"Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken. – Jane Austen"
One of the presenters at the Ethics conference that spoke at the Accountability to Prospective and Current Adoptive Parents session had some rather, um, interesting, views.
I will be candid and state that I greatly disliked this person views and the material presented. The individual was clearly pro family separation and even more so pro prospective adoptive parent. They seemed to be unaware that just because something is legal does not make it ethical.
The use of the â€œbirthâ€ term was used to refer to expectant mothers and a few interesting suggestions were made to prospective adopters when considering those birthmothers. When language was addressed to this person, they were asked to refer to expectant mothers as expectant mothers and not birthmothers. To me, the person appeared to find that suggestion amusing and appeared to mock the requestor and the terminology.
A list of things she suggests PAPs consider prior to placement:
- Obtain a criminal background check on expectant mother or father. Purpose is to find out if the parent might be in jail or prison at the time of the planned consent.
- Conduct a financial background check and obtain credit reports on expectant parents. Check for bankruptcy filings â€“ prior to placement.
- Obtain prenatal care records and speak with the obstetric attending physician (she cites the need for a HIPAA release, how knowledgeable of her!)
- Present the expectant parents with detailed questionnaires and tell them that they must be signed under oath and carry a penalty of perjury.
- Test the fetus, in utero, prior to placement, for drug or birth defects.
- The list goes on.
Additionally, to obtain this information, the presenter gives suggestions as to how the prospective adopters can â€œcompel, cajole, persuade, coax or threatenâ€ the expectant parents to provide the information.
Not surprisingly, many of us in the audience struggled with these suggestions. Sitting around me were both first moms and adoptive moms and even the adoptive moms were horrified at the suggestions. One adoptive mom sent me a text message on my phone that said â€œI donâ€™t like herâ€.
When several of us started quietly objecting, I was approached by a nearby attendee who objected to our objections.
â€œThere is nothing wrong with what she is suggesting. She is merely doing the best she can to insure her adoptive parent clients obtain a quality product. Please quiet down.â€
Yes, he actually said that to me.
Letâ€™s flip this around. I wonder if we donâ€™t have the cart before the horse here. It would seem to me that the person requesting bank, financial and drug test data should be the expectant parent.
At a minimum, if such testing and checking must occur, on the â€œproductâ€ prior to placement, it should go both ways.
Natural parents should be provided the same. Can we get our own psychological assessments on prospective adopters? How about legal filings? Credit reports? Family history data? Health history? Maybe a statement from a marital counselor on the chances that their marriage will survive? How about we send them through an obstacle course to see how nimble they are? How quickly can they run to a crying child?
Oh, I know many of these are part of a homestudy but is that information shared regularly, or upon request with expectant parents? I can tell you that I never saw anything like that on my daughters adoptive parents. I had a hand written profile that was later determined to be partially incorrect. I trusted (haha) the agency.
I understand the need to protect the interests of the parties involved but can we protect the interests of ALL and most importantly, can we protect our CHILDREN from unnecessary risk due to amniocentesis?
I realize the chance of miscarriage due to amnio is believed to be minimal (or exact risk unknown) but um, hello, why take the chance? Imagine an PAP paying for an amnio, the mother losing the child, what then? Can the mother sue the PAPs for wrongful death? Can we focus on protecting the child FIRST and not the PAPs?
Better yet, can we protect our mothers and children so that the need for adoption doesnâ€™t event exist? And if it MUST exist can we please make it a bit more ethical?
And for gosh sakes, can we please, for the love of god, stop referring to our children as PRODUCT?