Washington State Bill to Protect Adoptees from Abuse: Why Not Enforce Current Law for ALL?

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While well intentioned, a new bill introduced in Washington state has me wondering about the way America measures the worth of its children.  The bill, sponsored by Democratic state Rep. Mary Helen Roberts, is aimed at protecting adopted children from abuse and neglect.

I believe that adoptive parents should be held to a high standard of behavior because they are given the monumental responsibility of caring for a child who has already faced tremendous loss. However, it doesn’t make sense to single out adoptive parents with a new child abuse law.  Instead,  laws that are already in place need enforcement.

I’m pretty  sure that Rep. Roberts would agree that:

Every child, no matter its race, country of origin or parental connection should be guaranteed a safe home in America.

A recent Washington Herald article, states that the proposed bill would “require prospective parents to disclose their planned approach to discipline and punishment.”

Totally Sever/Flickr.com

Totally Sever/Flickr.com

This is a lovely notion, and in a land of lollypops and rainbows every prospective parent would be honest about their intentions.  I can just hear them at a home visit saying, “Well Miss Social Worker, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna beat the crap out of the kid everyday, lock them in the closet when they get on my nerves, and starve them occasionally for a hoot.”

Let me say from personal experience, that several home visits and screening did not stop my adoptive parents from adopting two infant children, and that my adoptive father had a track record of domestic abuse under his big, bad belt at the time.

Some will defend that at least Roberts is doing something, and I agree. Her Bill is bringing attention to the tragic stories presented in the  September 2012 “Severe Abuse of Adopted Children Committee Report.”  This State of Washington report details the abuse of 15 adopted children, two of whom died at the hands of their adoptive parents. Plus, her adoptee protection bill calls for several screening practices including; the assessment and training of prospective parents, and the establishment of adoption support services.

The problem with the proposed law is that it will no more stop adoptees from being abused, than current child endangerment laws prevent biological parents from neglecting, maiming  and killing innocent children everyday.

I was particularly offended by a quote in a Capitol Record article  in which David Gusterson of Adoptive Parents of Ethiopian Community says, “We have a duty as a society to be doing a much better job, in particular when we’re bringing in children from other countries. We drag children in from other countries and they end up locked in closets, abused, starved or dead.”

Does this mean that a child adopted into America from a far off land, rather than being pushed out on American soil, is more valuable and deserving of protection?

I don’t think so. How about you?

Learn more and contact Rep. Mary Helen Roberts.

Blessings for violence free homes for all,

Vicki-lynn

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One response »

  1. Thirty years ago my husband and I embarked on an adoption journey after the book entitled, “Adopting the Older Child” by Claudia Jewett caught my eye in the library and I borrowed it and read it. It would be two years later after homestudy and parenting classes that we would open our hearts and home to a five year old daughter. Our biological sons were four and nine at the time.
    She had been in one foster home since she was removed from her birth relations at six months. They did have visits but her b-dad was 16 and in prison and her b-mom was only 14 and so she was out of the picture too. The paternal grandma visited with her now and then but lost the provilege when she was three and she was freed to adopt through neglect. She was labeled “hard to adopt” due to ger b-dad trying to regain custody but being behind bars hurt his chances.
    This lengthy comment is simply leading up to the reality that any prospective parent should be thoroughly screened AND should also be instructed that at some point their adopted loved one will want to find their birth people… They NEVER come into your life ALONE.
    I helped my daughter find them and do not regret it, but was ill prepared for the consequences and have been struggling since and it is going on twelve years.
    When I met my daughter in the foster home she looked up at me and said, ” Do you want me?” Now I find myself asking her the same question.
    Bittersweet…the heart needs to know what is instore. A triangle of love that at its easiest is still complicated.
    Weed out the inappropriate candidates ad prepare the appropriate ones appropriately.

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