Quebec Updates Adoption Rules-Bill 81
The rules are being updated from 1924. Better late than never. There are some very good things on the list. All US states should do the same. The hearings on Bill 81 begin in September with the goal of passing it into law in 2013.
“In addition to opening the code to new forms of parenting, the bill would:
Recognize customary adoption practices by Quebec’s aboriginal peoples;
Affirm the primacy of Quebec’s adoption rules for international adoptions;
Allow an adopted child or the parent of an adopted child to get information, unless there is a veto, and would allow the transfer of pertinent medical information through medical authorities.
Formally allow children to maintain contact with birth parents as well as adopted parents. Under the Civil Code, which remains in force until Bill 81 becomes law, the parental link with the birth parents ends once a child is adopted.”
“The new law would allow a child to have both birth and adoptive parents, although, as Fournier explained, the adoptive parents would have parental authority, and such arrangements would be subject to court approval.
As well, parents having difficulties fulfilling their parental duties could transfer their parental responsibilities to another person while legally remaining the child’s parents.
And in the case of a reconstituted family, a parent could share parental responsibility, in the eyes of the law, with a new spouse.
James Bobbish, chairman of the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay, said aboriginal customs governing adoption date back to “time immemorial.”
The aboriginal custom of deciding within the community who will take parental responsibility for children in need of temporary or permanent adoption was not recognized by Quebec. As a result, many aboriginal children were adopted by non-aboriginal parents in the 1960s, Bobbish said, noting a survey found that 85 per cent of aboriginal children adopted by non-aboriginals ran away before they were 18.
In international adoption, Fournier said Quebec is responding to a court judgment calling on the province to clarify its role in an area where the federal government retains a say through shared jurisdiction over immigration.
The minister said this provision creates “a small window” to overcome barriers to international adoption.
In allowing contacts between adopted children and their birth parents, Quebec lags behind other provinces.
Caroline Fortin, of Mouvement Retrouvailles, a group favouring more openness and contacts for adopted children, said she is not happy with the concept of a veto in the proposed new law, noting there will be hearings where groups like hers can recommend changes. [Good! The veto needs to go!]
But Fortin is happy that a way has been found for people who were adopted to get medical information about their parents.
Under the present law an adopted person can only get genetic or family history information after proving she would “suffer serious harm to her health” without such disclosures.”
[Montreal Gazette 6/13/12 by Kevin Dougherty]
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