Want change? Make it!
The adoption system in place today has undergone significant changes in the past few decades. But the public’s impressions of that system are not well informed and are often based on outdated stereotypes. In order to maintain an adoption system in favor of the birth mother, we need to continue to provide and demand:
- Awareness about the modern adoption system. More information about what adoption entails today, and the women who typically choose it, would help to educate the public and demystify the process so that we can eradicate outdated stereotypes about birth mothers and the adoption process. Congress should continue to provide grants to establish national public education campaigns to accurately inform the public about adoption and its potential benefits for everyone involved.
- Information about the adoption decision. To best serve the needs of women considering adoption for their child, continued research must be done to explore the pressures, motivations, and barriers surrounding that decision.
- Fully informed, voluntary pregnancy decisions. Prospective birth mothers pursuing adoption should be required to undergo counseling with a qualified professional, and should have an opportunity to consult with independent legal counsel if needed.
- Better supports for open adoption agreements. States should recognize the benefits of open adoption arrangements and ensure that birth parents are informed of available mechanisms to implement those agreements. States should also guarantee that affordable clinical mediation services are available when disputes arise over the terms of an adoption arrangement.
- Adequate relinquishment and revocation protections. States should impose a waiting period of at least 24 hours between childbirth and the time a woman can consent to place her child for adoption. Birth mothers should have a minimum of one week to revoke their consent to relinquishment without having to give a specific reason. These rules ideally would be uniform in order to discourage agencies or adoptive parents from cherry-picking states with more favorable laws. States should also ensure that birth parents are entitled to a copy of all relinquishment paperwork as well as a copy of the child’s original birth certificate.
- Improved postadoption services. States and adoption agencies should ensure that birth mothers have access to affordable or no-cost post-adoption counseling services throughout their lives, but especially in the two years following a placement.
*Talk About Adoption™ remains committed to the idea that supporting pregnant women by providing the socioeconomic resources needed to parent or place a child for adoption will serve to expand women’s options, increase their self-determination, and improve the health and well-being of all families.
*The above information does not concern state-initiated adoptions in child neglect, dependency, abuse cases, etc.
Contact Politicians for opportunities to continue efforts to ensure that stable adoption-friendly policies are implemented every year:
State Governor: www.usa.gov/Contact/Governors.shtml
The United States House of Representatives: www.house.gov
The White House: www.whitehouse.gov