Donaldson Paper Is Important First Step – But OriginsUSA Demands More

Nov. 29, 2006 – Richmond, VA November 29, 2006 – On 11/19/06, the E. B. Donaldson Adoption Institute (EBDI) released a White Paper entitled “Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents in the Adoption Process.” Though the Paper addresses mostly current practices and mentions coercion, the history of adoption, especially the Baby Scoop Era (post-WWII to Roe v. Wade), provides a clear picture of the injustices to which mothers and their children were subjected. Ample historical evidence exists that the adoption industry was aware of long-term harm to surrendering mothers for years before this Paper.

Absent from the process was the input from mothers decades post-surrender. Though there was a call for mothers who have surrendered to provide input, it appears that only anecdotal evidence was wanted. The newer mothers, not yet separated from their children for decades, will often state they are “satisfied” or “content” rather than risk antagonizing the adoptive parents of their children and threaten their contact privileges. As Heather Kuhn, an OUSA member whose daughter was taken in an unethical adoption just eight years ago, states, “Now, they are making policies, by asking the oppressed people who are still struggling to have some kind of power over their lives, if the policies they make represent us… what SHOULD be happening, is that they ask ALL of us, what our experiences are, and taking it all in, rather than dictating it.”

Adam Pertman, EBDI executive director states that they, “Haven’t put together that game plan yet” regarding how to improve adoptions based on the report findings. OriginsUSA, however, has a comprehensive list of needed improvements, guidelines and recommendations compiled by mothers who have lived this experience and know exactly what issues are necessary to make adoption more humane.

EBDI has opened the door to the truth and the needs of surrendering mothers, but post-surrender mothers still sit on the other side, lists in hand, the real professionals, the real experts: the ones who live it every day, waiting for someone to knock on their door and ask them what they know instead of assuming and speaking for them.


OriginsUSA advocates for the preservation of natural families and, as a last resort, alternative systems of child care that respect the need and dignity of both mother and child above permanent adoption separation. We provide support for people separated by adoption, fight coercive adoption practices, and educate the public and policy makers about the effects of adoption separation. A national organization, we are internationally affiliated with Origins, Inc (NSW Australia), Origins Canada, and other Origins branches in those countries. OriginsUSA has also aligned with Trackers International in the U.K. and with Adoption Crossroads in the U.S.

If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Claudia Corrigan Sheeley OriginsUSA PR Chair, please call her at 845-339-2640 or email her at .

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