’ Legal Rights Essay, Research Paper
Adoptive v. Birth Parents’ Rights
This issue hits home with me, I am adopted. I believe that a child’s parents are the people who raise them and take care of them. I do not believe that birth parents have any rights to their children after the child has been adopted and living with their adoptive parents. The biological parents made a decision when they put the child up for adoption, for whatever the reason may have been. Just because they feel that their lives are more “stable” and “together” does not give them the right to rip a child from the only parents that child knows. By doing this the biological parents destroy not only the life of the child but also the lives of the adoptive parents who have worked so hard to have a child to call their own. I feel that biological parents should not have this right because it is based purely on selfish reasons and it destroys all the lives involved. In the next few paragraphs, I
intend to discuss some famous rulings of recent adoption cases, and the horrible outcomes that followed.
In these days adoption has become extremely hard for couples looking to adopt children for fear that the adoptions can come undone. Two of the most recent, highly publicized and heart-wrenching cases in this country that have spurred this fear in perspective adoptive parents are the cases of “Baby Jessica” of Michigan, and “Baby Richard” of Illinois. In both of these cases, a child was adopted and then ordered by the courts to be given back to the biological parents.
The widely publicized “Baby Jessica case gripped the emotions of the nation as the natural parents (Dan and Cara Schmidt) of Iowa sought to regain custody of their daughter from the adoptive parents (Jan and Robert DeBoer) of Michigan. The adoptive parents had been ordered to return the child to the Schmidt’s by the Iowa courts. Confronted with this decision, The DeBoers successfully persuaded a Michigan state trial judge to enter a custody order in their favor, only to have the Michigan court of Appeals declare that the court in Michigan was without jurisdiction to act. The publicity abruptly halted when the Michigan Supreme Court entered its
order on July 2, 1993, requiring that “Baby Jessica” be returned to her biological parents. (Baron, 72)
In the Baby Jessica case, the birthmother intentionally identified the wrong man as the birth father. The adoptive parents took custody believing they had the consent of the birthfather, only to find out later that the real birthfather objected to the adoption. As a result of this case, state courts are recognizing that even when there is consent from a man who pretends to be a child’s father, greater efforts must be made to identify others that may claim to be the father and steps must be taken to terminate their rights. (Gray, 18)
Baby Richard’s Case was riddled with even more deception than Baby Jessica’s was. When Daniela Kirchner gave up her newborn son in March of 1991, she was angry that her then boyfriend (and now husband), Otakar, had left her two weeks before the baby was born and returned to Czechoslovakia. She believed rumors that he had run off with an old girlfriend. He believed her story that the baby was dead, even though Oto and Daniela had lived together for the first eight and a half months of her pregnancy. She refused to disclose that he was the father. He failed to search
for his son as thoroughly as some thought he should have. Then, in May 1991, the couple reconciled in Chicago. And 80 days after Baby Richard’s birth, Oto challenged the adoption. Although Illinois requires a father to demonstrate an “interest” within 30 days of the birth, Oto argued he couldn’t stake a claim to a son he didn’t know he had.
Two lower courts ruled that Oto had abandoned his rights to his son. In the summer of 1994, though, the Illinois Supreme Court not only overturned the adoption but also told the adoptive parents that they didn’t look hard enough for the birth father. Unlike Baby Jessica’s case, Baby Richard’s case raised the chilling prospect that even a completed, legal adoption could be upended. ( Ingrassia, 44)
The social workers of our time have initiated a program called
“Family Reunification,” where their primary goal is to take children away from the loving homes of adoptive parents and put them with blood relatives, even when these people have beaten, burned, or sexually abused their blood children.
Our court systems think that they protect traditional values by believing that blood-parents, not adoptive parents, are the “real” parents and they are simply mistaken.
Today it seems as if we live in a society where the court systems are more interested in the selfishness of originally un-wanting parents than the well-being of our future; our children.
1) Baron, Roger M. “Child Custody Suits: Litigating Heartbreak.” USA
Today MagazineJan. 95: p72.
2) Blum, Andrew. “Digging deep.” Adoptive Families Nov./Dec. 96:p21.
3) Gray, Alec. “Birthfathers and Legal Risks.” Adoptive Families Mar./Apr.
4) Grogan, David, and Fannie Weinstein. “Life after Jessica.” People 5 Sept.
5) Ingrassia, Michele, and John McCormick. “Ordered to Surrender.”
Newsweek 6 Feb. 95: p44.
6) “Legislative Update.” Adoptive Families Mar./Apr. 96:p7.
7) Miller-Havens, Susan. “Nature Over Nurture.” World & I Dec 93:p102.
8) Shapiro, Joseph P. “Bonds that Blood and Birth Cannot Assure.” U.S.
News & World Report 9 Aug. 93:p12.
9) Wilson, Pat A. “Sunflower Birthmoms seek to change Adoption laws.”
The News-Journal 25 Mar. 98 www.aol.com 11 Nov. 99