Adoption today is so different…

25 Nov

I do not know a single adoptee who has not been told how different adoption is today than our era.  It always amazes me that people think that society and adoption today is that different from yesterday.  Sure we have more gadgets and the internet, but do you really think it is any different at its base level?

I was on one of my favorite websites today “The Adoption History Project” and found some contradictions to the meme of adoption being different today.  Then I took a break from writing this post, and went over to see what Amanda at Declassified Adoptee had today and found this post.

On the Catholic Conference and New Jersey’s Conditional Veto a guest entry by Susan Perry.

As you will see above and below that nothing has really changed – what is going on now is what going on 30 years ago.  Block any move for adoptee rights.  Back then it was to get a national adoption registry established, today, it is to open our records at the state level, but the pro-adoption lobby groups then, and now, put up road blocks every single time. 

National Committee for Adoption, “About Adoption and Privacy of Records,” 1982

(Yes, same organization as the NCFA today, they changed their name from Committee to Council, and now seem to be trying to drop the National and be known only as Council for Adoption). 

The book below talks about how adoption activists, American Adoption Congress (AAC), Concerned United Birthparents (CUB), Jean Paton, supported this national registry and how William “Bill” Pierce then president of the NCFA effectively derailed the act that would have created the registry.

Family Matters: Secrecy and Disclosure in the History of Adoption By E. Wayne Carp

“In 1981 Senator Carl Levin of MI introduced the Adoption Identification Act, which provided for a voluntary national computerized data bank – a clearinghouse – through which adult adoptees, after registering, would be matched with their biological relatives. At a Senate hearing on adoption issues, Levin defended the bill’s utility by noting that an adoption registry preserved “the delicate balance” between the adoptees who felt a need to know more about their own history and birth parents who chose not to communicate with children they relinquished decades earlier. Levin also emphasized the necessity that both parties consent to the exchange of information, a proviso “designed to avoid intrusion into the life of either party or violation of constitutional privacy rights”.”…

“William Pierce, president of the National Committee for Adoption, brought up an entirely different issue. He opposed the bill because it did not define a match as the voluntary registration of all three members of the biological family, thus insisting that the biological father also register, an impossibly high standard. Pierce explained that without all three parties consenting it was likely that the privacy of one of them would be violated. He envisioned a scene where the birth mother would reveal the identity of the birth father without his consent. In addition, Pierce refused to support the bill because it failed to require the involvement of a qualified social worker as an intermediary once a match was achieved or specify a penalty for any adoption agency that violated the confidentiality of the sealed records.”

Note that many/most states at the time and before did not allow the original birth certificate to list the father’s name if they were not married to the mother, nor were they part of the surrender process and had no rights by law…but suddenly the fathers are oh so important and have rights to be protected? Yet even today, many agencies are highly practiced in working around having a father involved in the adoption process, and if they do want to parent their child the agencies fight tooth and nail in the courts to deny those fathers their right to parent. So fathers rights are important when it suits their purpose but just a nuisance when it doesn’t?

Yet that not the only areas where things really haven’t changed in adoption, it goes further as the links will show.  Our parents homestudies while perhaps not identical were in-depth and intrusive.  Minorities were dealt with differently (as in less than).  Our parents weren’t told not to tell us we were adopted.  Links below are all to the “Adoption History Project” at the University of Oregon and are short one page articles.

Myth: The Homestudies today are SO different, intrusive, comprehensive.

Helen Fradkin, “Outline for Adoption Studies,” 1954

Child Welfare League of America, Rating Sheet for Prospective Parents, 1962

Not really different here either – today it is cost of adoption fees by race, yesterday it was different eligibility requirements

Louise Wise Services, Different Eligibility Requirements for Different Children, 1961

Myth: Adoptive Parents were told not to tell 

Agency Philosophy and Policy Regarding the “Telling” of Adoption, 1966

Joan Lawrence, “The Truth Hurt Our Adopted Daughter,” 1963

So tell me really what has changed? When the current generation of adoptees are my age will one write a post similar to this post stating that NOTHING has really changed?


Posted by on November 25, 2011 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child, Ethics


Tags: ,

2 responses to “Adoption today is so different…

  1. eagoodlife

    November 30, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    In fact in my view it is worse in America because of the duplicity, the more ‘sophisticted’ hype and selling techniques and the way in which young mothers are so comprehensively conned.
    Here we’ve had our rights for around 30 years. This week I received a personal apology from the agency that was responsible for my adoption and the way my mother was treated…that has to be progress of sorts.
    It doesn’t mean adopters are doing a better job now though, many of them are not because some parenting skills seem to have been lost along the way along with compassion, empathy and the common sense that would tell most people you don’t post photos of traumatised children on your blog!!.


    • The adopted ones

      November 30, 2011 at 8:39 pm

      Not disagreeing with you at all Von. I am thrilled that Australia has recognised what they did was wrong. The first step is always eyes wide open and a willingness to admit a wrong was done. Sadly how adoption is practiced today is only surface level different. I was trying to show that what the professionals want you to believe is different – just is a different glossy protrayal of the same old, same old. I also think that is why adult adoptees are speaking up and out.



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