Increasingly Frequent

This is not the first story that I have read where a man didn’t know he was the father of a child until the court contacted him prior to allowing his biological/genetically related child to be adopted by strangers. And in fact, there are two instances of such fathers who didn’t know in my own family – my nephew who my sister lied about the responsible man and my dad, whose father was married not to my grandmother and since she simply handled it quietly herself, the man never knew.

However, in modern times now, there is a new push to make sure a father doesn’t want his child – even if the mother wants to relinquish. Hence, today’s story (comments in parentheses are my own) –

My foster daughter is 17 months old and we’ve had her since birth. Her biological mom signed away her rights. She said she’ll never be the mother our little one needs. She doesn’t want our daughter growing up in foster care.

Her biological mom wants her to be adopted by us. Her mom is 19 years old and is a former foster care youth who aged out of foster care. She knows we’re the best parents for our daughter (according to this foster mom who hopes to adopt). She made the selfless decision to put her child’s needs before her own.

Everything was going well until the courts said our little one’s biological dad showed up. The courts had to find the biological father. I don’t think this should be allowed. We were so close to adopting our daughter. I may be a little selfish here but I want him to sign away his rights so we can adopt.

(Note the possessiveness) This child is very much our child and we’re the only parents she knows. Losing her would be traumatic. Her biological dad didn’t know he had child until he was contacted. If you don’t know you have a child, then you shouldn’t get custody of the child. (What kind of argument is that ? Self-serving ?)

The only dad our daughter knows is my husband. She calls him daddy. He IS her daddy. We might lose our daughter to a man who is being selfish. Just because he shares DNA with our girl. Why can’t her biological dad see our daughter is settled and better off with us ?

Her dad works at Burger King. That’s not a real job to raise a child. Her biological dad can’t even take care of himself. Who will help him raise our daughter ? It’s selfish for her dad to fight for our child, instead of doing the right thing and signing away his rights (from this foster mother’s perspective of course). He’s putting his needs above hers.

How can we get her biological dad to see our daughter is bonded to us ? How can we get him to see the trauma of removing our daughter from the only home she knows ? How can we get him to see being a father isn’t in DNA ? DNA is overrated. (Of course, the genetics are over-rated to people who don’t share them with the child they want to possess.) Our daughter could care less about DNA. (Of course, she is ONLY 17 months old !!)

She knows who her daddy is. It’s not the man who’s biologically related to her. We hired a lawyer but the lawyer said he can’t do anything for us. I’m heartbroken. I’ll never recover losing my daughter to a man she has never met and didn’t know she existed.

Laws need to change to put the child first. If the biological dad doesn’t know he has a child, then he shouldn’t be contacted. DNA is overrated and isn’t the child’s best interests. Our daughter is bonded to us. Our daughter calls us mommy and daddy. We are mommy and daddy. Her biological dad will never be the daddy she needs (in the foster mother’s opinion of course). I don’t believe her biological dad understands what our daughter needs.

If we lose our daughter she’ll lose me as her mommy. She’s very bonded to us. We are her family. Every child needs a mommy and daddy to love them.

Please pray her biological dad backs off and signs away his rights. Please pray for the best interests of our child. Please pray reunification isn’t successful with her biological dad. Please pray for us. Pray for our daughter. We can’t lose our daughter. Our girl was born to be with us. God placed her with us for a reason. God knew she was our daughter. We were meant to be her mommy and daddy. Now the devil is trying to work his way in. Please pray hard for our family (and for reunification to fail ?)

(Note – it is common for God and religion to be used as a justification for tearing the natural family apart. This girl is young and she can make the adjustment. Also note the superiority and entitlement this woman expresses.  The dad will probably NOT work at Burger King all his life but there probably are dads raising their own kids who do.)

Magnolia – Again

Magnolia – 2020 Gerber Baby

I previously wrote about Magnolia in this blog.  She is recently back in the news.  On September 7, 2020, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) announced that it had named a baby called Magnolia as one of their 2020 “Angels in Adoption” honorees. Magnolia, from the San Francisco Bay Area, rose to fame in May 2020 when Gerber announced that she was the first (known) adopted Spokesbaby.

Infant adoption is not a simple story of adorable angels, even when they are cute enough to be a Gerber Baby.  The Angel award is meant to celebrate “the extraordinary efforts of individuals, couples, families, and organizations who work tirelessly to advocate for children in need of a family.”

Creating a connection between this apparently worthy, child-centered mission and adopted infants like Magnolia creates a false narrative. The truth is that there are approximately 30 waiting families for every infant voluntarily placed for adoption. It is unlikely that anyone needs to be convinced to adopt these babies. Also, these children already have a family — the family they were born to — who don’t have the resources to be able to parent their child in the way they would like.

It is true that there are approximately 100,000 youth in need of permanency in the US foster care system — but they are almost entirely older children who have experienced trauma, and there are fewer families interested in adopting them. In other words, domestic infant adoption doesn’t need a Spokesbaby — but families in poverty and foster youth without permanency do.

Obviously, it is not actually possible for Magnolia to have made extraordinary efforts to advocate for children in need of a family. It is the choices of adults (her adoptive parents, Gerber, CCAI) to cast her in this role. This highlights how the narrative is already being written and spoken for her, by individuals and organizations that want to promote infant adoption as an unqualified good. And it is deeply concerning that Magnolia, who has no voice and choice in the matter, has twice been made the literal poster child for adoption, before she can even speak in complete sentences, much less articulate her thoughts on what it means to her to be adopted.

Thanks to a Medium article from which the thoughts above were taken (because I do AGREE with every word I’ve shared as though it came from my very heart), I learned about PACT – An Adoption Alliance focused on children of color who end up adopted.

Here is their overview statement –

Pact is a non-profit organization whose mission is to serve adopted children of color. In every case, the child is always our primary client. In order to best serve children’s needs, we provide not only adoptive placement but lifelong education, support, and community for adoptees and their families on issues of adoption and race. Our goal is for every child to feel wanted honored and loved, a cherished member of a strong family with proud connections to the rich cultural heritage that is his or her birthright. We advocate for honesty and authenticity in matters of race and adoption. We strongly believe that adopted children’s and adults’ connections to birth family and birth heritage should be respected and maintained. We also strive to identify and counteract “adoptism,” an unfortunately common social prejudice that challenges the legitimacy of the choice to place a child for adoption or to build a family by adoption. Finally, as an organization committed to children of color, we feel it is essential to educate ourselves and others about the pervasive power of race and racism as they affect our children, our families, ourselves and our society.

Offensive Descriptions

The surrender of baby Moses

It’s a story as old as mankind but in these modern times, many of the common phrases of yesteryear are being relinquished.  Some descriptions of a mother who surrenders her baby are now acknowledged as offensive.

I would have said Birth Mother before I became better educated by people even closer to the truths of adoption than I am.  Now I will most often say Original Mother or Natural Mother.

Some have described their adopted children’s mother as the Belly Mommy.  This could be equated to making the mother of those children nothing more than an incubator.  People are often confused if you say other mom or first mom.

Of course, what an adoptee chooses to use to describe their biological parents should be entirely their choice.  Adopted children should always be told that they were and allowed to ask questions about their biological roots.

The most important thing is to be transparent with your children about their unique circumstances and normalize those children regardless of how they originated.  It is perfectly appropriate for your adopted child to know they grew in another woman’s body.  Age appropriate language can be hard to define but naming that other woman as the child gets older is a responsible way to approach the situation.

The truth is –  a mother’s role does not end at the birth of their baby, even if that baby is surrendered to adoption.  It is a lifelong genetic/biological connection as the prevalence of adoptee reunions would indicate.