Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Grandparent Adoptions

Discussed here recently (An Opportunity to Educate) was a letter from a grandmother raising her grandchild who thought whistfully that adoption - by non-related strangers - would have been a more suitable or beneficial arrangemet that raising the chidl within the fmaily.

Sandy Musser, who was recenty honored on this blog and who has been raising her now 6-year-old great-grandson since birth wrote to the above-mentioned grandma:
"I'm a 72 year old great grandmother raising my 6 year old great grandson who I've had since birth. Having a lost a child to adoption when I was 15 (in 1954), I never wanted to have another child missing from our family. My 24 year old granddaughter became pregnant and was an addict. I thought the baby would change her life, but it didn't -- at that time. I stepped up to the plate and took the responsibility. I have never regretted my decision and actually consider it an honor to have positive input into this child's life. He knows that he is loved by all his family members and that this is the clan he was born into, the one to which he belongs, and the one that cared enough to pull together for his benefit. He will never have to wonder "why was I given away?" Adoption is not always what it's cracked up to be and every child wonders at some point in their life - "why wasn't there someone in my birth family who cared enough to keep me." And I that's certainly a fair question. Adoption is always a permanent problem to a temporary problem. As for me and my house, we will keep our childlren, raise them and be responsible for them."

Now comes an interesting decsion in Korea on the subject from the The Korea Herald/Asia News Network:
Adoption of grandchild to help daughter's marriage blocked 
A couple's attempt to adopt their granddaughter to pave the way for their daughter's marriage was barred by the Supreme Court on Sunday.
The confusion the child will undergo after the adoption is graver issue than whether her biological mother has a smooth marriage procedure, Justice Min Young-il said in upholding a lower court's decision.
The ruling is expected to set standards for the adoption of blood relatives, which became increasingly popular after a law was enforced in 2008 deleting all past records of biological parents and foster families of the adoptive children.
According to the court file, the couple identified by their family name Lee has been taking care of their 5-year-old granddaughter since 2006, when their daughter and her boyfriend split right after the baby's birth. The cou­ple thought that the child born out of wedlock would be an obstacle for the daughter's future relationship with another man and decided to adopt the child to let the daughter start a new life.

The request was rejected by local and high courts.
Min said the amount of stress caused to the child would be immense.
"Her grandparents will become the parents and her mother will become the sister in no time. When the child learns about the abnormal family relations, she will be shocked. In the case of adoption, the first thing considered is the welfare of the child," he said.
"The plaintiffs have no trouble in raising the granddaughter in the current status and it should be maintained."
How very interesting! A decsion made truly in a child;s best interest and something we would never see here in the West - actually ordering agsint an adoption, especially by family.

The one unknown in this report is the wishes of the mother - or father - of the child,or in this case also the new husband who would bcome the step father. Is this court decsion forcing someone to be a mother who does not want to? From the little I have read of Asian culture, my guess would be that -- not unlike the US in the 50's and 60s -- the "shame" of the out-of-wedlock pregnancy is more tot he grandparents than to the mothers of such children. In China, the same is true for those who have relinquished girls - it was far more to please their mothers than for themselves.  This adoption for face saving is no doubt what has led the court in its widon to draw the assumption that the child might be told that grandma was his mother and cause confusion. This is the difference in the cas eof sandy Mussers raising of her great-grandson with truth.

When we weigh the pros and cons of in-family adoption it must always be with our finger on the deeper question of, would it be done in honesty or deceit.  Better still, remove formal adoption - which is in and of otself a deceitful process that always begins with a flasified birth certificate - and replace it wit a discussion of care, custody, guardianship... The idea that re-writing hitory with an entirely new - and flase - birth certificate is absurd and holds NO PLACE whatsoever in any child's best interets or care decisions. As this court decsion suggests deceit is stressful and whe the truth is discovered, as it almost is eventually, the person who has been betrayed is shocked and justifiably angry.

ALSO of interest in the Korean article is very sad the fact that aparrently adoption records became sealed there as recently as 2008.


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