Adoption Why the Biological Parents Have More Rights Than the Adoptive Term Paper

Pages: 11 (3121 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 12  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Children

¶ … Rights of Biological and Adoptive Parents

The objective of this work is to compose an argumentative paper based on research in this subject area.

The adoption process is one that should not be entered into lightly and one that professionals should take great responsibility ethically in providing necessary services to the birthparents who are considering entering into an adoption proceeding.

The rights of the birthparents should be given the most weight in the adoption process as compared to the adoptive parents. While the adoptive parents have much to gain, the birthparents are those who have much to lose if the adoption process is not handled properly, ethically, according to prescribed laws, and responsively as to the psychological needs of the birthparents who are giving up their child for adoption. The intention of the birthparents who give up the child for adoption generally is one that is noble and is directly based upon a decision to allow the child the opportunity for a better life than the birthparent is able to provide. However, after the child has become an adult, the goal of adoption has been successfully concluded and there should be no reason whatsoever that the birthparent and child should be hidden from one another legally.

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Term Paper on Adoption Why the Biological Parents Have More Rights Than the Adoptive Parents Assignment

The work entitled: "Birth Parents in Adoption: Research, Practice and Counseling Psychology" relates the fact that: "...birth parents are the least studied, understood, and served members of the adoption triad." (Wiley & Baden, 2005) Additionally stated is the fact that the birth parents are many times the member of the adoption triad who are invisible. While, this is the choice of some birth parents, "...for others, it is an artifact of the adoption system and its historical legal requirements of full relinquishment, secrecy, and anonymity." (Wiley & Baden, 2005) There are stated to be somewhere between 1 and 5 million in the United States alone who are adopted. (Wiley & Baden, 2005) the most difficult of all decisions that an individual will make is the decision of the birth parent to give up a child for adoption. Historically, this meant that the mother would relinquish all rights to the child and as well would agree for the records to be forever sealed meaning they will never know what happened to their child and the child will never know who the biological parents are. Wiley and Baden (2005) state that: "Family attitudes and dynamics were fond to predict the likelihood of a birth mother making an adoption plan vs. choosing to parent. Several studies found that one of the strongest predictors of relinquishment was the preference of the birth mother's mother." (Ibid)

The work of Feast, Marwood, Seabrook, and Webb (1994) has documented the fact that there has been a rise in the birth parents and relatives searching for the children given up for adoption in recent years. Furthermore, recent years have witnessed a rise in birth mothers entering into 'open adoptions' which are characterized by openness between the birth mother and adopting family. This is not a new idea as historically this is the manner in which adoptions were handled oftentimes resulting in the child being raised by a family member or close friend.

The work of Andre P. Derdeyn entitled: "Adoption and Ownership of Children" published in the Child Psychiatry and Human Development Journal (1979) states that traditionally adoption has been primarily for the infant however, "...an increasing number of children today come to adoption from divorce and remarriage and from foster placement. Many of these children are well out of infancy and have memories of and even existing relationships with person from their past." (Derdeyn, 1979) Because the development of a child is impacted greatly by continuity, or alternatively, lack of continuity, "...a sense of continuity is clearly important." (Derdeyn, 1979) There has been a problem noted in that "the biological parent serves as an "object of projection by the adoptive family and an object of mystery and fascination by the adoptive child." (Derdeyn, 1979) Because this is true, it is believed that the parties should maintain contact however this type of adoption policy would serve as well to "open the door to potentially destructive relationships and loyalty conflicts" (Derdeyn, 1979) however the present policies within the adoption process fails to serve children comprehensively.

The work of Susan Livingston Smith and published by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute entitled: "Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents in the Adoption Process" in November 2006, and revised in January, 2007, states the fact that: "Each years in the United Sates, approximately 14,000 women and a growing number of men make an agonizing parenting decision that they hope will provide their children with the best possible future. The place their babies for adoption." (Smith, 2007) Simultaneously, those who make policies "propose and implement measures meant to improve adoption, often based on their perceptions of what these parents want and need." (Smith, 2007) Surprisingly, infant adoption of the more rare form of adoption, which takes, place each year. Historically, those placing their children for adoption were unwed teenage mothers however data analysis of the Adoption Institute states that approximately "one-fourth of women choosing adoptions are below the age of 20. " (Smith, 2007) Many of these young women already have children but are unable to manage raising another child and most of these young women are high school graduates. Today's adoption process is characterized by active involvement of one or both parents in the process. According to Livingston: "Living with the uncertainty of what became of their children is identified by birthmothers in closed adoptions as the most difficult factor they cope with and receiving information about their children is singled out...as the most important thing that would help bring them peace of mind." (Smith, 2007) During the decade of the 1970s, open adoptions first became alternatives for adoptive parents who desired information about the well being of their children however, many of these parents have had to deal with termination of this provision. Studies have shown that the birthparents who have maintained contact with the adopting parents "have lower levels of grief, regret and worry, along with more peace with their decisions, than those who did not have this opportunity." (Smith, 2007)

Presently 13 states enforce contact agreement legally in infant adoptions and a total of 20 enforce these contracts in adoptions of older children. Livingston sates that: "Penalties for violation of such contracts include fines, but never return of the child." (Smith, 2007) Livingston holds that this is "an area of law" that critically needs reform efforts. Development of adoption laws and practices has been in a manner that is described by Livingston (2007) as "haphazard" with high costs and low legal regulation resulting in vulnerability for the birthparents and unethical and unscrupulous practices leading to gross oversight.

The Adoption Institute, having analyzed ethical practice guidelines, conducting studies out outcomes and reforms has recommended the following rights of birthparents in the adoption process:

1) to make the placement decision in a fully informed manner, devoid of pressure or coercion;

2) to reconsider an adoption plan at any point prior to the legal finalizing of the relinquishment;

3) to be informed from the start of any monetary expectations - such as repayment of financial assistance - if she changes her mind about placement;

4) to exercise all parents' rights he/she wishes prior to placing a child for adoption;

5) to be treated with dignity, respect, and honesty;

6) to have independent legal counsel to protect his/her best interest in the process

7) to receive nondirective counseling to help her/him understand all of the options and resources available and the implications of the decision;

8) to be legally assured that promises and agreements regarding ongoing information or contact made as a part of the process will be adhered to. (Smith, 2007)

The laws vary throughout the U.S. states and little uniformity exists in the statutes of states. It is critical that birth parents are informed of their rights during the adoption process. There are two stated primary goals relating to legal domestic infant adoption which are those of:

1) Preventing the unnecessary separation of family members by ensuring that birth parents make informed and deliberate decisions;

2) Protecting the finality of adoptive placements." (Smith, 2007)

Services that prepare the birthparents for the adoption process include the following:

1) Education about their legal rights and confidentiality;

2) Planning for participation when appropriate and desired;

3) Support to cope with voluntary or involuntary termination of their parental rights;

4) Counseling on grief, separation, loss and the lifelong implications of placing a child for adoption;

5) Discussion of changing roles and relationships when the birth parents will have an ongoing relationship with the prospective adoptive parents;

6) Education on issues related to search and reunion; and 7) Planning for the immediate future, and referral for needed services. (Smith, 2007)

In a 2001 Rutgers University Law Review article entitled: "The Idea of Adoption: An Inquiry… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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