Usually I do a 12 for the last 12 months to post on this day, so here are the top things that come to mind that happened this year:
1. Some employees of International Adoption Guides (IAG) were indicted, you can read about in at PEAR in this post here. In the on-line world, if you blinked, you would have missed it, because it seems, few want to admit that there could actually be bad actors in adoption. I’m sure that any parents who adopted from them, has spent untold hours wondering if their adoption was done correctly, or not.
2. In a six-year contested adoption case that involved both Utah (where the mother went to give birth and surrender) and Colorado (where both the mother and father were residents that doesn’t have a putative father registry), despite winning in the Utah Supreme Court, the Colorado judge ruled that while Rob Manzanaras was/is the legal parent, the prospective adoptive parents were the ‘psychological parents’ and they would have primary custody. To me, it seems like something is terribly wrong when it takes six years of fighting for the right to parent your child, you did everything right, and you still lose.
3. Hyunsu, a 3-year-old little boy, adopted from Korea the previous October, lost his life in February. His father has been charged with his death. You can read about it here.
4. In July, Washington State first allowed adult adoptees to request their original birth certificate which over 2,700 have received already. Unfortunately, the new law included a veto option so it isn’t a clean bill to restore adoptee rights. Other adoptee rights bills tabled in different states failed, and that’s just not acceptable today. We must do better, and that includes the adoptive parents standing up, and writing letters, in support of the legislation pending in their state. If anyone thinks that adoptees shouldn’t have the right to their original birth certificate, I invite you to read (and really listen) to the Supreme Court of Tennessee in Doe v. Sundquist that explains in multiple ways, why a parent by birth can’t have any reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to adoption.
5. In August one of the IAG employees plead guilty, you can read about it here. Still the adoption community at large pretended that all was well…
6. November was the start of successful movement by adult adoptees to #Flipthescript – you can read more about those who started it at Lost Daughters.
7. December saw Ohio make it harder for fathers to assert their parental rights in an adoption case, by reducing the time to file in the Putative Father Registry from 30 days to 15 in a revision to the adoption code. They also appear to have made it legal for a mother to refuse notice being sent to the known father, by just not providing written permission. If that isn’t working to separate fathers from their children, I don’t know what is. Mother’s don’t let your sons grow up without a thorough knowledge of what a putative father registry is, and what the laws in each state (or at least his state) dictate be followed, and if he dares have sex without a wedding ring, make sure he signs up on at least the registry in his state and complies with all the requirements that the state adoption laws say he must do if he wants to have rights to his own child. In my mind, if they teach about adoption in health class, then they should also include in that lesson about putative father registries and requirements to maintain your right to parent.
8. Several adoptees took their lives this year, this shouldn’t be happening, and instead of being uncomfortable with talking about suicide, we should be finding ways to help those who are struggling. Grace at Red Thread Broken has a beautiful post here. I agree that race and adoption need to be talked about because racism isn’t going away, it’s getting worse. White parents of children of color need to be educated and actively work to live in diverse areas, and include in their circle of friends people of color, but at the same time, same race adoptees also commit suicide, so we can’t leave that out of the discussion either. We must be willing to talk about it, put help in place, instead of pretending it isn’t a real problem in adoption.
9. In November E.J. Graff had an article published titled ‘They Steal Babies, Don’t They’ that was based on Embassy cables, with links to those cables, that painted a very damning picture of adoption from Ethiopia.
10. New adoptee blog that I think everyone should follow; Korean Adoptee Blues, a male adoptee voice, adopted from Korea, the way he writes is as beautiful as it is haunting.
11. The DRC is still not issuing exit permits and finally, in October the State Department issued a notice to adoptive parents, warning them not to start new adoptions in the DRC. Why any prospective parent would start an adoption after they stopped issuing exit permits the previous year is unknown, but they did, and I’m sure some are still choosing to start adoptions. Holly at Kitumaini created a series of posts on adopting from that DRC that many would have been wise to heed way back when she first wrote them years ago.
12. Twelve years AFTER the Child Welfare League put out this statement on the need for post adoption support, I look around and see there hasn’t been any real progress, and only see more, and more dissolutions, especially in the international adoption sector. If in 2002 they knew there were problems in Foster Care adoptions, then it goes to follow with the rising age of international adoptees at the time of adoption, there would be just as many, if not more, problems. Where is the post adoption support that was stated as needed back in 2002: “CWLA Adoption Director Ada White calls postfinalization services “the most important issue in adoption right now.” The push to double the number of adoptions completed in each state, she says, has meant “placing really difficult children” in adoptive homes.”
My wish for 2015 is that we start having more hard conversations, and the adoption community collectively holds adoption agencies accountable…Happy New Year, please stay safe…