Cut the umbilical cord…

24 Apr


Every adoption story whether it’s an adoption that goes through, or a contested adoption, seems to need to include details about who “cut the umbilical cord”.  Almost as if it grants automatic rights of some sort.  It has even worked its way into court cases, transcripts, and rulings for some reason I can’t fathom.  Something that seems to be held out as proof that the baby was meant to be theirs and the bond they have.

All babies delivered have their cords cut when they are born.  It isn’t anything special that I can see, just something that must be done.  You know that dad delivered plenty of babies and not once did he come home and talk about how amazing it was to cut the cord.  Nor that any of those babies were meant to be his, or how bonded he was to them because he delivered them and cut the cord.  It’s just part of the delivery and it’s nothing like what the mother and babe just went through.  It’s just rather bizarre if you ask me, do fathers now routinely cut the cord at their child’s birth?  Why would they want to?  What is the purpose?

But it seems to be the defining aspect for some in adoption and I just don’t understand why, or what the benefit is.  Perhaps it just falls under the too much information category for me.  From the outside looking in – it seems the most logical assumption is that it is used as a symbolic severing of the mother and child, yet, it’s still a long time before those papers are signed, if they are signed, so is that another subtle form of pressure (intended or not) – for a mother and babe who still need to say hello, before the mother can begin to decide if she says goodbye?  If that assumption is correct, do the prospective adoptive parents that take part understand how it could be added pressure on the mother to go through with the adoption instead of taking more time to decide?  I hope not.

This post was triggered by an over-the-top inclusion of this failed adoption (started off with it) of a completely not relevant to the actual sad news story that was published in an UK paper that I will not be linking to.  I had intended to do a post on this topic when it came to court transcripts and rulings but never got around to it,.  Comments that open dialogue are welcome.




Posted by on April 24, 2014 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child


Tags: , , , , , , ,

25 responses to “Cut the umbilical cord…

  1. Deb

    April 24, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Just something that needs to be done. Focusing on this natural part of life tells me more about the needs of those involved rather than the meaning of the event itself.


  2. Dannie

    April 25, 2014 at 1:03 am

    It just needs to be done either by a family member now or the Dr. My husband wanted to cut the cord but I had meconium present when my water broke so his health was more important than cutting the cord and we had the whole respiratory team when baby came out. No nicu was needed thank goodness.


    • TAO

      April 25, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      I get the want to be there but why the cord?


      • Dannie

        April 25, 2014 at 4:29 pm

        I think it was started for dads to feel involved in the process. Then I guess got taken up in the adoption world. I don’t know


        • TAO

          April 25, 2014 at 5:54 pm

          Perhaps now that they allow pain meds (can’t come up with the procedure name) – fathers aren’t feeling the love of being the bad guy raged at about it being their fault that you are laying there writhing in pain. Actually, I didn’t do that but there was plenty of stuff for my now ex to be doing, massaging his fingers after the death grip removed all the blood from his hand…

          And perhaps I am just stuck in my ways and old-fashioned to boot…


          • Dannie

            April 25, 2014 at 8:45 pm

            Lol I told my husband and mom to stop breathing on me. Unmedicated birth and fast for me relatively speaking. It’s ok to be ‘old-fashioned’ there are some things I can’t get on the bandwagon about either!!!!


  3. eagoodlife

    April 25, 2014 at 1:43 am

    I guess it is very symbolic and for adopters confers some sort of ‘ownership’ or ‘connection’ or so they believe. I see it mentioned many times in stories of adoption in which the adopters are present at the birth, supposedly invited by the mother. Not much pressure hey?


  4. cb

    April 25, 2014 at 1:55 am

    This post reminds me of a page I came across written by the owner of an adoption agency (mixed IA/DIA) – this is the last section of the page which was about “The Spirit of Adoption”:

    Why Was I Not Born in Your Tummy, Mama?”

    Most children by adoption come to a point in their life when they ask this question. Fei asked us when she was five. We wondered how best to answer this question. How could we help all of our children understand that there are two ways to come into a family: the “planes, trains, and automobiles” method or “through a local hospital.”

    As we searched for biblical insight to this question we came across this passage in Psalm 139:
    “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (NIV)

    These are powerful words to anyone who reads them, especially to a child by adoption. It’s amazing to think that God has already ordained each detail of a child’s life before that child is born, whether that child be a child by adoption or a child by birth.

    I understood this even more fully one day when I was thinking about what it was like to be present when Sophia was born. I remembered being up late at night in the dim hospital room and how incredible it was to cut Sophia’s umbilical cord. It was truly a breathtaking experience to see this innocent little girl come into the world. For me, being there to actually cut the cord enabled me to connect with God’s will in placing this child into our hands.

    I was not there to cut the umbilical cords for my children by adoption. I consider this a loss for all of us. But God revealed something even more powerful to me through Psalm 139-that our position as the parents to children by adoption had been sealed by God before time began.

    God Himself actually cut the cord between our children by adoption and their biological parents, freeing them to be placed into our hands. When we became their mother and father, it was not though our efforts or by chance, but by God’s mighty hand in our lives and the lives of others. Every detail of our life now is evidence of God working to redeem the broken things of this world to fulfill His plans and not ours.

    What a beautiful answer to the question, “Why was I not born in your tummy, Mama?” to be able to tell your children, “God did not forsake you. He never leaves you; God has a plan for your life and all of our lives and it was His plan to place you with us.”

    Through the years, Renée and I have had the opportunity to play a role in hundreds of adoptions. We have seen that God consistently shows adoption to be close to His heart. He is closely attuned to our needs and the needs of the orphan. We now thank God for our inability to conceive. Otherwise we never would have been given the privilege of raising children by adoption. Each of our children is unique, precious and full of life. It is only now, in light of what God has taught us through the Spirit of adoption, that we are able to stop seeing childlessness as a curse and see it for what it really is-an opportunity for God to bless us, and an opportunity to pass this blessing on to other families.

    I don’t know for whom it is God’s will to adopt, but I am confident that adoption is not a second best choice for couples coping with infertility. It’s not a last resort and it is certainly not Plan B. God only works with one plan, and that is His divine plan, established before the foundation of the world. Just as He predestined the birth child’s existence, He also predestined the path of the child by adoption.
    It is awesome to think how God orchestrated all the events in the universe for us to know our children and be their Mama and Papa. God’s Spirit of adoption can do the same for you.
    The bit that irked me the most (although quite a bit of it irked me) was:

    “God Himself actually cut the cord between our children by adoption and their biological parents, freeing them to be placed into our hands.” Sigh.


    • TAO

      April 25, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      too much romanticised fluff. I am beginning to think I am too logical and just can’t understand the emotional stuff that requires a page long justification. The logic in my says cutting the cord is completely irrelevant to any parent child relationship – birth, adoption, step, whatever…if irrelevant it becomes unnecessary…


  5. eagoodlife

    April 25, 2014 at 4:47 am

    Yes my hunch was right but of course for believers it’s is god’s work so that makes it alright then. But not for adoptees……


  6. Heather

    April 25, 2014 at 7:21 am

    I definitely believe it represents the official severing of the mother and child. Before the cord is cut the baby MUST stay with her mother. Once it is cut the baby can be whisked out of the room to “bond” with strangers.

    Often the cord is just long enough for the baby to come to the breast & many mothers instinctively hold their newborn over their heart. As the mother of five and a doula I have attended many births & the cutting of the cord really isn’t special unless someone chooses to make it a big deal.


    • TAO

      April 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      So dad was not just an anomaly…


  7. Beth

    April 25, 2014 at 7:41 am

    I asked my hubby if he thought he bonded more with our son since he cut the cord. If it made him feel more like a father.
    The dumb answer: Hell if I know, I was just glad I didn’t pass out.
    And: I’m more glad that I don ‘t have to do that again. eww
    And: I don’t remember asking to do that, how the hell did that happen anyway?
    (Must have been God’s plan haha)
    The other answer: It was part of the miracle, you do weird stuff people tell you to do when miracles are happening.

    I was like, dear god don’t give HIM (the big klutz) scissors near my squirming baby!! WTH Doc!!

    It was the Doctors plan, I’m guessing to give the father something to do to contribute to the process, to feel involved. That idea makes me want to punch someone in the face.

    I can’t even begin to imagine what that scene would have been like if it were PAPs there with me instead of him. That’s insane, terrifying, heartbreaking.


    • TAO

      April 25, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      I like your husband – “just glad I didn’t pass out” – that would be my thoughts exactly. Never used to bother me watching dad patch people up, until I watched him sew the tip of his finger back on…


  8. Raven

    April 25, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Sometimes I wonder if potential adoptive parents place so much emphasis on being present during delivery and cutting the umbilical cord is so that they are the first people that the newborn babe sees after he/she exits the mother’s womb. I would never in a thousand years have consented to my son’s future parents being present in the delivery room with me, or even in the hospital. Talk about subtle coercion and forcing a sense of obligation on the mother during one of the most painful times she’ll ever experience in her entire lifetime.


    • TAO

      April 25, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      Raven – I’m not for it either, but I do believe some (the stronger individual expectant mothers) wouldn’t be swayed either way. Perhaps it should not be brought up at all by the adoption agency people, and then IF the expectant mother actually wants them there and brings it up – it’s fine. It’s one of those grey areas where it would be fine for some and others not so much.


  9. Snarkurchin

    April 25, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Naturally I have an opinion on this….


    • TAO

      April 25, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      And I completely forgot about your post – now my logical assumption has a basis.


  10. TAO

    April 25, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Anyone have thoughts on why the concept of cutting the cord ends up in court cases? It bewilders me because they seem to see it as proof of intent by the mother. Isn’t the fact that they were matched and in the room intent enough? My memory might be faulty but I think that was even in the Scotus ruling or at least in the verbal argument phase…


    • Deb

      April 25, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      I think Heather hit the nail on the head with her comment.


  11. Tiffany

    April 26, 2014 at 6:32 am

    I don’t know if my husband cut the umbilical cord with our daughter. I can’t recall. Maybe he did? But we’ve never talked about it since, so if he did, it wasn’t that special. I don’t think he would have asked, but if they told him to do it, he probably did. I agree that I don’t see the big deal. Whoopee, the dad cut the cord…. I just carried the baby for nine months then went through 14 hours of intense labor. Give the man a trophy???

    We absolutely were not in the room for our youngest daughter’s birth. Her mother offered it to me the night before, and I gently told her I was fairly certain she would prefer privacy and to wait until she was in the moment to decide if she wanted me there. I made it clear I had no expectations. Birth is such a private and beautiful moment, especially for a woman considering adoption. Intruding on that would have felt… sacrilegious to me. She ended up not asking me, and I was perfectly fine with her keeping those moments for herself.

    I completely disagree with the above statements made by the adoptive parent speaking of God’s will. I do not believe God’s design is for one woman to give up her child to give to another. That’s a rather twisted thought. I do believe that there are times when God can bring people together to try to help with a tragic situation. I do not believe God destined or desired my daughter to lose her mother and father, but given their circumstances and my daughter’s need, I do think he had a hand in us finding one another. I believe I am the best mother for my daughter in the absence of the mother she was born to and would have remained with in a perfect world. It’s late and I’m tired, so I hope this is coming out how I intend.


    • TAO

      April 26, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      Tiffany – it came out just how you intended, thoughtful…:)


  12. Valentine Logar

    April 26, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    It is simply romanticized fluff. I have never understood it. You are right on this one.


    • TAO

      April 26, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      Thanks Val…


  13. leenilee

    May 14, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    I can see the symbolism behind a father cutting the cord, the baby is no longer only connected to their mother and the father can now build his connection.

    As far as adoption goes, I find it completely sick that PAP’s should be in the room during child birth to begin with. A PAP cutting the cord doesn’t make me feel that they have any right to raise that child, in fact, it makes me feel that the PAPs have zero boundaries and probably should have less of a right to raise the child.

    Personally, I have no clue who cut the cords of my children, doctor or father, and it doesn’t really matter.



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