When my brother, Cam, and his wife, Karin, went to Fuling, China, to bring home a 10-month-old baby girl, they invited Karin’s sister, Nancy and I, the aunties, along for the trip. The four of us met in Shanghai to begin what turned out to be a momentous experience.
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.
About six years ago, we decided it was time to start building our family. When the old-fashioned way didn’t work for us, I began researching international adoption. The enormous costs, as well as the health problems many children face, were discouraging, so I spoke with our doctor about other options. He referred us to a fertility specialist. Our unsuccessful efforts brought us back to adoption.
In this discussion paper, I hope to open a door for reflection and discussion within the adoption community, meaning adoption agencies, support services, and adoptive and prospective adoptive parents. It is time to examine our underlying values and biases in adoption, and address how the adoptive system advantages some, while disadvantaging others.
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.
We have been chosen by a birth mother to adopt the child she will soon give birth to. As you can imagine, this is a very emotional and stressful time for us. Is there any advice you would give to people in our situation as we anxiously wait and deal with the uncertainty?
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.
- Work with informed professionals in adoption agencies that the community regards as offering quality adoption services.
- Take the time to explore your own feelings about substance abuse in general and your experiences with substance abuse—in your own personal background, with family and friends, and in the work place.
- Take the time to explore your own feelings
Both of *Melissa Berry’s children want information on their birth families, but at this time, only one, Kaiya, aged 11, has. Nine year old Brooke has to cope with the knowledge that, unlike her sister’s birth mom, hers is not ready or is unable to make contact with her. Brooke came home at 11 days old. Though her adoption allowed for an open arrangement and her birthmom indicated she would be interested in written communication, it has not happened. The Berrys have sent information via the Ministry but have not had any response.
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.