Donaldson Report; Where Are The Mothers?

Dec. 6, 2006 – Richmond, VA December 5, 2006 – The 11/19/06, E.B. Donaldson Adoption Institute (EBD) White Paper (Paper) entitled “Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents in the Adoption Process” missed the mark when presenting the adoption industry’s failure to protect the rights of mothers by neglecting to include the people with the most experience– mothers — in their representation.

Absent in the Paper is acknowledgment that mothers’ legal and human rights protections were contravened. However, there are vast numbers of women, mothers who were denied due process, who have ample evidence of wrong-doing in the past in the records they have obtained from the agencies, hospitals, maternity homes, and physicians and their own testamentary evidence. The EBD White Paper fails to cite these women in their document.

Omitted from the resource list were writings by some of the foremost critics of adoption practice: Carole Anderson, Jean Paton, Rickie Solinger and Regina Kunzel. Ample historical evidence exists, in the writings of these researchers and others, that the adoption industry was aware of lifelong harm to surrendering mothers. The evidence presents a compelling case for the mistreatment of potentially surrendering mothers in the adoption process. The issues presented warrant attention and public inquiry.

Absent, too, was input regarding reform recommendations from mothers decades post-surrender, particularly the period in history, known as the Baby Scoop Era (post-WWII to Roe v. Wade). Millions of mothers were forced to surrender their infants during these years. Though the Paper primarily addresses current practices and mentions coercion, the Baby Scoop Era provides a clear picture of injustices to mothers and their children. More recent mothers, whose parental rights were contravened, the only mothers represented on the Donaldson panel, will often state that they are “satisfied” or “content” rather than risk antagonizing the adoptive parents of their child and threaten their contact privileges or compromise their own survival.

EBD fell short in their Paper because without the voices of the mothers who have lived for decades with the loss of their children, and without the voices of experience, no true and accurate picture of what changes to adoption practice are needed can be obtained.


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.

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