Thursday, January 24, 2008

CURRENT LEGISLATION AND CASES

Today New Jersey discussed their adoptee access bill. It was wild listening to the testimony. As always, natural mothers were the main of the argument. Catholic Charities, ACLU, and the New Jersey Right to Life all argued against opening the access for ADULT adoptees. This is not opening it to the public. This is just opening it to adoptees, their decedents, and their adoptive families. Now I do believe that they should open it for natural parents. Debra Ellis who worked for the ACLU actually stood up against that organization. She gave testimony on a research paper written by Elizabeth Samuels. According to Ms. Samuels, the records were sealed to protect the adoptive parents. She did an awesome job presenting this research. Adam Pertman testified also. He was awesome. He kept it to the records being a civil rights issue. He mentions his adopted children. He mentions that for his own kids, adoption is not a level playing for his kids along with everyone else's adopted child. He stated that there was no document proving confidentiality. I believe one legislator actually stated that adoption is supposed to be about the child's best interest. If the child now adult wants their records, then its in their best interest to have it. Cool. I couldn't have said it better. One legislator then said that there is an expectation of confidentiality. What I was screaming at them during this testimony, the right to privacy is about the right to be free from GOVERNMENTAL INTERFERENCE. What boggles my mind is that these folks don't understand is that 95% of mothers and fathers WANT CONTACT. In states that have never closed their records to adoptees, Kansas and Alaska, have increased adoptions and decreased abortions. If there is a problem with someone taking it too far, then the mothers and adoptees can take it to the next level with law enforcement. The bill was released from committee and will be sent to the legislature to be voted on. Hallejah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ohio is the next state that is presenting a bill. I can't understand if the added stuff is added or if this bill was added to this. What I have read has lead me to side with both sides on this issue. The bill in question is HB 7. I am all for adoptees having access to their records; however, the Ohio legislature has taken it up to emphasize even further. The bones of contention amongst the natural mothers are these:

· Adds the birth mother's living expenses (up to $3,000) incurred during pregnancy and up to two months after the child is born to the payments that may be made in connection with a child's permanent surrender, placement, or adoption.

· Requires the Director of Job and Family Services to adopt rules aligning the adoption and foster care home study content, time periods, and processes.

· Eliminates the requirement that a juvenile court consent to an adoption before a probate court can grant certain adoption petitions involving legal guardians or custodians.

· Specifies that the court must meet the clear and convincing evidence standard when determining whether a parent's consent is needed for his or her child to be adopted in certain cases.

· Provides, generally, that an interlocutory order of adoption is to become final not less than six months and not more than one year from the date of the adoptee's placement in the adoptive home rather than the date of the order's issuance.

· Requires a juvenile court to consider an adoptive parent's ability to meet the needs of all other children residing in the adoptive home when deciding whether to issue a support order when the adoptive parent enters into an agreement with a PCSA or PCPA to place his or her adopted child into the temporary custody of the agency.

· Requires certain programs to emphasize adoption as an option for unintended pregnancies.

· Requires the Department of Job and Family Services to establish a Child-Centered Recruitment Task Force and details the function, members, and expiration date of the Task Force.

· Prohibits a juvenile court from extending a temporary custody order beyond two years from the earlier of the date the complaint was filed or the child was placed in shelter care.

It urges that adoption is emphasized as an option in other venues. It is bringing adoption as an option into the schools. Even that I have an issue with that. I don't want my child to have adoption presented to her as an option. Adoption will never be an option in my family ever. I will be the last one lost to adoption. Stephanie Bennett's case is a perfect example of that. I think its this that natural mothers disagree with. Its the reason why they will fight against this bill. It has nothing what so ever to do with adoptees having access to it. In this I do support the mothers' differing point of view on it. They no longer want this to be on their backs. They are tired of being blamed for sealed records. They are tired of women and men losing their children to adoption. They don't want the legislators, adoption agencies, and attorneys speaking for them. What folks don't seem to realize is that the decisions we make now will affect the ten generations that follow us.

One good thing is that it does make open adoptions more legally binding than ever before. It gives ammo for a natural parent to fight back against adoptive parents who back out of an open adoption agreement.

So what is an adoptee to do? I personally want to reform not just adoptee rights but adoption in itself. The way that it is continually practiced in the United States is bringing shame unto the United States itself. I would like all of our rights protected.

1 comment:

stitchwitch-d said...

I think all adoptees should have a right to their records. Knowing that someday the child will have access to the records and will be able to contact the birth family gives an incentive for everyone involved to stay honest, and do what is truly best for the child in the long run.