Friday, May 13, 2011

Family Preservation, Not Anti-Adoption

What Is Family Preservation?

Family Preservation began in the 1890s, and in the 1909 White House Conference on Children it was the top ranked issue.  The movement was started to help keep children at home with their families.  Before this, children were often taken out of homes if parents did not make enough income to support them.  Many of the leading authorities of this time period argued that extreme poverty was reason enough to break up a family.  Support for family preservation can be traced back to the Orphan Train movement
Family Preservation has been seeing resurgence in the last decades.  Just a couple of the more recent organizations to take on this issue are Origins-USA and The American Adoption Congress  Other signs of the growth of the Family Preservation movement are seen in the positions held by The United Nations, UNICEF, The UN CRC, the Hague Convention on International Adoption, and Save the Children - all of which call for family preservation first, then kinship care and stranger adoption as a last resort - with international adoption the very last resource after no domestic adoption can be found.

Does being for Family Preservation mean I am Anti-Adoption?

No.  I am not naive enough to believe that adoption will ever be unnecessary.  There are some women (and men) who truly have no desire to be parents.  Unfortunately, there are also parents who cannot overcome their addictions to alcohol and/or drugs, there are those who are with a violent partner and cannot break the hold their abusers have on them, or are themselves abusers.  Only in the cases of abuse or neglect, or the lack of desire to parent a child do I feel adoption should be necessary.  I believe that father's have just as much right to raise their child as the mother does.  If a mother chooses to not parent her child, the father still has every right to raise the child.
I don't like the term "anti-adoption", as it is used with such deep negativity.  "Anti-adoption" brings the attention to someone who is perceived as bitter or angry instead of being about the best interest of children and their families.  There are some who see "anti-adoption" as being the extreme viewpoint that supports each and every mother raising their child.  In reality, I don't think that even the most extreme "anti-adoption" advocates would support every mother keeping her child no matter the danger involved for the child.  

In Cases Where Adoption Must Exist ~ I Am Pro-Adoption Reform

I am against the billions of dollars per year profits that adoption agencies see.  Take a look at the top salaries in the adoption industry and tell me they are truly not-for-profit companies.  The adoption industry also spends millions of dollars every year researching how to best convince mothers to give their children up for adoption. 
I am against coerced adoptions.  It is impossible to list each and every way coercion exists ~ I consider adoption to be coerced if a mother is made to feel unworthy of being a parent when compared to an adoptive family.  It is coercive to tell a mother she is too young or too poor to raise her child.  Using the fact that the mother will be a single parent to feel "less than capable" of being a mother is also coercive.  I consider pre-birth matching to be coercive.  I consider the use of the label "birth mother" when referring to a pregnant woman who is considering adoption to be coercive.  I consider it coercive when a mother is not given any information regarding the life-long effects of adoption on her child, herself, her extended families, etc.  An un-informed choice is not a choice.  If there is no alternative given other than adoption, there is no choice.  There must be something else to choose in order to make a choice. 
I believe that we need to raise public awareness of the realities of the effects of adoption on all involved. 
I believe in the right to identifying information for all adopted persons and their birth and adoptive families through records access (adoption papers, original birth certificates).
I believe that all states need to legalize open adoption agreements.

I am not alone in my adoption reform ideas.  Here are just a few links for more information:

Many states also have their own adoption reform groups.  Google "adoption reform" with the name of your state to find more information.

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