I’ve written several times over the years about the 1955 Kefauver sub-committee hearings into Black Market adoptions. Now every time I read about states working to change the laws to protect adopted children being re-homed without using an agency (i.e. proper legal channels) I am struck by thought that – sixty years later and they still are being reactive instead of proactive.
In 1955 – there were many states that did not have laws making it a crime to sell a baby…
Page 4 starts off with this statement (bolding mine): “One of the reasons we are sitting here today is because the Senate Judiciary Committee has referred to us two bills aimed at stopping this interstate sale of children.” Further down the page comes with revelation. “We are also concerned because 33 of our 48 States do not have laws to prevent within the State sale of babies. Seventeen of our States have absolutely no teeth in their regulations governing who may or may not set up an adoption agency; that is, we found in some States that people with criminal records, immoral people, have established informal placement agencies, handled the placement of children, which on its face is a very bad influence.”
In 2014 – only a couple of states have changed the laws to protect adopted children who are being re-homed without following proper adoption process. States start to crack down on ‘re-homing’ their adopted kids
I see a lot of changes made in adoption laws across the country, such as reducing the time frame between giving birth and signing away their parental rights. My mother had four days before she could sign. Now at least one state is only 12 hours post birth and she can sign away her rights, two states allow for signing away her rights before birth with a short window after birth to revoke her surrender in writing. I’ve seen reducing, or doing away completely with a window after signing to change their mind. Laws that seem to make the father irrelevant, anything to make the adoption a done deal, those changes are lobbied for and pushed hard.
I also don’t see any adoption professionals lobbying to protect both the mother and father’s rights, and most importantly the child’s rights to their parents. Perhaps 12 hours after giving birth might seem fine if you’ve never actually given birth, for me, not a chance I could have given informed consent, perhaps 4 days, but not 12 hours. Nor do I see any movement in protecting the parents if one, or both, are still minors – too many states are silent on additional protections, so there aren’t any.
Shouldn’t adoption laws be written to protect both the child and the biological parents, instead of what makes it easiest to sever the child from their family?