27 April 2012

The "Guillotine" effect of Adoption

Often, I have read the various search phrases that bring people to my blog and think about posts I could do regarding those search terms and then I just don't get around to writing them.  Tonight, I saw this search term: "how does the 1955 adoption act have the effect of a statutory guillotine" and felt it was a good question and relevant to my blog because I do use the word guillotine often when I post/speak about adoption law.
The word "guillotine" is quite graphic and conjures images of gruesome decapitations.  The guillotine offered a swift execution, a clean decapitation if you will - more pleasant than previous methods of decapitations with axes, swords and the like which would take at least two blows or more depending on the prisoner.  The guillotine was quick and efficient, and ensured there was no suffocation.

Yes, gruesome but the crucial part to me here is the effect of the guillotine - and how it relates to adoption.

 When a person is adopted, they are completely cut out of their family's life - the law makes its as if they were never related. This severing is the same as what happens with a guillotine.  Swift, brutal, final.

When a mother places or loses her child to adoption, she becomes a complete stranger to that child.  As if they were never connected.  As if those months of nurturing, of loving, of worrying never happened.  This is reflected in the falsified birth certificate which replaces the mother's name with that of the adoptive mother's - and it is made out, in the law, as if this stranger was the one who gave birth.  Mother and child, one of the most sacred relationships of all time, recognised as such outside adoption, is made out to be non-existent with a rubber stamp and a few signatures.  Adoption, like a blade, cuts that most precious relationship away from both.  Thus, the Guillotine.

The child experiences this (besides other experiences) by way of his or her family tree being brutally cut off and all those who went before her or him, all those who existed in her/his family for generations stretching back in time, wiped away.  By law, adopted persons are magically grafted into their adoptive families' heritage... negating the fact they have another family, another heritage - one that flows through their veins, shows in their personalities, in their being.  The guillotine of adoption law wipes it all out. 

The so called ruse of Open Adoption does not change this.  Given open adoption does not actually exist legally, there is no recognition of a mother who wants to see her child and be part of her child's life.  Because in the eyes of the law, she is no one.  She is nothing.  She is merely a stranger - to the law, she may as well be someone walking down the street.  The fact the connection she shares with her child is more than anyone will ever experience with her child ever, vanishes, poof!  Because the law of adoption dictates this.

Adoption law is not a loving law.  There is no love, no compassion in this brutal hacking of a family.  Adoption law is anti-family in a way.  It does not care for the best interests and welfare of a child, it only serves the best interests and welfare of adults.  Regardless of the intentions of those who seek to adopt, the law of adoption is not child centric.  It is actually cruel.  It is barbaric in many places.  And it supports dishonesty in the way it is set up.  Love is not cutting a child out of her/his family.  Love is not re-writing a factual document to reflect a mis-truth.  Love is not pretending one gave birth to another mother's baby (my daughter's adoptress created a labour and birth story.  Truly.  And then denied it when I confronted them.).  Love is not applying a guillotine to a child's life and severing centuries of family history.  Love is none of those things and adopters who fool themselves into thinking that adoption is loving and compassionate are not seeing the full picture and are only seeing what they want to see.

When I lost Amber, I wrote endless journal posts about how I felt my head had been cut off and my heart had been torn out.  Again, the guillotine.  

Amber is lost to me.  Legally, it is as if she never existed.  Regardless of what ethics and morality say, regardless of what my hospital records show, the truth is, by law, my daughter, whom I carried inside me, in my heart, in my spirit, in my soul, is a stranger to me.  That is the law.  That is the reality.  That is Adoption.  And that is the guillotine effect I speak of so often.

Reunion will not change this for us.  She will still be seen as the child of those who brutally took her from me, by law.  As their daughter.  I will be the stranger.  Not them as they should be.  I have been severed from her life, and she from mine.  And just like a decapitation, there is no way to put us back together again.


  1. Powerful! Nothing can erase the truth, though. It flows in our veins forever, however denied.

  2. Peach said it. This is so powerful. I was placed for adoption against my dad's will. He spent years searching for me. He has said many times that Catholic Charities might as well have just cut off his arm or his leg. Because that's what losing me felt like--he lost a part of himself. The guillotine is a perfect analogy.

  3. No words... just sorrow at the truth of this. I'm sorry Myst... for you, for all of us who live with the guillotine of adoption.

  4. I read an intestate ruling that involved adoption.

    In the ruling it stated that the adoptee and the plaintiff (half-sibling if I remember correctly) shared no common ancestor because the mother had given up her legal right to parent the adoptee. The statement "no common ancestor" has really stuck with me.

  5. So true Myst. And we as survivors live with phantom pain.


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