Originally Posted by Hells_Belle
I am advocating creating a different kind of legal relationship to care for children who cannot be cared for by their birth parents. I advocate for a switch from adoption to permanant guardianships. The key differences for me are that the birthparents do not have their legal relationship with their child terminated, the records are not sealed, and the child's name is not changed.
While I don't disagree with you that open adoptions should be the norm, and that adoptees should have access to their records, I think that you're forgetting WHY adoption is now widely practiced, as opposed to guardianship. There are many problems with guardianship which were remedied by the creation of adoption laws. I'm not going to argue that current adoption laws are ideal, BUT I think it's a better situation than guardianship.
As dharmama alluded to earlier, inheritance is a biggie. Prior to the passage of current adoption laws, adopted children were not entitled to inherit any of their adoptive parents' estate. They were viewed as second class citizens, and were not considered as full-fledged members of their adoptive families. People who had been adopted as a child were stuck in sort of a no-man's land. It was a horrible position to be in. If we were to go back to a guardianship model, adoptees would again lose their inheritance rights, because they would not be viewed as members of their adoptive family.
I also want to address the issue of changing the child's name and issuing 'false' birth certificates. We will be bringing our new son home from Ethiopia in less than a month. He will turn 5yo shortly after arriving in the USA. We may or may not change his name. He is old enough to have an opinion on the matter, and we will definitely take his feelings into account. However, he has a name which closely resembles an American female name. He is not old enough to fully understand the implications of this, and we, as his parents, need to make the final decision for his ultimate well-being. For the record, we do not intend to strip him of his name, it will be retained in some form (either as a first or middle name). But my point is that parents make MANY decisions for their small children, everything from medical to educational to religious decisions. That's what parents do.
As for the issuance of 'false' birth certificates, I can only speak as a parent who is adopting internationally. I don't have any experience with domestic adoption. But there are many practical reasons that children are issued 'false' birth certificates. My son was born in Ethiopia. Assuming that everything goes the way it should, we will receive ONE copy of his birth certificate, written in a language that most Americans are unable to understand. If we happen to lose that piece of paper, for whatever reason, we would be SOL. There would be no way for us to get another copy. And as an American, my son will probably need a copy of his birth certificate at several times during his life. So we are planning to readopt him after he has been in our home for 6 months. At that time, he will be issued a MN birth certificate, with me and DH listed as his parents. Yes, it will be a 'false' birth certificate in some ways. But there are very practical reasons that this is done. We are absolutely NOT trying to pretend that DS's birth parents did not exist. We of course will be open to discussing his birth parents and the nature of adoption whenever he is interested in talking about it. But the issuance of a new birth certificate will allow DS to have the same privledges/opportunities as his siblings.
Although adoption laws are not perfect, they do allow adopted children to have the same rights as bio children. I would support laws which increased the openness of adoption. But I would not favor any legislation which would take away the right of an adopted child to be considered a full-fledged legal member of their adoptive family.