Lori for Human Rights


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Reporting Adoption Abuses to the United Nations

Specific Human Rights Violated by
American Adoption Practice

Anti-adoption activists say that adoption affected persons are deprived of "human rights" as defined under several Articles in the 1948 "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" by Amnesty International as accepted by the United Nations and the United States. For complete detailing, see also the "Human Rights and Adoption" section of "CHOSEN CHILDREN," an Amazon-Kindle e-book.

In 1992, the U.S. did ratify the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, but only after inserting a codicil disavowing the provision that banned the execution of minors. And the U.S. signed the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, which also bans capital punishment for persons younger than 18 at the time of crime, but the Senate never ratified it. The execution of minors, children, is only legally sanctioned in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the US, and Iraq.

Sale and trafficking of children for adoption remains an issue.

For Human Rights violated by U.S. adoption, see below.

Item 13 of the provisional agenda

6 January 2003 Original: ENGLISH

Report submitted by M. Juan Miguel Petit, Special Rapporteur, on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornogrpahy in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 2002/92.

page 25

   A. Adoption

110. During the course of 2002, the Special Rapporteur received many complaints relating to allegedly fraudulent adoption practices. Where such practices have the effect that the child becomes the object of a commercial transaction, the Special Rapporteur, like his predecessor, considers that such cases fall within the "sale" element of his mandate. The Special Rapporteur was shocked to learn of the plethora of human rights abuses which appear to permeate the adoption systems of many countries. The Special Rapporteur considers that the best environment for most children to grow up in is within a family, and that the adoption by a parent or parents of a child who does not have a family able to look after him or her is a commendable and noble action. 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.

111. Given the particular nature of many cases received, the Special Rapporteur brought the information received to the attention of other appropriate United Nations mechanisms and intends to continue to address such abuses when they fall within the parameters of the mandate.

Specific Human Rights Violated by
American Adoption Practice

Anti-adoption activists say that adoption affected persons are deprived of "human rights" as defined under the following Articles in the 1948 "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" by Amnesty International, and accepted by the United Nations and the United States. They are:

o Article 1: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

Adoption law refers to (and treats) the adoptee as the "adopted child" even at legal age; the adoptee is not permitted emancipation from his/her adoptive status at legal age. The adult adoptee may not exercise the same rights under the same conditions as non-adopted citizens (example: access to their true birth record from vital records offices).

o Article 2: "Everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status..."

Social status and religion, as well as politics are inextricably woven into the fiber of American adoption. Domestic adoption is most aggressively promoted by the well-funded National Council For Adoption (NCFA) organization of Christian adoption agencies; Holt International promotes adoption of foreign-born children by Americans. Both are intent on "Christianizing" children through adoption into Christian families. Holt's contractual agreements with prospective adopters included a written requirement that the child will be raised as a Christian and worship Jesus Christ. In the 1950's and 1960's, Jews who could not adopt through the Christian adoption agencies, but those who could afford black market adoptions, bought their children (example: In "My Father, Uncle Milty" Bill Berle, explains that his adopter, famed comedian Milton Berle, through his celebrity contacts found channels for procuring the newborn boy for his wife, Ruth. Searchers find no original birth record for Bill Berle on California birth indexes.)

o Article 3: "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."

Adoptees are not at liberty to access true information about their pre-adoption identity and families' identities; they cannot have security of person, having been given or sold to strangers for adoption..

o Article 4: No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

In a free society, each person, more or less, holds title to his own human capital, and is prevented by law from selling this title except for limited periods of time and under a restricted set of conditions. A dollar value has been literally placed on human lives in certain instances:

  1. when White Americans bought and sold Black Africans for slaves;
  2. when monetary damages are awarded in an industrial accident or death, turning on the capital value of the person at time of the accident or death;
  3. when a child is adopted;
  4. when one contracts for one's labor.

Unlike movie stars and athletes whose human capital is transferred by third parties for a specified period (as in #4), adoptees, like the African slaves, are subject to class restrictions beyond legal age- -for life--as result of the adoption contract to which they were never party. The difference between a slave and a free person turns not on the existence of property rights in human capital but on who may hold title and for how long.

The first step in removing rights from slaves and adoptees is to change and withhold their true identities.

o Article 5: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

The child is never a party to the "contract" which transforms him into an adoptee. Both adoptees and parents are subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment when there is needless separation of the child from the parent, when the system and special interests commodify the child according to "supply and demand," and when adoption is pursued as a punitive response to illegitimacy, unwed parenthood, poverty or social class. Closed adoption in particular is regard by activists as a form of child abuse.

o Article 6: "Everyone has a right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law."

Adoption law in every state requires that the adoptee's true birth record be sealed from his own or anyone else's access except by court order, and a falsified birth certificate is issued naming his adopters as his "parents" on the date of his birth. Thus, the adoptee becomes a "legal fiction," a legal term which denies him personhood before the law. The child's parents also become "non-existent" as the "parents" before the law upon relinquishment of their parental rights.

o Article 7: "All are equal before the law and are entitled without discrimination to equal protection of the law..."

In Carangelo v. O'Neill/State of CT, the federal court held that the adult adoptee has "the same rights as other adoptees" while adoption activists maintain they are treated as "separate but equal," in violation of the United States Constitution's Bill of Rights and basic human rights. Neither are rights applied to all adoptees equally. In 1992, Louis Rhodes, Executive Director of the Arizona Civil Liberties Union, replied to an adoptee who believed he was not treated equally with Native Americans who are adopted. that "Our government has laws that treat rights of American Indians differently or separately....they do not have greater rights, only different rights." It is not only the Native American adoptee who is treated as "different" or "separate but equal." The courts have been clear (in Brown v. Education) that "separate but equal" is unconstitutional.

o Article 8: "Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by the law."

The United Sates Supreme Court has repeatedly refused certiorari to hear class actions by adoptees in the 1970's - ALMA Society v. Mello, and Yesterday's Children v. Kennedy and by "adoption affected persons" in 1990 Carangelo v. O'Neill/State of CT -- on the constitutionality of adoption secrecy laws and fundamental rights of persons impacted by adoption.... Attorneys believe the Suoreme Court is "not ready" to hear their issues. In DeBoer, (popularly known in media as "the Baby Jessica" case") Justice John Paul Stevens opined "Neither Iowa law, Michigan law nor federal law authorizes unrelated persons to retain custody of a child whose natural parents have not been found to be unfit, simply because they may be better able to provide for her future and her education." Yet the constitutionality of adoption itself has never come under scrutiny in an American court, because, like the "sealed records issue," the courts would have to find the practice unconstitutional.

o Article 10: "Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charges against him."

Child Protective Services (CPS) exercises its police power in removing children from their families based on "suspicion" of abuse or neglect, often arising from anonymous phone tips. The burden is then upon the parents to prove their fitness to parent, usually not before a jury, while authorities retain possession of the children, or released to parents only after compliance with arbitrary conditions and "maintenance agreements" as determined by the same authority that took the children. The younger and more "adoptable" the child, the less likely it will be that the child will ever see his parents again. In California, where 80% of adoptions are private adoptions, the child can be handed over to adopters at the hospital immediately after birth. The adoptee usually is not physically present in court any subsequent adoption proceedings and may or may not have a Guardian ad Litem appointed to represent his interests, but no public jury trial would be permitted. Parents who voluntarily relinquish children are usually not permitted to participate in a hearing on a petition to adopt the child. Adult adoptees are referred to the Juvenile Court or Adoptions Court regarding their grievances and for court orders to release their adoption decree, birth record, adoption record and often to access the hospital medical record of their birth. The Juvenile Court treats the adoptee as a child and the Adoptions Court is equally discriminatory on who shall have access to what, since it has a conflict of interest in maintaining confidentiality of its files, so more often denies requests to violate that confidentiality. Parents and adoptees may request an Administrative Fair Hearing if certain criteria are met, but they are neither impartial nor "fair" as public and private adoption agencies are pretty much self-regulating and self-policing.

o Article 11: "Everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense..."

Permanent removal of a child from his family with court-ordered falsified sealed birth records and lifelong secrecy is a punishment without a crime where the court has never declared the parent to be unfit to parent. Yet that is exactly what occurs in every voluntary relinquishment for adoption. On February 14, 1987, the American Bar Association issued its informal opinion (#87-1533) that dual representation of parents and adopters by the same attorney is a conflict of interest. Yet, in most relinquishments and adoptions, there is either no attorney representation for the parent and separately for child, or there is dual representation by one attorney, usually paid by the adopter, representing both the parent(s) and adopter(s). Supreme Court.

o Article 12: "No one shall be subject to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has a right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

Coerced relinquishment of parental rights for purpose of procuring children for adoption has been the ultimate "government interference into the family." Upon relinquishing their parental rights to give up their child for adoption, no parent is guaranteed privacy or lifelong anonymity by any adoption attorney, facilitator or agency. In fact, the birth record is not sealed and the amended (falsified) birth record issued until the adoption is finalized, not upon relinquishment, so sealing of the record is not designed to protect privacy of parents. A "relinquishment agreement" is a unilateral agreement giving up rights. For decades, parents have not even been permitted to possess a copy of the relinquishment they signed.

o Article 15: "Everyone has the right to a nationality. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality."

Over the past five decades, most adoptees have been deprived of knowledge of their true nationalities and even of their true race or multi-racial backgrounds. The Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints regards accurate documentation of one's genealogy to be an essential requirement of the religion and has resulted in the largest collection of vital records information worldwide. Yet both the adoption industry and the Mormon Church has encouraged adopters to "seal the adoptee to the genealogy of the adopter." In most cases, without knowledge of true heritage, that is all they can do, even if hypocritical to their beliefs. Until a couple years ago, public and private agencies were not required, under state law, to provide adult adoptees with even non- identifying information as to their medical histories or social backgrounds if known. But even since states have required collection and disclosure of such information, the specific information collected and disclosed is still at the discretion of the case worker, agency, attorney or court holding the adoption file.

o Article 16: "....The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State."

While Article 16 also stresses the "right to marry and to found a family," American families today are more often "non-traditional." That is, more are single-parent families. Currently, even in adoptive families, only 16% of children placed for adoption are being raised in two-parent households, as compared to 25% of children raised by two parents in the general population. They are either a single female or male, including single gay or lesbian individual or couple, one of whom may be the biological parent and the other the adopter, one or both may be biologically unrelated to the child through use of a surrogate, egg donor and sperm donor and/or by adoption. In kinship and "open adoption" models, the child may have an "extended family" who are in contact with the child and with each other.

The federal government got into the adoption business on June 24, 1989, when President Reagan issued White House Memo #906627, "Administrative Support for the Adoption Option." Since then, "family preservation," which has traditionally referred to the biologically related family unit, has been politicized to refer to non-traditional families in legislation and funding of "family preservation programs." An example is The Adoption Awareness Act and The Safe and Stable Families Amendment Act which, in 2001, has already begun funding television programs devoted to promoting "adoption awareness." As result, funds are diverted from helping the biological family unit and are, in fact, being used to promote separation of the biologically related family in America.

o Article 18: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion...."

The objective of largest, best funded and most powerful lobby of adoption agencies, the federally and privately funded National Council For Adoption (NCFA), is to "Christianize" children through adoption into Christian families. Federal funding of religious endeavors is a violation of the principle of separation of church and state.

o Article 20: "Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association; no one may be compelled to belong to an association."

Adoptees are prohibited by law and practice from freedom of association with their own families and are instead compelled to form a lifelong association with strangers. Adoptees who cannot "attach" or "bond" to their adoptive families develop emotional problems and anti-social behaviors which may result in their being institutionalized in mental hospitals or prisons.

o Article 25: "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......Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection."

In America, funding and support for the hated "welfare Mom" has been plundered to instead benefit the "subsidized adopter."

Universal Declaration of Human Rights -

Bill of Rights (First 10 Articles of the U.S. Constitution)

ACLU Briefing on the Bill of Rights