Continuing with what seems like little run of personal stories, I wanted to talk about this recent photo essay. You can find the photos here, too, though the text is different. And, as is noted, the surrogate involved has her own blog. Anyway, I think this fits nicely with a not-too-long ago post about another personal surrogacy story.
Kristen Broome is the mother of a two-year-old. Her husband is in the military and was in Afghanistan during the time this takes place. She learned that her second cousin, Jamie Pursley, had had a miscarriage and could no longer carry a pregnancy to term. Kristen offered to be a surrogate for Jamie and Jamie’s husband, Jacob. Continue reading
For some reason, I’ve recently come across a whole bunch of personal essays on various topics relevant here. A couple of recent ones that I’ve talked about have been about adoption, both written by adoptive mothers. (There was an earlier account of a surrogacy I wrote about and there are other personal essays on other topics that I just haven’t gotten to yet.)
Now I think the personal essay is valuable and can be a thought-prov0king read. They offer us insights that are important. But they can also be idiosyncratic and unrepresentative. I don’t think you can take them as representative of the typical experience–after all, the person who chooses to write publicly about personal topics isn’t exactly typical to begin with
Neither do I present them to you all so that we can judge the authors worthiness, though this often seems to be the first reaction (and I’m sure I fall into that myself sometime.) Continue reading
Here’s another essay by an adoptive mother that caught my eye. (I wrote about a different one last week–they actually make an interesting contrast.) Christina Darden Hjort wrote her essay just for Mother’s Day. She’s an adoptive parent of a very young child and though she briefly alludes to her own journey to parenthood (which is largely the subject of the earlier essay I wrote about in the linked post), the mother she pays tribute to is her child’s birth mother. It’s worth taking the time to read what she wrote.
Adoption can be so many things. There are terrible stories in the press about the corrupting role of money, which operates on many levels. There are stories of children snatched from their parents or taken from them under various misleading or false pretenses. Those stories tend to get press coverage.
Adoptions like Hjort’s typically do not end up in the paper. After all, what’s the news there? But just because it isn’t in the papers doesn’t mean there isn’t a story to be told.
There’s no doubt there is often some sadness at the core of adoption–as you can see from Hjort’s story–and here the sadness is Britt’s story. Britt is the birth mother of the child. In a perfect world a woman like Britt either would be able to raise her child or wouldn’t be giving birth. But we are so far from that perfect world, that adoptions like this one will Hjort’s will be with us for a long while, I think. So the best we can do is to think about what is best for the children (openness and honesty come to mind) and also for the birth parents.
That means giving a woman like Britt the choice to figure out her own needs, to decide for herself how much contact with the adoptive family she wants. And it means recognizing her loss, which is what Hjort’s essay does. It’s a nice tribute on Mother’s Day.
I recently came across this article from the Atlantic. I think the title is a bit over-wrought, but the essay by Jennifer Gilmore certainly describes a wrenching journey and no doubt one that had many sorrows along the way.
After failing to conceive via fertility treatments, Gilmore and her husband decided to adopt. They decided on domestic adoption in part because, as Gilmore says,
The adoption would be open—the birthmother and perhaps father would know us to whatever degree we all decided on, and they would know their biological child as she grew.
Gilmore notes that the idea of open adoption was frightening. Continue reading
On the “better late than never” theory I thought I would take the time to offer some reflections about the ICWA case that was argued this week. For those who took the time to look, there were many reactions to it out there. News reports, transcripts and blogs are all available and I don’t have the facility to link to them just at the moment. I suppose, though, I can summarize reactions in two different ways.
First off, the justices didn’t seem to be heading in a uniform direction. It’s always a bit dangerous to place too much weight on the questions that get asked, but it’s still an interesting thing to look at. Continue reading
My apologies for neglecting all the comments on the last post. It’s the travel thing this time. I’ll do my best to catch up. But I also wanted to pick up and what may prove to be a very important argument (or not-it is always hard to tell in advance.) Today–right now–the Supreme Court hears argument in Adoptive Couple vs. Baby Girl. There’s an excellent pre-argument summary here and I’ve written about the case before, too. Indeed, I had picked up on this case when the previous opinion (from the South Carolina Supreme Court) was issued.
As the pre-argument discussion I linked to makes clear, there are a number of issues here and lots of directions that the Court could choose to take. This is why it is hard to say whether it will (in retrospect) turn out to be an important case. Continue reading
This post is generated by thinking more about the topic of the last couple of posts and the comments there, so you might want to start with them. While this started out as a discussion of some specific Utah law (and there is more to be said about that, no doubt) I was thinking about some of the underlying issues more generally. In particular, I was thinking about how various assumptions and value choices play out in assessing the appropriateness of effectively terminating parental rights where a parent abandons a child.
Here’s the context in which this might play out. Suppose there is a person who is a legal parent. That person then vanishes from the child’s life (and let’s suppose that it is clear that they did so voluntarily for the moment.) Time passes. Someone else wants to adopt the child. Continue reading
My last post was about some new law enacted in Utah. I won’t try to summarize it since you can just go read it. I’ve been thinking about the law over the weekend (and I’ve looked at the comments made) and I wanted to look a bit more carefully at what it does and what (if anything) is wrong with it. The key here for me is that, as always, it’s important to think carefully and precisely about how law works and to be as specific as possible about what is wrong.
One general idea embodied in the law is if a man who is genetically related to a child abandons the child then he cannot object to the child’s adoption. (This is, I think, a fair summary of how the provisions of the law operate–really what happens is his consent is implied from his abandonment. Thus, he irrevocably consents when he abandons the child.) This does not seem like an unreasonable idea, at least to me. Continue reading
Once again thanks go to The Adopted Ones blog to letting me know that it was time to go back and look at Utah again. There’s some new Utah legislation that I think merits a close look.
For those of you who may not have been following along closely, Utah has come up repeatedly in this blog because it has laws that dramatically limit the rights of unmarried men to claim legal parentage. As I’ve discussed before, this is the result of a policy choice Utah has made–the state wants to encourage adoption by married couples and giving unmarried men the right to object to adoption runs counter to that goal. Obviously the merits of this policy are debatable–but I’m going to stay on a more technical level for the moment.
As you’ll see if you scroll through the posts, Utah’s approach has generated some controversy. Continue reading
I’m not going to link to general coverage of the Supreme Court argument in Hollingsworth vs. Perry right here–mostly because there is so much of it I don’t even know where to begin. Go to any news site and it’s probably one of the top stories. I will link to this interactive site from The Guardian, however, as it allows you to listen to (and read along with) bits of the arguments on particular topics.
Hollingsworth was argued yesterday. It’s the case challenging California’s Proposition 8. Proposition 8 amended the CA state constitution to provide that only a man and a woman could marry. Perry (the original plaintiff in the case) asserts that this provision of the CA constitution violates the United States Constitution. Continue reading