Saturday, December 30, 2006
The Year Ends Sadly...
Babies Recovered, Mom Arrested
Acting on a tip, authorities have recovered missing North Carolina twins. The babies-- Holly and Tyler Needham-- were found safe in Ottawa, Canada late Friday, December 29, 2006. FBI agents say that the twins are currently in protective custody and their biological mother, who allegedly took the children, is also in custody. Allison Quets is waiting to find out if she will face international kidnapping charges.
Cops: Mom Regretted Adoption
Authorities say that Quets had regretted giving her 17-month-old twins up for adoption. When she went for a brief holiday visit with them, Durham police say she never returned. Now, Quets will be on her way back to the states in police custody.
What will the adoptive parents of these twins tell them some day? We fought your mother's attempts to get you back AND had her arrested? Will they charge her with kidnapping and send her to jail, too?!
Much as I'd like to see every mother who wants to keep her children be able to do so...and much as I hate to see these disputed custody cases...the fact of the matter is that this mother KIDNAPPED those children because she did not have custody of them. The state may charge her even if the a-parents don't.
The same is done in divorces when the non-custodial parent has visitation and absconds with the child. Even though she or she is a natural parent of the child, without custody it is considered kidnapping, or interference with custody at the least. And if she crossed state lines, which she did, she is facing federal charges.
How very sad for your clients that you such an angry and opinionated social worker. What nasty judgmental comments you make about a mother- calling her an "egg donor"!
You use the word SELFISH. Does that ever apply to adopters who insist on maintaining POSSESSION of children whose parents realize they are able and willing to parent. Who
Then you also use the word UNSELFISH and say you "WISH and PRAY that I saw more people who were unselfish enough to give up their children." If it is so unselfish to give up a child, why then didn't the adopters of these twins do so!?!
And what makes you think any women lose their children to adoption because they are UNSELFISH? Do you think they wake up one morning and DECIDE to have a child to give to someone else as an unselfish gift? Do you think of them as paid surrogates? Egg donors? Obviously! You even use those pejorative words!
Mothers, domestically and abroad, lose children to adoption because they lack the resources to keep their chidlren. Most are too poor. There is nothing unslefish about it. it is not noble - it is a tragedy.
Let us stop for a moment pitting adoptive againt natural mothers/parents and let us ask ourselves - as a good social worker should - what is best for the chidlren?
What will the adopters who fought with the natural mother tell their children? WANT to be there to change diapers? Is it in any child's best interest to prevent them from being with a parent who is capable and willing to care for them?
Was it best for Madonna to take David from his entire family clan and culture?
I think it is very sad for any children to be fought over to the extent that one parent goes to such an extreme to regain custody. It is sad in a divorce, and it is sad in this situation.
I strongly suggest that you read the recent report by the Evan B. Donaldson Institute and a paper by Elizabeth Samuels on the rights of birthmothers. You might also want to read: The Stork Market
You have obviously let your personal feelings for some wonderful adoptive parents color your objectivity.
I understand this topic (adoption) may be near and dear to your heart. It also is to mine.
But I would ask that you please read all the reports and get the full story of this case before you start defending the Needhams. This is not your "typical" adoption scenario.
For one thing, this people are not adoptive parents. There is no finalization of adoption decree. Why? Because since day one, Allison Quets has been fighting to get her children back. So, while the Needhams may be HOPEFUL, POTENTIAL adoptive parents, they are not legally adoptive parents at this time.
Second,Allison Quets deliberately conceived these children--via IVF. That's right, in vitro fertilization. We're not talking about a scared teenager who accidentally got pregnant and has no family support and knows she can't feed a baby on a part-time minimum wage job, here. We're talking about an educated woman, established in life, with a good career, who wanted children so much that she underwent fertility treatments to have them.
And yet... a month after they were born... she gave them up.
Doesn't that cause you to question WHY she relinquished her parental rights?
Well.... it should. It should also tip you off to how very, very wrong something is in this whole case.
Please. Go read.
Allison Quets is not the villain in this story.
That definitely changes the legality of the situation. It reminds me a bit of the MaryBeth Whitehead who ran away with her daughter.
1) No one should be pressured to relinquish their parental rights to another.
2) A mother who carries a child (or children) in her womb for nine months has to be given ample time to think - and re-think her decisions and such important "choices" would not be made while suffering PPD or any other
3) Once a mother contests an adoption, the prospective adoptive parents should think long and hard about fighting back.
With both my adoptions, I recognized that our joy was tempered by the pain of the birth mothers giving up children they loved, but could not care for. I have so much sympathy for birth mothers, and admiration for their courage to give up children to a better life and recognize their own inability to care for the children. And awe and honor that they chose us for that responsibility.
I am a reluctant proponent of open adoption. It has worked for me, with very limited communication between me an the birth mother, and yearly pictures. I would never agree to visitations, though, and the Needhams should have never done so either. There are so many children out there to adopt, they could have gone with another birth mother, one much more mentally stable than Ms. Quets.
I suspect the Needhams will lose custody eventually. No one is a winner here. Those of you being nasty to one side or the other should step back and see the responsibility of both sides for this mess.
I am sorry that you feel they have seen or heard basty comments about them.
As a birthmother, I have loved 38 years since the loss of my daughter to adoption hearing always how "selfish" any mother is who dares to "change her mind." I have been subjected to publicly stated comments like "any dog can give birth" so I know how judgemental and hurtful people can be. these are emotional issues and tempers flair.
Your adoption is what is called semi-open. The communication is between you and your child's mother. AS truly open adoption allows the child and mother direct contact. I hope that someday yu might see the wisdom in allowing your child this gift.
In closing I would like to point out that none of us feel that we did something unselfish or brave. The vast majority of birth mothers regret what is thought o be their "decision" as most of us made that 'decision" with out back against the wall and no other options offered us. Once a woman says she is considering adoption, that's it. the pressure is turned on and she feels an obligation to go through with it.
You ask why Allison did not so something sooner...she did take them back within HOURS of handing them over and was pressured by her boyfriend who had arranged the adoption to go through with it. She officially requested the adoption be revoked within 12 HOURS!!! But all of our laws support the strangers who want her child, not mothers! many of us are angry and resentful of the injustice of how these cases are handled.
Like blacks on the back of a bus, we have taken it and taken it for 40 years. We were beaten down to beleive that we were unable to parent our children simply because we were poor or unmarried. And so we accepted our place on the back of the bus. We have grown in wisdom, strength and numbers and are taking it no more! No woman should be coerced or pressured or denied the right to revoke a decision made under obvious duress!
No woman would be denied the support she needs to keep her family together because others are "desperate" for a child!
Thank you for joining the discussion. Please continue to educate yourself on these issues.
That said, I am a full advocate of helping parents and not pressuring them toward adoption. I can think of no other greater sorrow than feeling like you have to give your child up, or actually doing it.
In my opinion, however, I think a full open adoption would be harmful to all parties. It occurs to me that in many cases it would prolong the birth mother's inability to move on with her life and accept that her child is not her responsibility anymore. I can imagine many more kidnappings by birth parents were full open adoption to be the norm. Second on my list of nightmares is my children being taken away (the first being having to give them up in the first place). I would give my life for them; they are as dear to me as if I gave birth to them myself. No, I would never put myself in a position to risk my children through such a situation.
Both the Needhams and Ms. Quets love these children. Unfortunately for herself, Ms. Quets has created a situation of her own making, and it's quite a mess for everyone. The Needhams are not evil, they just love their children. And I assure you, they would likely die for their children just Ms. Quets would. Parental love is not bound by genetics.
I still think the Needhams should have avoided Ms. Quets like the plague, but often adoptive parents aren't aware of the risks. Sad for them and the children for their lapse. And shame on their lawyer.
As for open adoption, I hear you fear loud and clear. But you and everyone else must understand what an anomaly this case was. It is UNHEARD of for a birthmother to have unsupervised visitation out of the home. That only occurred because it WAS a contested adoption....a seemingly odd decision by the courts under the circumstances.
Your opinion that open adoption is unhealthy flies in the face of the opinions of all adoption and family experts who say just the opposite. truth and honesty are always healthier than lies and secrets.
You need to work on seprating you realistic from unrealistic fears and then seperate your fears for YOURSELF from what is best for your children. Again I suggest READING and speaking to others who have done it successfully - not concentrating on old wives tales and strange absurd one in a million cases! I urge you to read some books by Jim Gritter.
Were they given the opportunity to spend time with their baby after the birth in a completely supportive environment? Some professionals believe the mom should even bring her baby home with her first as part of a truly informed decision.
Also, if someone has never parented or mothered a child before, they do not know what they will be giving up, will never know if they really could have parented this child (there is no proof of unfitness), nor do they know of the long-term implications and consequences to both the child and themselves.
If someone felt pressure not through their family but from themselves...well, the influence had to have come from somewhere. It's not generally something that comes from within oneself. In some cases it's because something has gone very wrong somewhere along the line in that person's life. There is always something, or someone, behind such a decision.
In my opinion, however, I think a full open adoption would be harmful to all parties. It occurs to me that in many cases it would prolong the birth mother's inability to move on with her life and accept that her child is not her responsibility anymore.
But children are left to their own or others fantasies about the why, how, where, what and so on of their adoptions, when the first mom is not there to provide age appropriate answers or talk to them about it... and the child often perceives her absence as rejection and abandonment. To me, that is compelling enough of a reason to seek to maintain openness. So many of us firstmoms who had no choice in the past, as well as no choice other than a closed adoption, later reunited with our adult offspring and have seen these things firsthand and are very distressed about how they hurt our child. We never would have wanted this.
I hope you keep an open mind. I agree with Mirah's suggestion to read Jim Gritter. You might also consider reading books and articles written by adult adoptees.
I wish you well in a search for truth in adoption, even if its not always easy to hear of others' realities.