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.


  1. Thanks, Carlynne. I have often wondered the same. Over the years we have rescued 3 puppies. Each time the pups had to be 8 weeks old. We had to complete a lengthy questionnaire--we were screened to ensure we would give a good home to our pups.

    Had I been given the same opportunity to care for my daughter her first 8 weeks of life, I know with certainty she would have been raised with me. I was 16 and lived with my parents. They did not want me to bring her home because of my young age--they wanted a "better" life for me and my baby. It was easy for them to feel detached because they didn't see or hold her. I only saw her once at 2 days old and then I was discharged with empty arms. Both of us were left to grieve in silence.

    It does not seem humane to me that babies are separated from mothers virtually at birth, while puppies are allowed 8 weeks with their mothers. So very wrong. --M

  2. Anon, I was told the same thing. I could not bring a baby back to the house. In the hospital they used the BFA protocol to inform the staff that I couldn't see my baby. I never saw her at all. I agree, if we had been able to be with our babies, they would've had a much less chance of getting them away from us. That's exactly why we were treated that way and that's why they've been able to pass the legislation the way it is. The less time with your baby, the greater chance of them getting the baby and the money.

  3. I had full intention of taking my child home from the hospital with me and let everyone around me know it, (social wrecker, agency staff, etc.). I will never forget the agency social wrecker scolding me when I mentioned it to her on one occasion, yelling at me saying "You need to let them know what you are doing!" Them being the prospective adopters. That in itself was coercive and used to weapon make me feel bad about wanting to take MY child home from the hospital with me. I was unsure about all of it and really wanted to take him home. I wish I would have listened to that intuition, instead of allowing people to take advantage of my vulnerability and hormones raging. I will never forget that woman saying that to me and wish I could turn back the clock to that very moment, so I could give her a piece of my mind for having the gall to say that and imply that I owed a couple strangers an explanation as to what I was going to do after I gave birth to my own flesh and blood.

    After I have birth, I had to literally BEG the hospital staff to take me to see my child, who was on another floor. Still in agony from a Csection I still would not relent. I wanted to be near my child, but I am certain the hospital staff was alerted by the baby brokers, who knew I was on the fence. The whole experience was horrific and so traumatizing that I only remember bits and pieces.

    To any young woman considering adoption; take heed to these words. Adoption is cruel and horrific. Make no mistake.

  4. Although I've known about this, seeing it in writing makes it all the more horrific. Laws to protect a puppy/kitten from being taken from their mothers, compared to laws that take a human babies mother away as soon as possible. Because the adoption industry knows that if a mother is given time with her child she would never be able to willingly sign those papers...

  5. And all of this is done under the pretext that it is better for the child to bond as early as possible with the APs. But the child is already attached to her natural mother. Why not let her bond with her n-mother and stay there? Even if the child is placed at 1 day or 1 week it still doesn't change the fact that s/he is biologically, historically, emotionally, etc. connected to her original mother. I guess the animal business just isn't as lucrative as dealing in human flesh.

    1. LOL, Robin! You took the words right from my fingertips. The industry has a different set of rules for pregnant women who are not in the grasps of the adoption machine. You know- their babies are bonded to them BEFORE they are born, and encourage rooming in, so the baby is not traumatized by separation. Adoptees do not count, (except for the cash they bring in) and neither do their first Mothers. Its sick.

  6. Your analogy really hit me between the eyes for a couple of reasons.

    First, it reminded me of an analogy I made decades ago regarding the social work mentality in adoption relinquishment. Remember how social workers assured moms they would "go on with their lives" and "forget" their babies? I'm convinced this conclusion was based on their observations of cats and dogs when their babies were taken from them. These pathetic cat and dog moms would search frantically for their babies for a day or two, whining pathetically. But this behavior would gradually decrease and they would "go on with their lives," eventually "forgetting." This, dear friends, is what social workers believed was the way human mothers would react to their loss. Many social workers STILL believe this!

    My second reaction was to recall the accounts I've read about the early maternity homes where mothers were required to stay and nurse their babies until weaning. Those were the days before baby formulas, so the moms were the only source of milk for their babies. Can you even begin to imagine the torture for these moms and babies to be driven apart after this total physical, emotional, and spiritual bonding? It boggles my mind! And all of this in the pretense of "best interest of the child." It's nothing short of criminal!

  7. Wow--very powerful point made here. Reminds me also that animals had organized protection against abuse before children even did. Lots of cultural precedent here. Truly, children are the last minority in our society--even below the rights of animals.

  8. Your guess is pretty spot-on, I’d say, if the domestic infant adoption rates in other countries are anything to go by.

    I’m from the UK, and although we don’t have any actual law stating that mothers and babies must stay together for a minimum period, what we do have is an adoption system where there is no money involved, and therefore no incentive for anyone to persuade a mother to relinquish her baby, and women are basically left alone to make their own decision about what is best for them and their child.

    There are no ‘pregnancy counsellors’ wearing an expectant mum down over 9 months until she’s believes she’s not good enough to parent her own child, no pregnancy crisis leaflets painting a ‘rainbows and unicorns’ view of adoption, while presenting parenting as the end of your life. There’s no agency worker knocking on the hospital room door demanding a decision, no hopeful adoptive parents waiting excitedly outside asking to cut the cord, no pressure to sign the adoption papers within hours of childbirth. There is also an adequate welfare system, which allows even single mothers with no family support to be able to afford (just about) to parent if they want to.

    And surprise, surprise! domestic infant adoption is virtually non-existent in this country (UK Infant Adoptions Under 1 Year Old to year ending 31/03/2011 = 60, source, as it is in Australia where they have a similar system to us (Local Australian Adoptions 2010-2011 approx 46 (12% of 384 total), source There don’t seem to be any official adoption figures for the US, but the most conservative estimates I’ve seen put the number of domestic infant adoptions in the region of 15,000-20,000 a year, more than 100 times higher than in the UK and Australia.

    I get so frustrated by the number of comments you see from adoptive parents insisting that ‘their’ adoption was different, ‘their’ adoption didn’t involve any sort of coercion or forced choices of any kind, often with the clear implication that the majority of adoption cases in the US fall into that same category. When really, all you need to do to know the truth is to look at the cold hard facts and figures, which no amount of personal stories or anecdotes can change. Figures that show that when they really have a choice, mothers do not give up their babies in anything but the tiniest of numbers.

    I would love to know what those people think explains such a huge difference in adoption rates, if not coercion and lack of other options? Do they think American women are some kind of separate breed, who just spontaneously, inexplicably decide they don’t want to parent in their tens of thousands? Do they really think there’s no connection between the fact that the main difference in the US adoption system just-so-happens to be the profit-motive and lack of welfare support, and the fact that the US also just-so-happens to have a domestic infant adoption rate 100 times higher than other western countries without those factors?

    Another commenter mentioned infant formula milk, and that was also one of the first things to go through my mind when I read this post. I was going to say that whoever invented infant formula milks has a lot to answer for, naively assuming that in the pre-formula days adoption would have been much rarer, because it would have been impossible to separate a mother and baby for at least the first few months, and who gives up their baby after 4 or 5 months of bonding?

    Only to learn from Jo Swanson’s comment that actually, in the days before formula milks, far from adoption being virtually impossible, the whole process was actually even more traumatic than it is today, with women being forced to nurse for months and THEN be forcibly separated from their children. I’ve been reading adoption blogs for a few months now and thought I had heard it all, and that it couldn’t get any uglier. I should have known better.

    1. My take on it is that if there is ANY REASON WHATSOEVER that you are relinquishing your child, coercion is involved, period, even if you have been convinced (by yourself or others) to feel good about it or to feel as if it is the best choice. It is NATURAL for human mothers to keep their babies after birth. I know not every natural thing is good, but in this case it is. Anything that makes you want to deviate from that natural baseline is going to involve some kind of force. It's NOT really a choice.

  9. The other funny thing about this is that it's 8 weeks - for puppies. In human terms, that'd be more like 6 months, at the least. Human infants are born far more helpless. An eight week old puppy is much more advanced than an 8 week old baby. Add to that, average age of weaning worldwide for human babies is 4 YEARS, and children, when left to wean themselves, generally don't fully do so until about 3/3.5 YEARS. In less enlightened places, such as the US, babies are (usually forcibly) weaned at 6 months, which, to repeat the point, is a hell of a lot more than 8 weeks.

    It still brings us to the same point, though - the rate of relinquishment would go way down if the mother kept her baby for that long. By then, she's figured out she can do it.

  10. I think Jo's point about it being difficult on the mother to nurse a baby that long and then relinquish is what the agencies would use against the proposal. But isn't carrying a child for nine months hellish on the mother? Why not take the baby at 32 weeks when they can survive outside the womb and have the adopters pay the hospital bill? Just because the baby CAN survive, and it's easier on the relinquishing mother, doesn't make it okay to traumatize an infant when it is most vulnerable.
    How the hell can we get people to see what is going on?