CCNM Position Paper on the Primacy
of Family Preservation over Adoption
In keeping with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 7(1) , which states that children have the right to know and be cared for by their parents, the Canadian Council of Natural Mothers supports the right of children to be raised by their original parents. Where poverty, natural disaster or other factors make this difficult, families should receive support to allow them to remain together as a family and to develop independence as a unit.
When Adoption is Necessary
Adoption is seldom necessary—the desire to raise other people's children does not justify separating children from their parents. When children have been moved from their homes for reasons of safety or because they are truly orphans, then establishing alternative families for them may be justified. It is important to note that 90% of children in orphanages in other countries are not truly orphans. Most often, poverty-stricken or overburdened parents have placed them in the orphanage with the intent of returning for them when times improve. It is not justifiable to take these children to far away countries, losing all contact with their mothers or fathers and other kinfolk, to satisfy wealthier individuals' desire to parent.
Infertility as a Reason to Adopt, including Gay or Lesbian Adoption
While it is sad that some people are infertile for a variety of reasons, including simply delaying child bearing to later in life when fertility has naturally declined, this is not sufficient reason to justify separating babies from their mothers. Similarly, while the Canadian Council of Natural Mothers supports the right of gay and lesbian couples to cohabit and marry, the facts of their situation do not entitle them to separate mothers and children in order to raise other people's children. Should people unable to have their own children wish to raise children, they can seek out children who really do need families, such as those in long term foster care. There are many children in such circumstances who would benefit from permanent guardianship. The fact of wanting a child is not sufficient to entitle a person or couple to break up a family in order to free a child for adoption. Desire does not equal entitlement, however unhappy a person might be at not achieving their desire.
Embryo Adoption, Sperm and Egg Donation
In the process of in-vitro fertilization, it is common to create a large number of embryos so that repeated cycles of implantation can be done, in the hope that one of them will develop through a complete pregnancy to a healthy infant. Recently, agencies have been established to implant these surplus embryos of strangers into infertile women's wombs to allow them to have the babies they cannot themselves have. Other forms of artificial reproduction involve the combining of the sperm of a stranger with the egg(s) of a woman who wants to become a mother, or the combining of a stranger’s egg(s) with the sperm of the father who intends to parent the resulting offspring. In both of these situations, it is usual for one of the genetic parents to be unknown to the child born of such a union.
The Canadian Council of Natural Mothers deplores surrogacy arrangements, regardless of whose gametes are used (the surrogate's, the potential adopting couple's or strangers' gametes). Surrogacy uses mothers as brood mares, selling their fertility and potentially their emotional and physical health for the desires of those who would like to raise someone else's baby. It is dehumanizing for women and children. Any children created through these arrangements must have the right to all the information about their conception, including all the names of their surrogate and genetic parents. Surrogates and genetic parents also have the right to know their children, and to contact them through the social parents or when their children reach adulthood.
There are no adoptive parents until a natural family is destroyed to free the child for others. Only upon their acquisition of someone else's child are adoptive parents created. Until then, they are simply strangers to the natural family. Thus, discussion of any rights for adoptive parents cannot occur until after the moral and legal requirements of natural parents and their child(ren) are dealt with and satisfied. Only after the adoption occurs are there three parties to any guardianship or adoption situation: the parents and family losing their child(ren), the child or children, and those who have taken these child(ren) from their parents.
The Canadian Council of Natural Mothers supports family preservation first.Were children have been separated from their natural families, the Council supports their right to knowledge of their own identities and names and the rights of their natural families to know their names and to have contact with them through legally binding agreements from the moment of separation.
© The Canadian Council of Natural Mothers, February 2003. This document is the property of the Canadian Council of Natural Mothers, www.ccnm-mothers.ca. You may copy and distribute this page provided that you copy it in its entirety.