I just read a good article about fathers and adoption in the Chicago Tribune, well worth reading. Originally, I was just going to link it here, but then, I remembered a newspaper article from 1972 that provides some historical context to the article posted today.
To give the historical context to the article above, the law when I was born, was that the unwed father was specifically excluded from having any say. So with that said, here is the quote from the 1972 newspaper:
Another girl, 15 years old, is in the home partly for confidentiality and partly because she didn’t want the father of the baby to know where she was. He wanted to marry her and when she refused, he and his family hired lawyers in an effort to get the baby. She wants to put the baby up for adoption and go back to school.
That problem, the rights of the father of the illegitimate child, is just starting in the courts and it’s one that social agencies see as an impending nightmare, further complicating the adoption procedures and creating more children doomed to the never-for-sure world of foster homes.
In most states an unwed mother may give he child up for adoption without the permission of the father, but changes are taking place. A Wisconsin court has ruled this was not equal protection of the law: in Arizona adoption requires the father’s consent, and the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a state may not automatically refuse custody to a father because he is unwed.
There is much more in the 1972 newspaper article worth reading – you can find it here and then move the paper to the left to see the story. It also includes why a myth, that is still flourishing, is incorrect. That myth is that mothers were promised secrecy/confidentiality from the child. That is the argument made by adoption professionals who want stop any changes made to laws to allow adoptees the right to their original birth certificate. I’d like to offer this snippet from the newspaper quoting Mrs. Jean Connor, head of the program for unwed mothers at one of the Crittenton Homes, that clearly explains the actual reason why a mother wanted situational confidentiality.
Things have changed. But slowly. Officials recall a case as recent as 1965 where an unwed mother came to the home, had her baby and put it up for adoption. She went back to school in North Carolina, where she was an excellent student.
But the rumor that she had had a baby followed her. The school expelled her. And in six months, she was back at the Crittenton home.
“She was utterly defeated. Crushed. She was a victim of a punitive actions,” says Mrs. Jean Connor, head of the program for unwed mothers.
“We used to arrange for mailing addresses and, as recently two years ago, visits from relatives were a major crisis.”
Thanks for reading, have a good week…