LETTER: Adoption a fair solution for parent and child

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The Independent Online
Sir: Polly Toynbee opposes the Government's intention to encourage single mothers to allow their babies to be adopted ("Why the state can't fix the family", 27 March).

Her arguments are strident and somewhat garbled. She draws attention to the cost to the taxpayer of maintaining single mothers in poor conditions which blight the children's chances, dismisses as "sentimental nonsense" the notion that a baby is always better off at the breast of its biological mother and berates the state's incompetence at looking after children in care; all of which would seem to point to adoption as a reasonable alternative.

She criticises adoption because half of adopted women and 30 per cent of men go in search of their natural mothers. It could equally be said that half of the women and 70 per cent of men do not seek out their mothers. My wife and I adopted three infants 40 to 35 years ago. They have become balanced, independent adults. They have not sought their natural parents, nor have other adopted children whom we know. This is anecdotal evidence, but so is much of Ms Toynbee's case.

Ideally, children should be brought up by one or both parents within the wider family. Some able single parents are capable of going it alone, but if a single parent is, for whatever reason, unable responsibly to take on the rearing of the child, adoption might seem a fair solution for both parent and child. Single parents should not be forced into adoption, but they should be free to choose it as an option.

William M Johnston

Woolstone, Milton Keynes