Memorandum submitted by Cathy Henderson
I believe that there are major changes that
need to be made to this Bill before it becomes law.
Britain seems to practise "closed"
adoption by severing all ties with the birthfamily. The only time
an adoption should be ``closed`` is if there is any abuse involved.
Otherwise this goes against the spirit of the United Nations Convention
on Children's Rights which states that "the State has a duty
to maintain family ties."
Birthparents and adoptees should not have their
ties severed simply because of youth or poverty.
"Open" adoption would ensure that
the adoptive parents keep their ``parental rights'', and would
insure that the child would still have ``family ties''. Open adoption
is practised in many places in the world including Canada and
the United States. Why isn't it practised here?
Parental rights and family ties are two different
thingsthey are not interchangeable. A child has a right
to a family heritage as well as an up-to-date medical history.
A child has a right to blood relatives. To deny anyone these is
to break the UN Convention on their Rights, whether they are child
or adult. Britain seems to be behind on "Open" Adoption
issues when compared with other countries. Why? What is wrong
with keeping the birthfamily informed of the child's welfare?
It would help many birthparents come to terms with the adoption.
Most birthparents never recover from a closed adoptionnot
knowing if your child is dead or alive is endless purgatory. Most
birthparents end up on anti-depressantssome even commit
suicide from the endless despair of not knowing. All birthparents
want to know is that their child is thrivingall it takes
is letters and pictures. Why is that so much to ask. To deny the
crumbs of childhood shows greed and selfishness on the part of
adoptive parents who should remember where that child came from
and the lifelong depression that the birthmother will suffer from
that loss for their gain. Birthmothers have had enough of being
made invisibleespecially from past bad treatment.
Another thing that needs to be looked at is
that the search is at the discretion of the adoption agencythis
cannot guarantee a high standard of uniform service. This should
not be a discretion on the part of a strangerit should
be a legal right. The only time there should not be a search is
if there has been any abuse involved. Anyone who does not want
to be found can simply give the adoption agency a letter of veto.
Are records going to be open? If not, why not?
In British Columbia in Canada last year, all records were open.
If a person did not want contact, then all they needed to do was
put in their file a ``No Contact'' veto.
Only 0.04 per cent put in these vetoes.
In other words, 99 per cent of people want contact.
What right have you to deny the vast majority of people?
Please take note of all the things in this email.
It is very important. I speak from first-hand experience as a
birthmother searching for her son. Are any of the committee members
birthparents or adopteesif not why not? I have found that
people do not truly understand our "needs" if they are
not one or the other. Birthparent/relatives and adoptees need
to be represented on the Committee.
Many thanks for listening. Please make these
important changes. It will make millions of people very happy
if you do. Adoptees will find family and birthparents can die