Monday, February 8, 2010
The Latest Craze: Giving Away Baby
Unlike fellow blogger Linda, I was not stunned at reading what was purported to be a response to a request for feedback from birthmothers on the online adoption agency, AdoptHelp.
“I am not aware of any birth mothers who regret their decision” claims the unidentified writer. I saw this as a marketing gimmick, probably coming from an employee of AdoptHelp’s PR department. Testimonials from apparently satisfied customers is a time honored way to snare in innocents whether you’re talking about Wall Street (think Bernie Madoff) or the Stork Market.
Birthmother Melissa Busch, who also goes by Melissa Valencia-Manerini, takes it a step farther, exulting her adoption experience on the Huffington Post as “amazing, positive, and has continued to feel like the best possible choice I could have made at the time” just as her decision “to have an abortion many years later” was. Busch is a board member of Portland’s largest domestic adoption agency, Open Adoption & Family Services, a fact she does not disclose on Huff Po.
Busch notes that it is difficult to answer the question “Do you have any children?” because of society’s negative view of the type of woman who would give her baby away and a lack of public understanding of “genuinely open adoption which has revolutionized adoption practices and the experiences of all parties involved.” Busch argues that adoption ”is a legitimate pregnancy option for all women faced with a pregnancy decision” and there is “nothing strange, scary, secretive or shameful about it.”
We at First Mother Forum agree that openness in adoption is a positive step and that women who lost their child to adoption should not be shamed but beyond that Busch loses us. Treating adoption as just another consumer choice (do you want fries, coleslaw, or fruit with your burger?) or worse, as a matter of pride, is baffling. This is, after all, a child, not a choice.
The birthmothers that we know and who post on this blog had few options. In fact, many had no option but surrender. Busch, however, was in a relatively comfortable position. She tells us that she and her daughter’s father were very much in love and, until her eighth month of pregnancy, they were going to “parent.” However, she continuously felt “that what I could give emotionally, physically and financially was not enough to be the kind of parent I wanted to be.” (It crosses my mind that her feelings of inadequacy may come from reading too many books on child-rearing which make the most natural of acts incredibly complex while promoting zillions of expensive baby gadgets.)
Although Busch tell us that her relationship with her daughter has "grown over the years," Busch does not tell us how her daughter feels about her mother's unwillingness to “parent” her. It may be that Busch has never thought to ask her.
What’s really scary is that we may be seeing the beginnings of a new craze. Just as adopting has become fashionable in many communities so may be surrendering. Instead of boasting about where your child is going to college (my son planned to go to State U until Harvard gave him a full scholarship), mothers may jump for joy when that thick envelope arrives accepting their unborn child into Spence-Chapin.