Friday, June 22, 2012

Did you know......

that there are laws governing the age at which a kitten or puppy can be adopted? The below info was taken from the Animal Legal & Historical Center

“How old must a puppy be prior to being offered for sale?”
"The answer to this question, like just about any question in law, depends on where you live.  Approximately eighteen states have laws or administrative regulations that dictate how old a puppy must be before it is offered for sale or adopted out to an owner.  Of those states with laws, all but one require that a puppy be at least eight weeks old before being offered for sale (See Pennsylvania and Nebraska, for example).  Virginia mandates that a puppy be at least seven weeks old. Other states focus on the separation of the puppy or kitten from its mother in addition to specifying a minimum age. Nevada's  recently amended law provides that a  retailer, dealer, or operator shall not separate a dog or cat from its mother until it is 8 weeks of age "or accustomed to taking food or nourishment other than by nursing.whichever is later." [emphasis added]. Likewise,  Illinois also phrases its law with the idea that a puppy or kitten shall not be "separated from its mother" until the puppy or kitten has attained the age of 8 weeks." 

"What happens in those states without such laws?  This answer is less than clear.  Certainly a retailer who sells a puppy not yet weaned from his or her mother and able to eat on his or her own is not acting in the best interests of the puppy.  Should the puppy then die or suffer inhumanely, despite the best efforts of the pet purchaser, the retailer could conceivably face animal cruelty charges.  Moreover, in those states that have enacted pet purchaser protection laws (click here for those states), a possible claim that the merchant violated an implied warranty could be raised.  Without a definitive law, the best action by a purchaser is to research the breed he or she wishes to purchase or talk to a veterinarian."

This is the law in my state of FL4) A person may not transport into the state for sale or offer for sale within the state any dog or cat that is less than 8 weeks of age.

This is the law in my state of FL regarding infants and adoption(b) A consent to the adoption of a minor who is to be placed for adoption may be executed by the birth mother 48 hours after the minor’s birth or the day the birth mother is notified in writing, either on her patient chart or in release paperwork, that she is fit to be released from the licensed hospital or birth center, whichever is earlier. A consent by any man may be executed at any time after the birth of the child. The consent is valid upon execution and may be withdrawn only if the court finds that it was obtained by fraud or duress.
(c) If the minor to be adopted is older than 6 months of age at the time of the execution of the consent, the consent to adoption is valid upon execution; however, it is subject to a revocation period of 3 business days.

Clearly something is wrong here. It's in the best interest of puppies and kittens to remain with their mothers for at least 7 or 8 weeks yet a baby can be bought when he's only 2 days old. It's not only ok, but the law is definitely on the side of the brokers and adopters because when a mother signs that consent while she's still in the hospital, it's rock solid. There's no going back. There is no revocation period for the mother unless the child is older than 6 months of age and even then it's only 3 days.

This is a great set up. Get the PAPs together with a young, impressionable pregnant woman, have them bond with her, spend time with her, be there for her, have them calling her "their birthmother". Then, when it comes time for little one to be born, have the PAPs be there while she's in labor and even go into delivery with her. Some even cut the cord! If a mother can sign a consent in 2 days it's certainly good for the brokers to have  lobbyists like the NCFA working for them to make sure legislation doesn't give a mother any leeway. They want their clients to be able to take the baby home and rest easy that they won't be bothered by some pesky, grieving mother. According to their own website, NCFA is a strong advocate for federal and state policies that advance a culture of adoption throughout the United States and world. Under "Birthparent Issues" they say....

"There are currently a number of bills before Congress that address issues affecting birthparents. Both birthmothers and birthfathers often face many challenges, before and after placing a child for adoption. Some of the challenges birthparents face include resistance to adoption from family and friends, feelings of grief and loss, and misinformation about adoption. Many people still misunderstand or even stigmatize birthparents,
despite the loving, difficult choice they make in order to ensure the well-being of their children."

Their purpose is to advance a culture of adoption, not work in the best interests of infants. Can you imagine if they actually advocated for legislation that would help mothers and babies stay together for at least 8 weeks ensuring that the mother is making a fully informed decision? They even say they're concerned about the "challenge" of a mother's family being resistant to the idea of adoption. Of course they're concerned about it. Why would they want a family to stick together and help each other out when instead the brokers can make a bundle on that little bundle. The NCFA has dues to collect from those agencies. How many babies would actually be adopted if there were a law similar to the one for dogs and cats which stated that a mother and baby could not be separated for the child's first 8 weeks of life? My guess is damned few.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Is there enough rubble yet?

This picture reminds me of adoption. So many thousands of us suffered damage and so many more continue to suffer from past separations or current adoptions. A mother and child are separated at the baby's birth. The damage is done. Like a crash to the floor, this one act happens and the history of both mother and child is drastically and forever altered. And this act is no accident, it's well orchestrated by the powers that be, by society's attitudes, by churches, by agencies and by social workers.

For 40 weeks mother and baby were one being, connected physically and emotionally. The baby learned the voice of her mother, the heartbeat of her mother, the laugh of her mother, the rhythm of her mother. For 40 weeks the mother felt her baby inside her, felt her kick, felt her move, felt her bounce when she had the hiccups, felt her turn around, felt the love she has for her baby. Then, the manipulated mother goes through the motions and the system, believing what she's told and doing what she's told is best.

Some people believe that mothers are interchangeable and that an adoption happening at or soon after the baby's birth means that the child won't know the difference. Some believe that the mother can just go on with her career, new life and have more children. The adopted baby - as if born to the adopters. The mother - as if never given birth. Some think this is a win/win/win situation - what's to complain about? The damage done is what there is to complain about. Infant adoption is really a win/win/lose/lose situation. The two winners are the brokers and the adopters. The brokers make the money and the adopters get the coveted baby. The baby and the mother are the losers in the scenario. 

The winners don't want to hear the complaints from the losing side. How can they preserve the winning strategy for future brokers and adopters if they actually listen to what the losers have to say? If they listened and listened sincerely, they might be expected to do something about it. Adoptees aren't supposed to complain. Gratitude is expected of them. Damage? What damage? You would have ended up in foster care anyway. Did you want to end up in a dumpster? Look at the great life you got. Aren't you concerned about your adoptive parents feelings? Why would you want to search for your family, you have a family. Mothers aren't supposed to complain either. We weren't even allowed to grieve the loss of our babies. Just move along. Get a life. Get a job. Get a new family. Forget all about it. Now, even if the mother can see her child occasionally, she'd better tow the line. Don't be intrusive, don't nag for pictures, don't have any say in what happens to your child, just suck it up if the adopters change their minds about visits. He's not your child anymore, remember? Don't be a pest and the adoption won't close. No recourse for you.

This is what damage means. It means trauma, loss and heartbreak. It means hiding how you feel. It means pretending and lying. It means living a facade. It means doing whatever it takes to have contact with your child. It means secrets. It means doing whatever it takes to have contact with your natural parents and not hurting your adopters in the process. It means searching. It means grieving for decades. It means not knowing who you really are. It means years of birthdays and wondering. It means no medical history. It means loss of self and civil rights. For me, there was my life before the pregnancy and my life afterwards. The experience of losing my child was not just a matter of suffering damage, it was nearly a fatal blow. I'm not the same person I was before I lost my daughter and never will be again. That girl is gone.

The damage done is permanent. In order to survive I had to fill the cracks. Some were filled with the wall I built between me and my family. Although some healing has happened in the last 3 decades, I don't think the wall can ever come down completely. It's still needed in places to hold me together. Other breaks were filled with the family I created. My love for my husband and the 2 children I had with him cemented in me a will to keep going. Painting and love of art was the soft filler that let me expand and contract with whatever emotional state I was in at the time. The memory of my daughter's cry in the delivery room - the only sensory connection I was allowed with her - filled me with determination to find her.

It's hard for me to find beauty in this kind of history but I did find gold when I found my daughter and my 3 children were finally together. I know I'm stronger now. I have my voice and my power back but after being this broken, the repair work is an ongoing project. The pieces are everywhere, the fallout extreme. Selfishness and greed keep the aftermath of adoption invisible. How high will the rubble have to be before it's seen?