Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Monday, November 20, 2006

Major New Report on Birth Mothers

A major new report on adoption was released this last week.  The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute issued a report devoted to birth mothers, whom it described as ''the least understood and most stigmatized participants'' in the adoption process. The report focuses on U.S. mothers who voluntarily place infants for adoption -- an estimated 13,000 to 14,000 such adoptions occur annually. Most of this country's roughly 135,000 adoptions each year are from foster care; the next biggest category is overseas adoptions.  The report urges that mothers deciding to place their infants for adoption deserve better counseling, more time to change their minds, and more support in trying to keep track of the children they relinquish.

Read the full report (last visited November 20, 2006 bgf)

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And, here is a response to the article by Origins, Inc:


by Origins USA

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Donaldson Paper Misses the Mark By Omitting the Evidence of Mothers.

Richmond, VA December 5, 2006 - The 11/19/06, E.B. Donaldson Adoption Institute (EBD) White Paper (Paper) entitled "Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents in the Adoption Process" missed the mark when presenting the adoption industry's failure to protect the rights of mothers by neglecting to include the people with the most experience-- mothers -- in their representation.

Absent in the Paper is acknowledgment that mothers' legal and human rights protections were contravened. However, there are vast numbers of women, mothers who were denied due process, who have ample evidence of wrong-doing in the past in the records they have obtained from the agencies, hospitals, maternity homes, and physicians and their own testamentary evidence. The EBD White Paper fails to cite these women in their document.

Omitted from the resource list were writings by some of the foremost critics of adoption practice: Carole Anderson, Jean Paton, Rickie Solinger and Regina Kunzel. Ample historical evidence exists, in the writings of these researchers and others, that the adoption industry was aware of lifelong harm to surrendering mothers. The evidence presents a compelling case for the mistreatment of potentially surrendering mothers in the adoption process. The issues presented warrant attention and public inquiry.

Absent, too, was input regarding reform recommendations from mothers decades post-surrender, particularly the period in history, known as the Baby Scoop Era (post-WWII to Roe v. Wade). Millions of mothers were forced to surrender their infants during these years. Though the Paper primarily addresses current practices and mentions coercion, the Baby Scoop Era provides a clear picture of injustices to mothers and their children. More recent mothers, whose parental rights were contravened, the only mothers represented on the Donaldson panel, will often state that they are "satisfied" or "content" rather than risk antagonizing the adoptive parents of their child and threaten their contact privileges or compromise their own survival.

EBD fell short in their Paper because without the voices of the mothers who have lived for decades with the loss of their children, and without the voices of experience, no true and accurate picture of what changes to adoption practice are needed can be obtained.


For further information go to

Origins USA advocates for the preservation of natural families and, as a last resort, alternative systems of child care that respect the needs and dignity of both mother and child above permanent adoption separation. We provide support for people separated by adoption, fight coercive adoption practices, and educate the public and policy makers about the effects of adoption separation. A national organization, we are internationally affiliated with Origins Inc. ( NSW Australia), Origins Canada, and other Origins branches in those countries. OriginsUSA has also aligned with Tracker's International in the U.K. and with Adoption Crossroads in the U.S.

Posted by: HeatherRainbow | Dec 6, 2006 10:49:45 AM

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