Sunday, February 13, 2011

HB 2904

Let me just say that for the most part, I am pro adoption- IF adoption is necessary, and IF it is an open adoption. Not every adoption is necessary. There are many first mothers who place because they are led to believe that they are not enough, or that they didn’t have what it takes, only to realize too late that they really could have made it work. I believe that while adoption can be a wonderful thing, like it is in my life, it can also be a horrible thing. Some times adoption can be no more than the legal kidnapping of a child. Adoption is something that needs a lot of change. Current laws need to be changed; new laws need to be put in place.

It has come to my attention that a group of first mothers is trying to have a bill passed that would change how adoption is done in Oregon. It is called HB 2904, and the group of first mothers that blog under the name of “birthmothers for adoption” are against it. At first glance I didn’t see why they, or any birthparent, would have a problem with it. I mean of course a lot of adoptive parents and adoption agencies would hate it, but it seemed to me that this bill was only trying to protect birth parents from coercion and child kidnappers (people who promise an open adoption only to disappear after the papers are signed).

After reading the bill over several times, as well as sharing it with several different parties and discussing what they do and don’t like about the bill, my opinion hasn’t changed much.

Over all, I am A-OK with this bill being passed. I think it is something that NEEDS to be done. Adoption isn’t rainbows and butterflies, and while I may have been blessed with two amazingly open adoptions, I am realistic enough to acknowledge and understand that not every adoption turns out as nicely as my own have. I believe that passing this bill will empower expectant parents and first parents to really be able to make the absolute best decision for them and their child, whether that is parenting or adoption. Because this bill provides so much time for the first mother/father to consider/change their decision, I believe the majority of first parents who do continue with the adoption will be largely at peace with their decision. So many first parents are NOT at peace with their decision, whether it is because they felt they were rushed, forced, coerced, lied to, etc. They go on to live a life full of bitter regret, always wondering what could have been done differently.

However, there are a few things in the bill that need to be changed.

  1. The new law would require 8 days to pass before the expectant parents can place the child with the adoptive parents. These 8 days can not be waived. During those 8 days, they can either parent the child, or place the child in a state run foster home. Now, I fully support the 8 day wait, BUT I do believe you should either be given the option to shorten the wait to 3 days OR sign something allowing the adoptive parents to take the baby home with them during those 8 days. Not every adoption is the same. Some times the reason a woman places has nothing to do with a “crisis” pregnancy. Some times the pregnancy is a product of rape and/or incest. It would be down right cruel to force a woman to parent her child for 8 days in a situation like that.
Yes, there is the option of foster care, but really, would you trust YOUR child to the state? My parents were foster parents for a few years, and I am very familiar with how well social workers can (NOT) do their jobs. Once a child is in the care of the state, everything goes down hill. It all becomes one giant, sticky mess, and you run the risk of the child remaining in foster care until they are an adult. Foster care is something I would not want to mess with.

  1. Well, I just re-read all the changes and honestly, I can’t think of anything else I disagree with.

The bill gives the first parents 30 days to change their mind- they can not waive this right by signing a Certificate of Irrevocability. I know some of you may be screaming, “30 DAYS?! THAT’S A LIFETIME!” Well, maybe it is a long time. I know in my current situation, 30 days DOES feel like a life time. It would mean R had even more time to flip flop with his decision, or continue with his antics. However, I know when I placed Robbie I would have given anything to have that 30 days. I mean think about it. Would you decide what kind of car or which house you are going to buy in less than a week? Probably not. You are more than likely going to do some research, some budgeting, and some serious thinking before making such a big decision. So why is it so different when we are deciding the fate of our CHILD? Why must we make a life time decision in just a few days? Why does that even seem normal?! That’s not normal!

The bill also says this “For up to one year, any party to an adoption may file an action contesting the validity of a consent to an adoption and whether the counseling and attorney participation and requirements were met, as well as challenging an adoption if they can prove fraud or duress. For this provision, in an agency adoption the birth parent has now become a party.”
This doesn’t bother me. Quite often, an expectant parent is promised an open adoption, only to have the adoption closed once the Aparents have the baby. I believe that giving the first parents the right to challenge the adoption for up to a year could possibly prevent this type of fraud. Not completely, but partially. I believe it would force potential adoptive parents to A. Be honest with what they REALLY want (open, closed, semi-open) and B. Keep their promises.

HB 2904 would also require the couples home study to be seen by the expectant parents. To that I say, GOOD! This couple is asking to take my child, why shouldn't I know everything about them? This isn't a puppy I am trying to get rid of, this is my CHILD! Reading the couples home study would provide you with a very clear picture on how your child would be raised and what kind of life style they will have. I did not see the home study for Robbie's adoptive parents, but I made sure to ask (and receive) the home study for William's adoptive parents. I know their yearly income, I know how each of them were raised, I know how they plan to raise William, etc. If I can give you my child, you can give me personal information. It's not like we're asking for your social security number, we just want to know WHO exactly will be raising our children, and how. 

So that’s my take on it. I don’t believe it should be passed like it is, but I do believe it should be passed after a little bit of tweaking.

Feel free to share your opinions on HB 2904! 


****EDIT**** Amanda has posted her interview HERE. PLEASE go read it! It resolved all of my questions about/issues with the bill. I can now say that I completely support the bill, and I truly hope it is passed, and soon! 

17 comments:

Amanda said...

Hi, thanks for writing this post :-) Ironically enough, I am currently working on a blog post where I interviewed one of the mothers involved with this legislation. She clears up a lot of the misconceptions about the bill and answers a lot of questions people might have. I will be posting it, hopefully tomorrow, and wanted to mention it because I think she may answer some of the issues you had with the bill as well.

Just a quick note, the reason I think it is important for the time periods not to be able to waived is so that no one can ask her, pressure her, or expect her to wave them. If they are able to be waived, there's no point in extending the time periods to make sure she has adequate time to make a decision.

Rape/incest makes up for a fraction of a percent of pregnancies. Many of our mothers still needed time with us too :-)

Not Just A Birth Mom said...

"so that no one can ask her, pressure her, or expect her to wave them"
You are so right! I had that thought too, but didn't feel like getting into that in this post. I really don't feel like they should be able to waive the time period at all, but for the mothers who can not parent their children those 8 days or do not want their child in foster care, the agency should provide some sort of alternative. Robbie stayed with a "foster" family (a volunteer family contracted with the agency, not the state) during our 10 day revocation period. I believe that would be a decent alternative. Perhaps even mother and baby could stay with the foster family.

Once again, you are right. Just because a child is a product of rape/incest does NOT mean the mother does not love that child :)

I can't wait to read your interview! I will definitely share it with others!

Amanda said...

:-)

I wanted to share this link I found with you where the bill can be followed and comments made directly on it. http://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/2011/HB2904/

I thought it was neat.

JLBills said...

My biggest problem with it is that I would be forced to have counseling sessions with someone who abused me. That doesn't seem fair...
I agree with you that it would be 100 percent more acceptable if they changed it so the bmom could decide if she wanted 8 days or 2.

I see a lot of things wrong with this bill.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the one year policy in regards to the adoption, it opens the door to people using it as a way to forcing the aparents into MORE visits and what not.There has to be a point when the aparents are the parents! To have a one year policy is just another way to take advantage of people who want to be parents.

Not Just A Birth Mom said...

Anonymous- Oh my, where do I start? First of all, if you don't want to be "forced" into visits, then DONT ADOPT DOMESTICALLY. You obviously aren't comfortable with an OPEN adoption, so just don't do it. Adopt internationally, from foster care, or select an agency that does only closed adoptions. OR you could adopt an orphan, then you don't have to worry about those pesky birth parents at all!
Second- Take advantage of people who want to be parents? Umm... Don't you think thats what adoption agencies do? They take advantage of scared pregnant women who WANT to be parents, but tell them that they aren't good enough to do so and then coerce them into choosing adoption.If anyone is being taken advantage of, it's expectant parents. NOT adoptive parents. The laws are catered to you all so you can get what you want quick, fast, and in a hurry with NO regard to people who gave the child life.
Answer me this. Why are first parents "good enough" to give you a child, but not "good enough" to remain an active part of that childs life? Please explain this to me.

LeMira said...

So, this is one of the few places I feel comfortable sharing how I really feel about this bill because I'm an adoptive parent, and I mostly agree with this bill. The main thing I disagree with is the same that you do, and that is that the child should be allowed to go home with the adoptive parents if the birth parents so choose. Making a child a ward of the state and going into foster care for eight days is a big mistake in my own opinion.

Too many mothers feel coerced by place their child for adoption even if they made the choice. They feel like they can't change their minds because other people are involved. I admit that I would be utterly heartbroken if after 364 days the birth parents changed their minds about the adoption and took the baby from my home. That would be hard for EVERYONE involved.

However, too many adoptive parents become overreact (some are rightly justified) and close adoptions when they don't need to be. I live in a VERY conservative state that is very adoptive parent friendly, and sometimes that really bothers me. I don't like doing things behind closed doors or sneakily.

Eight days and 30 days feel like an eternity, but I think you are right when you mention warranties. Where is the warranty, the guarantee, on a child's life? There isn't one, sadly, but perhaps this would help those women and men feel like adoption is THEIR choice, even if it's hard, they might still know it's the right thing to do.

Okay, I think I've rambled long enough. . .

Anonymous said...

Sorry. I do believe it can( not will) open the door for some ( not ALL bparents) to dangel the carrot over the aprents head like: " oh I want more visits, and if you don't I'll take back the baby because I can!! Adoption, be it open or close, is adoption and the aparents are the parents..it's not parental sharing. If you want that then raise your child-plain and simple.

Reform said...

http://www.leg.state.or.us/11reg/measures/hb2900.dir/hb2904.intro.html

Here is the actual legislation. There is no indication that the mother would have to place a child in foster care, nor is there any indication that the mother would not be allowed to place the child with the adoptive parents. It simply states she would need to wait until the baby is 8 days old before signing away her parental rights.

This legislation, ultimately, does not give first parents any more ability to wave carrots over people's heads. What happens after the adoption is still in the hands of the adoptive parents. This legislation primarily simply gives first parents legal representation and rights before the finalization of adoption. This legislation helps to put ethics back into adoption, plain and simple. Legal representation is a right every person should have.

Legal representation helped end slavery, gave women the right to vote, and assists many people the ability to attain the same freedoms as everyone else.

First parents with legal representation is not anything to be afraid of. In fact, by promoting fair and ethical practices, adoptive parents can rest assured that they are not coercive or participating in child trafficking.

Not Just A Birth Mom said...

@Reform- I love your response, I couldn't have said it better myself :)

@Anon- It seems to me you may have some insecurities that need to be dealt with. Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems as though you feel threatened by first parents. If you really had the desire for an open adoption, you would welcome the first parents into your life as FAMILY. Do you put limits on how often your family sees your children? Do you keep your address a secret from your family? Do you see your family's relationship with your children as a burden, an annoyance? If you answered "No" to any or all of the above, then why is it SO different for the first parents?
If on the off chance you answered "yes" to any or all of the above, then (in the words of buzz light year) "you are a sad, strange little (wo)man." And I pity you.

Aslo- Real open adoption is nothing like shared parenting, and if you think it is then you are severely misinformed.

Anonymous said...

"This legislation, ultimately, does not give first parents any more ability to wave carrots over people's heads. What happens after the adoption is still in the hands of the adoptive parents."

I'm sorry but giving the birhmother a YEAR to change/challange the adoption is TOO long. Let's be honest, there will always be someone who will try and take advantage of a law like this. To have an open window of up a year to change their mind IF the adoption isn't want the bparents envisioned it is nothing more then an opportunity for someone to dangle the magic carrot. What if boundaries are overstepped? shouldn't the aparents have the right to decide if visits should be scaled back? Aren't they the parents? Or do you think they are babysitters? What about the relationship the child has woth the aparents,do you think the child should be "given back" after a leaght of time because the bmom thinks she was lied to about visits ( she wants more but the aparents don't). I'm sorry but if you want to have a role in your child's life, then do a good job of raising them.

Not just a birthmom:

And in regards being a sad and pitiful person, I think you need to apply that to yourself. After all, didn't you have two children (back to back) that you could not/did not want to raise? It is you I pity

Anonymous said...

ETA:

I do agree with the other provisions being presented, just not the one year open window.

Mommy, RN said...

Okay Anonymous,
I think you've expressed your opinion. Your voice has been heard. We all know you are most definitely free to choose and express your own views. But NOW would be a good time to just stop commenting (and leave if needed) before any more insults start flying and this discussion becomes more heated.
Insulting and belittling others (especially on their own blog) is far past being a contructive or productive use of your time. Perhaps a better use of your time would be to post your opinions on your own blog.

Not Just A Birth Mom said...

Thank you, Mommy RN.

@Anonymous- Why pity me? My boys have brought me nothing but immense joy, and I am so proud to be their first mother. Nothing can compare to the joy of having a child. There is nothing sad or pitiful about my life, but thanks anyway :)

Anonymous said...

Mommy RN and Birthmom:

Why is it when someone is rude it's "ok" but when the person being insulted says something back its a problem? Bmom has had two child ( back to back) that she couldn't raise and she calls me pitiful?

Not Just A Birth Mom said...

Well if you actually read what I wrote, I said I pitied you ONLY if you answered yes to the questions I listed. I did not call you pitiful. So learn to read and stop trying to twist my words.
Once again, there is nothing pitiful about my life. I am so blessed to have been able to give birth to the two most beautiful boys in the world.
And honestly, if you have a problem with anything I've said, you can stop reading my blog. I can promise you I won't lose sleep over it.

Mommy, RN said...

Anon:
First, it isn't okay to insult or be rude via blog. Hence the "please just stop and perhaps post YOUR feelings on YOUR blog would be more appropriate" comment. Please realize this is Bmom's blog. She is sharing her thoughts and feelings. Do you not realize the venue in which you were commenting? To come to a birthparent blog and openly oppose a birthparent's view (with rather very forceful language), what on earth did you expect? You are most definitely free do share your feelings and opinions as well, but MY point was that when things begin to become heated, neither side is really listening to each other for anything other than insult finding. Please note LeMira's comment, she VERY respectfully, without any overexaggeration and forceful language, disagreed and stated her opinion in a way that nobody found offensive.

Which brings me to point number two.
Not Just A Birth Mom is right. She never insulted you, never called you pitiful. She was asking you questions. You both made some good points and I could see where each of your opinions were coming from, but you were actually the one beginning the insults.

Third, really and truly, if you find a woman that openly acknowledges she (for ANY reason) cannot raise a child and places them for adoption, please note: SHE IS NOT PITIFUL!!! Have you EVER had to make a decision like that?! How about twice? Is this how you treat (or plan to treat) YOUR child's birthparents? If you truly are an adoptive parent, how can you possibly have so little respect for a birthparent that has given part of her life to another?! I'm sure that BMom would have been a WONDERFUL mother had she decided to parent her children. Judging others in the adoption triad is as harmful as drinking poison. We simply cannot judge or criticize YOUR choices and decisions, we are NOT you. How can you then turn around and judge others? What qualifies you to have that kind of power? Are you truly that much better than every single person on the planet, are you completely perfect, so that you can freely judge others' opinions? Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. I know I certainly cannot!

So please, try one of the following options:
-Refrain from commenting unless you can objectively view ALL sides of a discussion and present YOUR opinion respectfully without finding insult.

-Open your heart and your mind to others in the adoption triad, in different circumstances of their lives, and generally, to everyone.

- Simply acknowledge reading some blogs that may have differing view are hard to read because of personal values and feelings. If you need to refrain from reading altogether, that is okay. I know there are some blogs that are so different from my views, I cannot read them.

-Remember rule number one of blogging: It is THEIR blog! Respect that!

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