Dear Adoption Agencies

29 Nov

Please do your research before putting out inaccurate articles about adoptions that happened in the past. Trust me, there’s a wealth of adoption history just waiting to be read on the internet and it costs nothing but your willingness to delve into the history of adoption. The quote below comes from a current adoption agency website.

“In the past, adoption was kept secret.  The majority of adopted children did not know they were adopted and for this reason, did not grow up understanding their birth mother’s decision.  They were not able to learn information about their birth parents or ever meet their birth mothers.  Today, over 97 percent of children know they are adopted.  From an early age, these children are able to ask questions, appreciate, and be proud of their adoption.source

Below is one of my two most recent posts refuting the nonsense that adoption agencies told adoptive parents not to tell us we were adopted.

Told Not To Tell The Child They Are Adopted? source

But just in case people are more likely to believe an adoption agency vs an actual adoptee from that era, I’ve added additional information below, the first three listed are one page articles from the Adoption History Project at the University of Oregon, the fourth is from an Adoption Book from 1952 titled “Child Adoption in the Modern World” by Margaret Kornitzer.


Kitte Turmell, “How We Told Our Adopted Children,” 1950

Benjamin Spock, “Adopting A Child,” 1946

“Child Adoption in the Modern World” by Margaret Kornitzer in 1952 which has an entire chapter on telling, Chapter XV – TELLING THE CHILD and it starts with the poem below. by D. M. Dolben

I asked for Truth–

My doubts came in,

and with their din

They wearied all my youth.


Posted by on November 29, 2021 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , ,

8 responses to “Dear Adoption Agencies

  1. maryleesdream

    November 30, 2021 at 2:34 am

    My agency, Spence-Chapin told my adoptive mother to tell me. She did, before I could speak. I don’t remember being told, I’ve always known. I suppose it’s best that way, but I sometimes wish I could have had a time of innocence. A time when I did not know that mothers gave their babies away.


    • TAO

      November 30, 2021 at 3:05 am

      I don’t remember being told, but they told me my story at regular intervals, the story the SW told as to why I needed adoption. A story that mixed facts so even though I knew my surname, I’d never have found my mother. Mom was livid when I told her the facts from my aunt, just livid that the SW could have manipulated it so mom and dad would truly believe I needed a home. If they’d been told the actual story – who knows.

      It is better to have been told early than risk waiting and losing the guts to tell – think being an LDA would be terrible.



  2. beth62

    November 30, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    I’d want to feel better about it today too. Maybe if they keep saying it, typing it, it will become true?

    “Today, over 97 percent of children know they are adopted.”

    I find it hard to believe that I have met so many of the 3% who are not told today, in just the last few years. And I haven’t been out shaking bushes to find them, I’d rather avoid that sickness for sure!.

    I’ve given the You-Need-To-Tell-Immediately speech dozens of times to parents, and grandparents, over the last 3-4 years. Most of the kids were under age 7. Most of the parents found a way to tell, at least told them they were adopted if nothing else. The fear of your child not trusting you when they find out you’ve been lying to them seems to be the best (and selfish) motivation to tell.
    wth is wrong with people.

    I always knew. I don’t remember when I was first told. But I do remember when I realized what it meant, when I was 3. I remember it well, I can still see and feel the floor I was sitting on, smell the wooden cabinet where the books were kept. It was summer, I was barefoot and wearing shorts. I was looking at the adoption kids book alone, which I imagine my parents had read to me. I remember asking more questions, there were only so many scripted answers available to be given, and they gave them. And that was that, I quit asking, there were no more new answers to be had from them. I remember being sneaky looking at that book alone, whenever I got the chance to get away with it, for years, even as an adult, even as an adult grandma. When I was 3 it was sad then too, it was scary, it made me mad and I worried for my mother and father. But it was also very soulful, it was my first connection to my first family, even tho we were a secret to each other.

    Understanding I was Adopted changed me. Understanding I was to carry a secret connection to others changed me too. Good or bad change I can’t label, certainly both and definite change, but I’m glad I knew and my parents didn’t lie to me about it, even tho they obviously didn’t want to know anything more than what they did about the rest of my family. I understand, but I was taught not to trust them completely when it came to anything about me. Had a very hard time trusting I was getting the full story from them on anything, for me to be able to make any fully knowledgable decisions or opinions about whatever they were presenting to me.


    • TAO

      November 30, 2021 at 4:03 pm

      Love the way you tell your story Beth. I too worry that more today aren’t telling than our era.

      If you don’t tell then the child will know it’s shameful to be adopted.


    • maryleesdream

      December 1, 2021 at 10:08 pm

      I had a similar story, about the same age. I remember talking, to myself I think, about my “other mother”. Suddenly A-mom was there, screaming, “I’m your only mother! You don’t have another mother”. At that moment, I knew I was alone. This woman was not my friend, but I had to depend on her for survival.
      Of course, I didn’t think this at the time, but something changed in me that day. I could never make myself love her.
      I went completely underground about my adoption. We never spoke of it. I was mortified whenever it came up. Best to just pretend it never happened.


  3. momengineer

    December 1, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    Thank you Beth for such a heartfelt description of your feelings. My daughter has said she vividly remembers when she understood what adoption meant. The look on her face says ‘don’t ask”.
    I haven’t tried to sugarcoat the facts, but do say we do not know who in China, an official or some family member, made the decision she would have to leave her family. Her mother probably did not have a choice. I hurt when I think about her.


  4. cb

    December 3, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    I can’t remember when I was told either.

    I see these above sort of “history quotes” from agencies as being ways of telling emoms to not listen to older adoptees, i.e. we are often dismissed as being from the distant past and and thus in no way resembling today’s young adoptees in any shape or form.

    I think there is often a lot of “if only yesterday’s adoptees/bmothers/APs had been exposed to the positive happy adoption language/narratives of today, they would be joyfully skipping down the streets shouting “I am adopted, yeehah, what joy” instead of being the angry, bitter, curmudgeonly disgruntled, miserable, negative misanthropes that we are seen as being..

    Also, quote often when I see talk about the history of adoption on “expectant mother pages” on agency sites, they often talk along the lines of:
    1. “if only yesterday’s bmoms had had more openness, they would have so much happier about having placed their child for adoption”, almost always ignorning the fact that it was being “painted into the corner” in the first place that was the issue for many women (they were (and still are) often damned if they do and damned if they don’t).
    2. If only “yesterday’s adoptees” had had today’s APs as parents, we would be skipping along the streets being cheerleaders for adoption. The fact that for some of us, coming on to forums actually felt like going back in time seems to be ignored (I never realised how insecure many APs were until I joined my first forum, just saying).



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