William Pierce of the National Council for Adoption reiterates the inaccurate information that he has consistently used in opposing the national voluntary mutual-consent registry and efforts in states to open adoption records. He claims data demonstrate that adoptions of newborns have plummeted because adopted adults may obtain information in their adoption records. In fact, the data show the opposite: In states such as Kansas and Alaska, where adult adoptees have access to their original birth certificates, adoption rates are higher than average. This information refutes Mr. Pierce's assertion that "privacy encourages adoption."
Mr. Pierce also continues to ignore that personal communication between birth parents and their biological children is not the same as public "discussion and examination" of the private details of birth mothers' lives. Birth parents and adopted adults clearly understand the difference. Research has consistently shown that birth mothers in overwhelming percentages wish to have information about themselves shared with the adults whom they placed for adoption as children, and adult adoptees in overwhelming percentages wish to have access to information about their birth families. There is mutual interest in finding one another, and state registries, as the data show over and over, do not facilitate this process.
As your Aug. 19 article well describes, there are many policy issues raised by the national voluntary mutual-consent registry. These issues, however, will be best debated if all parties weighing in on the debate present the data and research honestly and accurately.
A Feb. 1 editorial assumes that measures like the one passed in Oregon that provide adult adoptees with access to their birth certificates break promises of confidentiality made to birth mothers when they placed children for adoption. While some small number of birth mothers may prefer not to have their identities made known, many birth parents report that they were not promised confidentiality but instead were informed by agencies that their anonymity would be a condition of the adoption.
In fact, no document of surrender has ever been produced containing a promise of confidentiality, and given that adoption records in every state may be opened by courts upon showing of good cause, no such promise of confidentiality could legitimately be made.
The writer is executive director, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.
Adoption only tie to family for many
USA Today; Arlington; Mar 25, 1998;
Start Page: 11A
Over the past year, USA TODAY has published at least 16 articles about adoption, ranging from traumatic outcomes for families that adopted children from Eastern European countries to the baby-dealing legacy of the infamous Dr. Thomas Hicks and his Georgia clinic, and to celebrities who are adopted.
Adoption, in the context of the individual stories, was accurately portrayed, and the various perspectives were fairly presented. The question is, do these isolated stories, when viewed as a group, provide the full story of adoption, or is the message out of balance?
A recent national survey of Americans' attitudes about adoption revealed differences in the public's views of adoption, based on their sources of information. The survey found:
Respondents whose primary source of information about adoption was friends and family tended to have far more positive attitudes. They more often believed that adoption serves a useful purpose in society and that adopting a child is as good as having one's own biological child.
By contrast, those who relied more heavily on the news as their major source of adoption information were far more ambivalent. They were more likely to question the usefulness of adoption and to believe that adopting is less desirable than having one's own biological child.
More than 100,000 children in foster care in the United States and countless children in other countries desperately need loving parents. For these children, adoption is the only way to a family, yet they will find adoptive families only if Americans, in far greater numbers, step forward.
And Americans will become families for these children only if they truly understand adoption. The media have done a thorough job in educating the public about some of the risks associated with adoption. Given that the vast majority of adoptions succeed, the media also must play a powerful role in educating the public about the benefits of adoption for both children and
Madelyn Freundlich, exec. dir.
The Adoption Institute
New York, N.Y.
Embryo "Adoption" Is Ethical Conundrum
New York Times
Thursday, November 27, 1997
To the Editor:
Adoption is a service for children who need families, not a process intended to meet the needs of adults by producing children of preferred genetic characteristics. The sale and purchase of ready-made embryos (front page, Nov 23) may respond to the needs of infertile individuals whose medical options and budget recommend this approach, but it is not adoption, Childrenšs interest are not well served by confusing the adult-focused and ethically questionable practice of embryo selling with adoptions.
New York, Nove 24, 1997
The writer is executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.
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