Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ethica's Support FOR Adoption

  •           Developing and sustaining relationships in open adoptions
  •           Identifying particular protections needed for LGBT adoption triad members
  •           Listening to narratives on domestic, international, foster care and IVF adoptions
Seeking to "find solutions to barriers" for anyone SEEKING to adopt is contrary to family preservation and puts the emphasis in adoption on finding children for parents and not the other way around. You cannot both support family preservation and continued adoption separations at the same time. 

Ethica's mission statement currently reads:  "Ethica advocates for national and international improvement of adoption practices, offering support, education and advocacy to all persons affected by adoption."  This clearly states persons effected (past tense) by adoption - it does not state they support persons wanting TO adopt!

However, they make no bones about their position:
Is Ethica pro-adoption?
Yes! All of us at Ethica are ardent supporters of ethical adoption. Done well, adoption is a blessing to the children of the world who need families, and to the families who want to parent more children. While Ethica speaks out about the difficulties and problems in the adoption community, we do so out of a desire to improve adoption, not eliminate it.

The problem is, however, that ethical adoption is undefined and unregulated and does not exist! Until it does, how can they support adoption?  It's like a cancer specialist saying it's Ok to smoke "safe" cigarettes! Their aint no such thing! Nor is there any enforced open adoption - it's all a promise and a sham.

How is supporting adoptions that begin with falsified birth certificates ethical?

56 comments:

Jack Sweeley said...

I find adoption ethical in the case of a child whose parents refuse to make the change from a life dominated by drugs, alcohol, or abuse of the child and there are no blood relatives who are any better.

ABCs are legal but not moral or ethical. Closed adoption is legal but not moral or ethical. For profit adoption agencies are legal but not moral or ethical.

All reasonable effort and expense must be given to assist parents to keep their children. As long as parents work toward changing their lives they must continue to be given the support they need.

The question is, "What do you do with the child when it is not safe for it to live in the parent's home and there are no blood relatives that can provide it?" Putting them in temporary foster care is problematic. Guardianship is also problematic. Group homes are also problematic.

The answer to the question is that there is no good answer to the question.

Mirah Riben said...

I agree and my book answers your question:

It's called Permanent Legal Guardianship or Simple Adoption. It gives the care-givers full rights without permanently destroying a child's heritage, past, name. It is alternative child care with HONOR and truth. And it is moral and ethical. And it truly puts the needs of children first before those of any adults.

Think adoption prior to the 1940s. It's THAT simple and that possible...

Anonymous said...

Adoption prior to the 1940's was all about finding a home for a child that needs one.

Today's adoption practices is all about giving adoptive parents a "gift". We (adoptees) are simply chattel. AP's nowadays want OWNERSHIP, they want their name on the TITLE aka ABC.

Sealing a person's birth certificate should NEVER be an option. Until Ethica supports that, I cannot support Ethica.

I knew that group was a crock.

Myst said...

No adoption of today can be ethical. Erasing someone's identity through the law and taking away family ties is NOT and can NEVER be ethical. The law has taken ethics out of adoption completely so the only was we can put ethics back in is scrapping adoption and starting over again with a new law that IS ethical.

Permanent care, yes, I am much more in favour. Adoption is a guillotine. There are no compromises and no room for the best interests and welfare of the child. To have the words "ethical" and "adoption" in the same sentence is an oxymoron.

Mirah Riben said...

As I said, Ethica does a lot of good, as does Donladson, while both - sadly - continue to support adoption.

As for returning to pre-1940, I need to add a caveat. SOME adoptions prior to 1940 were indenture. We certainly do not want to return to THAT! But basically, someone took in a child whose mother had dies...and it was simply a known fact that the Jones family was raising the Smith boy. It was done out of compassion, not for pay as foster care is today.

Mirah Riben said...

Myst - not now. But it COULD be, if:
all profit is removed, and it is a last resort for children who have no family who can safely care for them, and then as above - no falsified BC, etc.

Myst said...

I am still not sure that taking those two aspects out of adoption will actually help.

Adoption as a law is about raising a child not born to you AS IF they are your own. The process of the law itself to absolutely make out as if a child's family never existed so they can be adopted cannot be changed without the law becoming something different to adoption. Remove this aspect of the legal side and you actually have no adoption any longer but guardianship. It is the process of stripping a child down to be no one that makes adoption what it is. Adoption has never been ethical; even in Ancient times according to their laws (Code of Hammurabi from 1795BC), adoptees wanting to return to their real families would be punished by either having their eye or tongue torn out. Adoption law has been dark for sometime, not just from the 1940's onwards.

I don't feel adoption can ever be ethical because the act of the law of adoption itself is founded on such dishonesty and the idea of making out one can simply replace an entire person's genetics and history. No law ever can make this process ethical. Best to scrap it altogether and turn the focus on what we CAN do to help children, keeping in mind the rights, best interests and welfare of the child which often means caring for the whole family in some way or other.

maryanne said...

I don't really get why you are so upset that groups that never claimed to be anti-adoption are not anti-adoption. It is my understanding that Ethica is for fully identified open adoption, where everybody knows everybody and they stay in contact. Nobody's identity and connections are "wiped out" if they all know each other, no matter what the amended birth certificate says. Yes, it would be great to have Amended BC replaced by certificate of adoption, but there is still a great deal that can be done to make adoption more ethical even under the present system.

These are two separate issues. You have chosen to be anti-adoption until adoption is replaced by guardianship. Ethica has not. Donaldson was always very pro-adoption, but with open records for the adoptee. I doubt it troubles either of these groups greatly that you do not agree with them on this.

Jessica Pegis said...

I'm not sure whether it's really anyone's place to tell another organization what to do or think. Many reformers support adoption. E. J. Graff also supports adoption and believes it has its place. In the wake of the Tory Hansen case she wrote:

Thousands of internationally adopted children are now worrying that if they misbehave, their families will send them back to their first countries. That’s traumatic. Russia is threatening to make adoption policy based on this outlier. If it does indeed close, thousands of institutionalized children who desperately need homes may end up stranded and without hope. That would be a deeper tragedy.

Family preservation and adoption are not necessarily mutually exclusive unless you believe that there is never any place for adoption, ever. But that hard line is not likely to win over many followers. In Russia and in China, just to give two examples, there could be more family preservation if systems, policies, and traditions that led to children being abandoned or taken into care were reformed but we don't really control those situations. They are deeply enmeshed in the cultural and political life of those nations. Of course, internationally, there should always be a push in the direction toward policies that keep families together. (Bulgaria is trying to do this now by shutting down its entrenched system of institutions and moving in the direction of family support.) In the meantime, adoption can work for some children and can be made as ethical as possible.

If your argument is that the separation of a child from his or her family is never ethical, then you are anti-adoption and should say so. I do not agree with you and many also do not. I also fail to see how you will achieve a world without adoption.

You say you also believe in guardianship but at no time have you outlined how this would work across the board. I see a role for guardianship too. For example, I think it would be great for North American parents to act as guardians/hosts to older earthquake survivors from Haiti (teens) who need to complete their education but whose family members can't support them. Obviously, these children should not be adopted and they DO need to return to their countries of origin to assist in the rebuilding of that nation. I also think children who are old enough to understand should be asked what relationship they they would like to have—guardians or parents—and their wishes should be taken into account. Domestically, I can see this working in other situations too.
But I fail to see how guardianship would work across the board. If you could outline as some point in some detail how guardianship ought to take place worldwide, perhaps using a specific country as an example—maybe Russia or China—how it would replace the current adoption systems, and how you would convince potential adopters of the benefits of this approach, that might be fruitful. Guardianship always seems to come up but is never explained fully as a comprehensive solution.

Mirah Riben said...

"It is my understanding that Ethica is for fully identified open adoption, where everybody knows everybody and they stay in contact."

1) That's an interesting "understanding" however openness is not stated anywhere in their mission or goals. It is as I stated a goal of undefined "ethical adoptions" that are "done right" with no further explanation given in their mission or goals.

2) Even if your "understanding" were fact, nothing in that statement states that they are PRO-adoption and will educate, help and support the continuation of adoption as it is currently practiced with NO ENFORCEMENT of PROMISES to remain in contact. Supporting promises that are easily broken is UNethical! It is counter to a position of creating of ethical adoptions.

My criticism based on their claim to educated and support those effected by adoption (past tense) also holds.

Surprised? No. Just pointing out the dichotomies between their stated mission, goals and actions. Today conferences supporting adoption - tomorrow - what? arranging them so they can be done "right" and "ethically" according to some undefined idea. That is exactly what justifies many adoption business and private facilitators. They will each tell you that THAY do it RIGHT!

I have yet to hear one adoption agency claim they provide unethical adoptions....yet, clearly many have the ethics of used car salesman, pimps or drug dealers. They get paid to deliver a service and product.

You do not need to agree, as I do not fully agree with Myst that adoption cannot be made into a fully ethical way of caring for children who need care.

Mirah Riben said...

Jessica,

Because I disagree with the route Ethica is taking in supporting adoption, and point out where it is outside their own stated mission and goals, does not mean I am attempting to tell them what to do...anymore than your disagreeing with me is an effort to change my beliefs and positions on issues.

Obviously I am not on their board and have no such power nor would I expect to. I am merely stating my opinion of what they are doing, as you are stating your opinion of what I have said. In a free country, opinions are allowed to be expressed: Yours, theirs and mine.

As for my position on family preservation, we have had this conversation ad nuseum and my positions are clearly stated in the FAQ tab and the "About Family Preservation" tab above below the blog title. They are also fully spelled out in detail in my book.

I am stating very clearly PERMANENT legal guardianship. While helping children like Haitian orphans temporarily is also a fine idea, this is different that what I propose to replace current adoption.

Please read my FAQ and THEN if you still have questions, I will be more than glad to answer.

I agree that International and domestic adoptions need different solutions as each country needs to work internally to assist mothers in crisis. Our focus must be on helping U.S. FAMILIES IN NEED first and foremost and let other countries help their own, with whatever governmental and private financial aid they can obtain. I encourage those who are concerned about the plight of children in Africa and elsewhere to contribute to programs such as SOS Children's Village and Save the Children which help impoverished families by providing water, food and medicine etc without taking their children from them to meet a demand or anyone's need to be a "savior."

Mirah Riben said...

P.S. The comments here prove one thing remains constant:

Critics on one side accuse me of being too radical and "anti-adoption" while on the other side I am not "anti-adoption" enough.

Yet, ironically, neither chose to accept me as what I am a Family Preservationist nor am I seen by my detractors as ever being moderate or balanced, or as ...and simply saying the same things as the U.N.

While you, MaryAnne, are on the hard-line radical all-or-nothing side on the aces to OBC issue and refuse to accept any compromise steps to reach that goal....I, am less hard line on that issue, and while I my appear to you to be hard line on adoption practice, I am pragmatic enough to know that it is not about to totally stop, but will hopefully be reformed and regulated and not promoted and encourage to meet the needs of adults, and "ethical" be clearly defined.

As I have said about extreme positions on access: extremists are needed to get to a middle ground. That is true of ll aspects of adoption and most all issues that seek social change.

maryanne said...

Permanent guardianship is not adoption. It is more like a divorce situation where one parent is the custodial parent, but the other still has some parental rights. Isn't never terminating parental rights part of this? And always keeping the original first and last name, and some kind of visitation rights for relatives, even if they are so had it must be supervised? That is not adoption, according to those who promote it or those who loathe it.

It one way to provide a home for children whose parents cannot raise them and is useful for relative adoptions, and older child adoptions where there is already a relationship with the natural family. Kids in this case should have a say in whether they want this kind of arrangement or not.

I do not think it would be acceptable to those seeking infant adoption for the most part. Fine, you say, the less people who adopt the better. But I do not see guardianship totally replacing adoption, because it is really a different thing.

I do not see you taking any sort of "moderate" stand on this, and I find this view as anti-adoption as Myst or others would like. You are in agreement with them that adoption is always unethical and needs to be replaced with something else that is not adoption. Read what Nyst said...is there anything there you actually disagree with?

Mirah Riben said...

First off, as I said...it was called adoption prior to the sealing and issuing of false OBCs in the 1940s - so why couldn't it again? That's preposterous.

Secondly, I said right in my first comment here in response to Jack, I am speaking about PLG. And yes, it is somewhat comparable to those post-divorce custody cases in which one parents has full custody...but unlike the vast majority where both parents share custody.

Why should that not be a model? In divorce both parties are the biological parents of the child and divorce custody law recognizes the importance of NOT severing those ties. In fact it is a felony offense to deny a divorced parent visitation they have been granted. These laws have all been enacted to protect parents rights but more importantly the best interest of children.

Isn't that what open adoption is presented to be? How many young expectant or new mothers understand that their "open" adoption is a far cry from this because they are not provided legal counsel or any truly impartial counseling to explain to them how very different it is and that any ongoing contact is an uneforceramble promise because it begins with them relinquishing ALL their rights?

When someone can tell me how changing a child's name is in the best interest of the adopted child who grows into an adult, I will buy falsified birth certificates. No one ever has! Some states used the excuse of protecting the adoptee from the stigma of illegitimacy, but that no longer exists and more evidence points to the fact that - as in NJ - OBCs were sealed to protect the sanctity of the newly formed adoptive family FROM invasion by the birth mother. Not to protect the adoptee.

The worst sin of all is to “blot put their names” – to erase their identity as though they never existed – "a more powerful threat than physical death."

I disagree with Myst that it has to be scarped altogether and that adoption can never be ethical. I believe we need to define ethical and then put it into effect and enforce it. I have presented on ethical adoption and will be again at the St. Johns, NY conference this fall.

As for kids choosing, as I sad in my book, I believe that children over 12 or 16 years of age should be allowed the right to change their name to that of their adoptive/guardian family if they CHOOSE to. If not, they always can as adults for a very minimal filing fee. it's no big deal to do a legal name change....but it should be done at the choice of the individual, not done for them with no ability to access their origins.

I hope I have answered all of your question ONCE AGAIN...

Mirah Riben said...

Do we all agree with this statement from Donaldson Institute:

"Prohibiting adopted people from getting their personal information raises significant civil rights concerns and potentially serious, negative consequences for their physical and mental health."

I would assume so.

The question then is are children and teens "people"? Do they have any human rights?

The Convention on the Rights of the child, seems to think they do, and it states:

Article 8
"Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily his or her identity."

Article 9
"States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child's best interests."

The only reason to change a child's name and seal his original info is to placate the paid customers in adoption. It says so right in NJ law and I am sure elsewhere as well.

We either have a process of caring for children that caters to those doing the care and overrides the rights of those they care for, or that cares for children in need while protecting the rights of the children needing care. It CAN be done. There is no reason not to. What is is called is insignificant - it's just a word. What's important is doing it right and with respect.

Jessica Pegis said...

"Prohibiting adopted people from getting their personal information raises significant civil rights concerns and potentially serious, negative consequences for their physical and mental health."

I think we all agree on that. But the reason my daughter doesn't have hers isn't because the government sealed her birth certificate. She just doesn't have one.

Mirah Riben said...

Tha's very sad, Jessica and a violation of CRC:
"The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents."

And does she now have a fabricated BC that lists you as the parent to whom she was born?

If not, how will she ever get any ID?

Jessica Pegis said...

Are you being obtuse? My daughter was abandoned. Her birth was not registered (that's kinda the whole point over there). She has no birth certificate. Duh. Where the f--k do you think these kids are going to get their birth certificates from? God?

I have stated so many times publicly that we own no falsified documents, save possibly the one that estimates my daughter's birthday except that after the Chinese version was analyzed by a searcher, it was stated with some certainty that the language suggested she was born on that day. We only have an adoption certificate which lists me as an adopter and refers to my daughter's "original parents".

Gee, I thought you knew that.

Jessica Pegis said...

You don't know that I adopted from China? Funny because I have mentioned the details so often on my own blog and commenting specifically on the issue of documentation, citizenship, and papers.

Mirah Riben said...

No, Jessica I am not aware of the details of your daughter's life or your adoption of her. That doesn't me lacking in intellect, Jessica.

Funny - I was considering commenting that your daughter's unique situation had nothing to do with the points being made here...but instead expressed sincere sympathy and in exchange I get your uncalled for pejoratives....

Mirah Riben said...

Jessica, I comment on MANY blogs and do not recall everyone's story, nor do I expect or get upset when people that comment here are unaware of mine.

Jessica Pegis said...

Nobody's upset. You visited my blog tons of times. I remember your details; I assumed you remembered the basics of mine. My situation is not unique. I am among tens of thousands of Canadians who adopted from China and they all have the same paperwork I do.

The fact that the US makes you re-adopt and settle for a fake amended birth certificate is really more a US government/homeland security issue than an adoption issue.

Mirah Riben said...

"The fact that the US makes you re-adopt and settle for a fake amended birth certificate is really more a US government/homeland security issue than an adoption issue."

Yes, Jessica, and THAT is the issue being discussed: the issuance of fake/fraudulent birth certificates by US states. How is that ethical and how those who purport to be about ethical adoption could support and promote more of it.

Jessica Pegis said...

The subject of your post was Ethica and its support of adoption, not the specific law in the US. I am sorry you have that policy but it does not describe adoption in general and does not address the main issue in the OP, which is the notion that, according to you, "ethical adoption is undefined and unregulated and does not exist". I would think examples outside the US might be instructive.

Also, I am surprised you don't know my details since you describe me as a "Single adoptive mother of a 12-year old girl from China, adopted when she was 1" on a website you were instrumental in creating:

http://adoptionresourcecenter.org/

Mirah Riben said...

Jessica,

I have no idea what your issue is.

I copy and paste descriptions of DOZENS of sites and abstracts of articles etc posted at ARC. I do not commit each to my memory.

Goodnight. I wish you peace...

Anonymous said...

Do you ask people if they wish to be listed on your site? Do they even know they are there? Isn't this the site you tried to disclaim ownership of, had a whole blog about how you "found" this great site?

Anonymous said...

"I copy and paste descriptions of DOZENS of sites and abstracts of articles etc posted at ARC. I do not commit each to my memory."

No one would expect you to remember every article and abstract, but it is passing strange that you are suddenly unable to recall an adoptive parent whose blog you've listed as "supporting the goals of family preservation and ethical adoption".

http://adoptionresourcecenter.org/index.php?option=com_weblinks&view=category&id=26&Itemid=58

Mirah Riben said...

Old News. Adoption Resource Center was launched anonymously thinking it was better to have the non-commercial site unaffiliated with a commercial venture, i.e. AdvocatePublications which has openly been listed as its primary sponsor and supporter since day two of the site being activated.

Advocatepublications also sponsors TwiceLost.org. All of this is on both sites and on Advocate's site.

Listings are acquired by choice and by scouting. Any site listed that requests being removed - which so far has been one out of DOZENS - has been.

Any questions AdoptionResourCecenter.og should be directed there or to me personally and not in a comment on an unrelated blog post.

Mirah Riben said...

Old News. Adoption Resource Center was launched anonymously thinking it was better to have the non-commercial site unaffiliated with a commercial venture, i.e. AdvocatePublications which has openly been listed as its primary sponsor and supporter since day two of the site being activated.

Advocatepublications also sponsors TwiceLost.org. All of this is on both sites and on Advocate's site.

Listings are acquired by choice and by scouting. Any site listed that requests being removed - which so far has been one out of DOZENS - has been.

Any questions AdoptionResourCecenter.org should be directed there or to me personally and not in a comment on an unrelated blog post.

Jessica - you have LONG past being obsessed with yourself and this issue. Get over it! Every listing on ARC supports those goals or they are not listed.

You said I visited your blog "tons of times" but to my recollection, it's been maybe a year since I have. And, as i recall, my comments there were issue-oriented - not focused on your personal life, which to be honest is of little concern to me.

When you posted here as Jessica Pegis, I had to stop and think long and hard just to remember that you blog as OSoloMama or whatever.

I am 65 years old with several chronic fatigue and several other chronic ailments that cause "fuzziness" in concentration and memory. I DON'T REMEMBER THE DETAILS of your adoption! SUE ME or whatever, but let it rest.

**** I will not post anymore comments on the subject. *** It is DONE. Stick a fork in it already, and get over yourself, please.

maryanne said...

Let's see. You favor permanent guardianship instead of adoption. You are opposed to any adoption where an amended birth certificate is issued and find it unethical. You are against full termination of parental rights under any circumstances. Yet you still insist you are not anti-adoption. "A rose by any other name......" Permanent guardianship is not adoption. Informally raised by relatives is not adoption. Open adoption makes it clear that the adoptive parents are the legal parents, so it is not the same as shared parenting or guardianship with both sets of parents having some parental rights. If you want to replace one legal construct with another, you are "anti" the construct being replaced. Not too hard to understand.

Also, what is with the "pre 1940" date? What happened then? Records were sealed at different times in different states, I think the earliest was 1918 and the last in the 80s or maybe even early 90s. Adoption law changes have been gradual and very uneven from state to state. Kansas and Alaska have always been open, but still issue an amended birth certificate.

Children have always been raised informally by grandparents and other relatives, even friends and neighbors with no legal adoption. Sometimes this worked well and the kids were loved, something they were resented and mistreated, Being raised by a relative does not guarantee anything. It is not the same as being raised by biological parents, just as adoption is not, and it is not always preferable to stranger adoption.

Informal child raising goes on to this day especially in minority neighborhoods. It did not stop in 1940, and these families are not without problems, especially if legal issues of custody arise. These are the cases where legal permanent guardianship would be a good thing to give these families some legal protection. But it is not a total replacement for adoption; at least, very few people see it that way.

Mirah Riben said...

Let's see...you hate and disagree with everything I say and come here to let it be known. Should we call you Mirah-hater instead of MaryAnne? Are pro-lifers anti-abortion? Of course they are? Do they strongly object to being called that? You bethca! Is that their right to self-identify and is it for the most part respected?

I have explained AD NUSEUM that being called anti-adoption sounds as if one is suggesting that dangerous, unfit parents should keep their kids and thus I do not like the nomenclature. How many times do I have to repeat myself until you GET IT?!

Yes, adoption needs a total overhaul from the bottom up. But it can still be called adoption when it's done. I don't care what it's called as long as it serves the needs of children and not adults or money-makers. It's still called adoption in Australia, but Family Preservation comes first and adoption is almost totally eliminated.

As for the "pre-1940s" it's short hand for prior to sealing of adoption records - and you know that damn well!

And...LET'S SEE....you believe that adoptees should have EQUALITY and ACCESS "the same as non-adopted persons" --- but only when they are ADULTS! If they are in need of information prior to that - tough! You hate and are opposed to all COMPROMISES because a humanright is a human right - but favor denying tht right to anyone under age 18.

All righty then...that's your right. We disagree.

End of story!

I have given you voice here and I am done having the same old same old dragged up again and again.

Mirah-hater - as I have also said before - get your own blog and spend ALL of your time bashing me and anyone else...but I will not waste my time on this nonsense over and over and over. The whole world knows you disagree with me. We get it. You've made your point.

cedartrees said...

Maryanne said: "Permanent guardianship is not adoption. It is more like a divorce situation where one parent is the custodial parent, but the other still has some parental rights. "

Not necessarily.

I think that what has gone missing in the whole conversation regarding "permanent legal guardianship" vs "adoption" is the reality that adoption causes a legal change in 2 separate areas: parental rights AND filiation. Two separate legal principles. It is this change in filiation that is reflected in falsified/sealed birth records (and inheritance rights and 'next of kin' medical situations of course). And, along with transfer of parental rights, the total termination of original filiation and its transfer to unrelated biological strangers is also reflected in the reality of open adoption "contracts" being unenforceable.

Why isn't filiation (legal recognition of who is legally related to whom) being talked about in discussions of adoption alternatives? Why is there an assumption that it does not matter?

Permanent legal guardianship may provide a method to permanently transfer ALL parental rights BUT preserve legal filiation. This would ensure safety for the child who was apprehended due to child abuse, but does not require that child to have a falsified birth record and the original family being turned into legal strangers in order for that child to obtain permanent substitute care.

I think that there is room for more discussion of adoption alternatives.

Mirah Riben said...

Well, you are right, Cedar, that the word filial is not discussed per se. However, since a filial relationship looks at the parent child relationship from the perspective of the child - but it can be accomplished biologically or legally - as I understand the term (if I'm incorrect, please enlighten me)... I am not sure how the use of that word in discussions about falsifying to whom one is born is relevant or enhances the discussion. What am I missing?

What I notice is that I asked a very specific question: Can anyone tell me what the advantage to the adopted child as he grows into an adult of keeping his true identity hidden from him or her? When my detractors - the anti-Mirah crew - had no answer, they changed tracks to attacking me and dragged up old, long-resolved issues that had nothing to do with the issue at hand.

Obviously there is no longer a stigma of illegitimacy once used as an excuse. Nor is it anything odd today for families to have multiple surnames as a result of divorce and remarriage or simply because of women not taking their husband's name, and parenting children from multiple marriages and relationships. So I doubt any child would be teased or feel awkward maintaining his own name -- and as I said, if it does other the child, he can apply for legal name change.

So...if it's not in the child's best interest, and its a violation of a person's human rights, why do it? Why is it only a violation of the human rights of adults? I asked and got no answer to that either. At what moment in a person's life does it become wrong and a violation of their rights? The day they turn 18?

To me that's like keeping people enslaved and freeing them when they turn 18. (And PLEEEZ refrain from diatribes on how adoption is different from slavery or indenture - because that too has been DONE.)

And, yes...I am speaking about adoptions in which there is an OBC and a falsified so-called "amended" cert, Jessica.

Anonymous said...

Other differences aside, the sticking point is that permanent legal guardianship can be revoked and adoption can't. The risk, however small, that this might happen would be a disincentive to all but the Mother Theresas of this world.

Mirah Riben said...

It's intent is PERMANENT, just as adoption - which also is occasionally terminated. I thus see no difference in that regard.

PLG would only be revoked for very good exceptional cause - such as the guardian being abusive, and then well it should be! The natural mother would NOT have the ability to revoke the arrangement, it is permnant.

Anonymous said...

"PLG would only be revoked for very good exceptional cause - such as the guardian being abusive, and then well it should be! "
I completely agree that substantiated abuse is reason for termination of legal parenthood, regardless of whether biological or adoptive.

Perhaps I have misunderstood this:
http://www.law.arizona.edu/depts/clinics/cac/gship.html
"Permanent guardianships can be revoked. Terminations cannot. That simple fact may be critically important in decisions whether to go one way or the other.
The parents have to be aware of the fact. But so do children. Permanent guardianship should not be the direction if it is based on false hope."

and this:
http://law.justia.com/arizona/codes/title8/00873.html
"C. The court may revoke the order granting permanent guardianship if the party petitioning for revocation proves a *change of circumstances by clear and convincing evidence and the revocation is in the child's best interest."

*I think it is the part about change of circumstances that would be of concern to most potential guardians.
"Best interest" is connected but distinct, and the child's opinion may need to be considered there.

At a certain point in a child's life there needs to be a designated legal parent on whom that child can depend. It's not just about permanency for the guardian, it about security for the child.

Mirah Riben said...

I'm looking at a blank canvass onto which we pick ad choose the best of PLG - using it as a MODEL to create the optimal kind of alternative child care possible. It does not have to confirm any existing state statute. It doesn't have to be called guardianship. It could be seen from the other direction as enforced open adoption without a falsified BC.

Mirah Riben said...

I'm looking at a blank canvass onto which we pick ad choose the best of PLG - using it as a MODEL to create the optimal kind of alternative child care possible. It does not have to confirm any existing state statute. It doesn't have to be called guardianship. It could be seen from the other direction as enforced open adoption without a falsified BC, and yes with security, permanency and inheritance rights. Take the best from both!

cedartrees said...

"Anonymous," I believe that you are possibly missing a lot of the point, the discussion, that has taken place in other places regarding the use of what we call "permanent legal guardianship."

You are assuming that we mean what is currently in U.S. and Canadian law, and the majority of us do NOT mean this. We mean is a far a stricter ("cleaner") version.

By "Permanent," we mean permanent. Irrevocable. The exception being that parental rights of the guardian can be terminated as per any other child protection proceeding that includes TPR as part of the process.

The examples you provide out of Arizona law are not applicable. I do not know of any state in the U.S. or province in Canada that currently provides the model that most family preservationists are advocating. You have to look beyond these countries to other ones to see the exact model we speak of.

That is why we are calling it "permanent legal guardianship" to differentiate it from existing "permanent guardianship" situations which in actual reality are NOT permanent (e.g. those Arizona examples).

cedartrees said...

" since a filial relationship looks at the parent child relationship from the perspective of the child..."

This definition sounds like it differs from what I am taking about. Am i right in assuming you mean "filial" as referring to an emotional parent-child connection from the child's perspective? Filiation as i am referring to it is different, the legal recognition of who is related to whom.

I think that the Quebec civil code describes it best, regarding how adoption transfers filiation: "577. Adoption confers on the adopted person a filiation which replaces his original filiation. The adopted person ceases to belong to his original family, subject to any impediments to marriage." The principle of filiation is embodied, explicitly or implicitly, in legal codes throughout North America. (The QCC has whole section on filiation).

Filiation is why adult adoption exists, not to transfer parental rights (which no longer exist/matter once the 'child' becomes an adult anyway), but to transfer legal filiation.

Permanent legal guardianship would not transfer filiation, only parental rights -- this is why birth records would not change. Modern child adoption automatically does change filiation. Contrasted to adoption laws in other nations and times (such as the Roman "adoptio" form) which did not automatically affect/erase the original filiation. Tim O'Shaughnassy has a great chapter on the history of adoption laws ("Reclaiming Adoption's History) in his book "Adoption, Social Work, and Social Theory," where he discusses "incomplete adoption" where ties to (filiation with) the natural family were maintained. If you don't have a copy of this book, i highly recommend it. I think you'd love it. :)

maryanne said...

Just a fact, no attack. Amended birth certificates and name changes started way before records were sealed. They were not instituted at the same time. Jean Paton, born in 1907, had an amended BC and her first and last name changed. But her original BC was not sealed, and as an adult, sometime in the 30s or 40s, she was able to see it and get her original name and her mother's. Some time after that her state sealed the records.

I do not know when the first amended BC's were issued, but suspect the early 20th or late 19th century. Records were not sealed until later, varying from state to state over a period of many years. The unsealed states of Kansas and Alaska issue an amended BC, but the adult adoptee can obtain a copy of the original on request.

Mirah Riben said...

Thanks, Ceder. it's not a term commonly used in US adoption law - at least not that i am aware of. The dictionary defines it as:

fil·i·al (fl-l, fl-)
adj.
1. Of, relating to, or befitting a son or daughter: filial respect.
2. Having or assuming the relationship of child or offspring to parent.
3. Genetics Of or relating to a generation or the sequence of generations following the parental generation.

cedartrees said...

You have pointed out something useful, Mirah. This appears to be the difference between the terms filial and filiation:

1) Filiation (noun) = a formal legal condition, of having recognized legal filiation (family relationship) with another person or a family.

2) ... and "filial" (adjective) being something less formal and not necessarily legally-recognized (re the 3 definitions you provided).

I think that the transfer of filiation is implicit in all state/provincial child adoption laws. But for practical purposes, filiation only pertains to issues of (1) inheritance rights, (2) next-of-kin situations, and (3) falsified birth records. Perhaps for adoption to be deconstructed and critiqued, and a better alternative created, the issue of filiation should be discussed as well as the separate issue of transfer of parental rights?

This is a major legal difference between adoption and guardianship: "Who is legally related to whom?" E.g., after adoption, natural parents are no longer legally related to their natural child, only the adoptive parents are related to that child. Change of filiation results in the accompanying transfer of parental rights -- but could we transfer parental rights without terminating the original filiation? Maybe this is what we want to see as an option. No new filiation means no excuse to issue new birth records trying to fake a birth that never happened.

Mirah Riben said...

"could we transfer parental rights without terminating the original filiation? Maybe this is what we want to see as an option. No new filiation means no excuse to issue new birth records trying to fake a birth that never happened."

Yes...pretty much what I have in mind. No termination of origins and heredity...or "filation." Absolutely no falsified BCs!

However, inheritance is a sticky wicket. In most cases, I would think, it would be in the child;s best interest to obatin inheritance rights from his new "parents" rather than manitain them from his natural parents. I would want any for of PLG t include inheritance rights.

The new guardian/parents - while not redacting person's entire previous life's history and familial connections - are raising the child "as their own" - not a hired hand. Therefore for love, concern and care for the child extend beyond 18 years because it is PERMANENT, unlike foster care. Thus, the child they raise should inherit like a child born to them.

I would also want - in creating an IDEAL alternative care situation for orphans and children with absolutely no family member able to care safely for them - first right of refusal. this is something I wrote about in my first book, The Dark Side of Adoption (1988).

In the event of the death or lack of ability of the new care-givers to continue on as such in a safe manner, and a new placement needed to be found for a still-minor child, the original family would be sought out and looked into as their situation may well have changed for the better and someone among them who wa snot able before, might be able and willing to take on the child's care at this time, and it should mandated that they be considered before making a secondary stranger placement.

This is why we cannot simply follow any existing boiler-plate. State laws for guardianship mostly pertain to the type of guardianship I have for mentally incompetent family member, so that I can make medical and other decisions for him, or are temporary like foster care.

As I said - I want to take the best of all types of care. Children in need deserve no less than the optimal care and as little as possible taken from them as they have already suffered a grave injustice and trauma being separated from all kin - by no fault of their own.


Note, too that AL of my concern is child-centered...despite some of my detractors claiming I am interested in protecting of all mothers, even unfit ones. My main focus always has been on the child, first and foremost. When you do what is best for the child you protect that filial or familial relationship, because it is part and parcel of who and what that human being IS. You cannot protect or care for HIM without protecting, honoring, respecting and caring for THAT relationship! To blot out one's name - to cast off his heritage - is to totally dishonor and destroy a part of that human being's SOUL.

Anonymous said...

How is the child's heritage blotted out if the child is permitted to know that information, while still being legally adopted and having only one set of legal parents throughout his minor years? You seem to be looking at two extremes, fully closed adoption with no information, or some kind of shared custody with enforced visitation as an ideal.

Mirah Riben said...

Well...all 50 U.S. states BLOT OUT the names of adopted persons. In all but 8 or 9 that is FOREVER. In a few the adopted person is allowed to know his true original name and true DOB etc when he is an adult. The rest, never. It is adoption law that is extreme and extremely punitive, not me.

And i think you really need READ what I have said, because I have NOT at all advocated for hared CUSTODY nor forced visitation. PLG clearly gives total custody to the guardian.

Enforced right to visit is fare different than forcing someone to visit who doesn't want to.

I strongly suggest - if you are all serious and not just a passing trouble-maker - to go back and read more carefully - and comprehend what you are reading - before criticizing something you obviously do not understand.

Anonymous said...

Cedar said "You are assuming that we mean what is currently in U.S. and Canadian law,"
Of course I am, because that's what it's called and that's what it means under existing U.S. and Canadian law.
I think it would help to make yourselves clear, and a good way to do that would be not to call something something that something else is already called.
Whether the subject has been discussed in other places is really neither here nor there unless there is a link provided.

My assumption was entirely reasonable, given that label "Permanent Legal Guardianship" is already in common usage, but does not describe the kind of permanency that you propose.
If you *don't* mean PLG as the majority of people in the US and Canada already understand it, why even use the term? It is misleading.

"and the majority of us do NOT mean this."

O.K then, come up with something different then, a label that says what you mean and means what you say.

"The examples you provide out of Arizona law are not applicable"

They are applicable to PLG as presently practised in most of the US and Canada, which is why have I used them as an example. There are lots of other examples all over the web, such as this one from R.I:
http://www.rikidscount.org/matriarch/documents/
Adoption%20&%20PLG%20Chart%20for%20RI.pdf
where the words "Permanent Legal Guardianship" are written in bold at the top of the page.
It additionally states that "Birth parents also can petition the court to have the child returned to them."

But help me out here.
Spell out your vision of PLG and the specific ways in which it would differ from the existing model.
How would you answer Jack Sweeley's questions, beyond saying that permanent legal guardianship or 'simple' adoption is the solution? Which I don't think it is, especially for the kinds of examples he raises.
For instance, would you recommend PLG over adoption for someone like baby 'Angelica-Leslie', found bleeding and bruised in a cold Toronto parking lot stairwell a little over a year ago: http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/429221
Because if so, I think that would be really pushing your case.

Anonymous said...

Cedar said "You are assuming that we mean what is currently in U.S. and Canadian law,"
Of course I am, because that's what it's called and that's what it means under existing U.S. and Canadian law.
I think it would help to make yourselves clear, and a good way to do that would be not to call something something that something else is already called.
Whether the subject has been discussed in other places is really neither here nor there, unless there is a link provided that leads to these discussions.

My assumption was entirely reasonable, given that label "Permanent Legal Guardianship" is already in common usage, but does not describe the kind of permanency that you propose.
If you *don't* mean PLG as the majority of people in the US and Canada already understand it, why even use the term? It is misleading.

"and the majority of us do NOT mean this."

O.K then, come up with something different, a label that says what you mean and means what you say.

"The examples you provide out of Arizona law are not applicable"

They are applicable to PLG as presently practised in most of the US and Canada, which is why have I used them as an example. There are lots of other examples all over the web, such as this one from R.I:
http://www.rikidscount.org/matriarch/documents/
Adoption%20&%20PLG%20Chart%20for%20RI.pdf
where the words "Permanent Legal Guardianship" are written in bold at the top of the page.
It additionally states that "Birth parents also can petition the court to have the child returned to them."

But help me out here.
Spell out your vision of PLG and the specific ways in which it would differ from the existing model.
How would you answer Jack Sweeley's questions, beyond saying that permanent legal guardianship or 'simple' adoption is the solution? Which I don't think it is, especially for the kinds of examples he raises.
For instance, would you recommend PLG over adoption for someone like baby 'Angelica-Leslie', found bleeding and bruised in a cold Toronto parking lot stairwell a little over a year ago: http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/429221
Because, if so, I think that would be really pushing your case.

Mirah Riben said...

Equal human rights need to apply to all human beings. Laws cannot be applicable to some. Even abused children have a right to know their truth while being protected from harm by disallowing visitation or restricted/supervised visitation as necessary - as is also done in divorce.

No one deserves to have the heritage eradicated by a falsified birth certificate.

You are quite right. This poste did not explicity and fully decsribe an alternative to current adoption practice. (1) It's a work in progress, in some of our minds only, and (2) That was not the purpose of this post. This post was about Ethica supporting adoption.

Anonymous said...

In this theoretical construct of an alternative to adoption, would the child be able to refuse contact with natural parents and other relatives, especially in cases where there had been abuse or neglect? Or would the contact be forced on the child whether they wanted it or not?

Mirah Riben said...

Anon - (or MAC posting anonymously)

I just 3 or 4 comments above - at 8:34AM TODAY - I wrote:

"And I think you really need READ what I have said, because I have NOT at all advocated for shared CUSTODY nor forced visitation. PLG clearly gives total custody to the guardian. Enforced right to visit is far different than forcing someone to visit who doesn't want to." "

I already said NO FORCED VISITATION"?


My suggestion would be to leave situations you describe up to family court and social workers interviewing the child to decide until the child was a teen, at which time it is pretty hard to force a teen to do much.

Issues like this are not as black and white as they may seem. (1) Allegations of child abuse are not always true. (2) Many children experience parental alienation syndrome, where (well meaning?) caregivers or a parent poisen their mind and brainwash them against their other or natural parent, and (3) People DO mature and change.

maryanne said...

Well I guess there is no safety in posting as anon on this blog. Please let everyone know that you know all who post. I posted as anon because I thought you would ignore anything from me, your "Nemesis". Does that make you the Superhero?:-) They are the only characters I know who have a "Nemesis". Me and Doctor Evil...

Yes, I read what you write, but a lot of it is not very clear and there are plenty of "buts". None of this is ever going to happen in the real world anyhow, so spin on.

Mirah Riben said...

Oh, MaryAnne, and I thought you did it to make it appear that others agreed with you.

But...in any event, whatever your reasons, it's an interesting turn of events after all the fuss you made about my trying to do something anonymously...and all you self-righteousness about how anonymity is in direct opposition to everything we stand for in adoption reform.

And your reason? That I wouldn't post your comments, when I've posted them ALL!

Oh well...Whatever...

1) No forced visitation means no forced visitation and no matter who asks the answer is the same. And that answer is simple, plain, CLEAR and direct.

2) I suggest you look the word nemesis up in the dictionary. Nothing about Superheroes in the meaning of that word.

But thanks, MaryAnne, for making me look at that definition. It doesn't fit because it's a "formidable" and "usually victorious" enemy. You are none of that. Just a really annoying repetitious nuisance...that just keeps going and going and going...like an obsessed, pathetic energizer battery who needs to get a life other than arguing on blogs - mine and others.

If you used just SOME of that time and energy toward something worthwhile - like fighting with the real enemies of adoption reform...or any number of other things...just imagine what you could accomplish!

I hope you've embarrassed yourself enough to simply stop your obsession of trying to find fault with me or "catch" me in something "wrong." Doesn't it ever get tiring?

P.S. Anonymity is as safe here as on any other blog. Not only am I not a Superhero, I have no super powers. I simply took a good guess cause you are who you are, and it's obvious.

maryanne said...

That is just lame. I very much doubt it was a good guess, and I am not all the anons who post here. There actually are others who do not agree with you. I did two anon posts on this thread, but there are quite a few more who are not me. Care to make some more "good guesses"?

No, I am not embarrassed, not in the least. Just to clarify about the issue of forced visitation, I was asking about the child being forced to accept visits from birthfamily members whether she wanted to see them or not, not the natural parents being forced. You had said this would be up to social workers and family courts interviewing the child, which seems like a lot of intrusive legal intervention.

Superheroes always have a Nemesis, usually in a snazzy costume:-)You don't watch the right movies!

Mirah Riben said...

MaryAnne,

You believe that having courts hear both sides and decide whether to deny visitation is too much intervention, but just stopping it is not? What planet do you live on, anyhow?

I think you are misunderstand and confuse the words ENforced with forced.

As I have sad ad nuseum, no one is forcing ANYONE to visit anyone or to BE viststed by anyone who is dangerous.

What is being proposed is "open adoption" contact agreements that are ENFORCEABLE because they do not reply on a unenforceable promise made after ALL rights have been relinquished. They would have teeth in them backed by court enforcement as in divorce. This does not mean that parents are allowed to abuse their children during visitation or that parents who have been proven a danger to their child allowed unsupervised visitation. PROVEN - after being allowed to present a defense to such charges. Just as in divorce.

The same common sense and judgments - and "intrusion" - that applies in divorce disputed custody cases would apply to any of these contracts that are disputed. Why should people separated by adoption be entitled to any less justice than people with children who dissolve a marriage contract unless you agree with those who treat adoption-separated people as "suspect"? As alleged perpetrators in perpetuity!

Your argument is the only thing here that is LAME and it is offensive.

This is the final straw. Not because we disagree, but because you have been warned and I will not have you come here, call ME "lame" and accuse me of lying because you cannot believe you are as transparent as a window pane - and one that is spelled PAIN!

Find a new place to spew your hatred toward someone who is trying to help families and children....someone who hasn't already banned or blocked you (if that exists).

You have been warned, and warned about personal attacks. You have commented here for the last time, Mary Anne Cohen.

Anonymous said...

"Equal human rights need to apply to all human beings. Laws cannot be applicable to some. . . . . .
No one deserves to have the heritage eradicated by a falsified birth certificate."

I agree, but open records would effectively solve that problem for those children who have been traumatized by serious physical and/or psychological abuse.
IMO they need the safety of anonymity to heal, as well as the sense that they are securely part of a 'safe' family, at least until they reach the age of majority.

I also think those few children who have been abandoned in infancy deserve better than to grow up identifying themselves as wards of the state.

"This poste did not explicity and fully decsribe an alternative to current adoption practice. . . .
(2) That was not the purpose of this post. This post was about Ethica supporting adoption."

The issue of replacing adoption with permanent legal guardianship had already been raised, early on.
I think that getting rid of adoption altogether would be tantamount to throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

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