Adoption as Legal Kidnapping

The wicked snatch fatherless children from their mother’s breasts, and take a poor man’s baby as a pledge before they will loan him any money or grain. -Job 24:9

Although I had intended to end my “real mother” series today, my muse had something else in mind when she sat down at the keyboard. In this post, I want to focus on what happens in the United States these days when a newborn infant is given up for adoption, and how voluntary relinquishment of a child removes the constitutional rights of birth parents to their own child. Perhaps if more people knew what signing a Consent to Adoption  meant and how difficult it is to revoke one in court, fewer people would sign them or encourage birth parents to sign away the constitutional rights of themselves and their children.

The Rights of the Natural Family

In the United States, before any child can be adopted, the petitioners for adoption (usually, the adoptive parents) must prove that adoption is in the best interests of the child. The child’s own attorney, or guardian ad litem, must agree, for all adoption in the U.S. must legally serve the child’s best interests. Many people do not know that, under the law, the biological parents have substantial rights to assert, if only someone would support them in doing so. Many people also do not know that the laws in the United States support being raised by one’s biological parents as foundational to the child’s best interests–so foundational, in fact, that the right to raise one’s biological child, and the right to be raised by one’s biological parents, is a constitutionally protected right.

It is a right, that is, until a mother voluntarily gives up physical or legal custody of her baby. The act of surrender is, in point of legal fact, a terrible surrender for it abrogates the right of the child to be raised by his own parents, too. Those interested in the legal side of child welfare should compare guardianship and custody laws with adoption laws for an education in just how badly awry our adoption laws have gone, thanks to tweaking by adoptive parents, adoption attorneys, and legislators.

Because the right to raise the children one has given birth to is a constitutionally protected right, during guardianship or custody proceedings, it is presumed that the best interests of minor children is served by placement with the natural parent in the absence of clear and convincing proof showing that the natural parent is unfit. A large body of case law makes it clear that it is legally presumed that the best interests of the child is to be with his parents, unless being with the parents is contrary to the child’s welfare.

Furthermore, in the United States, any unfitness which might deprive a parent of the right to custody of his minor child must be positive and not comparative, and the mere fact that a child might be better cared for by a third person is not enough to deprive the parent of his or her right to custody of the child. So, for example, the fact that a child might be better cared for by another person is not sufficient reason for depriving a parent of custody of his or her child. At least, this is the case in guardianship proceedings.

In Alford v. Thomas, 316 P.2d 188 (Okla. 1955), the Oklahoma Supreme Court explained the natural and legal rights of biological parents thus:

“Parents have by nature, as well as law, the legal right to the custody of their minor children. This right will always control the judgment of the courts, unless circumstances of great weight and importance connected with the necessary welfare of the child exist to overcome such right.”

The Pitfalls of Voluntary Relinquishment

Unfortunately, nature seems powerless when court proceedings concern adoption rather than guardianship and custody, although even in some custody cases, courts may become confused. In a North Carolina Supreme Court case, Price v. Howard, the court ruled that any voluntary relinquishment of custody by a parent “would result in the loss of constitutional protections of the superior custody interests of parents in their children, and would allow the court to use the best interests of the child standard without a showing of parental unfitness or neglect.”

Stay with me on this, for in this one example of court-sanctioned legal skullduggery, we can see how courts moved from favoring biological parents to favoring adoptive parents. Voluntary relinquishment of custody removes the birth parent’s constitutional right to raise her child, and all presumptive rights, too. Before the adoption has ever been completed, she has forever signed away the presumptive rights she had. This is how adoptive parents win in court nearly every time.

This is why many people do not know that, the moment a birth parent hands her newborn over to eager adoptive parents, the chances of her getting that baby back are almost nil. Birth parents in child welfare cases in which child neglect or abuse have been substantiated have more chance of getting their children back than do birth parents of healthy infants arranging so-called open adoptions. This is because adoption in practice and by law favors adoptive parents, even though guardianship and custody law clearly identify being raised by one’s natural parents as in the child’s best interests. What is in the child’s best interests changes under adoption law, for natural parents no longer have presumed superiority in the world of adoption law.

Adoption laws, which are similar from state to state, create more hoops for the birth parent to jump through than you can shake a stick at. These hoops are created when a consent to adoption  occurs; had the birth mother only entered a guardianship agreement, her constitutional right to reclaim and raise her child might be supported–although this is not always the case, either. So few birth parents have adequate legal representation that it seems silly for me to preach that they ought to be given good representation. How many attorneys for the birth parents have their fees paid by the prospective adoptive parents? How many are appointed by the courts? How many advise such parents to keep the baby for a week, breast feed him, have a go at parenting, and after it’s clear that they cannot parent the child, then to consider another placement for the child? Not many, I’ll wager. And I think this is the case with non-relative and relative adoptions, both. I have heard of it happening just as frequently when relatives offer to care for a baby or child, which is why sexually active people who are not ready to grow up and become parents ought to either quit having sex or ought to use reliable birth control: guardianship and adoption are terrible methods of birth control.

A Case in Point

In one example of relative adoption, Mary, a young mother, has given her newborn baby to Aunt Flo to raise while Mary finds a job and a place to live. Aunt Flo, the savvy childless auntie, insists on a guardianship agreement, and Mary reluctantly agrees. Mary visits her baby several times a week, juggling school, work, and visits. By the time the baby is five months old, Aunt Flo wants to keep the baby, and Mary has graduated and wants her baby back. Mary has a job and an apartment, but she earns minimum wage and all her resources have gone into her apartment and all the trappings of motherhood that she’ll need to care for her baby.

When Aunt Flo and Mary go to court to fight over this baby, Aunt Flo will take Uncle Ed, and the judge will see a mature, married, moneyed couple standing before him, as compared with young, single, uneducated Mary, working for minimum wage. The law will specify a set of tests that Mary must pass before she, the baby’s own mother, will be deemed by the court to be “in the best interests of the child.” Since Mary visited three or four times a week, she passed the visitation clauses of the best interests and non-abandonment sections of the law. But what Mary didn’t know was that the law also specifies that she must have provided substantial support to the baby. “Substantial” is not spelled out in dollar amounts, so one has to go to case law to determine what U.S. courts have agreed is substantial enough to prove this mother loved her baby. Suffice to say that what Mary did for her baby-buy an Easter dress, some new shoes, a bag of diapers maybe-is not “substantial.”

“Substantial” is the support Aunt Flo and Uncle Ed gave to the baby: mortgage payments and utilities and all living expenses, divided by the number of people living in the home. This is substantial.

Mary is unlikely to get her baby back from the local court. The local court will probably uphold the guardianship; but if Mary appeals and gets all the way to the Supreme Court, she is likely to regain custody of her baby, because in guardianships it is always presumed that the child’s best interests will be served through being raised by her biological parents.

Sadly, if Mary signed adoption consent papers rather than guardianship papers, she will most likely never get her baby back if she is fighting people who have money and experience. In the most litigious nation on earth, we know how to kidnap babies legally, and we have been doing it since we were colonies.

Legally-Sanctioned Wickedness

Adoptive parents and their attorneys have many maneuvers available for keeping possession of a surrendered infant, even when a birth mother changes her mind. I have seen mothers one, two, or three days after surrendering in a state in which there is a clear 30-day revocation period fight to get their babies back, and lose. In the past, I periodically served as an expert witness for such birth parents, and my heart has broken as I have witnessed birth mothers pleading for their babies, tears running down their faces, breast milk dripping, while adoptive parents with the ink barely dry on their placement papers turn stone cold faces against the young woman they said they loved.

Yes, only a few days prior, in the hospital, these same adoptive parents had tears running down their faces; they said they loved this birth mother like a sister, a daughter, their miraculous, gift-bearing birth mother friend. These same parents become monsters within 48 hours of possessing the baby they fiercely believe is theirs because they have bottle fed him in a motel room for two days.

Pardon me for being judgmental, but I hope that a special circle of hell is reserved for adoptive parents like this. I know of some of them, people who got back on their airplanes and self-righteously flew home with their legally stolen babies. The fathers are usually attorneys or doctors, the mothers are professionals, too, who have taken a leave of absence from work until Baby is able to survive with nannies or quality day care providers in the home. They will get on their airplanes and fly home, and they’ll never tell their little Gift Child how his mother fought for him, and lost, crazy with grief. They will slam shut the adoption they promised would be open forever, the birth mother a permanent part of their family, because she betrayed them by deciding to raise her own baby, the baby her arms and breasts ache for.

Many moneyed prospective adoptive parents come to backward southern states such as Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, and even Texas to get babies for this reason. The more politically conservative a state is, the more likely that the surrender and revocation laws governing infant adoption favor adoptions and put birth parents over a barrel so they can be properly screwed.

If court proceedings in adoption were not closed to public scrutiny-and they are-the average American would be outraged by what passes for child welfare in the United States. Our adoption industry is largely controlled by men, most of them attorneys or judges, and by people with enough money to buy off birth mothers and to fight them when they get uppity. Although in most states, the adopted child is appointed his own attorney, a guardian ad litem, most of the time this attorney goes along with the attorney serving the adoptive parents’ interests. Attorneys for birth parents rarely have a chance of winning, because everyone knows that any parent who gives up her baby in the first place is not a very good parent and has surrendered not only her baby, but also her constitutionally protected right to raise him.

Where mercy for the birth mother abounded before, there is no mercy after she has let the baby go and later seeks to have him returned.

I do not know how any adoptive parent can stomach raising a child who was ultimately wanted by his birth mother, but I have met some who think nothing of legally absconding with a child. I think they are monsters, and you can read forums and blogs written by such people who moan and wail about how the Big, Bad Birth Mother is trying to get her own child back. They are sickening examples of the worst kind of wickedness, and I want to thank Linda Webber for reminding me of this verse in her comment to one of my recent articles:

THE WICKED SNATCH FATHERLESS CHILDREN FROM THEIR MOTHER’S BREASTS, AND TAKE A POOR MAN’S BABY AS A PLEDGE BEFORE THEY WILL LOAN HIM ANY MONEY OR GRAIN. -Job 24:9

 Art by Pablo Picasso

52 responses

  1. Eve,
    Thank you for writing about this to educate people who wouldn’t know otherwise. I recently started a blog focusing on family court corruption and I ran across this article during investigation. The more I read the more I am sicked by the laws that effect parents in this country. Thanks for helping to give them a voice!

  2. This blog post saved my sanity today. My story, born in Kansas City Missouri in 1968 as Christopher James Michael Cornett. My mother and father were married at the time. Within six months they were divorced and my mother brought me to Minneapolis MN where she started working as an exotic dancer, she then met another exotic dancer and became friends, three months go by and my biological grandmother back in Kansas had a heart attack. My mother was going to take me with when her new friend stepped up and said Chris can stay with me and John, her husband. They agreed that the trip would be hard on me and her in the winter. So my real mother trusts them with me and to watch over her belongings, furniture, jewelry, child. They then petition the courts to find my mother unfit. John issues threats to her about never leaving the city alive if she comes to get me. (most strip clubs had mafia or wanna be mafia connections back then) They take my mother to court after borrowing 3,000.00 from Johns mother. They find that mother was promiscuous and had a an alcohol problem and allow them to adopt me. My mother tried to fight back and say she met Vickie at the strip joint where she worked with her but Vickie used a fake social security number when she applied. Vickie also, couldn’t produce children. Story doesn’t end there. So now I’m growing up never knowing my mother but thinking that Vickie and John are my mother and father. Then at six years old my adoptive mother commits suicide after a battle with cancer. They basically couldn’t cure it and she was sent home to die. My adoptive mother left me with my adoptive grandparents. She wrote a letter to my grandmother stating “Do not let John have Chris he will destroy him.” Sure enough, weekends and summers with my adoptive father did just that. When I was 19 I met my real mother who produced all of the paper work from the court case. The adoption was filled the day after my first birthday on June 1st 1969. I am not sure why exactly after my first birthday other than maybe the state didn’t have jurisdiction. Also, there was a letter in it from my adoptive father to my real mother dated a week or two after my adopted mother died stating, “Vickie is dead, You can have Christopher back. I don’t want him anymore.” This is the man that would define me. He was worst that that, he was a drunk that would sneak vodka into an AA meeting. I was abused, neglected and verbally abused weekly from age of 6-17. He would leave porn laying out, bondage magazine. He beat up three of his girlfriends over the years violently. I didn’t find out he wasn’t my natural father until I was about 14. I went downhill. I started committing crimes.The streets were better than living at home so that’s where I went. When it was all said and done my life was ruined. I had been in 16-20 institutions and had done 3 terms in prison for property crimes before I was 24. From 11-24 I was either on the streets, committing crimes or locked up. It is really hard not to find blame. Even though because of this illusion I loved my father and my entire adopted family because loving your family is unconditional. When you think or are lead to believe that they are your family you love them exactly as you would any biological family. This is just the surface. I couldn’t possibly right down everything without writing a book about it. But this is legal kidnapping. A county decided my fate.

    At 24 I finally got my act together. But it took a lot to do that. I am maybe 1-20 in my situation who was a three time looser with close to 72 felonies from the age of 11-24 who dead stopped and never did anything illegal again. It took me that long to get over the pain and anger and to sort through what was bullshit and what was not. I feel very bad for what I had done. I kind of thank God everyday that it was with some sort of conscience and was limited only to property crimes. Honestly, with the life I was given it could have been a lot worst.

  3. Very interesting… may I link this blog entry to my own blog? I have an EDU blog that is perfect……. and this has so much good information!

  4. I live canton ohio I have 2 kids my kids are in foster care I’m still fighting for my kids there trying to put my kids up for adoption my kids are suffering in foster care I’m looking for me a good fighting attorney to take on dcfs / family court we have to stop cps / family I go to court in june I need a attorney before it is time for me to go back to court I hope someone can help me I can let my kids be put up for adoption I need a lot of help / support I would like for anyone to contact me my e-mail is kindnessohio33@yahoo.com my phone is 330 268-9342 anyone can call me at anytime

  5. I have taken my case to Ca. supreme who denied to review. I do have on record that I was denied the right to represent myself because the forced court appointed attorney was ineffective. they respond by saying because I was not charge with a crime I did not have the right. My son was taken without warrant, judge made illegal ruling on record, case was base on complete fraud, and they used fradulent name until time of tpr. They then change his name to his real name. Any help out there. My son and I are in Mt. The corrupt court was in Ca.

  6. My name is Angelina I am a birth mother trying to get her daughter back. I have fought for nine months to get my parental rights reinstated and recently won in the Colorado Court Of Appeals. During my fight for the right to my daughter the adoptive couple have filed motions in their home state to finalize the adoption. I have until April 16th to pay a lawyer in Missouri to help me file post trial relief and answer their petition for custody. I have exhausted all financial resources. I need help asap. Please can anyone help me I do not want to get out-moneyed in the right to raise my child!

  7. i am in the midst of bringing these issues to the courts and i wont stop until i bring this corrupt buisness down ! They stole my babies and grief overwhelmed me for so long,while no one would help..i was lied to , lied on…and these people are all devils, my poor children seperated and told that i abandoned them…all because dcfs wanted a bonus and they where concidered highly adoptable, healthy blond blue eyed infant and todler girls, well cared for until dcfs took them and did so with out cause. who can protect the children from dcfs?

  8. I am really ahppy to see sites like this! I was a victim of “open adoption” (which i like to call Legalized Kidnapping”). My son Jeremiah was stolen from me because I signed these papers not understanding it meant that I was giving up my baby. I was prmoised “joint custody”. Please know that birth parents have NO RIGHT and after a 75k Court Battle & a Supreme Court ruling, i am the 5th woman in America (As of 2007) to have visitations after an adoption has been finalized. But no one enforces this & I have not seen my jeremiah sin February of 2006.

  9. I guess my question in all of this is that we need to remember what is ultimately best for the child. Of course, I would agree that being raised by the biological parent is the first and best choice. However, my concern is not with cases where the birth parent decides pretty quickly they have made huge error, but with the cases where the child has lived with the adoptive parents several years or more and suddenly the birth parent wants the child back. I have seen cases where the birth parents did regain custody after several years and watched the child’s bewildered face as he is taken away from the only parents he has known and given to complete strangers. I think the child’s welfare, in the end, should be the foremost consideration in any dispute.

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