I can vividly remember my adoption “counselor” asking me over and over again if I was sure I did not want the adoptive parents in the delivery room or in the hospital after he was born. At the time I wasn’t angry I was asked so many times but looking back on it I had already said NO so that should have been respected. Thankfully I have the knowledge that I stood up for myself in that aspect and denied them access.
Today, it seems everywhere I look, it’s fairly commonplace for the prospective adopters to have a presence at doctors appointments, in delivery rooms, and in recovery rooms. I have even seen the grotesque practice of having the adopters cut the umbilical cord (cringe).
This practice is classic coercion. In fact, I would argue that prematching adopters with mothers is coercive. Here’s why…
As an expectant mother your hormones are all over the place. As a young expectant mother who is considering adoption instead of parenting you are extremely vulnerable to outside influences. In my case, I did meet the adoptive parents and I can tell you, without a doubt, that putting a face on the people who so desperately wanted a baby to parent made me feel obligated to them. From that moment on, every time I considered keeping my baby I had to also consider their feelings if I did. If I kept my baby, these people would most likely be devastated and I did not want to be the one to bring on that devastation.
This is what adoption agencies count on. They count on expecting mothers to feel obligated to adopters. And this is classic coercion. Adopters should not even be a blip on the radar for mothers considering relinquishing their children.
In my case, all I needed to do was meet these people and there they were in the back of my mind all the time. I can not imagine the strength of character it takes for mothers to decide to parent who have received assistance from adopters, or have allowed adopters to insert themselves into their pregnancy in various ways. Unfortunately, most of us are not that strong.
Here is a good example from a message board written by an adopter (bolds are of my doing):
“I was in the room for the C-section, carried the baby to the nursery, spent the evening with her, then went home to freshen up and we came back the next morning to sign the papers. Welllll….Since it is a catholic hospital, they sent a hospital social worker into the room to counsel with our birthmom before we got back there the next morning and we believe he really talked her out of it. She was fine when he went in…and it was over when he came out. That caseworker was horrid. He just walked out of the room and said, “She’s changed her minds, you need to give me your hospital bracelets.” Our caseworker said, “What? Now just a minute! What happened? Can I see her?” The hospital caseworker raised his voice and announced (soooo loudly in the hallway of the maternity ward)…”Look! She changed her mind…She doesn’t want to see YOU. I’ll call security and have them escort you OUT if that is WHAT NEEDS to BE done…now hand over the hospital bracelets!!!!!” Talk about YIKES! It was awful. Everybody on that floor had to have known what just happened…his big, stupid, booming voice yelling at us in the hallway. Me bawling hysterically.
We filed a formal complaint and I heard that the caseworker had been “reallocated” to work in another area…but we never got to see our baby again. Ooooh…I was SO mad.”
Now, of course I sympathize with the would be adopters in this scenario. But the exacto facto is it was NEVER THEIR BABY! She was not a birthmom while she was pregnant, she was simply a mom. Who ever was counseling the adopters should have made damn sure the adopters knew and respected that. The mother did not owe these people or their
baby broker caseworker a fracking thing. She did not owe them an explanation, it was her child, of course she wanted to keep her child!!!
Let’s not forget how the general population views mothers who decide to parent…they are labelled scam artists, flaky, insensitive, et cetera.
When I was going through my adoption, I thought it was in my baby’s best interest to choose and meet his adoptive parents beforehand. This was a mistake. My son’s parents should never have been part of the decision process. This is a coercive practice put in place by the adoption industry, they know what they are doing. And it hurts mothers and would-be mothers alike.