The Anti-Adoption Movement

There is definitely a movement to reduce the adoption of newborns from unwed mothers and from people whose only sin is poverty. That’s not to say that it is not also important that children are never left in a seriously abusive situation. Unfortunately, what is “abusive” to some who insist on interfering in other people’s lives is not what true abuse actually is. Very few activists are claiming that adoption shouldn’t be an option, but the activists currently involved in the issue recognize that adoption is far from the perfect solution it was so long perceived to be. 

Already hopeful adoptive parents living in Texas are celebrating a bumper crop of adoptable babies in about one year from now. I suspected that as one of the motivations all along.

One woman describes her experience. The adoption agency had her move to another state while pregnant, purposely isolating her from friends and family who might have helped her. Though she knew who her baby’s father was, the agency told her not to tell him she was pregnant. She could have sued him for child support—he was a wealthy lawyer—but the adoption agency didn’t talk about that, only about the hardships she would face as a “welfare mom,” should she keep her child. They called her a “family-building angel” and a “saint” for considering adoption. “It was crazy subtle, subtle, subtle brainwashing.”

Adoption has long been perceived as the win-win way out of a a difficult situation. An unwed mother gets rid of the child she’s not equipped to care for; an adoptive family gets a much-wanted child. But people are increasingly realizing that the industry is not nearly as well-regulated and ethical as it should be. There are issues of coercion, corruption, and lack of transparency that are only now being fully addressed.

One issue is where an “open” adoption is promised but the adoptive parents sooner or later renege on that promise. So one reform is seeking to guarantee that “open” adoptions (where birthparents have some level of contact with their children) stay open. Activists also want women to have more time after birth to decide whether to terminate their parental rights. Given time with their newborn, many new mothers change their mind about adoption and decide to give parenting their child a serious effort. Young women who find themselves pregnant and unmarried still face pressure to choose adoption. 

Reproduce justice activists tend to focus on rights to contraception and abortion. Adoption reforms are equally important when it comes to men and women having full control of their destinies. Thanks to legalized abortion and a drastic lessening of the stigma against unwed mothers, the number of babies available domestically has been shrinking since the mid-’70s. Fifty years ago, about 9 percent of babies born to unmarried women were placed for adoption. Today that number is 1 percent. 

Adoption is too stark in its severance of the legal relationship between those adopted and their birth family, and out of line with the emotional realities for most involved. Adoption is not a risk-free panacea.  It is highly complex, with implications for all concerned that endures for decades. The identity needs of adopted people are very important and adoption, in its current form, does not recognize these.

There are other options, such as kindship placements or guardianship, which can provide safety and stability for children, but do not require such a severe break with key relationships. When we do not provide financial support to families in need but instead take their children away from them, we have to ask ourselves – Are we really promoting the human rights of all children, irrespective of background, to live safely within their families of origin? It would appear that we do not.

Some of the above was excerpted from The Trauma of Adoption. Other parts of this blog were excerpted from Meet the New Anti-Adoption Movement. Some comments are my own.

A Sad Reality

Adoptees are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than non-adoptees are. Why is that ? Maybe because being adopted is not all unicorns and rainbows.

So today comes this sad story.

I work in animal rescue because I couldn’t handle working for the Department of Children and Families. It’s a corrupt system.

Today I took a phone call that really got to me and started a small debate between others in the office at the time.

The caller said a 26 year old adoptee had killed herself and left four cats behind. One cat was found dead with her. One cat a friend took and the other two the rescue I work in is taking. We learned these animals were without food for sometime. Meaning no one had checked up on her.

I was told the adoptive mom was a bad alcoholic, adoptive father is a prominent well known doctor. That the 26 year old suffered years of mental health issues. I told the caller we would take in the two two cats no questions asked and no surrender fee. When the caller asked me why… I responded that as an adoptee myself….

My heart breaks for any adoptee who was this upset and hurting to take her own life in front of pets who she saved and loved. I said most adoptees have trauma and pain and it seldom gets better even with the best therapy! She thanked me and I’ll meet the lady Friday with the two cats.

When I got off the phone the two other people in the office told me I cannot generalize adoptive people that way. That many adoptive people are happy! I’m like no… I’m an adoptee and while my life on the outside may look perfect and my own children are …. I cry daily and have struggled my entire life. In my teens, I wanted to die! So I told them unless they were an adoptee nothing that they could tell me would change my view!

The truth is that the lived experience of many adoptees makes those who have not experienced it, uncomfortable.

October 30th is Adoptee Remembrance Day.

Maternal Grief

There is more than one way to “lose” a child. Certainly, the most obvious is the most permanent. Today, many adoptees are going through reunions with their biological families. That gives hope that the kind of loss that is giving a child up to adoption may not be a permanent one. That said, one can never regain the years the locusts have consumed. The bible promises a restoration but the reality is, those years can never fundamentally be retrieved. They are forever lost.

Adoption is, in its idealized form, is suppose to be about finding homes for children that need them, not about finding children for parents that want them. That perfect world is a place we all know we do not live in. There is nothing inherently wrong about wanting to be a parent, but it can become wrong depending on how you go about becoming a parent. Once they have achieved their goal, adoptive parents might desire to remain ignorant regarding the real loss involved for the other participants in their own path to parenthood. 

Surrendering a child can really hurt emotionally, in a way that is completely indescribable and that words could never do justice regarding, if one attempts to convey it to any other person who has not had direct experience with it.  Relinquishment can never be undone and all a birthparent can do is continue live their life throughout the time knowing that someone else is raising their child.

Hear it described by the most honest and real, courageous and brilliant adopted persons and you will learn that many of the feelings they have for having been adopted do not express feelings of gratitude, or contentment, but of loss and primal rejection, as well as confusion, anger, many unanswered questions and often unsatisfactory love, truth be told regarding the adoptive parents who settled for second best.

These unfulfilled adoptive parents also grieve – the child they wanted to have – compared to the child they settled for. All around a disagreeable situation. Adoption & Child Welfare Services were expected to bring in a revenue of 14 Billion Dollars during 2015. Even the banking and insurance industry has more regulations applied to them than adoption and some of the things they do to try and make money at all costs is unethical. Adoption is the largest, mostly unregulated, industry in the US allowed to do business.

It is human nature that if you put few regulations in the way and add to that large sums of money to be made from taking part in the industry, it is a situation that asks to be corrupted. A lobby group with a deceiving name, The National Council for Adoption (and an even more disturbing game) is paid for by the adoption agencies, pro-life groups, and given federal tax funds and grants – all to promote adoption. 

The goal is to separate families not protected by money or the Godly union of marriage in favor of giving their child to a legally married, heterosexual, Christian couple. Many mothers have truthfully lost their children to adoption and they suffer in isolation what can only be described as a very real diagnosis of “birthmother grief”. These are women who are and could have been good parents. These children were in no danger of being bumped around in foster care for years. There was no threat of them being abused.

Maybe they would have had a few first years of lean times, maybe it would have been hard but they would have parented. There is a huge difference between child protection and child surrender. Child surrender is voluntary, it is often not really necessary, but made out to be beneficial. The real “good” of the child is questionable depending on your personal interpretation of what is “better”. Often fraught with myths, and misinformation that sway the participants involved for the benefit of the adoption agency and, often, the desires of their paying clients (the perspective adoptive parents). It is finding children to fit the needs of the industry which is based entirely on transferring the parental rights from one party to another for a profit.

Adoption adds a whole bunch of baggage to any adoptee’s life. They had adoptive parents that tried their best, made mistakes, and loved them lots. The fact is though, that if a child does not need to be separated from their original family – experts agree it is a person’s birthright to be with their original family. There are enough adoptees and natural parents searching for each other that we cannot humanly deny that it is not a primal and necessary urge in many cases. It’s not a whim, not a phase, nor a sign if immaturity, nor selfishness, nor of poor adoptive parenting, or anything else might we believe. Adoptees may have the reality of having two sets of parents, adoptive and birth parents, but they need to know and have relationships with their original, biological families – regardless of how good the adoptive family was. It is also clear by how many birthmothers never quit searching for their child that being reunited is also a unrequited need in most maternal hearts.

Preferences

Birthmother – heroic, damned and judged. Believe me, these women have ALL of my sympathetic compassion. They are too often exploited. My preference would be that no mother who birthed a baby would ever be separated from them. That these women and their babies would be supported – if necessary in comfortable surroundings with no other demand upon them than the baby makes. Sadly, that is not the society we live in. Dominated by the search for profits – babies are taken from their birthmother and given to whoever can pay the price. This is just plain wrong.

What does it mean to attempt to move forward in a life after a woman relinquishes her baby to adoption ? For myself, though my daughter was not relinquished to adoption, she was surrendered to her father to raise, in effect – it isn’t much different. Diminished. Somehow a failure. Less than. Some kind of monster person. I’ve lived with all of those feelings.

Often in this blog, I do choose to spend a lot of my time and energy pointing out the more negative aspects of adoption as I have come to understand the institution. I feel entitled to do this because both of my parents were adopted and both of my sisters gave up a baby to adoption. At this point, it is fair to label me as “anti-adoption” because honestly, for the most part, I am. I would like to explain what the words, anti-adoption, mean in my perspective.

I believe that it is wrong that there is profit being made in the adoption industry. The transferring of parental rights to a child, that we call adoption, is a $13 Billion dollar annual industry. Every day we hear more and more about corruption in adoption and many adoption experts agree that we need to get the profit motive out of it. There is just too much income motivation and not in the best interest of the child – most often in the interest of hopeful adoptive parents. Money matters – not the child’s welfare. In addition, the high cost of adopting makes it completely out of reach for many prospective adoptive parents. These people, in desperation, take out second mortgages or hold adoption fundraisers. I do not think of this acknowledgement regarding the influence of money as “anti-adoption.” I see this acknowledgement as looking for efforts that are pro-child welfare and not focused on turning babies into commodities.

Birthparents face a lack of follow-up services. Whoever has the prize (the baby) has won the battle. The one who gave birth no longer matters. If there are any mental health professionals involved, they are often uneducated about the long term effects of relinquishment on the birth parents. I see this as being a strong advocate for the continued support of the people directly affected by adoption, including the adoptee who never had a say in what was being done to them.

I believe that the marketing and promotional aspects of adoption need to be seriously overhauled. I do think there is something wrong with an adoption agency spending thousands of dollars in advertising or using crisis pregnancy centers to recruit mothers, simply to ask them to consider adoption as the outcome for their babies. Adoption websites must discuss both the positives and the negatives, the risks and possibilities, when providing adoption information to all of the parties involved. People should not be told what they want to hear in order to seal a deal, pay a fee, or relinquish a child. I see this perspective as demanding “truth” from the industry and honoring that spirit by demanding honest information be conveyed.

We must change adoption practices so that the expectant parents considering adoption have enough information to make an informed choice.  An agency cannot tell potential birth mothers that they are strong and courageous, promise them relationships with their children and expect them to find peace and heal.  Adoption professionals must present, however scant, the known research about the consequences of long-term grief, the true statistics regarding of adoptee outcomes, secondary infertility rates, and the legal truth about open adoption agreements (they are un-enforceable).  Adoption counseling should be from a true unbiased source and must ensure that mothers considering adoption have other real options – plans for parenting their baby and realistic bail-out, change of mind/heart time frames available.  It is wrong to ask mothers to “choose” adoption unless they do so with truthful knowledge, of their own free will and knowing the realities they will face the rest of their life related to their choice. I can not count how many birthmothers QUICKLY regret that decision to surrender their precious baby to adoption. “Informed” must be truly informed and not based on some pretty descriptive version of adoption fantasyland.

Pro-ethical accountability. I want to see children’s needs come first.  I want fathers’ rights upheld. I want legal accountability from all parties involved.  I want more than a patchwork of state laws that allow people to cross state lines, get a new license, and work around regulations.  We must restore to adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates.  Currently adult adoptees are the only classification of US citizens that are denied the right to access their original birth certificates based on the fact they were adopted.  This issue touches on their right to know their true identity. If the adoptee desires, it is normal to want know the story of their own birth. Adults should have access to their actual genetic history and genealogy, as well as their detailed medical information. Sometimes even the ability to get a passport, a driver’s license, vote or to have health insurance is dependent on true identity information (and not some made-up identity, as in adoption). The state governments are still stuck in a past created on a perception of shame, defending secrecy regarding adoption details and supporting the lies necessary to accomplish this. My perspective is anti-discrimination and in support of adoptee civil rights.

The Chilean Scandal

In the 70s, 80s and 90s, there was a wave of children leaving the country and due to this phenomenon they are currently spread all over the world. Those decades were very difficult times for the country’s history due to the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

Since some years however, it is known that many of these children have not been left by their mothers and/or families voluntarily. As a result, today there is an official investigations in progress that tries to identify those involved. The official complaints of families who have lost their children under the most strange circumstances are still coming in on a daily basis and official numbers have past the amount of 10.000 official declarations in the year 2018.

The mothers and families are looking for their children! The adopted children are adults today and have always lived a life away from their birth-country and -families. Their families who never wanted to be separated from their children in the first place. 

Chilean Adoptees Worldwide was founded in Chile in 2018 by Alejandro Quezada, Angélica Martínez and Jessica Pincheira, all of whom were adopted illegally and lived the biggest parts of their lives in The Netherlands, Sweden and Belgium. Alejandro returned to Chile in 2014 to investigate his own adoption and continued to live in Chile today.

Here is one story – Maria Diemar always knew she was adopted. Her Swedish parents were always open about her Chilean heritage. When she was 11, Diemar’s parents showed her the papers that arrived with her in Sweden as a two-month-old baby in 1975. The file on her parentage offered a brief, unflattering portrait of a teenage mother who sent her newborn girl to be raised by strangers on the other side of the world. “They said she was a live-in maid, that she had a son who lived with her parents, and that she was poor,” Diemar remembers.

The Adoption Centre is a Swedish NGO who had facilitated her adoption. Sweden has one of the highest per-capita international adoption rates in the world. In the 1990s, the agency launched a program to help adoptees reunite with their biological families. However, they had no information on Diemar’s mother.

She went to Chile but she own efforts proved fruitless. Finally, thanks to some dogged efforts by an adoption search angel in Chile in January 2003, her mother was found. As often happens in adoptee efforts for reunion, the answers are bittersweet. Her birth mother declined to meet Diemar in person. She was married now and was afraid that her husband would not take kindly to the appearance of a long-lost daughter who was not his. But she wanted Diemar to know she had never intended to give her away. She said her baby had been stolen from her at birth.

In September 2017, Diemar watched a film by Chilean documentary-maker Alejandro Vega, in which women, mostly from poor and minority backgrounds in Chile, described how they had been tricked or coerced into giving up their babies for international adoption. While he was working on a follow-up report in 2018, Vega made contact with Diemar, through an adoptees’ Facebook group. At her request, he reviewed papers relating to her adoption and found them to be full of errors and omissions. From what he had seen of her file, he believed there were fundamental problems in Diemar’s adoption.

This news was devastating. Diemar felt she had accepted that her adoption was done in the proper manner because she couldn’t handle the emotional fallout. Now the truth hit her with full force. “My whole body reacted,” she said. “I started to shake and cry.”

During the 70s and 80s, between 8,000 and 20,000 Chilean babies and young children were adopted by families across Europe and North America. The biological mothers were typically very young and very poor. These adoptions were part of a national strategy to eradicate childhood poverty, which the military dictatorship hoped to accomplish by removing deprived children from the country. International adoptions had begun decades before Augusto Pinochet took power but by 1978 promoting adoption became the official policy of the government. Pressure on mothers to give up their children increased and international adoptions surged.

The effect of Pinochet’s policies was the “criminalization of poverty.” State power was used against poor families to prevent them from raising their own children and a climate of violence prevented most mothers from resisting. Not only were the victims poor, many of them were also members of the indigenous Mapuche community, a group that has long been persecuted. Under the dictatorship, the precarious existence of these women was seen as an obstacle to progress.

Many countries had severed relations with Chile after the 1973 coup that overthrew the nation’s democratically elected government. “The dictatorship promoted adoption as a mechanism to rebuild diplomatic relations,” says Karen Alfaro, a professor of history and geography at the Austral University of Chile and an expert on Chile’s international adoptions, “especially with countries that had received Chilean exiles and whose governments were critical of human rights violations.”

And in the early 70s, accounts emerged from Chile of women being coerced by child-welfare workers into giving up their young children. Some said they had been falsely told by doctors and nurses at government-run hospitals that their babies had died at birth. The mothers were never given death certificates or allowed to see their babies. Those who attempted to involve the police, or took their stories to the media, were intimidated and treated as mentally unstable by the very people involved in taking their children.

Would-be parents in Europe and the US were paying international adoption agencies between $6,500 and $150,000 for each child. A cut of these fees often found its way to Chilean professionals who helped to identify “eligible” children and extricate them from their marginalized and uneducated parents. “International adoption agencies had representatives in Chile who developed networks of paid mediators, most of whom were public officials, to provide children for adoption,” Alfaro said. “There were social workers paid to issue false reports of child abandonment, and there was money for doctors and nurses to generate birth certificates that would say the baby died at birth, and judges paid to approve transfer of custody.”

Finally, in September 2018, under pressure from groups working to reunite families divided by abusive adoptions, Chile’s lower house of congress created a commission to investigate these historical allegations. By July 2019, the commission released a 144 page report, describing “mafias” of healthcare professionals and public officials who used nefarious methods to take children from their mothers and ensure a regular supply of babies in what had become a “lucrative business”. What had been an unregulated practice before Pinochet took power had been legally codified during the dictatorship. The result was that unscrupulous adoptions practices carried on with impunity. The report concluded that the adoptions were crimes against humanity.

As a child, Maria Diemar dreamed of hugging her birth mother and reuniting with her. “I thought I was going to look like my mum,” Diemar said. “That felt important to me.” As an adult, after the revelation that she may have been forcibly taken from her, Diemar accepted that, no matter how comforting a reunion might be, it wouldn’t change the sorrow of the past. 

Very much like the Georgia Tann case, from time to time, rumors of scandal emerged in Chile. From 1974 to 1975, a scandal about the alleged sale of Chilean babies overseas was investigated after Chilean media questioned whether these were really orphan, and whether they had been given up willingly. In 1974, Chile’s supreme court dispatched a family court judge to Sweden to investigate. But the judge issued a favorable report about the Adoption Centre in Sweden and its operations in Chile. A newspaper article published in August 1975 said the judge had found no evidence that the Adoption Centre had broken the law. On the contrary, they found that the agency was providing children with an ideal environment in which to grow.

In 2017, a criminal investigation into historical international adoptions was launched in Chile by Mario Carroza, a judge in the Santiago court of appeals who has overseen numerous investigations of human rights abuses under the military dictatorship. According to Kerstin Gedung, the current director of the Adoption Centre, views on the primacy of biological parenting have “evolved” in the decades since the agency was active in Chile. The Adoption Centre ceased operations in Chile in 1992. Laws and regulations have improved and the organization has helped to develop guidelines and ethical rules for international adoption, she said. “We worked in accordance with the legal framework that existed in Chile in the 70s and 80s and the adoptions were legally correct and confirmed in courts in Chile and in Sweden,” Gedung reported.

In Chile, in the wake of its devastating 2019 report, congress ordered the creation of a Truth and Reparation Commission and a DNA database to help families and adoptees find one another. Yet efforts to investigate the deeper connection between these historical crimes and the role played by Pinochet’s dictatorship have stalled. 

Diemar has been studying Mapuche culture, and its language, Mapuzugun, which has brought her a measure of peace. Chile’s native populations are eligible to receive official accreditation of their indigenous status and Diemar hopes to one day secure hers. She has met her brothers and sisters but has only spoken with her mother over the phone. She thinks her mother is coming around to the idea of meeting her daughter in person. “I really would like to see my mum in person, see what she looks like and sit down with her and learn more about my background,” Diemar said. “She is my mum.”

A much more extensive article regarding this story is in The Guardian – The Scandal of Chile’s Stolen Children.

So You Want To Help A Child ?

Many people go into foster care with good intentions. They really want to help a child who might need it. Here are some words from a woman who did that.

So, having been a foster parent, I want to just get out there to those considering it to say – don’t. Child protection is a corrupt vehicle of systemic abuse. The system abuses children, and as cogs in that machine, you are participating. If you ‘have a heart’ for children or ‘feel called’ or whatever it is, let me suggest you can do any of the following:

1. Volunteer as a CASA. These advocates listen to kids and represent their position in court. No one listens to foster kids, and this is a genuine chance.

2. Volunteer at a local women’s shelter, as a domestic violence or sexual assault advocate, or within the shelter childcare system.

3. Support wellness courts, programs that serve addicts, and programs in your community aimed at helping with food security or relieving poverty. Most children are removed because their parents are struggling with addiction.

4. If you truly want to be a foster parent, license for transitional care or teens, and don’t waiver.

5. Donate your kids clothes and baby items.

What else can you think of that might help?

My family has long taken our obsolete toys to our regional women and children’s shelter for those fleeing domestic violence (children do grow up and we bought more things at Christmas – trying it make it magical like we experienced as children ourselves – than we should have and while it was a lot of fun to open all those presents on Christmas morning, many – sad to say – remained on shelves and were never looked at again. Happy they get a second chance). We have also taken the children’s outgrown clothes and the women’s clothes no longer need by me to the same place.

It is a small thing. Nothing to win awards for but it is some thing. Do what you can. It matters.

Systemic Constraints

Foster care is a system full of constraints.  There are the legal ones and the social ones and the physical ones.  Regardless of good intentions, anyone choosing to be a foster parent will have to recognize, acknowledge, work within, make the system fit their actual circumstances and do the best they can without ever being able to end the constraints.  It is fraught with problems.

The foster care system is simply corrupt. As a foster parent, you can’t change it from the inside.  There are those that would love to just burn it all down but it is too overwhelming and entrenched to make any difference.  Better to acknowledge as a foster parent that you are not special nor are you are privileged enough to change anything.

No matter what you do, if you have a corrupt social worker, they can and will do whatever they want to. A parent should not have to fight Child Protective Services or the Department of Human Services to regain custody of their own kids. Foster caregivers should not have to fight these same large bureaucratic agencies. Those seeking a kinship solution for their young family members should not have to fight the system.  But all of these do and often fail to achieve success.

One foster parent recently shared her own perspective informed by direct experience – These agencies had an premeditated, well executed plan in place, before they even let her know what was happening. They made it where she, the agency she works through and the kids’ parents have no way to stop the forward trajectory of that plan expected to culminate in adoption. And she has tried and pulled out all the stops in defense of this family.

She now has a plan to show up at the court house with these 4 kids and their parents in order to try to beg and plead with the judge to intervene. She acknowledges that at this point, the judge is the only one that can stop the removal of these children from their parents and the permanent termination of those parents’ rights to their own offspring.

She explains the damage she saw when she took the children to visit their parents.  The expectation was for a long afternoon filled with swimming, music, cooking and fun.  Yet the devastation in the parents overwhelmed the prospect of a joyful occasion.  All she saw in the parents’ eyes were tears, sadness, worry, defeat, anger, hopelessness and confusion.  These emotions infected the children.   The mom, dad and brothers spent most of their time together crying off and on. These children face that permanent end to their natural familial relationships in only a couple of days.  It weighed heavily on every one in the family.

It is a helpless, angry, sad, worried, and defeated feeling.  This foster mom had to drive by the local Department of Human Services in her way back out of town after this visit.  She admits to having felt so distraught that if she had had a lighter and some gasoline, she would have been tempted to burned the place to the ground.

She judges that none of this okay but that this is the foster care system – corruption, an abuse of power and the application of a kind of oppression that traumatizes the children and their parents.  As a foster parent, she experiences a lack of support and compassion from the system. It is her feeling that they don’t care about families. She believes monetary issues based on a for profit adoption model are what matters in this case.

Admittedly, this is the story of a poor family with 10 children.  The issue here is with the 4 youngest who are babies or toddlers.  This age group of children is easy to place for adoption because there is more demand to adopt babies than a supply of such children.

Her feelings are such that she warns people thinking about becoming foster parents to just don’t.  Do not be part of the problem. She warns that if you are, then you are participating in a corrupt system that intentionally tears families apart. Not to be deluded into thinking you will be one of the “good ones” who is going to change anything. The system doesn’t care about the foster parent and they have no power within it. The system will trample on a foster parent, just like it tramples on everyone else.

If there were no foster homes and child welfare agencies, then there would be billions of $$ available to create family supports for everything from abuse to addiction and everything in between. There would be no harm and resources would be plentifully available for struggling parents.

Need convincing monetary issues are involved in people becoming foster parents ?

Let’s suggest a realistic figure of $77/day/child for foster parents. $77 times 30 days = $2,121/month/kid. If there are 3 kids being fostered that is $6,363/month total.  If the foster care lasts for a year then that is $76,356. And it isn’t unusual for a foster home to house as many as 6 kids for a year, netting these people $152,712 for that year.  It is easy to see that providing foster care can be considered a good way to make one’s living.  And this calculation doesn’t even begin to factor in the money the whole adoption industry makes providing children to hopeful adoptive parents.

The number of child welfare workers known to lie to kids and their parents, or withhold information from them, in the effort to prevent a reunification within the natural family, is appalling to those with direct knowledge.  This is a system that needs to change but for which any change seems impossible to achieve.

 

Intertwined and Corrupt

In the adoption group I belong to, an adoptive mother wrote –

If you understand how deeply corrupt adoption is, and do not understand how deeply corrupt the justice system is, then you may need to re-evaluate how much you REALLY believe adoption is corrupt.  This can also be said the opposite way.  Both systems use each other to remain corrupt.  In my opinion, if you support one of these systems, you ultimately support both. This is not political either. Just basic human rights.

Let me say it again – this woman describes herself as a adoptive mother.  WTF ?

One adoptee replied –

I’m not making a statement on my opinion of the justice system. What I’m saying is that this is an adoption page where the focus is adoption. Nobody, especially an entitled, self-important baby buyer is going to hijack this page for her own agenda. It pisses me off to have an adoptive parent tell me that I’m not allowed to speak out about adoption unless I follow her rules. Fuck her! Let those that have lived experience with the justice system speak their truths and be heard in their forums. This space is for us.

Another adoptee noted –

You cannot dismantle the systems of adoption that affect us as adoptees, without addressing ALL of the systems that fail ALL OF US.  The fact is, adoption, AND the justice system both fail people of color far more, and far worse, than they fail white people.

Another responder affirmed –

The criminal justice system does play a part in the adoption system and adoption reform. It definitely played a part in my case along with many other cases… they absolutely go hand in hand.

And the best response was this –

Adoption is driven by selfish, baby seeking citizens who think they are better. The demand of these selfish and/or savior minded citizens is what drives the corruption because supply does not meet demand. Demand equals money equals corruption, coercion, manipulation. Every single person that goes into the corrupt system of adoption wants the same thing…a child. The goal is singular. Take a child from their mother: We adoptees are the pawns. The ones that have so much value people are willing to pay $30000/$40000 to get us. Hopeful adoptive parents don’t care about our rights and don’t care that they are paying to ruin lives.

So let’s say it this way “If you understand deeply how corrupt the justice system is and you don’t understand how corrupt the adoption/foster system is and how YOU are part of that corruption – then maybe you need to re-evaluate”

 

A Question of Ethics

A question arises among adoptees about the morality of putting a price on their lives.  It is a fair question.  Is it right to pay tens of thousands of dollars to buy a child ?  The going price is often in the $30,000-$40,000 price range.

One adoptive parent answered that question rather honestly – “We were so clouded by desire that we really didn’t think about the cost.”

What would you think, if you knew, that an agency had tiered pricing on the babies they are selling ?   White$$$, whomever $$, Black$.  Is value related to the ethnicity of a person ?

An adoptive parent in an honest evaluation of how they are feeling might say, “The moment we drove away from the hospital it felt like we stole him. It was such a conflicting feeling.”  Some won’t even give it a moment’s pause.

What would you think if you knew the legal system was being gamed ?  “Our lawyer was a whole other bag of nuts as she moved our court date around because the judge that was assigned to our case hates adoption.”  I wonder why ?  Could it be that judge knows something about the realities ?

A very honest adoptive parent might admit to an adoptee that – “Yes we bought a kid, yes at the time we thought we were doing the right thing ‘if we didn’t take him…’ yes, I wish it was different for him that he wasn’t a secret. But I love him. I am totally geeked when he discovers something new. I make little videos and pictures to send to the one app that I know the natural mother checks, so she can see her son. I hope that she comes and builds a relationship with this amazing human. I also daily feel conflicted with the whole process. I caught myself in the market one day when asked if he was adopted – I replied ‘oh no we bought him.’ I struggle with not wanting him to feel like he was a purchase. Do you ever feel like you were not bought ?”

Money will always be a complicating factor.  It is often said of corrupt practices “follow the money.”  That makes sense.  Who is gaining wealth at the expense of whom ?  Just one of the reasons that the whole system of adoption is being looked at deeply and reforms to that practice are being discussed.

It Is Always Rigged

Money drives adoption and the poor are unsupported.  I believe society should fully support mothers until the children reach maturity so that they have the means to raise them.  Too often mothers lose custody of their children for no other reason than poverty.

The adoption laws are skewed to support adoptive parents – because they have the money.  The laws are skewed to support the industry – agencies, social workers and lawyers – because they are profiting from it.  No one seems to truly care about the child or the child’s original mother.  This is just so very wrong and contributes to damaged individuals that become a burden, though not intending to, upon society.

American domestic infant and international adoption has become privatized and entrepreneurial. Only adoption from foster care remains in the hands of the state and unfortunately represents its own set of failures, abuses and funding driven corruption.

The difference between for- and not-for-profit adoption agencies is merely a tax status, though the later gives an illusion of a charitable organization. Coupled with warm, fuzzy, cutesy names that tug at the heartstrings, clients are deluded into a false sense of propriety, oversight and security. The fact is that both types of agencies are commercial businesses that rely on the fees of a completed transaction to pay their overhead and salaries which is less glamorous and far less altruistic than the public perception of adoption. All vetting and home studies are paid for by the clients seeking a child. Basically, anyone who can afford the fees, which average about $40,000, can adopt, including pedophiles and abusers of all kinds. Pay the fee and get the goods. It’s a supply and demand business in a mega-billion dollar a year industry.

In addition to businesses that fill a demand for children to adopt, there is also the Do-It-Yourself type of adoption that is legally permitted in the U.S. Those seeking to find an infant to adopt, as well as anyone seeking to place a child for adoption, can find one another through newspaper advertisements, and online via Craig’s List or social media such as Facebook, and have their attorney handle necessary filings to make the adoption legal. Just like a “For Sale by Owner” house listing, middlemen “finder” fees are avoided by the DIY method. But, so too are any protections and any professional advice said fees may offer.

In either case – on your own or with the assistance of an adoption agency – the process winds up resulting in prospective couples matched with expectant mothers which, opens the door to unhealthy, unequal relationships.