Before Surrendering to Adoption

Along with other reform efforts, this idea really appeals to me. A mom who is thinking about placing her child for adoption, should have real unbiased counseling beforehand. Especially if the mom is a teen or young adult. A mom shouldn’t feel pressured to place. She should know her rights. This is her baby. She doesn’t owe anyone her baby.

If she does decide to place she needs to know everything. Especially about open adoption not being legally enforceable. This is rarely, if ever, mentioned to the mom. She doesn’t have to sign at the 72 or 48 hour mark. She can change her mind anytime. She can take her time. She can take her baby home, if she chooses to.

This is what happens all too often. An expectant mom is thinking about adoption but she isn’t really sure yet that she wants to give up her child. At the same time, there are hopeful adoptive parents getting their hopes up and the agency, who has a profit motive in the game, puts a lot of pressure on the young mom to place. Especially, when it comes to teens whose brains are still maturing. The brain doesn’t finish developing until 25-30 years old.

I think requiring expectant mothers to go through unbiased counseling would help the expectant mother make a choice without the interference of money motivated bias. Some of the language used with these young women suggests to them that they have nothing to offer their baby. These young women are told that not placing their child is a selfish decision. She may be further encouraged by dreams she had at the time she conceived of going to college and becoming successful in a profession. She is told that if she doesn’t surrender her child, she’ll fail in life.

She may also be suggested as a heroine, making a couple’s dream of becoming parents come true. Furthermore, if she decides not to places and so changes her mind – she will be breaking the hearts of some hopeful adoptive parents who have so very much more to offer her child than she does.

Young, expectant mothers should NOT have that kind of pressure put upon them. Real unbiased counseling can help these young women weigh their options more honestly and accurately. The sessions would allow the expectant mother to explore ALL if her feelings about pregnancy and not only dwell on her doubts and fears.

Sure, adoption agencies offer provide a kind of counseling. But really ? One cannot judge it to be un-baised when money is the motivator for the agency. The expectant mother has a “product” to offer and adoption is presented as the only fair, reasonable and practical choice she truly has.

Adoption Competition

I’m an entrepreneurial business person, so I get it. We got in on a big recycling push that carried our business (www.yemmhart.com) to a nice high just before the great recession of 2009. We’ve not totally recovered and the pandemic hasn’t help but we’re still doing business. At the time we started our effort, we benefitted from some awesome and free promotional efforts motivated by magazine’s own commercial interests. Advertising one can’t buy and I’ll admit, it was great.

So, this t-shirt design company that markets their custom product for fund-raising efforts has married their effort to produce revenue and their marketing need to raise awareness of their company to the expensive efforts of couple’s wanting to adopt a child (usually tens of thousands of dollars needed to do so these days).

Therefore, they have created a marketing promotion – an adoption competition. The couple who gets the most friends and usually local acquaintances (via local news sources bringing an awareness – advertising you can’t buy) to buy a t-shirt from this company gets 1 vote for every t-shirt sold. There are 10 couples. You can view them here – adoption finalists. The competition ends tomorrow, November 19th.

The company writes on their website – Every year, we help fund an adoption. November is national adoption month and this year we’re helping another family bring their beloved child home! You would be amazed what happens when you combine T-shirts, social media and the power of someone’s story.

And thus, another brilliant marketing campaign and revenue generator is born.

Intentionally Creating an Adoptee

So the topic came up about how a birth mother loses her baby – intentionally surrendering the baby at the hospital to pre-selected adoptive parents who are hovering there through labor, delivery and immediately after the birth – or because the baby has been taken away by child protective services.

The topic first came up from a woman who falls in the latter category and feels despised by just about everyone as a despicable failure.

In this adoption group I belong to, I’ve come to know that the predominant opinion is that adoption in general is a bad thing. That young mothers are convinced by parents, religious authorities and society in general that they are incapable of parenting a baby they have conceived and carried to term. This has created a hugely profitable industry supporting the separating of a baby from its original mother and handing it over to a couple that can afford to pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of calling the original mother’s baby her own.

So the first response, to the sad feelings of the mom who lost her baby due to the intervention of child protective services, comes from an adoptee thus –

I’m way more judgmental of women that carry children to full term knowing that they have no intention of parenting. Like the minute they have the baby it goes to the adoptive parents without a blink. In my mind…they are purposefully creating an Adoptee. I find that despicable. (This is of course a very broad statement that does not apply to every single one.) Mother’s that lose their children to the system did not plan on creating an Adoptee. They had every intention of raising their children. Then something happened between the time of birth and the time of separation. Regardless of the reason for removal…it was never their intention for their children to be parented by strangers. (Again…a very broad statement that does not apply to every case).

Another woman, a mom who lost her child writes –

There’s a stigma that if your rights have been terminated through the system then as a mom, it puts a red X on us. Here’s just a few examples of things that have been said to me – “You obviously didn’t try hard enough.” “If it was my kid, I’d fight til the death.” “You must have done something just really terrible.” A lot of people in society, especially adoptive parents only see a different side of the system. They don’t see how people get there or the months of fighting for your child just to be fought at every turn. It seems as though everything is weaponized against you, not just during, but for years afterwards.

Yet another mother who lost her child adds –

Watching somebody else raise our kids is always hard. Watching somebody who was deemed “better than us” do it is harder. And when that person is abusing them while the child you were PERMITTED to raise is thriving (for the most part) is harder. As mothers of welfare loss, we have to live with the fact our children are in a system known for its abuses. I’m lucky to have contact with mine.

The problem is that society is conditioned to believe that Child Protective Services is infallible and only takes kids when something is severely wrong and their parents give up, correcting that narrative is very hard. Realize just how broken the system is. Most of the time these women forcefully lose their children only due to poverty.

And finally, this perspective from a woman who once wanted to adopt –

Society as a whole has to make these first moms villains to feel better about the systems. Infant adoption is justified by calling birth moms brave, selfless, any other positive attribute you can think of. But since mother’s who lose their children to welfare didn’t just willingly hand over their kids to some family who wanted their kid so badly they are neither of those things. A narrative that these mothers have done horrible things to their children is pushed to continue to justify removal. Until you meet them, join Facebook groups, or otherwise learn the truth you are often under the impression that they simply aren’t safe. In short, they’re “bad” because they “didn’t want the best for their children,” whereas mothers who place are saints.

So, it is true that there’s a huge stigma if a parent lost their child to the foster care system. That parent is judged as having been terrible. People think they didn’t deserve their own kids. That the parent must have harmed them. Termination of Parental Rights and Adoption is justified by demonizing people. Society as a whole doesn’t see anything they don’t want to see. They aren’t willing to see the poverty, lack of resources or that these parents are pushing mightily against a system that’s determined to take their children, often supplying strangers with financial stipends, rather than trying to help the parent achieve their potential with financial support, therapy and basic living resources.

Validating The Hurt

The adoption group that I have been a part of for 3 years and has now closed to new content was often criticized for allowing the negative feelings and experiences of adoptees to be the primary and supported voice. It has been a space where an adoptee’s hurt is validated and not instantly turned into, “but what about your (adoptive parent’s) sacrifice?” that is found in most adoption oriented groups. In that regard, it was very unique.

When I first arrived there, because of how I grew up with two parents who were both adoptees, I considered adoption a normal situation and the outcomes to be nothing but good. I quickly got slammed and was totally set back by the responses but I stayed with it and I read books recommended there and I found books on my own and read those to and I learned the truth that adoption is a best the “second choice” and that keeping families intact – children with the parents who conceived them – was always going to be the best choice for everyone involved. The adoption industry doesn’t like that point of view but realize that their revenues depend on separating children from their parents. It really is that simple – follow the money – and the truth reveals itself.

Here is one adoptee’s voice –

I don’t know my mother and it kills me. Some days more than others. Pregnancy – all 80+ weeks plus a miscarriage – triggered me like nothing I’ve ever experienced. The first three months of their lives nearly killed me and my marriage.

I walk around not knowing who I am. I walk around knowing i was not loved in any healthy definition of that word. I walk around knowing I was not enough to redeem my adoptive parent’s wounds. I walk around living culture shock. I walk around knowing I don’t have a strong attachment to my parents.

You are asking me to tell you why the quality of the air I breathe is different from your air. It’s gonna take you some time to understand my air is fundamentally different.

In many ways, I do believe this is how my own mother felt. When she tried to re-connect with the woman who gave birth to her, my mom said – As a mother, I would want to know what became of my child. She wasn’t hoping for very much but she was driven by an emotional need to try. Her mother had already died by the time my mom was communicating with the Tennessee Dept of Children’s Services and learning that reality devastated her.

Christmas will arrive very soon, here is the perspective of another adoptee, Anne Heffron

I’ve been thinking about the comment a parent wrote here after reading my post about adoptees walking a tightrope, and, in order to answer, I decided to take on an authority I don’t have, and to speak universally when really I’m just speaking from my own experience. I thought about not replying because any answer I might give won’t be enough—it will be one paint splotch on a bare wall, but at least it will be a start, so here goes.

She compares the trauma of motherloss, the primal wound that Nancy Verrier writes about, to a car accident that has embedded jagged pieces of glass inside our bodies. Heffron asks, What if these pieces cut our muscles, internal organs and brain, causing messages of distress to travel from the vagus nerve both from the organs to the brain and from the brain to the organs? What if no one can see these glass fragments because no doctor has the right machine, the right kind of x-ray to find them? What if they are things that have to naturally work their way out of the body with the help of time and space and nutritional support and exercise and therapy and other friends who are adopted? What if this process takes decades? What if this process takes a lifetime?

What if the pain these pieces of glass cause the person to act in certain ways, ways that confuse those around them because, to the naked eye, nothing is wrong—the accident happened a long time ago and the person looks fine? What if the parents of this child they adopted believe their love can heal pain of which they can not see the source?

If a body is full of glass shards and the person cries out in pain and is told that everything is okay, that they are safe, loved, and if the person is asked why can’t they just accept the love and relax, then what happens?

The body gets tighter. The barriers between parent and child get thicker.

What if being relinquished and adopted is a body experience that takes time for the wounded person to sit with until the glass fragments finally, if they do at all (many people die with the glass still in their guts and hearts and minds), emerge?

This is what I think happened to me: when I was young, I felt the discomfort of the glass parts but I did not know they were there because I could not see inside my own guts and brain, and no one knew to tell me the story of my pain.

If they had been able to tell me the story of my pain, I might have fought them, hated them for speaking, for putting me in a forever prison of different than. Being different than your friends, particularly when you are young, is its own death sentence. So I don’t have an answer for you here. I don’t know what good all the information you have gathered about the side effects of relinquishment actually does when it comes right down to it. I mean, it’s not nothing, but, it’s clearly not enough.

My answer in brief is to be love but to know that when you decided to adopt, you entered a different universe. The rules you grew up with, rules for living, may well no longer work in this new life you now inhabit. For example, you just can’t hug a burned person the same way you do everyone else.

I think many people adopt babies for the same reason people adopt kittens: they want something soft to protect and love that will love them back. What if you think of an adoptee more like a porcupine? A porcupine doesn’t choose to have quills. It just has them, and this changes the way you can touch it. Hoping that one day the quills will disappear and soft fur will emerge is useless and harmful. What if adopting a child does not guarantee you will receive love back in the same measure you give it (or, I have to say, at all)? Would you still travel this road?

We like our stories to have happy endings, and we force most of our experiences through the funnel of “and then everything was okay,” and I’m here to tell you that I’m doing the best I can in this life with the body and mind I was given: one full of glass shards, and it’s a lot of work to try to keep up with those who weren’t in an accident. I know the ending is supposed to be happy, and so I’m trying. When you look at me with your lipid eyes, wondering why I don’t open to you, I won’t tell you it’s because I can’t. I won’t tell you it’s because I am in so much pain I can’t even process your questions. I won’t tell you because I know you won’t understand. I won’t tell you because maybe I don’t understand myself. I won’t tell you because you are asking a porcupine why it doesn’t purr, and this blindness makes me fear that either you or I are crazy, and this fear makes real communication feel impossible

Mother/Child Separations

Black babies separated from slave mothers. Native American children separated from their families to indoctrinate them into white standards of living. White babies separated from their mothers in the 1930’s through the 1960’s because they were a profitable and valuable commodity in the adoption market (if you were a black unwed mother you could keep your baby as it was no longer a financially lucrative commodity after the Emancipation Proclamation). And most recently, Hispanic babies separated from their mothers at the southern border of the United States.

These may seem wildly different situations but actually they are the same. Society does not value natural families nor do we support keeping children in the families they were born into. We do this at great harm to the children and equally emotional and psychological harm for their mothers.

In regard to Africans enslaved in America, though they most definitely experienced an assault on their personhood, but never yielded. Because misogyny has been dominate until recently, it is no surprise that women’s voices, both in their own time and in later scholarship, remained largely silent. They reproduced, labored, and died in near anonymity. Slave women did not have ready access to birth control and experienced great pressure to bear children. After the abolition of the international slave trade in 1808, the South’s dependence upon natural reproduction increased. Slave women experienced pressure to bear children from a culture that gloried motherhood and from masters who personally benefited from slave offspring due to their financial value.

In 1879, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania was a government-backed institution that forcibly separated Native American children from their parents in order to kill the Indian in him, and save the man. For decades, this effort continued. Native American boarding schools were a method of forced assimilation. The end goal of these measures was to make Native people more like the white Anglo-Americans who had taken over their land. By removing them from their homes, the schools disrupted students’ relationships with their families and other members of their tribe. Once they returned home, children struggled to relate to their families after being taught that it was wrong to speak their language or practice their religion.

The Baby Scoop Era was a period in the history of the United States, starting after the end of World War II and ending in the early 1970s, My parents adoptions were just a little bit ahead of their time but Georgia Tann, through whom my mom was adopted was certainly already profiting when my mom turned up, 5 mos old with blond hair and blue eyes, Tann’s most desired commodity. This time period was characterized by an increased rate of pre-marital pregnancies over the preceding period, along with a higher rate of newborn adoption. It is estimated that up to 4 million parents in the United States had children placed for adoption, with 2 million during the 1960s alone. Annual numbers for non-relative adoptions increased from an estimated 33,800 in 1951 to a peak of 89,200 in 1970, then quickly declined to an estimated 47,700 in 1975. By 2003, only 14,000 infants were placed for adoption. The number of hopeful adoptive parents remains far beyond the number of babies available which set off the international adoption boom and the abuses and exploitations in that field.

Most recently has been the horrendous treatment of Hispanic families at our southern border.

Long before the Trump administration implemented its “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement policy in 2018, it was already separating children from their parents as part of a “pilot program” conducted in the El Paso, Texas, area (where I spent my childhood, I am familiar with border issues and politics). Under the El Paso program, begun in mid-2017, adults who crossed the border without permission – a misdemeanor for a first-time offender – were detained and criminally charged. No exceptions were made for parents arriving with young children. The children were taken from them, and parents were unable to track or reunite with their children because the government failed to create a system to facilitate reunification. By late 2017, the government was separating families along the length of the US-Mexico border, including families arriving through official ports of entry. It is suspected that many of these children were placed in foster homes and may have even been placed into adoption as it has proven almost impossible for some parents to relocate their children.

Sometimes, humanity makes my heart hurt.

Why Is Adoption So Common Here ?

It’s a known fact that other countries have very few adoptions annually. Some as few as 100-300. This is vastly lower than the US obviously. One of the main contributing factors is the better social programs in those countries.  We don’t have that in the US.  Other countries focus on helping families stay together.

I do believe that if we provided families with what they needed, like some of these other countries do, the percentage of parents losing their children would be significantly lower.  Domestic infant adoption would basically cease to exist.

What needs to change for there to be fewer adoptions overall ?

Some thoughts in answer to that question . . .

Universal healthcare and an adequate minimum wage.  Readily available, affordable childcare for working families.  Both generous paid maternity and paternity leave. Paid vacation time which allows for families to create happy memories (I had that in my 50s and 60s era childhood). A good educational system.  Just the basic stuff I grew up believing this country provided (even if it wasn’t actually the truth, which I now understand in maturity).

I do believe that if we actually supported families, the adoption rate might drop 80%.  I do believe the vast majority of adoptions are caused by poverty or I would imagine if we actually supported all moms, it would reduce it by at least 80%. I do believe the vast majority of adoptions are caused by poverty or religion based coercion utilizing shame to get young women to give up their child.

The nature of capitalism is such, that society won’t do these things to keep families thriving.  It isn’t that we can’t, if the tax structures were in place to raise taxes on the wealthy.  Many people in our society have bought the Republican line about Trickle Down Economics.  The belief that if we help the 1% have more, they will help the rest of us do better too. That has never proven a reality – plain and simple.

Until we as a society decide that every citizen is worthy of a good quality of life, broken families will continue to be way too common.

Case in point – Australia.  They don’t have an exorbitant income tax, but they do have universal health care, subsidized childcare, parental leave, sick leave, a minimum wage etc. Support payments are available to family members who take on caring roles. So do the UK and New Zealand.

If one looks at the number of children adopted each year in Australia, the number is about 300.  That’s ALL children who are adopted from infants to teens. They do not have an adoption “market” (yes, it is a BIG $$$ business in the US).  Taxes in Australia may be higher than in the US but they know that they are getting plenty of services in return.

Sadly, the problem here in the US is entrenched inequality and cultural bigotry.  Many countries outside of the US have much better social programs – most EU countries, Canada, Switzerland and Australia.  Knowing this, it is pretty amazing that this country won’t do better.  We are the richest nation in the world, but most of our money goes into the pockets of our richest citizens.  America is the country with the most billionaires in the world.

It is way past time for a change. That change requires accessible, affordable family planning (birth control and terminations), no private for profit adoption agencies and an end to the manipulation and coercion (Christian) of expectant mothers.

Sadly, adoption has become so ingrained in the American worldview as a means to getting a child that our society is hostile to the idea of children staying with who they were born to. It is all about who has money and who doesn’t.  Anyone with the financial means who wants a child is basically able to, in effect, buy one from someone who doesn’t have the financial means to help their family stay together.  Money is the driver of the for profit adoption complex. Sadly, given all I have shared above, I don’t see any of it changing any time soon.  I wish I could be more optimistic about it.

Answer These Questions If You Dare

So in my ALL THINGS ADOPTION related group, I saw this –

When should adoptive parents start taking responsibility for their unethical behavior?

They aren’t innocent either. Anyone want to help me compile a list?

Did you use an agency with unethical practices?
Did you pay tens of thousands of dollars?
Did you participate in pre-birth matching?
Were you in the delivery room/at hospital?
Did you seek out states without a revocation period?
Did you troll Facebook groups looking for expectant mothers?
Did you send your profile to OB offices and leave “business cards” on college campuses?
Did you aggressively advertise on social media and Craigslist?
Did you fight the parents if they tried to revoke?

Foster to adopt parents:
Did you support reunification?
Did you sabotage reunification?
Do you realize you chose to also participate in a corrupt system?

While it may seem harsh, this is the reality in adoptionland and its close cousin foster care.

One answer that came was this – Even though I know the system is a MESS and needs reform I still can’t regret my participation in it because all of our boys would likely be growing up in group homes or homes for the disabled that’s where each was headed before coming to us.

A leading edge advocated for guardianship.  When it was suggested to one woman, she answered – My teenage son’s team explored that with him and I was in support of that, or of him remaining with us while in foster care. He did not want that and was very adamant about adoption being the best choice for him. Do you feel that adoption is a better option if the child is asking for that, or do you think guardianship is still best in that case? Sometimes I wonder even at 16 if he knew what he was advocating for.

Another one shared – No to all except, her birthmom asked us to be in the room. I never thought about adoption as I didn’t know much about it. I wish I was part of this group and knew what I have learned from everyone the last 4+ years that I have been in here. I feel horrible for the pain and heartache our beautiful daughter will go through. We have a good open adoption with her mommy and we see each other once a year I wish it was more as we lived in the same town and she then moved. We get together every year to celebrate our little girls birthday. I so ache for all of them including our daughter. I am and will continue to be open as can be for her and her birthmom and siblings.

That was answered with –  Once a year? Please do better. That’s hardly a relationship.

To which she did answer – I will try to meet up more or however it may work out I will make better attempts on my end.

Another one said – Stopping participation in the system won’t change it, change needs to come from within. Do families need more support to keep them together, absolutely!  She went on to say –  I will admit when I first started as a foster parent over a decade ago there may have been some saviorism ideologies in my mind because that is the message that gains the most traction when it comes to adoption, I’ve been doing this for over a decade now and those have long since passed from my mind. I don’t feel like a savior, I feel how I believe most mothers feel – like I am just doing the best I can and some days I fail and some days I rise.

Finally, one added this –  I’ve taught training classes and help pushed for bills to prevent foster care and support families. Saviorism is the foundation of the system. Kids need to be saved. Even by caseworkers who remove kids especially Black kids at a high rate. We have to admit the system is set up to serve everyone but children or families.

And lastly came this honesty – I made several errors that I take responsibility for, and I’m also the first person to say unequivocally that adoption is an unethical institution, and I’m responsible for participating in it. I have to own that. There are reasons why things happened how they did, but reasons aren’t excuses and don’t make anything better.

 

 

Why It Is So Hard

It is often, almost always, difficult for an adoptee to have a conversation with their adoptive parents about how hard it has been for them to be an adopted person.  I believe most adoptees are highly sensitive to their adoptive parents feelings and emotions – whether the adoptee tries very hard to be perfect in order to please their adoptive parents or is sullen and defiant or passive and withdrawn.

There is a genuine fear of rejection and abandonment.  Most adoptive parents feel passionate about doing a good deed and don’t really want to hear that it may be problematic.  At times, it even borders on a savior like delusion.  Just as it was with my mom’s adoption through Georgia Tann, even today, adoptive parents don’t want to know that the system that allowed them to buy a child is in any way a corrupt one.

Even in situations where the adoption is as ethical as any can ever be, an adoptee may find it impossible to ask about their original mother, father and other related biological family members.  Can not even begin to discuss feelings of abandonment. Many simply sense it would be an absolute nightmare to even try.

The prevailing feeling is that people devoted to the idea of adoption don’t want to understand anything perceived as “negative” towards adoption.

And more often than I care to admit – I read stories like this one.

My adoptive sister and I don’t even say that our adoptive mom was abusive. Since she was a narcissist, everyone else thinks she was so nice and loving but that was her public facade. In private, she was mean. But I doubt anyone who knew her when she was alive would believe us if we tried to tell the truth. It ends up making me feel like I have these big parts of my life that I have to keep secret.

Or this one on trying to talk honestly with their adoptive parents –

They’re convinced I’m hyper-sensitive, over emotional and ungrateful to them. They absolutely have a savior complex. They live as though my biological family doesn’t exist, and I don’t exist outside of the box they tried to keep me in.

And even sadder still –

My adoptive mom is deceased (and told me before she died that she wished she hadn’t adopted at all).  It would just be too hard to get my adoptive dad to understand my feelings regarding my adoption. We just don’t really talk about it.

The only discussion I know of my mom having with her adoptive mother was when my mom was in high school and the story about Georgia Tann’s baby stealing and selling scandal broke.  My mom always knew she and her brother (not biological but also adopted from the Tennessee Children’s Home) were adopted and from where.  She asked her adoptive mother about it.  Her adoptive mother said something like, yes you came from there but you were NOT one of “those” children.  That was the end of it.

 

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.

 

A Need To Educate

The general consensus in society is that adoption is a good thing.  I used to think that way too.  Both of my parents were adoptees.  Both of my sisters gave up children to adoption.  Adoption was the most natural thing in Life to me.

Then, I learned the stories of my original grandparents and how sad and tragic the loss of their babies were for each of my grandmothers.  I joined a large but private Facebook group that has been educating me about how it feels to be adopted and how it feels to lose one’s child to adoption.  I have also read a lot of books about the subject from all perspectives EXCEPT why it is so wonderful for anyone to adopt a baby that was conceived and birthed by someone else.

The reason I don’t go “there” is that I no longer can claim that adoption is natural nor can I say to anyone that it is a good thing.  Having my eyes opened up to many experiences of other people who have been adversely impacted by the practice of adoption and the methods employed by a profit motivated enterprise, I feel a duty and responsibility to shout my newest understandings out into the world.

Maybe I can save some other desperate young mother and her child from the all too common impacts that others have suffered due to a society that promotes the separation of mothers from their children one way or another.

If you who are reading this adopted with the best of intentions, I do understand your heart was in the right place and whatever damage has been done, it is done.  Get counseling for yourself and your adopted child.  If you are a mother permanently sad and depressed by what you did, I know you were doing the best you knew how to do at the time.  Get yourself counseling and always be willing to meet your child face to face and find out the honest truth, so that each of you can heal.

If I help even one other person by sharing what I have learned, it will have been worth the effort . . .