Birth mothers come from a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds, are varying ages and come with a diversity of expectations and needs concerning adoption. Whatever their backgrounds or their expectations, one thing remains common to all of them: they love their children deeply and want to choose the best family for their child. They never forget their children. It is very helpful for adoptive parents, and for their families and friends, to understand the birth mother, the issues she is facing and the difficult decisions she must make.
On November 19, 2004, Lauryn Galindo, a Seattle intercountry adoption facilitator, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the child trafficking of hundreds of Cambodian children.
We are planning to adopt a baby and have heard stories about birth fathers coming forward at the last minute, to disrupt adoptions. What is the situation if this happens?
As with all questions involving the law, an accurate answer begins with, “it depends.” The first thing it depends on is where the child (and birth father) reside. Different countries, and even different provinces or states, have differing laws and procedures. For the purpose of this response, I will assume all parties live in BC.
Though they are rare, and most adoptions go through seamlessly, revocations by birth parents happen.
In BC, birth parents have 30 days from the time their child is born to change their minds and decide to parent their child.
Usually those 30 days pass by, albeit slowly, and the parents can breathe a sigh of relief. For others, it’s not quite so simple.
I was adopted at birth, 22 years ago, but I've never felt like anything was missing from my life. Then I received information about my birth parents. I got butterflies in my stomach when I saw the letter in the mailbox. It had also been awhile since I’d really thought about what it means to be adopted.
Getting that information: height, weight, and characteristics of the people whose genes I share, made me aware of a piece I didn't know had been missing.
Adoption reversal and revocation strikes fear in the hearts of adopting parents. Under section 19 of the Adoption Act, "a birth mother may revoke her consent within 30 days of the child's birth, even though the child has been placed for adoption during that period." In a reversal, consents have not been signed; in revocation, consents have been signed. In most cases the child was living in the adoptive home. Under the old Act, there was no revocation period.
An adoptive family was ordered to give up their 10-month baby girl, adopted at 11 days old, when a birthfather applied for custody of the child. The ruling was later overturned. In light of this case, we have chosed to reprint various clarifications on the legal rights of birth fathers and adoptive families. To put things in perspective, less than one per cent of adoptions are contested by birth fathers.
At one point we actually referred to it as 90 months of failure. But it was through the pain of years of infertility that we finally opened up to the option of adoption. It always seemed like having to settle for second best-runner up-the silver medal. If only we knew then what we know now, we would have started the adoption process so much earlier.
"If I were an adoptee, I think I'd want to search for my birth parents. I'd be curious, I think," Cathy tells me. "Oh, no, I wouldn't want to," says Joanne. "I was raised by my biological parents and I may look like them, but I am nothing like them in personality. Who cares whose nose or hands you have?"