Sunday, August 5, 2007

Telling it Like It Is

Telling It Like It Is

Book review by Jane Edwards, Regional Director, Concerned United Birthparents
"The Stork Market" is a must read for those considering adoption or surrendering a child for adoption; and for public policy makers.

Adoption is usually thought of as a positive event - finding a family for an unwanted child; helping a woman go on with her life without a burden she cannot bear.

In fact, adoption has become a total distortion of the intended purpose of finding homes for orphaned children. It is a multi-billion dollar unregulated business which exploits mothers and commodifies children.

The demand for adoptable children - particularly healthy white infants -- far exceeds the supply. Couples and singles desperate to be parents pay thousands of dollars for the babies that become available. Meanwhile American children who need homes are languishing in foster care.

"The Stork Market" leads us through the seamy side of adoption: Trusting couples desiring a child scammed of thousands of dollars. Women convinced to travel across country to deliver a child in a state "friendly" to adoption. Women required to pay thousands of dollars because they did not turn over the "goods." Men denied their paternal rights by convoluted laws requiring them to sign up on "putative father registries." Poor children in Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America kidnapped and smuggled into the United States.

And its not just prospective adoptive parents and natural parents who suffer. Adoption cuts children off from blood relatives and denies them the right to know their origins. Unscrupulous adoption practioners place children with anyone who can pay their fees. Sadistic adopters abuse - even murder - children entrusted to them.

Riben not only exposes the problems but offers common-sense solutions. Mothers should be made aware of their options. They should have sufficient time to consider and re-consider their decision. Fathers should have actual notice of the birth of their child and the pending adoption so that they can assert their rights. International adoption should be curtailed and resources made available to poor women to allow them to raise their children. Adoption agencies should be licensed and regulated. Private adoptions conducted by "facilitators," attorneys, doctors, and others should be outlawed.

Finally Riben recommends that adoption - cutting off all legal ties between the child and his original family -- be replaced with guardianship-like arrangement. Adoptive parents would have custody but the child would retain a relationship with the original family.

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