Thursday, January 7, 2010

We Did It! What happens when women are over half of the workforce


“We Did It!” screams the headline on the cover of this week’s Economist showing the famous picture of the woman flexing her right arm muscles. This drawing was used extensively during World War II to encourage women to take jobs, freeing men to fight.

Women hold 49 percent of the jobs in America and earn almost 60 percent of university degrees. Their workforce percentages are increasing now that jobs require more brainpower and less muscle power. The benefits of these new opportunities, however, are not spread evenly among women.
"Childless women in corporate America earn almost as much as men. Mothers with partners earn less and single mothers much less. The cost of motherhood is particularly steep for fast-track women. …Professional-services firms have an up-or-out system which rewards the most dedicated with lucrative partnerships.… This Hobson’s choice is imposing a high cost on both individuals and society. Many professional women reject motherhood entirely…. Others delay child-bearing for so long they are forced into the arms of the booming fertility industry."
The United States, the world’s biggest economy, lags behind other developed nations in accommodating working mothers. It provides no statutory maternity leave and only 12 weeks of unpaid leave. The US spends only 1.2 percent of its GNP on family benefits compared to France’s 3.75 percent and Britain’s 3.5 percent.

With the fate of the Health Care bill still undecided, it doesn’t look like the situation will get better for working moms any time soon. Fearful of cries that they are leading America into the jaws of socialism, politicians are reluctant to increase subsidies for day care, family leave, and other benefits which make it easier for women to provide for their children. It’s ironic that the most outspoken critics of family benefits are those like Glenn Beck who also proclaim the sacredness of the family.

The implications for adoption are clear. When the fertility doctors run out of tricks, women start knocking on the doors of adoption agencies. While they once wanted their own child, now any healthy baby will do. Agencies, ever anxious to meet the demands of their affluent clients, pressure poor women to “think of their babies before themselves and do what’s right for their child.”

The rush to adopt has slowed in the past year, however, apparently because the poor economy has dampened enthusiasm for other people’s children and foreign countries have imposed tighter standards as stories of rampant corruption have come to light.

Some of us adoption critics have postulated that the world envisioned by Margaret Atwood in The Handmaid's Tale (1985) where a class of women are chosen to procreate for the benefit of the majority of people who can no longer have children may come to pass. Certainly society’s casual acceptance of adoption as reflected in Juno and Then She Found Me and the highly publicized adoptions by Angelina Jolie and Madonna portend a culture where the re-distribution of infants from the poor to the rich is common place. (Lauryn Galindo who facilitated Angelina’s adoption of Maddox from Cambodia in 2002 was sent to prison for fraudulent adoption practices.)

Now I’m thinking that if adoption continues to lose its popularity and women continue to outpace men in the workforce, we may instead develop into a sort of bee society. Talented but sterile women will do most of the work. Less educated women will bear and raise children at the subsistence level. Men will do, well, what men like to do.

26 comments :

  1. Unfortunately, I only had time to skim the excellent and informative article and will come back to it, again, certainly. My sole mission in life is to make adoption as shameful as society made single motherhood of the past! Tomorrow, or Saturday, I should have the next entry on http://www.caleighbrookswatchingthewatchers.com expressing ubiquitous pent up emotions of, how shall I say, the downtrodden underdog. As the article says, the hunt is on - for babies!

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  2. Interesting and well written post.

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  3. "The rush to adopt has slowed in the past year, however, apparently because the poor economy has dampened enthusiasm for other people’s children..."

    What an incredibly offensive statement.

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  4. Why predict that in the future working women would necessarily be sterile? I know a number of women who have chosen neither to have or raise children, and I don't see any reason for that to change.

    Little Snowdrop

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  5. Truly Blessed finds my statement "The rush to adopt in the past year, however, has slowed apparently because the poor economy has dampened enthusiasm for other people's children" incredibly offensive. I'm a firm believer that "well-behaved (inoffensive women) never make history" but perhaps my statement was inaccurate. Let me re-state: "The rush to adopt has slowed in the past year apparently because the poor economy has curtailed the ability to purchase other people's children."

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  6. Janet, a first motherJanuary 8, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    Let me guess, Truly Blessed, you are blessed...with other people's children. I did not find the comment in the least offensive, only accurate, telling it like it is.

    For every joyous adoptive parent, there is a mother grieving somewhere.

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  7. "For every joyous adoptive parent, there is a mother grieving somewhere."

    Exactly. A point many would prefer to turn a blind eye too.

    Jane, your comment is right on. I have seen it stated elsewhere that another reason adoption has slowed down is because mothers are too selfish to give them up. In other words, they are doing what they should be doing: raising their own babies.

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  8. Jane and Janet,

    Yes, as a matter of fact, I am blessed to be called Mom by two little girls whom we adopted, one of whom was wasting away in a Chinese orphanage.

    At 19 1/2 months old she could not sit alone without support, was unable to turn over from front to back and obviously could not stand or walk. Her ankles were bruised and deeply gouged with ligature marks caused by repeated tight restraints - deep marks that she still has with her today after 18 months at home with us. At the time we met her, she had a mouth full of teeth (16 to be exact) that were all broken, brown and decayed, her gums were bright red and infected. Oh, and she had never had anything solid offered to her for her nourishment -- she was still on infant formula 3x a day (probably tainted with melamine).

    I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that her first mother would have been appalled at the conditions her child was living in and would have been horrified that her daughter is no longer in that institution.

    And now she is with us. She is catching up to her 3+ year old peers now and is so much healthier than the tiny malnourished toddler (who wasn't even close to toddling) we were handed in June of 2008.

    My heart grieves for my daughter's birth mother, but I believe that if she could see the conditions her daughter lived in for the first 19 1/2 months of her life, versus her living conditions now, I know she would be relieved.

    All adoptive parents aren't monsters. Few, if any of us, would walk up to someone and take their child away from them. And most of us would walk away from a child if we thought for one second we were "buying" (or is it "purchasing"?) a child. I challenge either of you to tell me that my daughter would have been better off languishing in the institution she was in when we adopted her. Obviously she wasn't living with her birth family, which would have been the ideal choice, but apparently that option was not available to them (and no, I don't know why).

    I come to this forum to read from the birth mother's perspective, and have been doing so for the better part of a year. I want to understand how I, as an adoptive parent, can support the women who have made incredibly heartwrenching decisions in relinquishing a child to someone else. Unfortunately, it is a sentence like this undoes any of the potential good you might do in educating your readers.

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  9. Jane, what a great post, and what a wonderful round of comments/discussion!

    Truly Blessed, your adoption of your 19-month-old daughter who was wasting away in an orphanage is what adoption SHOULD be about. Finding homes for children who otherwise would not have one.

    Do you realize that many (if not most) adoptive parents are only interested in healthy infants (domestic or foreign) that they can raise AS IF born to them? Babies are stolen or coerced from mothers who want and might even have the ability to raise their child with even a little support. Why? Because there is a huge demand.

    I am one of those mothers. I relinquished my son in 1970. I thought it was just the era, that unwed mothers were socially unacceptable and I became a victim of my family's shame. I thought things had changed sine then. They have not. Because people will pay for children — as Jane restated:

    "The rush to adopt has slowed in the past year apparently because the poor economy has curtailed the ability to purchase other people's children."

    I don't believe that all adoptive parents are monsters. I know many devoted, loving ones. But too many put their desire/need to have a family above how they accomplish that goal. Adoption agencies encourage that. Because adoption is big business.

    TB — major creds for reading blogs like this one, for wanting to learn the other side of adoption.

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  10. "want to understand how I, as an adoptive parent, can support the women who have made incredibly heartwrenching decisions in relinquishing a child to someone else."

    The first thing you can do is to understand how for most if it is not a decision. And for many more who believe it was "their decision," it was a choice between adoption and nothing else, as adoption was the only viable option given to them. Hence, no choice and no decision.

    Yes, you rescued a child from a Chinese orphanage, but there are other ways to do that besides adoption. One reason why children end up in orphanages is because of the consumer demand for babies, a demand fueled by the international adoption market. This is where the tragedy lies: There was a grave human rights abuse which may have forced your adopted daughter's mother to have to surrender her. BUT, no-one with the resources who COULD have helped DID help and keep that mother and child together. A mother was likely forced to surrender her baby. Hence, any adoption takes places because of a lack of ethics and a human rights violation. Is it ethical to exploit this situation? Yes, it is ethical to ensure a child is not being abused, hurt, or neglected. But is adoption the answer? Instead of finding the mother, providing her with the resources she needs to love and raise her children, and supporting that family? I am not certain I believe that adoption is the ethical thing to do, not when many of these orphanages "run" due to adoption fees and thus many children end up there because international adoption exists in the first place. :(

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  11. Truly Blessed,

    I appreciate your willingness to come to this forum to read from a birthmother's perspective. I hope that we can re-shape your understanding of birthmothers. You write:

    "I want to understand how I, as an adoptive parent, can support the women who have made incredibly heartwrenching decisions in relinquishing a child to someone else."

    The most important thing for you to understand is that I, and all the birthmothers that I have known, did not make a "heartwrenching decision." Rather we accepted our fate. We signed the surrender papers as stoically as General Lee signed the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.

    The best way to support us (and to help children) is to join in the fight to reform adoption so that it truly serves children who need help.

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  12. "Well-behaved (inoffensive) women never make history"

    The phrase, as originally coined by colonial historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, was "Well-behaved women seldom (or rarely) make history". However, it has been twisted to convey the idea that unless women misbehave they do not contribute to history.
    In fact, what Ulrich *really* meant, is that women do indeed play an essential role, but until the relatively recent renaissance in women's history, the part that they have played has been denied them.

    Professor Ulrich is a Mormon and feminist who believes that everyone should know about their past, including their family and neighborhood history.

    Little Snowdrop

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  13. Excellent, Truly Blessed is also a sainted martyr.

    You have just earned a shiny little cross to be put by your name. I am so pleased and impressed.

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  14. Denise, Jane and 'Anonymous',

    Thank you for taking the time to read my post and respond. I don't expect you to automatically change your opinion of adoption because I told you some of my daughter's story, but I do thank you for reading it and for not just assuming I am a baby buying monster.

    Of course I'm aware that many, many adoptive parents desire "healthy white infants" to raise. But there are just as many adoptive parents who are concerned about the children who are older, who have special needs, who may never have a shot at a family because they're not "healthy white infants". Not everyone is on the lookout for babies - there are thousands and thousands of families who desire to parent children and teenagers that nobody else wants and who are forced to live in sub-par institutions in lieu of living in a family.

    I understand that most of the people reading this blog are first mothers who are seeking to abolish adoption. It's a noble goal, to be sure, but I ask you -- what about all of the children who are languishing in orphanages? Do you suggest that the millions of children who are currently in state/government run institutions around the world, in addition to those who are in foster care programs around the world lose all hope of a family because you feel that adoption is wrong? What about the children who are simply unwanted by their first mothers -- I know that a majority on this forum would change history in a heartbeat if that could be done, but I cannot believe that every mother who has surrendered a child for adoption feels the same way. So what about those children? No hope of a family -- ever? That's a pretty cruel life sentence for an innocent child, don't you think?

    Oh, and Joy, I have never aspired to sainthood OR martyrdom.

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  15. Anonymous 11:42, you appear not to know anything about the one-child policy. You don't reunite abandoned Chinese children with their parents. They were abandoned--yes, under the cruel hand of the one-child policy or sometimes the pressure of in-laws--because they were overquota. If they were reunited, their parents would have to pay an exorbitant registration fee for an overquota child. Sometimes what happens is that the family's friend or relative may informally adopt that child and register her, provided they meet the criteria. But your vision of families being able to hang onto their kids (unless they live in an urban area and can afford the fine) or being reunited with them is unrealistic.

    TB's kids might have special needs. I believe adoption was preferable to institutionalization here.

    Many think China should just halt the adoption of healthy girls at this stage because there really is no need--far fewer abandonments and many of the girls have already been absorbed into Chinese society through informal adoption (many, many more have been adopted informally in China than have been adopted out during the entire program). This speaks directly to the demand you raised and the corruption that can seep into a program. If adoption should start with the kids' needs, there is no real need for this kind of adoption from China. Also, kids with special needs could stay with their families if surgery were paid for.

    Proportionally, the percentage of kids in Chinese orphanages is tilting heavily towards kids with special needs. The vast majority of these kids won't even make it into the int'l adoption pool.

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  16. Sorry, I just reread my comment and it's a bit harsh. I don't mean to imply that I know everything about the one-child policy because I certainly don't and nobody from the West knows absolutely everything about how it works. Also, Anon, you didn't talk about giving the child back--you talked about support. (I was confusing that with another comment heard recently.) My mistake. In any event, though, the way you're coming at this is through the eyes of a westerner living in a place without a draconian population policy. It would be almost impossible to just *support* the family to keep a child. The very point of the policy is to keep tabs on the population and have government control over birth registrations. The government wants to account for every child born. Among the rural poor, neighbours would not be likely to be in a position to help either because incomes in rural areas are very low. As a westerner, something one could do is pay for the surgery of a child with special needs but I did not mean to imply in my earlier post that every family would welcome the child back. However, it might allow the child to be adopted domestically and formally more easily and that would at least let the child stay in China.

    So many problems and pressures we do not thoroughly understand. Too few solutions, it seems, that are humane. I don't think you can fault the role of international adoption in the total context as the great Satan, but I do agree with others that considering adoption means weighing ethical choices and some of them look pretty compromised.

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  17. Osolomama, thanks for your intelligent comments on adoptions from China. You covered all the basics that most westerners do not understand.

    And to the rest, I've been taking a little vacation from blogging-it is amazing how much time it takes, and I will probably be posting less in the next several months for that reason.

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  18. Truly Blessed, it's important to note that one personal experience does not cancel out another.

    While your child may have been truly in need of adoption and her adoption ethical, it does not make the rest of the majority of the industry "OK." I personally believe that ethical adoption practices are a rarity. While speaking in generalizations might be offensive, I think it is safe to say that when someone refers to someone else "purchasing" children, they aren't referring to you. They are referring to the massive throng of afluent prospective adoptive parents, who, for the past several decades, have felt an enormous sense of entitlement to the children of poor, single, disenfranchised women. These are not orphaned children as in your situation. Many of these are children had mothers and lost them because someone went out of their way to make them feel too poor to deserve their own baby.

    Adoption is a 3 billion dollar per year industry. There is absolutely no need for CEOs of these adoption agencies to be making 6+ figure salaries. There is no need for a "donation" to adopt a child (privately) to be a minimum of $30,000. I have read some research reports done by adoption agencies that if I didn't know any better, I'd think were marketing reports.

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  19. Amanda,

    I completely agree with everything you said in your comment. Everything.

    However, it appears that you and I might be in the minority in our thinking, because he consensus here seems to be that all APs are flaunting their wealth and "purchasing" children, thus exploiting the natural mothers and encouraging the adoption industry just as you described it in your comment.

    The comments and posts I've read on this forum show an overwhelming bias toward adoption being a horrible thing. And though I admit to being mostly a lurker on this blog for the better part of a year, I have not read every single post and comment, but of those posts and comments I have read, it seems that adoption is portrayed as 100% wrong, just about 100% of the time.

    Like the majority of the people who post on this blog, I would dearly love to see the adoption "industry" - as you described it, Amanda, shut down completely.

    But please understand that there is a NEED - a desperate NEED for families to adopt the institutionalized children of the world - to get them out of the under staffed and neglectful places where so many children live without adequate nutrition, education, attention, stimulation and care.

    I would implore ALL who read this to pick up a copy of Kay Bratt's book, "Silent Tears" - she volunteered in one of the thousands of Chinese orphanages for 4 years, and Silent Tears is her journal (in book form) of her experiences there. It will show you the conditions of the orphanage Kay volunteered in, and will hopefully change the way you think of orphanages and the children who are forced to live in them. I am not affiliated with Kay Bratt or her publishing company, I'm just a concerned adoptive parent who would love to see every single institutionalized child be given a chance to have a family, and if the birth family cannot, or will not, raise the children, I believe that another family must be found that can.

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  20. Truly Blessed,

    I agree that orphanages are poor places to raise children, even good orphanages. I understand the desire to rescue children from these places. I have no problem with people adopting foreign children who have severe medical needs than cannot be met in their own countries. I would hope, however, that they would maintain contact with the child's original family. I see people such as yourself who take disabled children from foreign orphanages as heroic.

    Most people who adopt from abroad, however, do so because they want a healthy child with none of the issues American children in foster care are thought to have. Once the door to foreign adoptions was openned and Roe v. Wade and changing social mores reduced the availabilty of HWIs in the US, the crooks rushed through. Foreign adoption became a way to meet the needs of those who could not or chose not to have children naturally. These adopters can comfort themselves by believing they are saving children but in reality they are contributing to the exploitation of poor children and their parents and allowing countries such as China shirk its responsibilities to its children.

    The best way to help needy children is to help their families. Until the 1950's, the US had many orphanages, many with deplorable conditions. The orphanages began to disappear once the social welfare programs of the 1930's kicked in.

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  21. Orphanages are one aspect of international substitute care of children. But another aspect is child trafficking -- often selling these very children to the orphanage.
    International Adoption Facts is one site that describes crimes against families.

    This includes female children in China being sold into orphanages after having been stolen. The "one child policy" has little to do with this practice, and it shows how profitable it can be even in China to sell girls.

    Osolomama states "If they were reunited, their parents would have to pay an exorbitant registration fee for an overquota child. "

    This is financial coercion when a parent is forced to surrender their child because they cannot pay this fee. So, ethically, is it right to take a child from these parents if they cannot pay the fee? Or is the ethical thing to do to pay the fee for them so they can keep their child? OR, sponsor the entire family as immigrants such that they can escape the evil system they are living under?

    To take advantage of their difficulty is a form of reproductive exploitation. The people who adopted my son also took advantage of me -- as he had been illegally taken from me at birth and I was never told about welfare or any other supports that would have enabled me to keep him. I think the natural mothers in China must also feel as much crippling pain as I do, every single day.


    "Orphanage" is a word with many meanings. My father-in-law was in an orphanage in South Africa for a year or so when he was a small boy, along with his brother. He was NOT "up for adoption." His mother was forced by poverty to temporarily put them there. Conditions in the orphanage were not bad. He does not consider it to have been a negative experience.

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  22. Also liking Amanda's very reasonable comments! I know very little about adoption from China so have no expert opinion to express on that subject, or other International adoptions. I am trying to learn from those like Osolomama and Truly Blessed who really are involved, as well as others who have studied the subject.

    However, on adoption in general, I would like to assure Truly Blessed that not everyone who comments here thinks adoption is the worst thing in the world that could happen to a child, or always corrupt or wrong, or that it should be abolished. Some do feel that way, but not all, not me.

    I am a mother who gave up a child born in 1968. I have been involved in adoption reform for many years. What I have learned in that time is that adoption is complex, and that no one group are "the enemy" nor the "virtuous victim". It is not so black and white. Not all children are stolen from loving mothers, even though some are.

    While the money-making aspect of the adoption industry is certainly corrupt and in dire need of reform, that does not make adoptive parents the bad guy in every scenario, nor does it make natural family always the preferable place for every child to be raised.

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  23. Governments have been imposing strict (and harsh and even barbaric) laws on their people since Biblical times. Remember when Pharoah in the Old Testament and then King Herod (in the New Testament)ordered that every male baby be killed?

    China is a communist government and for the past 40 years have decided that it is in the best interest of China for families to have only one child. And unfortunately for the millions of children who happened to be born female (or second, third or fourth in their family), there is a 1000+ year old preference for boys in China.

    Birth mothers in China can abort legally (and horribly, some women are forced to have them - so adamant are some local governments to ensure that each child be limited to one child only). Those women who do not choose (or who are not forced) to abort may be faced with huge fines (equal to or more than a typical years' salary) if they are found with an over quota child, and horribly, at times government officials do take an "over quota" child away from a family as punishment.

    Is this right? Absolutely not. Is it reality? Sadly, it is.

    Again, the government of Communist China has made these laws because they feel it is in the best interest of the common good. It still sucks.

    And so there are thousands and thousands of children in orphanages in China. Are some women coerced into giving up a child for money? Probably. Are some children stolen because the traffickers can make money on each child they bring to an orphanage? Sadly, in some cases it appears that that's true too.

    And do some parents find that they cannot handle the medical needs that their child has, cannot afford treatment, cannot handle the public shame of having a child with a noticeable physical disfigurement? Yes again. And those children end up in orphanages.

    And there are families who are willing to, and, in fact, eager to adopt these children and love them and give them a chance to have a family.

    And in the case of China (I have no knowledge of how other countries run their adoption programs), a photo is taken of every child and, along with a description of the child's approximate age and details of where the child was discovered, the information is placed in newspapers -- long columns of baby faces with short descriptions, asking anyone with information about those children to come forward. And no one does. Because it is also illegal in China to abandon a child, so to come forward is to risk huge fines or jail sentences. And that's why most children in China's orphanages are considered true "orphans" - they have no family history and no way for future adoptive parents to keep in contact with them or support them in any way.

    In a perfect world, there would be no need for adoption. But we don't live in a perfect world. It is fantastic that so many people are trying hard to eliminate the need for adoption, and as I said, that's a noble goal. But it's impractical IMHO, as long as governments like China have more say than the population.

    FWIW, I would be overjoyed to have even the tiniest hint of information about my daughters' birth families. I cannot answer a single question she has (or will have) without speculating on the answer. That's pretty hard on an adoptive parent, I can't imagine how difficult it will be for my daughters.

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  24. Cedar, while girls have not been routinely stolen and sold to orphanages in China there have been some instances of it. At least, that is the opinion of those on the ground--that it has occurred but is not routine. (Please see the Kay Johnson interview on my blog of January 4.) The finders' fees that orphanages pay are not that high and stealing a child carries risks. However, girl babies have been trafficked to the orphanages through incentive programs. It is important to distinguish between outright seizure and trafficking. Neither is good, though, of course.

    As I tried to explain in one of my posts, the confiscation of children in China by family planning authorities is not so much about being sold into adoption but about population conrol. Kidnapping of children to sell to childless Chinese families is a different matter but also occurs. Obviously, that is providing a family with a child in an entirely unethical manner.

    You state:

    "This is financial coercion when a parent is forced to surrender their child because they cannot pay this fee. So, ethically, is it right to take a child from these parents if they cannot pay the fee? Or is the ethical thing to do to pay the fee for them so they can keep their child? OR, sponsor the entire family as immigrants such that they can escape the evil system they are living under?"

    Please remember that these abandonments--definitely not voluntary--are anonymous and illegal. Nobody can step forward--only years down the road do these parents want to be found, if ever. Moreover, the government of China would not welcome your sponsorship of families because this would also undermine the purpose of the one-child policy, which is to control and account for each member of the population.

    Moreover, would we apply the same standard and logic to the hundreds of thousands of Chinese families who informally adopted foundlings when they were numerous beginning in the early '90s, when the effects of the one-child policy were sharply felt? I don't know the answers to some of these questions. But I don't think anyone can dispute that these children needed someone to look after them.

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  25. I chose to remain anonymous because I do not feel any blame belongs with the adoptive parents in my situation. (And I only get an update when the AP feels inclined to send me one, I can't risk endangering that.) For the woman who adopted her child from China, you did a wonderful thing for your child, and she will appreciate it!

    Another post said in 1970, it was not accepted to be a single mother, well that hasn't changed. I do believe there are families out thier that will support thier children with "unconditional" love. Mine was not one of them and it has been over a decade and I still don't even know if I signed any papers. I also have no way of finding out because all of my documents that were copied and kept in my file (of a major adoption agency) are not there. I was also told that I could not get a judge to agree to a copy of this until my child was 18. I will continue to choose to believe that my son is happy, because I don't think I could make it through the day without thinking that.

    I don't agree with the practices that go on in some agencies, and I feel that there should be something that can be done about this. Only a birthmother can understand the pain associated with adoption, and my life has never been "normal" since.

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  26. I know this is an old post but it was in the sidebar and the comment conversation was interesting.

    I wish people would stop framing this as "EITHER a child must be adopted OR they will live out their life in misery in an institution." As if adoption were some sort of social panacea and there is NO other way for a child to be cared for without it.

    Adoption is a legal fiction involving the falsification of a child's birth certificate, the changing of the child's name, and more often than not the denial of the child's family history.

    Can no one here think of an alternative that would allow a family not genetically related to raise that child to adulthood?

    Gee. I can think of two.

    1. Foster care
    2. Permanent guardianship

    Seriously, is there some biological fact that prevents full-grown adults from being capable of loving and raising a child if the child did not come from their own body and they can't pretend he or she did?

    We need to talk about this because I am tired of being portrayed as some kind of wacko just because I'm against adoption. YES, I'm against falsifying a birth certificate. YES, I'm against changing the name a child was given at birth. (Exception: Sometimes Chinese orphans are given really weird names related to where they were found. MAYBE it is justified in that case--otherwise, they're children, not pencil boxes, and you don't put your name on them!) What's wrong with expecting people to live in objective reality? It's long past time they did.

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