I watched a discussion play out early this week on an adoption board on BabyCenter, one of the few boards I still enjoy reading because they normally don’t deal in fluff, are adamant that you can’t be shady, and face the reality that adoption is hard, but sometimes it’s needed. I popped in this week and one caught my eye, I read it, and it’s still in my mind today; an expectant mother wanted to learn about the adoption and the process. She asked whether people adopted for charity or because they wanted to be parents and other good questions. Before I get to the question that tipped a few over, I want to note that it was just a few that seem to be aghast with what she wanted, and others offered solid advice and support.
Her question: “Is it a reasonable request that I visit them and possibly even see their home where my child would be raised? I’m terrified of giving my child to a family that looks good on the outside but on the inside isn’t what i thought them to be… or is a home visit just weird?”
Person One said: “I personally wouldn’t be comfortable with a home visit until I got to know the family more after placement.”
The expectant mom responded about making her more confident in her decision.
Person One responded: “That is not usually how it works. Seeing the home first I mean.”
The expectant mom reiterated how it important it would be, but she might as well have saved her breath…
Person One responded: “No. You don’t usually meet them in their home. Normally it’s at restaurants. Or doing an activity. A lot of expectant moms have the adoptive parents attend dr appt. you really should meet with some agencies and or attorneys for orientation.”
While this back and forth happened, another person felt the need to explain with this: “I’d say you really won’t get to see their home until you know each other better if at all. You don’t really interview families. You look at profiles and talk to the social worker about what you want most.”
All of which left me thinking that adoption is no different today than before when you get right down to it, they’ve just put lipstick on a pig and state expectant moms have choices today, they drive the process, they are in control. When the reality is that the process dictated to them is what is acceptable to the adopting parents, and ensures the expectant mom knows the score by doubling down with words like “that’s how it’s done” or “that’s not how it’s done”, and when you feel like your back is against the wall in a situation dictated by time, what choice do you really have?
I came away from reading the above exchange feeling like they’d clearly said: You are just a birthmother, how dare you expect to see the family home where your child will grow up, we are obviously better than you because we are adopting parents, who are you to question if we are good enough for your baby. Nor do you interview prospective parents for your child, you read the profiles created by us (or the professional we paid to make us look perfect). You talk to the social worker (our fees pay for) about what you’d like in a family. Stay in your lane, the birthmother lane, and after you’ve signed away your rights, later, if the adopting parents feel you are acceptable, maybe, just maybe, one day you can visit the adoptive parents home. Oh, and just for good measure because you obviously need schooling on what we feel entitled to, despite this not being part of the discussion, you need to know that, we, the adopting parents expect to be there for doctors visits (which of course would include the birth).
It left me feeling dirty, a feeling that still lingers today. This is not how adoption, domestic infant adoption is being portrayed when they speak about how good, brave, selfless birthmothers today are, how they are part of the family. Adopting parents need to get real. If you say you want an open adoption, say how brave, loving, selfless, an expectant mom is, but balk at her coming to your home before she places her baby with you – what are you really saying? If you want her to trust you with her child, shouldn’t you trust her too?