I just want to preface this by saying I am appalled by some of things both prospective adoptive parents and adoptive parents say on public forums. I also want to make clear that I am not certainly not referring to all adoptive parents, in fact there are quite a few on the forums that “get it” and truly want to educate themselves. They are a breath of fresh air in an online world choking on adoptoraptor farts.
It is one thing to have secret adoptoraptor thoughts, but quite another to feel like these types of things are okey dokey and should be the norm. And so, without further adieu….
If you use the term, “our birth mother”…you might be an adoptoraptor.
If you use the term, “birth person” when referring to your child’s original mother…you might be an adoptoraptor.
If you believe it was God’s plan that you adopted your child…you might be an adoptoraptor.
If you support legislation that would make it illegal for a minor to raise their own child…you might be an adoptoraptor.
If you have ever considered keeping your child’s adoption a secret…you might be an adoptoraptor.
If you promised open adoption to an expecting mother and proceeded to immediately close it as soon as the adoption was finalized…you might be an adoptoraptor.
If you support the current practice of keeping original birth certificates sealed…you might be an adoptoraptor.
If you support the current practice of legally ficitionalizing birth certificates…you might be an adoptoraptor.
If a child’s birth father comes forward and exercises their right to raise their child and you decide to drag this out in the courts instead of doing the right thing by returning his baby to him…you might be an adoptoraptor.
If you hand out adoption business cards to young looking expectant mothers on the street…you might be an adoptoraptor.
If you believe that you were called by God to adopt…you might be an adoptoraptor.
If you refer to an expectant mother as a birth mother and refer to their unborn child as your baby…you might be an adoptoraptor.
If you refer to adult adoptees and/or first mothers as angry and bitter if they have a differing viewpoint…you might be an adoptoraptor.
late addition but
If you troll for babies on Craigslist…you might be an adoptoraptor
If you believe that the current adoption industry is fine as is…you might be an adoptoraptor.
When I gave my son up for adoption I was led to believe that he would have no feelings of abandonment. I was led to believe that he would be “as if” born to his new parents. It was my understanding that it would be best to sign the relinquishment papers as soon as possible (here in Connecticut you can not sign until 48 hours after the birth). I wanted him to bond immediately with his parents so that he would not feel abandoned by me. I thought that “trying to parent” him would be detrimental to his mental health. I did not want him to go to cradle care because I wanted him to feel safe with his new parents. I was led to believe that if I did not sign at the 48 hour mark, there was no guarantee that he could be adopted by anyone and he might be forced to live in foster care. I assumed that he would have no emotional attachment to me, his mother. It turns out, I may have been very wrong.
The Separation of Adoptee and Mother Can Be Traumatic
Karl Stenske has written a thought provoking article at Adoptive Voices Magazine, entitled, “Adoptee View: What Can a Tiny Baby Know?” Here is a little about the author:
Karl Stenske shares a rich and compelling story as an adoptee. Being one of the many who had a great adopted family, he never thought being adopted had a big effect on his life. But at 37, Karl began to unravel the true impact adoption did have on his life and the lives of those who loved, and tried to love him. A sought after speaker and educator, Karl offers insights into the wounds created when any child is separated from his birth mother. In The Hidden Life of an Adopted Child: Understanding the Impact of Adoption, Karl explores the traumatic experience suffered by that separation and its influence on self-esteem, value, worth, and identity.
His article describes how adoption is not only a trauma to the birth mother, but also to the adoptee. We have no way of knowing this because a baby has no language. He can’t tell us what he is feeling except by crying or lack of crying. It stands to reason that if a baby knows their biological mother through smell or their voice that if they are taken away from their mother they would mourn. It must be traumatic, being taken away from everything you have ever known.
Stenske also goes on to explain that many adoptees carry this trauma with them throughout their lives. Sometimes without ever realizing that their fear of abandonment, depression, relationship issues, low self-esteem, etc. could stem from the original trauma of being given up for adoption. It is troubling to learn that the incidence of attempted suicide is higher in the adoptee population than in the general population (7.6% vs. 3.1%) as reported by a 2001 study*.
Adoptee Trauma Must Be Part of the Conversation
It concerns me greatly to hear Stenske’s point of view. Concerns me because as a naive 21 year old who was told my child would have a better life I was not told about the potential for a negative impact on my son. The entire premise of giving my son up for adoption was based on the notion that he would have the best life possible, much better than what he would have with me. If that wasn’t the truth, than I would never have considered it.
Information on the life long negative impact of adoption trauma to adoptees must be presented to expecting mothers considering adoption. A person considering adoption must be made aware of all the facts of adoption, not just the sunshiney picture of it most agencies and adoption counselors like to present.
*Slap G., Goodman E., Huang B. (2001). Adoption as a risk factor for attempted suicide in adolescence. Pediatrics Aug,108(2)E30.
Fundraisers are everywhere these days. I have 2 children in school now and I probably get at least 2 fundraisers come home every month. Usually these fundraisers are to raise money for their school or to raise money for a specific cause like breast cancer or juvenile diabetes. Add girl scout cookie fundraisers and boy scout troop popcorn sales and we’re pretty much always being asked to contribute to something. None of these things rub me the wrong way because they are causes I can get behind.
Fundraising for Adoptions: Who is Worthy?
For awhile now I have been seeing more and more fundraisers for adoptions. I have seen individual blogs asking for donations for their domestic infant adoption funds. I have seen blogs asking for money towards their international adoptions. I have seen people selling trinkets or tshirts to help fund their adoptions. I have seen garage sales for raising funds for adoption. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but every time I saw one advertised on a website my first thought was ew.
So last night, I really tried to explore why exactly all these fundraisers and donations for adoption made me cringe.
Domestic infant adoptions and international adoptions are two very different animals. When I see people asking for donations for their domestic adoptions I know exactly why my stomach turns. My personal reasons for giving my son up were money related. So, seeing these fundraisers hits home for me. Especially when I see people fundraising for friends or family who want to adopt. If you can raise funds for other people to adopt a baby, why the hell is no one raising funds for women who would love to keep their own baby? Money is pretty much the #1 concern for women who choose adoption so all that fundraising really makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Why isn’t the woman who is actually giving birth worthy of fundraisers? Why isn’t the baby who is about to lose everything they know worthy?
On a more personal note, when I was choosing my son’s parents from the profiles at the agency I wanted to make certain that they were stable financially. I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that anyone that was given the OK to adopt would have money. Not wealthy, but upper middle class at least. It wasn’t because I thought people with money were inherently better than those without, it was just that I thought I couldn’t keep my son because I wasn’t stable financially. If I had found out the parents were asking for donations or needing to fundraise for the adoption costs I would have been very upset. In my mind, it would have meant that they were more worthy because people liked them enough to contribute to them, but not to me.
Adoption is seen by the majority of our society as a positive thing. Most people only see adoption from the point of view of the people who can not have children biologically and want more than anything to raise a child. It is acceptable to help a couple in need who just want to have a family of their own. It is less acceptable to help a woman in need raise her own child.
Adoption Fundraising for International Adoption : Who is it Really Helping?
As far as international adoption fundraisers are concerned it just doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. Adopting one child from another country is so expensive, wouldn’t that money do so much more good by donating it to a community or an orphanage? I get it, really I do. These people want to grow their family. It just kills me that this needs to be done by removing a child from their country of origin.
Children in our country that are in foster care are much cheaper to adopt. I have read that the process is much lengthier for foster care adoptions and much more involved. But these children are just as worthy as those in other countries. If someone needs to fundraise to adopt overseas, isn’t foster care adoption a much more feasible option?
Raising Money for Child/Baby Purchase
In my idea of a perfect adoption system, no money would change hands at all. Usually people who are adopting say that they have the means to take care of the child once they’re home, but it’s getting them home that they need help with. If that’s true, it just sounds like people are buying babies and children. So in that light, fundraising is the means to buy a child. That is not right.
I understand that with the extremely high cost of domestic infant adoptions and international adoptions, most people just don’t have that kind of money saved up. But does that mean it’s ethical to ask others to help with the cost, thereby reinforcing the extreme financial costs of the adoption industry? What are your thoughts?
I would love to hear from adoptive parents who have gone this route. No, this isn’t some kind of trick. I really want to understand the thought process behind fundraising. What kind of adoption would you/did you fundraise for? If you agree with fundraising for IA would you/do you support fundraising for domestic infant adoptions?
Bravelove : A Fountain of Adoption Misinformation
Claud over at Musings of the Lame has written an informative piece on Bravelove. Their mission? Yeah, I’m her
stalker superfan. She’s got mad investigating skills, check out what she dug up on Bravelove.
Bravelove Uses Adoption Propaganda to Get Fresh Infants
I want to address Bravelove’s video (seen below):
So, what’s wrong with this video, you ask?
1. It is written from the supposed viewpoint of a child and presumably an adoptee. This would lead someone to believe that all adoptees are thrilled they are adopted (false) and that all adoptees view their birth mothers in a positive light (also false). An expectant mother would view this video thinking that adoption is what is best for the child (yup false). Of course we want what is best for our baby, but adoption is not always the answer. The only thing adoption can promise is that our baby’s life will be different, not better. It is also disturbing that the agency is speaking FOR adoptees through this child.
2. Birthmothers are called superheroes. If I am an expecting mother watching this, I’m probably thinking it would be really cool to be a superhero and the only way to gain that status is to give my baby away. It is much more heroic to raise your own child when faced with obstacles. So, if I’m a superhero for giving my child away, what am I if I decide to keep him? A super villain?
It also implies that the adoptee will view their birthmother as such. Take a look at all the adult adoptee blogs out there. There are many, many views about their first mothers. It’s never as simple as, “she was a superhero.”
3. If we replace the weird super hero jedi kid running around and mouthing off about adoption with a prospective adoptive mother the entire tone and attitude of the video changes. It would sound like a person who really really really really wants to raise someone else’s baby. It would sound like they were entitled to raise someone’s baby. It would be offensive.
4. All the double-talk Mom-mother speak is confusing. Which one am I again?
5. Quote from the masked jedi, “She can turn 9 months into a lifetime…” The first time I watched this video I literally yelled, “OF PAIN” at the computer. Tell me, Obi-wan Adoptee, what exactly does a lifetime without your child feel like? What exactly does a lifetime of being separated from your first family feel like?
6. MAYBE that’s easier said than done??? MAYBE??? But being a superhero always is. There is no maybe about it. Giving my child away was the most traumatic event in my life thus far. I could not have chosen a more painful path to walk on in this lifetime. I assure you that giving my baby away is far more painful than raising him on my own could have ever been.
Bravelove Needs Expectant Mothers to Believe They are Saints
Could this company try any harder to make women think they are saints for giving up their children? Since when is it an expecting mother’s DUTY to make a couple a family?
What is even worse than this video is Bravelove’s facebook page They offer up statistics, never citing where they came from. They have nauseating “fill in the blank, adoption is….” posts which of course have adoptive parents lining up to tell us what adoption means to them. Their entire page and website is visual ipecac.
Just yesterday, the mission on their facebook page and website was stated as “increasing domestic adoptions”. Funny how today it has been changed to: “To change the perception of adoption through honest, informative, and hopeful communication that conveys the heroism and bravery a birth mother displays when she places her child with a loving family through adoption.” I guess the PR peeps thought that stating they wanted to increase their supply of fresh out of the womb infants for the growing demand of adopters with tons of money to throw at their agency was a little too truthful.
My final thought on Bravelove: Their website and facebook page is only presenting the image of the “happy adoption.” There is no exploration or communication of the fact that there are many people out there that have been through or are still involved in adoption that don’t view adoption in a happy light.
18…the magic number in first mother land. It is the age of adulthood for adoptees and for me, the age when I can finally reach out to my son.
My head keeps dreaming of the day when I am able to contact him. I know this is probably a fantasy though. The fact of the matter is, I have no idea what kind of 18 year old my son will grow up to be. He is 14 now so I have 4 long years to ruminate and think about every possible outcome to contact, if I am even able to do so.
My greatest hope is that he will be open to a relationship on some level. That he will be a happy 18 year old who is curious about his roots. That his adoptive parents will have nurtured his curiousity and not stifled it.
I pour over every adult adoptee’s blog I can read looking for an answer to how my son will feel about me. The truth is, there is no one answer. Most reunions have their ups and downs and there is just not one right answer to what will happen.
My greatest fear is that he will not be the least bit interested in getting to know me and his siblings. My greatest fear is that he will be angry and feel that I abandoned him.
It is so difficult being in a closed adoption. I have no idea what my son has been told about me. I don’t know if he ever asks about me. I don’t even know what his parents had been told about me, or if they even cared. The only thing I know for sure is that his parents don’t want me in his or their life right now. This hurts on a primal level.
I have read so many articles about how adolescents can experience identity crises at around his age now. I want so much to tell him he was wanted. He was loved. I am so sorry I gave him up for adoption. If he is angry, I want to let him yell at me. I want him to scream insults and profanities. Anything is better than not knowing. Anything is better than this blank fucking hole in my soul.
I can’t imagine what it feels like to go through life not knowing your own “birth story”. Not knowing the circumstances surrounding your adoption (other than your parents wanting to raise you). Not knowing that I held you for 2 days when you were born, that I named you, that I loved you to my core. I still love you, I will always love you.
I feel like I have been white knuckling through the last 14 years, waiting for that magic 18. My heart says 4 more years to go. But the truth is that no matter what my heart tells me, there is no guarantee that my son will even respond to me when I contact him. There is no guarantee that he will acknowledge me at all. This is a reality that I am going to have to face over the next 4 years. But for now, my soul is hanging on by its fingertips to the hope that I will see my son again.