22 Mar

What stuns me is the contradictions/differences between countries that all had their own versions of forced adoptions during the same period…

Australia has completed the Senate Inquiry into Forced Adoptions and in the 20 recommendations is a call for the government to apologize. It is also interesting to note that before this inquiry, Australia learned that how adoption had been practiced was wrong, and to my knowledge all (or most) domestic adoptions are now done through state agencies, not private, and the profit has been taken out. That parenting is the first priority and adoption is last, and mothers pensions and health care are the norm.  Feel free to correct me if I am wrong on this.

Canada is also starting to warm up to some type of Inquiry into Forced Adoptions although with the Conservative Party having the majority in the federal government, it may take a while.  In the Senate (not elected) Senator Art Eggleton has publicly stated there should be an Inquiry, yet I don’t know how much weight he has as the current federal government has appointed a lot of conservatives to the senate recently, to ensure they have a majority there as well.  The push may have to come from the provinces to reach the federal level.  A class action lawsuit has been filed in British Columbia and it is expected that other provinces will be hit with similar actions as well.  In Ontario, MPP Monique Taylor has pushed for a provincial inquiry into the practices.  

Just like Australia, although perhaps not as well, Canada learned that how they practiced adoptions in the past was wrong and the number of domestic adoptions are very few outside of foster care.  There are still private agencies but the scale is nothing like the US even comparing the population differences, and whether or not there are private agencies is determined by the laws in each province.  I could not find any province that provided domestic (non-foster) adoption statistics.  It’s important to note Canada also has a year maternity leave and you can qualify for unemployment insurance, provided you have enough weeks of employment. Universal health care at little to no monthly cost, as well as other services are available to mothers.

For Intercountry adoptions at least the Canadian Federal Government is willing to call the issues for what they are Child Trafficking and Corruption

Ireland which had the same history, has also learned those practices were wrong.  There was an inquiry into the Magdalen Laundries by the Human Rights Commission in 2010, but there are calls for further inquiries into the vaccine trials on babies for adoption and how the bodies of those infants who died were treated, as well as other practices.  Ireland also exported a sizable number of babies to the US estimated to be a minimum of 2,000 during this period according to this submission to the UN in 2011 by the Adoption Rights Alliance.

In Ireland today, non-family domestic adoptions for all intents and purposes are rare from what I could find.  Ireland has an estimated population of 4.5 million and 2008 (most recent report) had a grand total of 67 non-family domestic adoptions of which 25 were done by persons or authorities outside of State and only 1 private placement adoption. Of the 67 non-family adoptions only 3 were under the age of 12 months for that year. 

The 2008 report from Ireland (link above) includes this in the opening statement (bolding mine and I also included a link to the actual act):

The purpose of the Adoption Act 2010 is to improve standards in both domestic and intercountry adoption. The regulatory framework governing adoption has been strengthened in an attempt to ensure that the best interests of children are protected at every step throughout the adoption process.

Accredited bodies – organisations delivering adoption services – must comply with the terms of the legislation, which was first published in January 2009. The new legislation seeks to end the practice whereby a single adoption agency could provide the full range of adoption services, from pre-birth counselling to post birth placement with prospective parents. This was a very clear policy decision taken to avoid the obvious conflicts that could arise.

Ireland has also made a concerted effort to make Tracing for adult adoptees easier, but hasn’t made progress on changing the laws for adult adoptees to access their original birth certificates to my knowledge.  They did take the manual index cards of adoptions and created an electronic index with 19 separate fields that could be searched in different combinations, and I believe it is a centralized registry.  The above report also details statistics on that as well.

Germany has state processed domestic adoption as well and to get an understanding of how they operate please read this post over at International Adoption Reader to understand the fundamental difference of how she sees Adoption as an Institution vs Adoption as an Industry or Establishment elsewhere.  The snippet below does not adequately cover everything so go read her post.

Domestic infant adoption cannot and must not be facilitated by private agencies. If a couple applies to adopt domestically (except for stepchild adoption most likely for an infant), their application is taken care of by the same youth welfare authority that is responsible for providing homestudies. You would consequently never find a private body recruiting “birthmothers”, since this is simply illegal, as private adoptions are. Women who are pregnant in difficult circumstances will be offered a really broad range of support – from mother child homes for teenagers to enough welfare money and child support for other situations.(The last cases of forced adoption happened in former socialist East Germany, more than 20 years ago.) Generally, family preservation is the first choice in social work, and children who need to be taken out of a family due to neglect or abuse will be foster children in a setting which allows and supports first family contacts on a regular basis.

I have only chosen to cover a few of the countries that I believe have taken steps in the right direction since the era I was adopted in.  

The USA on the other hand hasn’t learned from the past the same way, nor does it appear the least bit interested in looking at the way our mothers were treated or any even talking about it, let alone initiating a Senate Inquiry.

They haven’t restricted the private adoption industry in any meaningful way I can see, like the other countries.  Instead, the private adoption industry appears to have focused on how to get more women to surrender their babies for adoption, to working on getting the laws in states changed to allowing for pre-birth expenses to be paid, as well as reducing the waiting period/revocation period in some states.  Federally they have worked on as getting the government to pay back the costs of adoption under the Adoption Tax Credit. They adjusted from having a society that demanded women surrender their babies to finding methods to convince women they should surrender to a better home and how they could have “open” adoptions, but never worked to ensure the laws in each state fully protected (if at all) those mothers to ensure the adoption stayed open. They changed their tactics to also include pre-birth matching schemes (that also include hospital plans), and advertising for “birthmothers”, but my question is even though the methods are different, are they really all that better, or just different. 

Finally, something I have watched brewing for several years in the US is the mind-set change back to my era, and the politicians are working hard to do just that by systemically reducing the choices and options a mother has.  Shannon LC Cate whose personal blog is Peter’s Cross Station has a post on Blog Her that speaks to that much better than I could hope to do, so please read it.  The GOP War on Women’s Subtext: A Return to the Baby Scoop Era.



Posted by on March 22, 2012 in Adoption, Ethics


Tags: ,

19 responses to “Why?

  1. charlotte

    March 22, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    If only people truly understood, that being adopted changes a human for a lifetime !!!! I am an adult adoptee so I do know what I am talking about . Adoption should be the very very last choice, for forever it will effect a human, there are lifelong consequences for any adoptee !!


    • The adopted ones

      March 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      Charlotte – very slowly that understanding is happening but not fast enough.


  2. Cassi

    March 22, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    This is a great post. I hope it’s okay that I shared it.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see any change for adoption for the states any time soon. There is too much profit and power intertwined with the adoption industry at the moment. Trying to make changes here is like chipping away small sliver by small sliver at a brick wall that has been firmly cemented into our culture for a very long time.


    • The adopted ones

      March 22, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      Coming from someone with your writing skill – I’m honored.


  3. iAdoptee

    March 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Amazing and extremely informative post. I would like to share it as well. I’m not surprised at all that the United States is lagging way behind other countries. Over here, money and power are considered way more important then ethics and equality when it comes to adoption.


    • The adopted ones

      March 22, 2012 at 7:36 pm

      Feel free – I do think there is a striking contrast between all the countries – some ahead of others in certain ways and not in other ways. I know I missed a lot but the post would have been pages long…lol…


  4. cb

    March 22, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Each state in Australia is different. In NSW, there is a mandatory sheet required to be given to all expectant parenting considering relinquishment:

    From the above sheet, I note the following:
    “If a child in NSW is to be adopted by a family to whom they are not related, this must be arranged by an accredited adoption service. The accredited adoption services in NSW are:
     Anglicare Adoption Services
     Barnardos Find-a-Family Program
     Centacare Adoption Services”
    Adoption and Permanent Care Services, Community Services, NSW Department of Human Services.”

    They would all have to follow government guidelines. I don’t think adoptions aren’t free from what I believe but wouldn”t cost more than about $4000 (I don’t know where I got that figure from but read it somewhere).

    They are then made legally binding by the Supreme court:

    The legal effect of adoption
    Adoption is the legal process which permanently transfers all the legal rights and responsibilities of being a parent from the child’s parents to the adoptive parents. In New South Wales, adoptions are made legally binding by the Supreme Court.
    When the adoption application is made, the court looks carefully at:
     the best interests of the child, both in childhood and later life
     the parents’ consents or evidence about why the parents’ consent is not required
     the suitability of the adoptive family
    the arrangements for the adoption plan
    f the court is satisfied with the above, the Judge proceeds to make an adoption order. Once an order has been made, the adoptive parents will, from that time on, be the child’s legal parents.”

    Most adoptions are foster care adoptions but there are still a couple of infant adoptions a year. Here is a sheet about adoption in NSW for PAPs:

    This site about foster care includes all the abovementioned accredited agencies to give you an insight into what they provide.


  5. Real Daughter

    March 22, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    I don’t think US mothers and adoptees will ever get an apology or a settlement. The USA doesn’t apologize….and right now, they’re too busy trying to get into women’s vagina’s via ultrasound probes.

    I want an inquiry as to where the hell most of us were for months after we were born. What were they doing to us? Were they doing experiments on us…practice babies? Not only am I not permitted to have my original birth certificate, I am not permitted to know ANY of the details about where I was for almost 6 months after I was born. Not where I was, not who had me, and not my medical information or milestone information. Who is this protecting? Not my first Mother. It is protecting the agency….and perhaps the government.


    • The adopted ones

      March 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      I was “somewhere” for 2.5 months – where, who, what – who knows. The state does not have a file on me although I was a direct to state voluntary surrender according to the court file and everyone involved. My mother was spared the maternity home route.


  6. eagoodlife

    March 23, 2012 at 1:25 am

    Here in Oz the Report following the Inquiry as you state listed twenty recommendations.Some of those require not only Fedearl Government to apologise but also State Governments and the institutions involved in forced adoptions.There are requirements for what is an acceptable apology, it will not be sufficient to say it was the custom of the times to treat mothers in the way they were treated.It must be acknowledged that the treatment was to any ordinary person, cruel and inhumane.Plans are already being made for the apologies with adult adoptee input.
    Domestic adoption has gradually reduced over the years as mothers have been supported and the concept of ‘illegitimacy’ has disappeared.In my State it has disappeared. Even transnational adoptions are down now and supporters believe it is due to the long wait times and the red tape.There is still a way to go for us older adoptees, some are still vetoed, fathers names on BC’s are rare but this will be changed in future.We do not have the support of all mothers, one group actively bully, ridicule and abuse us whenever they get the chance.


    • The adopted ones

      March 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      I think Australia has showed strength in how they have faced it even if it took a long time. I am sorry to read your last statement – that is beyond sad.


  7. shannon2818

    March 23, 2012 at 2:01 am

    Go Australia, Ireland, Germany, and Canada! Boo US 😦


    • The adopted ones

      March 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm

      Canada is lagging behind in some very vital areas though and needs to play catch up. I do see positives in how for example BC has crafted their adoption laws – very “everyone” is protected and methods to ensure the protections are kept.


  8. Sheeka Strickland

    March 25, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Hello to The adopted ones and everyone else. Thanks for sharing this info on what other countries are doing. The US likes to think its a leader in most areas, but when it comes to adoption, they often ignore the rights of its own citizens. I agree with real daughter, I doubt the US will ever give families any kind of acknowledgement of its wrong doing. My mom gave birth to her first daughter in the late 60’s. Our family is lucky – we reunited 10 years ago, but my mom still lives with the trauma of that dark period of her life.


    • The adopted ones

      March 25, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      Sheeka – welcome. I love your blog, the reporting you have done, your skill at writing and most of all – your view/take which is so seldom heard from. I have you on the blog roll but would really like to recommend a few of your posts here in a post if that is okay with you.


      • Sheeka Strickland

        March 25, 2012 at 7:41 pm

        Thanks! Share whatever you like. I’m new to blogging and still learning my way. I’ll add your blog to my blog roll too (as soon as I remember how to do it)! And let me know if there are other great blogs I haven’t come across.


  9. The adopted ones

    March 25, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Skeeka – there are so many great blogs out there who can write so much better than I ever could. Start going through the blog roll here. Fleas Biting, Adoption Truth, The Declassified Adoptee, Love is Not a Pie, and so many other blogs – each with a different voice – I like see all sides but of course have my bias as well. Just dig in one morning and see what you like – of course it isn’t complete but I keep working on adding voices.



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