we’re taking your child

Have you ever given any thought to where the baby came from that your friends adopted; who the parents of the baby were now being looked after by your friends as if it were their own?

I hadn’t.

Indeed, when I was a small girl my mother (a white advantaged female living comfortably in a white middle class community) caringly told me that the baby of one of her closest friends had died at birth. Another baby of the same age and gender was immediately found so that she could go home as planned, with a new baby and no uncomfortable questions being asked. I understood from my mother that this was not an unusual solution to the problem, when babies are born dead to people living with access to problem solving opportunities.

children removed or taken from their biological families

I have met or known a number of people who have adopted children. Some of whom work in the industry, caring for children taken or removed from their biological parents. Unfortunately having a child can be complicated. As they grow their lives and your relationship with them as their parent is not always straight forward.

The Shorter Oxford Dictionary defines adoption as:

The action of taking or the fact of being taken into any relationship; esp. the action of taking a minor who is not one’s offspring into the legal relationship of child. ME.

The action of taking up and treating as one’s own an idea etc.; the fact of being so taken up; an idea etc. so taken. L16.

Interestingly, consistent throughout the definition of adoption is the use of the verb, ‘to take’.

The Shorter Oxford Dictionary defines to take as:

Seize, grasp, catch.

Capture (a wild animal, bird, etc.); (of an animal, bird, etc.) seize or catch (prey). ME (b) Hounds The hare may not be taken on a Sunday in the North.

Bring into a specified position or relation. (verb trans.) Transfer (an object) into one’s hand or hold by one’s own voluntary physical act. ME. Bring or receive (a person) into a specified relation to oneself, as of service, protection, care or companionship ME. (b) spec. Enter into marriage or cohabitation with (esp. a woman). Freq. in take in marriage. ME. (c) have sexual intercourse with (esp. a woman). E20.

Sadly there are examples of children being taken from their biological parents by governments in large numbers – Australia’s ‘stolen generation’, indigenous children removed from their families and either brought up in institutions or fostered out to white families.  Britain’s child migrant scheme, children being told their parents are dead and shipped from Britain to Australia, without the knowledge of their biological families, to institutional or foster care.

In late 2015 The UK Government launched a drive to speed up placing children in adoption.1 2

Adoption is permanent – only on very rare occasions have adoption placements been reversed. Adoption transfers all legal parental rights and responsibilities to the adoptive parents. The birth parents of the child lose all legal access to their child once an adoption order is approved by the courts.

Should children be removed from their biological families?

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  1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10314937/Drive-to-speed-up-adoptions-means-children-may-be-removed-from-parents-too-quickly.html
  2. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-unveils-drive-to-increase-adoptions-and-cut-unacceptable-delays

One Comment

  1. Not sure what’s being suggested in this article – I worked in a UK adoption and fostering agency for 7 years and children aren’t randomly ‘taken’ from their parents. They are reluctantly ‘taken’ from their parents after years of terrible abuse and neglect and many attempts to rehabilitate them home. While the Government is pushing to speed up adoption for children who definitely can’t return home to their birth family, this refers to the timescales after it is decided that the child can never safely return home – children are not being taken from families quicker than they were before. I hope this helps to get the discussion going!


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