Research Odt


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Research Odt

  1. 1. Text of Article 25, United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, December 10, 1948. (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well- being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care, and necessary social services , and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age, or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (2) Motherhood and childhhod are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or our of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection. The Baby Scoop Era: Research, Education and Inquiry Founded in 2007 by two mothers - Karen Wilson Buterbaugh and barbara Franks- Morra, BSERI is dedicated to research, education and inquiry into the period of American adoption history known as the Baby Scoop Era. The Baby Scoop Era Research Initiative is established on principles of historical accuracy, truth and justice. We demand acknowledgement of the historical truth surrounding adoption practice in the United States during the Baby Scoop Era. We demand recognition for the millions of women who were systematically denied their inalienable right to raise their infant sons and daughters. The American Maternity Home Movement experienced radical change after 1945. Karen Wilson-Buterbaugh's research into the textbooks, papers, and conference presentations of social workers and sociologists of the Baby Scoop Era has revealed a movement in flux. Once the province of altruistic Christian women, the movement rapidly moved from a supportive model to a psychoanalytic model after WW II. Homes that had sheltered unmarried pregnant women, and trained them in the life skills they needed to successfully raise their children, began instead to promote closed, stranger adoption to married couples as the best social solution to the challenges presented by single motherhood. The change occurred as social workers began to practice within Maternity Homes, eventually pushing the Christian women out. The social work profession brought with it a psychoanalytic bias that informed their practice and radically altered the outcome of single pregnancy during this period. These practices persisted until 1972, a period of great social and technological change in the United States. After 1972, the number of domestic adoptions dropped dramatically. After the early 1970s, easy availability of contraception, vastly increased economic and educational opportunities, and growing acceptance of single parenthood presented women with many more options then they had before. The years between 1945 and 1972, with its maternity reformatories, institutionally induced guilt, psychoanalytic explanations for single motherhood, and coercive adoption practices became a brief footnote in American social history, except to the cohort of women who survived these practices. These women carried into their adult lives unaddressed burdens of worry, pain and a corrosive secret. The effects of
  2. 2. social work practice of these years are very much alive and well in the lives of millions of American women These years are called the Baby Scoop Era, and these women, Baby Scoop Mothers. Please take a few moments to peruse some of the research amassed by Karen W. Buterbaugh. This is what the social workers of the time were thinking and saying about us, the Baby Scoop Mothers. A Little History " Some of the _____mothers who placed their children fifteen or more years before the interviews took place felt extreme pressure and even coercion to do so. .... Many _____mothers who felt coerced or tricked into placing their children for adoption were not at peace with the adoption. The resentment one _____mother expressed regarding feeling forced into adoption was typical of those who had felt coercion: ‘Coercion, lies, and deceit... That worked on me... The mother- child bond is really strong. I think that’s more important than having two parents. My baby was denied breast milk, knowing his grandparents. I was denied watching him grow and have a life together. Fear is what makes people sign relinquishing papers, fear that it (keeping the baby) will make their life worse than better. (_____ mothers’) fear is taken advantage of... It is deceitful. It (coercive adoption) is not really concerned with the best interest of the mom and baby... It’s concerned with receiving healthy, white babies for people’." - Charles T. Kenny, Ph.D. " _____MOTHER, GOOD MOTHER, Her Story of Heroic Redemption", a booklet published by the Family Research Council and the National Council for Adoption (2007) How the adoption industry "professionals" saw us and our babies : "... the tendency growing out of the demand for babies is to regard unmarried mothers as breeding machines...(by people intent) upon securing babies for quick adoptions." - Leontine Young, "Is Money Our Trouble?" (paper presented at the National Conference of Social Workers, Cleveland, 1953) "Because there are many more married couples wanting to adopt newborn white babies than there are babies, it may almost be said that they rather than out of wedlock babies are a social problem. (Sometimes social workers in adoption agencies have facetiously suggested setting up social provisions for more 'babybreeding'.)" SOCIAL WORK AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS, National Association of Social Workers, (Out-of-print) copyright 1964 ". . . unwed mothers may have placed their children for adoption for any of the following reasons . . . (2) they were advised or pressured to release the baby . . ." COUNSELING THE UNWED MOTHER, by Helen E. Terkelsen, copyright 1964 "If the demand for adoptable babies continues to exceed the supply then it is quite possible that, in the near future, unwed mothers will be "punished" by having their children taken from them right
  3. 3. after birth. A policy like this would not be executed -- nor labeled explicitly -- as "punishment." Rather, it would be implemented through such pressures and labels as "scientific findings," "the best interests of the child," "rehabilitation of the unwed mother," and "the stability of the family and society." Unmarried Mothers, by Clark Vincent, 1961 "Not all unwed mothers in this country are regarded as presenting the same degree of social problem. For example, the unmarried mother who has financial means or supporting relatives and friends, who can leave her own locality or state to have the baby in privacy or whose baby is needed for adoption by particular social agencies, and particularly the unwed mother who does not become an economic liability on the tax-paying public - these receive less public attention and blame. Censure is strong and unwavering... in the case of unwed mothers whose babies do not serve a social function. CHILD WELFARE: POLICIES AND PRACTICE, Lela B. Costin (1972), McGraw-Hill Book Company, (Professor, The Jane Addams Graduate School of Social Work, University of Illinois) "Faced with insufficient money, an unwed pregnant girl may find herself forced into an unsuitable marriage or pressured into an ill-considered plan to surrender her child for adoption in return for the payment of her medial and living expenses during pregnancy." CHILD WELFARE: POLICIES AND PRACTICE, Lela B. Costin (1972), McGraw-Hill Book Company, (Professor, The Jane Addams Graduate School of Social Work, University of Illinois) "... the unmarried mother may well come to feel that her own needs were disregarded, that she was helped, not out of any concern for her, but only because she could supply a baby someone wanted to take from her." CHILD WELFARE: POLICIES AND PRACTICE, Lela B. Costin (1972), McGraw-Hill Book Company, (Professor, The Jane Addams Graduate School of Social Work, University of Illinois) How did Baby Scoop Mothers fare later in life? "Existing evidence suggests that the experience of relinquishment renders a woman at high risk of psychological (and possibly physical) disability. Moreover very recent research indicates that actual disability or vulnerability may not diminish even decades after the event. ....Taken overall, the evidence suggests that over half of these women are suffering from severe and disabling grief reactions which are not resolved over the passage of time and which manifest predominantly as depression and psychosomatic illness. " -- PSYCHOLOGICAL DISABILITY IN WOMEN WHO RELINQUISH A BABY FOR ADOPTION, Dr. John T. Condon (Medical Journal of Australia) Vol. 144 Feb 3, 1986 (Department of Psychiatry, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Consultant Psychiatrist) " A grief reaction unique to the relinquishing mother was identified. Although this reaction consists of features characteristic of the normal grief reaction, these features persist and often lead to chronic, unresolved grief. Conclusions: The relinquishing mother is at risk for long-term physical, psychological, and social repercussions. Although interventions have been proposed, little is known about their effectiveness in preventing or alleviating these repercussions."
  4. 4. -- “Postadoptive Reactions of the Relinquishing Mother: A Review.” By Holli Ann Askren, MSN, CNM, Kathleen C. Bloom, PhD, CNM. In the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecological and Neonatal Nursing, 1999 Jul-Aug; 28(4) "Relinquishing mothers have more grief symptoms than women who have lost a child to death, including more denial; despair, atypical responses; and disturbances in sleep, appetite, and vigor." Askren, H., & Bloom, K. (1999) Post-adoptive reactions of the relinquishing mother: A review. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecological and Neonatal Nursing, 1999 Jul-Aug; 28(4) "Results shown in Table 3 demonstrate that mothers relinquishing a child for adoption tend towards more grief symptoms than bereaved parents ... ." ... "Table 3, comparing natural mothers in both open and closed adoptions with bereaved parents, shows that natural mothers suffer more denial, atypical responses, despair, anger, depersonalization, sleep disturbance, somaticizing, physical symptoms, dependency, vigor." Blanton, T.L., & Deschner, J. (1990). Biological mother's grief: The postadoptive experience in open versus confidential adoption. Child Welfare Journal, 69(6), "Bowlby (1980) proposed 4 phases of the grief process. The first phase is characterized by numbing and detachment where a person experiences emotional and psychological shock, which causes a dulling of feelings and cognitive disbelief." , De Simone, M. (1994). Unresolved grief in women who have relinquished an infant for adoption. Doctoral dissertation, New York University School of Social Work, New York, N.Y And today? " Regrettably, in many cases, the emphasis has changed from the desire to provide a needy child with a home, to that of providing a needy parent with a child. As a result, a whole industry has grown, generating millions of dollars of revenues each year, seeking babies for adoption and charging prospective parents enormous fees to process paperwork. The problems surrounding many intercountry adoptions in which children are taken from poor families in undeveloped countries and given to parents in developed countries, have become quite well known, but the Special Rapporteur was alarmed to hear of certain practices within developed countries, including the use of fraud and coercion to persuade single mothers to give up their children.” –United Nations, Commission on Human Rights, 2003. "Based on what I've learned about the experiences of [mothers] in the United States, I want to suggest that the conventional understanding of adoption should be turned on its head. Almost everybody believes that on some level, [mothers] make a choice to give their babies away. I argue that adoption is rarely about mothers' choices; it is, instead, about the abject choicelessness of some resourceless women." Rickie Solinger, Beggars and Choosers, 2001. Mothers, did you know:
  5. 5. ....that you were the sole legal parent of your child until you signed a consent to terminate your parental rights? ...that you had the same legal right of access to your child as that of any married parent and could not legally be denied/ or have access to you child restricted in any way ? ...that you had a revocation period (where applicable) of so and so days/weeks after signing? [per State law] ...that any pre-adoption procedure which denied you access to your child or restricted that access in any way was in breach of your parental rights and therefore illegal? Baby Scoop Era vs. Newer Era Mother Experience Of Surrender: There are striking differences between the experiences of BSE mothers and newer era surrendering mothers. Sweeping social change in the ways Americans viewed women and their roles, technological advances in gynecological and obstetrical care, the explosion in the availablity of information previously hidden from public view, the growth of psychological understanding, and a more open, tolerant society have all contributed to these changes. Perhaps the most striking changes came first, in the early and mid 1970s, with the Supreme Court of the land striking blow after blow for the protection of women's Constitutional rights. Congress also contributed landmark legislation in the same time frame. Among the most important change making decisions and federal laws are the following: In 1971, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time ever that women enjoyed Constitutional protection from discrimination under the Fourteenth Amendment, in Reed v. Reed Pregnant women were permitted to stay in school after the 1971 Supreme Court decision Ordway v. Hargraves. Before then, pregnant high school students were not permitted to attend regular classes. The 1971 Supreme Court case Phillips v. Martin Marietta established a mother's right to be free from discrimination in hiring practices because she has children. Also in 1972, Congress passes Title IX of the Education Amendments. It bans sex discrimination in schools. It states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial
  6. 6. assistance." A direct result of Title IX is that professional schools (medicine, law) saw their population of women students increase dramatically for the first time in history. Birth control methods were readily available to unmarried women after 1973. The Supreme Court did not strike down state law prohibiting contraceptive use by married couples until 1965 (Griswold v Connecticut.) It was not until 1972 that the Supremem Court ruled that unmarried people have the right to contraception ( Eisenstadt v. Baird ) Safe, legal, abortion on demand was not readily available to unmarried women until Roe v Wade, 1973. There was little to no way to enforce child support payments prior to the Social Security Amendments of 1974. Also in 1974, Congress passes the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. It prohibits discrimination in consumer credit practices on the basis of sex, race, marital status, religion, national origin, age, or receipt of public assistance. As a result of being able to establish their own lines of credit, women can now get credit cards, take out auto loans, and rent apartments independently. In addition, in 1974, sex was added to the list of protected classes in the Fair Housing Act, which was first enacted by Congress in 1968. Before that time, women could be discriminated against by sellers or renters of housing properties. In 1975, the Supreme Court decided in Cleveland Board of Education v LeFleur, that employers can not force pregnant women to take unpaid maternity leave after the first trimester because it impinges upon women's due process rights. In 1978, Congress passed The Pregnancy Discrimination Act. It bans employment discrimination against pregnant women. Under the act, a woman cannot be fired or denied a job or a promotion because she is or may become pregnant Further, she can not be forced to take a pregnancy leave if she is willing and able to work. These rapid changes in the legal standing of American women between 1971 and 1978 ushered in an era of increasing economic, social and educational independence for them. With this independence came changes in women's personal power. Practices and attitudes towards women that had been the norm for a century or more were swept away in a tidal wave of social change. Advances in reproductive medicine were also occurring during the 1970s with widespread acceptance and use of the birth control pill. Coupled with the new legal standing of women, practices which had been unremarkable, everyday and "normal" before and during the Baby Scoop Era, became unthinkable.