01 September 2011

New Zealand Adoption News

Recently I discovered New Zealand's ancient Adoption Act 1955 has been amended.

Before the amendment (and indeed post amendment) our archaic and barbaric act is/was a jumble of nonsense and has been unchanged from the days of old where the government and hospitals then later lawyers and judges took matters into their own hands and forced adoptions; in some cases outright stealing newborns from their mothers. Coercion and duress are just a part of the furniture - well practised and well denied; swept under the proverbial carpet.

However in August 2011, an amendment was made to the Act that SHOULD change this cruel practise (although I am not holding my breath).

This amendment made to the act seeks to supposedly protect women from being coerced and forced to sign an adoption consent by making this practise criminal. In fact, anyone caught doing this can face up to seven years imprisonment. For the actual wording please see below:

"The Parliament of New Zealand enacts as follows:
1 Title
This Act is the Adoption Amendment Act 2011.

2 Commencement
This Act comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

3 Principal Act amended
This Act amends the Adoption Act 1955.

4 Purpose of this Act
The purpose of this Act is to enable New Zealand to meet its international obligations under Article 3(1)(a)(ii) of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography by creating a new offence prohibiting the improper inducement of a consent for the adoption of a child.

5 Offences
(1) The heading to section 27 is amended by omitting "“Offences”" and substituting "“Summary offences”".
(2) Section 27(3) is repealed.

6 New sections 27A to 27D inserted
The following sections are inserted after section 27:
“27A Offence to induce consent
“(1) Every person commits an offence who induces another person, by fraud, duress, undue influence (by payment or otherwise), or other improper means, to consent to an adoption.
“(2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years.
“27B Safety of child where offence committed

“(1) Where a Court is satisfied that an offence against section 27 or 27A has been committed in respect of any child, the Court may order the child to be removed to a place of safety until—
“(a) the child can be restored to his or her parent or guardian; or
“(b) other arrangements can be made for the child.
“(2) Subsection (1) applies whether or not any person has been convicted of the offence."

So, looks like some great stuff right? Bring out the champagne and all that? Sadly I would say hold on those celebrations for now. Because duress, coercion and fraud are ALREADY criminal acts and stating it in the Act will hardly change a thing. Why do I say this? Because I had PROOF of my coerced and wrongly obtained consent and yet we still decided against this line of action for the court battle as it is vitually impossible to get this recognised by the courts even with evidence. Why? Because at the end of the day it is up to the judge and many (not all) of the family court judges in New Zealand are from a cruel era where mother and child were routinely separated and mother was thrown to the gutter and her baby forgotten. Thankfully the so called 'judge' at my last hearing, is dead. I was not the only victim to this 'man's' cruel actions. The 'man' couldn't even look at me in the hearing or my father, coward.

So yes, while it appears to be all great news, my faith in the New Zealand adoption process is nil. Why? Because only this year a friend of mine was driven to suicide as a result of the anguish adoption caused in her when her child was stolen from her only 5 years ago. And she is not the only one. This amendment only contradicts the Consent withdrawl section of the act which states clearly there is no revocation period so if a mother was to sign a consent under duress and once the duress was over, she would still have little chance of getting her child back, regardless of what the amendment states.

After thinking this over, my view on this is a waste of space and time. New Zealand, get rid of your rotting adoption system which only serves the adopters who get their booty. You don't offer protection to your mothers and children and you fail the UN Declaration of Human Rights including the rights of the Child. If you want to serve Human Rights, you would scrap this worthless and cruel act and replace it with a system that serves the CHILDREN in NEED and NOT the self serving adults who want to 'build' a 'family' with the children of other families. If you chose to continue this barbaric piece of legislation then you show yourself to be a liar.

4 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend and all that she went through. And, I'm sorry you never got justice either. Sometimes it seems like the whole system is hopeless. What do you think it would take to make it better?

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  2. Hi, sorry, I didn't see this until now. Personally I think adoption has run its course and failed for far too many people. I would like to see adoption replaced with something chil centric and not adult centric like adoption currently is. I understand there is always going to be a need for children to be raised in families other than their own but right now there seems to be a gap between foster care and all out taking a child's past and rewriting history in the law.

    I would like to see a system that supports families where possible to stay together and failing that, if a child has to live outside their family including the extended family, then they keep their OBC's, their names and have an arrangement with the court, where possible to see their natural families.

    Infant adoption I just outright disagree with because a woman who gives birth doesn't really know how to think straight for some time; longer if she develops post natal depression. If infant adoption was closed down, then we would see alot less coercion. There would need to be a huge step up of sexual education amongst young people so they learn the responsibilities of having sex (not that I believe young people should be sexually active but that doesn't mean anything really as that issue is already here) and leanr how to protect themselves so they are not at risk of having a baby young.

    There is alot of work that needs to be done and for some they couldn't be bothered but anywhere where a law causes soooo much grief and angusih, there needs to b massive change. I understand this won't happen overnight but I do believe it could happen. RIght now adoption is geared towards adults getting a child (I understand the desire to have a child, not saying that is worng, just when it involves another family suffering loss and the child themselves) and not children being given the family they need - in some cases extended natural family.

    Hope that sheds some light on how I feel? :)

    Thanks for stopping by; things have been busy (good busy) in my day to day life and I haven't had much time to sit and blog but thank you for your comments.

    Cheers,
    Myst

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  3. Hi Myst,
    I've been away from the blogosphere for a while. It's good to read you again. I completely agree with you that adoption should be child-centered rather than adult-centered as it is now. I think that change in philosophy and strategy would repair an awful lot of what's currently wrong. I've missed you, {{{my friend}}}

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  4. Sally!!!! Hello my friend! Its great to see you... I too had been away for a while - sometimes you just have to take a break. Hope you and the family are well. Take care and I will see you around :) xxx

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