Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dear Representative:

I am an adoptive mother and am writing you concerning HB 2904.  I am strongly opposed to this bill.  I adopted two little boys as infants (ages 7 and 3 now).  My husband and I are anxious and excited to adopt another baby, and are hopeful that another wonderful birthmother will choose us to the be the parents of her baby.  I love my children, as all parents do.  But when a woman makes a sacrifice as big as my boys’ birth mothers have — so that I can be a mother — I have the added responsibility to protect and defend that sacrifice.  I will do anything to defend my boys’ rights to a safe and stable home.  And because I love, honor, and revere, their birth mothers, I will do anything I can to defend their choices to place their babies for adoption.

I am attaching a letter hand-written by my 7-year old son expressing his genuine feelings about adoption so you can understand his perspective as well.

We have open adoptions with both boys’ birth mothers and would not have it any other way.  We love sharing all the details about our children’s growth and development.  We love hearing how each woman has grown and changed since placing her baby.  But we most cherish visits with each woman, when we can get to know them better and talk to them about their hopes and dreams for their babies.  I will also attach a recent picture of each of my children with their birth mothers.

This bill makes me fear for my future family (because we hope to adopt again) and makes me grateful this law was not in place when my boys were placed for adoption.  This bill would have caused tremendous stress for both birth mothers.

This bill will make it nearly impossible for birth mothers to choose adoption.  The 8-day waiting period before placement concerns me. 

  • Who will care for the baby during that time?  Foster care?  The birth mother?  Often if a birth mother is choosing to place a baby for adoption it is because she wants the best life possible for her baby and she is not able to provide that best life.  Requiring her to parent (care for a vulnerable baby) during those critical 8 days will be a burden.  She will have to have a carseat, clothes, formula, a safe place to live, etc.  
  • The required 8-day waiting period takes away the birth mother’s choice.  The beauty of adoption is the loving choice she makes for her baby. 
The bill would allow birth parents to revoke their consent during the first 30 days. 
  • Placing a child for adoption is the most heart-wrenching thing a person can do.  It always involves grief and heartache.  Birth mothers say those first 30 days are unbearable.  But time, and for most birth parents, having contact with the adoptive parents through email, heals that deep sorrow.  Having the option to “change your mind” is not a good solution to healing that heartache.  It encourages birth mothers to “try” adoption, knowing they have the option to change their mind and parent their baby if the healing process is hard.  Anyone that has placed a baby will admit that the healing process will be hard.  Proper counseling by a skilled adoption caseworker or attorney before and after placement will help.  And of course, time helps too.  
  • Revoked and contested adoptions do not have the child’s best interest in mind.  It puts the birth family against the adoptive family.  It would not be easy for a baby to spend 8 days bonding with his birth mother, spend time bonding with the adoptive parents, then be removed from his home and put back with his birth mother.  No matter how a birth mother is grieving, that is not healthy for a child. 
The birth mothers who are supporting this Bill placed many years ago (in the 50’s and 60’s) when adoption “culture” was different.  The reality of adoption now in Oregon (and the rest of the country) is actually very different from what they are expressing.  Open adoption, where birth mothers have open communication with the adoptive family, is the norm now.  Babies are never “snatched” out of their arms of the birth mothers.  And adopted children grow up happy and well-adjusted, just like children born and raised the more traditional way.

I appreciate your support and your attention to my concerns.

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