Monday, September 27, 2010

Underage Mothers Consenting to Adoption

According to Jane Jeong Trenka, this report (in Korean, and Google Translate doesn't help much) is about the new adoption law revision in Korea, and that under age birth mothers must now go to court to approve their relinquishments for adoption.  The concern is the presence of adoption brokers who are getting babies from under age women and selling them for as much as $20,000 for domestic adoption.

Did you know that in the U.S., in many states, a minor girl can voluntarily relinquish her child without judicial oversight, without counseling, without parental consent, without the impartial advice of any adult? I have a hard time with this -- I can't imagine a more life-altering choice for a girl than to place a child for adoption.

Another potentially life-altering decision for a girl is to have an abortion, and states go to great lengths to make sure that is an informed choice, including requirements that the girl be informed of her parenting options, the process for establishing paternity, the requirement that fathers pay child support, the state aid available for single mothers, etc. State statutes provide for parental notification or oversight by a judge.

But no such requirements when a minor girl signs away her parental rights in most jurisdictions in the United States.  Isn't there something wrong with this picture?


Ex-in-the-City said...

And if counseling is offered, it will most likely be in the interest of adoption.

birthmothertalks said...

Yes there is something wrong. I was only 15 and I didn't have any counseling or anyone in my corner.This is an issue that needs to be fixed.

Von said...

Something very, very wrong and unbalanced, reflecting the unhealthy bias.

Von said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

It's wrong but even if they choose to offer support and make it manditory, the baby drops are still available for underaged minors to use. As long as a supply of children keep coming in, the system will not serve in the best interests of those it should!

Sandy said...

It is one of the most shameful aspects of the industry that they have never lobbied to make it mandatory that either parents are involved or the mother must go to court and have unbiased counselling before signing. Yet they have oodles of time and money to lobby against open records for adult adoptees...

Also amazing that it is the only contract that is legally binding on a minor - even a contract to purchase or sell a car has to be done by an adult.

Anonymous said...

I hate to be critical and I'm sure that you didn't do this on purpose, but if a woman is going to court to have her relinquishment approved, she is not, by definition, a "birth mother," she is a "mother."

I feel that it's very important that we start referring to moms properly and not making them into "birth mother" before they have consented to adoption and before that adoption has been approved in a both a legal AND ethical way. (That is, a mother who has relinquishment papers shoved at her when she has only recently given birth, etc. - these are unethical and I feel that if the mom in that case tries to get her child back and can not because of unethical laws, she still should be referrred to as the mom, not birth mom.)

Amanda said...

Safe Haven (which is notorious for having ties to agencies) is also pushed as a way for teen moms to surrender their babies without having to tell their parent(s). In my state it says it ON the Safe Haven website that you can use SH so that you don't have to tell your parents.

I could go on.

Yes, it's horribly wrong that a young girl can walk into an agency, get biased advice, lean on the advice of the counseling adult that she may view as an authority figure, and make a really uninformed decision.

Anonymous said...

Coming late to this and protecting my identity for all the obvious reasons.

Yes,there should be counseling for underage unwed pregnant young women but please don't make the mistake of presuming that counseling reflects realism in whatever slant it is offered.

I was one of the (few??) perhaps who was counseled and empowered to keep my child and I was fortunate that my family supported my decision then.

What I didn't know and what couseling didn't tell me when they were educating me on what government assistance I could receive, my options, etc. was the toll my decision would take on my now 9 year old child.

She has been largely raised by a set of grandparents while I pursued my education, job seeking & career advancement all the while presuming I was making a foundation for our family to one day thrive.

Turns out she is feels estranged from me, resents the fact that I was largely a bystander in her upbringing to date and feels betrayed by MY belief that I could do it all and still raise her.

Turns out, I just couldn't do it all...... or rather I could, but not successfully.