Why ethics matter to me when it comes to adoption…

14 May

I know I have spoken many times about mom and dad. I do hold them up as the ideal parents that all in adoption should strive to match, and it breaks my heart when other adoptees didn’t get good parents. This post isn’t so much about that, but about what the impact would have been, if I had found out mom and dad had knowingly participated in my adoption knowing there were ethical issues surrounding my surrender (there weren’t, but I have reflected often on how I would feel today, if there had been). I am specifically talking about being told the mother changed her mind within days, or the father wants to parent, there is coercion known to be happening – that kind of ethical issue. For a child to find out his or her parents knew but went ahead – just to be parents. I see ethical issues happening in different ways, shapes, and forms today and that is why I speak out, because that type of adoption is wrong.

I don’t want to give specifics, so it was hard to write about this but know these are just some of the more generic worded fond memories that would be forever over-shadowed by the stain cast if my adoption had been done wrong. I hope you consider if doing it wrong simply to reach your goal of being a parent, is worth the ultimate price your child will pay?  Part of that price is what it will do to their memories…memories that may be similar to what you read below – that could be tainted by the choices you make today.

Memories of:

Thanksgiving dinners with both family and friends seated around the table each and every year.

Being carried up the stairs after taking a big tumble, bleeding all over dad’s shirt but knowing it would be fine now, because dad was there.

The summer road trips each year to explore the US and Canada. Playing silly word games to pass the time while riding in the car, putting up the tent, exploring the campground, eating dinner around the campfire, hiking, swimming, exploring, having our pictures taken, a magical time each summer where we formed memories of being a family – that last a lifetime.

Being dad’s shadow and seeing him as “the man” who should be president of the US, because then the whole world would be all okay. (magical thinking at it’s best – dad can fix anything)

Sitting around the fire at home you helped haul the wood in for with dad, and then built with dad watching closely, and then talking away the afternoon.

Having my picture taken on a Glacier…on one of the many summer road trips.

Baking muffins with mom to go with the homemade soup for dinner.

Going to the fair each summer, and one year saving all my ride tickets for the roller-coaster I was to young and too short to ride alone, because dad said he would go with me this year, and then sitting in the front seat and riding it 6 times in a row without getting off in between, poor dad…

Family picnics at the beach each summer, going swimming together in freezing cold water with us, that as an adult you would have to be crazy to do.

Shelling peas, husking corn, peeling pears to preserve for the winter with mom.

Cutting out fancy shaped ginger snaps at grandma’s on her old wooden table overlooking the garden, flour everywhere, the smell of ginger and molasses in the air and nibbling on warm ginger snaps fresh from the oven.

Learning to ride my bike without training wheels, with dad running along-side making sure I didn’t fall off until I figured it out.

Coming home from school to the smell of fresh-baked bread and cinnamon rolls mom had just taken out of the oven, and knowing you could talk her into a special treat before dinner.

Sitting on dads shoulders all day long, so I could see everything at the world’s fair each day we were there.

These are just a few of the more generic memories I have of my very early years – let alone all those that happened since – that I would view with a different lens, if the way I came into my family wasn’t the right way. I say this with all sincerity because I viewed them not only as mom and dad, but as the ones who taught me by their actions and deeds what was right and what was wrong. I guess I am saying what memories your child will have – would you be willing to have tainted and seen through a different lens, by not acting ethically and doing the right thing in your adoption?

Please note I am not speaking about when a parent finds out after the fact that there were ethical concerns and faces up to that reality – I am speaking about parents knowing at the time before the adoption was finalized that there were ethical concerns, but put their need to be parents ahead of their ethics and morals of what was the right thing to do and continued on…

If adoption has to happen, it has to be ethical and about finding a home for a child that needs one – not finding a child for a home that wants one.


Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, Ethics


Tags: , , , ,

22 responses to “Why ethics matter to me when it comes to adoption…

  1. momsomniac

    May 14, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I think one of the big issues in play is the notion of “superior families” due to income levels….or due to not being in the tragic role of surrendering parent….or due to internalized unconsious nationalism or racism. Perhaps one day people will realize the root of these notions is the same as that at the heart of eugenics.

    My thoughts on paternal rights are a bit different (that is why this is my first comment on that; I didn’t want to comment on a post that was specifically about those rights). My experience with abusive men who seemed “wonderful” to all outside observers and who could have passed any EXISTING screening requirements with flying colors taints my view.

    I also tend to believe that that in a society where responsibility for sexual safety and birth-control falls with too heavy a weight on women, any man who chooses to engage in sex with a woman should be held responsible for finding out if the woman’s ideas about carrying and keeping a child are in alignment with his own. Of course, that alignment may fall apart if it becomes a reality, but I do think we should start expecting men to be that responsible beforehand. In a world where a man coercing a woman tro sex is still seen as normative behavior, I cannot see men as victims. (I am not saying this is the case with all men, just that it’s a mainstream norm).

    I don’t know if I said that clearly, but I do tend to think that most women who try to keep a baby away from a birth father have reasons. To be clear, I am not talking about problematic Utah laws here, or any case in which the birth mother is coerced and paternal rights are blocked to facilitate coercion.

    I am talking about my general feelings based on my own personal history. It’s that history that makes me so empathetic with birth mother’s, including C’s (actually, especially C’s, because I suspect what she left unsaid “between the lines” is familiar to me, though I do not presume to say so). In any event, my thought is always “How easily that could have been me” because I would have been desperate to keep a child away from some specific mean in my past, even if that meant breaking my own heart & giving up a child.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing your happy memories. I am sure your parents are (or were) gratified that you understood the impact of their efforts.


    • momsomniac

      May 14, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      I meant “men”, not “mean.” That was definitely a Freudian slip.


  2. The adopted ones

    May 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Mom – I know there are no easy answers but yes, I am specifically speaking about fathers who have been defrauded for every other reason be it religion or otherwise.

    It was tough to write those memories as generic and without using the more specific ones.

    They would never have done what I see happening today at times – they could not have lived with their choices and looked us in the eyes – I think that matters.


    • momsomniac

      May 14, 2012 at 7:12 pm

      Yes, yes, it does. I think you probably understand why I shared my other thoughts here rather than in response to a more anguished post about father’s rights. Sometimes the examples read…quite differently….through my eyes. But I didn’t think that was the place to say it.

      Oh, and speaking of father’s – despite the generic nature of these memories, your love for your father is keenly expressed. Thank you for sharing that.


      • The adopted ones

        May 14, 2012 at 10:39 pm

        Mom – thanks – you know though that you can always, always feel free to disagree and point out what I have missed. I know you wouldn’t mean it in a mean-spirited way…you are too good hearted for that.

        Glad I managed to convey my feelings while still trying to keep things kind of private.


  3. eagoodlife

    May 14, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Absolutely couldn’t agree more and you have expressed it so well.I like it so much I’ll reblog if I may?


  4. eagoodlife

    May 14, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von.


  5. myst1998

    May 15, 2012 at 12:40 am

    Great post. And obviously it is important for all children to have fabulous memories – preventing children having that is a crime IMO.

    This line stood out to me: “I am speaking about parents knowing at the time before the adoption was finalized”

    Obviously in my experience this was true – the adopters were the ones doing all the dirty work and then I fought for them… however my case is not isolated these days. What is going to happen with all these adoptees whose mothers made it clear from the outset they were not placing this child for adoption and proceeded to fight for their kids? I know of several mothers who have done this now… one mum I know even got her daughter back which was awesome… but what about the others? Like the Grayson case and so many more that are not reported?

    You mention you might view all your memories if you knew your adoption had not happened in the right way and I wonder how this would impact on you? Obviously the way the adopted person is informed of the way their adoption occurred would be important.

    This is something that bugs me. ALOT. I think about the day the truth will need to come out and how my daughter will react. Funny you say what you said as the psych who was involved in my case and wrote a comprehensive report for the court, said he was concerned how my daughter would feel when she learned the adoption proceeded against her mother and was even contested in court. His view was that adopted persons need to have a valid reason for the adoption to be able to accept it however in this case, there was no valid reason and I was fighting to keep my daughter. He felt this would really hurt her in the end. The judges response was that she never needed to know about the court case and if we loved her, we wouldn’t tell her. How do you feel about that? Sorry for all the questions!! And again, great post.


    • eagoodlife

      May 15, 2012 at 3:20 am

      The truth is always better than secrets whatever it is.


    • The adopted ones

      May 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm


      My adoption (mom and dad’s side) would fall under the “finding a home for a child that needs one” and that to me makes a huge difference at the outset – there are no what if’s at all. That part of the story was a big part of my story about how I joined the family. I also know some of my family olf birth side too (if you are interested I can email you).

      As to if it had been different and a court case – that would weigh heavily, very heavily, and believe the psych was right – there needs to be a valid reason for acceptance of why, and fighting in court – that bothers me greatly. I don’t agree with the judge re not telling – that is a big part of the adoptee’s story and the adults need to be accountable for their actions.


      • myst1998

        May 15, 2012 at 2:22 pm

        By no means was I meaning your parents when I was commenting… sorry if it came across that way. Feel free to email me at – always interested in other’s stories 🙂

        Yes well… I totally agree about being honest. I have always intended to be honest – just wanted thoughts from others on how they feel as everyone has different reasons and I like to take everything on board in making decisions…

        The court case obviously bothers me too…obviously because I lost. I walked away after a year in a total mess and didn’t want my daughter to go through anymore crap because she had been back and forward for a year. I am concerned how to break the story to her… it will be when she is old enough to cope and she is a very young 14 year old right now so she knows nothing. Right now she thinks, because her adopters have told her this, that I don’t want to see her and that I gave her up because I couldn’t raise her. Nothing could be further from the truth. Anyway, don’t want to rehash stuff here. Thanks for your reply. I am happy that your parents were giving a home to a child who needed one. I always thought that was what adoption was for!


  6. veggiemom

    May 15, 2012 at 2:06 am

    If only those people who think they so deserve a baby could take this message to heart…Sadly, none of them will.


    • The adopted ones

      May 15, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      Veggiemom – I was hoping this might be read by one who could hear but you are most likely right because they would have to be willing to hear.


  7. Dani

    May 15, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Thank you for this post.


  8. nnkato

    May 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    “If adoption has to happen, it has to be ethical and about finding a home for a child that needs one – not finding a child for a home that wants one.
    love this.


  9. cb

    May 16, 2012 at 9:48 am

    My adoption and my younger abro’s adoptions were all above board. However my oldest asiblings’ mother and father tried to get them back for a year. My amom told me one version of the story up to a year ago (“their mother didn’t want them and only tried to get them back because the father wouldn’t marry her otherwise), however, a year ago she changed her tune (“their mother lost them due to neglect but tried to get them back when the father offered to help”). In regards to the neglect, it seems to be due to her trying to cope with twins on her own with no support – it seems that when the father found out, he offered to marry her so they tried to get them back. My amom reckons she didn’t know the full details of the legal fight but I don’t know if I believe her. The twins mother died a long time ago so one will never know the truth from that quarter.


    • The adopted ones

      May 16, 2012 at 1:06 pm

      CB – that is really sad and likely the neglect was as you say because of the times and the societal views of bad mothers and any reason would do – to care for twins on your own – not easy.



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