Dear Adoption Agency Person…

08 May


You are the first person to have commented on this blog from an identified adoption agency – thanks for being honest – do you know I actually look at who is commenting for the first time?  Just one of my quirks.  I know another agency follows this blog, but they don’t comment.  Just in case you are wondering, here are the reasons why I am not approving your comment.  Trust me, it is long so you may want to grab a coffee (or your choice of beverage).

As to why your comment isn’t approved?  This may come across as a wee bit harsh, but perhaps it will allow you to see it through outside eyes – at least I hope it does, and perhaps other agencies will do the same…

1.  No adoption agency will be promoted here, especially in a vague comment about how much you like this blog and thanks for the article. It reads like a drive-by comment only to get people to click-through to your site via your Gravatar. That assumption is based not only on the comment, but also based on the post you left it on, because it does not seem you got past the title of the post, if you had, you may not have chosen to support that post.  Feel free to disagree with me, but I checked out your website to see if there was any chance you did value family preservation, which is what the post you commented on was about.

2.  Now, about your own website: Have you ever looked at your “Birthmother” pages through the eyes of one surrendered for adoption, that isn’t also an employee of your agency?  No?  Well, here is my take from the eyes of this ONE adult adoptee whose adoption had no middle man vying to turn me into an adoptee.

I understand that all agencies need pregnant women to relinquish their babies to stay in business, yet before you even get them in the door, they are Birthmothers (one word), regardless of the fact they haven’t even given birth, let alone chosen adoption over parenting – that’s what your sales pitch is supposed to do.  Talk about putting the cart before the horse.  Once, a woman has decided to continue her pregnancy, she is an expectant mother (two words) whether she chooses to parent, or adoption, that title stays with her until after birth when she becomes a mother.  Your words tell me she only has value to you if she follows the program you choose, and is a necessary requirement for you to stay in business.  Yet, to me, the adoptee, a mother should not just be a means to an end, yet that is how you come across, and I hope I am mistaken.

On your front page for expectant mothers who you already consider Birthmothers (one word and to women who have yet to give birth) you offer them FREE everything, round trip airfare to where you are located, airport pickup and tour of the surrounding area, housing, medical and living expenses, shopping and other expenses.  I don’t know about you, but I was raised to understand that nothing in life is free, and if it sounds too good to be true – it usually is.  I have no words to describe how this makes me feel, because mere words cannot describe the picture I have in my head right now on this type of advertising.

Inside your front page on another Birthmothers (one word) page you describe how they can choose how open they want the adoption to be, right up to receiving yearly pictures!  Really?  Yearly pictures make an adoption open?  Your understanding of what the benefit of openness is about, and mine, must be miles apart.  My understanding is that open adoption is supposed to benefit the adoptee – by providing assistance, knowledge, relationships, to help them overcome the challenges of trying to understand, and accept, that they were given away, figure out who they are, not have to deal with feelings of abandonment, or rejection, have a relationship with their family of birth, access to and knowledge of their current family health history.  That kind of stuff.  Do you honestly think that knowing your mother gets pictures of you once a year will make any difference to any of those challenges faced by the adoptee?  To me this reads as something designed to make the expectant mother feel in control and in charge – please tell me you tell the expectant mothers – that the adoptive parents can flake and never send even one picture…

As to your Birthmothers (one word – can you tell that bugs me?) page, you guarantee her confidentiality.  I am sure you must have missed the news that Adult Adoptees and Allies have worked to overturn state laws and regain their right to their Original Birth Certificate for at least the last thirty years.  Now that you have this information, you need to ask yourself how you can guarantee her confidentiality when states are changing the laws?  I would assume that you will want to keep this key marketing point, and instead will include a typical * at the start or end of the guarantee, advising the reader to look below for a disclaimer in at least an 8 pt font that might read something like this: *At this time we cannot guarantee that in the future your confidentiality will be maintained under sealed record laws.  Several states in the last 15 years have returned the right to the Adult Adoptee to access their Original Birth Certificate, and other states have pending legislation to do the same.  I hope you will feel the need to make this clear.

I am also amazed at how silent you are on the expectant fathers.  Do they count?  Exist?  To this adoptee they do…yet I do not see a single whisper about fathers on the expectant mother pages which you call Birthmother pages… Nothing, nada, zip…yet we receive 50% of our dna from our fathers, their ancestors are our ancestors too, their rights are important – just like our mothers rights are as well.  They matter a lot, and perhaps you just never thought about the other half of the equation, because they aren’t the ones pregnant?  Wait, I found fathers mentioned on the adoptive parents page referring to “birth father issues”, that explains it all, really it does.

In the same page as above, you tell the expectant mother who you call a Birthmother (one word) you will help her make the right decision for her, while at the same time proudly announce how many adoptions you have been party too (on your flip side, the clients side, you boast an astonishingly high rate for successful adoptions, and your practice is to get the papers signed, and any waiver as well, so it is irrevocable – nice touch).  Yes, I know the mother always has the right to not go through with the adoption.  Yet, at the same time she may have accepted your generous offer, and relocated to your state, away from her support system during her pregnancy, and birth, so tell me, if she chooses to parent what happens when she leaves the hospital?  Chances are she doesn’t have family, or even friends in the area, and she likely doesn’t even have a car seat.  Is that return airfare still offered?  Can she still stay at her new home you provided to get her to your state – while arranging the trip home?  Or is she just on the street?  You are strangely quiet on that aspect, perhaps once she is there you tell her – who knows.

Oh my, on the adoptive parents side – oh my – you can certainly tell who is the client and who isn’t…


Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Adoption


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

23 responses to “Dear Adoption Agency Person…

  1. monk-monk

    May 8, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    loving on this SO HARD!

    I think we could add a paragraph about aunties/uncles/grandparents and siblings/future siblings into the, “how they might feel” category or if they are even allowed to exist.

    I cam across some expectant mothers who are calling themselves birthmothers from the beginning, posting belly pictures on instagram and my heart is breaking for all involved. By calling them birthmothers before they relinquish it reduces them to a part in a machine of adoption and makes it very difficult for them to decide to be anything but that.

    Great post, as usual 🙂


    • TAO

      May 8, 2013 at 8:21 pm

      Hey monk-monk – love your comment – so true. I doubt my post will make a difference but I needed to get it out there.


      • monk-monk

        May 8, 2013 at 9:39 pm

        Yeah, I often wonder if they ever come back around to read comments or other entries when they’ve done their trolling for the day. Hopefully they, or others, will read it and think!


    • Monika

      May 31, 2013 at 3:21 pm

      I’m a birth mother. I relinquished my daughter to an open adoption (and it truly is open), and I HATE when I see a mother calling herself (and others calling her that) a “birthmother” from the very beginning. It doesn’t matter how firm she is in her decision (and she should be – this is not a decision that one should be severely waffling on though I expect at least some hesitation). She’s NOT a “birthmother” (and just like TAO, I hate that people use it as one word) until she signs documents relinquishing her parental rights. Period. Oy. I do realize that it can be used as a coping mechanism for that expectant mother considering adoption – I know birth mothers who said things to themselves like “I’m having their baby” because they’re trying to take the focus off the pain they know they will feel and feel already. But someone deciding for themselves to try to use a term or a phrase as a coping mechanism is entirely different than someone else coining the phrase or word FOR them, especially when, from an outside view, it is NOT a coping mechanism.


  2. eagoodlife

    May 8, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    I hope this post is read and note taken.I very much doubt it will change a word on the website because it is appears to be proving successful in its aim – to find adoptees for adopters.How these agencies operate is unethical and repugnant and should be stopped.


    • TAO

      May 10, 2013 at 2:30 pm

      Totally agree – I was taken aback…


  3. everyoneactdead

    May 9, 2013 at 4:50 am

    wow, round-trip airfare and living accommodations to give birth in the state. sounds like a Utah agency!


    • TAO

      May 10, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      I really want to know what happens if the mother chooses to parent – if they help mom and babe get home.


      • lauradennisca

        May 31, 2013 at 3:10 pm

        Yes! If they help the mom and baby get home, and if all of the gifts and expenses are “forgiven.”


        • Monika

          May 31, 2013 at 3:51 pm

          I truly and sincerely doubt they help a mother and babe get home if she decides at the last minute to parent. From my point of view (as a birth mom), I’m sure they’re relocating moms to take them away from any support systems they might have had in their home areas to make them feel trapped into relinquishment. I’m also fairly certain that any expenses paid WILL have to be paid back unless relinquishment happens, yet another guarantee for this “agency” that they will get the placement they are promised.


          • TAO

            May 31, 2013 at 8:59 pm

            just sends a shudder through me reading your words…so like the BSE…


          • Robyn C

            May 31, 2013 at 9:40 pm

            In CA, none of the expenses that prospective adoptive parents pay towards expectant mother expenses are reimbursable. It’s not legal for the facilitator to ask for any of its money back from the expectant parents. Now, chances are, the new moms who might want to change their minds haven’t been told this, so they may think that they will have to pay expenses back. I also highly doubt that the facilitator provides airfare home if they change their minds, as I don’t believe there’s any law in place that states they *have* to.


            • TAO

              May 31, 2013 at 9:45 pm

              To me it would be morally unaacceptible to not tell the new mom she didn’t have to pay back the expenses, not allow her time to recover where she was living, and not offer airfare back. I hope no one could be that callous.


    • Monika

      May 31, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      Yes, it does! I thought that when I read it too! And knowing the general real estate around Malibu, etc, these are extremely wealthy and entitled people funding this particular agency.


  4. mad momma moogacat

    May 9, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Great post TAO. It just makes me so sad to read. I know the BSE is allegedly over, but it just seems the tactics have changed.


    • TAO

      May 10, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      Thanks mad mamma…so true!


  5. leenilee

    May 12, 2013 at 2:12 am

    I have only one word….exactly.


  6. jgvansickle

    May 27, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Awesome, gotta read it *a few more time to take it all in and comment more later – glad I found this!!


  7. Lori Lavender Luz

    May 31, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Clearly they wanted to strike up a dialog and exchange ideas with you about adoption. Why else would they throw their trashy words out of the window of their car at your blog and skedaddle?


    • TAO

      May 31, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      Too funny – how could I have missed the obvious intention of having a dialog?


  8. Monika

    May 31, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Genius. I might have to change the blog I just posted on them (and don’t worry, it’s not positive) to include a link to your blog. Mind if I do so?


  9. Laura Schwartz

    May 31, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Adoption is still a sausage machine…..sending ill-informed pregnant women in the one end to produce a nicely wrapped up meat tube at the other, all for sale to the highest bidder. It is truly disgusting to me not only as an adopted person but as a human being.


  10. Danielle Barnsley-Cervo

    May 31, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Oh, the beauty of the glorious hit and run. I’ve gotten many comments that I don’t publish, because they clearly are drumming up traffic.One site even lists me in their blogs (incorrectly). It’s all about appearances and wanting more business.

    On a personal note, this blog struck a chord with me. I’ve been having some hard, HARD realizations about my adoption experiences, but more about my son and the impact this all has on him, for life. Either way, I needed this perspective again, because even though I know how much adoption misses the mark for adoptees, I forget.



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