slowly catch up with the rest of the world who are already beginning to understand this. Adoption in Australia has dropped from 10,000 in one year to 400. You guys can achieve this too!!!! Think big, yes, but think BIGGER!

  31. The only one I’m leery of is number 3. Because I’m a birthmother from what is techinically a kinship adoption situation. The birthfather’s sister and her husband adopted my daughter 3 days post-birth. Let me tell you that there were huge amounts of pressure placed on me to place… which I now realize was HIS family trying to get HIM out of what HE thought was a bad situation. When I got unhappy (both because of the placement and because I was in a bad relationship) the doors slammed shut on me… Now I have to keep in touch with my ex (who has made my life hell multiple times in multiple ways) just to get a trickle of pictures and updates. Meanwhile he gets to see her every few months… her birthday, holidays, family vacations.

    My point is that there are 2 families (at least) coming together in this, and they are each more likely to be looking out for their own…

    • Understandable lerry-ness! However, this is more of an “adoptee centered” need. To be able to prevent them form losing ALL connections to their genetic line, to know who they look like etc. In a perfect world, you would NOT have had pressure to place and his family would not be so quick to think it was a “bad” situation, you wouldn’t have had only 3 days, etc.

  32. I have some suggestions:

    “1. Restore Adoptees OBC Access”

    Unconditionally, absolutely! But also ensure that natural parents also have equal access to the child’s amended birth record (with names of adoptive parents redacted). The release of personal information should be two-ways. If the identifying information belonging to the adopted person’s natural parents are released to them, then the natural parents deserve the same right to the release of the identifying information (adoptive name) of their lost child. Australian states and Canadian open records provinces provide a model for this.

    “3. Family Kinship Care First”

    Agreed. But family kinship care is not the same as adoption. Adoption of a child by relatives, which formally creates a fictive kinship relationship (e.g., making mother and child into sibling and sibling) can exclude a mother from her child’s life (and vice versa) just as much as “regular adoption.” Kinship care is not about “making adoption about the child.” It still takes all rights away from parent and child. It still removes and transfers filiation. It can still involve serious coercion.

    “6 … No relinquishment papers signed until a week (minimum) after birth.”

    How about 6 weeks post-birth as is done in the U.K.? Why not allow a mother time to recover post-birth before this decision? And then, a cancellation period of at least 30 days after that, extendable at any time. One thing that is important for any mother though is that once her baby is in the home of APs, 99% of the time there is NO way she can emotionally bring herself to ask for her baby back — guilt will keep her from doing this. This form of emotional coercion must also end. A “neutral 3rd party” of cradle-care can be provided, as in Australia, so the mother can make her “decision” without influence from prospected adopters or anyone who wants her baby.

    After she has decided on adoption (with lots of counselling) and the cancellation period ended, she should then be interviewing prospective adopters. This way, there is NO way they can influence her decision.

    “9. Enforceable Open Adoption Agreements”

    Good point, but it’s not going to happen as long as filiation is completely transferred over to the adoptive parents such that the child is now solely related to them. The natural parents are no more related to the child than some random stranger off the street. What is needed is a form of adoption whereby the filation of the natural parents is NOT terminated, but instead perhaps additional filiation to the adoptive parents added. Such as in the “adoption simple” model of France — one of 2 forms of French adoption. In pushing for adoption reform, we must consider that modern Western child adoption based on the “Massachusetts 1851 model” transfers 3 important legal parts: intestate inheritance rights, parental rights, and filiation. The third part, alien to many many other nations, is in desperate need of change. If a mother is still related to her child, then open adoption agreements can be enforced.

    • Great comment and even better suggestions.

      This really gets my goat and is so bizarre, (not you stating this, but the way a mother is banished from her own flesh and blood as if she is not related to him/ her:

      “If a mother is still related to her child, then open adoption agreements can be enforced.”

      I am more “related” to my own flesh and blood than his adopters will ever be. Man made laws don’t trump natures law, no matter how hard anyone tries.

  33. I have to respectfully disagree and state yet again that there is no “fixing” adoption. We would never think of saying something like “how to fix slavery” or “how to fix racism”. Adoption is fundamentally tied to economic and political incentives to maintain social inequality; “fixing” it merely slows down a destructive process. When we finally decide to state out loud that we need to abolish adoption, then we’ll be making some headway.

    • I hear what you are saying; but I contend that if we go about removing the known issues, then the result will be that the practice will follow a logical consequence and abolish itself. I don’t believe it CAN be practiced on a legitimate level, so the end result is the same. However, there is too much open resistance to removing the whole institution so focusing on “fixing” the problems is going to start that process. It’s a long term plan. 🙂

    • I don’t think that will happen until you can convince people that having children is bad. Since every part of society, no matter what the politics d’jour is running in your particular shithole country is,, that won’t happen.

  34. Anony looking in | April 7, 2013 at 3:34 am |

    I like the idea of taking profit out of the mix, kids aren’t sugar and shouldn’t be sold to the highest bidder, but the rest as a potential adoptive parent is kinda a turn off. I absolutely do not want an open adoption. I am sorry you made a decision that maybe didn’t work out for you, but what you are suggesting for the adoptive parents is not workable. I don’t want a three year old from china. I want a newborn so I can live the experience as if it were my own. I don’t want some birth mother in my family life, she gave up the child. I am not paying for everything for her to get to raise it. I want an amended birth certificate for my family and our mental health, including the child’s feeling of belonging. If it is my kid then you are not needed on the birth certificate. the angency will speak on your behalf and give MY child the information needed and let them decide to contact you after they are out of my house. I don’t want a communal family. If I did I would have two lovers, that’d be more interesting. Adoptive parents get treated like shit when the kid runs off to find mommy anyways. That is the one thing I can’t sell myself on on adoption being the answer in general, the utter heart break that will result from that rejection. You won’t sell adoptive parents on this, ever. Okay, maybe if they have the intellect of Bush Jr. Then maybe.

  35. I agree with a lot of these. As a someone who is considering adoption here are my thoughts (please take it with a grain of salt):

    1) The OBC absolutely needs to be restored to the adoptee. That OBC MUST have both the mother and the father on it. None of this the mother doesn’t want the father’s name on it. Check your ego at the door and let your child know who their biological father is. Once the adoption is finalized an accompanying document that establishes the adoptive parents are the legal parents is provided to the adoptive parents. This would provide the child with their biology and biography.

    2) Required educational courses must be completed by any expectant parent and prospective parent considering adoption. Obviously they will be different courses. Expectant parents learn of their options and how both of them are life altering forever. Adoptive parents learn what they are getting into and the challenges they will face.

    3) Counseling services must be available for birth/first parents after placement. The adoption tax credit’s removal would be reallocated to pay for these services as long as their income is below a certain level.

    4) Adoption agencies are more tightly regulated especially when it comes to profits. Make them non profit agencies whose fees go towards services rather than executives.

    5) Open Adoption agreements are legally enforceable (on both sides) unless the child is endanger. Even if a birth/first doesn’t want to attend a visitation because they are grieving the visitation needs to commence for the child’s sake (sorry we have to be fair here). The required counseling will be designed to help (not eliminate their grieving). In cases of agreed upon visitation if either party feels uncomfortable a third party is brought in to facilitate the visitation to make sure it takes place. Violation of the agreement gets the courts involved and CPS to investigate the adoptive parents to facilitate execution of the agreement.

    Overall the goal should be to help raise a confident next generation of adoptees while at the same time respect the feelings of birth/first families and adoptive parents. The only way we can improve things is by educating everyone and all parties working together rather than using scare tactics that come out of fear. Using scare tactics to convince expectant parents to not place and prospective adoptive parents to not adopt will not change anything. For every prospective adoptive parents with good intentions scared out of adopting there will be thousands more out there with insecurities that will end up adopting. Keep that in mind.

  36. Stephanie | May 17, 2013 at 10:09 pm |

    Greg~

    You are downright creepy and please go away. No one is using “scare” tactics by speaking their truths. How dare you. I swear I am so sick to death of you and those like you I can’t see straight. GO THE HELL AWAY and get a life while your at it. It is no one’s duty to provide your and your wife with an infant. What part of that do you NOT understand!!!!!!???????

    • Stephanie,

      When have I ever said on this board that someone owes my wife and I an infant? The answer I haven’t. I’m not even sure my wife and I will pursue adoption. And I am even less sure that if we do pursue adoption that we will be privileged enough that we will be choosen to adopt a child. So, IMO you are unfairly attacking me. Yes, I understand how I can come across as creepy. But my intention is not to creep you out. It’s to gain your perspective. I thank you for that.

      Yes, scare tactics are being used. There is a difference between education of the hurt adoption causes adoptees and birth/first parents and attempting to scare off well intentioned adoptive parents from adopting. I would think the goal would be to educate prospective adoptive parents and expectant parents to best prepare themselves for the challenges that come with adoption.

  37. In the main I agree with you, but I’d like to point out a couple things.

    (1) Open adoption agreements must be very specifically written. Think of pre-nups. An agreement can’t simply say, for instance, that there will be contact. The contract has to say how many contacts per year and what kind. How many visits, of what duration, how many letters, etc.

    (2) An open adoption agreement is a civil contract with no criminal penalties if broken. A dispute would need to b settled by arbitration and/or court order. Failure to maintain the agreement would not mean that the adoption is voided.

    (3) Some birthres walk away from open adoptions; it is not all on the adopter side.

    (4) Finally , passage of the UN Treaty on the Rights of the Child will not force OBC access. Plenty of signatories do not have records access. I doubt if the US will ever sign, so it’s a moot issue. I know it’s difficult to liberals to grasp, but the UN is much hated in the US and any UN treaty has a very long and rough road to haul. It’s a miracle the Hague was even passed. We were involved in the negotiations of the Hague and the Republicans made it quite clear than no treaty of any sort would pass under Clinton. Jesse Helms finally said enough is enough and demanded the BS stop, and it did. And then it took years for the outsourced language (promoted by Big Adoption, cutting out the mom & pops, bastards, birthers and adopters) to be accepted.

  38. Openess in adoption is a good thing, but if a mother is that interested in her child she should get the option to at least retain the filial relationship, a guardian fostership instead of adoption, if you ask me. In the big research after Dutch birthmoms, a relinguisher whose child had escaped being adopted turned out to be rather glad with that.

  39. Claudia,
    I’m an AP and agree with every single thing you have said. I also know a lot of adoptive parents that feel the same way. I actually do think that change could be made; however we have to work together. Here is one of the big issues; someone like me, who would like to see reform, starts doing some research. Usually that leads me to a place where I’m called a baby stealer. This is discouraging and frankly I’m not about to align myself with anyone that calls me a adoptoraptor. If we want change, we HAVE to work together; AP’s are NOT the enemy.

  40. While I agree with most of what you’re saying, I think your perspective comes too much from that of a birthparent. As an adoptee in a closed adoption, I think it would have been extremely confusing and hurtful for my adoptive family (who I consider my real family) if we’d had an open adoption. And while I’m hopeful that OBC access at 18 across the will be a reality in my lifetime, again, I’m okay with having my parents’ names on my birth certificate. What really irks me about this article is the kinship emphasis. Though they adopted me in infancy through an agency, my parents were also foster parents when I was a teenager. There were multiple times we took in sets of siblings for a few months and had them return to their families, only to find through the grapevine (once on the evening news) that their families had continued to abuse or neglect them and that they were back in the foster care system. It’s not always in the best interest of the child to be with blood relatives.

    • Of course I am going to respect your feelings coming from a closed adoption, but the fact is that over 90% of adoption currently transacted today have some form of openness. On top of that the adoption industry DOES promote open adoption as a means to get mothers to relinquish, They have does studies and market research to determine that it works. By making pen adoption agreements legally viable only ensures that promises are kept and open adoptions are not used as a means of coercion.
      On top of that, the great majority of child welfare advocates do agree that open adoption is better for adoptees, though I do always say that I still see it as a social experiment. We will not know the final outcome until the adoptees who have lived and and can process the outcome can tell us. They are starting. Personally, I don’t feel that it will be confusing for the adoptee, but is not a band-aide and is still painful just in new areas. As far being hurtful and confusing to adoptive parents? I truthfully do not care. THEIR concern should be about what is best for their child; having the adoptee grow up with knowing key parts of their identity and their story and having certain benefits that only the biological family members can give them should be more important than their own feelings. If they can’t handle that, then I do not feel that they have any right to adopt.
      Finally, there is a huge difference between domestic voluntary infant adoption, which is what this post is about, and foster care situations. Infant adoption is NOT about saving a child form harm, but a perceived harm that is often based more on fears and doubts and profits, rather than facts. For child in harms way from their families HAVE the safe guards in place via CPS. SO while I understand that seeing the revolving door foster care was upsetting especially after personally knowing children whom were filed by it; again, this piece is about domestic infant adoption so apples and oranges. I suggest reading this post: http://www.adoptionbirthmothers.com/does-voluntary-adoption-relinquishment-save-children-from-abuse-2/

    • Question Amanda, I get that adoptive parents might be upset by an open adoption but can you clarify what you mean by confused by it? Are you implying that they would feel it was a co parenting type of situation rather than a straight parenting situation or something else?

      I’m not trying to dismiss you just trying to understand what you mean.

  41. 1. Restore Adoptees OBC Access
    Agreed.
    2. Come Up with Something Better than the ABC: a Legal Lie
    Disagree. The amended BC itself doesn’t cause any problem, it actually alleviates problems by simplifying legalities of parentage/custody. It’s really no-one’s business if I was adopted by my parents, or if my parents adopted a child. In the legal arena where a BC is required, I would want equal treatment and the ABC allows that. Having some funked up OBC with 4 parent’s names on it would be confusing and unfair as I needn’t wear my birth status on my sleeve like some outcast. Lastly, and as I understand it, the OBC does stand as the document of birth in certain circles, it’s just not used by the adoptee for any legal purpose post adoption. But again, being it is MY legal document, I as the adoptee should be allowed ready access to it at ANY time.
    5. No Pre-birth Consents
    Disagree. I understand your point, but how is this supposed to work exactly. How do the a-parents prepare/plan for the arrival. Where/who handles care of the infant in the interim? Is this fair to any involved? I understand b-mom is under stress when making the initial decision to relinquish, but I don’t see how the situation that brought her to that place is improved post birth. If some of your other provisions are met, like non-profit adoptions, agency oversight, and pre-adoption counseling, then I see no cause to suggest dropping consent agreements. It’s nothing more than a statement of intent, a clarity of what will transpire. If all is handled fairly to this point, why remove it?
    6. No Signing Relinquishment Consents in the Hospital
    I’m unsure here. Yes to allowing some time, but does it make sense to engage in direct contact? Wouldn’t that make parting more difficult? Can you explain your motivations behind this clause?
    7. Six Week Revoke Period Across the Board
    Disagree. I think this would make separation of mother/baby even more difficult and seems to offer only two real life benefits, physical gains to baby from breast milk and the mental benefits of mother/child bonding. I’d agree on the surface that the former has long term benefits unrelated to adoption path, but I feel the later would significantly hinder that process and cause more damage (for mother and child) than had relinquishment taken place closer to birth. This is my personal opinion mind you, and I’ve no studies to cite, but I just don’t see where the real benefit lies. Now from what I’ve read the near abolishment of adoption practice seems to be your directive, so to that point I understand why you want this provision. But if after those 6 weeks the adoption should proceed, I’d believe separating child from mother would cause additional harm then would separation prior to this bonding. I lean toward points in #5, as things such as pre-adoption counseling and the like should eliminate the question of “Am I doing the right thing?”, leaving no reason for a 6 week revocation period. Facts revealed, situation evaluated, decision made. I feel adding 6 weeks with baby would only cloud initial logic, especially given mothers natural bonding instinct.
    8. No More Closed Adoptions
    I’ll support this with a few contingencies. First, that the a-parents have full freedom to parent in the matter they choose. Second, that there be no forced interaction akin to shared custody in divorce situations.
    9. Enforceable Open Adoption Agreements
    Like the idea, and love your solution of using a data base and triad moderators. If this could be made to work it should become the norm, with above closed adoptions being left obsolete. As always, the problem is funding. For years I’ve brainstormed the perfect reunion registry, and funding always gets in the way.
    10. Oversight of Agencies and Other Professionals
    Agree with this, and the rest of your list.

    • You disagree with the six week revoke period saying, ‘you think this would make separation of mother/baby even more difficult’. then say, ‘and seems to offer only two real life benefits, physical gains to baby from breast milk and the mental benefits of mother/child bonding’. So what are you really saying? To heck with the physical and mental benefits to the baby and the mother, give me the baby! Lets make sure that momma don’t even touch her baby. That’s what they did to me you mindless, heartless shrew it doesn’t make it easier to be ripped apart at the moment of birth. What is WRONG with you? Says a lot about you and none of it’s good. Number one, if YOU have never been separated from your newborn infant, shut your mouth, you have NO right to even offer an opinion. I could go on and on with how this is just sickeningly wrong but you obviously being on the other side of things cannot and probably will not see it. Maybe I should ask you, have yoouu lost a child? Does it hurt? Does it hurt less because they were never born? Does it hurt less because they were NEVER conceived? NO it doesn’t, does it? YOU unfeeling b. HEARTLESS as long as the babies are flowing your direction or those you want to have them, instead of away from you or them. To have the nerve to say that, “yeah let’s take dem’ dar babies from de momma’s right out the hole so they’uns don’ get ‘tatched to ’em”. Oh yeah, and to quote you again(capitalized), “ESPECIALLY GIVEN MOTHERS NATURAL BONDING INSTINCT”. You are clueless as well. Get a clue.

      Yeah, I can deal with being called a heartless bitch right back.. cause lady (or fella) in this instance, you doggone right. I have absolutely NO sympathy for someone who thinks like you do, ON. This. Matter.

  42. As an AP I agree with OBC but I’m really not sure about open adoptions. I understand that you feel women voluntarily placing infants is different from children in foster care. Having spoken with my child’s Bmom I know she preplanned to place my daughter because she was in an abusive relationship. I hear you saying maybe she should have waited until my daughter was abused and placed in foster care before adoption became an option. I do not believe that anyone places a child for adoption if there is a good alternative. When you speak of he depression and attachment disorders of booms and children there is nothing to say that these disorders would not have been present if the child had stayed with the Bparent.
    There is massive regret all the way around the situation but Aparents have made a lifetime of protecting these children and because they turn 18 it will not change. Yes our families are different because we adopted but please stop making us out to be the enemies.
    My daughter is almost 18 and has lots of anxiety about meeting her Bfamily. I will support her decision no matter what. Her Bmom feels guilty about placing her but to this day feels she had no other choice. I have reached out to my sons Bmom but she has cut me off because it’s too painful. Our adoption agree is that I provide them win pictures twice a year. I told them I welcome them sending letters and pictures.

    • Mack,

      I certainly do NOT make adoptive parents out to be the enemies. I take it you have not read a lot here, because if you have you will see that many times I not only speak of how many adoptive parents are considered great friends and allies, but also that I strongly feel that adoption industry takes advantage and exploits adoptive parents as well. The way I see it, we are in this together and if there is an “enemy” it is the industry that lies to both sides.
      Since you speak of your situation, then I will say.. not Of course I would not want to see any child abused and removed due to that abuse. That’s insulting and crazy to say that I want kids to be hurt. But if the mother was in an abusive situation and had to place the baby to be safe form the abusive situation, then what adoption HAS done is ONLY helped the child. The mother is STILL left in the crisis and unsafe. How is that humane? A better situation would be where there were real options for the mother and child to both be removed form the dangerous situation. And again, not saying that is YOUR fault or YOUR responsibility, but it is a hard truth that this terrible misfortune and a woman in danger was the opportunity used by an agency to create a child who required an a home. The sad part is that the mother HAD no other choice and form your own words carries that guilt. Ha they been given other assistance and help.. what is there to say that they would not have thrived?

  43. jan Stewart | May 5, 2014 at 7:09 am |

    I seriously hate and I mean HATE hearing mothers who are punished yet again for being caught in the domestic violence cycle…..why does society feel it necessary to strip her of her children? and leave her there……to be violated over and over again……because a traumatised person cannot deal with more trauma….and we as society should have more empathy rather than seeing it as an opportunity to ” grow a family ” …..

  44. I’m another agree on #1 and disagree on #2.

    Part of the reason why there is even the concept of an ABC (besides the now-largely-obsolete concerns relating to adoption) is due to the “dual-use” that the birth certificate has evolved into (i.e. record of birth along with being one’s basic identity document). If the only purpose of a BC was to stand as a record of birth, and not to be used for identity purposes throughout life (and another document be issued for that), then I agree that it shouldn’t be amended (except errors of course). However, given what all we need a birth certificate in life for, I do support amending it in cases where there may be privacy and/or discrimination issues otherwise (besides adoptions there are also transgender people who given how their community is treated often prefer not to “out” themselves unless absolutely necessary, and even certain other legal name changes qualify for ABCs). Basically the way to see this is that an OBC is like the “birth record document” I described, and the ABC is like the “legal identity document” I mentioned.

    With regards to the passport issue, that would be resolved if the ABC continued to mention the date the birth record was originally filed (along with the date the amendment was made, instead of treating the ABC filing date as the date the record altogether was filed which makes it appear that the document is a “delayed” registration and triggering the DOS’s additional requirements). From the transgender people I’ve dealt with it appears that’s how amendments in those cases are typically handled (meaning they don’t usually have the same problems many adoptees do when applying for a passport).

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