More shocking news has come to light about the biological parents from WA that procured the services of another’s woman’s womb. Not only did they reject the little boy because he was ”imperfect’ but the father is a pedophile. These facts will not surprise mothers and adoptees who visit this blog. Children being rejected because of imperfections was common under the Forced Adoption regime as was the case that a number of children forcibly taken for the adoption market were sexually and/ or physically abused in their adoptive homes.
Under Australia’s past policy of forced removals many children with imperfections often languished for years in foster care or institutions. Approximately 20% of children each year were categorized as un-adoptable by a pediatrician because of some suspected biological imperfection. The thinking being that since adopters were doing a child and the state a favor they should not be burdened with one that had any physical or mental disability. Another dirty little secret is that many adopters took an infant and found that they could not attach so they gave the baby back and got another one. This was considered normal by social workers of the day who deemed that the adopters would eventually find an infant to whom they could attach. By the late 1960s to about 1971 so many infants were taken that supply overtook demand and adopters began to refuse to take a newborn simply because they did not like their skin colour or shape of the nose..
Adopters were supposed to be intensively screened as to their suitability to be parents – this simply did not happen. Dr. Geoff Rickarby stated that all one needed to apply for a baby was a job and a marriage licence. Rickarby went on to treat many adoptive families with serious emotional issues. They, stated Rickarby, the ones that came for help, were the healthy ones!
Recently it was revealed that 20% of intercountry adoptions are conducted by individuals who go overseas for the requisite 12 months then adopt in the country in which they are residing then apply for a visa to bring the child back to Australia. There is no screening of the adopters. And once adopted no ongoing scrutiny of how the child is fitting into the family or if there is any abuse occurring.
Surrogacy like Forced Adoption is to service the needs of adults – has anyone during the national conversation currently taking place on surrogacy seriously considered what it might be like for a child to be born via surrogacy? Surrogacy as was the case with Forced Adoption is assumed to be a win win for all involved. The mother from presumably a poor country supposedly made a ‘choice’ so she and her family will be a little better off financially – it is assumed the parents will stay together forever and the child will be happy and grateful to have been born. Unfortunately there is a dark side to commodifying children. Great demand that is unregulated, particularly when money is involved, becomes corrupt and women from poor countries are exploited. Their poverty and/or low status makes them ripe for exploitation – not only by unscrupulous middle men, but even their own husbands. And what about the mothers who attach to the baby they carry for nine months? Like Gammy, the surrogate mother, even though she is biologically unrelated to the twins she carried, she became attached and even as poor as she is was willing to bring up a little boy with down’s syndrome.
We know a lot about the terrible pain adoptees suffer around identity issues: identity confusion, genetic bewilderment etc, how much more if you are created by biological parents who do not know each other and carried by another woman and then brought up by two other complete strangers. I would suggest this is a ticking social time bomb. To add to this mix are serious emotional problems caused by abandonment. Adoptees are four times more likely to commit suicide than their non-adopted peers. – irrespective of how loving the adoptive parents because at their core they felt their mother abandoned them. In the case of surrogacy when I hear surrogates boast how they never attached to the baby because they always knew the baby did not belong to them they were only the “carrier” – my heart goes out to the baby. Research has shown that women with mental health problems that prevent them from attaching to their growing fetus are far more likely to give birth to children that have severe and life long emotional problems. It is believed to be caused by the growing child’s experience of unwantedness or abandonment, in short they felt abandoned before even being born.
Re Senator Bishop’s concern with the lack of screening people who go overseas with the intent to adopt:
At p. 71
CHAIR—That is quite a large number of people when the total number of adopters is 502. It seems to me that the implication of that paragraph, about trafficking, abduction and sale of children, is that this is a method that could be used by those people, which takes me back to the statement that you have to be checking the would-be parents.
Mrs IRWIN—So the parents who are expats overseas have never ever been checked?
Ms Cubbage—No. If the other country has finalised an adoption and it is a full and permanent adoption then the other country is likely to have done that.
Mrs IRWIN—Asking for federal and state police checks of those people in Australia?
Ms Cubbage—We do not do that.
Mr Mills—I think the answer is that we do not character check Australian citizen expatriates offshore. That is correct.
Ms Cubbage—But in the state and territory programs the states and territories do character checks, yes.
Mrs IRWIN—I hope there are no children being lost through the cracks.
CHAIR—It seems to me that if this is your concern—the trafficking, abduction and sale of
children—then immediately that somebody is obliged to bring a child back into this country, or get citizenship for a child, you should do a criminal check on those parents.
CHAIR—One in eight files. But they are checked by the agencies, whereas these people are in a different category. I can see the potential for the same sorts of people who wanted to go to Aceh and abuse children finding a loophole. If we are looking to avoid that, I do not think we have found the solution.
Obviously nothing has been done to remedy the above situation since it was brought to the government’s attention back in 2005. Now it seems the same lack of screening is occurring when couples are engaging in creating children to meet their needs via surrogacy. Who will speak out for these children?
Contrast the lack of scrutiny of couples wishing to adopt or artificially create families with that of disadvantaged families who might suffer from mental health problems, homelessness, or drug dependence – families Tony Abbott labelled “ineffective” – in the following article:
Parents of fostered-out children given year to clean up act