Monday, December 9, 2013

New Legislation AGAIN!!

Today I was made aware of yet another change to the adoption legislation in Victoria through an article written in a local paper.

Apparently now, a birth parent can be fined up to $8000 for making contact with their adopted child without consent.  I thought we were heading towards a society that encouraged 'open' adoption arrangements? So now it seems we are revoking our stance and going backwards?
The whole adoption 'Industry,' is quickly losing face - and my faith.  We just can't seem to make adequate decisions for the future good of adoptee's and their families.
What I would like clarified is if a birth parent was fined the $8000, where will the money be assigned and to who and for what purpose?  Will the adoptee win the sum for damages of invasion of privacy? Will government get the money, and why?
What is most discerning about the article is unless I made it my venture to stay in touch with the ever evolving industry of adoption changes - as it seems to have become - how would I know of every important change?
Shouldn't it be an expectation that any registered adoption in this State (especially within the last 10-15 years) be notified of such changes to the legislation? Both the adoptive parents and the birth parents should at least be informed of these changes.

Who's making these flippant decisions, and based on achieving what??  All it is doing is undermining our Adoption process,  making it a more difficult and unreliable choice for building families.

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.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Latest Victorian Adoption Changes

As most of you may already be aware, following the announcement of the Victorian formal apology in October 2012 to mothers, fathers, sons and daughters profoundly affected by past adoption practices, amendments to the Adoption Act 1984 were put under review.

What changes have occurred?

As of  1 July 2013,

  •  Natural (biological) parents can apply for identifying information about their adult adopted child      WITHOUT the need for the adopted person's permission
  •  Identifying information may be sourced through relevant authorities using a prescribed form 
  •  An adopted person can regulate contact by expressing the type of contact they agree on eg: reunion,  letter etc. Or they can express their wish for NO CONTACT. 
  • Fees relating to searching for family information (adoption search) has now been removed through family information networks and the discovery service
Other changes:

  • The Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages will now register an adoption child whose adoption was finalised in a Hague Convention country, issueing them with a Victorian Birth Certificate.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Competition - Please Enter!

Surely Australia we have enough International Adoptions to make this happen?? Enter Now!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Thinking about Adoption?

I came across an article posted on the 22 January 2013 by the Department for Child Protection, titled 'Thinking about Adoption?'

What caught my attention more than anything else was the sub-title 'Find out what it means to be an adoptive parent...'
What I find bewilding about this title, is how can an organisation claim to tell anyone what it is like to be an adoptive parent unless of course they are one themselves?
The article explains to the reader how adoption is 'a service' and how it effects parental rights, privelages and inheritance.  A service?  I'm baffled with this suggestion.

The article then goes on the describe the following:
'The undesirable consequences of past adoption practices, which were shrouded in secrecy, have led to changes in adoption law both nationally and internationally. West Australian legislation endorses 'open adoption' which recognises a child's birth parentage and cultural origins and promotes contact between the parties to adoption is encouraged where this is possible and appropriate.'

Ok, so most would agree we know 'open adoption' arrangements are better than keeping a child's true identity tucked away in the corner of the closet, but unless you are an adoptive parent who has a child in an 'open adoption' arrangement, you wouldn't be aware of the what psychological issues this also can impact on that child's life and the adoptive parents/family unit.

The agencies and departments tell us it's best to tell your adoptive child of their adoption from a young age; this enables them to grow up with the idea and realise their true identity - or does it?
And what happens when a child is adopted in an 'open adoption' arrangement, yet they don't have physical contact with their birth parents?  Is that classed as 'open', and does that allow for true identity?'

What happens when an adoptive child at the age of six or seven knows they are adopted, yet has never met their birth parents because the 'open adoption' arrangement only allows for the adoptive parents to send yearly up-dates on the childs progress and the adoptive family gets nothing in return to share with the adoptive child?

While adoption legislation 'endorses' open adoption practice, it does not consider the effects of those who fall within it's legal boundaries that can't get access to the so called promotion of birth parentage information, because of the one-way street system put in place.

If our country is serious about not repeating history with the shrouding of secrecy on its adoption practices, then there needs to be a more clear and defined legislation put in place that means all three parties of the adoption triangle under the 'open adoption' arrangement can on a regular basis obtain information that allows all parties to stay in touch in some manner.
Everyone is insistent on saying adoption is about the child and their rights, and not the adoptive parents; but from my experience adoption is least about the child and their rights and all about the birth parents and their rights.

Something has to change before we have a new generation of adoptee's who suffer some type of psychological disorder from these under developed practices.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Holding Hope for Geelong!

Welcome Geelong's newest support group for those who are involved, considering or about to start their own personal journeys in the adoption process here within Australia.  This is proof in the pudding that there still remains a very real need for education and support within the adoption community.  The process is daunting to say the least, and the reality is that there needs to be a lot more openness between the departments who run the show and those who merely want to access the programs being made available.
If you live in the Geelong or surrounding areas contact 'Holding Hope.