We make choices every day, but the values that drives those choices is what is important. I shopped at the same grocery chain for decades, even after their ownership changed, I resisted trying their competitor for more than a year. During that year I noticed older employees disappearing, new employees so young I wondered if they’d ever shopped for groceries before. Name brands disappearing, replaced with no-name products I’d never heard of before, or knew what company produced.
The final straw was the day they stopped carrying the only bread I liked and I started shopping at a grocery store that had it, a store that is also actively involved in the community I live in. Looking back, the right choice would have been to leave when they started getting rid of employees with too much seniority and good hourly wages, employees that had given decades of service, but I didn’t, I failed. I was wrong, maybe a small failure in the grand scheme of things, but I still failed myself.
What does this has to do with adoption?
I put my love of familiarity and ease ahead of leaving when I knew what a company was doing did not meet my standards. And for those choosing to adopt, I assume you have a moral code of conduct you expect adoption service providers to meet or exceed. And if you don’t, you should know what ethical challenges you may encounter adopting if you’re wanting to become parents this way. How you adopt matters. How your adoption service provider acts, matters. Down the road it will matter to the child you adopt if there was anything other than fair play and the most stringent ethics involved in how their parents by birth were treated.
All of which brings me to one of the common practices in domestic infant adoption today is the prospective adoptive parents being at the birth. It’s a bad practice, most, if not all the time. If you ask an adoptive parent why they were at the birth, they usually respond with the birthmother asked them to be there, that it was her choice. But what they don’t ask themselves is if it really was her choice. Did she make that decision all on her own, or was it the adoption service provider that crafted their words they used and gave her articles to read about making an adoption plan, that told her, they expected her to have the adopting parents at the hospital? If you don’t ask that question and get an honest answer you are failing, just like I failed above.
Expectant mothers are in crisis. Most have no knowledge of adoption and trust that their adoption service provider is there for them, has their back. I’m not saying all adoption service providers are bad, but they also have to ensure enough adoptions go through to keep the doors open and adopting parents are their paying clients, who also, want to be at the hospital and often, to take care of the baby too.
When you are in crisis you want to trust who you’ve turned too, and with adoption, you also want to ensure you get to stay connected to your baby, because you can’t imagine not ever seeing them again, or knowing if they are okay, happy, alive and thriving. That carrot means they are more likely to go along with having the prospective adoptive parents in the hospital, maybe even taking over all care and having them room in, because not only does it make your adoption service provider happy, it makes the people adopting your baby happy, because, you know, once you sign away your rights, they hold all the power for you to stay connected to your baby.
So they go along because what choice do they really have.
I delved into this subject by selecting random adoption service providers and have seen how they weave in having the adopting parents at the prenatal appointments, the hospital, delivery, even caring for the baby before papers are signed. If it was truly the expectant mother’s choice, it would be left up to her to suggest it, that’s not how it works now.
The carrot of openness ensures compliance.
No one can convince me that this is how anyone would want their daughter to be treated. They are giving you their child to adopt, at the very least they should be protected from any hint of coercion from the adoption service provider; or thinly veiled warnings about wanting an open adoption so you should consider having them at the delivery and after birth while still in the hospital.
Adopting parents do not belong at the hospital.
Adoption service providers should have doula’s to be at the hospital if the mother doesn’t have anyone. The mother needs to know that they do not need to sign away their parental rights as soon as the minimum required waiting time post birth has elapsed, that is only the earliest they can sign, they need to know they should only sign if they are truly ready to sign and don’t want to parent.
Maybe open adoption should not be an option in adoption so a mother doesn’t sign because she was promised openness, there is no oversight or enforcement, so it sets the stage for too many broken hearts.
“If I only knew…
…that it was wrong to put others under my own expectations and make them feel guilty, I would have stopped manipulating them, and chosen love as the higher way.
~ Lance Wubbels