A 2006 grand jury report revealing a pay-to-play adoption system came as a shock to many Oklahomans but not so much to those who knew the system best. Babies were all but traded for cars, televisions and vacations. [Not "traded" - BOUGHT, as prospective adopters were allowed to wine and dine expectant mothers in the hope of coercing them out of their babies.The "expenses" loophole allows for the intent of pre-birth contracts to be all but destroyed.]
In the years since, the Legislature has worked to better regulate the adoption process. Last year, measures requiring public reporting of adoption expenses, specifying where adoptions must be finalized, and ensuring only one prospective adoptive family at a time be billed for a birth mother’s expenses became law. Those were good and necessary changes. [But don't stop the practice all together!]
But adoption reform needn’t be a hit-and-run endeavor. It should be a continual process to make sure those involved aren’t simply finding new ways to game the system and needlessly putting children at risk.
A legislative task force is considering more regulation. One idea is to require agencies and attorneys to report private adoptions. Under existing law, only adoptions through the Department of Human Services are tracked. [!]
“Before, the confidential nature of the process allowed these bad practices to creep in and become part of how adoptions were done by some attorneys and judges,” said Rep. Jason Nelson, co-chairman of the task force. “It’s part of the overall goal here to give everybody confidence that our adoption process in Oklahoma is not corrupt and to make adoption a more attractive option in Oklahoma than abortion.” [Then stop promoting it, and let women make an informed decsion. And stop letting aps pay their 'expenses."
The adoption process can be fragile and is clearly emotional for all involved. All the more reason to make sure the system is above reproach.
And for goodness sake - shouldn't EVERY state report private adoptions?!
How can the US promote and encourage this back alley slip shod secretive practice that only protects the buyers and allows them to coerce mothers?!?