Monday, September 30, 2013
I have been watching the "Baby Veronica" case for some time now. I have witnessed the reporting slants of various news outlets; the outrage of concerned citizens; the shock and grief of fellow adoptees; and the powerful replies of the First Nations. I have observed some tout adoption as the right decision--not because little Veronica's father, family, and tribe are unavailable options--but based upon who legally out-maneuvered whom. In fact, her father, family, and tribe are capable and fighting to care for her yet they have been rendered legally disenfranchised. My heart is broken.
Recently reviewing literature on the matter, I was sad to find that unmarried fathers and original fathers are the least represented, the least researched, the least legally protected, the least considered and supported, the least heard from, and the least understood parties within adoption. This case has exposed numerous policy gaps; Father's Rights being just one of them. I should also note that "Father's Rights" isn't just the rights of fathers to be respected as parents and to raise their children. It is the right of children to be raised and nurtured by their fathers if and whenever possible. Although this is a policy issue worthy of writing I am going to unfold my own reaction as an adopted person to the case from an adoptee's point of view. I keep asking myself, what would this have meant to me as a young adoptee?
Amanda H.L. Transue-Woolston, MSS, LSW is a social worker, author, and speaker serving the adoption community through individual and family clinical work, groups, writing and teaching, and policy advocacy. She has participated in more than a dozen publishing projects, including authoring, The Declassified Adoptee: Essays of an Adoption Activist. Amanda is the founder of Lost Daughters, a collaborative writing project featuring more than 30 adopted women, and the founder of Pennsylvania Adoptee Rights, a grassroots policy advocacy movement. Amanda was featured as an activist by Yahoo!Voices in 2009, and is listed in Adoptive Families Magazine’s Top 20 Adoption Blogs.surrounding systems.