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.