"Imagine this: a woman enters her local Planned Parenthood office and notices, in the bathroom, a poster that says: “Questions about adoption? We can answer those, too.”
"Such posters, which should be up in the hallways of at least 15 abortion providers in New York within the month, are produced by the Adoption Access Network as part of a campaign to make adoption a subject that patients and social workers alike feel more comfortable broaching in abortion clinics. The thinking is that all the clinics’ clients, whether they seem uneasy about abortion or not, should have a clear understanding of how adoption works, rather than just be handed a list of references — a list that essentially says, adoption is fine, but it’s not our thing."
I was too late to respond at the Times site, as the comments are closed, but another columnist, Amie Newman, managing editor of Reality Check, also joined the chorus of people who think the posters are a good idea. Newman wrote at Reality Check and republished at The Huffington Post, Pro-Choice and Adoption: Outside the Culture Wars:
"...there is nothing wrong with posters on adoption or educating providers more thoroughly about what open adoption looks like. But adoption is not a "distraction" from abortion and, given the option, most women we saw at the health center seeking to terminate their pregnancies did not change their minds, even after being provided with more information about adoption - even open adoption (laws about which vary from state-to-state and is far from cut-and-dried)."
My response (expanded somewhat here):
How about a poster in an adoption agency suggesting that there is a better option--abortion--than the lifelong grief of surrendering a child to genetic strangers? How about having an abortion/adoption counselor on staff to talk to young women about the fact that you do not surrender a child to be adopted and "get on with your life" as before? I volunteer.
It has been more than 40 years since I surrendered my daughter to be adopted by total strangers, and though I found her when she was fifteen and we had an open adoption after that, I never got over the deep loss and emotional trauma of giving her up. I never got back my old life I never got over the pain and sorrow that adoption means to two people: mother and child. Neither did she.
Were her adoptive parents bad people? No. Was she anything like them? No. Did a sense of abandonment infuse her life, despite everyone's best efforts? Yes. Did she feel second best after her parents had biological children? Yes. Was she wrong in thinking that? Not from what I observed. Whose swimming meets did they go to, whose diving events did they not have time for? You guess. Did she look like them? No. Did her other mother come to hate me as our relationship continued through the years? Yes.Maybe adoption agencies would consider putting up posters advertising that fact? Ya know, I kinda doubt they will, even the supposedly cool ones like Spence-Chapin.
Putting up "consider adoption" posters in abortion clinics is absurd. The woman or teenager is at the clinic seeking an abortion because she has already made that choice and to force her again to confront it is no better than the medical procedures that at least one state has forced on pregnant women choosing an abortion: that they have a sonogram. [At least Newman above found that talking about adoption to women set on abortions rarely, if ever, had an impact.]
After reading comments here and elsewhere it appears that those who think the adoption posters in abortion clinics are a great idea are anti-choice people, hoping for a last minute change of heart, or those eager to supply the market maw of those who would adopt. After all, available white infants are in short supply.
They should spend some time reading about what life after surrender is like for first/birth mothers, whether in open adoptions or closed. And the woman/teen who is considering adoption for their children her child should be counseled that this child is quite likely the only child she will ever have. A large percentage of women who surrender a child to adoption never have another. As fellow blogger Jane has just written: Should women considering adoption be warned about secondary infertility?
Damn, the Dominus piece made me mad because the attitude was that the posters are such a great idea--but no thought of equal time for our side of the story. I know Sue; she's from the demographic of women who are the adopting class today: middle class, reaching the end of their fertility years and having trouble reproducing, and able to afford agency fees...and so they want to adopt. Trouble is...too few available babies. Since I know so many of those thirty/fortysomething women who adopted, I'm sure she does too.--lorraine
Jane here. I’ll support Planned Parenthood clinics talking about adoption when I see adoption agencies talking about abortion and nurturing. In other words, NEVER!
If Corinna Lohser of the Spence-Chapin Adoption Agency and Cristina Page, founders of the Adoption Access Network, were serious about bringing “prochoice standards to the field of adoption” they would create an Abortion Access Network and train adoption agency staff to talk to their clients about abortion. After all, it's a lot easier to find an adoption agency that an abortion provider.
Lohser should take a look at Spence-Chapin’s website. The “Caring” in its tag line, “Adoption Service and Caring since 1908, is surely not code for abortion. Spence-Chapin is an adoption agency. Its website promotes adoption with happy birth mother stories and pictures of attractive couples waiting to adopt. The “choice” lingo is just another way to lure in pregnant women by recruiting Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers as runners.
It’s clear that while Page talks about options, the only one she really wants women to choose is adoption. Look at her language:
“Page also reminds us that applying pro-choice standards and a women's rights lens to the adoption experience means not just expanded rights and options for birth mothers but for those gay and lesbian parents desperate to adopt but often kept out of the pool by more religious-in-nature or conservative agencies. Developing a network of pro-choice adoption agencies changes family rights. Anecdotally, she tells me, pro-choice adoption agencies have an active pool of gay and lesbian parents wanting to adopt.”Referring to pregnant women as “birth mothers” when they haven’t given birth let alone given up their child and referring to gay and lesbian couples as “parents” when they aren’t, shows Page’s mindset: With the right kind of sales job, pregnant women will “choose” adoption and meet the needs of Page’s real clients, gay and lesbian couples locked out of the Christian adoption market.
Significantly Page and Lohser say nothing about the other option, “nurturing.” The problem isn’t that abortion providers don’t talk about adoption. It’s that adoption agencies don’t talk about nurturing and don’t help women find resources so they can keep their baby.
If you want to comment, click on: Pro-Choice and Adoption: Outside the Culture Wars
And have fun noting all the adoption ads at the bottom of the page. Cute. You can't win. They are why I can't take regular ads here, adoption agency stuff just pops up. Not cool.