Archive for January 6th, 2008

My house is a mess, I’ve barely noticed that the Indian Ocean off my veranda has been like a swimming pool for two days, the novel I’d been enjoying hasn’t been touched, my kids have been having a great time at Grandma’s house and my husband has gone fishing, all because I’ve been grinding my eyeballs down to pellets in efforts to fill my knowledge bank with information on adoptee rights this weekend.

Because I don’t live in the US and because my focus has been primarily on international adoption, I have, I’m embarrassed to say, glanced over much of the OBC issue, considering it a “no-brainer” base of agreement. With this issue presenting as it has as a rallying point, a potential place of coming together that I am hoping will eventually be the foundation for a working consensus between triad members who have been spending far too much time pulling apart in opposition rather than joining for positive change, studying as many aspects as possible has been a necessary, and damned interesting, assignment.

Once again, we’re not taking on issues of the inherent right or wrongness of adoption at the moment, rather simply attempting to, first, find a level of trust we can all find comfortable in discussing open records and, second, lending support to the fight for adoptee rights if we individually consider the cause one to get behind.

As I said, a person’s right to their identifying information, OBC specifically, is to me a basic, and the more I learn, the more that seems so and seems a natural for adoptive parent support.

The history supplied by BN … and I urge everyone who hasn’t yet to read up on that to click here … gives valuable context and perspective, even though I’m still mystified over the morphing that has happened to end up leaving us the laws standing now.

BN’s section on “conditions” covers a lot of territory I’d not given much thought to, and addresses many of the questions and reservations that are being voiced here in the course of our discussion.

A big stumbling block for me has been wrapping my head around opposition to the basic right of real information on official documents. After all, it’s not like I could get driver’s license changed to make me appear younger or taller, so how is it that a birth cert could be tampered with? Anyway …

This section specifically looking at that opposition was very helpful, although because there has been so much shoveled into the sack, it’s not a simple matter of white or black hats.

A click over to the NCFA site shows how that hat thing can get confusing. Reading the “Adoption First Principles” touted, I found myself nodding in agreement, then furrowing my brow and tsk-tsking, then nodding again, and so on.

No one will find me disagreeing with statements like:

Adoption should serve the best interests of children: The fundamental purpose of adoption is to serve the best interests of children. It does so by providing loving, responsible, and legally permanent parents when their biological parents cannot or will not parent them. Serving the best interests of children should be paramount in deciding all issues of adoption policy and practice.

I’d tattoo that to my butt cheek if I thought it would help.

This, however … ?

Consistent with the child’s best interests, preference in adoption placements should be given to families that offer married mother-and-father parenting: Recent research has confirmed the teaching of centuries of historical experience that married mother-and-father parenting is most likely to produce the best outcomes for children. Because the goal of marriage is to be lifelong, married-couple parenting provides children greater security and permanence, and data show that adoptive parents divorce at lower rates than biological parents …

Well, the sentiment does come close to butt material, but in no way does that mean tattoo. It does, however, give a clue to the agenda of the organization, a clue that raises my suspicion radar and jives closely with what I’ve been reading elsewhere. (I have no tolerance for bigotry of any ilk.)

The NCFA page on privacy is written to be unchallenging, but one line tipped me off to a dodge:

In the context of the media’s fascination with openness in adoption, it is important to remember that the many who prefer privacy cannot discuss their views publicly without sacrificing the very privacy they desire to protect.

The suggestion of “media fascination” is a clear attempt to divert attention from the fact that it is adoptees urging change, and that’s a sleazy trick that puts me off and has me looking for more.

Their position paper pissed me off in the first sentence of the first paragraph:

The issue of “open records” has been hotly debated for decades and the National Council For Adoption (NCFA) has been active in opposing the unilateral and coercive nature of those proposals. NCFA does not oppose reunions or the exchange of identifying information between mutually consenting parties to adoption. What we oppose is the law empowering one party to adoption to force himself or herself on another.

The “unilateral” and “coercive nature” bits are classic disarming tactics designed to cut the legs off discussion without ever addressing the meat of an issue, and any honorable statement of position doesn’t come out swinging, but rather attempting to convince with real information.

They lost me right there and didn’t get me back. I could go point-by-point, but others have done that before, and better, so I’ll leave it to all to read for themselves and formulate their own thoughts on the matter.

I am far from finished with this homework. I’ve applied to join AAAFC, since Gershom recommends the group … I need an okay before I can read there … and I’m looking forward to learning more. (I’ve read Claud’s post once, but need a good sit-down with it before I’m taking it in. I’ve had to cut and paste it off the blog, though, because my aging eyes cross themselves like a St. Peter’s Square-full of Catholics at Easter when asked to read white copy on a black background.)

In the meantime, I continue to encourage readers to study up on this issue and think about actively supporting the adoptee rights push as it moves toward New Orleans in July.

We appear to have a platform here now which looks to be safe enough for questions, requests for information, exchanges and such, and if we can keep this up we might be getting somewhere toward positive cooperation in other areas of adoption, as well. It’s worth a try, heh?

My most sincere thanks to Marley Greiner for her part in compiling the information on adoptee rights issues presented so well by Bastard Nation. That pepper vodka looks better all the time, although joining me in a Chardonnay on my veranda might be nice, too.

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