I’ve been unusually quiet lately because I’ve been trying to sort out the waves of feelings I’ve had over the moves by some states to install safe haven boxes; that seems to be the newest way to get babies for adoption now, it’s also a dream come true for some people wanting to adopt, no pesky birth parents to worry about, no open adoption, no updates, visits, fears about the child wanting their parents by birth over their adoptive parents.
Another is the silence of those who have prominent voices in adoption and have promoted open adoption and openness in adoption for the last couple of decades as best for the one adopted; yet, seem to be silent on safe haven boxes, or are they just pro safe haven boxes.
So which is it, openness is good, or secrecy is actually better?
It seems Indiana has chosen pro-secrecy. Post below is from Gregory Luce that explains what happens when a baby is placed in a Safe Haven Baby Box, including the fact that the adoption process for the baby from a safe haven baby box must start within 15 days.Why the rush?
Indiana’s Secret Adoption Pipeline Last updated on April 6, 2023
Gregory Luce is one of the busiest adoptees advocates I’ve ever known, he’s also a lawyer. He helps International Adoptees whose parents never ensured they received US Citizenship, and also works to change the laws to allow adoptees to get their original birth certificate in the states, plus does his best to keep us appraised on what’s happening. If it wasn’t for Gregory and those who rally with him to change the laws in states to give us our right to our OBC, we likely wouldn’t have seen the progress we have. He’s the best.
But getting back to my rant on Safe Haven Baby Boxes, the cynic in me asks why I’d expect those adoption agencies and adoption leaders to denounce safe haven baby boxes – when those boxes can make their job easier to find babies for people who want to adopt, there are some agencies have posts on Safe Haven Boxes and Safe Surrender. Thankful American Adoptions has a post that clearly lays out options instead of using Safe Haven Boxes and tries to dissuade mothers from going that route, good for them. I’d guess some adoption agencies are only thinking of people who want to adopt because that’s how they stay in business, but is it what is best for the adoptee is the question that must be asked. My take, we can all stop kidding ourselves now that adoption and the process was ever about the one adopted, or what is best for the adoptee.
It feels rather freeing to stop kidding myself.
Link to how many states have put in statutes about a baby surrendered under Safe Haven? Infant Safe Haven Laws 2022
Link to how many babies have been surrendered into a Safe Haven Baby Box? SHBB Cases by State
I have also not heard a single peep about ‘what about the father of these babies’, yet we know based on so many of us adoptees speaking up that the safe haven baby will grow up and have questions, questions the adoptive parents won’t be able to answer, so they’ll have to resort to platitudes such as “she loved you so much she wanted you to be safe and have a family”. Quite frankly, platitudes suck, they do nothing to resolve the feelings in the child, they just don’t, they can’t, all those unanswered questions will remain unanswered. I still have unanswered questions, questions that will never be answered. And I’m also here to tell you that I don’t believe there is a platitude that has made an adoptee feel better, nor do they just move on from unanswered questions and never think of their family of birth again.
My mother gave birth to me and walked out of the hospital, my aunt doesn’t think she ever saw me or held me; that was how Safe Haven Adoptions happened in my era (The Baby Scoop Era), and then, the state sealed our records so we’d never know who we were born to, the only advantage we had was if our records were unsealed for cause, then we’d know who our mother was, but unsealed for cause is rare. Thankfully Adoptees and Allies have changed the law in some states, more to go, but it’s not easily done. Current map of open states here thanks to Gregory.
To finish off to those reading who don’t understand why many adoptees have the need to know, there’s a quote below by Robert Llewellyn that may help you understand why an adoptee would ever want to know their ancestry, their heredity, their family health history, their family history, their nationality, who they look like, or why they weren’t kept? I’d guess most want to know, I’m also sure some don’t, it’s still wrong to tell adoptees they don’t have the right to know and that’s what Safe Haven Baby Boxes does. I’ve also included below my favorite quote by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie – take the time to mull on it and how it applies to the adoptee experience. And finally, an old post of mine from 2013 on Safe Haven.
“I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me those who are to come. I looked back and saw my father and his father and all our fathers, and in front to see my son and his son, and the sons upon sons beyond. And their eyes were my eyes. As I felt so they had felt, and were to feel, as then, so now, as tomorrow and forever. Then I was not afraid for I was in a long line that had no beginning and no end. And the hand of his father grasped my father’s hand and his hand was in mine, and my unborn son took my right hand and all, up and down the line that stretched from time that was to time that is not yet, raised their hands to show the link, and we found that we were one, born of Woman, Son of Man, made in the Image, fashioned in the Womb by the Will of God, the Eternal Father.” ~ Robert Llewellyn
“It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power. There is a word, an Igbo word, that I think about whenever I think about the power structures of the world, and it is “nkali”. It’s a noun loosely translates to “to be greater than another”. Like our economic and political worlds, stories too are defined by the principal of nkali: how they are told, who tells them, when they are told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power.”Chimanda Ngozi Adichie – “The Danger of the Single Story”.
A post I wrote back in 2013 about Safe Haven…
May 21, 2023 at 10:23 am
I have missed you. While I don’t often comment I always read everything you post.
I just can’t with all of the evil in the world right now. We had such an opportunity with the pandemic to do better and humanity has messed up so badly. It’s very hard most days to remain hopeful.
May 21, 2023 at 2:54 pm
Awe thanks Heather, you are right, we were given a population wake up and we failed.
May 22, 2023 at 7:34 pm
Hi there, I have just discovered your blog and I have been reading some of your recent posts. I have found them very interesting. I am an adoptive parent and former foster parent. I am realizing that many adoptees don’t have very positive views of people like me who have adopted. I am not afraid of seeing all sides of adoption and learning from people who have been wronged by the process. That is why I started a blog and podcast. I would love to talk to you more about your views if you are interested.
May 23, 2023 at 8:28 pm
It takes me awhile, but I read pretty much everything you write. I just rarely comment. Too much going on in my brain.
I really thought, for awhile there, we were going to do away with the whole abandon your kid = Safe Haven thing. I’m shaking my head at the regression.
May 23, 2023 at 11:43 pm
The Safe Haven – has knocked me for a loop.