13 August 2013

If you are pregnant and scared in New Zealand...

Over the past few months I have had a few searches along these lines that have lead readers to my blog... in particular my post on New Zealand and Adoption.  This search could be from anyone but in case there are genuinely scared and pregnant women searching with these terms then I would like to welcome you to my blog and find out how I can help you.

First, I am sorry if you have found yourself in an unplanned/unexpected situation and you are scared.  I truly understand having been there myself and if you, like myself, are afraid of telling anyone, then it is a very lonely and isolated place to be. I hope we can make this easier for you and find for you a way to navigate the months ahead.

Right now you probably have a lot of things swirling inside you - emotions, thoughts, hormones even! - a lot is going on.  This only makes things more confusing and harder to determine what it is you need to do for yourself and your unborn baby.

I should disclose right now that I am NOT a counsellor nor am I a qualified professional in psychology or anything to do with counselling.  What I can tell you is I am a great listener and I have been where you are and spoken to many other women in the exact same place.  I can support and give you as much information as you need to make proper informed choices for you and your baby and if I feel I cannot, I can point you towards organisations who can.

If you have stumbled on my blog because you searched for adoption, well, that is a huge discussion and I usually like to follow up one on one rather than through my blog because there is a lot to digest and these decisions are not ones to be made lightly.

Very quickly however, here is a run down on the realities of adoption in New Zealand:
  • Adoption is a legal process that permanently severs a mother from her child and the rest of the child's family - ie grandparents, furture siblings, aunts, uncles etc.  Through adoption, your child is made a stranger to you and you become a stranger to your child in terms of the law.
  • New Zealand does NOT have Open Adoption as a legal option.  The current law has NO provisions for legally enforced open adoption and the only legal adoptions at this current time are closed adoptions.  Whilst there are stories of successful adoption placements where families give the mother varying degrees of contact, it would be remiss of me or any other organisation or counsellor to not make you aware that it is a verbal agreement ONLY and can be closed at any point should the people adopting your child desire it to.  I know this from personal experience and the experiences of other mothers who have lost or placed children to/for adoption.
  • Adoption is known to have lifelong mental health consequences to both the mother and her child as well as the extended families.  Placing a child for adoption does not mean you no longer have responsibilities for your child; it just means you do not have the day to day care of your child or involvment in your child's life.  Once a mother, always a mother regardless of what happens to your child and one day your future children may want information and your child may want to have a relationship with you and the rest of your (which is also their) family.
  • When a child is adopted, their birth certificate is altered to reflect the adoptive parents as if they are the biological parents.  The real birth certificate, the legal document that records who gave birth to the child is locked away and is only accessible after a child is 20 in New Zealand.  Whilst this may not be important to a mother, many adopted adults have shared how distressing this is to them as a birth certificate is a record of birth, not a record of whom a child grows up with.
  • Whilst pregnant, it is easy to find yourself vulnerable and impressionable to the ideas and wishes of others.  Should you be pushed into placing your child for adoption (which is actually illegal) and sign an adoption consent, please be aware THERE IS NO REVOCATION PERIOD.  In other words, no matter how your consent is obtained be it influenced, bullied, forced etc, once you sign that consent, that is it.  Unless you have very clear evidence which proves this is a coerced consent, then you will find yourself very unlikely to revoke/withdraw that consent and regain your baby.  
  • Currently in New Zealand, we operate under an Act which was put in place in 1955.  This was a time when the majority of adoptions were forced and this was a practise that was worldwide.  Australia recently took accountability for their own part in the actions taken to forcibly adopt children and apologised to the many affected by these harsh practises.  It is the only country to have taken this step.  You can read the full apology transcript here.  New Zealand meanwhile still operates through the exact same law it did back then making mothers and their babies vulnerable to the same or similar practises depending how lucky or unlucky you are.

Should you wish to discuss the full impacts of adoption or other choices available, please email me at myst1998@hotmail.com and I can help you further or direct you to those who can.  I understand this is a very difficult time and my aim is to remain as neutral as possible although my wish is to see families stay together.  I am not here to judge your decision however and will do my best to advocate for you during what is a very scary time.

Thank you for reading if you made your way to the bottom and I wish you all the very best.  Please email me if you are interested in more information.

Some resources:
The list of blogs on the side of this blog - I have a varying amount by adopted adults, mothers of adoption loss, adoptive parents and others involved in adoption.
Book: "The Primal Wound" by Nancy Verrier
Book: " Journey of  the Adopted Self" Betty Jean Lifton
Book: "Birthmothers" Merry Bloch Jones
Book: "The Secret Life of the Unborn Child" Dr Thomas Verny with John Kelly

4 comments:

  1. Hi there, my name is Megan Beech. I am currently studying to be an early childcare teacher and one of my current assignments is about adoption. Part of the assignment includes looking at the topic from both sides. I was wondering if I could talk to you about the against side of adoption for my assignment.

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    1. Hi! Sure, would be more than happy too. I can be reached at myst1998@hotmail.com and can give more details from there :-)

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  2. I'm sorry for your loss, and I can appreciate where you are coming from. I'm worried though, that your post is largely influenced by your experience and is therefore very one sided. I would argue that in many cases, adoption is a good option for a mother who feels unable to cope with a child for whatever reason and is often in the best interests of the child (the main concern). I don't think adoption is done right in New Zealand but I also don't think it is promoted as much as it should be, whereas other options like termination are often the first port-of-call. I think your post is a great starting point to open up discussion on these important issues and I hope it is helpful for someone who needs it. Stacey.

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  3. Hi Stacey, thank you for leaving a comment. I would say, yes indeed, my argument is driven by my own experience and it is in fact my experience that makes me want to ensure this doesn't happen to anyone else in NZ. I'm sorry but adoption is not in the best interests and welfare of the child. It is merely a lip service comment but the true best interests of the child are NEVER considered in adoption because adoption is in fact based on adults and what they want. Because of my court case, I am well acquainted with adoption law and what it entails. I would say the law wasn't even applied correctly in my own case and given it was found by a very well known professional at the time that my daughters best interest and welfare would be best promoted by her immediate return to my care, I know how little weight a child's best Interests matters. This has been backed up by the extensive research and experiences of others I have observed over the past 15 years. Adoption itself is an institution completely founded on loss. It's whole premise is based on a child needing to lose their parents in order for them to be adopted. I would say the only positive experiences really are those children who had not one family member available to care for them and so by being adopted gained. As there are not that many true orphans in the world and the numbers of infants being adopted, it is obvious to see who the experience of adoption is positive for. Not the mother, not the child but those adopting. I'm sorry but once a woman is pregnant she is a mother. Abandoning a child to adoption is not being brave or selfless or doing a good thing. That is more propaganda that has come out in order to sell something which is in actuality plain ugliness. Mothers need support and as a society we need to wrap round those vulnerable and help them. In fact this needs to happen for mothers in general, the village that is needed to raise the child and all that? So easy to say but no one does it in practise; rather they would prefer to eliminate the mother and take her child. No, adoption is not the positive thing I too once believed it was. I was shocked after my own experience to find how rampant it was throughout the world of adoption. That my view of happy families and adoption was so far from the truth and that that was just the marketed outside view. Oh, I know plenty of adoptive families who are lovely. But I don't agree with the legal aspects of adoption or adoption itself. I have very strong views on how I feel children should be protected but they don't include adoption and I don't believe adoption is even needed. It is time, as we evolve a species and learn more about what children need that we write a law that places children back in the centre and when they need to be removed from their homes for abuse (a sad reality of life especially here in NZ) then we have the resources and the law to actually protect them as human beings with their identity intact, no lies but at the same time ensuring they are placed in the right environment for them. This has to be about children, NOT adults and what they want. And that is what adoption is, all about adults, failing the children who are 'supposed' to be at the centre.

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