Thursday, July 31, 2008

America's Got Talent 2008 - Holly Stone - MySpace Reunion

This one made me cry. I don't watch these talent shows so I didn't see this when it aired. Holly Stone was a singer who brought her daughter to the auditions for support. Holly had given up her daughter for adoption and recently found her using MySpace. The show did a brief interview with Holly before the performance, and a small snip with her daughter afterward.

read more | digg story


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

John McCain speaks with Ibbaanika Bond about adoption

After bringing her fraudulent adoption case to the attention of Michelle Obama earlier this month, Ibbaanika Bond speaks with John McCain.

How does he respond?

Watch it and puke.

To be fair, he can't comment on a case he knows nothing about..... but I've never been much for fair. A better answer would have been, dunno, how about, "I can't comment on a case I haven't heard about, but what you're telling me sounds horrible" ? Much better than the adoption is beautiful let's save those unborn babies line.

Ibbaanika doesn't let him get away with that though. Even though he ignored the basics of her question - corruption in adoption - she still gets her story out there. Watch her and cheer. At least I did:

read more | digg story


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Non-American - the adoptee deportation machine rolls on

Kairi Shepherd, adopted from India when she was 3 months old, is the latest adoptee caught in the deportation trap.

As I mentioned in my last post, these deportation stories tear the facade off the happy happy joy joy of international adoption, and show the ugly hatred towards those ungrateful adult adoptees - especially the racism directed towards those who aren't a whiter shade of pale. They sure love 'em when they're small and grateful and YouTube-able.

If only adoptees self-destructed at age 18, everyone would be so happy.

The comments on the last news story got uglier too:

You need to learn to read. The idiot burglarized his own home. Why the rant about the police? His father called the police. The kid is a loser. The father is probably secretly happy the little thug has been deported and saved the father untold future grief. As inteconlaw discusses above, the law was followed correctly. Under the applicable law, permanent residents that become felons are deportable. The is no reason for sympathy for someone who has shown no responsibility. This is an adult paying the price for their own poor choices.

Typical whining criminal. They will steal from anyone, including their own family. Then when they get caught. It was someone elses fault. It's an out of control government I tell ya...

Stamp this guy return to sender.

But of course the grand prize, you-weren't-grateful-enough bonanza goes to:

It's gone now... let me tell you something Jesse; you did not appreciate the opportunity that was given to you at such an early age, how many people would die to have been in your shoes with the opportunity of becoming a U.S. Citizen. You screwed up and as "inteconlaw" points it out the law was followed as it was written. You made your own bad choices now you are the one that will pay as the old saying goes, "for each action there is a reaction". Mi Amigo, you brought it upon yourself, stealing from the hand that fed you... No words can describe you...

The bright side is that now you will learn a new language, "mucha suerte compadre".

I remember reading an article recently where some clueless adoptive dad was spouting how he's sure his newly adopted toddler will never experience racism in her life.

Yep, as long as she never leaves the house.

Kairi's story also is one of those 'adoptees and pets in one sentence', starting off by her world saving adoptive mother taking in eight children and countless pets. She lost all her important adoption papers though because the sooper dooper secure safe place she had for them - 2 tote bags in her car - were stolen.

Kairi, who has multiple sclerosis, hasn't been getting her needed medication on a regular basis while a guest of Homeland Security. In addition to forgery charges, she faces additional trouble with probation for being so ungrateful as to not take the time to notify her probation officer when she was held by the Immigration police.

read more | digg story


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Who needs the opposition

  • when there are adoptees ready willing and able to slam each other’s best efforts?

  • when organizations with 404 dead link webpages that haven’t been updated in years slam others for not updating their own in a month?

  • when you give your best, but it’s not good enough for the Monday-morning quarterbacks on the sidelines?

So who needs them to make us look bad, when adoptees throw insults like the forever children they make us out to be?

I’ve been told that emails to legislators don’t hold much weight with them. So I don’t send them.

I’ve been told what matters the most is snail mail letters, or, if time is short, faxes. I’ve heard varying reports of how many constituents each letter represents. 10? 50? 100? 1,000? I don’t know.

Let’s go with mid-range. Let’s say 1 letter represents 100 voters to a legislator.

So how many constituents are represented by someone face-to-face?

When someone offers time away from their family and career, to travel to the opposite side of the country, to attend a Conference simply because that’s where the legislators are?

How many does that represent?

When money is spent on a booth, on supplies, on hotel, on travel, on taking the time to be where they’ll be.

Did anyone expect that on the morning of July 23rd records would be magically opened simply because there was a demonstration? No, don’t be ridiculous. It doesn’t matter if there were 5 people, or 50, or 500 outside. To me, what mattered most, what I gave my money for gladly and will do again, is that there was someone inside that convention center. Someone saying to the legislators –

We’re professionals
We’re adults
We vote
We’ve been successful with your peers in other states
We want you to meet us
We want to be where you are
We care enough to be here
We want what everyone else has
We want you to know we’ll be calling on you to make it happen

And you know something – it’s hard to care. It’s a battle. When from day one you’re told your voice doesn’t matter. When you’re told to shut up and be grateful whenever you start to ask questions. When the very first time you realize that there is a 22 year old file clerk on the phone who can see your birth certificate, but you’re prevented by law from seeing it – it’s pretty damn hard to get the strength enough to care.

When you see others kill themselves for bills that die in committee, or bills that emerge mangled and distorted from their original vision – it’s pretty damn hard to care.

When you’re so disempowered by the burden of gratitude that adoptees are expected to shoulder – those who do care – those who give of themselves – how heartbreaking is it to see such courage torn apart bit by bit? Not by the opposition mind you, but by those who know exactly how it feels not to get what everyone else is entitled to.

We’ve got the opposition saying we’re not grown up enough to see our own birth certificates, and now we’ve got our own people saying we’re not grown up enough to demand them. Way to go. I guess we should just shut up and be grateful.

Let’s add insult to injury here – when you do care, when you’ve lifted yourself up above the ginormous crap that’s thrown on you, or I guess I’ll say me here. Wait, I’ll come in again.

When I do care, when I’ve lifted myself up above the ginormous gratitude crap that’s been thrown at me, I personally have a really hard time balancing my demand for owning the same thing every non-adopted person owns against painful realities like this:

Now that’s a tough one. Let’s get real. And yeah I made a promise that I wasn’t going to get partisan or shit on the blog, but I’m breaking this one for now. Because when you weight that depressing reality above against a birth certificate, all the old adoptee issues of not being important enough come front and center. I’m going to ask for a birth certificate, a birth certificate, when people are dying? When people are losing their homes? When the Constitution has been torn apart? When America as we knew it is gone? I’m going to get all worked up over a birth certificate?

Yes. Yes I am, dammit.

Here’s what I tell myself. Those horrors up there, there’s not a damn thing my State Legislators can do about it, other than write and call their elected officials in Washington the same as I do.

But what they do have power over is my access to my birth certificate. So that’s why I’m so proud of those who were there, I can’t stand it. Because they rose above. They gave their best. They made it happen. They made a commitment and they saw it through.

I’ll see you next year in Philly. And here’s why –

It’s not just for me.. It’s for someone right now, some adoptee who hasn’t even been born yet. His or her mother is sitting in an office with a rich woman, wearing designer clothes that she purchased by selling newborn infants at a sliding scale based on race. And this rich woman will be pretending to be the best friend this expectant mother has ever know. She will be convinced she’s not good enough to raise her own child. She’s not rich enough. She’s not married enough. And the best thing she can do is to give her baby away to strangers. Maybe in another state, say where the time frame to change her mind is shorter. And birth certificates are sealed shut. And maybe she’s vulnerable enough or hurt enough or scared enough to fall victim to the closed adoption trap.

When that adoptee is 25 years old and calling Vital Records, I don’t want them to hear what I heard at that age from a file clerk just a few years younger than me:

“Oh yea, I got your request, I’m looking at your records now.”

My certificate. My identity. What did it require to gain access to this horribly destructive secret, that to reveal it to me would cause the end of the world, what incredible training and security clearance and background check did it take to gaze upon my forbidden name?

A civil service typing and filing test.

A clerk typist can have it.

I can't.

See you next year in Philadelphia.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Adoptee Rights Demonstration blog posts

From those who were there and those who helped make it happen

At ---

At 229's blog ----


DNA tests provide first confirmation of stolen baby in troubled Guatemalan adoption system

Adoption officials said Wednesday that DNA tests indicate a Guatemalan baby reported stolen from her mother was being adopted by a U.S. couple, the first strong sign that the Central American nation's troubled adoption system relied in part on abducted children.

read more | digg story


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Yorkers stage local demonstration to coincide with New Orleans Adoptee Rights Demonstration

Update 11:00 PM - Rochester News 8 has posted their video online:

Much love to the New Yorkers who organized in Rochester today!

An emotional call for change
Reported by: By Meghan Backus

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2008 @05:19pm EST

Adoptees from across the country rallied at the National Conference of State Legislators in New Orleans Tuesday morning while some local adoptees called for action here in New York State. They are calling on state lawmakers for help.

“Open the records,” said Emily Daszkiewicz. “Unseal these records.”

Local adoptees and birth mothers joined together in the genealogy section of the main library in Downtown Rochester this morning. It’s a place many of them have done research to find their birth parents.

The group is one of several across the state calling for what they say is a civil rights issue: Allowing adoptees to open sealed birth records.

“These people are adults,” Daszkiewicz said. “They can vote. They can drink. They can go to war for us. Who are you to say these adults can't have access to these records?”

Daszkiewicz, a birth mother, has not been successful in finding the son she gave up for adoption in 1965.

However, Katherine Tuttle, 41, found her birth mother, Claire Gmelin, in October of 2007. It took seven years worth of research. Having access to her birth records, she says, would have saved a lot of time and grief.

“I would have found her immediately,” Tuttle said. “She started looking for me in the 1970s and 80s when I was a little girl and had to give up because she was told that it was closed.”

he executive director of adoption resource network at Hillside Family of Agencies says a bill of adoptee rights is nothing new. In fact, there's been proposals for one in the state legislature since the 1980s. But ethical concerns and questions with opening up records have kept a bill from passing.

“Did we make a commitment and provide an assumption to women who were making adoption plans that their identity would be protected forever?,” said Lisa Maynard of what some people and agencies ask regarding opening records that were promised to be closed forever.

For the local adoptees and birth mothers, opening the records isn't necessarily about having a relationship with a birth parent or child.

“It's strictly to find out your heritage, any birth concerns you might have, any medical problems you feel, (or) if you want to know your ancestry,” said Jeff Hancock, 43, who found out he was adopted just 15 months ago.

“It's closure for me,” Daszkiewicz said. “It's closure I'd like to have before I'm gone.”

Assemblyman David Koon is sponsoring the Bill of Adoptee Rights in the State Legislature. He says he's been pushing it for three years, but the bill is still in codes committee in the Assembly.

read more | digg story


Monday, July 21, 2008

Adoption from beyond the grave

Speechless here....

New Law allows New Yorkers living and dead to be recognized as adoptive parents

ALBANY - Under legislation signed into law by Governor David Paterson, adopted children will be able to claim two parents of record, even if one parent dies before the adoption is final.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn) and Assemblywoman Annette Robinson (D-Brooklyn).

In discussing the need for this law, Montgomery noted that there is precedent for allowing a deceased parent to be recorded on the birth certificate of an adopted child. This authorization, however, is only made possible by enacting laws on a case-by-case basis.

“Our bill eliminates the need to address these cases individually by ensuring that all adoptive children can have two parents of record,” said Senator Montgomery, who is the Ranking Democratic Member of the Senate Committee on Social Services, Children and Families.

Currently, only the adoptive parent who is living at the time the adoption is complete, is recorded on the birth certificate ate. In addition, if one of the parents dies before the adoption is approved, the proceeding is halted and the surviving parent must reapply for the adoption.

The law takes effect immediately and applies to future adoptive parents who pass away.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Expiration dates on adoptees

When an adoptee is deported or threatened with deportation, it's only a matter of time until some rah-rah USA#1 nutter posts a comment like this:

So tired of these attempts to pull on our heart strings. Our prisons are full, our taxes are maxed out dealing with illegal aliens in the United States. In El Salvador, the country is putting its civil war behind them and are trying to pull themselves out of the third world. He's got a bright future there being an English speaking tourism guide or shop owner. Check back in five years for the success story.

Buena Suerte!!

Boy we just love our adoptees.

Until they grow up.

read more | digg story


Friday, July 18, 2008

The Adoptee Rights Demonstration, version 1.0 / Ungrateful Little Bastard version 2.0

You knew I’d be back. I just can’t stay away from you for very long. I’m so addicted to you. So sorry about that temporary hiatus. Some technical difficulties in the wiring required not only a start, shutdown, restart, but pulling the power cord as well. Sometimes you just need to reset the power when you’re so busy being adopted all the time.

First things first, if we could all have a moment of praise and awe please, for the one, the only, the incredible Kali. Unless you’ve been living under a rock in adoptionville, you know Kali as not only the heart and soul of The Adoptee Rights Demonstration, she’s the brain, she’s the kidneys, she’s the liver, she’s the freaking pancreas of The Adoptee Rights Demonstration.

I mean, look at this love, she’s even been nominated for President:

Yes, beautiful bastards and those who love them are giving of themselves to travel on down to New Orleans to represent us all. I, unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, will be unable to attend. To say I’m disappointed is the understatement of the century. (Note to self: NEVER, EVER, EVER again purchase non-refundable airline tickets just because it’s $40 cheaper. Moron.)

In spite of a few naysayers who acted as if Adoptee Rights would be set back twenty years just because they weren’t going to be at attendance, we'll have quality representation from bastards of integrity, people I’m damn proud of, and people I downright love.

So it’s with a heavy heart I delete my e-ticket (TSA rules said I couldn’t even gift it to someone like a newborn HWI)

My time apart gave me a little time to think of what direction I want this blog to go. I blogged for years privately, but I went public at the time I decided to get serious about my search. Now that my search is in intermission stage -- finding mom behind me, calling my brother or my sister in the as yet undetermined future --- I feel it would be much healthier for me to adopt (haha) a more adoptee-centric frame of mind. I’ve spent my entire life trying to think of my adoptive mother’s feelings, or trying to think of my other mother’s feelings, and that has unfortunately flowed over into my blog. It becomes a habit.

Long story short, I’m sick and tired of thinking of other people before I think of me. So, quite frankly, I don’t need anyone lecturing me about the BSE or telling me “not all adoptive parents are monsters”. Yeah, yeah, yeah, if me writing about one who is a monster triggers you, if me writing about my own mother triggers you, there’s a little “x” button in the upper right hand corner of your screen. Use it. Because if you leave a rude comment, it’s just going to be deleted.

So my focus really needs to be on my people, on other adoptees, on the only ones who truly have lived adoption from day one. And it needs to be on learning as much as I can over the next 12 months, in preparation for an event that I won’t need to buy a plane ticket for:

The Second Annual Adoptee Rights Demonstration

Next year – July 20th – July 25th 2009 – The National Conference of State Legislators and The Adoption Rights Demonstration, version 2.0 will be held in my home town, the land of my creation, the one, the only, the cradle of liberty, Philadelphia. Start making travel arrangements now, because next year not only will you not want to miss Version 2, you simply cannot miss version 2.0 in the land of cheesesteaks, hot pretzels, Tasty Kakes, Oscar’s Crab Cakes, hoagies and pizza done right.

Just don’t buy a nonrefundable plane ticket, because, you know, shit happens.

And safe travels to those who are heading out this weekend. I'd tell you to go with God, but apparently God has been calling hundreds of people to adopt lately, so I'm thinking he must be getting a kicback on sales.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

How I digg

I’ve been spending what little free time I have lately on digg. Digg suits itself both to my schedule and state of mind right now.

It’s become a bit of a game with me, to see how many diggs I can get on adoption news articles. Digg is mainly politics and IT (and, judging by a lot of the shouts I receive, hot chicks in skimpy clothes), so I get a kick seeing the adoption stories I submit get dugg to begin with.

I know not many people are actually reading the news stories; they’re just digging them in hopes I’ll return the digg on one of their submits (I always do) (Unless it’s hot chicks in skimpy clothes). I never thought I’d get into the competitiveness of it, I just wanted to have a way to get an rss feed of my own personalized selection of adoption news stories.

But then I got hooked. I get maybe 2 to 5 friend requests a day, and starting this week I’ve begun shouting daily. From the stories that make it out of my google alert and into my submissions folder, I choose the one I think is coolest and send a shout out. Shouting is where you broadcast your submissions to those on your friend list. That way you know who your true friends who don’t know you are. I’ve got 232 friends as of this posting, and on my last shout I got 44 diggs. So we’re looking at about a 19% rate of return on friends here.

Diggs are currency. They are the way you buy your spot on the digg front page. To make it to the digg front page, the news story you submit needs to get over 100 – 200 diggs within 24 hours of being submitted. Given the atmosphere of digg, it’s highly unlikely that such a niche topic as adoption news would ever hit the front page.

But that’s not going to stop me from trying. Granted, it’s a long shot.

If one adoption news story could ever make the front page, how cool would that be? Because the stories that make the front page, are the stories that get read.

It’s not like we don’t have the numbers. Think of all the adoption bloggers out there. Think of all the adoption groups there are.

But then think of how hard it is to get adoptees to do anything. Yeah I’m guilty as charged, in the past I would say Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! I’ll write when an important bill came up, but I didn’t. Just, I don’t know what. Feeling disempowered maybe? Adoption will do that to you.

I’m reminded of one of the most important adoptee related submissions ever to be sent to digg, “New York Times blog censors criticism from adult adoptees” With all of the attention that got, with all of the requests for diggs from some extremely popular bloggers, it got a grand whopping total of 32. I’m still disappointed by that. Digging is so easy, just a click to say, “this story is interesting”, but only 32 residents of adoptionville took the time to do so. Bummer.

A lot of people don’t understand digg. I know I didn’t really get what the big deal was until recently. On this one, I’m a late adopter. People send or accept friend requests, and then get pissy about having 1 shout a day sent to them (“Stop spamming me!”). Other people send the same shout 5 times a day (“Jessica Alba in a skimpy bikini – must see to believe!!) Some send multiple shouts a day but never digg your shouts in return.

Still, digg is where I’m spending most of my time. I still have a lot to learn, especially when it comes to titles and descriptions. I mostly just copy the title of the news article and a snip of the text. I think there’s also a timing factor to when the stories are submitted.

And I think it would be a hoot to get an adoption news story on the front page of digg one day.

So if you’ve got time to click, send me a friend request. And don’t hesitate to send me a shout, because I’ll always digg what you submit. Unless it’s hot Jessica Alba in a bikini.


Emails like this make it hard to go underground

I got this last month:


I am not an adoptee or an adoptive parent. And I don't have relatives or friends who are adopted. And I had never considered adopting (I am now pregnant with our first child). It has never been in my radar. I really don't remember how I found your blog - I think the blog's attractive title had something to do with it. Anyway, I found it and I have read most of it. I wanted to thank you for putting it out there the things that you don't hear about adoption. I really had no idea, absolutely no idea. I'm both happy and sad. Happy that I know about his now. That I am aware of this. I hate not knowing things. But sad because I can only begin to imagine how sad can be to know that there is another mother, that there is another world, family, relatives where you were conceived and born and that is not the place/context where you are now and where you were raised. It is difficult for me to totally conceptualize this, to really understand, to fully grasp your feelings. But once in a while when I read your posts, I think I understand and I can feel like you. But I am not sure, and I will never know.

One of these moments was today when I read the post for May 28 and, of course, I cried. I think it is one of your most beautiful posts. It just screams LOVE and, at the same time, it is so you with all your frustration and anger about your adoption. I will always be impressed by your force, your insides, your passion. I am not a native English speaker and I can't find the words and I really don't know what attracts me to you and your writings but I just wanted to let you know that I am grateful that people like you tell others about other realities, other visions, other perspectives, and that I can read you.

Why is it that some real kids instinctively grasp this, yet others are such..... assholes?


Monday, July 07, 2008

The Locator on WETV - First Look Video Online

From WeTV. The Locator airs September 2008.
There was also a news article this morning:

Troy Dunn to play real life TV role as 'The Locator' — Almost two decades ago, the Fort Myers father of seven set out on a quest to help his mother, Katie Dunn, find her birth mother. That experience gave him such satisfaction that he continued to help people make connections. In the past 18 years, Dunn and his team have assisted thousands of people worldwide in finding lost or estranged family members

read more digg story

Link to the show:


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Great Aunt Whoever

I found this one late last night while going through my drafts folder. Thought I'd bring it out to see the light of day.

She went to live with an Aunt in Bucks County, Great Aunt M tells me.

I lived in Bucks County, I say.

Right, Great Aunt M says, lighting a cigarette. Great Aunt M isn't supposed to be smoking but she sneaks them anyway. I never tell on her. She says I'm the only one who knows.

It's the summer of 1979 or 1980, I don't remember exactly when, and I'm visiting Philly. I love Great Aunt M's neighborhood. I love the rowhouses and her big dark porch. And I love Great Aunt M. Aunt M knows everything there is to know about every family in the Northeast. I've been wanting to talk to her about this for a long time. I don't remember how we got started on the topic, but I remember the conversation clearly How odd to have my Great Aunt's words come back to me, written by my mother.

They didn't want anyone to know she got in trouble, so they sent her to a maiden aunt in the suburbs. They told everyone the aunt was sick and she had to go take care of her.

But Bucks County is like right next door, didn't anyone think they'd see her?

They worked it out so no one would.

4th of July... Labor Day....

So they skip those parties that year.

We just look at each other for a while.

An old single woman is sick and they send a teenager to go take care of her and no one peeks in on them or checks on them for months? That doesn't sound right.

Everyone probably knew, but no one said anything. That's the way things were done back then. (Snip from mom's letter: This is how things were done back in the 60's. And my thinking has not changed all that much.) (Sidenote: things)

I bum a cigarette off Great Aunt M. She never tells me I shouldn't smoke.

What they really wanted was for her to have an abortion, so you should be grateful to be alive.

I'm not, but I don't tell this to Great Aunt M.

I thought they were good Catholics.

Good Catholics had abortions. When they had the money to pay for them.

How old was she? Mom said she was 19.

17, 18, 19, somewhere around there.

I try to think what it must be like to be pregnant. The thought is so horrifying, I can't imagine it.

Her Aunt said she could keep on living with her. If she wanted to. After she had the baby. She and the baby could live with her and she'd watch you while she went to school.

Where in Bucks County was she?

I'm not sure, close to where you were though I think.

I would have still gone to OLGC then.

Maybe, maybe not. Lots of parishes there.

That might have been nice.

Bah. Growing up illegitimate without a father? Look at all the nice things you had, look at all the places you've lived.

I'm quiet for a while.

If the aunt was a single woman living in Bucks County she must have had money herself.

Great Aunt M just waves her hand at me.

She did the right thing. A child needs two parents. Anyway how could she ever get married again if she had a little girl? No man would want her. Things were very different back then. (Snip from mom's letter: I know I made the right decision for you and myself) (Sidenote: o-rly?)

I have a jumble of emotions inside me but they're too big, no words can come out. I'm trying not to cry. I don't want to disagree with Great Aunt M because I want her to keep on talking. I also don't want to hurt her feelings. I think of being pregnant, and deciding to give it away so I'd have a better chance of catching a man down the road. The thought makes me think of running out into the street.

If she had, Aunt M said, I would never have known you. She takes my hand and kisses it.

Great Aunt M reaches for her cane, says she's going in, the mosquitoes are eating her alive. She tells me to come inside, we'll make banana splits.

Aunt M? I call after her as she's going in the door. She turns and looks at me from behind the screen.

Do you know her name?

No sweetie, Aunt M says. C'mon inside.

Liar, I think, but I don't say it.

While I never forgot that conversation, I've been thinking about it nonstop ever since I got mom's letter. I knew Great Aunt M had her nose in everyone's business, I never knew if the gossip she passed on to me was true or not.

Until I got it straight from the horse's mouth.

Someone wanted to keep me.

Someone didn't think I should be a dirty little secret.


All of my natural Great Aunts have passed on.

I'm sorry I wimped out on my search when birth certificates were still unsealed in Pennsylvania.

I'm sorry I waited so long until my Great Aunt Whoever was already deceased.

I would have liked to have told her thank you for trying. Thank you for being the only member of my family to do the right thing.

An offer of a place to stay and live-in childcare while you finish college and get on your feet.

How many mothers of adoption loss, from the days of Georgia Tann, through the BSE, through the nasty years of the 70's and 80's, through to the smiling adoption is a loving choice NCFA birthmother goodmother advertising driven bullshit of today - would give anything, anything, anything, to have a Great Aunt Whoever in their lives.

I love my mother, but right now, I really don't like her very much.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Preventing the first form of violence against children: abandonment at birth

Way too busy to blog, but this hit my inbox and I wanted to share it....

read more | digg story

Provisional edition

Preventing the first form of violence against children: abandonment at birth

Resolution 1624 (2008)1

1. The Parliamentary Assembly is aware that the abandonment of children, particularly newborn babies, has always existed and always will. There will always be mothers in distress who feel they have good reasons to abandon their child at birth (denial of pregnancy, pregnancy outside marriage or at an early age, poverty, HIV/AIDS, etc). In the past, certain east European states also had policies which “institutionalised” the abandonment of babies or which encouraged parents experiencing difficulties to hand their babies over to the state; traces of these policies can be found in the attitudes of the public and maternity hospital staff.

2. Nevertheless, the Assembly is concerned since today, unfortunately, we are far from seeing an end to the abandonment of infants. Due to financial difficulties, poverty, HIV/AIDS, a high rate of abandonment of newborn babies persists in certain states of central and eastern Europe, and this is also coming once again to light in west European states, even though clearly not to a comparable extent.

3. It notes, moreover, that data on the subject are rare; in order to respond with relevant measures, we need to quantify the problem more accurately and put figures on it, particularly in terms of a breakdown by sex of the babies abandoned. We also need to have a clearer picture of and to identify, with any certainty, the typical profile of the mother who abandons her child. In western Europe, most cases of abandonment would appear to involve very young women lacking independence (either from abroad, illegal immigrants, or prostitutes).

4. The Assembly notes that adoption has become a market and that the shortage of adoptable babies in the west makes matters worse. Adoption is closely tied up with abandonment, just as it is with child trafficking. Non-governmental organisations often complain that mothers in distress are not sufficiently well informed about the options open to them and that their vulnerability is exploited to persuade them in effect to abandon their newborn children.

5 The abandonment of children at birth is a complex issue, which involves rights other than those of the mother, such as those of the child and the father. It is impossible nowadays to overlook the rights of children, particularly the right of children to live in a family and to know their origins; it is just as difficult to ignore the rights of fathers.

6. The Assembly notes that in Europe and throughout the world, we are currently witnessing the controversial reintroduction of the foundling wheel system used in Europe in the Middle Ages. In many cases, the abandonment of children is considered a crime, and this system is seen by some as inciting crime and taking responsibility away from mothers. Advocates of the system argue that bringing it into general use will reduce the number of abortions, prevent infanticide, ill-treatment and the abandonment of babies in public places and make sure that the children are adopted.

7. For the Assembly, the abandonment of newborn babies clearly raises the question of access for women and men - particularly migrant women and men - to sexual rights and reproductive health services. Even where voluntary termination of pregnancy is permitted, it is subject to countless administrative formalities all of which constitute obstacles to many women in distress.

8. The Assembly re-asserts its position in favour of the de-institutionalisation of abandoned infants and of priority being given to the provision of alternative and family-based care for these children. It also reiterates that national adoption should take precedence over international adoption.

9. The Assembly invites the member states to:

9.1. centre their family policy on one inviolable and pre-eminent principle, namely respect for the rights of children, in particular the right of children to live with their families and find out about their origins, which is a fundamental human right and crucial for their development;

9.2. provide support for pregnant women and young mothers and fathers through measures including medico-social monitoring of pregnancies, protection against the HIV/AIDS virus and measures to prevent mother-to-child transmission, assistance at childbirth, non-separation of the child from the mother after delivery and postnatal medical and social support for mother and father as well as for the child;

9.3. take due account of the financial pressures that the birth of a child creates to families or single mothers;

9.4. recognise a woman's full right to freely choose pregnancy, which means legal and easier access to sexual rights and reproductive health services;

9.5. and to pay particular attention to especially vulnerable groups of young girls and women, such as migrant women, women with HIV/AIDS and women from minority groups.

10. Member states are also invited to frame a proactive policy to prevent the abandonment of newborn babies which:

10.1. prohibits all incitement or pressure brought to bear on mothers from medical and paramedical staff or government authorities to abandon their children;

10.2. prevents “dumping”, which endangers the life of the newborn baby, by appropriate measures such as accessible reception facilities;

10.3. prevents early and unwanted pregnancies through information and sex education for girls and boys, particularly at school;

10.4. provides mothers, especially mothers belonging to vulnerable groups and fathers, with better information about all the assistance available to them, particularly financial support to help them cope with the added expense that a child represents;

10.5. helps with the setting up and expansion of care and temporary accommodation centres for mothers and their children.

11. Council of Europe member states should urge mothers to give their identity, even though at the same time, protected forms of childbirth should be introduced offering some confidentiality for the mother. Children must not be deprived of the right to find out about their origins and should be allowed to do so even before they reach the age of majority.

12. In order to combat the trafficking in newborn infants, the Assembly recommends that the registration of all children at birth be an obligation totally free of charge for parents; provision could be made for incentive measures for such registration, for example by means of a grant paid on the birth of the child.

13. The Assembly calls on member states to introduce transparent procedures for the giving up of newborn babies for national and international adoption purposes; mothers should be given a reasonable length of time within which to change their mind and wherever possible the consent of the father should not be overlooked; recourse to national and international adoption should not prevent or prohibit children from finding out about their origins.

14. Finally the Assembly considers that it would be a failure on the part of any state in the Council of Europe which does not adopt policies that give every child, irrespective of where they live or their origin, the opportunity to develop to their full potential. Every state should have an obligation to ensure that each child is always in a place of safety either with his/her family, a foster family or a family of adoption. No child should needlessly be put in harms way when education, health or the general social infrastructure of life is available. Failure to do this would be a disgrace to the individual country and its continued membership of the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe as a whole should endeavour to ensure that each state lives up to the obligations it has towards its children and there should be regular reports to the Assembly about the fulfillment of these obligations by member states.

1 Assembly debate on 27 June 2008 (27th Sitting) (see Doc. 11538, report of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Hancock). Text adopted by the Assembly on 27 June 2008 (27th Sitting).


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