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Old 10-05-2012, 04:17 PM
 
203 posts, read 199,867 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiffjoy View Post
I cannot understand why adoptive parents would fight against improving ethical standards in the adoption industry unless 1- it makes some adoptive parents feel guilty regarding their child's adoption or 2- some adoptive parents are concerned it will decrease the number of children available for adoption

To me, as an adoptive parents, the ethical problems with our current industry practices are blatantly clear.

Some actions that I find unethical:

I just filed the forms for finalization. There was a check box where I could choose to have the hospital where my daughter was born removed from the new birth certificate. This should absolutely not be my choice. (I did not choose to remove it.)

My husband and I will be listed as her parents of birth on her new BC. We are not. Although I am one of her mothers, I am not her mother of birth. I am her adoptive mother. The state is forcing my husband and I, as one of our first acts as our daughter's legal parents, to lie. We are given no choice. That is a blatant violation of ethics on multiple levels.

We are allowed the power to decide if our daughter can have her first BC that we retain (which we will of course do- we have several copies to make sure she always has her OBC). The state may refuse to give her a copy if she requests. This is absolutely a violation of her rights, a clearly unethical practice.

Because of our unusual adoption (met through a friend the day before our daughter's first mom gave birth, then just used an agency to complete paperwork), our daughter's parents had 30 days to change their minds. They took 24 of those before signing relinquishment papers. They had time to really live with their choice and be sure. Time to process and think. Time to heal after giving birth. This should not be the rare case, but the norm. Signing relinquishment papers 24 hours after giving birth, with the adoptive parents expectantly waiting for "their" baby is unethical. There is an element if coercion in that action. The law should be on the side of the natural parents and give them time to truly weigh their decision post-delivery.

Open adoption should not be something adoptive parents can dangle before first parents and then rip away if they so choose. This is unethical. Biological parents are not allowed to indiscriminately decide to not allow the other bio parents access to their chd. They must go through the court system. Adoptive parents being allowed to lie or change thier minds about open adoption is highly unethical.

While money is necessary to run an agency, all you have to do us investigate the financials of some if these so-called non profits to see they truly do make profit, just in the form of sickeningly high salaries. This isn't even limited to adoption agencies, so I cannot understand the contention over this? This is the case with all non-profits- they can be highly corrupt and their category of non profit can be highly misleading. Many adoption agencies charge excessive amounts to advertise PAPs. What about lawyers in independent adoptions? They make a ton of money, and they are not non-profit.

Corruption is rampant in some countries where US citizens do or have adopted. Guatemala? The stories from that country are horrifying. Ethiopia is starting to have those same stories. I could name tons if cases of corruption that have been revealed in the news.

If actual adoptive parents would remove themselves from the equation, that is, not take it as a personal attack on their specific adoption, I think many more would be able to see the clear ethical violations. When viewing adoption as a whole, I can see many, many problems that need to be addressed.

Just as a sidenote, we do not struggle with infertility. I have deep compassion for those who do. That being said, when the agency we used for the paperwork for our adoption found out that not only do we have a biological child, but we have no fertility issues, they were quite rude. They said they only work with people with fertility issues because "they are more deserving of babies and there are only so many available." We did not meet our daughter's parents through the agency, and since we needed them and it is money, after all, they so kindly (sarcasm) offered to make an exception in our case. But I was told that I was basically stealing a baby from a more deserving (ie, infertile) couple. How naive I had been to believe that adoption is about the child, not the parents. I thought adoption was about finding the best second home possible for a baby when her parents decide they are not able to be that home (for whatever reason). It is not. It is about finding babies for couples. My experience showed me this quite clearly. While I have deep compassion for people struggling to have a baby, I do not believe that gives them some unwritten right as first in line to another couple's baby. That is unethical.

Of course, these are just opinions. Ethics is personal. But I believe that right and wrong is more clear cut, and on some of the above points, there is a clear right and wrong.
This is a very intriguing post by an adoptive parent. As an adoptee, I'm always encouraged when adoptive parents step back from their own personal situation to take a critical look at the adoption industry and its practices. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Tiffjoy.
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:17 PM
 
1,879 posts, read 1,855,336 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiffjoy View Post
I cannot understand why adoptive parents would fight against improving ethical standards in the adoption industry unless 1- it makes some adoptive parents feel guilty regarding their child's adoption or 2- some adoptive parents are concerned it will decrease the number of children available for adoption

To me, as an adoptive parents, the ethical problems with our current industry practices are blatantly clear.

Some actions that I find unethical:

I just filed the forms for finalization. There was a check box where I could choose to have the hospital where my daughter was born removed from the new birth certificate. This should absolutely not be my choice. (I did not choose to remove it.)

My husband and I will be listed as her parents of birth on her new BC. We are not. Although I am one of her mothers, I am not her mother of birth. I am her adoptive mother. The state is forcing my husband and I, as one of our first acts as our daughter's legal parents, to lie. We are given no choice. That is a blatant violation of ethics on multiple levels.

We are allowed the power to decide if our daughter can have her first BC that we retain (which we will of course do- we have several copies to make sure she always has her OBC). The state may refuse to give her a copy if she requests. This is absolutely a violation of her rights, a clearly unethical practice.

Because of our unusual adoption (met through a friend the day before our daughter's first mom gave birth, then just used an agency to complete paperwork), our daughter's parents had 30 days to change their minds. They took 24 of those before signing relinquishment papers. They had time to really live with their choice and be sure. Time to process and think. Time to heal after giving birth. This should not be the rare case, but the norm. Signing relinquishment papers 24 hours after giving birth, with the adoptive parents expectantly waiting for "their" baby is unethical. There is an element if coercion in that action. The law should be on the side of the natural parents and give them time to truly weigh their decision post-delivery.

Open adoption should not be something adoptive parents can dangle before first parents and then rip away if they so choose. This is unethical. Biological parents are not allowed to indiscriminately decide to not allow the other bio parents access to their chd. They must go through the court system. Adoptive parents being allowed to lie or change thier minds about open adoption is highly unethical.

While money is necessary to run an agency, all you have to do us investigate the financials of some if these so-called non profits to see they truly do make profit, just in the form of sickeningly high salaries. This isn't even limited to adoption agencies, so I cannot understand the contention over this? This is the case with all non-profits- they can be highly corrupt and their category of non profit can be highly misleading. Many adoption agencies charge excessive amounts to advertise PAPs. What about lawyers in independent adoptions? They make a ton of money, and they are not non-profit.

Corruption is rampant in some countries where US citizens do or have adopted. Guatemala? The stories from that country are horrifying. Ethiopia is starting to have those same stories. I could name tons if cases of corruption that have been revealed in the news.

If actual adoptive parents would remove themselves from the equation, that is, not take it as a personal attack on their specific adoption, I think many more would be able to see the clear ethical violations. When viewing adoption as a whole, I can see many, many problems that need to be addressed.

Just as a sidenote, we do not struggle with infertility. I have deep compassion for those who do. That being said, when the agency we used for the paperwork for our adoption found out that not only do we have a biological child, but we have no fertility issues, they were quite rude. They said they only work with people with fertility issues because "they are more deserving of babies and there are only so many available." We did not meet our daughter's parents through the agency, and since we needed them and it is money, after all, they so kindly (sarcasm) offered to make an exception in our case. But I was told that I was basically stealing a baby from a more deserving (ie, infertile) couple. How naive I had been to believe that adoption is about the child, not the parents. I thought adoption was about finding the best second home possible for a baby when her parents decide they are not able to be that home (for whatever reason). It is not. It is about finding babies for couples. My experience showed me this quite clearly. While I have deep compassion for people struggling to have a baby, I do not believe that gives them some unwritten right as first in line to another couple's baby. That is unethical.

Of course, these are just opinions. Ethics is personal. But I believe that right and wrong is more clear cut, and on some of the above points, there is a clear right and wrong.
Good to hear your perspective.
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:39 PM
 
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Kaykee, adoption in Australia is all handled by the government & various church agencies working on their behalf. Adoptive parents only pay for the processing of legal papers, but to be honest, domestic adoption is so rare that it is actually hard to find exact figures. Private adoption is illegal. A new birth certificate is issued with the adoptive parents listed as mother & father but the difference here is that on turning 18, all adoptees can apply & receive their original birth certificate & their adoption file. Legally it is the same as adoption anywhere else, so not like guardianship, but our guardianship system is much better here in providing legal protection for the child while living with family or friends.
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:05 AM
 
1,024 posts, read 984,035 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keribus72 View Post
Legally it is the same as adoption anywhere else, so not like guardianship, but our guardianship system is much better here in providing legal protection for the child while living with family or friends.
This is what I don't understand:

Guardianship seems to be overall in the best interests of children, but so many people act like adoption is the one & ONLY solution to providing loving homes for children that need them. That is obviously not true & what it comes down to is that:

1. Many PAPs want complete ownership over someone else's child (I want to parent a baby of my own, I don't want to consider another parent while parenting any child, etc.).

2. Want little to no hope for that child when it comes to re-connecting with their original family.

Thankfully not ALL adoptive parents feel that way, but certainly many do. So long as those are true prerogatives for adopting domestically or internationally, the best interests of children are lost.
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:50 PM
 
9,133 posts, read 9,215,624 times
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Quote:
Adoptee rights groups were responsible for the laws changing in Oregon, Rhode Island and Maine. Those states now grant adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates.

You ask for one, we give you three.
Heck, I support opening adoption records for adoptees too. I support making open adoption agreements enforceable.

That's not what this argument is about. Its about measures that place so many restrictions on private adoption that it becomes so difficult that the process gradually grinds to a halt.

I the vague criteria of "ethical adoption" only meant opening records that would be one thing. As it is, its a vague concept that could stand for many things.
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:01 PM
 
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There are universally accepted standards - and the US is a signatory to the Hague agreement on adoption and is both a sending and receiving signatory to the agreement which means they agreed to follow those rules IN COUNTRY as well. And you know what? Ireland another signatory of the Hague agreement will not allow couples from Ireland to adopt from the US because they don't feel the US adheres to the the Hague agreement by their laws and practices in country - they did allow some from the state of Florida but closed it because of actions of those agencies that were prohibited under the Hague, and if Ireland authorized the adoption would make them complicit and breaking their signed agreement.
I've actually read the full text of the Hague Convention on Adoption. Have you? The ethical standards on adoption you refer simply relate to considerations affecting international adoption. There are some policy statements about keeping a child in their country of origin when possible and other statements indicating that adoption is a positive process that should be available when adoptive families cannot be readily located within that country.

Nothing here that would really relate to domestic adoption in the USA at all.

Other people have responded to my comments about the lack of universality when it comes to standards concerning "ethics in adoption" by citing me standards from private groups like "PEARS". I read through the PEARS standards too. They seem to define ethical adoption by saying adoptive parents are entitled to an "ethical adoption". So, I'm still at something of a loss when I seek a universal definition of "ethical adoption".

Look guys, this is the reality. You want a universally accepted notion of "ethical adoption"? Than get one out of fifty state legislatures to pass the kind of law that you want. Than come talk to me. That's the kind of standard that I want. One which you can legitimately claim was adopted by at least one of the fifty United States.

Whine all you want to about the lobbying power of the "adoption industry". The whole adoption industry in this country earns less money than the pet food industry. Yeah, it sounds really big, powerful, and bad to me. I think the problem really is that you folks are loud and vocal, but when it comes right down to it that there aren't that many of you. Politics is a question of numbers and influence. Sure, money is part of that influence. However, I could list you twenty political movements in this country that succeeded with minimal monetary resources. They did it by effective organizing, by getting people on their side, and persistence.
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:24 PM
 
203 posts, read 199,867 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
I've actually read the full text of the Hague Convention on Adoption. Have you? The ethical standards on adoption you refer simply relate to considerations affecting international adoption. There are some policy statements about keeping a child in their country of origin when possible and other statements indicating that adoption is a positive process that should be available when adoptive families cannot be readily located within that country.

Nothing here that would really relate to domestic adoption in the USA at all.

Other people have responded to my comments about the lack of universality when it comes to standards concerning "ethics in adoption" by citing me standards from private groups like "PEARS". I read through the PEARS standards too. They seem to define ethical adoption by saying adoptive parents are entitled to an "ethical adoption". So, I'm still at something of a loss when I seek a universal definition of "ethical adoption".

Look guys, this is the reality. You want a universally accepted notion of "ethical adoption"? Than get one out of fifty state legislatures to pass the kind of law that you want. Than come talk to me. That's the kind of standard that I want. One which you can legitimately claim was adopted by at least one of the fifty United States.

Whine all you want to about the lobbying power of the "adoption industry". The whole adoption industry in this country earns less money than the pet food industry. Yeah, it sounds really big, powerful, and bad to me. I think the problem really is that you folks are loud and vocal, but when it comes right down to it that there aren't that many of you. Politics is a question of numbers and influence. Sure, money is part of that influence. However, I could list you twenty political movements in this country that succeeded with minimal monetary resources. They did it by effective organizing, by getting people on their side, and persistence.
I have already stated that it is my feeling that adult adoptees gaining access to their original birth certificates is a first step toward a more ethical adoption system. A first step. You have stated that you agree with this first step:

"Heck, I support opening adoption records for adoptees too."

All I would ask that if you really do support equal access to original birth certificates for adoptees, consider helping us out. We have already succeeded in changing the laws in some states. And we are always looking for more supporters. Again, I view this as a first step. Where do we go from there? Who knows.

I will tell you that there are large adoption agencies (who are members of the NCFA lobbying group) that actively oppose equal access to original birth certificates for adult adoptees. There are also religious special interest groups that actively oppose equal access to original birth certificates for adult adoptees. So it is not an easy road to travel. But we could always use the support of adoptive parents who believe their children should be treated as all other citizens.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:02 AM
 
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Mark, I'm new, so I'm not clear on if you are an adoptee, adoptive parent, or first parent. So forgive me for that. But as an adoptive parent myself, I cannot understand this pushback against general ethical improvements in adoption?

Adoptive people are indeed a minority, as you have alluded to. As such, it is incredibly challenging to enact change. That certainly does not mean that the existing laws are ok just because they haven't been changed. Throughout history, unjust laws have been changed through hard work and enlightening others to the unjustness of the laws.

I could list many things that are unethical about adoption. Again, this is coming from an adoptive parent. But clearly, the most unethical is the OBC issue. My adopted daughter will have a falsified birth certificate that lists me as the woman who gave birth to her. This is a blatant lie. How could anyone not see this as unethical?
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Mark, I'm new, so I'm not clear on if you are an adoptee, adoptive parent, or first parent. So forgive me for that. But as an adoptive parent myself, I cannot understand this pushback against general ethical improvements in adoption?

Adoptive people are indeed a minority, as you have alluded to. As such, it is incredibly challenging to enact change. That certainly does not mean that the existing laws are ok just because they haven't been changed. Throughout history, unjust laws have been changed through hard work and enlightening others to the unjustness of the laws.

I could list many things that are unethical about adoption. Again, this is coming from an adoptive parent. But clearly, the most unethical is the OBC issue. My adopted daughter will have a falsified birth certificate that lists me as the woman who gave birth to her. This is a blatant lie. How could anyone not see this as unethical?
Tiff,

First, welcome to this forum.

Let me give you a little background. I'm an adoptive parent X 2. Both of our adoptions occurred back in the 1990s and were domestic infant adoptions.

I'll start by repeating something I've already said about four times here. I personally support open birth records for adult adoptees. In my own case, its not an issue. Both our adoptions are open and we have close relations with both my daughter's birth mom and birth dad. We have the same relationship with my son's birth parents, although we are not as close to them.

I would also support reasonable measures that would allow for the enforcement of open adoption agreements. It is unfair if an adoptive parent promises this arrangement and than reneges on the agreement. It should be enforceable as any other contractual guarantee is.

What I don't support are drastic laws that allegedly "protect the rights of children" by creating a situation where adoption becomes virtually impossible. Some here constantly refer to the laws that they have in Australia. If you check the results of these laws, what you'll observe is a sharp falling off in the number of adoptions since they were enacted. Its not an exaggeration to claim that adoption rates have fallen by 90% or more in such countries. Laws with some similarities are in effect in many European countries. Open records laws are a red herring here. What most of the people talking about "adoption ethics" are really discussing here are laws that would restrict adoption.

I don't share the notion that adoption should be the "very last resort". Rather, I think adoption is a relationship that should be determined by birthparents and adoptive parents. If a prospective birth mother wants to place her child for adoption, she should generally be allowed to do so with minimal intervention from the state, social workers, and others. Some of these laws require birthmothers to go before committees and justify their decision to place a child for adoption. Others have very long waiting periods before an adoption can be finalized. Still other countries have absolute requirements that birthfathers be located and be required to consent to adoptions even when they can't be located or determined because of the circumstances of a pregnancy.

Others here want to abolish private adoption agencies. I say as long as they are following the laws of a state, there is no more basis for abolishing these agencies than there is abolishing any other entity that provides a legal service to others. I am not a huge fan of the state providing services. In my own state, DCFS did such a horrible job administering foster care services that the federal courts intervened and essentially took over the system for about two years. I support the state providing these services when private alternatives are not available. When private alternatives are available they tend to work better.

Than there are those who believe that charging virtually any fee for adoption services is "baby-buying" or "child-trafficking". These people just don't seem to get the notion that any service that is provided in a capitalist country has a cost to it. That cost has to be covered in some manner or another. Here's one reason why adoption is expensive in this country. Very often, agency personnel begin work with 10 prospective birth mothers. Out of those ten, its not uncommon for eight or nine to change their minds before the process ends. This means out of 10 prospective birth mothers that only one ultimately places her child for adoption. Somehow, the time and expense of dealing with the nine mothers who change their mind before the process is completed must be covered. We are talking about the time of the adoption workers and often living expenses for some of these birth mothers up until the point where they change their minds. I don't like adoption fees either. I had to pay them twice. However, if you shut down private agencies or impose limitations on their fees, you by definition limit adoptions.

Finally, I have other philosophical differences with a number who post here. They would tell you that the sole purpose of adoption is to provide a home for a child who cannot be cared any other way. I think adoption has dual purposes:

1. Providing homes for children;
2. Helping infertile people build a family.

The second purpose is not morally objectionable as long as a child is not obtained through kidnapping or trickery. There are some women out there that don't want to raise children. There may not be a lot of them, but they certainly do exist. There are others who want to raise children, but not at the age or time they became pregnant at. Abortion often is an option for such women and I make no moral judgments for or against it. I will simply say there are women who don't want to raise children and don't want to have an abortion. My children's birth moms both fit into this category.

I respect all people who truly advocate for the welfare of children. Keeping children in homes where they are not wanted though is advocating for them. Keeping children in foster care for infinite amounts of time because the identity of a birthfather cannot be determined is not advocating for children's rights. Encouraging some people with shaky backgrounds that may include drug use, neglect and abuse to attempt raising children is not advocating for those children. Ending an international adoption program from a foreign country because of only a few documented cases of abuse is not advocating for the rights of children. Regulating adoption to the point where it become almost impossible is not advocating for the rights of children.

Finally, its just dishonest to claim you are not "anti-adoption" when you support laws would, in effect, prevent 90% to 95% of all adoptions. That's where I am coming from. I hope you can see that even if you disagree with it.

Last edited by markg91359; 10-08-2012 at 06:44 AM..
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:36 PM
 
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Thanks, Mark. I won't respond to everything you said. As you say, I respect your right to believe as you wish even if you and I disagree, and we indeed do, on several things. But I did want to comment on two things alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
I'll start by repeating something I've already said about four times here. I personally support open birth records for adult adoptees. In my own case, its not an issue. Both our adoptions are open and we have close relations with both my daughter's birth mom and birth dad. We have the same relationship with my son's birth parents, although we are not as close to them.
Being new and reading tons of posts from tons of people, you might have said it already but it got lost amongst everything else. From the recent posts I was seeing from you, I didn't get this general impression.

I would disagree and say I feel it's an even greater issue, then. If the altered BC is meant to protect the identity of the parents who do not want to be known (and that is the way closing OBCs was sold when it was legislated), then why in a fully open adoption is there a falsified BC? I feel an even greater passion about it when I know the pain this causes my daughter's first parents because we know them and have a relationship with them where they can express this. My daughter will always know the truth, so why the fake BC?

Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
Finally, I have other philosophical differences with a number who post here. They would tell you that the sole purpose of adoption is to provide a home for a child who cannot be cared any other way. I think adoption has dual purposes:

1. Providing homes for children;
2. Helping infertile people build a family.

The second purpose is not morally objectionable as long as a child is not obtained through kidnapping or trickery. There are some women out there that don't want to raise children. There may not be a lot of them, but they certainly do exist. There are others who want to raise children, but not at the age or time they became pregnant at. Abortion often is an option for such women and I make no moral judgments for or against it. I will simply say there are women who don't want to raise children and don't want to have an abortion. My children's birth moms both fit into this category.
I disagree with number 2. It is completely unrelated to the child being adopted. A child should not be seen as a source of healing for infertile couples, although of course they can be (this is not isolated to adoptive children- children in general make a parent's life richer and more blessed). But adoption should not exist to serve the needs of adults. Ever. It should exist solely to serve the needs of the child. Period. That is my belief, and I further believe that when your item number 2 enters the equation, it tips the balance of ethics in favor of the potential adoptive parents because they are the ones with a voice, money, and power. Finding good second homes for children who are unable to stay with their parents should be the sole purpose of adoption. Infertility should have nothing to do with it.

In the interest of full disclosure, we do not have fertility issues. When this was discovered by the agency who we used to simply complete the legal paperwork for our adoption, they were very upset with us. I was accused of stealing a baby from a more deserving (ie, infertile) couple. This in spite of the fact that our daughter's parents found us apart from the agency and had already chosen us. Our fertility or lack thereof had zero bearing on our ability to provide a good home for our daughter, to maintain a relationship with her parents according to their wishes, and to love her as our own. These were some of the characteristics our daughter's parents were looking for, and they were even more comfortable with us because we have a mutual friend (who introduced us). To say that we should not be adopting, in my opinion, contradicts the purposes of adoption, IMO.

Last edited by tiffjoy; 10-08-2012 at 12:50 PM.. Reason: spelling and grammar corrections
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