There has been a ruling in the Baby Veronica case, and all sides have formed their opinions. However, should the case have even made it as far as it did? There have been rumblings from the adoption community that this case should have been closed and solved long before it made it before the Supreme Court. It was decided, however, that Baby Veronica would indeed stay with her adoptive parents, and it is likely that all rights to her biological father will now be terminated.
For birthparents watching this case unfold, there has been a divide between those who believe that the father should have just left the girl where she was placed to. However, the texts that indicate he revoked his parental rights were inadmissible in court, and as such, opened the debate further. Was he really informed properly, or is he another one of those fathers who have been slighted by the system in regard to adoption?
This case has set an interesting bar for us to examine. We can look at the ethics that started the whole whirlwind to begin with, and start dissecting the sorts of reform necessary to make sure a case like this never happens again. The father absolutely should have been given ample opportunity to state his rights, and lay claim to parenting the child, though it appears he was never given much of a chance. When he realized what had happened, he began to fight to have his daughter back.
This warrants the question: If a biological parent, mother or father, has admitted that they would wish to parent, should the idea of adoption become null and void until this response is completely explored? The answer should be yes, but it's not the case, as we've seen in this heart-wrenching case.
It's hard to say who actually won in this case. Those who have been supporting the adoptive parents surely are crying victorious, even the birthmother is saying as such. However, is this a victorious day for the child? In a decade she'll surely be able to see the records that link her to this Baby Veronica case, and will have plenty of questions. How will she react when she sees that her biological father wished desperately to parent her but was rejected at every turn? Can we really say that she won't have conflicting emotions when she finds this information? Most certainly, adoptees struggle with their adoptions in various ways, but this would bring a whole new light to the struggle. It could be argued that she was stripped of her rights to live in her biological home, where she was wanted.
This is where ethics become an integral part of the adoption process. When we skip certain steps and presume that everyone knows exactly what they want right at that moment, we set ourselves up for disaster later on. Not properly getting the father's rights and relinquishment wishes accordingly is an ethical issue that we should be concerned about. We should be worried about the circumstances in which mother's relinquish their rights, and be fighting to ensure that the adoption was not led by misinformation and that it was guided through all varying options before the decision of adoption was arrived at. When the homework is not properly done, there is likely to be mistakes. Sometimes, they are mistakes that have no leverage, but in this particular case, because loopholes were made, and taken, we wound up with a national story that defines the very picture of an unethical adoption.
Should her adoptive parents continued to fight for her? They did, I'm certain because they love this little girl. In doing so, however, they have regrettably stripped her of her rights to be raised by the family that has a genetic claim to her, and furthermore, the one that desperately wants to raise her. When our own feelings play the most important role in the adoption scenario, should we not step back and question what we are doing? Is this best for the child? What will be the impact of this decision, now and in the future?
In the future, those adoptive parents will have some hard questions coming at them. As will the birthmother, and unfortunately, they don't appear to be easy ones. Most certainly, most adoptive parents would not wish to be in the hot seat while asking why they didn't allow their raised child to stay with her family of origins.
We can debate our opinions about this case, and take our sides, but the most important part of this decision is that it has shed an astronomical amount of light into the darker side of adoption, and what happens when we replace ethics with flimsy guidelines that change from case to case.
Credits: Danielle Barnsley-Cervo
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