Them Before Us supports adoption, when it is properly understood. Adoption must always be viewed as a child-centric institution, not simply as a means for adults to have children.
No adult – heterosexual, homosexual, or single- has a “right” to adopt.
Rather, every child has a right to parents.
In adoption, the intended parents are not the clients. The child is the client.
Them Before Us understands that children are made for a relationship with their biological mother and father and do best when raised within the loving home of their married parents. Any other family structure, including adoption, exposes children to increased risk and diminished outcomes. Adoption should be sought only when all avenues to keep the child with their family of origin have been exhausted. The trauma a child faces when they’ve lost a relationship with their biological parents should not be minimized or ignored.
For the child, adoption begins with great loss. Adoption is society’s attempt to mend that wound. However, while adoption is the best case scenario for a child in need, adoptive parents- no matter how loving- cannot fully compensate for the loss of the child’s first family.
With that in mind, placement agencies must evaluate which parents are best for the child. Placements should not cater to what the adults want, but should prioritize what the child needs.
When evaluating prospective placements, there are several variables involved. Each criteria must be weighed and considered prior to placing the child with a family.
– Biological connection whenever possible- identity and kinship matter.
– Gender of parents– offering both paternal and maternal love.
– Marital status- familial stability matters.
– Strong mental, emotional, and physical health of adoptive parents
– Financial readiness
– The child’s desires- especially older children.
– Children placed with biological siblings whenever possible
– Parents readiness to manage the child’s particular diagnosis/special need
Social workers often have to make subjective decisions about placements, weighing each of these values in light the child’s particular situation and needs. Especially when placing older children, special needs children, and/or sibling groups, seldom will every above factor be available to every child.
We support adoption agencies who prioritize placing children with married heterosexual couples, especially when those couples also fulfill other needed criteria. We therefore reject the assertion that gay couples or singles should have “equal access” to adopted children. Adoption agencies need the freedom to evaluate all factors when placing a child, including the gender and marital status of the adoptive family.
Likewise, after taking into account the values above and weighing them according to available adoptive parents, an agency may find that a same-sex couple or single adult is the best placement for the child. Again, the focus is on the child’s best interest, and in some cases that may be a same-sex couple or single parent.
In summary, placement decisions are often complex with numerous variables. Social workers must be free to make the placement which is in the child’s best interest- not the placement that satisfies the desires of the adults involved.
Also see- Third Party Reproduction Vs. Adoption- there’s a big difference.
Thanks for this, Katy! How very refreshing to read!
I totally agree with the above. The child’s needs must take priority and every child deserves the right to a mother and a father.
I am a free reuniter of families separated by parents absent for a whole host of reasons. Lots of those reunited families were separated legally by adoption an lots were separated by parents who opted not to raise their kids as part of a donation agreement either with an individual or thru an agency acting as an intermediary.
Adoption is not really the best option for people whose parents and kin can’t raise them, guardianship or foster care provide the person with care when they are under 18, without altering their names to match the last name of the people raising them and without changing their first names and without thembeing required to call their caregivers mom and dad in exchange for food shelter and affection. Guardians won’t ever be confusingly referred to as the parents of the person they raise. The person raised will remain accessible to their own family and does not loose inheritance rights or the right to the military or social security death benefits of their parents despite not being raised by them.
Guardianship and foster care and adoption all are required to at least minimally attempt to identify both parents and name them on the certificate of their offspring. Also at least on paper the court is required to vet the circumstances causing the separation prior to ordering placement in the care of someone other than the parents. they are not suppose to profit or receive gifts from anyone involved in the transfer of their offspring to the care of others. It does not always happen that way but at least the written law respects human beings as different than property to be transferred gifted sold or donated. Our courts are just horribly lax in enforcing those laws.
I think it’s neither here nor there if the caregivers are gay straight married or just room mates because they should not be viewed as parents the person has parents, they just need loving committed people to raise them. Unfortunately the goal of adoption is to make caregivers “parents” in exchange for their time and expense they want a return on their investment that becomes ‘their child’ legally forever. The adopted person is legally severed from their rights in their own family as a type of payment to the adopting party in exchange for care that people raised by parents relatives guardians or foster parents get for free. Worst of all the indentured nature of the relationship continues after they are adults and no longer receiving care. It’s like adopted people purchased a childhood so expensive that they’ll be paying in the interest for the rest of their lives and never be able to buy back their name or legal relatedness to their own family.
Guardianship and Foster Care lead to the issues you see with kids who age out of Foster Care with no families. These kids are less likely to succeed as adults due to a lack of familial support as adults.
My mother died suddenly when I was four years old. She was a month shy of her 31st birthday and left four children behind (six, four, three, and two and half weeks). My father had been orphaned by the age of ten (his father died on his tenth birthday). He and his sister became wards of the state and were raised in Catholic boarding schools. They spent summers and holidays traveling from one extended family member to another. Six months before my mother died, my aunt’s fiancee sustained a life-changing head injury in a car accident.
My father was a mess after my mother died. He couldn’t find someone to care for us, so he asked his sister to come and care for us. My aunt never tried to replace my mother. She was sensitive, because of her own loss, to honor my mother’s memory. She took on the role of mother without complaint.
I hesitate to criticize adoption or adoptive parents, but I do think it’s better for children to remain with their biological family whenever possible. Sometimes, though, it’s not possible (alcoholism, drug addiction, death, young parents).
Whether we give birth to our children or we adopt them or we foster them, they are not “ours”. I am always heartbroken for children who feel they cannot seek their birth families for fear of hurting or angering their adoptive parents.
A person considering adoption must understand that they will always share their child with the child’s biological parents, even if they raise their child from birth.
If you love your child, put aside your ego and your fear. Understand that is isn’t about you…it never was.
Raising a child is an awesome responsibility. None of us “deserve” to have children.
I’m assuming your perspective is one that had no issue conceiving your kids.
Can your organization clearly state whether it supports or does support the human and legal right of all US adoptees to have full access to all of their original birth records upon becoming an adult (similar to national laws of most developed democracies, such as the UK). Can you share that here or in a post? It’s very difficult to figure out your views from your vision statements and other communications. Thanks.
We have supported efforts for adoptees to obtain their original birth certificates and advocate for all children to have an accurate record of their birth. This is for a campaign with a NY adoptee advocacy group: https://twitter.com/askthebigot/status/595725345799671808?s=21
(Speaking as a reunited adoptee) One problem I have with adoption is changing the birth certificate, thus legally changing the identities of the parents, and sealing the original – true – birth certificate as false. If guardianship was promoted like adoption is, and maybe if the guardians got tax credits, etc, we wouldn’t need to campaign for open records or debate the ethics of reunion.
The rest of what you are saying I agree with. You did not touch on this, but knowing that adoption means an altered birth certificate, am I to understand this does not bother you?
Thank Elle. We agree that original brith certificates should be unaltered. Adoption or guardianship can be recognized on a separate document without changing the facts of a child’s brith. And if a new brith certificate is issued, adoptees should have access to the original. Thanks for your comments.
Guardianship gives a child a provider but legally they are not recognized as family. Once the child turns 18 that relationship ceases to exist. In some cases that’s all that’s needed in others a child needs a lifelong family to care for them which Guardianship does not provide.
Oh baloney. I guardianed 4 children from foster care from the ages of 2,4,6 and 8. I did not adopt as the kids wanted to keep their names and ancestry. We said no to getting false new birth certificates with my name as a lie as if I gave birth to them. Guardianship provided a lifelong family. That once 2 year old will get furious if you try to imply she is not my daughter. She is and we are a close family. Adoption is not always permanent as on occasion adopters will return or “rehome” children. My guardianed children now adults are in my will…oh I am also that dreaded single parent you abhore.
Why does nobody talk about how open adoptions aren’t legally binding? Or forced adoption from the baby scoop era? Our laws still allow us to go back to those practices.