Thoughts after the ruling Tuesday…

27 Jun


Tuesday, I started and then trashed three posts about the SCOTUS ruling.  This morning one of those posts that was about a comment on Twitter, is still circling in my head.  The comment?

A good day for #Adoption

Because apparently that’s all that really matters – that Adoption wins.

I have followed this specific case and read the court transcripts, and there are so many disturbing facts that have nothing to do with the questions raised, or the decision made on Tuesday.  Instead the post below centers around points brought up during the verbal argument phase (whatever it is called), and in the dissent – father’s rights.

Adoption is a legal and social act of finding a home for a child who needs a home.  If you don’t agree that should be the reason for adoption, then you and I don’t agree at the starting point you won’t like the rest of the post.

When you place Adoption on a pedestal and state that Adoption wins, it reeks of entitlement to someone else’s child – with or without consent, especially when specific laws are constructed containing requirements to preserve parental rights that are specific only if adoption is in play.  When your right to adopt someone else’s child is higher than the rights of either of the two people who created the child to parent their child – then what does that say about the society we live in and whether or not they view Adoption as I do – or solely as a means to obtain a child for a family who wants one.  (and yes, the two can work together but the child centered one is primary)

It seems that we live in two worlds.

In the adoption world if the mother wants adoption, then magically the father must just know that she is considering adoption, and to protect his rights – must provide financial support to the mother during pregnancy, and after birth regardless if the child is living with the mother, or as generally the case, the prospective adoptive parents.  He must also register as a putative father (sometimes in multiple states) and within a specified timeframe.  It doesn’t always matter if the expectant mother hid the pregnancy, moved out-of-state, or, the relationship was not conducive to even attempting contact for fear of a harassment suit.  None of those seem to matter much when the adoption card is in play (it’s kind of like the Joker when you think about it).

In the world everyone else lives in, a father is not required by law to support the expectant mother during pregnancy, in fact, he does not need to do anything at all to protect his parental rights, which after delivery and paternity test (if requested), a court will order him to pay support while the child is a minor, and/or still in school, because he is the father and has an obligation to financially support his child.  If he doesn’t, the state has several ways to make sure the support is provided, including jail time.

If a father was required by law to support an expectant mother and register as a putative father regardless if the adoption card was on the table, or not, then I wouldn’t be as concerned because it would be known – a level playing field if you will.  When you put criteria to retain a parental right only if/when adoption comes into play, then you are deliberately trying to elevate the right of one parent choosing adoption, over the other parents rights by changing the goal posts.

It doesn’t work for me – there needs to be only one basic set of rules to follow.

PS…The Atlantic has a post on the ruling, and if you read it consider this post when you read the quotes taken from the ruling, I read them, and then read them again, and in my mind substituted state for congress and Adoption laws for ICWA in the first quote, etc…


Posted by on June 27, 2013 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child, Ethics


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

27 responses to “Thoughts after the ruling Tuesday…

  1. Dannie

    June 27, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Well aside the adoption factor, I’m collecting all these stories now as we found out we are having a boy and I always fear for teen and young adult boys as they always get the short end of the stick should a girl get pregnant. Because the grandparents can lose out as well. :/. Sad to think about what has happened and what could happen simply because you are the guy.


  2. eagoodlife

    June 27, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Doesn’t work for me either.Surely Dannie the lssue here is that all adults with children in their care need to teach about responsible relationships so that boys, and girls, don’t get themselves into that situation of an unwantted pregnancy or where they can be subjected to the damaging attentions of the adoption industry.


  3. kellie3

    June 27, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    I read Justice Sotomayor’s dissent (as you suggested), and it restored a little of my faith. I wish they all would have seen her argument. They seemed so determined to side with the adoptive parents under the guise of “the child’s best interests”. It is beyond comprehension for me why they were so biased. It seems they decided this case more on opinion rather than law.


  4. Don't We Look Alike?

    June 28, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Tao, this is completely off topic, but have you ever written a post about your opinion of egg and sperm donorship? I am looking for articles by adult adoptees about that subject.


    • TAO

      June 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      I have several posts on the subject – not sure if any of them fit your criteria, but here are just a few and the last one is about life lessons learned from dad – and how I think DC failed to apply one of Dad’s top life lessons (and you know I think dad was a giant among mankind).

      There are also several DC blogs in my Blogs page – this one I read the most often.


      • Don't We Look Alike?

        June 28, 2013 at 6:21 pm

        Thanks for these. I really appreciate it!!!


      • gsmwc02

        July 1, 2013 at 6:33 pm

        While those posts bring up some valuable points about the donor conceived world they fail to understand or even recognize for that matter the pain that comes from IF. To get to the root of some of the “entitlement” issues those people have, we need to have a better understanding of the emotional toll IF has and how that drives them to make poor decisions. Unless you have gone through it you have no clue what it’s like. Just as non adoptees have no clue what adoptees go through.

        Until society recognizes the pain that comes with IF and no longer looks down upon the childless, don’t expect the entitlement to a child issues to change.


        • TAO

          July 1, 2013 at 7:29 pm

          Hi GSM,

          As someone new to the blog – you may find that I am too blunt, or that it is hard to understand the point I am making in a post. I am blunt by nature because I am analytical vs emotional. My writing at this point in time is clearer than it was a year ago – but it will never be what it was before – but I see progress and that’s good enough for me – I haven’t even had to edit this sentence once. Progress indeed. If you continue to read this blog – feel free to ask me to clarify or whatever if I am not clear.

          I took the time to quickly review the links I provided to Luanne – all of them were based on choices made within decision – choices that would deny their child either or both the right to know where they came from or access to ongoing family health history. At no point did I say the process was wrong, simply the choices made during the process were – anonymous and the one time medical history that is useless within a fews years at best. This quote below that I can’t attribute to anyone really is important to the choices made in ART:

          “With intentionality, life is not somehow randomly unfair; somebody made it that way on purpose because they wanted it to be.”

          I’ve dealt with my fair share of pain in my life and would never wish another to have to go through it or anything similar. If someone is not at the point where they can consider what impact their choices within their decisions will have on the child – then perhaps they need to take a step back because why would you intentionally chose something with the potential for harm to the child most deperately wanted? That’s when a person needs to stop and think and take a step back – because I can’t believe anyone would.


          • gsmwc02

            July 1, 2013 at 11:38 pm

            Oh I have no issue with bluntness. In fact I appreciate the honesty. I like reading things that make me uncomfortable to read. I have found those stories have taught me more so than the happy stories.

            As someone who recently found out that I am sterile, I’ve done research both on the donor conceived world and adoption world. The DI route is unlikely at this point but if it was we were all for full disclosure with the child at an early age and support with whatever their feelings were on it good or bad.

            But I still think you are not understanding or recognizing the pain that comes with IF. That quote if directed towards people with IF that they intended to have their life turn out the way it does couldn’t be further from the truth (correct me if I misunderstood). I never intended to be born with a genetic condition that has made me sterile. If it were up to me I would have a child with my wife through natural conception. I didn’t ask for this nor do I believe I deserved this. No person intended it to be this way it just is. Unless you’ve been through it you wouldn’t understand. Just as I could never understand your hurt.

            In order to help future donor conceived children and adoptees we need to better support and understand the people who raise them and the rationale that leads them to the decisions that they make to start their families. If as a society we can help them we can help them make better decisions and become better parents.


            • TAO

              July 1, 2013 at 11:50 pm

              GSM – the quote “With intentionality, life is not somehow randomly unfair; somebody made it that way on purpose because they wanted it to be.” is directed to the “choices” that can be made in ART – i.e. to deliberately (intentionally) choose to use an anonymous donor instead of a known donor because it was easier for the intended parents…not that you intentionally chose to be born with a genetic condition.

              Being open with the child has to be a given – but if you still choose an anonymous donor can you still think you are doing everything you can to do it right – given the fact that DC adults are currently speaking out against the practices that deny them the right to know where they come from, where their children come from, etc. and exclude them from having a family health history that provides up to date information.

              My son died so I do understand pain and other events in my life have also affected me – but I don’t think pain gives anyone the right to pass pain onto others by choosing anonymous etc…hopefully that made sense.


              • gsmwc02

                July 2, 2013 at 12:04 am

                In most of the cases with donor conceived adults the ones who experience the most pain are the ones who were not told at a young age and had it become a part of their story from birth. Those are the ones who are outspoken. Watch this video of this girl conceived via egg donation:

                I’m sorry to hear that you had a son who died. But for me, I’ll never know my son or daughter because they never existed. While we both have pain it’s different types of pain. It’s not a contest of whose pain is greater it just needs to be recognize that unless you have experienced that type of pain, you won’t understand. And you’ll never understand why people with IF make the decisions they do.


                • TAO

                  July 2, 2013 at 3:29 am


                  You feel fine saying how DC feel – yet to the best of my knowledge you do not have direct experience. Then you turn around and say that unless you have experienced the pain of IF you can’t understand why they make those decisions.

                  You are applying a double standard and saying your pain is worse that what a DC adult feels – and the DC just have to live with the decisions made by adults in pain because of their IF. Does not work for me.

                  I don’t know the pain DC feel – and yet – being an adoptee I do know that pain of not knowing where I came from and I have always known I was aodpted – but your assumption that the pain is felt only by those DC not told early – that assumption should apply to a certain degree across the two spectrums. It doesn’t.

                  At the end of the day the adults in the room need to be adults – if you aren’t there yet then you need to get their first. Why they focus so hard on ensuring you have gotten to a place with your IF before you are approved to adopt – because it is about the child.


                  • gsmwc02

                    July 2, 2013 at 9:09 am

                    You’re right let me go back and rephrase what I meant. In the research that I’ve done it seems that those DC who are outspoken against it are the ones who were not told at a young age where they came from. I haven’t encountered a blogger or writer who was told at a young age who was against it. But that’s what I have encountered whether or not that’s completely the case, I can’t say for sure.

                    BTW, I am just speaking from an in general place when it comes to IF. We have not pursued anything because we are not mentally and emotionally yet. But I still think you are being very dismissive of IF and the pain it causes leading people to making irrational decisions. Saying if you aren’t there yet you need to get there makes it sound so simple, which it isn’t. Adopting or going the donor conceived route doesn’t resolve the hurt that comes with IF just as reunion doesn’t resolve hurt for adoptees. It’s pain that is with a person the rest of their lives. To truly understand the “entitled” mentality that was shown in this SCOTUS case on the adoptive parents side you need to recognize and not minimize the pain and hurt that comes with IF.


                • TAO

                  July 2, 2013 at 2:45 pm


                  I do believe you are confusing the pain of finding out at a late age, the betrayal, the feeling that your whole life is a lie, that your family knew, and none of them respected you enough to tell you the truth – with wanting to know where you came from. They are two distinctly different subjects. The same with getting to the age where you first understand as an adoptee that to be adopted (which up to then had been only cool) to realizing to be adopted you first had to be given away (middle childhood). Both are different than wanting to know where you came from.

                  “DC who are outspoken against it are the ones who were not told at a young age where they came from.”

                  Read your statement above – it does not matter whether you were told early or late – with anonymous donation they still don’t know where they came from. It is the opposite side of IF – not being able to procreate a child that comes from you to continue your line. The DC and adoptees want to know the reverse – who are my ancestors – who am I – it goes both ways. Frankly, the desire to procreate should lead to an understanding of the need to know from whence you came.

                  I would like to introduce you to Olivia Pratten – she took her case to the Supreme Court of Canada – for the right of future DC to know where they came from – if I remember correctly – her records had already been destroyed. She found out at age 5. The two others on the site found out at different ages but certainly not as adults.

                  DC adults are speaking out so that society will change for the next generation – adult adoptees are doing the same.

                  “But I still think you are being very dismissive of IF and the pain it causes leading people to making irrational decisions. Saying if you aren’t there yet you need to get there makes it sound so simple, which it isn’t.”

                  I do not speak emotively – I am analytical. Saying you aren’t there yet is fact. Nothing I can say will make you feel any better – but understanding why it is important to understand what is at stake that you get there first – can potentially save you regret from having made decisions in pain. ART is not the cure for infertility just like adoption is not the cure for infertility. They do know that in adoption if someone hasn’t got to the stage where being parents is more important than seeing themselves reflected in the child – they it is harmful to the child. No child wants to grow up with expectations of being the replacement child or the make do child. The proverbial ghost child they can never live up to. I would assume that is the same with DC.

                  Mom and dad dealt with infertility and then adopted – now mom is old, and dad has passed, she is grieving again not having his child – over half a century later. I find that normal and am glad she has me to talk to about it – and no I do not use emotive words with her either – I listen – who I am – no one could fix my pain – I can’t fix theirs. Infertility pain does not go away – it finds a place to live inside. I grieve with her the fact that dad’s line ended with him – pragmatic view that the whole world lost as far as I am concerned when a long line of pioneers of this country that lived with honor has ended. We needed more of them.


                  • gsmwc02

                    July 2, 2013 at 3:32 pm

                    First let may say that when it comes to IF, DC and adoption it’s impossible to keep any emotions out of it especially if you have some personal experience where it impacts you. And by personal experience I am talking about actually living it. Knowing someone who has gone through IF or knowing someone who was adopted is different than having IF or being an adoptee. There has to be a certain level of empathy when you are talking about it. If you lack empathy towards a certain aspect then I believe you miss a key component when analyzing it.

                    From my perspective in the research I’ve done the betrayal of DC is where the backlash is. With regards to Oliva’s case finding out at the age of 5 is too old to find out IMO. However, as you pointed out that still does not mean there isn’t or shouldn’t be a curiosity of where a person came from. And yes, I believe there should be some type of access to answer those questions. I am not arguing they shouldn’t.

                    I agree and understand that no child non biological resolves my IF ever. It’s something I’ve learned to accept. It will be with us until we have passed. It’s something we are working through and won’t take the next step no matter what it is until we are at the point where we can balance it and be the best parents we can be no matter what type of parents we are (Adoptive, DC, Foster, etc.). That child can only be who they are. My biology cannot be passed to them but maybe my better qualities (personality, heart, interests) can be passed to them. And I say maybe because there are no guarantees the child accepts that as part of who they are. That is something I can’t control and accept that the child will be who they are. But that is fine with me. I’m not looking to parent the perfect child because I am not perfect nor will I be the perfect parent. I am just looking to become a parent.

                    I am sorry to read about your dad’s passing. Understand that I am speaking out and up for people with IF just as you are for adoptees to bring awareness for future generations to have better experiences than we have had. I am not looking for fixing of pain just looking for empathy and recognition. I believe that by doing so it can help with some of the issues in the Adoption and DC world.


                    • TAO

                      July 2, 2013 at 4:26 pm

                      Sometimes emotions can cloud what you are hearing from what is actually said. I have told you twice that I do not speak emotively – that does not mean I don’t have emotions or empathy. That is how I speak and how I have always spoken. I have also said I am blunt and analytical – neither of which states that I do not have emotions or empathy. If I had neither why would I care about making it better for adoptees of the next generation? If I had neither why would I be in two different studies – giving my time – allowing myself to be poked, prodded, tested, all to make it better for the next generation of people who have my disease when going into both studies it was clearly stated that I would not benefit?

                      I am not a warm, fuzzy speaker – it’s not me – has nothing to do with empathy, passion, or emotions. I have provided you with only a snippet of my history that I have already spoken of on this blog – I don’t share my personal story to any degree because I chose not too – I would rather speak logically to non-personal issues because at heart I am a private person. You only know about me what I have offered up, never assume that is all there is to my story.

                      As to dad – he was ready and wanted to go because his quality of life had diminished greatly, and did not want to live that way – a few more years he would have hit the century mark. I am thankful he did not have to linger in pain many more years – instead he had dignity to the end.


                    • gsmwc02

                      July 2, 2013 at 6:02 pm

                      A person can be empathetic but not necessarily empathetic toward a certain group of people. So while someone maybe an emotional person they may not have emotions towards a certain group of people. I don’t think I ever accused you of not being an empathetic person that didn’t have emotions. Your blog speaks for itself with regards to your passion for the adoption community. As analytical as your approach is it is still an emotional topic that requires passion to produce the work you do.

                      I don’t think anyone is a bad person or that they have no heart if they don’t empathize with someone who with IF. I just believe they are missing a key component with issues in the ART, Adoption and DC world. They are representative of society and how the IF community is viewed. That’s all I was trying to get that.

                      I am not asking you to let out your personal feelings nor am I judging you for not doing so. It’s your business not mine. Again the only issue I have is my perception that there is a lack of empathy and recognition towards people that have IF. Being blunt is one thing but the bluntness in this case crosses the line into lacking empathy, in my opinion.

                      I’m also sorry to hear of your disease that you are dealing with and wish you the best on that end. If I have offended you in anyway, I apologize. I thank you for your feedback.


                    • TAO

                      July 2, 2013 at 10:49 pm


                      I have empathy for someone going through an infertility – for pete’s sake I listen and comfort mom while she grieves the fact that they didn’t have biological children – let that sink in for a minute – regardless of the fact that I see it as a great loss – there is a sting attached too – and I will still sit there and be there for her.

                      I don’t have empathy when people feel entitled to take actions that can cause harm to the child as in anonymous donation, fighting a biological parent to adopt that child, or willingly turning a blind eye to unethical behaviors to be a parent. My moral compass says that they crossed the line in the sand – adoption should only happen when a child needs a home – not when they still have one – unless safety is the issue and the child would be removed.

                      If you feel I lack empathy that is your choice to believe.

                      As to my disease – it’s just a fact of life – I pulled the short straw – my angst is isolated to the fact that without an updated FHH my care and outcome was compromised – how many other adoptees and DC face the same situation that nothing is being done about.


  5. eagoodlife

    July 1, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    Shit happens, we have to deal with it, hopefully in the best way possible without hurting or damaging others.Any process which has the potential to hurt or damage or is ethically wrong cannot surely be made to be right because one group of people have money, power or privilege.


  6. eagoodlife

    July 2, 2013 at 4:39 am

    Just goes to show assumptions are never helpful especially about others and their pain! Because we have not experienced certain types of pain does not mean we cannot understand or try to walk in the shoes of others.Dismissal is not helpful either especially in those who hope to adopt or use ART.Yes it is about the child but so rarely is.


    • gsmwc02

      July 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      I think empathy and recognition are the best actions that can be taken towards someone’s pain from a type of life experience. Even if you try to walk in someone’s shoes you are never going to truly understand what it’s like.

      Society needs to understand the mindset of someone with IF and how they look down upon the childless. Too many people are told well there must be a reason you have IF that you weren’t meant to have children. It’s that lack of recognition that leads to a sense of entitlement that leads to irrational decisions that are made that hurt future children.


  7. eagoodlife

    July 2, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    As someone who has life-long health problems caused by adoption, including infertility issues at the time in my life when it was relevant I believe there is a reason why we suffer infertility and that some of us are not meant to have children and need to do better at accepting that once we have done all we can to make sure we have cleared up any health and emotional issues which may be preventing conception or carrying a child to term. Pity is disempowering, why allow others to look down on us. Anyone can hurt a child or not be a good enough parent whether they feel entitled or not or have made irrational decisions. The skill of parenting is in making as few of those mistakes as possible. Not everyone has that skill or considers it important to develop that skill. What hurts children the most, long-term, is the lack of truth and honesty in their relationships with adults. While empathy and recognition are important, being able to stand back can often be the most helpful to those in distress.


    • gsmwc02

      July 3, 2013 at 2:07 am

      I was born with a genetic condition where I have micro deletions of parts of my Y Chromosome that are responsible for my reproductive system. It has nothing to do with my mental or emotional state. It has nothing to do with me not meant to become a parent. It has everything to do with nature and how random it can be.

      With that logic then I guess that it’s intended for a person to get cancer because it wasn’t intended that they live any longer. They should just accept their cancer and just die according to that logic.


  8. eagoodlife

    July 3, 2013 at 3:40 am

    I guess so……


  9. cb

    July 3, 2013 at 1:01 pm


    I have a great deal of compassion for those with IF. There are of course many in the adopotion community that suffer from it and I always try to listen to what they are saying. Because of that, one thing I do understand is that those suffering from IF understand the paradoxes that adoption can involve – eg people have said that adoption has cured their childlessness but not cured their IF. Some of those same people have used that insight to see that others in the adoption community also have paradoxes in adoption, eg the adoptee may love their aparents and wouldn’t want any other aparents but may still wish that relinquishment/adoption wasn’t necessary; and with bparents, they can see that even though the bparent isn’t raising the child, it does mean that they don’t love their child.

    The problem arises, gsmwc02, is when some of those suffering from IF expect the other members of the adoption community to understand their pain, while at the same invalidating the pain other members of the community may feel.


    • gsmwc02

      July 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      When it comes to discussing someone else’s grief that you do not have first hand knowledge of the best thing a person can provide is empathy and recognition instead of sympathy and understanding. I don’t think one person’s pain cancels out another’s nor do I think that you can say whose pain is greater.

      From my perspective on the research I’ve done it is normal and even makes sense that an adoptee loves and is appreciative of their AParents while at the same time has grief from their adoption.

      I do think your point about adoption filling the childless void but not curing IF and the pain associated with it is accurate. In fact I think the same applies to donor conception. At least for me that’s how I look at it.

      My point in bringing up IF grief is that it impacts some of the irrational decisions that are made that impact adoptees and donor conceived children in a negative way. By society doing a better job of recognizing, empathizing, supporting and not looking down on the childless as they do that it will limit the amount of poor judgment that IF patients make. Sort of the slowing the domino effect.

      As an Australian, could you enlighten us on how Australia as a society treats those with IF? Are they lacking the empathy and recognition that exists in the US? What are the suicide rates relating to IF compared to the US? I ask out of curiosity whether your IF policies and culture are as progressive as your adoption policies and culture.


  10. cb

    July 3, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    “That child can only be who they are. My biology cannot be passed to them but maybe my better qualities (personality, heart, interests) can be passed to them. And I say maybe because there are no guarantees the child accepts that as part of who they are. That is something I can’t control and accept that the child will be who they are”

    Though I have always been “me”, I found that when I contacted bfamily, I feel that it helped me to understand more about what makes me me. I live in a country, Australia, where records are open and it scares me think that if I lived in a closed records country or if I had been created by anonymous egg and sperm, I might never have got the chance to make that choice.

    Btw in Australia, DC is no longer anonymous. People can still use donor sperm/eggs but the resultant child will be able to find out who their donors are. I actually read a story recently about an egg donor who is in touch with the families that used her eggs and I think has met them as well. If she has health issues, she will be able to tell the family and vice versa.



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