Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
"Adoption should always be the last resort!"
Kathmandu, 10 March 2007: UNICEF hopes that the International Conference on Inter-Country Adoption being held in Kathmandu 11-13 March 2007 will lead to the ratification of the Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption and the adoption of national laws and mechanisms to regulate in-country and inter-country adoption.
"The Hague Convention is designed to put into action the principles regarding inter-country adoption which are contained the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which Nepal has ratified." said Ms. Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF's Representative in Nepal. "These principles include ensuring that adoption is authorised only by competent authorities, and that inter-country adoption does not result in improper financial gain for those involved in it." According to UNICEF these provisions are meant first and foremost to protect children, and also have the positive effect of providing assurance to prospective adoptive parents that their child has not been the subject of illegal and detrimental practices.
Referring to the increasing trend of families from wealthy countries wanting to adopt children from other countries, Ms. Mellsop said, "Lack of education and oversight, particularly in the countries of origin, coupled with the potential for financial gain, has spurred the unfortunate growth of an industry around adoption. This means that profit, rather than the best interests of the children, takes centre stage. Abuses include the sale and abduction of children, coercion of parents, and bribery, as well as trafficking to individuals whose intentions are to exploit rather than care for children"
"Adoption should always be the last resort for the child. The CRC, which guides UNICEF's work, states very clearly that every child has to the right to know and to be cared for by his or her own parents, whenever possible. UNCIEF believes that families needing support to care for their children should receive it, and that alternative means of caring for a child should only be considered when, despite this assistance, a child’s family is unavailable, unable or unwilling to care for her or him. "
"We therefore call upon the participants of the Inter Country Adoption Conference to seriously consider these issues and advocate for child adoption mechanisms that are transparent and in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and The Hague Convention."
For further information: Rupa Joshi, Communication Officer, Ph.: 5523200 # 1179 Mo. 9851054140 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Adoption was once a process by which the community took responsibility for orphans. Increased access to birth control pills and legal abortion, and a lessening of the stigma of single parenting, coupled with an increase in infertility resulted in a demand for babies that outstrips the “supply.” And where there is demand – be it for diamonds, drugs, sex, or babies – corruption follows.
Adoption is racist. The scarcity of “white American-born babies” has led to an increase in international adoptions, fracturing family ties and heritage in what some are calling cultural genocide. Madonna was criticized. Angelina confounds. Westerners, however, continue to believe that adoption “rescues” orphans; though saving children from poverty, one at a time, does nothing to ameliorate the conditions that continue to produce them. And, many so-called orphans are in fact stolen, kidnapped, or their parents were coerced to relinquish them under false pretenses to be sold on the black and gray adoption markets with prices set by age, alleged health, skin color, gender and nationality.
As Americans import mostly light-skinned babies, non-white children are left behind, and the number of black, American-born babies adopted by overseas families has increased significantly in recent years, with black babies being placed with Canadian couples more than ever before. Adoption trends follow poverty and sociopolitical upheaval from Latin America to Asia and Eastern Europe. Since the 1990s, China and Russia have become the largest exporters of children for international adoption. Unrest and poverty in these nations makes them ripe for corruption and trafficking. In April 2007, the U.S. State Department confirmed that Guatemalan babies are kidnapped for adoption and other mothers pressured to sell their babies by corrupt, inadequately supervised notaries. The previous month, a Utah adoption agency was indicted for “systematically misleading birth parents in Samoa into signing away rights to their children while telling adoptive parents in the United States that the children had been abandoned and were orphans” (“Pacific Islands Report: Utah Agency Indicted In Samoa Adoption Scam,” March 5, 2007 http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2007/March/03-05-01.htm). All of this while UNICEF is investigating child trafficking and babies being sold for adoption in Nepal (Nepal: Unicef On Inter-Country Adoption http://peacejournalism.com/ReadArticle.asp?ArticleID=17655).
As abuses are exposed, countries are restricting out-of-country adoption of their children. According to Ethica, a nonprofit adoption advocacy organization, 13 countries have suspended or ended their adoption programs in the past 15 years and four more countries temporarily stopped adoptions to investigate allegations of corruption or child trafficking. The U.S. passage of the 2005 Trafficking Victim Protection Reauthorization Act verified recognition of international adoption providing an incentive for child trafficking. Yet, ethnocentricity and a national policy of spreading democracy and the American way of life to the world, combined with a desire to parent, continues the romanticized “rescue” myth.
Free enterprise in America is a breeding ground for adoption scams, exploitation and coercion as infant adoptions have become a multi-billion dollar privatized, entrepreneurial industry. The patchwork of laws that vary from state to state create a playground for unscrupulous attorneys—some working in conjunction with facilitators, procurers, or “match-makers” placing ads to lure those in crisis. Unethical adoption attorneys, such as Maxine Buckmeier, Seymour Kurtz and others, are masters at using legal loopholes to their advantage. They set up shop in one state, advertise in another, send expectant mothers to another state and finalize the adoption in yet another. They isolate expectant mothers from their families and create a dependent bond with them by having prospective adopters pay their living and medical expenses and virtually hold them hostage, blackmailing them to relinquish or pay back those expenses.
Randall B. Hicks, an adoption attorney in Riverside, California, and author of Adopting in America, said facilitators are “not licensed nor trained to do anything.” Along with physicians and attorneys—with no training in child welfare or adoption—others such as a Artie Elgart, former car parts salesman and Ellen Roseman, a former flight attendant arrange the transfer of custody of our most vulnerable citizens.
According to Ann Babb author of Ethics in American Adoption there is “no professional association or academics, no certification or licensing procedures, no professional recognition as adoption specialists, and no training or educational qualifications.” Adoption “[p]rofessionals have yet to develop uniform ethical standards… or to make meaningful attempts to monitor their own profession,” says Babb. “In other professions and occupations, licensing or certification in a specialty must be earned before an individual can offer expert services in an area. The certified manicurist may not give facials; the certified hair stylist may not offer manicures ….Yet…individuals with professions as different as social work and law, marriage and family therapy, and medicine may call themselves ‘adoption professionals.’”
Alex Valdez Jr., spokesman for the California Department of Social Services, said, “Essentially, [adoption facilitators] are required to have a business license, publish a list of their services, and [have a] $10,000 bond before they hang a shingle.” These untrained facilitators receive $6,000 to $20,000 often just to introduce prospective adopters to an expectant mother who may or may not decide to surrender her child for adoption. If a match fails, a facilitator can bring the same expectant or new mom to another couple and collect yet again, making adoption risky business for all of the parties involved—the mothers who have their parental rights irrevocably relinquished, those attempting to adopt, as well as the children whose custody is being permanently transferred. Adoption practitioners being paid for results leads to slip-shod home studies that have put many adopted children in serious danger. Since 1996 more than a dozen children adopted from Russia by Americans have been killed by their adopters. Others adopted from Russia and elsewhere have been physically and sexually abused, caged, starved, and criminally neglected. At least two such children were adopted by pedophiles for the specific purpose of rape and child pornography.
Adoption, which was a means of providing care for children who needed it, has become a perverse business of providing children for those who feel entitled to one. Consumerism has led many westerners, particularly Americans, to believe that if they can afford “it” they deserve to have “it”—even when “it” is a human child. Adoption needs to return to basics. We need to halt profiteering from what should be a social service to protect families and children in need. Adoption can only guarantee a different life, not necessarily a “better” one. Adoption moves children from lower to higher socio-economic status, yet even when a child is adopted into a loving, caring family who may provide a more prosperous lifestyle—the end result does not justify the means if the child was kidnapped, stolen or their mothers coerced, deceived or exploited. Adoptions that obliterate a person’s original identity and leave him no legal access to his family are a risk and a violation of human rights as expressed by UNICEF.
All adoptions are not the happily-ever-after fairy tales we’d like them to be. Many are sad and sordid. For this reason we need to stop promoting “adoption” without distinguishing between those that are necessary and in the best interest of children and are handled ethically—from those which are not. The former deserves support; the latter needs to be exposed and ended. We need to stop glamorizing foreign adoption as a rescue mission but recognize that every international adoption leaves behind half a million children in U.S. foster care. Of those, 134,000 children cannot be reclaimed by family members. Adoptions of such children only are worthy of promoting and financial aiding in the form of taxes and other incentives and benefits. Monies paid to non-relative foster parents would be better spent to preserve, maintain and protect the integrity of families in need, including aid to grandparents and other extended family members struggling to keep families intact. Additionally,, the U.S. ought to consider a tax on international adoptions with funds used to support families and children in the U.S. in crisis.
Adoption needs to be far more transparent, open, honest and regulated to ensure it serves the best interest of those it is intended to serve.
Mirah Riben, author of shedding light on…the Dark Side of Adoption (1988) and The Stork Market: America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry (www.AdvocatePublications.com, 2007); former director-at-large, America Adoption Congress.
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Sunday, April 22, 2007
IN THE US, CANADA, AND WORLDWIDE
Adoptees Caucus for Truth
Advocates for Pregnant Women
American Adoption Congress,
American Coalition for Fathers and Children
Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
Bay Area Birthmothers (San Francisco)
Canadian Council of Natural Mothers
Conseil canadien des meres naturelles
Center for Family Connections (Massachusetts)
Child's Best Interest
Concerned United Birth Parents (CUB)
Ethica: A Voice for Ethical Adoption
Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
Dads Against Divorce Discrimination (DADS)
Green Ribbon Campaign for Open Records
Holt International, Massachusetts Families for Kids Massachusetts Home for Little Wanderers
Massachusetts Society for the Prevention to Cruelty to Children
Mouvement Retrouvalles (Quebec)
National Congress for Fathers and Children
Oregon Adoption Rights Association
PACER (post Adoption Center for Education and Research, San Francisco Prevent Child Abuse
2nd Chance for Life,
Spence-Chapin Services to Family and Children
Virginia Department of Health
Virginia League of Social Service Executives
Virginia Poverty Law Center
Virginians for Adoption Reform Virginia Project Cuddle
Association des Meres de l'Ombre
Association pour Ie Droit aux Origines les Enfants Nes soux X (ADONX)
Coordination des Actions pour les Droit la Connaissance des Orgines (CADCO)
Les X-en Colore
Babyklappen, Nein Danke!
Figli Adottvi e Genitori Naturall (FaeGN)
Andas (Derrecho a Saber) Nos alter ego espagnola
Friday, April 20, 2007
This information is being posting here on this blog and also at Parents and Professional for Family Preservation and Protection.
Around The Country and Around The World
Part I: LEGISLATORS and other STATE OFFICIALS WEIGH IN ON SAFE HAVENS:
~Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, U.S. Supreme Court
*We’re targeting irresponsible parents. I just think we need to have some safeguards built in. Lisa McGee, Attorney, Arkansas Human Services Department, Conway Log Cabin Democrat, January 12, 2001.
*The bill is primarily intended to provide an alternative to panicked teenagers. In those distressing cases where teenagers hid a baby in a trash can behind the house, or in the bathroom at the school prom, it seem unlikely that a teenager would be willing to step outside the house or the school bathroom and risk being discovered regardless of the criminal nature of the abandonment. Donna S. Herskhowitz, Counsel to the California Assembly Judicial Committee, San Francisco Weekly, May 3-9, 2000
*It’s a mistake to let fear, and a few incidents, drive a child welfare policy. Rep. Dion L. Aroner, California House, San Francisco Weekly, May 3-9, 2000
*[The legislation] is going to elevate abandonment into a new fundamental right. Rep. Mark Pashall (R), Colorado House, Denver Post, March 29, 2000
*This bill just takes us in the wrong direction. It will create moral confusion. Rep. Don Lee ( R), Colorado House, Denver Post, March 29, 2000
*We are creating circumstances that might require a public service campaign, and I don’t want to spend one nickel or one minute teaching how to abandon a baby. Rep. Gloria Leyba (D), Colorado House, (who supported the Colorado proposal with grave reservations.) Denver Post, March 29, 2000
*I'm real uncomfortable with an ad campaign that says, "here's how to abandoned your baby.” Gayle Berry (R) (sponsor of original bill) Colorado House, Denver Post, July 18, 2001
*There’s going to be fathers out there with rights to children who are not going to be notified about these baby dumpings. Lois Frankel (D), Florida House, Palm Beach Sun-Sentinel, April 25, 2000
*Is this the best we can do to save our children? We are fooling ourselves if we think someone who is desperate to get rid o a baby will have the presence of mind to find a fire station. Lois Frankel (D), Florida House, Palm Beach Post, July 7, 2001
*The baby cries, drop it off at the emergency room. The baby is deformed, drop it off at the emergency room. The baby is the wrong gender, drop it off. The baby’s an inconvenience drop it off. Rep. Tracy Stallings, (D), Georgia House, Atlanta Journal Constitution, March 4, 2000
*Women are very vulnerable when they deliver a child. I am concerned that there will be too many people in the wings to push her to give it up for adoption. They may be taken advantage of. Rep. E. Childers, Georgia House, APB News, March 7, 2001
*Abandoning a baby is irresponsible behavior. I believe this legislation basically encourages irresponsible behavior. Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, ( R), Georgia Senate, Athens Banner-Herald, April 1, 2002
*My first reaction to this bill was mixed, but mostly positive. While questioning the need for such a law, I thought to myself, “but if it saves only one life it will be a good law”....However, additional research and lively discussions with people on both sides of the issue have caused me to reassess my initial thinking. In fact, I now believe that any good that might be accomplished by this bill is likely to be outweighed by the harm that it would cause...I believe that our focus should be on the long-term well-being of the newborn, and that safe haven measures like this one fall short in that critically important respect. Experts around the country are increasingly critical of such laws. Gov. Linda Lingle, Statement explaining her veto of Hawaii’s Safe Haven bill, June 20, 2003
*Really ,what this bill did is, it make it OK for people to abandon their children.Gov. Linda Lingle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 26, 2003
*There are better alternatives. Rep. Corrine Ching (R-Liliha, Pu’unui), Honolulu Advertiser, March 5, 2004
*We’re suggesting that people leave babies at police and fire stations. We’ve got the ultimate disposable society then, haven’t we? Sen. Ed Pugh (R ) Kansas Senate, Topeka Capital-Journal, April 29, 2000
*There may be other children at home that (perpetrator) may be going back to. (referring to the possible abuse of the abandoned baby) Viola Miller, Secretary, Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children, Cincinnati Enquirer, January 18, 2001
*I think you're going to get this bill shoved on the floor. We really haven't allowed this concept to mature quite yet. There are many unanswered questions. Del. Anthony J. O'Donnell ( R), Maryland House, Baltimore Sun, March 10, 2001
*First, we're making it legal to abandon a baby. And there is no provision to notify a father. Children have two parents. Del. Joseph M. Getty ( R), Maryland House, Baltimore Sun, March 10, 2001
*The idea sounds like apple pie. But what about the parent that's not there? There are two parents to every child. Are you going to do this without some form of due notice? Del. Joseph Vallario (D), Chair, Maryland House Judiciary Committee, Baltimore Sun, February 16, 2001
*There are a lot of things that sound good, but there could be negative consequences I would rather see more education programs at college about pregnancy. We all want to keep babies safe. Rep. Kathleen M. Teahan (D), South Boston Patriot-Ledger, July 31, 2002
*The bill ignores the available support services. If we provide the appropriate support services for children we would be one step closer to making sure that children are not abandoned. Rep. Anne Paulsen (D-Belmont), Providence Journal, November 18, 2003
*It as a nice ring to it, but it seems to offer a simple solution to a complex problem. Spokesperson for Sen. Robert Travaglini, incoming Senate President, Massachusetts Senate, The Daily Tribune, October 31, 2002
*It is the commonwealth actively saying the abandonment of children is OK. This makes the commonwealth complicit in the abandonment of children. Rep. Francis Marini (R ), Massachusetts House, South Boston Patriot-Ledger, July 31,2002
*As a Legislature, we are really good at starting new things and not very good at maintaining things that work well. I don’t want to expand child abandonment by giving young women an easy way out. Rep. Anne Paulsen (D-Belmont), State House News Service, January 14, 2004
*There is a part of me that is just offended by the thought that you can just change your mind and give up your baby. Nora Mann, Arlington Assistant District Attorney, Arlington Advocate, April 21, 2005
*A woman who is in denial of her pregnancy is not thinking about prosecution, and she is not going to bring a baby to a fire station or a police station or a hospital....I think it’s feel-good legislation to make the public think we’ve solved a problem that is so much more complicated. Rep. Kathleen Teahan, (D), Boston Globe, February 15, 2004
*.... An ineffective Band-Aid approach [that] will create a system of legal abandonment.... What about the biological father? He may want to take care of and love that child...there is a need for people to know about their background. Rep. David Sullivan (D-Fall River) Fall River Herald News, February 17, 2004
*This bill would have set social welfare policy back 100 years. This is was a “feel-good” bill that did not attack the roots of the problem of unwanted pregnancies...No statistics have been developed that show that the children who were abandoned illegally would have been saved had a bill been in effect. Rep. Anne Paulsen (D-Belmont), Belmont Citizen-Herald, February 18, 2004
*It’s a feel-good bill that I have a lot of concerns about. We have all of those things (newborn and maternal welfare) already in place. Rep. Kay Kahn, (D-Newton), Newton Tab, March 2, 2004
*This will encourage young parents to hide their pregnancy and drop off their newborn at a nearby fire station, hospital and so forth. So in 2004 we are suggesting that we make abandoning newborn babies legal.... When you advertise how easy it is to hide your pregnancy, you encourage girls to hide their condition and discourage people from putting their arms around them and giving them the support they need. Rep. Anne Paulsen (D-Belmont), House floor debate, State House News Service, March 11, 2004
*If we have extra money to spend in this state, instead of spending it on advertising a new safe haven system, I have a better idea—we should spend it on teen pregnancy prevention and on Adoption Crossroads. Both are severely under funded programs. Rep. Ellen Story, (D-Amherst) House Floor Hour floor debate, State House News Service, March 11, 2004
*In essence, this will be an unfunded mandate. It undermines the biological right of fathers to care for their own children. ....State law already protects parents from prosecution for dropping off their children in places if the baby is unharmed. The so-called safe haven bill won’t protect the baby, it will drain the resources already at risk in Massachusetts. Rep. Kaye Kahn (D-Newton), House floor debate, State House News Service, March 11,2004
*A pamphlet, a billboard is not going to change that [baby abandonment). Do we think that someone who would to that is going to a hospital?....We are not taking into consideration issues about the biological father. What if he wants to take care of the child? There would be no recourse now. In the courts and adoption agencies, the process is slowed because they are concerned about due process for the parents, grandparents, and family members. So you can imagine the confusion about this. What doesn’t a child have? No family health record, hereditary history. Rep. David Sullivan, (D-Fall River) House floor debate, State House News Service, March 11, 2004
*We have safe havens now in the form of hospitals and adoption agencies. Women can drop their babies now, without fear of prosecution. ....This bill sends a terrible message to our kids. No shame, no blame, no name is the message we are sending to our kids. Rep David Torrisi, (D-Lawrence) House floor debate, State House News Service, March 11, 2004
*Evidence from states with “safe haven” laws indicates that more children were abandoned unsafely as a result. The so-called “safe haven” bill won’t protect children in Massachusetts and will drain resources form other effective parent and child support service programs. Rep. Kay Kahn (D-Newton) Newton Tab, March 16, 2004
*It’s potentially dangerous anytime you make it easy for parents to abdicate their responsibility. Paul Morrison, Johnson County District Attorney, Kansas City Star, April 3, 2000
*What if the person who is dropping off the child is not the mother? There are a million ”what ifs’ here. Rep. Charles LaVerdiere (D) New Hampshire House, Foster’s Daily Democrat, April13, 2001
*What if a mother drops off a baby at the hospital and the father is away in the military? That baby could be adopted without the father’s knowledge. Rep. David Bickford (R- New Durham), Foster’s Daily Democrat, February 7, 2003
*This is an anti-adoption bill. We have certain steps that you must go through to relinquish rights to your child and this bill eliminates those steps. Rep. Janet Allen (R – Barnstead), Foster’s Daily Democrat, February 7, 2003
*We’re sending the wrong message. Go out there, reproduce like rabbits, just be sure to drop them off with someone within 15 days.” Rep. Ronnie Sutton (D), North Carolina House, Greensboro News-Record, March 28, 2001
*There’s no degree of personal responsibility [for parents]. It says “do what you will, get it to anyone or anything and walk away from it. Rep. Gene Arnold ( R) North Carolina House, Greensboro News-Record, March 28, 2001
*We’re literally throwing the baby out with the bath water. There is no degree of responsibility for the person who had the child. I think this bill needs to be referred somewhere.... probably the trashcan. Rep. Gene Arnold (R ) Ashville Citizen-Times News, March 28, 2001
*[What motive do teens have to avoid premarital sex], "if you know there's very little responsibility and there's an easy resolution to your predicament." Sen. Doug White ( R), Ohio Senate, Cincinnati Enquirer, November 9, 2000
*I think it's a poor public policy. I think it sends the wrong message. I think in some ways it can cheapen the value of human life. Rep. Jim Jordan (R), Ohio House, WCHM Channel 4, Columbus, Ohio, November 2, 2000
*It seems to me we're asking an awful easy way out of allowing parents to relinquish responsibility. Ron Young (R ), Ohio House, WCHM Channel 4, Columbus, Ohio, November 2, 2000
*You can never, never, never make something right by legalizing something that is wrong. Rep. Susan Winchester (R ), Oklahoma House, Shawnee News-Star, February 13, 2001
*I think we’re opening up the floodgates for a whole bunch of throwaways. I don’t believe this is the answer. Rep. Mike O’Neal (R), Oklahoma House, Shawnee News-Star, February 13, 2001
*I think it just allows the mother of the child to totally evade her responsibility for her actions I know it’s better than abortion, but I think it is creating almost a right in child abandonment. We are touching the symptoms instead of the real problem and that’s parental responsibility. I just really think we are going down the wrong road. Rep. Rep. Bill Graves, Oklahoma House, The Daily Oklahoman March 21, 2000
*We’re institutionalizing irresponsibility. Rep. Bill Graves, Oklahoma House, Shawnee News Star, April 21, 1001
*It just concerns me we don't do something with prevention to stop young women from coming to this. Sen. Shirley Kitchen (D), Pennsylvania Senate, Philadelphia Inquirer, November 20, 2000
*I would have to assume there is also a father who might not be a bad guy. His baby is missing, and he has no way of knowing where it is. Sen. Ken Albers, South Dakota Senate, Rapid City Journal, January 24, 2001
*What if the father has a summer job in Alaska? He may very well have known his wife was pregnant and that she gave birth. He may not know she gave it away. Sen. Fred Whiting, South Dakota Senate, Rapid City Journal, January 25, 2001
*These are not women likely to walk into a hospital and turn over their children. Jane Chittick, Director, Tennessee Department of Children's Services, Tennessee, February 27, 2001
*However, there is currently no data available to support the need for legislation to address this issue in Tennessee. The Child Fatality Review Team and the Tennessee Children's Justice Task Force should review the incidents and circumstances of abandoned babies and identify the need for legislation, if any, and the provisions that should be included in that legislation. Linda O'Neal, Executive Director, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, Tennessean, March 13, 2001
*There are basic principles involved. To allow a person to come in and surrender a child without any requirement as to collecting background information of that child, who the other parent is, that is just unconscionable. Rep. Doug Jackson (D), Tennessee House, Tennessean, March 13, 2001.
*I still have a hard time thinking that people, who are so emotionally in a state of upheaval that they were going to put a child in a dumpster, are going to say "oh, no. The Tennessee legislature gave us a safe haven and I'm going to run it down to the hospital." Sen. Larry Trail (D), Tennessee House, Tennessean, March 13, 2001
*There are just so many unanswered questions. The intentions are great; when I first heard about the concept I thought it was great. But the more you look into it, the more questions there....What would happen, for example, if some disgruntled relative or somebody else grabbed a newborn from a mother in Indiana who did not want to give up the baby and turns it in at a fire station in Tennessee and nobody has asked questions about the child's identity there is no way to trace it back to its parents?" Rep. Joe Fowlkes, (D), Chair Select Committee on Children and Youth, Tennessee General Assembly. Memphis Commercial Appeal, March 15, 2001
*[the bill doesn't solve the problem in that it treats infants like property] to be picked up by the Salvation Army. Sen. David Fowler (R) Tennessee Senate, Memphis Commercial Appeal, May 24, 2001
*I understand that in Germany, they've got drop-in chutes [for babies] like those we have for returning videos. Why don't we just go ahead and establish a drop-in chute here? We will make a situation where people can just drop off babies and go back and make more babies. We're going to say "You can have a baby but you don't you don't have to raise it." Rep. John DeBerry (D) Tennessee House, Memphis Commercial Appeal, May 30, 2001
*What is going to stop some guy who doesn’t want to establish paternity, who doesn’t want to pay child support, who doesn’t want to raise a child to 18 years from saying, “Hey we got a law in Tennessee that says all you do, Betty Jean, is take the baby down there and drop him off. You don’t have to tell who the daddy is or the momma is or the baby’s name. Just leave him and go. How does this make any sense? Rep. John DeBerry (D) Tennessee House, Tennessean, May 30, 2001
*I can imagine some out there saying if it [a newborn] is not pretty, just drop it off. If it's not healthy, just drop it off. I have to speak against this bill because what we propose to do with this is to stretch the boundaries of morality where evil is good and good is evil. House Speaker Pro Tem Lois DeBerry (D), Tennessee House, Memphis Commercial Appeal, May 30, 2001
*What we need to focus our energy on in my opinion is not notifying women how to get rid of their babies after they’ve delivered the baby, but getting to those women ahead of time and explaining to them that there are options available when you do deliver so you can have a normal adoption and collect the information we need and property terminate the rights of the biological parents. Sen. David Fowler ( R), Tennessee Senate, stateline.org, June 1, 2001
*We’ve had a number of people mention it (safe haven) in passing. Nobody has ever suggested Vermont has a problem in this regard. Rep. Tom Koch (R-Barre), Barre Times/Montpelier Argus, October 18, 2003
*It flies in the face of parental responsibility. We’re now talking about advertising that it’s OK to abandon your baby as long as it’s in the right place and the right time. Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Reston), Virginia House, Fairfax Journal, January 24, 2002
*We in government should be there to give them options so they just don't come along and say,” this is too much for us, we're going to leave.....I don't care what kind of law you pass, you're still going to have people abandoning babies.” Clyde Ballard (R ), Co-speaker, Washington House of Representatives, Seattle Sunday Times, February 17, 2001
*I understand the importance of saving these babies. I’m also concerned about maybe putting ideas into young women’s head that maybe this is OK. Rep. Ed Orcott (R-Kelso) Washington House, February 13, 2002, KING-TV.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
“It's just another way of disrespecting, de-valuing human life. They're not looking at the real problem, and the problem is that life is not valued. To tell a 16-year old that you can drop your baby off with no accountability, no responsibility, doesn't value, doesn't send a message that that teen is supposed to value human life.” Cathy Brown, Director, Why Life? 700 Club, Christian Broadcasting Network, August 21, 2001
Safe Havens, in fact, undermine pro-life
Safe Havens are promoted by the pro-life community as a way to preserve life and stop newborn abandonment. Instead, they exploit vulnerable women and undermine the long-standing pro-life core principles of informed consent, parental notification, and quality child and mother healthcare. Safe Haven laws with their “no name, no shame, no blame” promotion encourage women to keep their pregnancies secret, forgo pre-natal care, informed counseling, and family communication. They encourage women to give secret, dangerous, unassisted birth that can harm and even kill mother and child. If both survive, new mothers—or anyone else-- can drop off their babies at Safe Haven locations with no questions asked.
Safe Haven abandonment is unnecessary
Safe Havens appear to be driven by economic post-welfare reform. Evidence suggests that mothers who use Safe Havens have no murderous intent towards their newborns or even that babies are being “saved.” Instead it appears that women abandoning through Safe Havens are simply unaware of available public and private services that can assist them in making healthy, safe plans for themselves and their children—including ethical traditional surrender and adoption plans. Safe Havens ignore older children abused and murdered by their parents or foster care providers.
Women and their families in crisis pregnancies need education; objective ethical counseling; information on referral agencies; prenatal and delivery care; job training, housing, and day care assistance--all resources and options available to them--not help to abandon their babies.
PRO-FAMILY, the most compassionate, sane, and cost-effective choice for mothers and babies is the most ignored, least discussed, choice when speaking of or to single mothers.
“ADOPTION NOT ABORTION” programs put women in crisis between the devil and the deep blue sea, often neglecting the offer of the support she needs to keep her fledgling family together. Unplanned or unintended pregnancy does not mean unwanted. The vast majority of us, older than 30, were the result of unplanned pregnancies!
“The women who would have put their kids in a Dumpster are still doing it” despite Safe Haven legislation." Adam Pertman, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
Safe haven legislation, while well intentioned, has been shown to cause more harm than intended to prevent, and are contrary to ethical public policy about reproductive freedom the pro-life community has promoted for years. Such programs:
* allow anyone to abandon a baby other than the mother and/or father.
* do not provide waiting periods, counseling or option and resources referrals to families in crisis.
* do not require the same parental notification pro-lifers have promoted for years.
* encourage young women to forgo prenatal care resulting in dramatically higher infant and maternal mortality rates.
* encourage the exploitation of women by the adoption industry that abortion clinics encourage in family planning.
* discourage the creation of families and ignore the rights of fathers.
* abandonments increasingly appear to be driven by economics post welfare reform.
Families in crisis need education; objective ethical counseling; information on all resources, referral agencies and options; prenatal and delivery care; job training, housing, and day care assistance – not help in abandoning all, along with their babies.
When people are found in the process of jumping off a bridge, they are not simply allowed to take their lives in a moment of extreme stress or depression. When they are talked down, they are not left to simply walk away. They are taken to a hospital for help. So-called safe havens are not providing a safe, ethical, morally acceptable solution for mothers, who in a state of — perhaps temporary — desperation bring their babies there or elsewhere. Many experts agree with Adam Pertman’s assessment that: “These laws are persuading women who wouldn’t have abandoned their babies in any form to do so” and the statistics support his claim.
A far more humane approach would be a haven that is truly safe for both mother and child. Mothers should be allowed to leave children at such locations to be placed in temporary custody while efforts are made to offer her—and other family members—time and counseling to gather resources and think out the decision carefully.
This post begins the first of a series of getting the TRUTH about so-called "safe" haven legislation out onto the internet. Bloggers, etc. please feel free to replicate or link up!!! And please continue to watch these pages over the next several days as I post LOTS of information on this harmful policy.
Safe haven laws are have serious negative consequences and undermine established child-welfare and protection practices. SAFE HAVENS, in fact cause more problems than they solve:
A report by The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute - based on the most extensive research to date on the issue - shows that safe haven laws not only do not solve the problem of unsafe infant abandonment, but actually may encourage women to conceal pregnancies and then abandon infants who otherwise would have been placed for adoption through established legal procedures or been raised by relatives.
- allowing upset family members, disgruntled boyfriends, or others who have no legal rights, to abandon babies without the mothers' consent;
- inducing abandonment by women who otherwise would not have done so because it is perceived as "easier" than receiving counseling;
- depriving biological fathers of their legal right to care for their sons or daughters
- ensuring that the children who are abandoned can never learn their genealogical or medical histories, even when the consequences for their health are dire;
- precluding the possibility of contact and/or the exchange of medical or personal information between birth parents and children in the future; and
- sending a signal, especially to young people, that they do not necessarily have to assume responsibility for their actions and that deserting one's children is acceptable
“Experts on neonaticide say mothers who kill their newborns are usually young, unmarried, emotionally isolated and often still living with their parents. Some are homeless, drug-addicted, or fearing castigation from their communities. Their denial remains even after the birth, making the baby seem not real. They give birth alone and secretly, usually over a toilet, and kill their babies moments after birth, said Neil S. Kaye, a forensic psychiatrist and assistant professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.
Panicked, alone and often in great pain, few mothers have the wherewithal in the crucial moments after birth to consider safely abandoning their babies, according to Michelle Oberman, a professor at Santa Clara University’s School of Law. .... “Women who commit neonaticide are psychotic, suffering from postpartum psychosis, in extreme denial or have extreme pressure on them from parents or boyfriends,” according to Adam Pertman. “The women who would have put their kids in a Dumpster are still doing it” despite Safe Haven legislation…
“Since 2001, when California enacted its safe haven law, more than one hundred and fifty newborns there have been surrendered safely, but at least one hundred and sixty were illegally abandoned. In the five years before 2001, when North Carolina legalized anonymous abandonment of infants up to a week old, there were ten known cases of babies who were illegally abandoned and died. From 2001 to 2004, nine infants in NC were illegally abandoned and died, while five or six were given up under the safe haven law. Illinois, which extended its safe haven surrender deadline from three days to seven, twenty-seven official legal abandonments since 2001, but forty-four babies were simply abandoned, twenty of whom died.
“Marcia E. Herman-Giddens, University of North Carolina’s School of Public Health, has researched infant abandonment and concluded that social ills such as poverty, abuse, and incest are often behind newborn homicides. Herman-Giddens said, “I’m in no way opposed to [Safe Havens], but it’s very naive to think it will solve the problem.”
From Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
- Despite their good intent there is no proof that Safe Havens are needed or that they work. Currently neither the federal government nor the states require statistical tracking of baby abandonments and neonaticides.
- A Lexus-Nexus search of newspapers for 1992 and 1997 commissioned by the Department of Health and Human Services indicates that in 1992 sixty-five infants were found abandoned (fifty-seven live and eight dead) and in 1997 out of 3,880,894 births in the U.S. (including 18,507 neonatal deaths) only 105 newborns were abandoned (seventy-two live and thirty-three dead).
- Safe Haven laws mandate anonymity, so it is nearly impossible to gauge the personal situations of those who relinquish by this method; their state of mind, their fears and their motives. Unlike the "informed consent" clauses of abortion statutes, Safe Haven laws prohibit on-site required counseling, thus denying the parent(s) the opportunity to discuss conventional adoption plans, financial assistance programs and alternative care.
- No serious studies in the U.S. have been made on mothers who abandon or kill their newborns. Evidence suggests, however, that they suffer from a dissociative state in which the pregnancy is denied. Many suffer from substance abuse, mental disability and physical abuse at the hands of family members and boyfriend
- Anecdotal evidence from those who work with at-risk girls and women as well as testimonies of women who have abandoned suggest that "baby dumpers" will not utilize Safe Haven programs.
Parents and Professionals for Family Preservation and Protection
Bastard Nation: Statement on Legalized Abandonment Laws
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) List and analysis of most of the enacted state Safe Haven legislation
Baby Dumpster Store - Make sure your town is not wthout one!
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Family Preservation. What do those two words actually mean to us? In order to organize an international coalition that supports Family preservation, it is important that we have a clear definition.
The following is a DRAFT of what Evelyn Robinson and I have been working on. Your thoughts/suggestions/feedback welcomed from those us who are concerned about and committed to these issues.
I will also be using this blog to keep those of us concerned and committed to these issues undated and informed on what we can do regarding the immediate issue of supporting Stephanie Bennett.
PLEASE NOTE: This blog is a serious and positive, goal-oriented, brainstorming venue. The opinions of all committed to Family Preservation are valued.
Comments that are not consistent with that goal have no place here and will not be posted.
Let's get this Family Preservation discussion flowing by evaluating the following draft:
Every expectant mother has the right to protect, care for and maintain her bond with her child. Every possible resource, option to help her to do so needs to be made available.
Every mother and father, regardless of marital status, finances, or physical disadvantage has the right to parent their child above all others.
This connection should not be severed without due cause for the protection and safety of the child, and only after all means of addressing the problems of the family unit have been reasonably tried and failed.
Placing a child in the care of adults to whom the child is not related is a last resort option to be used only when there are no extended family members able or willing to provide care for the child related to them.
Family preservation is about ensuring that mothers and fathers in crisis receive objective family-centered option counseling and all the resources, referrals, and support needed to remain as an intact family and are protected from fraud, coercion and exploitation for the purpose of separating them from their child.
If and when such care is absolutely necessary, the child requiring such care must be immediately appointed a court-appointed guardian ad litem to ensure the best interest of the child is placed at the forefront of identifying appropriate substitute family care.
Children are not commodities, and no profit may be made by any individuals or agencies involved in necessary custodial placements for children in need.
Mothers and fathers of a child requiring substitute care must be provided separate legal counsel to be fully aware of their rights and recourse. Such counsel should be paid for by a tax or fee paid into a general fund and not directly from substitute guardian to the child’s parent.
Children placed with non-family members are not to be deprived of their names or their connection with their family and must be allowed unlimited visitation and contact with all blood relatives, with necessary supervision to prevent harm when deemed by the court as necessary. Depriving a child access to visitation with any blood relatives should be punishable by law.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Parents and Professional for Family Preservation and Protection
While working Rolie
In 1999, the adoption policy of the Romanian orphans was connected to a system child trafficking, under cover of corruption. The European Commission asked Romania to reform its policy of children’s rights, in order to be accepted into the European the Union. Roelie Post was a civil servant who became a whistle blower with the publication of he book based on the diary she kept over an eight-year period beginning in 1999, while she worked to reform Romanian adoption.
Her book reads like an exciting tale of mystery and espionage as she uncovers memos, files and emails that spell out a "point system" pitting American against Europeans as to who can pay more and thus get more children for adoption; phonied photos to make conditions look more dire than they are to increase private and public funding that seldom got to the children or the employees caring for them...as Roelie discovered on her field trips to the Romanian orphanages.
She also tells about her meeting with Belgian associations fighting child trade, and the the Baroness who sought to stop - at least temporarily - the international adoption of Romanian children.
Roelie Post adds not only an international presence to this effort, but a deep understanding of the conditions of the children of international adoption, and those who use them for personal gain. Her commitment to ending the corruption in adoption, child rights and family preservation make her a welcome asset to this newly emerging - international - coalition of organizations, professionals, adoptees, mothers, fathers and citizens concerned about the preservation of families, and expectant parents, in crisis.
Over the course of her eight years working in the field and then writing her book, Roelie entrenched herself in a deep education and understanding of the problems of adoption. We are proud and honored to have her add her passion and expertise to this endeavor.
an international coalition of organizations and individuals
- global child trafficking in terms of adoption
- exploitation of mothers and the commodification of children
- profiteering and lack of regulation in international and US domestic adoption
- rights of children and adults who have been adopted or relinquished
- support for mothers, fathers and expectant mothers
Please visit often as it is created and updated!
www.PPFFPP.org will be the site for all up-to-date information on:
- safe havens
- putative father registries
This site will act as a REPOSITORY of information
that can be used for letter-writing etc.
This is THE one and only, preeminent post-adoption discussion blog
dedicated SOLELY to FAMILY PRESERVATION!
BOOKMARK THIS SITE and visit daily...
So you can be part this newly emerging organization ... a whole new leaf in the post-adoption movement...the only organization in post-adoption dedicated SOLELY and ONLY to issues of FAMILY PRESERVATION!
Why is there a need for FAMILY PRESERVATION?
The privatization of American infant adoption has turned what once was a social institution for taking care of orphans and children who have no family to raise them…into a multi-billion dollar unregulated industry run by untrained “professionals,” baby brokers, facilitators, and intermediaries whose livelihood is dependent on the placement of children with strangers. This in turn has led to widespread coercion and exploitation of mothers and the commodification of their children.
“I feel Adoption in a larger perspective now. It goes way beyond my personal experience and I think as my knowledge of adoption has increased, my anger has increased and it’s gone way beyond the anger of a mother who’s been robbed, exploited of her child.” Laura Watkins-Lewis, Young Woman’s Blues
“… this is not about my relationship with my lost son or even my raised children or any other mother/child in particular, but the larger, less specific issue of the lack of respect for women and children, the broader sense of entitlement that people with more wealth and power are allowed to exploit those who are weaker and less powerful for their homes, their families and their dignity. [Family Preservation] is now, for me, a Social Justice Issue.
“I still need support for my relationship with my damaged and angry lost son, but that relationship is what it is, and no amount of my wishing that I could make the past 40 years end up somehow different will make it so. But, the larger issue to me is that it happened at all. Not just to me but to the many. The larger issue to me is that [unnecessary family separations] continue to happen today, as evidenced by the Stephanie Bennett case (www.sendevelynhome.com) …. To me, infant adoption in America is Human Trafficking. Go to www.adoption.tk/situations and look at the ads there. It looks, for all the world, like a used car ad, and yet, these are living human beings. Small, powerless and fragile. You can almost sense the dealers (child recruiters) out kicking their tires and checking their low mileage! They even list the price. Some look as if they can be driven right off the lot! This is vile and repugnant to me.....I can't take on the entire world, but adoption and my own loss made me aware of the larger sense of greed and entitlement that allows these evil practices to continue. …I must make my own pain, my own misery, my own loss count for something…. “
PLEASE NOTE: This blog is a serious and positive, goal-oriented, brainstorming venue. The opinions of all committed to Family Preservation are valued.
Comments that are not consistent with that goal have no place here and will not be posted.