Sunday, February 28, 2010

We want to have a family. Is Adoption ever a good solution?

Sometimes we get comments on earlier posts that are simply begging for a response, as was this one left the other day at the blog: They call me "biological mother." I hate those words.
I am a potential adoptive mother and am curious if, as mothers, you feel that there is ever an acceptable situation for an adoption. I very badly would like to raise a family and adoption is our only option. If we are successful in adopting, I would like for it to be an open adoption (if the child/ren's mother is interested in that).

I guess my questions are: IF mothers (and adult adopted children) see adoption as an acceptable situation, is open adoption generally the most desired choice (within the community of mothers who share feelings about such things)? Also, in your opinion what IS the most loving, sensitive way to distinguish to a child their parentage? It would be my desire to ensures/he knows that s/he is loved by both the mother who allowed him/her to be adopted and the woman who is raising him/her with love. Of course, as the child/ren's adoptive parent, I would want for him/her to call me mom (or some derivation) and still treasure the mother that allowed me to share the joy of motherhood.

I hope that my questions don't offend. I simply want to have the joy of a family and to instill a love in the child/ren I raise both for the family they lost and the family they've gained. I hope you can help as the opportunity for me to parent via adoption may be near. --Hayley
Let's start out about whether answering whether we approve of adoption in the first place, an issue that comes up here every now and then. We are not against all adoptions, but we want to insure that any adoption that does occur is done purely because a child needs a home, not because someone has a home she/he/they want to fill. There is a huge difference between the two. The pressure to find children to "build families" for people who knowingly postponed pregnancy past their fecund years has led to all sorts of abuses in adoption, particularly in the international marketplace for children, something we have written reams about here at First Mother Forum.

Because of the pressure to supply babies, and the money to be made from that, a whole culture of adoption has grown up here in the United States with little emphasis on how to help women keep their babies. Pregnancy crises centers are often places that might be more aptly called "shotgun adoption centers." At the same time, various church groups, such as the erroneously named Christian World Adoption, and a Mormon group that was found to be snatching children from Samoan families, and others have gone over seas to harvest children for the Western market. Fully half of the babies exported from Guatemala during that country's civil war were found to be have been stolen, as a recent government investigation revealed.

But these stories, while they are in the news, somehow do not filter down to many prospective adoptive parents, or society at large, and we end up as we are today in a culture that promotes adoption to the point where young women on The Bachelor start saying that when they want to have a family, they want to "adopt." When celebrities such as Madonna and Angelina Jolie make news when they adopt, again more people think that is a good way to fill their bare bassinets.

Given all that, Hayley, there are children right here in America who do need stable, loving homes. They are the children in foster homes whose natural parents can not, or will not, ever come back for them. They are the children who need homes. These are the children we hope you will consider adopting. And we know that there will legitimately be children with no resources in Haiti, but rushing to adopt there and remove children from their culture is not something we encourage.

We do encourage all young women who have babies to try to find ways to keep their children, as we have dealt with the grieving aftermath of having relinquished, and have heard the unhappy outcomes of many adoptions--from the point of view of the adopted. As an adoptive father, and a psycholigist, once said in a court case of a woman hoping to get her records unsealed: Adoption is always painful.

It is certainly always painful for the actual mother, the one who gives birth to her child, and it is always painful for the child to learn he/she was relinquished by someone for reasons unknowable, incomprehensible, reasons that always feel like abandonment to the child who becomes an adult one day. Adoption always leaves scars. We appreciate that in researching adoption you stumbled upon First Mother Forum, Hayley, and hope that we give you some food for thought, no matter what you eventually do.

You raised other issues, and we will deal with them in future posts.

8 comments :

  1. Lorraine, WHOA there lady! First, I was a foster child and I can tell you that a lot of misinformation about the children in foster care is out there. It is worse than the misinformation about adoption.

    First, children can be placed in foster care for a multitude of reasons - poverty being the largest! Sound familiar?

    Families are often broken up over things like a kid that is going through the "wearing the same clothes until you have to steal them at night to wash them stage." Or because a parent is reported for swatting their kid on the butt. One child I am currently dealing with was placed as a way to help her get medical care that was otherwise out of reach. They have already notified the parents that she will not be returning home - they found a "proper" family that can "afford" her medical care and that their apparent neglect of her medical care was grounds for severance of parental rights.

    Second, once CPS is involved, there is only a six month window in which a parent is able to get their child back without going to court. Recently a young couple I know placed their children because they were going to a 2 month rehab. They completed rehab, were in counseling, had a home and jobs and the CPS worker gave them a long list of things to do to get their children back - after originally telling them that because it was voluntary and temporary so there would be no issue with the children returning home immediately upon their finishing rehab.

    Their son was adopted by the foster parents and the little girl is still in long term foster care.

    You see, once in care for any reason, you have to follow a list of things to do and not to do. First your house must be emaculate at all times. (This can depend on the social worker or the social worker supervisor)

    Second, you only get, under normal conditions, 1 to 2 visits of a single hour each a week. This visit is usually in a small room while you are supervised by a person who is not even a social worker and who can say that you were inappropriate according to their own understanding of inappropriate.


    SEE NEXT

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  2. Part 2

    Third, you must have a job or be searching for a job - a minimum of 6 applications a day - unless you are disabled, then the rules change.

    Fourth, you must make every meeting arranged by the Social Worker - generally weekly and usually on different days at different times. Employers do not like this and often terminate the parent for this problem.

    Then, provided you are working, have approved housing and are able to provide approved day care for your child if you are working, you may be able to have weekend visits.

    If the child returns to the foster home and acts out (gee I wonder why they would, being taken from home and parents they love), the visits will be halted for a time, ostensibly for some counseling and more parenting classes which the parent must attend. Again, this is not something employers like much.

    The social worker is supposed to make sure the parent receives all available services to ensure that the initial plan of "family reunification" occurs. However, this is unlikely to happen, they are too busy to bother and most parents are unaware of the services that are available.

    Most of all, if you fail to follow these guidelines in any way, you start at the beginning again.

    Meanwhile, the social worker is busily arranging hearings that you are not even notified of, you no longer have that right.

    At the end of the initial 6 months the plan changes from "family reunification" to adoption. At that time there is the initial severance hearing.

    The judge then has to tell the parents, do what they tell you or in 6 more months we will be severing your parental rights.

    8 out of 10 families are completely destroyed and the children almost always languish in foster care because they are either too old or have mental health issues caused by the abrupt disruption of their lives.

    I believe that some adoptions are good - but I also believe that we need to be realistic about all the children and parents we are talking about.

    So, before we adopt from foster care - check the history, know that social workers "doctor" records and often what a person is told is bull. Just like the stuff they put in our childrens records and on the adoption papers.

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  3. Well, what Lori says about the child who was taken from their family because their parents can't afford medical care, proves everthing I ever thought or ever said about CPS and social workers is true. It is beyond obvious that America is a total SNOT about money, and people are punished here for being poor. What should of happened of course, was this family should of gotten financial aid, not been broken up. How evil. And how much stress, to lose one's family they know and love-that helps no child get well. I saw a social worker once actually and weirdly like morph into this I am caring and concerned about children mood and body language-it was bizarre-like she was some lizard in a human being costume from that tv show V-to the woman who wrote this letter to FMF-I do want to say ty for being kind and taking into consideration other people's feelings when you discuss the subject of Adoption. Alot of PAP's are not like that and come off very selfish. And my
    advice as an Adoptee, is you must see Adoptionn from the Adoptees eyes, because our experiance is going to be different than yours. You need to keep in mind too, that even in Open Adoption, the child feels rejected from his or her Real Mother still-that is always a prominant factor in Closed Adoption as well. Therefore forcing a child to be a happy camper will back fire on everyone involved. It is also not wise to put your feelings of anguish over being infertile over the child's feeling of rejection and sadness that their Real Mother did not want to raise them. This never flys either. And lastly, there are woman who do not want to raise the babies they have, but there are also women who have had them taken away when they wanted them because they are single or not well off. This is wrong, and it is every PAP's job to make sure they don't support this kind of coersement by Adopting a baby whose Mother was victimized by the Adoption Industry. I also think too like Lorraine, that an orphaned foster child is the best thing to do first. If you do Adopt an infant, PLEASE understand the need they will have when older to know who everyone in their bloodline is. And NEVER, under any circumstances, ever get involved with Attachment Therapy or psychiatry, as both these businesses use Adoptees as commodities and abuse them further.

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  4. Jane will be posting a blog on the foster-care situation in a few days.

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  5. I will leave it to others to sort out the foster care stuff. The last time I opened my mouth about that issue, I had other people's feet planted squarely in it.

    I think, though, what you wrote about the culture of adoption we have created is important. That culture makes it so hard to determine whether any particular adoption is "ethical." I see so many people say that today, young women are not having their babies snatched, but relinquishing with their eyes wide open. With the cultural support of adoption we see, I find it difficult to believe these claims.

    Well, I don't know what I'm trying to say. Lorraine, you already said it much better than I am right now. I just wanted to nod in agreement.

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  6. I also think too like Lorraine, that an orphaned foster child is the best thing to do first. If you do Adopt an infant
    freekin typo fairy..
    I meant: I also think too like Lorraine, that *Adopting an orphaned foster child is the best thing to do first.
    swat that evil fairy, SWAT her, LoL

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  7. phil said: I think, though, what you wrote about the culture of adoption we have created is important. That culture makes it so hard to determine whether any particular adoption is "ethical." I see so many people say that today, young women are not having their babies snatched, but relinquishing with their eyes wide open. With the cultural support of adoption we see, I find it difficult to believe these claims.

    I don't believe it either. And I don't even know what to say to people anymore when they talk about wanting to adopt, or being in the process of adopting. Although it might not seem like it, considering some of the things I've said here, I'm generally not a confrontational person. I don't want to start grilling them about why they want to adopt, and if it's going to be a US or an international adoption, and giving them a big spiel about how to do it right. If someone asks, it's easy. Otherwise, it seems as intrusive as telling people how to raise their kids. How does one advocate in that sort of situation? (That's mostly a rhetorical question.)

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  8. Thank you all for your thorough and honest comments. I appreciate your candor and thoughtful responses.

    For the record, I didn't wait to try having a family. My childbearing was taken at 22 by a medical condition which was out of my control. And, my husband and I later spent all of our savings and insurance available trying to have a family using medical assistance. I lost 2 sets of triplets.

    The situation with which I am currently faced is this. My best friend is a single mother of 4, 2 pair of children from 2 fathers. She recently found herself to be pg with a 5th child by her then boyfriend (they have since ended their relationship). She is a wonderful mother who, even as a professional is barely getting by, not just financially but emotionally, mentally and physically. I am the only support system/family she has and her exes make her issues worse, not better. She has considered terminating the pgcy bc she doesn't feel she can handle another child (or two...strong possibility of twins).

    Obviously, her choice is hers: parenting, termination, or surrender.

    I really asked my questions here so that I could get feedback on whether or not adoption was ever seen by mothers to have been an acceptable choice. I want to offer my friend the option of open adoption with my husband and myself, at least instead of her terminating, so that she doesn't feel like she only has the other 2 options.

    I hear what you're saying about the pain involved for all parts of the family (mother & family, adoptee, and aps & family). And, I've already told her that, no matter what she decides that I will be there to help her with whatever she needs.

    I guess I wanted the reassurance from someone that there are times when adoptees might feel loved by all parties instead of rejected or abandoned. If that is never the case, perhaps I shouldn't mention adoption to my friend. I certainly would never want to contribute to hurting her, her children, or the child which I would petentially love and raise.

    Again, thank you for addressing my questions with such openness. Perhaps the better choice for me is to enjoy the children of my family members and friends. I just don't think that I could put a child through the anguish of adoption if there is no way to ensure they they have the security of feeling loved completely by their whole family.
    Unfortunately, adopting a child via foster care is not something my husband would consider for reasons that I will keep private. And, adopting through the organizations you've mentioned isn't really an option to us at this time because it is cost prohibitive. Of course, now I shudder to think where the child I might adopt through them may have come from (coerced from it's family rather) and whether it would be possible to provide them a truly happy upbringing.

    I do want to provide a loving home for a child in which they know their entire family (actual and adopted) and feel loved and secure. But, it seems that regardless of circumstance that it may be impossible from the child's perspective for that to take place.

    Thank you for opening my eyes to a new perspective.

    ~Hayley

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