I get called angry and bitter a lot. Not in real life, but in virtual life. In real life, I would be described as a middle-of-the-roader. I am a person that never wants to upset the apple cart. Most times, I may have a strong opinion on a subject, but don’t feel comfortable enough to take a position and argue it with people I do not know very well. I am a confrontation-avoider.
The truth is, in real life, adoption isn’t something that comes up in conversation much. I run into the occasional person in the process of adopting, but I don’t really feel it is my place to get in their face about how they are going about it. I have yet to be asked what my thoughts are on adoption in real life. That is probably because I don’t have “birth mother” tattooed on my forehead.
In virtual life, adoption seems to be everywhere. There are adoptive parent blogs, first mother blogs, adoptee blogs, prospective adoptive parent blogs, and a myriad of adoption facebook pages. There are blogs and facebook pages for every position under the sun, for or against, anti or pro. I also have many personal, real life friends on facebook that have adopted or are in the process of adopting.
I do a lot of posting on the internet about my opinions about adoption, mostly domestic infant adoptions. While many of my comments are on pages that are similar to my perspective, I also do a fair amounting of commenting on pages which carry the opposite perspective. I do this because there are so many pages devoted to painting adoption as a beautiful, miraculous event and I feel it is a small thing that I can do for a woman who may be perusing those pages to see another side of the coin.
Inevitably, there are people who do not like that. And, of course, I get called angry and bitter…A LOT!
I embrace being angry. Anger is an active emotion. It is the reason I write about adoption issues. It is a motivator. I am angry that women are lied to. I am angry that families are being separated. I am angry that I am not raising my son. I am angry that people are making money from adoption. YES, ANGRY! My anger motivates me to seek out ways to change the system. Anger is not apathy. Anger is a stepping stone to change. Being called angry is not an insult, it means I am getting to you.
I don’t view bitterness as an active emotion. Bitterness implies a constant state of wallowing. Bitterness is taking in anger without letting any of it out. It is identifying oneself as a victim without working toward changing what made you a victim. So no, I am not bitter. I refuse to let someone turn me into merely a victim and sit on the sidelines watching while another woman is bulldozed over. I will not be that.
So, I love adoption peeps, call me angry, call me rage-filled, call me anything, but not bitter. Not anymore.
I said Goddamn I loves me some misinformation and deliberate withholding of the truth. It makes my innards tingle.
This is a chart on americanadoptions.com listing the differences and similarities between adoption and abortion.
|You can pursue earlier goals||You can pursue earlier goals|
|You can live independently||You can live independently|
|You will not have to parent prematurely||You will not have to parent prematurely|
|You will avoid being forced into a hasty marriage or relationship||You will avoid being forced into a hasty marriage or relationship|
|If you are a teenager, you can resume your youthful lifestyle||If you are a teenager you can resume your youthful lifestyle|
|Note: There are no similarities between parenting and abortion. One important similarity between adoption and parenting is that you can give life to your child and watch your child grow up.|
|Your pregnancy ends with giving life||Your pregnancy ends with death|
|You can feel good and positive about your choice||You may feel guilt and shame about your choice|
|You will remember giving birth||You will remember taking a life|
|You will have plenty of time to plan you and your baby’s future||Abortion is final; you can’t go back on your decision|
|You can hold, name, and love your baby||You will never know or treasure your baby|
|You can have continued contact with your baby||You will miss the opportunity to see your child develop|
Truth and Transparency Needs to be a Priority in Adoption Practice
So yeah the first half of the chart seems pretty accurate and straightforward. There are many positive similar outcomes between the two for women.
Scrolling down to the differences and bingo! Out comes the manipulation and outright lies. Let’s break it down.
First up, pregnancy ending with giving life versus death. A major point I need to get across is that no one is out aborting babies just prior to their birth. So really we’re talking about giving life vs removing a ball of cells. That is my personal view on abortion and I don’t expect everyone to agree.
Next we have feeling good and positive about your choice versus feeling guilt and shame about your choice. This one made me chuckle a bit. I’ve known quite a few women who have chosen abortion and none of them feel guilt or shame or even regret over their decision. It was a medical procedure they underwent, no complications, tiny ball of cells gone, carry on with your life. None of these women took the decision lightly, but all are fine with it. I have met many women, including myself, who have chosen adoption and all of them carry guilt, shame, regret, sadness, and lifelong negative consequences of their decision. What the chart should say is that although some women can feel good and positive about their decision, most deal with the reverberations of their decision for decades.
Continuing on, we have remembering giving birth versus remembering taking a life. Oh sweet jeebus, shut the christ up. This is similar to above. Yup I remember giving birth and it haunts me every single day. Knowing what I know now, I would have chosen differently.
The next one cracks me up. I actually don’t think these two things even belong together but you know how those crazy christians are. So a woman can have plenty of time to plan for their baby’s future or they can have an abortion which is FINAL. Here’s the thing, BOTH decisions once made, are final. If they were comparing parenting to abortion I’d agree with them, but adoption is not parenting dumbasses.
Of course you can hold, name and love your baby. Yes, I held my baby and didn’t let the adoptive parents in the room. I also named my baby, which the parents promptly removed and then renamed him. And yup, to this day I love him, but it isn’t a happy love. It’s loving someone who you can never hold, talk to, express it to. It’s a sad love. Yes I knew and treasured him for those 2 days but that is it. I don’t know him anymore although I still treasure him.
And the most deceptive statement at all comes at the bottom of their chart. You can have continued contact with your baby. Well I don’t. Countless women who thought they would, do not. I have blogged about open adoption deception before so I won’t get all the way into it again, but I’m sure you get the idea.
Carrying a Pregnancy to Term for Adoption Purposes has Risks
Of course this simplistic chart gives no actual negatives to adoption but plenty of negatives about abortion. This is so misleading. The sole purpose is to con women into giving up their babies. Is it really so much to ask for a little truth and transparency in the adoption industry? Can’t we agree to fully inform women of all the negative aspects of adoption? Oh I guess we can’t since that would probably result in more abortions or *gasp* single women parenting their children.
I weep for the the young women today who are talked into adoption by lists such as these. Give these women access to other viewpoints for fucks sake.
I would venture to guess that most women choose abortion because they do not want to be pregnant. Pregnancy itself carries far more risks to a woman than abortion alone. In 2007, the rate of mortality for legal abortions was 0.6 per 100,000 procedures*. By contrast, the rates of mortality from pregnancy in the US in 2010 was 12.7 deaths per 100,000 live births**. That number does not even take into account women who died during pregnancy before childbirth. Why don’t they talk about that on their pro life websites?
*World Health Organization. Unsafe Abortion: Global and Regional Estimates of the Incidence of Unsafe Abortion and Associated Mortality in 2003. 5th edition. Geneva: WHO, 2007; http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/unsafe_abortion/9789241596121/en/
**source: Centers for Disease Control
As seen on Craigslist New Haven this week:
We are a married couple who are unable to have children of our own and are looking to you to help us with your generous gift.
We will offer your baby a lifetime of love, support, and caring in a great home environment.
We’re looking for a private adoption and have already had our home study completed by a reputable licensed agency.
We work with a great adoption attorney who has adopted children himself and is a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys.
Please visit our website to learn more about us. http://www.IreneandGreg.com or call us at 1-888-292-2003 (our direct line)
Thanks for visiting and we look forward to meeting you!
This one included pics of a beautiful home, an empty, fully loaded nursery, and wedding photos of the couple:
Our baby boys passed away as infants due to unforeseen, unrelated health problems. Our love of children and the desire to build a family has led us to adoption. We have a completed home study and are waiting to give an infant an excellent home.
If you, or someone you know, is considering placing their child for adoption please review our website at http://www.DanaandBobby2Adopt.shutterfly.com to learn more about us and contact us at DanaandBobby2Adopt@yahoo.com or 973-223-6453 when you are ready. The decision you are considering is a selfless act of pure love, strength and courage. We admire you more than words can describe and hope to join you on this journey together.
Craigslist Adoption Ads are Unethical and Disturbing
Dear Irene, Greg, Dana, and Bobby,
Stop it. You are so much better than this. The fact that you are posting ads on craigslist in the hopes of bringing home someone else’s precious child seriously calls into question your ethical and moral boundaries. Actually, it flat out screams you have none. Even if it does work, do you really want to have to explain to your child that you placed an ad for him on Craigslist? Or that his original mother decided to look for his parents on Craigslist?
Irene and Greg–
A child should not be gifted to anyone. You give gifts on birthdays and holidays. You wrap them up with a pretty bow. Children are not things to be gifted.
What in God’s name does YOU having a wonderful adoption attorney have to do with anything? I seriously hope you are not suggesting that this attorney can represent both yourselves AND a potential birth mother. That would be highly unethical and a big, fat conflict of interests.
I also find it strange that your “direct line” is a toll-free number. So you want this woman to potentially give you their baby, but can’t bear the thought of her having your home phone number…sketchy.
Dana and Bobby–
I am so sorry for your loss. Nothing, not even adopting a new baby, will make that loss easier to cope with. The fact that you are using the death of your sons to try to coerce a mother into giving you their baby is disgusting. The entire reason you bring your dead sons’ up in the ad is to pull at the heart strings. Take a good look in the mirror and decide if that is the kind of people you want to be.
You call the decision to give a child up, “a selfless act of pure love, strength and courage.” So, if that same person decides to keep their child is that a selfish act of pure hatred, weakness, and cowardice? Choose your words carefully please.
You say that you hope to join this mythical, as of yet unidentified, pregnant woman on her journey. It is not a journey, it is a pregnancy and you should keep the hell out of it.
I especially like the longing pic of your empty nursery. Well played, adopters, well played.
Please go troll for babies elsewhere. You aren’t even supposed to place ads for adopting dogs on craigslist, let alone infants.
A Fed Up Original Mother
P.S- If you haven’t already, please consider participating in the Craiglist Adoption Truth Project, it’s super easy and guaranteed to piss off a few people (always a plus!)
So it looks like this blog is turning into more of a “oh you crazy adopter” type of blog and you know what? I am fine with that. There are so many others out there in the adoptoblogosphere who maintain their equilibrium a bit better when confronted with nutballs. I am just not there yet. I would love to be the classy lady who speaks their truth without flushing and spiraling down into a rage filled abyss, but I have not gotten to that place yet. I try to be respectful when commenting on articles or facebook posts, but in reality I sit behind my laptop seething and all I want to do is scream obscenities. So, I am going to do that here (cover your ears)…
First up, we have a driveling article entitled, “Adoptive parent urges: If you’re not ready to parent, consider adoption option”. I’ll let you read it, but be prepared, the interviewee jumps to quite a few conclusions about adoption.
Sarah Hamlin is apparently convinced that more women should put up their children for adoption if they’re unprepared for parenthood. She jumps to the conclusion that us original mothers would have eventually abused or neglected our children, had we kept them, and they would have ended up in foster care in the end. She, of course, has no studies to back that up. The first time I read the article, I wasn’t sure if I was reading it correctly. This Sarah adopter couldn’t really be saying that, right? All of her children are foster adoptees. So she has not had actual experience with infant adoption.
She goes on to say how all of her children’s issues could have been avoided if there was an earlier adoption plan put in place. Okay, in some of her children’s cases I’ll let her have that one. However, one of her children suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome sooooo I’m not sure how an adoption plan would have helped.
And then she starts with the open adoption is a cure-all nonsense. Here’s where I yell, “shut the fuck up” at the screen. Open adoptions are not enforceable and should not be used as cure-all for the heartache of giving up one’s child. She then goes on to say that all of her adoptees have open adoptions, oh except for the one with a drunk for a mother who is probably dead and no one knows where the father is. Uhm yeah that’s not open then arsehole.
The worst thing I can say about this Sarah is that she seems like her heart is in the right place but she is uneducated about infant adoptions in the US. I give her props for adopting out of foster care though.
Moving on to the commenters….here’s where it gets ugly…
First up we have Wendi, obviously an adopter. Wendi backs up her comments with statistics which have no bearing on the conversation. Wendi REALLY likes statistics. Well, actually, just one set of statistics about how many adoptions are infants vs. foster care vs. international. Apparently Wendi refuses to acknowledge the social norms which played a part in baby scoop era adoptions since there are no stats on it. The study which Wendi loves (for what reason I have no idea) had adoptive parents as the survey group. Not one adoptive parent in the survey stated they coerced or stole an infant from its mother, SHOCKING! Walk with me a bit further down the page…
Wendi goes on to proclaim that she is “intimately involved with adopted children and an adoptive parent” herself, I know, I was taken aback as well. She goes on to exclaim that adoptive parents are far more educated than other parents, surprisingly there is no statistic to back that statement up. Wendi then states while open adoptions can close, it’s usually the birth mother who does so because adoptive families understand the importance of open communication. Right, because Wendi is far more superior to us biological mothers who care not a whit for our children’s well beings. In the climax of her comment she goes on to explain to everyone how her child’s birth mother has no regrets. And if she did, I’m absolutely positive you would be the first one she told, Wendi.
A bit further down the page, Wendi once again tells us how her son’s mother feels, because she is
delusional no wait uhm psychic no that’s not right either… and apparently a judge told Wendi her and her son were “now blood”, that must be some medical procedure he had to endure. Wendi is also firmly entrenched with the idea that all birth mothers made an informed choice to give up their children, it’s the law in every state, and so adoption is a beautiful, miraculous thing for her. Oh she also threw in the old standby about how she’s sorry if someone had a bad adoption experience but that is not how most adoptions are, silly me was thinking that all adoptions should be handled ethically and if only one was mishandled it should be looked into since afterall we are talking about human beings.
Of course, I had to pop on over there and write a few things of my own about coercive practices in adoption, about how speaking for birth mothers was really not ok or representative of the truth, and of course about how open adoptions are unenforceable.
The article itself seemed a bit whimsical, but Wendi, Oh dear, sweet, loving, perfect, smart, superior Wendi, really got my blood pressure up. Feel free to head over and contribute to the comments.
Eta–just noticed some of the comments on the article can only be seen from an actual computer for some reason.
I’m feeling riled up this morning. Perhaps I need to step away from the ol’ laptop for a bit. But first, I need to express my distaste for ignorant, dishonest, coercive things I have seen on many comments around facebook and adoptoland. I can’t possibly respond to every ridiculous thing that is written so I am just going to vomit up my distaste for the open adoption lie here. Get your buckets ready.
The Birth of Open Adoption
The number of infants available for adoption in the US has steadily declined in recent years. The reasons behind this include better access to birth control, legality of abortion, and acceptance of single-motherhood. The number of people who want to adopt infants has increased partially due to women putting off having children in favor of careers. Unfortunately, biology hasn’t caught up with women’s rights yet.
This disparity in supply and demand of infants has created quite a problem for the adoption industry. The adoption industry could no longer scoop babies up in record numbers and hand them over to the piles of money waiting for an infant anymore. They needed to come up with a marketing scheme to persuade women to hand over their children. In walks open adoption.
Open Adoption is a Marketing Tool for the Adoption Industry
The promise of open adoption is a powerful tool in the adoption industry’s arsenal. They recognized that a major obstacle to convincing women to give up their babies was the fact that there was no contact. Not surprisingly, most mothers want to know how their children are being raised. Open adoption was the solution to that. Yes, mothers, you can still see your children grow up. You can still have a relationship with them, just hand them over and the adoptive parents will make sure you are still a part of their life. What the adoption industry fails to advertise is that open adoption agreements can become closed at any time. Just take a look at one example on the Bethany Christian Services site. They never state that the adoption could become closed at any time.
Open Adoption Agreements are Not Legally Enforceable
Some states do recognize open adoption agreements as legal documents however, these agreements can be voided if found not to be in the best interests of the child. In no state does the penalty involve nullifying the adoption. It should also be noted that many first families do not possess the necessary financial resources to fund a legal proceeding and so are left with no way to argue against closing an adoption.
It is my position that all open adoption agreements should be legal and binding. If the adoptive family chooses to close an adoption without the consent of the courts, it should be considered a criminal case. Perhaps this is extreme, but slapping an adoptive family with a fine because they closed their adoption is not exactly a deterrent.
Open Adoption is a Bait and Switch Technique
There are many adoptive families who take their responsibility to keep their adoption open seriously. I applaud these people. That being said, there is a special place in hell for adoptive parents who enter into an open adoption agreement knowing they have no intention of keeping it open. For many women, being able to have an open adoption is the deciding factor on whether they will relinquish their baby. It is akin to stealing a baby from its mother when adoptive parents cut off all communication.
I have seen so many comments on various forums, facebook and articles singing the praises of open adoption. I am sure that those of you out there (first mothers and adoptive parents alike) who are keeping up your end of the agreement have a very positive view on open adoption. I, too, think if adoption must exist, that fully open adoptions should be the norm. However, to these same people who talk about their wonderful open adoption experience, I ask you, would you not feel more in control if you knew, without a doubt that your adoption would stay open? How can you praise open adoption if there is no way of knowing that others’ agreements will be honored? If anything, you should be pushing for more regulations to be put in place so that all future agreements are honored. How can we take something as important as our children and leave it up to flawed individuals to keep that agreement in place?
Until open adoptions agreements are legally enforceable they should not be mentioned in adoption advertisements or presented as fact to expecting mothers. It is morally reprehensible for agencies not to disclose these facts to expecting mothers before entering into agreements with adoptive parents.
Before I start, first head on over to the First Mother Forum and read the rage levied at everyone over there from 16 and Pregnant reality TV star, Tyler Baltierra (of Catelynn and Tyler fame). If you don’t know who he is, he and his girlfriend are the current poster children for Bethany Christian Services and the adoption industry in general. They have starred on every season of Teen Mom and were in the original series, 16 and Pregnant. They are first parents.
I have commented over at FMF but I still have so much grrrrrr left in me that I need to vent it out. And so…vent commencing…
An Open Letter to Tyler Baltierra
I have tremendous empathy for you, Tyler and Catelynn, really I do. I was once a newborn first mother trying desperately to justify giving away my son. Had I read FMF back then, I probably would have been angry at first too. FMF does not discuss the virtues of adoption. It is not all rainbows and unicorn farts (which smell like cherry lemonade by the way) over there. Loraine and Jane are in the trenches, talking about the hard topics, trying to make a difference. If just one scared pregnant mother reads through FMF and decided to raise their child, it is well worth their efforts. Tyler, calling these women bitter and ignorant is incorrect. Angry about the adoption industry, for sure. Ignorant of it, absolutely not. The word ignorant does not apply here. In fact, Tyler, I am unsure if you really know what the word, ignorant, means. It seems that you believe it to mean: does not agree with Tyler. Many people disagree with me, but they are not all ignorant, although I would like to believe they are. It might be helpful to have the actual definition in front of you. Just click on ignorant and voila!
I think it’s great that you now know the last names of the people raising your daughter and their address. I haven’t kept up much with your reality show, but last I saw neither of these things were true. I’m glad your daughter’s parents decided to give you this information. However, this minor detail (sarcasm intended) probably should have been discussed with Dawn (oh I’ll get to her in a minute) before you handed over your child. In all actuality, in most cases, open adoptions tend to start to shut but it seems yours is going in the other direction which is wonderful.
In the next paragraph you say you are fully aware that the a-parents can close the adoption at any time and that is apparently fine with you. You say you chose them and they have complete control. Wowzers. I’m not sure that most people would be okay with others exerting that much control over their lives. I’m not quite sure I believe that you would be okay with Carly’s parents deciding to close all communication with you and moving to another country. You go on to say that you have FAITH and then proceed to define FAITH as, “believing in something when everyone surrounding you tells you not to”. It seems to me that everyone around YOU in particular was/is counting on you and Catelynn having faith that things will turn out wonderful. I’m not sure that I would rely on having faith when it came to having on going communication with my child. I think by faith, you mean that you truly have no alternative at this point but to believe the a-parents. I mean, you can’t do anything about it now if they chose to close the adoption. I sincerely hope that doesn’t happen, for Carly’s sake. You should know that her a-parents have plenty of reasons to close it at this point, primarily the fact that you and Catelynn could be seen as doing harm to Carly’s mental health by appearing on a reality show centered around her adoption. Just keep that in mind.
You say that you researched “everything about adoption” prior to making your decision. So let me get this straight, you knew beforehand that the best thing for an infant is to stay with its mother. You knew about the life long repercussions for Carly even if she had a wondrous, rainbow filled life? You knew that there was no guarantee that the adoption would stay open? You knew how much money BCS would be making off of your daughter if you placed her? If all of that is true, I commend you because I certainly did not have any of that information nor was it offered to me by my “counselor”.
Now onto the reality tv portion of this diatribe. You say that no one knows everything about your life just because you were on tv. I agree. However, isn’t the purpose of you being on reality tv to show us, the viewer, how adoption is affecting your lives? If not, I’m just not getting it. You really can’t have it both ways. You can’t act all shaken and angry when someone comments on your VERY PUBLIC personal life. It is your choice to be in the public eye. You make money from being in the public eye. You should be aware that there will be scrutiny. Welcome to the 21st century.
Some of the comments on FMF refer to Dawn, your counselor extraordinaire. If you haven’t already, you both really need to go to a therapist or counselor that is separate from your adoption agency. Dawn had a vested interest in getting your daughter. She is employed by the agency, she earns a paycheck from the agency. Ask yourself if she would still be employed by that agency if she failed to convince women to give up their children. She also has a vested interest in you and Catelynn being vocal supporters of the adoption industry. She has no vested interest in your ACTUAL well being. She is the agency. She needs you to stay positive and vocal about adoption. You are their spokesperson and they MAKE MONEY FROM YOU being positive about adoption. Adoption agencies make money from adoption. A lot of money. Billions of dollars in fact. Please understand this and be informed. Whether or not you did the right thing for Carly in the long run, they still make money from you. Don’t let them use you both like this. Don’t let them profit from your misery. The Adoption Industry is making money from convincing women they are making a selfless decision and choosing a loving option. In what other context is giving a child away selfless or loving?
Lastly, I need to address why I, personally, take issue with you and Catelynn. People take issue with your circumstance because you are using it to coerce other birth parents into giving away their child. And since I am a birth mother, no I did not make an adoption plan, I gave my son away. No amount of positive adoption language is going to change that. If I may ask, how many birth mothers who have given their children up for adoption 10 plus years ago are ever present in your support groups or panel discussions? Close to zero, I’d wager. Do you ever wonder why that is so? These are very important questions to ask yourselves.
Please, at the very least, do some research into adult adoptee issues. Listen to the people who have gone before you, listen to their truths. Consider the facts and decide if you and Catelynn really want to be a part of contributing to the misery of other children and their birth parents by touting the virtues of adoption. Don’t react, take a deep breath, and seek out the truth of adoption. It will be painful to read what others have to say, but it will be worth it.
Catelynn and Tyler are Adoption Industry Pawns
No, my open letter is probably not the kindest. I do empathize with them to a point. However I do harbor my fair share of anger at them for being pawns in the war against scared expectant mothers. In my view, a woman who is truly sure that adoption is the right choice for her isn’t going to give a crap what the Tyler and Catelynns of the world say. It’s the women who are scared and unsure that I worry about. It’s the women who are so much like I was that break my heart. They need someone to guide them in the other direction, not toward adoption. They don’t need newly made first parents singing from the hilltops about adoption, they need fully versed first parents like Loraine and Jane to tell them what they may not want to hear, but what they NEED to hear.