Thursday, July 18, 2013

On the latest

Now that the Victorian Adoption Act 1984 has once again been amended, I wonder how many adult adoptees and their adoptive parents / families agree with these changes?

I feel as though perhaps I'm sitting on the fence with this one, and that even surprise's me to say this. It wasn't that long ago I probably would have slammed the idea in allowing natural parents the right to access identifying information about their adult - adoptee without their consent, however without complete resolution I can see the need for this. Let me explain;

As an adult adoptee, I received a letter from the Department of Human Services when my birth mother initiated wanting to establish contact with me.  At the time I was mortified that such a letter could be sent to someone who had no control over their adoption.  The opening words on the letter went something like this:
'You may not be aware of the following sensitive information.' 'It is regarding your adoption.'

Stop and imagine how that would affect someone who DID NOT know they were adopted and the implications that could leave on the adoptive family for choosing not to tell the child. 
Luckily, I knew of my adoption, but I can tell you I was still very angry to have received such a letter with little thought of the emotion consequences it carried.  
I did go on to allow contact with my birth mother.  We spent over twenty years contacting one another until such time it became strained, leaving me with the sense she thought I owed her something.  It was no longer a healthy relationship and our contact ended abruptly. 
Now, in 2013, adoptees face similar consequences and I wonder how that will help those taking this new opportunity on.  
Yes, I understand that an adult adoptee can take steps to stop any contact if that's what they want, but then the birth (natural) parents face another blow knowing their adult adoptee wants nothing to do with them.
What if both parties agree on contact - regardless whether it is physical or through correspondence and it turns ugly - what have they achieved, another negative to add to this whole charade. 
What if the natural parent begins stalking the adoptee?  Who is going to govern that?  Has that even been taken into consideration?  Too many stones left unturned in my opinion.
Oh I hear you, what if it all turns out great, they got the opportunity to meet one another, to learn about one another - that would be great, yes. But statistics tell us that most reunions don't last; they become strained or at some point one party doesn't want to continue, there's a breakdown - so again another blow. 
I do remain hopeful that through this decision in providing identifying information to natural parents they quite possibly may gain positive outcomes, perhaps enough to help heal some of the pain they have experienced, as long as it is done with respect for the other party/ies involved.   

I don't believe there will ever be a solution to how past adoption practices have impacted on those lives affected; regardless of changing the Act in order to right past wrongs.   

Sorry no comments allowed as this is such a diverse topic.