Tuesday, June 27, 2006


As promised, this posting is about adoption reform. I have read many articles, blogs, and books. One research article that I found at the University of Texas web site was done by Dr. Ruth McRoy of the School of Social Work and Dr. Harold Grotevant of the University of Minnesota. Dr. McRoy studied the birthmothers and Dr. Grotevant studied adopted children and adoptive parents. According to the article "New Adoption study shows direct contact between adoptive families and birthmothers results in greater birthmother satisfaction" showed that birthmothers in direct contact with adoptive families have greater satisfaction with openness, lower levels of grief about the placement and more satisfaction with their role in the relationship of their childrern. This part of the study was completed in 2002. Dr. McRoy focuses on research that helps children especially those in foster care.

I have heard stories of birthmothers that had open adoptions had them closed for whatever reasons. One thing that is a common thought is that open communication between the adoptive families and the birthparents should be enforced by a contract. There is only one state that honors that type of contract.

Most of what I have read and heard is that homestudies, criminal background checks, and other such checks need to be more stringent and accurate. Too many children adopted have been lived through abuse of all kinds. A case in point is the Masha story where the child was adopted by a pedophile. He photographed her in various sexual positions and posted them on the internet. I have also read many stories where the child is physically abused and then died as a result of their injuires.

I read another article recently. I find it interesting. It is called the "Current Adoption Policy and Practice - a comparison between North America and Australia." Adoption Agencies and private adoptions are illegal in all states of Australia. In the United States, adoption has become a commercialized business. In other words, there is a financial intiative for agencies to perform adoption. It is very distasteful to have money and children to change hands in one transaction. Yet this happens almost daily in the United States. Again I mention an experience that a birthmother friend of mine had inside of a medical appointment. Some woman asked why there was not any more white babies to be adopted here in the United States. This woman also mentioned that the women who kept their babies were selfish for doing so. If this woman had realized who she was talking to, I hope that she would have realized that she had hoof in mouth disease. This type of "entitlement" is very prevalent in the United States. Adoption in the United States is no longer based on the needs of the child but on the neediness of the adults. Adoptions have greatly decreased in Australia.

I know of two countries that encourage expectant mothers to raise their own children. Germany allows mothers to stay at home with their children for two years after giving birth to their babies. They pay them 800 marks a month to do so. They also have socialized medicine. They may pay hire taxes but everyone has health care. This keeps health care costs down. I read an article from Ethica - A Voice for Ethical Adoption. They mention that there is eight countries that have opened the original birth certificates to adoptees: Norway, Poland, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Brazil. Australia also has open records.

I read many other things is this article that have been vocalized amongst the birthparents that I have spoken to. Expectant fathers are given adequate time to respond, file paperwork for them to keep the child, and establish paternity. If there is not an agreement with the expectant parents, then it is decided by a family court judge. Consent to adoption to adoption doesn't occur until 14 days after the birth. Potential adopters are not allowed to pick the child that they are to adopt. They are not allowed in the hospital room while the expectant mother is giving birth. There is never any meetings until after the day 25 and the government selects the parents for the child. Not the other way around. The system that we have in place here in the United States is potentially exploitative and disempowering to the expectant mothers. Only after the twenty fifth day are the adopters and the mother allowed to meet and that is if only the mother approves it. The birth certificate states the original parents names on it but can be amended to add the adopters names to it along side of the first parents names. Everyone in the triad in Australia has access to the birth certificate. Australia does everything it can to promote the natural bond between mother and child. Poverty and abuse in families is not solved by removing children and arranging them to be adopted. Its a shame that the United States views poverty as a crime and therefore children must be taken away from the parents as a result. There are several states that are abusing this very thing. I believe that Tennessee is having its state leggies look into these such abuses. We need reform in adoption here in the United States.

Most would agree that opening our birth certificates to us is one step. Removing the money and commercialism from adoption is another. The government needs to step in and closed down adoption agencies. Intense counseling for all parties involved in the triad is needed. It also needs to be done by those who are outside the traid. Independent of adoption. There needs to be extensive and intensive background checks, criminal, and psychological checks. Homestudies need to be done before and after. I have heard people say that adoption of children here in the United States is too hard. Well it should be. Everything should be checked out. Our birthparents thought they were giving us up to a better life. For too many it was not the case. Too many times it is a crapshoot as one friend of mine said. They didn't want their pain and grief to be in vain.


Daughter of 2 women said...

Did you know that an adoption was overturned by a judge (post termination and during the appeal period) because the adoptive family was not honoring the contact agreement that they had made with the birthparents? Of course, if the birthparents had appealed this after the appeal period was over then they would have been SOL. Why can't there be a legally binding contact agreement? There should be!

Are you saying that in Australia that the birthparents have no say in the family who is chosen to raise the child? That does not seem right to me.

Amyadoptee said...

Australian government picks the adoptive family. I think the reasoning behind all of it is so the adoptive family doesn't influence the birthparents whatsoever. They don't have that many adoptions in Australia. The emphasis is put on family preservation.

speakingformyself said...

Daughter of two women - Great point. Yes, the contract needs to be legally binding. It's not now because, quite often, it is used as merely a coercive tool ... thus the NCFA (big lobbying organization) lobbies against legalization.

Second, I worked for an large adoption agency. Sadly, many of the social workers approached the homestudies on a template basis, literally transferring personality data from one to another in a generic fashion. It was shameful.

Amy - I think it's great what you are doing here! Wow. Lots of research.

Amyadoptee said...

I don't think it should be a template basis. I think each situation should be judge on an individual basis. I hope things are going better for you (speakingformyself).

Attila the Mom said...

"Some woman asked why there was not any more white babies to be adopted here in the United States. This woman also mentioned that the women who kept their babies were selfish for doing so."

Gak. I hate reading stories like this. Unfortunately, it's not that uncommon. Goes right along with your previous post of entitlement.