Related Issues

Two articles came to my attention yesterday that I believe are related. One was titled The Baby Bust: Why Are There No Infants to Adopt? The subtitle was – Declining birth rates and other factors make it difficult for hopeful adoptive parents to create their forever families. In my all things adoption group, it has become obvious to me that many prospective adoptive parents have become more than a bit desperate.

I actually do believe that the Pro-Life movement is driven by the sharp decline in women either not carrying a pregnancy or choosing to be single parents. Our society’s norms have changed since the 1930s when my parents were adopted.

The other article was Why is the US right suddenly interested in Native American adoption law? In this situation, laws meant to protect Native Americans who have been exploited and cheated out of so much, including their own children, is being challenged by white couples wanting to adopt as being a kind of reverse discrimination against them.

So back to the first article –

The number of adoptions in general has been steadily declining over the years. U.S. adoptions reached their peak in 1970 with 175,000 adoptions tallied. That number had fallen to 133,737 by 2007. Seven years later, the total sank further to 110,373, a 17% decrease.

Reports of a 50% or more decrease in available birth mothers are coming from adoption agencies all over. As a result, some agencies have folded. Those still in operation are compiling long waiting lists of hopeful adoptive parents.

Even so, the demand for infants to adopt remains high. The good news is also that fewer teenagers are becoming pregnant. Teen birth rates peaked at 96.3 per 1,000 in 1957 during the post-war baby boom. However, with the widespread acceptance and use of birth control, there has been a dramatic decline in the teenage pregnancy rate.  This rapid decline in teenage birth rates was seen across all major racial and ethnic groups. 

Estimates indicate that approximately half of the pregnancies in the United States were not planned. Of those unintended pregnancies, about 43% end in abortion; less than 1% of such pregnancies end in adoption. Adoption is a rare choice. The pandemic shut-down also reduced places where meetings could occur that tend to lead to casual encounters, which often result in unplanned pregnancies.

On to that second article –

A 1978 law known as the Indian Child Welfare Act or ICWA tried to remedy adoption practices that were created to forcibly assimilate Native children. Last April, an appeals court upheld parts of a federal district court decision, in a case called Brackeen v Haaland, that found parts of ICWA “unconstitutional”. The non-Indian plaintiffs (mostly white families wanting to foster and adopt Native children) contend that federal protections to keep Native children with Native families constitute illegal racial discrimination, and that ICWA’s federal standards “commandeer” state courts and agencies to act on behalf of a federal agenda.

The thinking that non-Indians adopting Native children is as old as the “civilizing” mission of colonialism – saving brown children from brown parents. In fact, among prospective adoptive parents there is a dominant belief that they are actually saving children. Native families, particularly poor ones, are always the real victims. A high number, 25-35%, of all Native children have been separated from their families. They are placed in foster homes or adoptive homes or institutions. Ninety percent are placed in non-Indian homes. Native children are four times more likely to be removed from their families than white children are from theirs. Native family separation has surpassed rates prior to ICWA according to a 2020 study.

The fact is that there is a dark side to foster care. Some state statutes may provide up to several thousands of dollars a child per month to foster parents, depending on the number of children in their care and a child’s special needs. Why doesn’t that money go towards keeping families together by providing homes instead of tearing them apart?

Dear Adopted Child

Dear Adopted Child,

I see so many letters addressed to birth parents and hopeful/ adoptive parents. Again you’re left out. The most import part of this equation and yet you’re continuously left out.

I really fucked up, I went against nature, I altered your brain chemistry, and I’d go as far to say committed and act against humanity. Yet I am the one likely to get sympathy. While you internally struggle. People will mourn for me and chastise you for being “ungrateful.”

I reached out to the agency, I allowed them to strip your birth father of his rights, and I chose your parents. I allowed the opinions of strangers to seep in and convince me that I was not good enough. I knew in my gut that I was making the wrong decision, that this didn’t feel right. I selfishly thought of myself. How could I possibly be a single mother of two if your father left me? How could I provide the life you should have? As if the quality of life is measured in what physical possessions one owns. At the end of the day I selfishly said I was putting you first, when really cowardly I was putting myself.

When we found out your gender, I felt ecstatic and devastated. A girl, what I had always wanted. Yet I couldn’t find the courage to keep. I knew it was wrong when your adoptive parents did a gender reveal. I chose not to speak up, as if offending them would suddenly make myself undesirable. I broke down at home and doctors appointments. Instead of viewing that as a sign that I was making the wrong choice I got prescribed anti depressants.

At your birth I asked your adoptive parents to be there. When I checked in I begrudgingly asked if the hospital had my adoption plan. There were so many times I could of said no. I could of not chose this path to take. I let them whisk you away after birth, I let your adoptive parents keep you in their room. I could’ve demanded you be brought back to me, thrown a fit that this wasn’t right or acceptable. I chose to selfishly crumple into myself, to say that our pain was worth it so two strangers could be happy. I didn’t advocate for us, for you.

I signed the paperwork, I didn’t make a peep during my revocation period, I congratulated your adoptive parents on the down fall of our family. I let them strip you of your names. I let you become a legal stranger to us.

Nothing can undo what I’ve done, or the choices I made. At the end of the day I’ve caused your pain. Your trauma was hand delivered to you by me. I’m sorry.

I can’t rectify this wrong, nothing I say or do can fully heal it. I can promise I won’t leave you again, and that everyday I’m learning, I’m listening to grown adoptees so I can be the me you will need.

With Regrets,

The Furious First Mom

Regrets When Things Change

So today’s story goes like this – I had a baby June 30 was going to place her for adoption with a relative in Texas. Decided I’m no longer going to place for adoption and told her I was coming to get her. (Cause according to our agreement I can request the return of my child at any time) It was a agreement for non parent adult caregiver. Well she basically sent me a text saying no and wasn’t going to give her to me didn’t think it’s in the best interest. And was going to file a restraining order And somehow I was lying to her and she feels like I used her. I had originally asked her to take baby cause I wanted her to stay in the family. I hired attorney but I’m just scared and worried cause I’ve never been to court for anything and I don’t know what to expect and some how they have “I’m not able to properly care for her” but I take care of my other kids every day. So I just don’t understand and didn’t it expect it to be like now a custody battle. (She has a lot more support and money then me as she knows I’m a single mom.)

She adds – Everything was fine till I told her I wanted to parent. Actually at first everything was fine with me coming to get her, my relative was mad/hurt but wasn’t putting up a fight. Then come last Wednesday, I got a text saying NO and I wasn’t in the best interest of my own baby and some how I lied to her this whole time and had other people tell her I can’t care for her etc.

I actually believe she just doesn’t want to give her back and she trying to scare me to back off, thinking something going to happen to my other kids, if I don’t win my baby back or something. She blocked me from everything she trying to let the time frame past to where I can’t do anything and my rights can be taken away.

One woman in the group replied – I wish we could start a list of people who would take a baby temporarily, no paperwork to help moms out. I’ve done it before, had a baby for 90 days while mama got the help she needed and handed her the baby back. No Department of Children and Families involvement and when people asked – I would say I’m helping a mom keep her baby. I’m learning that sometimes moms feel they cannot parent at that moment and just need some time and can parent once help is given etc.

Another woman chimed in – I would love to be a fictive kin “grandma” to help young women get on there feet. My kids are young adults and helping families connect with resources is what I do for employment. Occasional baby snuggles or getting to see happy families would be an extra bonus (my work is done over phone/internet).

Someone added – If you only signed a temporary guardianship the law is on your side.

If you are unfamiliar with a Texas Authorization Agreement for Nonparent Relative or Voluntary Caregiver, this law allows any adult caregiver to be authorized to provide TEMPORARY CARE for a child.

Failure by the voluntary adult caregiver to return the child to the parent immediately on request may have criminal and civil consequences.

So further advice is this – Copy your signed agreement and show up at the local police department the lady lives in and tell them she’s refusing to give you your kid and based on what you signed you have every right to get your child back. They may say it’s a civil matter BUT this document should show them regardless you have the rights to get your baby.

The woman replies –  I called her police, they won’t help.

The other woman providing advice (and I agree, it is VERY IMPORTANT to make a STRONG CASE of demand at this point !!) – Honey – SHOW UP. Physical presence means a little more. Print this document. Type a paper or hand write it if necessary saying you hear by REVOKE all authorization previously given. Show the police. Ask them to make a copy and open a file. Dress appropriately and speak respectfully and calmly to the officers and chances are – if they see this document – they should aid in getting her back.

Someone else added – Did you try to file a kidnapping report using your document ?

She was told this situation is not considered a kidnapping.

She counters –  My copy of the agreement is not signed by a judge.  She was supposed to file her copy.

Yet another person notes – If she didn’t file it in her county, she has even less legally to stand on in this situation.

The distraught mother adds – I called her county clerk or court and they said they didn’t see anything but that the lady didn’t know much about this form. The woman in possession of her daughter said it has to be revoked by a judge.  The mother wants to know – how do you get something revoked, if it was never filed ?

Supportive responses come – The court clerk would most likely be looking this up by the person’s name. If there’s nothing filed, there’s nothing for them to find under their name.

I think there is a very high likelihood they’re lying to you about it having to be revoked by a judge in order to make it feel too difficult and insurmountable to have kiddo returned to you.

Frankly, I think they’re lying to you about all sorts of stuff. I’m so sorry. This is entirely bullshit.

Be very careful about who you trust to help you care for your children.  Even with the best intentions and “protections” too much is at stake to take chances with someone so precious.

There Are Worse Things Than Adoption

Warning – this is not an easy story to contemplate.

38 years after the event, a combination of DNA and genetic genealogy located the woman who in some confused and frightened state, gave birth to a baby in her apartment, and then dumped the living baby with the placenta still attached into a ditch in freezing weather in Sioux Falls SD when she was 19 years old.

The baby was found about 24 hrs later by a man test driving a car.  The coroner ruled that the boy lived for about two hours before freezing and bleeding to death.

The woman did go on to marry the baby’s father who seems to have been unaware of either her pregnancy or the birth.  She and her husband have two living adult children.

Haunted by this story, I did think “there are worse things than having been adopted.”  This man would have been 38 years old.  What kind of life might he have had?  Would the outcome have been different if this young, single mother had had the encouragement and support that would have made her willing to keep and raise the boy?