It’s A Matter Of Being Supported

A woman in my all things adoption group writes – I have seen a lot of hopeful adoptive parents lamenting recently how agencies are turning them down as clients, foster care in some states has stopped licensing people and generally that adoptions are down.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this past year has brought many low income families greater financial resources by way of government assistance. When I share this, there is always a plethora of “well that’s only temporary and what are they going to do when the stimulus, credits and extra unemployment stops ? That’s when we will see more kids available for adoption.”

This is how they pacify each other – yet they fail to see this for what it is. Money matters !!

Why is this not a waving RED FLAG for them that finances are a major reason women place or lose their children. A lump sum as many have gotten could be the down payment on a home. It could be rent for months, while they get on their feet. It could be replacing an old car with a more reliable one or getting a vehicle when they did not have one.

Any of these things that most of these hopeful adoptive parents take for granted could be what makes the difference between someone keeping their children or losing them. But no, they are unable to see the truth of this.

They cry that families are not being separated, so that they can create a family of their own. We should be rejoicing about this change in the old status quo. We should be recognizing that this reduction in children available for adoption during the past year plus means that helping families with real support IS an answer to keeping families together.

Those who wish to adopt don’t want to hear that though because that does not meet their selfish goals of acquiring someone else’s child.

Surprising Pandemic Effect

Domestic Infant Adoption and Foster 2 Adopt websites are full of complaints about a shortage of newborn infants put up for adoption this year.

Why might that be?

Simple to explain considering the governments willingness to actually financially support struggling citizens thanks to a pandemic. Extended unemployment that can be claimed by parents without daycare. Extra Electronic Benefit Transfers (EBT), small stimulus checks, the availability of food banks and free school breakfast/ lunch meals delivered and extended to homes with school age children and the stopping of evictions….

A truly ‘small amount’ of help can make all the difference to a mom in an overwhelming situation….

Most domestic infant adoptions are poverty driven. Single mom’s and two parent families facing joblessness, homelessness, poverty, lack of daycare, depression and helplessness will sometimes give up a child that they would otherwise LOVE to parent.

Many of these struggling families, with just a fraction of the ‘Go Fund Me’ money that hopeful adoptive parents frequently raise to fund their adoption expenses …. would be enough to allow these mom’s or parents to continue to parent their own natural children.

Clearly society can do better than we have been doing in the past. We’ve proven it. Now as a society, we need to prove we can continue to do as much to help families succeed. It is in the interest of stable citizens raised well that we should.

Limited Perspectives

I was thinking yesterday evening that the same mindset causes both adoptions and abortions. It is the limited perspective of the pregnant woman about what she believes she is capable of. In my adoption group there comes occasionally a pregnant woman who is trying to decide whether or not to surrender her baby to adoption. Not all adoptees say they are happy their mother didn’t abort them. It is a sad commentary on the experience of some adoptees and others feel they had a good enough life and accept that their mothers did the best they could in that moment for the higher good of all concerned.

So in the adoption group, when a pregnant mother shows up and hasn’t made a decision, the group always recommends several courses of action to her. The main one is – don’t decide right away. Don’t allow prospective adoptive parents to be at the hospital with you. Don’t sign the papers in advance. Spend some time with your infant. You can always make that choice – weeks, months later. Hopefully not years later when it may be even more traumatic. Give your infant some time with you. In these modern times, there are groups who will try to help you with the necessaries, at least in the short term.

I was reflecting recently on the fact that each of my parents were with their original mothers for about 6 to 8 months as infants. I take some comfort in knowing they had that forward development time not separated from the woman who gave birth to them. All a baby knows at birth is that mother who birthed them. I do know my dad’s mom breastfed him. I don’t know about my mom’s mom. Certainly once she was taken to Porter-Leath orphanage in Memphis, she would have been fed a bottle of formula (what was considered a formula at the time).

Most of the women who chose adoption or abortion do not believe they are capable of raising a child. Society’s willingness to financially help such women does not have a good track record. When I ran out of birth control while driving an 18-wheel truck cross county and quickly became pregnant, I knew that if I went through with that pregnancy, my partner was not going to be there for me. He said as much but he left my decisions up to me, if it can be called solely my decision under the circumstances. I already had struggled to raise my daughter following a divorce when I received no child support. Her father and a step-mother were raising her by this point. I chose an abortion. It was early in the pregnancy, the procedure was safe and legal and I’ve not regretted not being tied to that family by a child. I have struggled with the morality of it thanks to the vocal efforts of the Pro-Life contingent but it is a done deal.

As I have learned more about the subconscious trauma of babies being separated from their mothers for adoption, I am also glad I didn’t inflict that on my unrealized baby. I already had done enough damage to my daughter, though at the time I thought her circumstances were better than they were. Both of my sisters gave up babies to adoption. One always knew she was going to do that and went about it rather methodically. The other explored abortion but was too far along. She tried to get government assistance but was rejected because she was living with our parents and their financial resources were the grounds upon which she was denied (which I will always judge as very wrong of the system). Our mother, an adoptee herself, coerced my sister into choosing adoption. My parents were unwilling to take on the financial responsibility that potentially would have fallen upon them. We’ll never know what the alternatives would have yielded.

The point is that in my adoption group, time and again, I’ve seen a variety of outcomes. In some the young mother does wait and finds resources and decides without regret and great joy to try and parent her baby. Some make some other arrangements, either for temporary help or for an open adoption, that fail in some manner and it becomes a legal battle to get their child back or to know how the child is developing when as often happens, the adoptive parents renege on the open part.

It is said in a song – you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need. And I think generally speaking whatever we get, actually is what we needed, because the reality is, that is what we got. Hasty decisions can lead to a lifetime of regrets. I’ve seen that too in women who relinquished their child. I’ve been told that was the case for both of my own original grandmothers. Both remarried. One went on to have other children.

Clueless

“Hey guys.I’m a single woman who’s plan was to start applying to adopt/foster in my state. Sad story was that my social worker said that I wasn’t allowed to receive any government help like 0. I have to have a job which that’s mandatory at least with this agency. And I’m not complaining about having a job either or I’m still planing on working at some point the thing that caught me off guard was her response to government aid must be 0. Yes all the way from food stamps to government funded apartments that’s a huge No, causing disqualification to apply. I spoke with my therapist and since I have bipolar 1 she told me that it would be best to postpone the plan of adoption/foster care all together for now, my therapist even said that she does not want me to feel sad if at the end foster/adoption care is not an option for me even if I truly wanted to make a difference, since the agency is strict on keeping government out of the picture.
Any thoughts?
Advice?
Does this sound fair or unfair ?”

It’s hard to know where to start . . .

Not surprisingly, came this satirical response –

Um. Totally unfair. You should totally be jobless and on government assistance because you’ll get PLENTY of money to live on saving these kids from their parents on government assistance. If you take like 8 kids at a time you’ll make serious bank, and BONUS if you take some older kids with the younger kids you never have to do anything because the older kids can do all the cooking and cleaning and diaper changes! Yay! Also, f**k this bitch.

More to the point, came this one –

Someone sounds like they need to get their own life in order before, erm, “helping” (themselves to someone else’s children)…

And even more to the point –

Yes, it is very reasonable. FYI, they may also want to talk about your being bipolar, review your meds and/or want to talk to your therapist or get a statement from them that they recommended you would do well with foster care. Here’s the thing: all of the kids in foster care are going through big time trauma. They need someone who is financially and emotionally stable to help them through it.

In a lot of cases, poverty and mental illness have a lot to do with why the kids came into care. It’s kinda hypocritical to take them out of that just to place them right back into it. For example, the case plan might say that the parents have to get a job to get the kids back. So in the meantime, they stay with you, but you don’t have a job?

It’s great that you want to help, but what do you mean by foster/adopt? If you’re getting into foster care to adopt, just don’t, you won’t have the right mindset and it will not be good for you or the kids. What do you mean by your agency keeping government out of the picture? Foster Care =government, so I’m not really understanding that.

And finally –

She should talk to all these birth families who lose their biological children for bipolar disorder and because they were seeking mental health help and were in poverty or disabled. This post makes me angry because it seems so out of touch with reality.

Foster kids are not a prop or little adventure to embark on. You can’t just (or SHOULDN’T just) be a foster parent because you randomly decide you “love kids” and “it’s your calling.”

You can’t just decide you’re gonna be a foster parent when nothing in your life is in order to do so.

Mental health, unemployment, needing to rely on the system….. these are some of the causes for kids to be removed from their biological parents.  Our society would be better off extending the services and finances to the natural families so that they can keep their own children.

Gotcha Day

It is hard to believe but it is true, some families actually celebrate the legal finalizing of a child’s great loss as something like a birthday or holiday.  Gotha Day is actually a real thing.  I suppose it truly is a happy moment for them. But it seems to mistake what is happy for them when it is also a very sad day for others.

This official transfer of a child is a loss for the birth parents as well as their child. It is likely the natural mom and maybe the natural dad as well have never cried harder than they ever did that day they signed those papers giving another couple the legal right to call their child someone else’s own child. It is bittersweet. Nothing more and nothing less.

Now that I know about the wounds of adoption, it is even harder for me to accept that my adoptee mom actually had the nerve to encourage my sister to give up her daughter for adoption. Unbelievable but true and that is the reality.

Our own parents (both adoptees) were not willing to risk financial responsibility and so made it literally impossible for my sister to care for her daughter/their granddaughter as she would surely have done had she had adequate support. My sister even tried to get government assistance but was told that our parents wealth made her ineligible because she was living in their home due to her pregnancy. Another unbelievable but true fact.

Gotcha day is what some adoptive parents call the day the birth parents signed their rights away and often that is the day that the adoption agency and the adoptive parents stopped talking to the natural parents. They all got what they came for – except someone else had to lose to make that possible.

The adoptive parents now have possession and control.