Contact Responding – Post #3
PLACING CHILDREN IN SIBLING GROUPS FOR ADOPTION
1. How can we find more adopters willing and able to take on sibling groups, particularly larger groups?
It is not adopters willing and able to take on sibling groups needed, but instead people willing to help another family out by being there for the kids while the kids are growing up.
Increasing community capacity volunteer family mentors is a step in the right direction and an example of where the Government should be aiming.
Further, this is the wrong question to be asking at the out-set. The first question that needs asking – and answering by the Government – is why is adoption seen as such a panacea that the first question is not “how can we help families to keep their children within their own kin?” Another good starting question would be “how can we encourage more kinship carers to come forward?”
2. How can we better support those families willing to adopt sibling groups, particularly larger groups?
In exactly the same way you could be better supporting children to stay amongst their own family.
3. Please give your views on why this is difficult to achieve at present:
The dominant ideological perspective on adoption is one of positivity and joy. Unfortunately for the adoptee – the very person this being done to – positivity and joy are far from regular experiences. Instead the adoptee faces the loss of all that is familiar while being expected to assume a whole new personality. Further, through socialisation (media, fiction) the adoptee learns that they are not to mourn this loss, but rather they are to be “grateful” for “being saved”; this theme is a constituent of the adoptee being “second best” or “an inferior product”. Until the societal perspective towards adoption changes, adoption is always going to be nothing more than a lifetime of child abuse, inflicted by agreement when the adoptee was too young to have a voice. Giving adoptees the option to legally annul, divorce, or otherwise abort THEIR OWN adoptions would herald the beginning of the new era, resulting in the Government introducing such measures potentially portrayed as humanitarians.
3a. What are the barriers to children in sibling groups being placed together for adoption?
3b. What elements of social work practice support the placement of children in sibling groups with adopters?
3c. What elements of social work practice inhibit the placement of children in sibling groups with adopters?
4. We think that placing siblings together should be considered on the merits of the case for each individual child.
Should the law be made more explicit so that placing siblings together is considered on a case by case basis for each individual child?
Absolutely placing siblings together should be considered on the merits of the case for each individual child, however, the Government and those responsible for the trafficking of children both need to be educated on the true impact that loss of contact has on the person who is lost.
4a. How should legislation and guidance be revised to achieve this?
It is imperative that the Government and professionals involved within the child procurement and distribution industry are educated in the true impact of adoption loss. Social workers and family justice professionals need to demonstrate comprehension of the impacts of adoption upon the adoptee, as explained in the following referenced books, before they can accurately educate others.
Brodzinsky, D.M. and Schechter, M.D. (1990) The Psychology of Adoption. New York: Oxford Press.
Lifton, B.J. (1988) Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc.
Lifton, B.J. (1994) Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness. New York: Basic Books.
Verrier, N.N.(1993) Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child. Baltimore; Gateway Press, Inc.
Verrier, N.N.(2003) The Adopted Child Grows Up: Coming Home to Self. Baltimore; Gateway Press, Inc.
As explained by Verrier (2003, pp. 162-3):
“Sometimes, terrible things happen to little children. Perhaps more often than we realize. Things that aren’t always recognized as terrible, such as being put in an incubator to save a life or placed with foster parents to avoid abuse, feel terrible to little children. We know that leaving children with abusive parents is a bad thing, but we don’t often recognize that children also suffer when placed with other people, even if those people are good. I am quite sure that many CPS (Child Protective Services) case workers don’t recognize the harm in taking children away from their real parents. Yet in the life of the child it is a huge transgression. These actions, although perhaps necessary, create attitudes in children that are sometimes harmful to them. … Sometimes social workers have to make these decisions, but they need to understand the pain for the children when they do. … Children may be harmed by keeping them in their abusive homes and by placing them with foster parents. … I am referring to the harm that comes from being separated from everything familiar – from family, even a bad family.”
4b. In what other ways could a case by case basis be promoted for each individual child when considering the adoption of children separately?
If Child Protection professionals are not already basing their decisions on what is best for each individual they assess, then their job role has been wrong all along. This is further evidence that the Government and Child Protection professionals both need to stop looking at the fallacies espoused by those within the child distribution industry, and start listening to the adults who have lived through it. The Government needs to investigate the evidence amassing that categorically portrays adoption as anything but “for the best”.
5. Should we revise legislation and guidance to set out the features of good arrangements for contact with siblings when children are adopted separately?
Yes, legislation and guidance should be revised to set out the features of good arrangements for contact with siblings when children are adopted separately. Again though, this necessarily entails the professionals following the guidance to be aware of the impact of ALL the decisions they make – hence the previously referenced books should become required reading for ALL who are dealing with such issues.
5a. How should legislation and guidance be revised to achieve this?
Legislation and guidance should be revised to set out the features of good arrangements for contact with siblings when children are adopted separately by making it compulsory for all adopters to keep siblings’ lives as integrated on a day-to-day basis as humanly possible (keeping them within the same school, for example). “Contact” should not be set arrangements in contact centres and other such child-unfriendly places, but sharing times such as swimming lessons/sessions, playing on parks, and other such child-friendly activities. The main theme should not be “we must spend X hours a day/week/month locked away in a small room together so we can say we have seen each other”. The main theme should be “we are spending time together doing fun-filled, productive activities so that we can learn to work together and grow together whilst having a fun time and living our lives sharing experiences.”
Legislation should be enacted that compels adopters to ensure that siblings are not traumatised by each other’s loss, but instead enforces a high degree of time spent together with siblings. For this reason, future legislation needs to ensure that siblings adopted separately are not made to live more than a few easily travelable miles from each other.
There should also be a way for those adoptees to later annul, divorce, or otherwise abort THEIR OWN adoptions. This prevents legal contracts signed before the adoptee was of an age to give consent from perpetuating their loss into adulthood. It is imperative that the Government enacts legislation that enables the adoptee to no longer languish under the adoptee status inflicted upon them whilst they were below legal ages for submitting to such contracts (e.g. marriage – for which divorce can be filed).
Until such a law is enacted, it should be considered child abuse to legally sever any more children from their own families, and should cease immediately – at least until the ramifications of adoption as it currently exists are truly explored.
5b. In what other ways could good contact arrangements be promoted when children are adopted separately?
Make adoption more like a marriage – not a severance from one family while sticky-taping on to a new one, but a merging or blending or extending of all families involved. Attempting to restrict a child’s access to their own kin is inherently harmful to that child, as described by Verrier, Lifton, Brodzinsky, etc.
6. Please use the space below for any other comments you would like to make on placing children in sibling groups for adoption
The Government is approaching adoption from the wrong perspective. Instead of perceiving adoption as a panacea for the problems of children with parents who can/t or won’t parent adequately, and people who would like to have children of their own but can’t; adoption should be seen as a last resort. Adoption should be reserved for those wanting to be adopted by the people who have raised them, with full and accurate knowledge of all the sociological and psychological implications that are inherent in being adopted.
Adoption does not “save children”, instead it destroys their lives in ways that are not recognised as causing trauma.
“Adoption Loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful.” (Griffith, K.C., no date)
The whole premise that adoption is a ‘golden option'[ ] is wrong.
Adoption is the legal severance of a person from their ENTIRE heritage, FOREVER! Irrevocably!
That’s not child protection; it’s legalised post-natal identity abortion, after which the child is expected to grow up as entirely different person to who they really are.
The tools are already in place to both establish and revoke parental responsibility, so why does the person growing up as Somebody Else’s Child need to have their entire identity obliterated, irrevocably and forever?
If adoption is about child protection, why have I had to spend twice as long as an adult suffering from the repercussions of what was done to me as a child? If adoption is about child protection, then once I am no longer a child, but am instead an adult, I should be legally in some way be permitted to annul that adoption, yes?
I was fortunate in that I grew up within an awesome adoptive family, with whom I still have strong bonds and relatively close contact. Others have been less fortunate however, with several adopted friends having last seen their adopters around the time they were thrown out of the adoptive home – usually around 15 years old. Yet even decades later, with often many of those intervening years spent living amongst biological relatives, the adoptive family would still hold all the legal ties to that person. That this cannot be in some way undone, or revoked, or annulled, or divorced, is a human rights abuse, given that it is inflicted upon a person below any legal age of consent. More when it is possible to acquire a newly issued birth certificate showing the person is living as the binary-opposite gender.
If I can divorce my husband, why can I not in some way undo my adoption in a likewise fashion?
There are many legal ramifications to adoption – especially taking into account the high degree of emotional trauma experienced by the adoptee and any unadopted children.
Both this response form and the response form for the contact with parents starts wrong. In order for children to achieve their fullest potential, it is important for them to experience a high degree of genealogical reflection, upon which they can then establish their own identity. It is necessary to see the mistakes the people you come from make to learn to understand how to see the world.
Additionally, I would like to invite whomever reads my Sibling Contact Response to read my Parental Contact Response too, as this describes much that is relevant to the issues surrounding sibling contact.