Saturday, July 19, 2008

Annette Baran: Pioneer of Open Records

A pioneer of Open Records and open Adoption speaks out about HONEST, ethical child alternative care and the importance of maintaining consanguinity and provenance.

You need to watch and listen to ALL!

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:

Part Five:

I hope there will be a Part 6 in which Annette would repeat what she has said previously:

“It seems to us that, if we take off our blinders, we must admit that we have been co-opted in supporting a system that causes pain and lifelong suffering to all the parties involved. ... Relinquishment of children to a new set of parents, as a final, irrevocable act, severing all rights of the birthparents, must be discontinued...

“Open adoption, which we helped pioneer, is not a solution to the problems inherent in adoption. Without legal sanction, open adoption is an unenforceable agreement at the whim of the adoptive parents. Instead, we propose a form of guardianship adoption that we believe would be in the best interests of all concerned, with special benefits for the adoptee for it would decrease the abandonment/rejection issue and permit the child to know the birthparents as real people who cared about him but could not raise him...

“We have always maintained that adoptive placement is the last resort, to be considered only when all other options have been thoroughly explored….The struggle to open records and address the wrongs of the past must continue. However, simultaneously and with equal emphasis, we must begin to look at the future and address the need for sweeping change...

“Why have we not made prevention a major issue?

“We have always maintained that adoptive placement is the last resort, to be considered only when all other options have been thoroughly explored….The struggle to open records and address the wrongs of the past must continue. However, simultaneously and with equal emphasis, we must begin to look at the future and address the need for sweeping change.”


Anonymous said...

Yeah, she was also the lead researcher for a study in 1976 where they took focus groups of struggling single mothers (white) and asked them what would convince them to surrender their babies for adoption. Open adoption was the finding. They then recommended this as a way to obtain more babies for adoption.

This woman is nobody's hero. She did more to help other brokers disembaby young mothers than almost any other researcher barring about 10 others (Namerow, Mech, etc.).

And you of course know the mother (K) who was disembabied at Barran's unethical agency in Calfornia. You know her story. I am surprised that you can support this broker. Many others of better intent and better ethics than Barran have lobbied for open records. Barran is just another broker and deserves no praise.

About the genesis of open adoption:

" it was proposed by Baran and her colleagues as a way of encouraging unmarried women (and specifically unmarried white women) to relinquish their babies for adoption at a time when they were increasingly choosing to raise them alone"

re "Baran, A., Pannor, R., & Sorosky, A. (1976). Open adoption. Social Work, 21, 97-100."

AdoptAuthor said...

I'm sorry that you feel that way, anon, and are not able to listen to her and hear her story of how she CHANGED!

People do make mistakes - we sure did...that's how we let others talk us into losing our kids!

When you learn how to forgive yourself, you learn how to forgive others.

I wish you peace in your journey. Staying struck in the past and in anger is a sad, rotten place to be.

Anonymous said...

The first comment was posted by someone who cannot be aware of the contribution Annette Baran has made to the adoption reform movement. She is totally honest in the video and talks about how she fell for the popular thinknig of the time - and why. I don’t have time to do anything extra at all, but once I started watching this video I couldn’t stop. It’s powerful stuff - Annette talking about her journey from a social worker who believed the closed records system was for the best, to someone who realized that the closed records system was harmful – and why.. I honestly think that this video, more than anything I have seen, could make a very real difference if it is seen by the people who still don’t ‘get’ it.. I understand blogger number one's anger at the system - but don't shoot down one of the very first people to stand up and say 'FOUL!'

AdoptAuthor said...

Thanks for posting!

Indeed first poster is too overcome with MISDIRECTED anger to even read the words of Annette posted immediately below the links to her videos!

One who has not the capacity to understand that people grow and change and often it is just such a person - who once stood against a human right and now believes in it - who can be THE most powerful force to create change in others by example....such as when a war veteran speaks our against war!

Fortunately, the anonymous person who rushed to be the first to post represents a very tiny, insignificant minority within the adoption community. LOUD, but a minority, just the same who'd rather find fault with someone like Annette than use their energies against the likes of Atwood, Kurtz...and others who profit from the flesh of our wombs...

Anger is a powerful tool - when you learn where and how to use it, but like any tool, it can also be dangerous in the hands of a fool.

Annette was NEVER a flesh peddler. As she says - if anon had bothered to listen - she did what she had been trained as a social worker to do until she saw the light...and has worked very hard the rest of her life to right the wrongs of adoption.

Anonymous said...

I see you decided to amend your post after my first comment, to add in more information to back up your position. Also that you work to discredit anyone who disagrees with you by launching personal attacks against their character.

Again though, open records for adoptees, a.k.a. "adoption reform" trumps the rights of mothers and the recognition of the crimes committed against us. You and others want to absolve this woman because she speaks for open records. Well, many others do as well. There is a disturbing trend in adoption reform to put social wreckers and adopters on pedestals whenever they deign to throw some nice words in our direction.

I would like to see your evidence that Barran was not a 'flesh peddler" because we both know she ran a notorious baby-brokerage firm in California. Her paycheck DID come from separating infants from their mothers and peddling them.

I don't see her up speaking in front of legislative committees demanding protections for mothers or justice for those she disembabied. Or working on laws allowing suits against agencies which (past and present) engage(d) in these practices. She has never issued a public apology to those she robbed of their children, nor has she stated that those adoptions were unethical and often illegal.

Nor does she lobby for open records for those mothers she amputated such that mothers have rights to both the original and amended birth records of their lost children and can thus search for them. Who is speaking up for this? Nor Barran. She still has NO intent to try to make amends for her crimes. Going to adoption conferences and preaching to the converted does not count.

AdoptAuthor said...

Yes, I REPOSTED something I had posted previously about Annette's beliefs about ABOLISHING adoption in favor of guardianship.

No, Anette Baran is not - nor does she claim or pretend to be - a lobby ist or activist. She is a noted expert on adoption and author and she is on MY SIDE when she speaks of doing away with falsified birth certificates!

She "apologizes" every day by the works she DOES DO, like these videos to change the practices she once worked under. Actions speak louder than words.

And once again - I do not hold people to a fire squad for PAST ACTS when they have so obviously and PUBLICLY REPENTED and MADE AMENDS by their current acts!

People like that are some of the most EFFECTIVE in creating change. Ex-drug addicts who work with addicts and if famous use their fame to speak out against drug use... Former gang members that work with youth, etc., etc. Exercise proponents who admit know they were anorexic...Far too many examples to list.

I and others welcome that help with open arms! people like the Smolins who thought they were doing a good deed by adopting to children from India when they had their "own" family and now work against internationally child trafficking.

Voices from the INSIDE - who once part of the problem and are now part of the solution are INVALUABLE!! They speak volumes because they know what is going on from a different perspective than you and I could ever have and they are likely to be heard differently, as well.

"She was lead researcher of a study in 1976"

WHAT WERE YOU DOING IN 1976??? Were YOU against adoption? Were you working to stop family separations??? Were you even trying to find your own child to ensure his/her well-being???

I and many other mothers WERE!


Each of us has a choice to either be part of the problem or part of the solution.

We can also chose to lead,follow, or get out of the damn way and stop wasting our time arguing over non issues and go and fight our REAL enemies...The NCFA and the agencies...not those trying to help abolish adoption!

maryanne said...

It must make life very simple (and simple-minded) when one can decide who to hate simply by their role in adoption, ignoring all else they are or have done. Even more fun when you make up your own strange language to talk about it(social wrecker, disembabied, adopters etc.) that only shows the cult mindset of the writer.

Annette Baran is a fine, honest and ethical woman, and has made many public apologies for her former work in adoption placements. The first one I heard was in the late 70s at one of the first AAC meetings, where she simply said she was sorry and made no excuses. I was hugely impressed with her then, and remain so to this day

She has remained a vocal supporter of the concerns of both adoptees and birthmothers ever since, and has taken a lot of flack for it when this was not a popular view in social work circles. She does not deserve to be vilified by the ignorant.

But that can't matter to someone who hates all social workers, and all adoptive parents, and deifies all natural mothers as NEVER responsible for their own actions.
Like I said, it makes it so easy always knowing who to hate by their titles, and takes away the need to learn or think.

Anonymous said...

I knew Annette Baran during the mid 1970's. As an adoptee myself, she and I spoke at length about adoption. Long story short...she personally admitted to me that she didn't think adoption was a great idea. She viewed open adoption as an improvement of the practice, even as she became more and more disillusioned with the overall practice of adoption, in general.

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