Family Advocates

AmRis sent this to me and I really think it’s a concept worth exploring.
I am not so sure about the “non-profit” aspect (and of course my concerns
with infant adoptions period) but I really believe the concept is solid
toward the goal of eliminating coercion and misrepresentation.
I would love to hear what you all think, particularly from mothers who
have relinquished.

Family Advocates

I’ve been thinking about how we can change the adoption situation. I’ve long
had a sort of idea swimming around in the back of my mind about starting a
non-profit to help mothers and decrease the number of relinquishments.

I was struck with a slightly more concrete idea of what it might look like.

What is a family advocate? Well, when a child is arrested for any kind of
misbehavior, they get a children’s advocate. This person’s job is to ensure
that the child is treated fairly and that the law is followed in accordance
with the highest good of the child.

What if someone were to create a nonprofit that promoted the creation of
advocates that ensure that mothers considering relinquishment are not being
coerced or extorted. A lobby that brings forth the idea that any time a
woman considers relinquishment, and no matter the circumstances of the
adoption in the USA, the parent is to have an advocate.

This organization would oversee adoptions and agencies and ensure that such
practices as moving the mother across state lines to escape fathers no
longer is occurring. This agency would have the agenda of protecting
families from coercion, extortion, and from unnecessary separation. They
would oversee adoptions and ensure that the child in the equation has
representation at the adoption, that the mother has representation, and the
father has representation.

The primary goal would be “To ensure ethical treatment of, and to protect
the interests of, the originating family in cases of adoption
consideration.” It would research and offer counseling on adoption loss-for
all parties, firstmothers, adoptees, and firstfathers. The ultimate goal
would be to bring the USA’s adoption practices into line with those of
Australia (with perhaps a few subtle differences), and to promote the legal
removal of all profit from the BUSINESS of infant trafficking.

It’s of course, a preliminary idea, and needs some work… but I think it’s
a good jumping off point and a sound premise.

What do you think?

~ Amris

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5 Comments

Filed under Adoptee Family, Adoption Politics, Adoptive Family, Natural Family

5 responses to “Family Advocates

  1. kim

    When children get arrested they do NOT get an advocate, they get a probation officer and if they are lucky they get a lawyer.

    The lawyer advocates for the child’s wishes, not for the highest good of the child. The law is an adversarial system and there is a lot of tension all around.

    What all expectant mothers, that are being pushed toward relinquishing their children, need is a court-appointed lawyer. The same lawyers that represent people that are threatened with termination of parental rights, it’s really the same thing. And not the same lawyer that is “facilitating” the adoption.

    My mother wishes she had a lawyer to speak for her before she relinquished me.

  2. I think that the lawyer is supposed to be the child’s advocate. Whether or not it happens that way is another story.

    Basically Kim you have the same idea I think? AmRis’ concept being non-profit (of which I am not necessarily comfortable with) and yours being a judicial position or government program….which I am even more uncomfortable with. They can’t get the programs they are in control of now to run properly.

    Of course I think it goes without saying that if it were an appointed lawyer that lawyer could not legally handle both sides.

    So I guess the question is if the idea of an advocate is solid which would be more effective? Court appointed or a stand alone non-profit? Or is there another avenue for advocacy perhaps? Maybe a combination of the two.

  3. kim

    I’m a public defender. I do not advocate for the child’s best interests, I advocate for what the child wants.

    For example, if it would be in the best interests of the child to go to treatment, but he doesn’t want to go, then I advocate for him NOT to go to treatment. But that is how it is handled in the criminal realm. Sometimes the court appoints a guardian ad litem to act in the child’s best interests, but usually only if I request it.

    The problem with adoption, as I see it, is that it ends up being a one-sided contract. It is a legal action all wrapped up in a warm fuzzy blanket. The adoptive parents and the agencies have lawyers. I am speculating, but I don’t think the expectant mothers have their own lawyers explaining the contract to them.

    I think a court appointed family law attorney would be the appropriate person. I have no idea how such a system would work.

  4. Cedar

    Okay, so a contested adoption is in court — let’s say, the adopters refuse to return a child w/in the revocation period — the child gets an advocate of their own. You can be darned certain that this advocate will push for the adoption. It happens all the time in similar cases in the child welfare system. “Best interest of the child” means going to a wealthy, 2-parent, married family with a house. Not to a single mother struggling financially to keep a rented apartment, working at McDonalds as that’s the only job she can find.

    Sorry, but this whole idea came from an adoptive parents group lately, one called ‘PEAR’. Moms who have seen this scenario play out in court KNOW what it is really about: getting more babies from mothers because of course the adopters can afford lawyers and will win in court every single time. They can afford $25,000 per baby, so of course they can afford a lawyer more easily than a mother struggling with financial coercion who wonders if she can afford to feed her child.

  5. Cedar

    If you take away the part where the mother has to fight in court *against* both her baby’s advocate and the adopters’ lawyer — an uphill battle at best — this idea is a good one and i would like to hear more about it.

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