Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Adoption Utopia (LONG)

First, I am going to start with these assumptions:

  • Both the natural mother and father agree that adoption is an option for consideration.
  • The natural parents are not under 18 years old.

I have been researching adoption extensively and like anyone interested in conducting true research I have been exposing myself to multiple perspectives within the adoption triad. Let us begin with the adoption “system” in my adoption utopia. Adoption would be a true profession adhering to a uniform code of ethics as outlined by L. Anne Babb (1999). Ethical principles would therefore govern and dictate the practices of adoption professionals who would hold a degree in Social Work with a specialization in adoption. They would be certified as such a professional and hold a license to practice in their state just as an educator must hold a degree, specialize in an area, pass a state exam demonstrating competency and apply for a license. Furthermore, again using education as a model, the adoption professional would be required to obtain a specified level of CEU’s (continuing education) to maintain their license. Adoption would be a state public service and fees would be acquired in much the same way as public school funding (trust me – as an educator and a certified Principal I know the polemics pervading public school funding too.)
Under the professional ethics of the profession, an adoption professional could not serve members of the triad pertaining to the same adoption. In other words, an adoption professional could not ethically, morally, or legally council both the birthparents and the potential adoptive parents. The clients would each have their own council respectively.

Once the child is born, he or she would have an advocate assigned to oversee that the best interests of the child are considered. There would be no pre-selection of adoptive parents before the birth of the child. There would be a period of time after the birth during which the natural mother or father can revoke their consent to adopt without cause. However, in my utopia it would be no longer than two weeks from the birth. After this time period, up to six weeks, the natural family would have to have just cause and the advocate for the child would have to consider the best interests of the child with the ultimate determination made by the court. The child could not be returned to the natural parents without consideration of the best interests of the child, with equal consideration given to both the natural and adoptive parents and no preference to biology as a contributing factor. After the six week period after the birth, the natural parents could not contest the adoption or consent to adopt under any circumstances other than fraud or coercion.

In my adoption utopia giving birth to a child does not mean you own it as your property and can do as you wish. You have responsibilities and obligations to the child to whom you have given birth. If you do not fulfill your obligations as a parent such as feeding your child, clothing your child, educating your child, providing health care, as well as emotionally nurturing your child the state has an obligation to step in and remove that child. Children cannot afford to wait around for a parent to clean up their act, get sober or off drugs, and the numerous other ills of society. Childhood happens ONCE, brains are wired ONCE, synapses are created during a critical period of time ONCE and then the opportunity is gone. I do not support family preservation at the cost of a child who will then grow into an adult and be profoundly and irrevocably affected by the decisions of his parents. Our society clearly understands what a child needs physically, emotionally, cognitively, spiritually, and psychologically in order to develop into a self-sufficient individual of true character who will be a productive citizen in the world. We should not support ADULTS in their abuses of children simply because they gave birth to them. Children are not chattel! Adults have responsibilities in our society. Yes, we should offer social services to assist those in need. Every person on this earth has worth. But the rights of an innocent, helpless child cannot be discarded in the name of family preservation.

Considering I was a PAP through international adoption I feel compelled to include that part of my utopia as well. Orphanages would not be somewhere to store your child with no intention or plan of action. In our case, the natural mother had not seen Andrey in a year. The same applies to the natural mother of Stas. Yet, she was able to come forward AFTER we bonded with the child and AFTER the courts granted the adoption to contest it IN SPITE of the fact that she was homeless, did not want to take him out of the orphanage and never visited him. This is absurd. It was absurd for us to be shown a child who was not truly and legally available for adoption and it is absurd that a child can be abandoned for a year or more and NOT be legally free for adoption. In the case with our second child, Stas, the natural mother supposedly returned on the tenth day of our bonding period after abandoning him in the hospital at birth one year prior. She had no contact whatsoever for an entire year. She pops up while we are bonding with him because she was feeling nostalgic about it being his birthday. She says she does not want him to be adopted and states that she will return in July to get him (it is March 1 at this time.) Not only did they allow this, but she NEVER came back in July to get him and he is STILL in the orphanage today. He is 27 months old. Andrey, our Stephen, is also still in the orphanage as well as his now one year old baby brother who was placed in the orphanage directly from the hospital. Anti-adoption advocates lament over the rights of the poor birthmother and yet SHE was the one trying to bilk us for money in order to stop protesting the adoption. Her sons paid the ultimate price and will continue to pay throughout their lives.

Sorry that my description turned into a bit of a rant, but this is obviously a topic I feel passionately about.


Cassi said...

Excellent post! You made some great points here and brought up another side I had never thought of with your own personal experience.

Lori said...

Thank you, Dawn, for getting people to talk about this.

Good thoughts.