Archive for December 4th, 2007

A couple of interesting articles in today’s news take a bit of a different slant on familiar themes, and I’m thinking both will be getting a good look here.

First, this opinion piece out of Des Moines has inspired an unsurprising backlash of comments, all immediately recognizable in intent and history.

Open records for adoptees is the opening volley in the piece, but it’s anti-adoption pure and simple that is the target.

Fair-minded and informative, the piece has the temerity … and that is the first impression when such thoughts are actually written down and published … to take Concerned United Birthparents, Bastard Nation and the American Adoption Congress to task and suggest that much of their raison d’etre has less to do with registries, being opposed to the very thought of mutual consent, but rather nothing less than working to force an end to adoption completely.

Media sensationalism has led many to conclude that all parties in adoption are searching. Yet statistics in states with registries tell the opposite story. A study out of the Annenberg School of Communications found that the media exaggerated by 18 times the number of actual “searchers.”

The anti-adoption forces have enjoyed far greater success on the social/media front due to the unwillingness of reporters to dig beneath the surface and explore the agenda of these search advocacy groups. The one notable exception is Lucinda Franks in her New Yorker article around the time of the “Baby Jessica” case, when she exposed the role of these groups in the case. In addition, stories emphasizing grief, loss and pathology due to so-called identity confusion make far more interesting copy than those of content, secure adoptive families.

Bastard Nation is singled out as an organization the promotes, “the portrayal of adoption as a deceptive, hurtful and even pathological institution,” and the point is made that the “emphasis on adoption as setting in motion a lifetime of grief and loss has had a profound effect on adoptive placement in the United States.”

Call it as you see it, certainly, but a take like this, written together by an adoptee and an adoptive parent, feels like a breath of fresh air. The mainstream media running anything that hasn’t been ground to a miserable pulp by those invested in misery may be taken as a sign that the public eye has not yet been totally blinded or blackened.

From Canada, this story on an upcoming TV documentary takes a look at views on gay parenting in that country, and follows the efforts of a lesbian couple to adopt.

One hurdle in their process led the couple to file a human rights complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission that is still pending, but the government did change its policy on adopting from the US in 2006.

And a couple of important bits from blogland …

Here is some serious information on kids with Fetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome (FACS), or Fetal Valproate Syndrome (FVS), so called, “Depakote babies”, from a mom who has spent years trying to figure out what her child was suffering from. She has a follow-up here.

And if you’re interested in open records laws, here’s an update from North Carolina on what’s happening there.

And, for what it’s worth, I am not against open records. In fact I’m all for everyone being open about everything and doing away with secrets altogether. With this POV, I wish there was a heck of a lot more honesty involved when it comes to specific issues.

Marley of Bastard Nation makes no secret of the fact that she’s not big on adoption … or children in general, for that matter … and although she’s not someone I’d want to spend a weekend with (and I’m quite sure the feeling would be mutual if she ever gave it any thought), I respect her non-namby-pamby-ness. It’s those who dress their negative stance on adoption as “reform” or “family preservation”, and yes, “open records” wooly rhetoric that shouldn’t be trusted.

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