Saturday, June 27, 2009

FAQs

Updated: Sept 25, 2009

Q: What is family preservation?

A:  Family Preservation is a recognized part of social service practice, and is here by Child Welfare Information Gateway

My definition is similar, albeit more long term, and closer to that of the National Family Preservation Network: to keep families together and prevent unnecessary out-of-home placement of children। My definition appears in right hand the column of this page.

There is also a Family Preservation Institute at Mexico State University...just to name a few.

Q: Is Family Preservation a euphemism for anti-adoption?

A: No. In addition to the sources listed above who use the term, support of family preservation can be traced back to the negative reaction to the 'orphan train movement.' The term dates back to the 1890s, and in the 1909 White House Conference on Children it was the top ranked issue. For more, see Wikipdia. Many states offer family preservation programs that can be found by googling the term.

Q: Am I anti-adoption?

A: It is not a term that I am comfortable with as its pejorative use and negativity does not define my positions and is often linked with anger and bitterness rather than best interests of children and families.

I am not comfortable with the term because  it seems to denote an absurd extremism that one supports any and every mother keeping a child - no matter how dangerous that might be for the child....a position not held by even the most extreme anti-adoptionists. I am as uncomfortable with that label as any pro-choice person would be opposed to being labeled anti-life or pro-abortion. Things are not as black and white as labels seem to imply. Forte more, see: Nomenclatures, Euphemism and Anti-Adoption Accusation.

Being against adoptions that begin with the eradication of blood ties and a falsified birth certificate, does NOT equate to preferring to keep kids in harms way or in foster care.

I am opposed to all unnecessary, unwarranted, pressured, lack of independent option counseling and lack of separate legal counsel, coercive adoptions.

I am against all profiteering in adoption.

I am against all falsified, fraudulent, fake birth certificates and lack of equal access or original and true birth certificates for ALL parties named on said birth certificates.

I have seen nothing that indicates that children in need of alternative care - those who are truly orphaned or have no parents or extended family or kin to care safely for them - cannot be provided such care via a form of permanent legal guardianship that does not later their identity or sever their family ties.

Q: Do I believe that every natural mother should keep her baby?

A: I do not believe that any mother should be forced or coerced to parent any more than she should coerced or subtly pressured to not parent her own child. Mothers - after giving birth and seeing and hold their babies - deserve impartial option counseling that honestly tells them all the risks to them and their child of separation and the resources to be able to make an informed CHOICE.

I believe that baring ay serious mental illness or sociopathic tendencies, any woman who gives birth to a child would prefer to have the help she needs to maintain that relationship. I believe that mothers deserve all the resources they need to achieve that goal. I believe that of they cannot accomplish their goal, extended family should be sought to help care for the child. i believe that this is the child's best interest as well as the mothers, as most adopted peopel would much prefer to be blood related to the family that raises them and most people would nt simply trade off all kin connectivneses for better or more material advantages or a mother and father who have the same 50/50 chance of divorcing as all other couples.

Q: Am I a disgruntled, angry, bitter "birthmother"?

A: I am a mother who was lied to when I was told that adoption would be better for my daughter - my daughter who took her own life at 27 as a result of her "better" adoptive family. I am a mother who was told I would forget and get on with my life 42 years ago, who spends every day of my life working to change adoption policies as a direct result of my loss.

Dedicating my life to preventing other mothers suffering the lifelong, unresolveable guilt, grief and shame of unnecessarily losing her child to adoption is as normal and natural as any mother who has suffered the tragic unnecessary loss of a child, such as Candy Lightner who founded MADD or Maureen Kanka who founded Megan's Law. Are they asked if they are bitter?
My anger is perfectly justifiable and I will never apologize for it.

Q: Are my views radical and far too idealistic?

A: These views and positions are no more radical or idealistic than those of the The United Nations, UNICEF, The UN CRC, the Hague Convention on International Adoption, and Save the Children - all of which call for family preservation first, then kinship care and stranger adoption as a last resort - with international adoption the very last resource after no domestic adoption can be found. They also call for protection of original identity.

Q: Don't you think that making adoption ethical would resolve all issues and allow it to proceed safely rather than abolishing it all together?

A: The word ethical is totally subjective. Unless we have establish clear - enforceable - ethical guidelines, it means nothing more than "nice." All of the agencies who placed children that were kidnapped, or who were abuse or killed are considered reputable and ethical agencies and are still in business. Even the most unscrupulous baby brokers - such as Seymour Kurtz - receive a slap on the wrist simply reopen under a different name or in a different state.

What is ethical about domestic adoption agencies taking women out of state, enmeshing them with prospective adopters and making them feel indebted emotionally as well as financially for expenses paid for the room, board and medical costs? What is ethical about predatory practices such as prospective adopter sin the delivery room denying the mother any bonding tome at all? What is ethical about providing one attorney to represent both parties - something that would never be done in real estate transaction but is done in very child adoption.

What is ethical about US adoption agencies - allegedly - accepting or adoption placement children who have been trafficked kidnapped, stolen and papers forged?

What is ethical about placing children with pedophiles and others who abuse or kill them, simple because they can afford to pay the brokers' fees?

What is ethical about exporting US children out of the country while we import kids by the thousands?

What is ethical about falsifying birth records?

There is no way to hold private business to ethical standards that cut into their bottom line in a country that admires, supports and encourages free enterprise and capitalism...and encourages adoption with tax and other benefits yet has NO family preservation programs or budget whatsoever. Who will establish and enforce regulations? The foxes are watching the hen house?

Ethica accepts no financial support from business that profit for adoption. The same is not true, however, of EBDAI which claims to "promote ethical adoption practices" and "better the lives of all those touched by adoption" is funded in part by Spence-Chapin, who established EBDAI, hired a marketing professional as Executive Director, and is also funded by other adoption agencies such as The Cradle and pro-adoption groups such as The Dave Thomas Foundation, according to their 2008 Annual report. The webpage of The Cradle is one big, polished marketing infomercial to recruit expectant mothers. Where are the ethics in this?

Other pro-adoption organizations, such as the NCFA, are more honest and "ethical" about whom they represent, although they lie about "protecting" adoptees and their original families.

Q: Doesn't guardianship amount to baby sitting or foster parenting?

A: Some may perceive it that way. However permanent legal guardianship (PLG) is the way adoption was always practiced up until the 1930's when adoptions began to become secretive and records sealed and falsified to protect the baby brokers like Georgia Tann and their paid clientele.

PLG gives caretakers all legal rights for their child's educton and medicl needs. The ned to change his name may create a sense of safety forthe parents but is not necessary to provide care for a child, and never was prior to 1930's. Children are often raised by aunts or grandparents - or instep families - or by married parents with different surnames. With such a high rate of divorce today, there is no stigma to it. Physical and legal custody resides with the guardian and cannot be changed except by a judge and under highly unusual circumstances such as the death of the guardian or the abuse or abandonment of the child by the guardian. In that case, PLG would leave the door open for the original parent to step in, if able to - something not possible under current adoption laws that permanently relinquish all rights of the original parent. In PLG they would be forever in the background as a non-custodial parent in a divorce who generally have liberal visitation rights.

Prospective "adopters" who find this not in their liking do not have to, as there are hundreds of parents vying for each child in need.

Alternative child care is about what is about finding homes and families for orphans and children in need of safe care - it is not the last step in reproductive "rights."

Children need and deserve caretakers who want what is in their best interest not to have them as possessions or replacements or pretense for a biological child.

33 comments:

maryanne said...

Not wanting to get into any extended arguments on things we both already know we differ on, but this "question/answer" format is not the best way to get your views across. You pose a "yes or no" question like "am I anti-adoption?" and then proceed not to answer it, but rather offer reasons why you are what you cannot bring yourself to clearly say you are.

The same for most of the other "questions". From your writings it is obvious you want legal adoption abolished. You want no full terminations of parental rights, no matter what the circumstances, and even the worst cases upgraded to something like non-custodial divorce cases. You do not believe ethical adoption is possible. OK, say so, but don't pose a question and not answer it. Take out the questions and just make this a straight manifesto of your beliefs and agenda.

You present your case for your beliefs. Others are free to agree (and many do) or disagree. Why not own yout true convictions rather than try to talk around them? I know you pride yourself on being honest and straighforward and are, but this Q&A sounds like a politician trying to take both sides at the same time. I'm sure that is not what you intended.

AdoptAuthor said...

I m sorry you feel that way MaryAnne.

I posed this as Frequently Asked Questions, because they are questions I am frequently asked and it gave me an opportunity to reply in full with as much detail as possible, knowing that additional questions might follow as well..I felt I was quite honest, open and forthcoming - not all like a sleazy politician.

Did you read the UNICEF quote atop the right hand column? I want THAT!

Can adoption be ethical. Yes, I said so...IF those favoring ethics in adoption would set down enforceable guidelines and see to it that they are put into law with a regulatory body to enforce them. I simply do not see those spouting ethical adoptions doing ANYTHING to make it so, except lip service. Words are cheap -- especially vague, vacuous and ethereal ones. Have they spelled out any ethical guidelines? And, as I pointed out, some of those advocating ethical adoption are being sponsored by very pro-adoption profiteers...makes you doubt their sincerity. Always follow the money.

I want to abolish all that is wrong and coercive and exploitive about and within adoption. All that is about making flesh-peddling baby brokers a profit rather than doing what is in children's best interest...like allowing yet another pedophile to have kids - two of them! Is that a bad to be against all that? If so then call me a bad girl and I wear the name as a badge of honor!

If you think I'm wrong - I already said: call me bitter. I've earned the right to be bitter. Unlike you, I don’t get occasional email updates from my daughter's grave, and have no hope it will ever change. But i would feel this way even if she were alive and very much a part of my life because I have always felt the pain of others...that was why i wrote my first book n 1988 long before Alicia's passing. It was why I searched for her - hearing of others finding their kids in far less than the "better' homes we were promised. Knowing then we had all be lied to. I hated it all then, and I still do. I just pussy foot it less and tell it like it is more, as I "mature,"

If you are happy and content with the decisions you have made and feel very comfortable that you gave Michael away of your own free will ad were not pressured at all by society's moral judgments at the time that judged you unfit for not being married.. I am TRULY happy for you. If you sleep well at night and don't care about women who are being coerced every day of the week for their kids - or having them kidnapped, I am happy for you. I even admire your fortitude. Me, I don't sleep so well.

I believe with every ounce of my soul what you once did and wrote about how much you hated adoption and wished it didn't exist.

You now have changed and have different views and that is your prerogative. Write a pro-adoption blog. Support the NCFA - I really don't care. This post is about ME, not you. It's on MY blog. These are MY beliefs, very honestly spelled out. No holds barred.

I don't talk out of both sides of my mouth or say one thing and do another or change horses midstream like some politician. I yam what I yam -- always have been and always will be.

Now, if what you are asking me is why I don't come out and "admit" i am anti-adoption...it is simply because that is not a "label" I am comfortable with. I prefer to self identify myself and my beliefs.

I don't like it because it carries false assumptions and misconceptions that anyone who calls themselves anti-adoption or wishes it to be abolished - wants ALL mothers - fit or abusive dangerous to the well-being of their child - to keep their babies and this is simply NOT TRUE, at least not for me.

That is no more true than being against war makes me anti-soldier, or anti-US or freedom or democracy -- or a communist, or pro terrorism, or not "patriotic" - all totally ABSURD things pro-peace activists such as myself have been accused of.

maryanne said...

Hey please don't do to me what you don't want done to you. You say "write a pro-adoption blog, support NCFA. I really don't care."

Why would you assume I would do either of those things? I don't support NCFA nor would I write a pro-adoption blog. Adoption exists. It works for some, not for others. It needs to be improved and regulated.

Your implication that I support NCFA is just as wrong as saying peace activists are not patriotic.

AdoptAuthor said...

MaryAnne,

I am sorry, if in feeling a need to defend myself from feeling almost constantly and repeatedly hassled by you, I somehow inadvertently offended you. You seem to always want to argue with me and nit-pick my use of words or writing style, and it gets tiresome and annoying.

I made no assumption about what you would or wouldn't do. I used an extreme example to illustrate that I *truly* don't CARE what you do or what you think or believe. Kinda like saying to someone I don't care if you take a flying leap! That does not mean I think you would!

I am not proselytizing my beliefs - just stating them. These are MY beliefs, expressed as I chose to express them on MY blog. You don't have to agree with me nor I with you. That's all I was trying to say. You have not walked in my shoes nor I in yours. We have each reached different decsion at this point in time. Why constantly hassle me over my opinions?

I don't know why my choice of HOW I expressed them - the format I used - to share my very honest feelings were of concern to you and would cause you to compare me to a politician - basically calling me insincere.

It just gets very tiresome....especially after two sleepless nights from medication..

O Solo Mama said...

I personally admire many of your ideas very much. We don't, however, start from the same premise. I wouldn't start from the premise that every biological parent is *necessarily* the best parent for his or her child. That's fine--there is room for many opinions. Your idea to take the cash out of adoption is a good one. More guardianships would also be good. However, for some children and some prospective parents, allowing them to form new family is also good. What disturbs me more in your writing is this sense that you are free to attack adoptive parents through stereotyping, over-generalizing, and impugning motives. A good example would be the stereotype of the inept a-parent waving her money around, clueless about adoption or the needs of her child, having several emotional meltdowns, and eventually packing him off to reform camp. An example of impugning motives is saying over and over again (this is done broadly--not just by you) that adoptive parents have only bad motives when they turn to adoption: they *must be* immature, grasping, covetous. Nowhere is it ever mentioned that some of these people just want to parent a child with no family and do their best to select the situation in which the need is the greatest. Indeed, that situation has been tipped artificially in recent years, but it is not always so and it may change again. One never knows.

I sense here and in other forms. . .how can I put it. . .a desire to believe the worst. And yet--like anything--the worst is never the whole story. I realize it's your blog and we need many voices but if you didn't want comments you could close it to comments and simply publish your views. So I will continue to comment.

AdoptAuthor said...

Solo, I can understand ad would likely feel the same way in your shoes. These are not abstract or theoretical topics for any of us. This stuff is all emotionally charged and very personal....and for me very passionate which sometimes when I write here on the blog (which is quite different than wring and article for publication or my books which re all researched and not just own ramblings) sometimes I come across angry - and sometimes I am angry. I know that this to is "published" and in the public domain, but it still feels more like my personal journaling at the same time, if that makes sense. More off the cuff kinda things. Not as polished.

I can only tell you this: when my first book was reviewed was reviewed by Resolve and FACd and other adoptive parent groups they all said similar things: that my "big guns" are aimed not at aps but at the system.

My anger is that people are allowed to adopt simply because they can afford the fees. I am angry for children who are placed with ill-prepared families. People who adopt, particularly internationally - kids from institutions - and with scant or no medical histories and then freak out that the kid isn't bonding with them. And put the kid through some awful "therapy" or even worse when the children are reacting quite normally to the situation.

It galls me no end that pedophiles are given children. Wm Peckenpaugh sexually abused the boy he adopted. He had been a member of NAMBLA. Seems they might have suspected if they had checked him out more throughly. I believe he had written articles that were online justifying that behavior.

Matthew Mancusco adopted Masha Allen and had no bedroom for her. When she was rescued she said that she waited every day believing someone from the gaency had to come and check on her. No one, of course, ever did.

This is what angers me - makes me FURIOUS!

And then I read on blogs some prospective adopters complaining about the scrutiny and the hoops they have to go through and how invasive it is and how other people who give birth aren't screened like that. The entitlement and sense that adoption is a service to fill their needs, rather than to assist children in crisis in finding the best possible placement. This too galls me, and also makes me wonder what they're hiding.

Do I think all kids are better off with their natural mothers and families? All things being equal, yes. Two women: similar age, education, marital status. Wouldn't you chose the natural mother? I have known personally and read too many books and now blogs by adoptees and understand the pain of feeling rejected and not feeling like you belong to know that even if the scales were tipped in favor of the adopter over the natural mother in some of those criteria - more mature, more stable...it's still a trade of material advantages over a connection that is unequalled.

Let me ask you: if you had your choice, would you to have had a child of your own as opposed to adopting?

Thanks for your admiration. I admire you your fortitude to stay and hear things that are painful.

O Solo Mama said...

My choice was to adopt. I had no desire at all for a biological family. I am happy to marvel at the face that is not mine, marvel at those origins in which I have no part. Of course, to me it is a beautiful mystery and to my daughter it is something altogether different and more significant. Every year that goes by, I get that more. If she wants to turn around and tell me one day that I did a terrible thing by adopting her, I'll have no choice but to listen.

It is hard to be the vanguard, which in many ways you are. I just feel at times that we make no progress when we hold up extreme behaviours as symptomatic (after all, natural parents abuse their kids, sell them for sex, and leave them in car seats too). We do need to reform the system. Much of your social platform is the one that seems to cause the most controversy in your country, yet it would be accepted here as as wise and compassionate. I have to keep reminding myself what an uphill battle you have, convincing people that 4 weeks of mat leave is insane.

I have never been averse to hearing these painful things or to modifying my opinion. And I understand why you are angry at certain injustices.

maryanne said...

But Mirah, you keep inviting comments! You regularly send posts to CUB list asking people to read your blog and comment. I wish more people would take you up on it, whether they agree or disagree. I comment on several blogs, sometimes agreeing, sometimes not. There are some people who think both of us have too much to say, but we both keep sayin' it:-)

Sometimes I agree with you and say so. I am also appalled and disgusted that pedophiles get to adopt, and that so many adopted kids end up in dubious residential treatment centers or thrown back into the foster care system.

Sometimes I do not agree and say so. Of course it is your blog and you can say anything you want, any way you want. But people can also react to what you say on this public forum by disagreeing. It is not a private journal or personal letter. I know you are honest and upfront and not insincere. In my opinion, which may well be wrong, the Q&A format was not the best way to convey that.

Kippa said...

I read "Family Preservation Advocacy" as a euphemism for anti-adoption. Clearly you are pro permanent legal guardianship and opposed to adoption.

*Of course* the ideal is for children to be raised within their original families. But that isn't always possible. When it isn't, I don't believe guardianship is necessarily always the best the answer - certainly not in every situation - or for every child (which is the main thing).

There really are some mothers who don't want to raise their children as well mothers who leave their children in hospitals and refuse to deal (regardless of the reasons, the latter category are unlikely to be persuaded to enter into any kind of guardianship arrangement for their children). There are even mothers/parents who are potentially dangerous to their offspring's well-being.
Guardianship can pose practical problems for adoptive families. Did you know that, in the U.K, adoptive parents who need to leave the country for over three months have to petition the court for permission? The original parents situation and wishes have to be taken into account. Maybe not an entirely bad thing - but still a wrinkle that could deter prospective guardians. What if the guardians divorce? How does the court deal with that?

I think guardianship is great for children who have to be distanced from their natural parents for a long period of time, whose parents don't want to relinquish all rights and when the children also want to maintain links with their biological family. It is a good option in many, many situations
But then so are foster care and adoption.

Personally I think it is shortsighted to want to throw out the baby with the bath water.

AdoptAuthor said...

MaryAnne - yes, the purpose here is to stimulate discussion and all views are welcome. As I said, I may have been over reactive or more sensitive than usual because of the crazy-making corticoid meds I had to take recently - again. But at times it just feels like your goal is not to discuss, but to argue.

Solo - Love you!

BOTTOM LINE - precious few things in life are black and white. there are continuums. Shades of gray and exceptions to every rule. I am firmly on the end of "last resort" end of the spectrum. I see eliminating as many family separations by providing support and resources as the most humane, moral, ethical goal a society can have.

Part of the work to reach that goal - that ideal world, Solo,is to help those wonderful, big-hearted people such as yourself (who used to be called "preferential adopters" as opposed to adopting because of infertility) to recognize just what you are saying...it may not be quite as altruistic as we had thought. There may be other ways of helping children that are less disruptive for them and them and their families.

In my book I talk about housing a couple of expectant moms and helping them keep their babies by providing just enough temporary support at time of crises to make that happen and not make a temporary crisis become a permanent one. There are so many ways in which we can help when we stretch our minds and think outside the adoption box.

AdoptAuthor said...

Kippa - Hope you've now read my "bottom line" - continuum comment above.

I think ideals are excellent to have and to strive for. I look at Australia as proof that it is possible reach a very nearly zero adoption nation when resources are in place to help mothers who feel that cannot or don't want to parent. Yes, there will always be some, but we need to work to reduce that number.

I am admittedly an extremist. As Solo said - this country needs a wake up call because we are very far at the other end of that spectrum with a huge amount of pro-adoption programs and financial support and incentives and money spent on separating and reinventing families as a GOAL! Too much knee jerk using of adoption as the final step in reproductive technology - when it is NOT!

I guess I have an Obama-like - YES WE CAN attitude and approach and in order to see and make any effort to reach a goal of adoption as a "last resort" we need to reprogram people and shock them with some electrodes to readjust thinking from old belief patterns. It takes lots and lots of time to effect social change. Things happen slowly. But everything DOES change!

This country once accepted the owning of human beings to be used as slave labor! And just within my lifetime I have seen schools integrate and now a Black president...and gays marrying - whoda thought!

If the goal is just to free slaves an not to make all men free where would be today?

We can and we must do a FAR better job of putting children's best interest first...both within the USA and in the world. I have a much broader view of all of these issues than many in the US working on adoption. Put in its global perspective adoption IS part of human trafficking! As Graff says, these re ugly truth we are not fond of accepting, but they are facts that kick us in the ass now and again like the Duke dude getting two kids - through adoption -f for the purpose of having sex SLAVES!!

And yet we are s reluctant to see these dark side sof adoption and want to keep insistng they are anolomlies. That is why when a 54 year old man in Michigan recently believed he had been kidnapped as a child the FCBi immediately stepped in and prodived DNA testing to prove or disprove his kidnap theory. Not so the Guatemlan kids that have been adopted and may in fact be kidnap vitims....whose mothers I may be meeting shortly.

They are bow "adopted" and that makes it all special and beyond reproach as we cannot think of removing them from "the only families" they have ever known. Our gvt won't even test them to find out if a crime has been committed, because adoption is so sacrosanct!

AdoptAuthor said...

More clarification:

Some things ARE black and white with NO EXCEPTIONS....at least for me.

Pedophilia - bad, no exceptions (and include Woody Allen in that though in a recent discussion people argued it was not "really" technically incest...it was still pedophilia, IMO!)

Human trafficking - bad, no exceptions. Though Elizabeth Barf-a-lot said at the NY law center conference I attended that she is comfortable using the term baby-buying but not human trafficking!

I think the hair she is trying to split is that in general, trafficking kids for adoption results in a safe environment for them, often even and greatly improved one. They are for the most part not abused...so the end justify the means in her book. Not so in mine.

As I just commented on my Why Guat post -- I see adoption issues through perhaps a broader more global lens than many US adoption reformers do and that gives me a slightly different perspective. it IS all part of a bigger picture of human trafficking and as such is VILE and reprehensible...so sorry Solo. Of course that does not make very individual case so, but you see I am talking about the bigger picture. I am sure you are well aware of the Smolins and others who - like you, Solo - acted out the BEST of intentions only to find that they were recipients of stolen children.

Neither they nor you or anyone who adopts are bad people - often far form it. Even those I spoke of as being ill-prepared are in many ways are also victims of the whole crappy moneyd system of private adoption. No one should get into this without full preparation of what to expect.

AdoptAuthor said...

Perhaps being called a "politician' is not such a bad at all. Being politically savvy is important to create social change. My presentation at the recent AAC was on framing our issues and in particular re-framing "open records" to equal access."

The words we use form mental pictures that are often seen in B/W and have very visceral reactions. That is why billions are spent on marketing including lots on linguistics.

I have a goal. I believe it is important. I take my work very seriously and believe that positioning it in its best light to get that message HEARD - and not reacted to so negatively it is tossed aside as inane, cracker barrel, way too radical and nuts to even consider.

We all have a right to self-identify. You can call me what you like. I have a very clear, unwavering self-identification as a family preservationist, an advocate for the rights of mothers and their children. That's my view of myself. I do not tell people of color how to label themselves: Black, African American. That's their choice, this is mine. It is comfortable, gives me pride and I feel it best serves my goals. I do not feel I am being in the least bit hypocritical.

As for mothers who abandon. Kippa - hopefully in a society that is less judgmental of who is appropriate acceptable to be a mother, there would be far, far fewer! Also a society with more and better health care and birth control access - another think sorely lacking in the uS, Solo and Kippa. This land is so in the dark ages in so many ways! Far too much value on money over human beings.

Kippa said...

"We all have a right to self-identify."
Absolutely.
"You can call me what you like."
Thanks. But regardless of what you like to call yourself, you still haven't answered your own question, which was, I remind you, "Are you anti-adoption ?"

I notice that you do call yourself, among other things, an idealist - which, of course, puts you on a higher moral plane that the rest of us.
However, I don't think realism and idealism are antithetical to each other. They CAN co-exist. Life is complicated, and it's a matter of being willing to consider the nuances, even if one does keep a particular holy grail in mind.

Incidentally, I too am on the "last resort" end, would you believe? (No, you probably wouldn't)
However, I also believe that there are rather more "last resorts" than you imagine - or perhaps that you and I have a slightly different idea of what constitutes "last resort" in this particular context.

In Quebec, where over 40% of marriages are common-law, and where day care is heavily subsidized by the government (cost to parents, $7.00 a day), there is no longer the kind of prejudice against single unmarried motherhood that there once was. I know a number of unmarried mothers in Montreal who have raised their children quite beautifully. Here in Ontario, too. Nevertheless, in Canada, where, unlike in the U.S we do have free health care, some women still choose not to raise their children - and a few even abandon.

Of course there are also those egregious cases where children are removed from their families IMO unjustifiably, sometimes even to be placed in dangerous situations. That is something that cries out for reckoning.

As far as the situation in Oz is concerned, it seems that while adoption numbers are right down (which is good), the foster care system remains under serious stress (which is bad). Clearly, attempts at family reunification aren't working as they should, and the system needs overhaul, which would probably include a large infusion of cash - which may or may not be there.

Finally, I think it's wonderful when people who are in position to do so extend themselves to young pregnant women in so-called "crisis pregnancies" by having them live in their homes and setting them on their feet. I know of a situation where that happened. The young woman in question decided on adoption (open) anyway. Everyone, including myself, tried to dissuade her. But in retrospect, I understand that, given her situation, it was a "Hobson's choice", and respect her for her fortitude.

AdoptAuthor said...

Kippa,

I see idealism as having a clear goal of what I strive for. No higher plane. Many find idealists simply fools! I agree that: "I don't think realism and idealism are antithetical to each other."

I am very much a work in progress. As for my self-identity - which does evolve as hopefully I do - I have had some very thoughtful private emails with MaryAnne abut this.

There are labels that make many of us uncomfortable. I have heard many people decline a straightforward Y o N answer to questions about their religion and and say things like:"I'm a recovering Catholic" or "I was raised Jewish". Also in regard to political pigeonholing. Many people need to say they are socially liberal but fiscally conservative.

I have tried my utmost to be as clear as I can on what my positions are.

I am well aware that we will never reach nirvana where every child is wanted and able to be cared for by those who brought him into the world. thats a super ideal! I am aware that some mothers, regardless of all the help in the world will not or canto step up to the plate - and have no in their family capable of doing so either.

Clearly, I believe those children need care that does not sever their family ties. A form of guardianship - or a form of adoption without all the lies and secrecy. As it states in my book - I don't care what it's called!

Number one goal is to get the profiteering out. I am convinced that is the basis for 99% of the mess of adoption worldwide. The money and the corruption!

Fortunately, or unfortunately repro technology will replace much of it and also the surrogacy that is happening in India now will become a worldwide INDUSTRY because for the same cost factor, people would - MOST - prefer a child who is biologically connected to at least one of them!

The sad prediction is that Guatemala will be the next major baby farming community.

I have been told that drug dealers there have said that human trafficking for adoption is quicker easier money and less likelihood of being apprehended. Adoption - and surrogacy - after all are "legal."

As John and Oko said: Women are the niggers of the world! Commercialized surrogacy, as on the scale in India is men achieving final control over women's reproduction and his final ability to exploit it for profit, IMO. It also involves women's inhumanity of women....as none of this exists without the DEMAND for it!

We can either become Atwood's fictional vision of the future or say NO loud and clear and stop the insanity! I am busting my balls for the later.

Kippa said...

"Clearly, I believe those children need care that does not sever their family ties. A form of guardianship - or a form of adoption without all the lies and secrecy. I don't care what it's called"

But you do care what it's called.
You wrote you don't like the label 'anti-adoption"' "because it carries false assumptions and misconceptions that anyone who calls themselves anti-adoption or wishes it to be abolished - wants ALL mothers - fit or abusive dangerous to the well-being of their child - to keep their babies and this is simply NOT TRUE, at least not for me.'

What you describe above is not anti-adoption. It's stupid.
And you're certainly not that.

AdoptAuthor said...

No contradiction. I don't care what honest, child-centered care for children who need it is called.

I do care about the misconceptions that being against something implies.

BTW - I am not alone! There is a small - hopefully growing - number of us who feel the same and are in various degrees of being "closeted" antis :-)) -- MANY aps!

Kippa said...

O.K, so color me confounded.
You don't care what honest, child-centered care for children is called, but you *don't* like the label "anti-adoption", and *do* like the term "guardianship".
As if there's no significant difference in meaning between the two.

As for the so-called "closeted" antis, speaking for myself, I am neither closeted nor anti. I am simply against the money, coercion and secrecy that is the rot at the core of adoption as practiced in America today.

Here is a case where adoption is being pushed, but I think permanent legal guardianship would be far more appropriate.
http://www.mlive.com/living/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2009/06/adoption_girl_is_eager_for_a_f.html

AdoptAuthor said...

Please go to this link:
http://adoption.about.com/od/adoptionrights/Adoption_Rights_Issues.htm

and then click on "Anti-Adoption"

AdoptAuthor said...

Please go to this About.com link:

http://tinyurl.com/lk24ep

and click the "anti-adoption" link

Here's what it says:

Anti-Adoption
For those of the adoption triad that feel that they have been lied to, mistreated, or abused by the adoption industry.

HUH?!? Yeah - just a bunch of bitter, disgruntled folk who are against something otherwise wonderful.

Eduction and changing attitudes, as I said, is a long process. part of the process is taking adoption down - a notch at a time - from its pedestal.

O Solo Mama said...

Yes but when you go there and go to Ghost Dancer's Anti-Adoption pages and click on Adoption Hatred, you get a nice little taste of what I was talking about. Sure she quotes some humdingers by a-parents. But what is the point of painstakingly extracting these quotes and giving them extra air time? (Reminds me of a tirade I just got into on another blog.) We could find quotes by the anti-adoption brigade that are equally crude, cruel, and illogical. What is the sum total of such comments at the end of the day? Are they helpful? Do they push the conversation forward? Do they help reform adoption? Or do they just make someone feel righteous for a moment or two? And why believe that people are all this bad? Men say terrible things about women; straights say terrible things about gay men and lesbians; the religious say terrible things about people of no faith and vice versa. Yet these portraits are usually not very illuminating. I used to run a little feature on my blog called Words Make Worlds that featured ultra-dumb comments about single parents (talk about your hate button). I've largely abandoned it because it's too destructive and it doesn't *go* anywhere. This is a perfect example of something that doesn't change attitudes.

AdoptAuthor said...

yes, best to focus on the issues than the labels.

Kippa said...

"yes, best to focus on the issues than the labels."

Well, it *was* you who brought up the subject of labels.
But I agree. Boil it down.
As far as I'm concerned, the issues are equal access to personal records, unjustifiable separation of families, the commodification and exploitation of persons.
And, of course, last but not least, the $$$.

maryanne said...

I would agree with Kippa on the core issues. Especially taking the big money out of adoption. As to the solutions, they need to be flexible and fit individual circumstances, and be based on individual needs, not ideological positions. There is no "one size fits all."

I think that family preservation, guardianship, foster care, and adoption all have their place. Many situations that formerly were steered towarda adoption would be better served by family preservation in some cases, and gaurdianship in others. Foster care needs to be drastically cleaned up and for temporary emergencies, not long-term care. Help should be available to mothers and families with temporary problems that would make it difficult to keep an infant that is wanted and loved. No adoptions should be coerced, and choice should be truly informed, not based on lies or pressure.

There would still be a need for adoption for hard cases, kids truly unwanted by mother or family, and those removed for serious and ongoing problems that make their natural family unsafe and unfit. Some of these parents would not want ongoing involvement in their children's lives as non-cutodial parents in guardianship, and others would be a detriment. In some cases termination of parental rights is still necessary.

Yes, there should be many fewer of these cases than there are today, but some would still exist. It will never be a perfect world.

Adoptees should get a certificate of adoption that is legal ID, not an amended BC, and adoptive parents should have the options to change the last name or not, with first name change only for infants who do not yet know their name. As many adoptions as possible should be open, with enforcement, and all records should be open to adoptees at majority and to adoptive parents of minors in time of need.

That's my agenda, but since nobody actually cares what any of us want, it is all just speculation and fantasy anyhow! No, I am not an idealist. Human nature is too flawed.

Am I interested in promoting adoption? No. It roles along just fine without my help. But I am not interested in abolishing it either, just reforming parts of it. So I guess that makes me a moderate reformer.

AdoptAuthor said...

I agree with Kippa as well - but in reverse order of importance.

Removing the profiteering is THE most single most important factor. Money and children's best interests of children and their families, are far too often in direct conflict with one another. All money in adoption is geared toward family DESCONSTRUCTION and reconstruction. There are virtually no dollars allocated for family preservstion.

Children's lives are literally being risked by those who will place children with anyone for a buck - including pedophiles. This is VILE and MUST be stopped! I see no moderate position on this!

You start with that. You start with family preservation as a goal and then when it gets down to if it can work for all, or most, or even some cases is less important and not for us to decide or predict -- it is the goal that is important and putting legislation in place that supports that goal.

No need to waste time and effort arguing over what percent of cases will be successfully resolved in which manner. I do believe that guardianship can provide protection against harmful parents and also suppose it would be very reasonable for a guardian to apply to sever all visitation rights just as in the comparative example of a divorce. So, again, these to me are minor details -- what it is called and how it plays out. More important to focus first on the BIG issue - get the $$ and corruption and exploitation OUT!!

Kippa said...

Preview

Kippa said...
Yeah, well.
In case you didn't notice, I *didn't* list in order of importance.
In fact I quite deliberately put the $$$ signs at the end in order to draw attention to the importance to the commercial and profiteering aspect of adoption.
Which is why I wrote, "last but not least".

It's called understatement (Clearly something about which you have no idea), and since it got *your* attention, I can only think it worked.

Twisting other people's meaning to suit your own agenda is not nice.

AdoptAuthor said...

I stand corrected. I meant, and should have said: "not in the order listed." My apologies.

The good news is that we are focused on the same ISSUES!

I just really want to drive home the point that the$$ is the root of all the other evil - including the sealed records.

AdoptAuthor said...

My very sincere thanks to all who commented here and helped me examine my own views more in depth, and express them more clearly. As a result of your comments, I have updated this post and linked it in the right-hand column. I am grateful for the thoughtful discussions this post has opened....that is the major purpose of this blog: to stimulate conversation and educate us all.

PS Hope ya'll like the new look as well!

The Improper Adoptee said...

Your views don't need to be examimed Mirah-maryanne and kippa's troll behaviour does. They start trouble everywhere and have with me too-all they do is cut everyone down. I agree with your views on Adoption and the Adoption system. Why? Becuase I have LIVED it.

The Improper Adoptee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mirah Riben said...

POST SCRIPT to Mary Anne Cohen:

I am sure you remember Dr. Randy Severson? A man you admired immensely, respected highly and fawned over? Well I am sure then you must know that he WROTE THE BOOK on FAMILY PRESERVATION, entitled the Soul of Family Preservation.

And perhaps you are aware that he said in that book:

"Open adoption and open records are important byways. But they are not the most compelling route. Family preservation is."

Is your hero Randy also anti-adoption? Is he using Family Preservation as CODE for being anti-adoption?

Look at the top of this page and you'll see, I liked the quote so much I gave it a permanent place on my blog header!

Anonymous said...

"Prospective "adopters" who find this not in their liking do not have to, as there are hundreds of parents vying for each child in need."

If this is the case then why are there so many kids in Foster Care and a shortage of adults that are willing to even adopt these children from Foster Care let alone just become permanent legalized babysitters?

Mirah Riben said...

It is a fact that there are far more people vying to adopt than children who are free to adopt which is what creates the DEMAND that creates the coercion, exploitation, corruption and child trafficking for adoption.
There are approx.

100,000 children who COULD be adopted from foster care but last year only about 500 were because adopters chose from a menu of options and prefer to try for a newborn domestic infant or international adoption.

If one in FIFTY of those who have stated they would adopt, would adopt a child from foster care did so, there would not be 100,000 children in US state care who cannot be reunified with their original parents.

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget