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.

No, You Don’t Deserve A Baby

Regarding adoption, one prospective couple wrote – “I want a baby not a full grown kid. My husband and I deserve a baby. We both crave a baby to raise as our own”.

I get that.  Not that I believe they deserve someone else’s baby but that they are hoping for that blank slate that Georgia Tann always advertised her babies as being.  Science has determined that isn’t the truth but anyway.

Another prospective adoptive couple stated, “Older children come with so many issues. You can’t mother an older child like an infant. Especially as first time parents”.  Though I was not a first time parent, my husband was.

When my husband decided he wanted to be a father, we did talk about adoption but decided that we wanted a truly blank slate as our beginning position.  We wanted to conceive and for me to carry our baby in my womb, give birth and breastfeed that baby for a reasonable length of time.  We did need considerable medical assistance and there was a compromise involved that seemed reasonable but still must be faced fully and accepted.  Which I believe I have for the most part.

Regarding the expense of adoption, someone was quoted as saying, “Adoption should be free like abortion is”.  Now that does blow my mind because abortion is not free.  I know.  I had one back in the mid-1970s.  There is a cost in dollars at the time and over the long run a cost mentally and emotionally with making such a significant decision.  I continue believe it was the right decision at the time I made it but that doesn’t equate to the reality being easy to live with.

Here is another statement that is absolutely not true – “If adoption wasn’t so expensive, there would be more kids who find homes”.  Fact is there are 4 couples wanting to adopt for every child available to be adopted.  That is one of the reasons that over the most recent decades, many couples have gone out of the United States to obtain a child to raise as their own.

One of the major interests among the members of the adoption community – original parents and adoptees – is reform.  Part of reform is actually raising awareness and changing perspectives.  That is the hope and the purpose for which I write a blog on related topics each day.

It’s Time To End It

Half of these United States still keep adoption records permanently sealed unless the affected person can obtain a court order.  As I tried to learn who my original grandparents were, I ran up against sealed records in Virginia, Arizona and California.  If my mom’s adoption had not been part of a baby stealing and selling scandal, I would not have gotten her adoption record from Tennessee.

It is time for the states to throw open the locked doors.

With inexpensive DNA testing and matching sites like Ancestry and 23 and Me, it is possible to do an end-run around the effort to keep the truth from people affected by these practices.

Given the wealth of information I received from Tennessee, there is likely to be equally important personal life details in the records of these states that still withhold information from persons who have been affected.

In my case, I am a direct descendant.  Both of my adoptee parents are deceased as are their original parents and adoptive parents.  Other than laziness, I really don’t get the value of preventing me from knowing information about my family that most people not affected by the practice easily know.

With Virginia, I had hoped to know if my mom was born in a hospital or at home and what time she was born.  With Arizona, I wanted to know if they still had records of the home visits by a probation officer prior to her adoption being finalized.  With California, I wanted to be able to see my dad’s original birth certificate.  At the time, I didn’t know if his mother, who was unwed, had named his father.