Monday, March 15, 2010

But at what cost?

I'm a firm believer that if an adoption is going to take place that it needs to be done as ethically as possible and with truly informed consent on the side of the first family.  While first mothers have struggled through the baby scoop era, unwed mother homes, horrors as seen in the Butter Box Babies, and are even today still faced with shady agencies, scam artists or coercion from many sides, first fathers have had an even shorter end of the stick.  They are often left unnamed, not notified or given incredible hoops to jump through. 

But Australia seems to be taking things to a whole new level.  In what I can only hope was intended to help protect fathers from losing their children to adoption, they have created a legal loophole that can only hurt the child in question:
If the department cannot find the biological father, or the biological father refuses permission, the adoption cannot proceed.
That doesn't sound so bad does it?  Don't let an adoption proceed without the father being informed and giving his consent.  It's all fine and well until you get a case like this one:

A husband will adopt his wife's daughter, conceived when the woman was raped.

They don't know who the rapist was and I doubt he's going to come forward now to claim the offspring of his crime.  Luckily in this specific case, the family was able to get to court before the law took place, and this man, who has raised the little girl since she was a baby, was allowed to adopt her as her step-parent. 

But what about the next case?  That child won't get the legal protection, the name and the family connection to a step-parent just because a rapist can't be found to give his consent.  How does that law speak to the best interest of the child? 
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