I do believe in all the reforms I have previously written about – retaining identity and family history information, not changing names or birth dates and not listing adoptive parents as the original parent. Beyond that is a consideration for guardianship rather than permanent adoption.
All that said, from direct experience, adoptive parents have been a part of my own family’s life in positive ways. First of all – my grandparents by adopting each of my parents. On each side, they were a positive influence on my life and the lives of my siblings as well as on my parent’s lives. They were good people who meant well. What we now know about the wounds suffered by adoptees was not known at the time they took possession of my parents.
My mom’s adoptive parents modeled financial security for us and affirmed the value of advanced education. My dad’s adoptive parents modeled faith and uncompromising personal values for us. My dad’s adoptive parents may even have been responsible for keeping my parents together by getting married and preventing me from being given up when my teenage mother found herself pregnant. I am grateful for that much.
Each of my sisters gave up a baby to adoption and these two children are fine adults. In one case, my niece is showing us what a good and consistent mother she can be. Even though she has been reunited with my family, she has remained steadfast in her appreciation for the people who raised her.
My nephew could not be a higher quality person. His adoptive mother has gone the extra mile to answer the identity questions that evolved as he matured. It appears that even my sister either didn’t know who his actual father was or chose to name the person who had the financial resources to help her make what has proven to be a quality choice as a substitute mother. Given my sister’s very evident mental illness, it is for the best that she didn’t try to raise him.
All that to say, while I remain firmly of the opinion that there are better ways to provide for the welfare of children than adoption, it is not that the adoptive parents in my own family’s life were to blame. It was naive ignorance and the intention to do good – which all of them have.