I read a study on first moms that sparked this question…

07 Jun

If an adoptee offers anything online that could be considered less than positive about adoption there is a common reactionary statement that goes something like this: Most happy adoptees are out living their lives and aren’t on adoption forums (often littered with I’m sorry you had a bad experience, bitter, ungrateful, the I know an adoptee,  etc.).  I haven’t met an adoptee online who hasn’t had that said to them at least once, if not multiple times.

The same is offered to first moms online – different but similar to what is offered to an adoptee.

A similar disclaimer was included in a recent study on first moms:

“Additionally, Wiley and Baden (2005) make an important observation that many of the studies that inform our understanding of birth mothers’ experiences postrelinquishment are inherently biased, as these studies often disproportionally focus on birth mothers who have sought support to process the complex feelings that emerge in the months and years following the relinquishment. It may be that birth mothers who self-selected to participate in the current study were more likely to be dissatisfied with their decision to place their child. The use of online birth mother support groups and blogs to recruit participants likely increased this possibility, as women struggling with their decision may be more likely to access these types of support opportunities.”

A study that seems to me to fairly consistent and logical.  I’d guess it isn’t the results the adoption community will find terribly comforting if they actually read the full study instead of just the take-away, nor be offered to expectant moms to read and the implications thoroughly discussed before making their decision.  I also doubt any of the recommendations will be put into practice (call me cynical, but I’m also open that a few might follow the recommendations).

What I’d like you to answer:  If both the adoptees and first moms online are the ones most dissatisfied their adoption experience, does that mean the adoptive parents online are also the ones most dissatisfied with their experience?  Why or why not?


Posted by on June 7, 2018 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , , ,

18 responses to “I read a study on first moms that sparked this question…

  1. maryleesdream

    June 7, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    Hmmm. Seems like the adoptive parents who have positive experiences are online, usually crowing about their great adoptions, and advising others to do the same. Loads of advice on how to get a kid, the right way, of course.

    I don’t care for the assumption that only disgruntled adoptees and birth parents are online. That is jumping to conclusions IMHO.

    Natural mothers are unhappy about giving up their babies. Those babies are unhappy about being given away. It makes perfect sense to me.

    Liked by 3 people

    • TAO

      June 7, 2018 at 10:56 pm

      I don’t care for the assumptions either Marylee – pointing it out by asking that question sometimes makes the penny drop that they are have biases.


  2. cb

    June 9, 2018 at 1:00 am

    I joined my first adoption forum because I wanted advice about reunion and stayed for support and it has been my observation that many other online adoptees joined for similar reasons, eg either reunion or getting OBC. Many had good afamilies and it seemed to be that family relationships BEFORE reunion were often irrelevant in regards to whether the adoptee came online, however for many, relationships may have changed during reunion (eg if their APs were unsupportive) and some may have joined for that reason. Anyway, the point of what I am trying to say is that hardly any adoptees I know online joined adoption forums *specifically* because they “had a bad experience with adoption”, rather they joined forums because of things like reunion, getting OBC etc.

    As for surveys themselves, I don’t like “yes/no” type questions when it comes to adoption surveys. I prefer smaller surveys where an adoptee or birthmother can talk about their feelings in length so that people can understand the complicated feelings they might have. One of the hardest things I found in the early days of reunion was trying to understand the conflicting feelings I had about things, something that thanks to other adoptees sharing their own feelings in depth, I know is normal. If I had had to do a survey during that time with yes/no questions, I might not have felt able to answer some questions without going “yes, but” or “no, but”.

    Another issue I have with many surveys is that they may be designed for one purpose and used for other purposes for which they weren’t originally intended. For example, surveys designed to assess how well adjusted an adoptee might be may then be used by adoption professionals to say “see, this survey shows well adjusted adoptees are, proving adoption is a good thing”, whereas the adoptee themselves may answer in certain ways because they want to be seen as a well adjusted human being to avoid being dismissed.

    ALso many surveys might ask questions limited to the actual adoption only which might not give the full picture, eg an adoptee survey might ask questions only about their feelings about their adoptive families and not ask feelings about how adoptees may feel about their bparents.


    • TAO

      June 12, 2018 at 6:37 pm

      Sorry, I dropped out of sight…

      Yeah – surveys leave a lot to be desired, would be nice if they asked you to pick a number on a scale and add a comment for the people coding the results.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Nara

    June 9, 2018 at 7:59 am

    I think all online groups self select. There are a bunch of dissatisfied adoptees for sure. We all know that because of the groups we are in and the blogs we follow. I’d also say there are a lot of positive adoptees… but they hang out in different spaces. If you read the comments on any upworthy story on adoption, you’ll find a bunch of positive adoptees. Equally I’ve found groups of certain race focused adoptees tend to be more positive. It’s also correlated with religion and age in my experience.


    • cb

      June 9, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      What are “dissatisfied” adoptees and what are “positive” adoptees? I’m pretty dissatisfied with the way that a lot of adoptions are done, does that make me a dissatisfied adoptee? I don’t consider myself that way. Nor do I consider myself a “positive” adoptee although I have positive relationships with both afamily and bfamily.

      There are adoptee only sites that have adoptees from all parts of the adopteesphere and I’ve noticed that many so-called “positive” adoptees are positive by comparison, i.e. they feel positive about their adoption because they feel the alternative could have been worse. That may be so in some cases but I for one don’t like playing that comparison game. I dunno, if something constantly has to be compared to other things for it to be seen as positive, is it really that good a thing in itself?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nara

        June 10, 2018 at 10:40 am

        You can categorise yourself any way you want. There are tropes in adoptionland – the angry adoptee and the happy adoptee. They don’t reflect the complexity of adoptees, and I know that and TAO knows that and I was addressing my comment to her… The point was not to delve into that complexity but to point out that there are places online where there are different groups of adoptees who tend (statistical generalisation) to self select. No value judgment intended.

        Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      June 12, 2018 at 6:42 pm

      Religion and age play a huge role, I was raised in a deeply religious home but not one who did the saviour narrative or any of that, logic and facts were more often the focus on a subject. We do self-select for sure and I often find myself between the poles and sort of feel like I don’t really belong in either – think its more of an age thing and I’ve got more mellow and/or upset at other aspects. I know, I’m rambling, got wrapped up in the ugly happening elsewhere. Hope all is okay and little one is good.

      Liked by 1 person

      • cb

        June 14, 2018 at 12:35 pm

        I was thinking of whether I have “self selected” on adoption forums and by what criteria and I think that I tend to relate most to those adoptees who are able to separate their personal adoption stories from their feelings about adoption (and bmoms and APs who can do that too).

        Liked by 1 person

        • TAO

          June 14, 2018 at 12:38 pm

          You and me both – I don’t deal well with deeply entrenched feelings that paint with a mile-wide brush and entire segment in adoption.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. beth62

    June 9, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    Dang, working with that theory in this big world – I must be dissatisfied about a whole lot of subjects! In particularly ones that need improvement. Especially my children!!!!
    Makes me question even more why I hear so many people say I am such a positive person.

    I think that there is a very sexist attitude at play with that person’s summary

    Liked by 1 person

  5. beth62

    June 10, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    “What I’d like you to answer: If both the adoptees and first moms online are the ones most dissatisfied their adoption experience, does that mean the adoptive parents online are also the ones most dissatisfied with their experience? Why or why not?”

    Can groups of satisfied and dissatisfied adopted parents be identified?
    Do the dissatisfied aparents get the same kind of crap from the hopeful seekers of the satisfied aparent?
    Is there a need for disclaimers like that for the satisfied groups in surveys like these?
    Ever see a disclaimer explaining reasons for those who might respond with overly exaggerated satisfaction?

    Not really answers I guess.

    Liked by 3 people

    • cb

      June 14, 2018 at 12:36 pm

      You always make me smile when reading your comments, Beth 🙂

      (Hey I suppose that makes me one satisfied customer. Yay!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • beth62

        June 14, 2018 at 4:12 pm

        Good 🙂
        I like it when you smile a while 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. juliemcgue

    June 10, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    I di not have a positive experience locating my birth parents, nor did I have a positive experience in dealing with my adoptive family over locating my birth family. However, I am a positive person and that affects how I’ve come out on the other side of the search and reunion process. I have worked hard to be accepting and forgiving and most of all to move on in life focusing on writing and family.

    That being said, being adopted is not something I would wish on anyone. I would rather not be an adoptee but I am and I accept it. I encourage the dialogue about being adopted and all that has gone in to search and reunion.

    I believe it is educational for everyone both in and out of the adopted community to hear our dialogue. For whatever reason, I am defined by being an adult adoptee from the Baby Scoop Era and I am learning how to speak about it rationally.

    Liked by 4 people

    • TAO

      June 12, 2018 at 6:44 pm

      Welcome Julie – sorry for my absence – got distracted elsewhere. I’m a BSE adoptee too.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. My Perfect Breakdown

    June 13, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    I’m a bit slow at reading this post, and I find it fascinating….because I am actually just wrote on this topic for tomorrow about the difference in the online adoption community and the real life adoption community that I know… I’m flushing out some ideas at the moment and found reading this to be rather fascinating.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      June 13, 2018 at 9:27 pm

      I’d image it’s night and day difference, will look for the post.

      Liked by 1 person


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