I recently heard about a new bill in Oregon, HB 2904, that attempts to 'reform' the adoption laws in Oregon, the bill claims to 'protect birth parents rights'. When I read the bill summary my first reaction was 'This is not OK by any means! This cannot pass!' So of course the first thing I did was text birthMOM to find out more about it, since she lives in Oregon and she placed her beebah in Oregon a few years ago. And she is a very smart lady, so I knew that she would be a living expert, so to speak, about the law and this bill.
birthMOM is against the bill, and so are many other people in OR - birthmoms, Amoms, adoptees, lawyers, and even some of the state legislators. I am against it to, and here's just a few reasons why.
- This bill will require that a baby cannot be placed for adoption until it is 8 days old! The bill says that rule can NOT be waived. THAT'S NOT FAIR TO A BIRTHMOM! Where does the baby go? Home with the birthparent or to foster care. um hello? Haven't we all heard about how important bonding is in the first days/weeks/year of life?! I feel that staying in the hospital for three days and THEN having to take her home or see her go to foster care would have killed me, when all I wanted was for her to be with her family. The family I KNEW was right for her. The family that I had chosen, the family that had prepared for this beautiful baby. Babies should go where the birthmom wants them to, when the birthmom wants them to!
- This bill will require birth parents to sit in 6 counseling sessions, 3 before and 3 after the placement, the bill states what has to be discussed (parenting options) in the counseling session and states that a birth parent has to 'participate' on a certain level. You cant make someone go to counseling if they don't want to, let alone make them 'participate'! If this requirement isn't met, guess what, no adoption. Thats right, the entire adoption plan can't proceed any further. I'm not sure that an easier way exists for a jerk of a birthfather to stop an adoption plan. (I know they're not all jerks, but lets be realistic here, statistically MANY of them choose to create a problem.)
- The bill introduces a required minimum 30 day period in which the birthmom (or birth father) can change her mind. This cannot be waived! Can anyone say torture?! When emotions are at an all time high, the absolute worst thing is to force a birthmom to rehash her decision every moment of every day for thirty entire days, a decision that she has most likely already been making for months prior to the birth. Not to mention the stress if the birth father is being wishy washy about signing and uncooperative to get a power trip over her. Lets also not forget the stress and anxiety this causes the adoptive family, they are fighting with themselves against whether or not to bond with this sweet baby. Thats not fair to the baby, or them. It's one thing to have a small period of time to change your mind, it's quite another to have a long period to change your mind, and a whole 'nother ball game when the birthmom doesn't even have the choice to waive her right to change her mind during that ridiculously long time period. (Currently the law states that a birthmom has until the adoption is finalized, which is typically 6 mos, to change her mind UNLESS she signs a form that says in a really fancy way, no thanks, I'm not gonna change my mind.)
There are several more concerning items in the bill, but what is super duper important that I learned from birthMOM is that the current law already allows all the things that this bill is now trying to make a requirement. The current law already gives the birthmom the choice to go to free counseling before and after. It already gives her the choice to place her baby when she wants to- she can take the baby home for 1 day, 8 days or 62 days if she wants to, before she places. The current law already gives the birthmom 6 mos(ish) to change her mind unless she makes the choice to waive that 6 mos! I'm told that in Oregon, birthmoms most often choose to relinquish at the time of hospital discharge (2-5 days depending on Csection), they choose to go to some if not all the counseling offered, and they always choose to sign the form that says 'no thanks, I'm not gonna change my mind.'
This bill is taking away the ability for a birthmom to make choices about placing her child for adoption!
That is soooo not ok! What happened to FREE agency? MY freedom to choose?! How does that 'protect' anyone?! Don't even get me started on the fact that this bill in no way can ever represent all the possible unique situations that occur in adoption, as I have yet to hear the 'same' story twice. Can you imagine making a woman who got pregnant while being molested by a family member or raped, to sit in 6 counseling sessions that talk about all her parenting options?
When I learned who all helped create the bill, it made it pretty clear to me given my past experience with anti adoption birthmothers, that the point of the bill is to simply make adoptions not happen, because they're not happy about their adoption situation. This bill is coercion of the most manipulative and sneakiest kind, making it look and sound like its offering great protections to birthmoms, when really its taking the best protection away- choice!
To find out more about the bill, the current law, and all that technical stuff, and to read the bill yourself, you can go to this awesome blog! If you live in Oregon or if you know someone who does, definitely write your OR legislators, as in TODAY, so that this bill doesn't become the new adoption law. I'm told that letters from birthmothers will have the most impact. But by all means if you're touched by adoption in any way, even if you don't live there, write the OR legislators!
Spread the word! You never know who has friends/relatives in Oregon. Help save adoption! Help preserve future birthmoms' CHOICE! Write the OR legislators! Please and Thank you. Oh and I want to clearly say: I oppose Oregon HB 2904!