I should know better…

06 May
I stumbled upon a mom’s message board and searched “adoption”.  I was amazed at the ignorance about adoption by the commentors.  There was a running commentary on anti-adoption people and I can’t count the sheer number of replies that said: “Adoption is wonderful” or some variation thereof.  Despite a few people calmly and clearly explaining that most who are labelled anti-adoption are against “how adoption is practiced today – primarily in domestic infant adoption“ the reply was spouted over and over and over.
How difficult is it to separate the act of “adoption”, from “how adoption is practiced today in domestic infant adoption”?
In “adoption” a child is taken in by another family and treated as one of the family.
In “how adoption is practiced” it is a discussion on a lack of ethics, transparency, and best practices; compounded by antiquated laws, or laws designed deliberately to favor adoption by couples over unwed individuals with a liberal dose of how to get rid of the pesky “birth fathers” and his rights. There are laws that are on the books right now in states that allow mothers to sign away their right to parent before birth. Laws that allow lawyers to act for both parties and the receiving party is the one footing the bill – can you say conflict of interest? Laws that have no revocation period despite allowing the mother to sign within hours of giving birth, that likely includes a least some pain medication, not to mention the hormones cascading through her body. Laws that seal away the adoptees original birth certificate, even when they reach adulthood. Laws that have not kept up with the practice used by adoption providers to entice mothers to surrender their babies to adoption with “promises of open adoptions”, yet there is no legal backing of that promise, or if there is a law, it has no teeth to enforce it.
Looking at the issue of how adoption is practiced in the DIA arena from a different angle – adoptees all over the states are working together to repeal the laws that sealed our original birth certificates from us, even when we reach adulthood. The adoption industry with the NFCA (whose membership includes LDS adoption agencies), and other agencies like  Catholic Charities, and adoption lawyers actively fight and lobby against repealing those laws citing “birth mothers were promised confidentiality”. That they cannot produce any document that states that, is an obvious flaw in their argument, and that neither surrender or adoption petitions included any claim of confidentiality for the “birth mothers”, completely refutes their arguments. I was always taught that only what is in the four corners of the contract counts…
But my actual question to those I talk about in the paragraph above is – if the “birth mothers protection” mean so much to the adoption industry – why have they not used their considerable weight to lobby for and create iron-clad laws that mandate protecting openness in open adoptions? Where are those laws to protect the “promise of openness” made to “birth mothers”? To me that clearly indicates they are talking out of both sides of their mouths.  In reality, they just do not want their incredibly poor practices brought to light and that the “adoptive parents” – are who they are really protecting by fighting against repealing the sealed original birth certificate laws and by not fighting to create iron-clad laws to protect “birth mothers promise of openness”.  As long as they are allowed to promise openness without a law with teeth backing it, they will be able to maintain the supply of babies to be adopted, and parents willing to adopt – and they will not be protecting their promises made to “birth mothers”.   How can they be so two-faced?
There are so many areas in DIA that need to be fixed – I wish people would stop and think about that before spouting how wonderful adoption is and how horrible all those anti-adoption people are who want things changed. In reality most just want adoption to be done right when it has to be done at all. Creating adoptees is no cause for celebration and throwing out statements “adoption is wonderful” or “what a gift a “birth mother” gives to a family”  – because those statements only looks at one side of a very complex issue.

Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Adoption, Ethics


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

9 responses to “I should know better…

  1. Dannie

    May 6, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    I was a little bummed out this week from some comments I read elswhere in cyberland as well. It’s a shame that some people equate anti-adoption with just wanting to make sure ethical practices are in place.


  2. Von

    May 6, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Too right!


  3. graceling

    May 6, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    I think your first question “How difficult is it to separate the act of “adoption”, from “how adoption is practiced today in domestic infant adoption”?” is actually very complicated.

    How hard is it to separate the act of giving birth from the choices made about how one choses to give birth (for instance, at home, unattended, with an epidural, screaming/yelling/vocalizing, silent, waterbirth, hypnobirth, etc.) To be honest, when you say “oh, my friend just had a baby” every person you speak with automatically has a picture of what that means- and for most people, that picture is probably a picture of a hospital-based medication/epidural-assisted birth. Is this a limited view of birth? Yes, but for the average Joe in the US, unless they have sought out specific education and experiences, this is probably what they will think of. You could mean that your friend just gave birth at home, with only her 2 year old present. But that is not what most people will think of, because that is not the experience most people have had.

    So when people talk about adoption, they also have a picture. And for most people, the picture of adoption that springs into their mind is a child accepted into a family and loved as their own for the rest of their life. It is a picture of love, and it is a picture of joy. Certainly, that is not the picture all people think of, but for the majority of people, the word adoption triggers that image. Is this a limited view of adoption? Sure, but for the average Joe in the US, unless they have sought out specific education and experiences, why would they think of anything else?

    I think those considering or engaged in adoption need a deeper understanding of the complicated system of adoption, specifically DIA, but also the ethical considerations of Int’lA. However, is it fair to expect this of the average person? I don’t know. I mean, I certainly have an opinion about politics, religion, and a whole host of issues that I am significantly less educated about than adoption, and I will share those opinions if the topic comes up in the right setting. But would it be fair to expect me to be totally educated on all of those topics before forming an opinion?

    Without a deeper understanding of adoption and the many nuances involved, are people generally able to separate the act of adoption from the practices of adoption? I would say no.

    But it doesn’t stop them from having an opinion- and sharing it.


    • The adopted ones

      May 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm

      Gracelings – you are right for the average Joe it probably is just the picture they see in their mind – great analogy. I don’t know the part that bothers me is that they chose to ignore well thought out calmly stated items added to the discussion – there was no angry tone just statements, as if they had never been said. We are all ignorant of things that happen in the background but when chosing to become part of a discussion it means listening as well as speaking. Perhaps some of us were taught the value of looking at the whole picture and not just the surface? I don’t know but it does a disservice not to if you are part of it or take part in it. I certainly don’t want to paint everything to be doom and gloom but sometimes if feels like you have to counter the masses of rosy – I don’t know the answer. Just thankful I was taught to be curious and to dig deeper and not just buy into the hype – perhaps to a fault.


  4. Amanda

    May 7, 2011 at 3:53 am

    I agree with your thoughts.

    Just because people can and will form opinions on things they are completely uneducated about doesn’t mean they should. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that the concept of a child being accepted into a loving family is just one part of a whole bigger picture that involves law, policy, and practices that ought to be discussed and scrutinized regarding ethics.


    • The adopted ones

      May 7, 2011 at 1:14 pm

      I agree – sometimes I question why of laws keep getting rewritten but then I look to see what the flaw is they are correcting and can see the answer – not always one I agree with – but the reason why the change is happening.


  5. Thermus

    May 16, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    I am a prospective adoptive parent and have been trying to find as many adoptee blogs/websites as possible….this blog has been particularly enlightening so thank you!


  6. wsbirthmom

    July 13, 2011 at 12:39 am

    So glad to have stumbled upon your blog. I will be reading more! I am in a completely open adoption, minus the fact that my Aparents are 11 hours away and (given the circumstance) it is wonderful. I have been truly blessed with my Aparents. They are the most open and welcoming people, not because it is what I need, but because of all the research they did personally speaking with adoptees and asking what they felt could have been done differently. Almost every one of them said that they wanted to have a relationship with their birthparents. To know where they come from. And so, our W is one lucky little boy, he gets all of us to love him. I agree wholeheartedly about having laws that enforce open adoption agreements. I have a friend who (I believe) was ‘fast-tracked’. She hears from the Aparents (who live 10 min. from her home!) via email monthly, and has had one visit (at 1 yr.) in the 16 months since placing. My heart breaks for her, and the unfairness of their actions (due to their insecurities) is just incomprehensible and unnecessarily cruel to me.



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