Saturday, April 16, 2011

What's wrong with fertile women adopting?

Jane

For shame, Tina Fey, having your second baby when you could be adopting! So proclaims Treva Bowdoin of “Hollywood Trends Examiner,” an online tabloid.

Bowdoin extols Mariska Hargitay, Katherine Heigl, and Sandra Bullock who have joined a long list of celebrities including Sheryl Crow, Jamie Lee Curtis, Calista Flockhart, Valerie Harper, Diane Keaton, Rosie O’Donnell, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Spielberg, Sharon Stone, Barbara Walters, and Liza Minnelli to, in Bowdoin's words, "give unwanted children a better life.”

Besides Fey, Bowdoin also castigates Jewel, Alyssa Milano, Natalie Portman, Kate Hudson, and Pink for “taking part in the celebrity baby boom this year.”

Serial adopter, womb raider Angelina Jolie doesn’t get a pass because she “couldn’t resist having some of her own kids to add to her adopted brood.” Bowdoin confirms what I’ve long suspected: Jolie’s adopted kids are not her own kids but merely props for photo ops. Come to think of it though, Jolie’s bio kids are not her own either if that term means, as many adopters say, that the true mother is the woman who feeds the kids, gets up in the middle of the night when they have a fever, takes them to soccer games. That honor would go to the nannies. 

(If I sound harsh, it's because I think overall Jolie has done more harm to children than good. Before she adopted her first child from Cambodia, others, including her then husband Billy Bob Thornton, voiced concern that the boy was not an orphan but that his mother sold him because she was poor.  Within two years of the adoption, the Seattle-based orphanage was closed because of corruption and its owner pleaded guilty to falsely claiming the children were orphans. When Jolie brought the boy to the US, she said both she and Thornton were adopting him.  Thornton declined, saying he had never agreed to it. If Jolie truly wanted to help children, she would work to end exploitation in adoption and pressure poor nations to care for their children. I also believe the constant media exposure is harmful to the children. She's in People every week, Brad and the brood in tow, allegedly caught by a photographer while on a shopping trip.  What mother takes six kids shopping?  I predict that the children will have the problems celebs kids often have with too much money and attention and not enough discipline resulting in risky behavior, drug use, and so on.  Adoption often exacerbates these problems.)

Bowdon also takes a few swipes at Elizabeth Banks, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Nicole Kidman for going the surrogate route. (Kidman, it should be noted also did the adoption thing.) First Mother Forum is critical of these ladies as well. Surrogacy, “donated” eggs, the whole shebang exploits vulnerable women and, as practiced in the US, denies their offspring the right to learn their genetic identities.

Bowdoin asks “why do so many celebrity women with the money and resources to help kids in need of a home and family opt to have their own children? Perhaps they don’t want to go through the bureaucratic hassles of adopting [terrible the way silly consent laws and home studies get in the way of doing good], or maybe they just want to experience childbirth [so much fun]. Then there’s always the possibility that it’s just good ol’ evolution telling them to pass their genes along.”

We at FMF are happy Tina Fey is passing along her genes. She’s one of the best comedians out there and FMF looks forward to another generation of talented Feys. Ditto for the rest. In fact, Kate Hudson, daughter of actor Goldie Hawn, is on her way to forming a theatrical dynasty.

As for the need for celebs to adopt in order “to give unwanted children a better life,” the line of people wanting to give children a better life stretches from Hollywood to China and is beginning to form in Africa. Those patiently waiting their turn are understandably angry when celebs are able to use their “money and resources” to cut in line.

FMF thinks it’s most likely that celebs adopt for the same non-altruistic reason that others adopt: they want a child. Pregnancy in fantasyland can be a big no-no.
“‘This industry values very young, sexy, slim women’ says veteran Los Angeles lawyer Gloria Allred. ‘Once an actress becomes pregnant, it’s a problem.’

“In the case of established stars ... there’s little reason to believe that producers and directors wouldn’t welcome her back after her hiatus, or ... develop a storyline that incorporates or disguises a pregnancy.... But when an actress is just starting out, the words I want a child are about as welcome as a request for a $20 million contract. ‘If I were doing a pilot for television and I heard that an unknown actress was pregnant, I would try to find somebody else,’ admits L.A casting director Rhonda Young. One top Hollywood talent agent is more blunt: ‘I’m not happy if my client gets pregnant, It means she probably can’t work for a year and a half or longer. ... If I have an actress who can’t work for me, then how is that helping me?’” (“Who Wants a Baby?,” Us Weekly, May 27, 2002).
FMF would be inclined to ignore Bowdon’s mindless rant except that others share her passion for adoption over motherhood au natural. Recently Chicago Tribune columnist Amy Dickinson printed a letter from a young man concerned that the women with whom he was in a long-term relationship did not “want to give birth; she would prefer to adopt.” He had no problem adopting but wanted the experience of having a biological child.

Dickinson encouraged him to discuss with his girl friend her reasons for opting for adoption. Dickinson concluded with comforting words, “regardless of the biological circumstances, once you truly accept a child as yours, you are together for life,” apparently unaware that raising an adopted child is different from raising a bio child.

While we at FMF know fine fertile women who have adopted infants, it’s a proposition that gives us discomfort because it increases the demand for infants which in turn increases the number of women losing their children unnecessarily. To meet the increased demand, the adoption industry lures pregnant women with promises of travel and luxury living during their “confinement” (expenses which they have to repay if they keep their babies) and college scholarships for those who complete “their adoption plan”. The industry uses slick advertising, often with religious overtones framing adoption loss as an unselfish choice, a gift to a loving couple while providing her child with the things she can’t and reminding her of the dire consequences if she keeps her baby.(“You’ll have to drop out of school and work at Wal-Mart.”) The industry also turns to other countries to meet the demand,  resulting in wide-scale kidnapping and baby-selling.

We’ve heard those who plan to forgo childbirth in favor of adoption claim that adoption helps reduce the world’s population, currently bulging with over six billion people. It’s more likely that adoption increases the population. Women who lose children to adoption may have replacement children. Historian Rickie Solinger writes in Wake Up Little Susie that during the Baby Scoop Era the government encouraged single white women to give up their babies in part to increase the white population. Rather than promoting birth control, some countries with high birth rates respond to the inability of impoverished parents to provide for their children by encouraging non-governmental organizations to establish orphanages which become conduits for adoption.

As we’ve said many times, FMF encourages those considering adoption to choose one of the 115,000 children in foster care who truly do not have a family.

29 comments :

  1. I'm not sure it increases the population either way, but it does junk up the world. The whole problem comes down to women (and men) who feel they have to "reproduce" biologically or through adoption. Until women, who are the main enemies of personal liberty, free themselves of that slavery, we're going to be stuck with adoption.

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  2. I have a tough time understanding how anyone could oppose the adoption of children languishing for years in a foreign orphanage.

    These poor children are, at best, at risk for RAD and sexual abuse by older children and, at worst, given inadequate nutrition and medical care in an environment where children live in close quarters and illness spreads quickly.

    I have heard personal accounts by individuals who watched babies left to die in these orphanages. In these cases, inadequate staffing created a "triage" style of medical attention that offered medical attention to those who are most likely to live. Premature babies, who would be fine in this country, were literally put in a corner and left to die so that the staff could attend to the stronger infants.

    (continued below)

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  3. (continued from above)

    In some countries, those individuals who "age out" of orphanages are stigmatized for life and are required to list their "orphan" origins on job applications and other documents.

    I fail to see how these children are better off in these orphanages, as opposed to homes where they can be loved, nurtured and educated.

    I understand the "culture" argument. But surely critics would agree that "culture" fades to the background when compared to the deprivation of the basic necessities of food, water and shelter.

    Which would you chose? To live and eat and change cultures or to starve (physically and emotionally) and retain your culture?

    If you have ever been hungry and deprived of love and affection (and I mean truly hungry and deprived), you would chose to change cultures in a mili-second!

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  4. Anon,
    I am curious why, if you have reliable information, you choose to post anonymously.

    Like you, we do not want to see children suffer. However, adoption in most cases is not the best way to help poor children abroad. Support of orphanages and adoption by westerners may do more harm than good. Some orphanages stage horrible conditions, even underfeeding children, to induce western to contribute money which goes into the pockets of the operators.

    Older children who need homes are not wanted by those seeking to adopt. They remain in orphanages while baby brokers kidnap or buy infants and young children to meet western demand.

    It would be far better to help most children stay with their families. Check out the articles I linked to in my post. Here's a couple more that tell it like it is.

    http://www.conducivemag.com/2010/01/editorial-who-are-the-143-million-orphans/

    http://www.democracyjournal.org/17/6757.php

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  5. This site is quite interesting- and quite an attack on adoptive parents. Lorraine were you forced to give up your daughter for adoption? Were you prepared to take care of her yourself? Did you have an alternate plan? If the answer is no then why do you seem as if you were forced into that plan? You almost imply that adoptive parents steal the children they are blessed to care for. I can assure you this is not the case. I can tell you I wouldn't blame my dear baby for having separation or emotional issues tied to her adoption, and I will get her all the help she needs, but are you saying that staying with a parent who is not emotionally, financially, or physically able to care for them is better. Either way the children get the short end of it- but whose fault is that? Its NOT the fault of adoptive parents. What would first mothers do if there was no such option? Name the alternative!

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  6. If she was talking about adopting legally free for adoption children waiting in foster care then that would be one thing...

    But including DIA is simply fueling the demand thereby increasing the pressure to supply although I am sure the adoption industry is rubbing their hands in glee...

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  7. The reality is that Tina Fey is not responsible for the fate of orphans all over the world simply because she is successful in her career.

    That's insane reasoning.

    I wonder what make Anonymous think that somehow celebrities with their egos and their entourages would be the appropriate caregivers for children who have been institutionalized for most if not all of their early lives in the first place. Money does not equal a "better life" and it certainly doesn't mean that actors and actresses are able to handle these special needs anonymous mentioned.

    Take a look and Angelina Jolie's kids, they look miserable.

    And why is it that we as Americans are expected to care for the orphans of the world by removing them from their homeland, their language and their people? I find this view not only arrogant but unrealistic and disrespectful.

    I would much rather the people with money who are so inclined to help the world's "orphans" give to organizations that work to improve the conditions of these children rather than spending tens of thousands of dollars to "save" ONE child.

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  8. BD,
    You are lucky your mother didn't think like you do as you
    may never have been born. I never felt having "my" baby
    was slavery. I am sure ALL moms feel same way.
    Even though I lost my baby he was always wanted and loved by me.

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  9. Anon @1:32, and me thinks later:

    Both Jane and I have written extensively about why our children were relinquished to be adopted. Instead of simply attacking us, and all women like us, perhaps you, understanding adoptive parent (UAP), could restrain yourself in your obvious anger, and learn a bit about why women relinquish, including me, since you single me out on a post I did not write, as has happened before. You might even take a moment and read the sidebar titled: What We Think About Adoption that Jane and I both signed.

    You mention that some of the women who do not keep their children do so financial reasons. You do that have that right. It quite unlikely that the children adopted by Jolie and Madonna and many of the other celebrities Jane mentioned in the post would have been available to them if their parents were not crushingly poor. In Madonna's case, instead of helping them, she just wasted nearly $4 million for a school that is not going to happen. Many many children could have benefited and stayed with their parents if she had given that money to one of several organizations already working in Malawi. And perhaps had you chosen to help the mother of the "lucky" child you adopted, that child might not have been available.

    I personally have much more respect for Jolie and her husband, Brad Pitt, as they have given money directly to good organizations that aid indigent women, such as Women for Women International. Jolie also has worked to raise awareness of the poverty of some African nations, and I respect her for that.

    You who are so quick to judge us betrays a lack of compassion and empathy in your heart for others less fortunate than you unless they can supply you with a service, or, say, a child.

    Anonymous comments like yours are tedious because they are like little children in a school yard who want to yell out invectives without being held responsible.

    And this comment is signed by Lorraine

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  10. Anon, Let me just add to Lorraine's response.

    Thanks to better sex education and contraception, Roe v. Wade, and changing mores, there is a shortage of babies to meet the demand for healthy infants. The adoption industry funded by prospective adoptive parents helped by generous tax laws runs aggressive marketing campaigns to meet the demand. Adoption is a profitable business with some practitioners making over $100k.

    Many of the American women lured into surrendering their babies are well able to nurture their children. Others could keep their babies with a little financial help. As a result of marketing and unjust laws, the US has the highest rate of infant adoption in the western world. With five times the population of the UK, the US has 100 times the number of infant adoptions each year.

    In short, adoptive parents do play a role in creating and maintaining abuses in adoption, albeit they may not know it.

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  11. Jane,

    You cite unjust laws, generous tax laws and aggressive marketing by adoption agencies as influencing mothers to surrender their babies.

    This puts the blame on our legal system and the actions of adoption agencies. None of these implicates adoptive parents at all.

    Your statement, "adoptive parents do play a role in creating and maintaining abuses in adoption . . ." is unsupported by your post.

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  12. Anon,
    If people weren't willing to pay big bucks for someone else's child, adoption agencies wouldn't lobby for laws favoring adoptive parents and providing them tax breaks nor engage in deceptive advertising.

    Some prospective adoptive parents try to assure the child they are seeking to adopt truly needs a home, but many look the other way. Sadly, adoption today exists to find children for homes, not homes for children.

    To learn more about the need to reform adoption practices, read the 2006 birth parent study by the E. B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, available on the EBD website, http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/publications/2006_11_Birthparent_Study_All.pdf. Join the many fine adoptive parents who are working with birth mothers and adoptees to reform adoption laws and practices.

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  13. As a matter of fact Lorraine I did read your many rants about your feelings about adoption and adoptive parents. I find it very offensive that you assume that every adoptive parent is part of a giant conspiracy to steal children from poor unsuspecting women. You truly underestimate the intelligence of many of your fellow first mothers. Do you truly believe that big business dupes women into giving up their children. Yes socio-economic situations dictate life choices- and if you must know there were many birthmothers whom we tried to personally help, including that of the child we privately, and openly have an adoption plan with. She contacted us- not the reverse. You generalize us, so yes that does make me angry.

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  14. Dear Anon:

    Clearly you read what you want to read, you see what you want to see. There are adoptive parents who read here and comment and know we do not think all adoptive parents are bad, greedy people who want children without caring where they came from. Many at not. Some are my friends.

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  15. From Valerie... Unfortunately, Anon...it seems you do not understand what is driving the market of supply and demand in modern domestic adoption in the USA, and that is the insatiable demand of infertile couples to "create forever families" with other women's children...women with less power and resources in society who are groomed to believe that their children "would be better off without them" ...Not much has changed from the BSE...except the savvy sales and marketing methods designed to make a mother believe she is "in charge" and "choosing" when in fact she is being cleverly manipulated out of her child...economic adoptions should never take place, especially in the western world...only children who are being neglected or abused should be separated from their mothers. Healthy babies from healthy mothers who pose no harm to them are being "rescued" and "saved" by do-gooders who need to justify their deeds. The problems of infertile couples, although very sad, have absolutely nothing to do with young, vulnerable pregnant youth and women. Unfortunately, you are not "entitled" to form a family using someone else's child if nature or science does not provide you with one...get a dog. Valerie

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  16. Anonymous, I am very happy to say that I don't associate with anyone who parents. I have a few friends with "adult children" but I would never associate with anyone who currently have them. Never have and never will. A desire to parent is narcissistic and egocentric. it goes against all common sense. My niece is 27 and on her 5th kid. The latest Mr. Wonderful has 3 kids, so she'll have 8 in the house. She should be slapped in an insane asylum. She once had a future. Now she's a drudge. Men and women can either parent or they can work. I'd be happy if parents were banned from the workforce, or at least forced to wear a gag so we wouldn't have to hear about the little darlings all day.

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  17. I find it hurtful, incredibly so, that someone has presented the culture vs. survival argument.

    It's not a privilege to be earned. Being an adoptee who once faced that scenario, I get backed into a corner with the implication of having been saved and therefore pledge my gratefulness.

    All it does is dismiss my feelings, since I am a human being and not an object who had to "earn" the right to live.

    After all, kept children generally don't have to defend the right to exist versus having their parents keep them, do they?

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  18. I am an adoptive mom and an adoptee and after reading here for a while I admire and respect Jane and Lorraine. I have never sensed an anti adoptive parent sentiment. If one feels guilty about being an deceitful or unethical
    adoptive parent and reads here, then some of the blog posts would hit you like a ton of bricks.
    Lara

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  19. It seems that no matter what my response is I will be forced to defend my point one way or the other, but it is truly how I feel. Mei Ling I would never ask you to defend the way you feel. I am truly sorry if I implied that in some way an adopted person has some sort of debt to their adoptors. If anything I owe a great debt to my DD first mother. We tried to initially help her- if she wanted to keep the baby we would help her. But every case is different and she didn't want to. I can not lie and say I was brought immense joy to be able to care for my daughter. Not at her expense- I shared in her grief although I could never understand how she truly feels. It seems that you all feel that there is no choice- but thaT is not the case every time. You are very quick to judge (lorraine and Jane)as I was when first reading this site( Valerie and Mei Ling point taken- its given me food for thought.
    Although my opinion seems tedious to some- at least I am open to yours can you say the same?. Angela

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  20. A note about Angelina Jolie which I added to the blog as well. If I sound harsh, it's because I think overall Jolie has done more harm to children than good.

    Before she adopted her first child from Cambodia, others, including her then husband Billy Bob Thornton, voiced concern that the boy was not an orphan but that his mother sold him because she was poor. Within two years of the adoption, the Seattle-based orphanage was closed because of corruption and its owner pleaded guilty to falsely claiming the children were orphans. When Jolie brought the boy to the US, she said both she and Thornton were adopting him. Thornton declined, saying he had never agreed to it. To my knowledge, Jolie has never made any effort to help the boy, or any of her adopted children, have contact with their biological parents.

    If Jolie truly wanted to help children, she would work to end exploitation in adoption and pressure poor nations to care for their children.

    I also believe the constant media exposure is harmful to the children. She's in "People" every week, Brad and the brood in tow, allegedly caught by a photographer while on a shopping trip. What mother takes six kids shopping? I predict that the children will have the problems celebs kids often have with too much money and attention and not enough discipline resulting in risky behavior, drug use, and so on. Adoption often exacerbates these problems.

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  21. I avoid, as much as it’s possible, the hours of media each day that’s focused on celebrity watching, whether it’s via television, internet or print. I would like to see one toe in the door that exposes the reality of adoption, whether domestic or intercountry. Some meaningful focus on profits, adoptee perspectives, birth family perspectives, PEAR experiences, Dr. Richard Boas and his awakening; over a lifetime and not just at the time of adoption or when an “adoption plan” is being made. Information on the older children anchored in the foster care system and why. Raise the question to prospective adopters about why they see themselves as a better choice to raise someone else’s child rather than the natural parents and see if the economic answer comes out (more money, etc. than the natural family). Something meaningful about adoption rather than the same old drivel that’s been recycled for decades would be tough for a lot of people to swallow but planting the seeds of education is a worthy effort. It sure would beat the constant focus on, and evaluation of, celebrities we’re subjected to each day in the media and offer more value.

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  22. Anon,
    You were willing to help the child you adopted and her mom stay together? Now what would be the reason for you doing that? My guess would be you were trying to prove what a "good" person you were thus making mom comfortable for you to acquire her baby.

    Ps you are quick to jump to conclusions too. More mothers lose their child because of not having resources that adopters get for adopting. Yesterday I saw a man about 60 plus saying to a black baby that she was talking to daddy meaning "him" I felt like throwing up at the site him pretending to be daddy to a baby. Bet he gets a nice little
    pay check for adopting. Adoption is wrong and this proves my point why not help mothers???

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  23. Angela,
    Please take a look at our statement on the sidebar. We support adoption when a child needs a family. We recognize that some women choose willingly not to nurture their child. It sounds like in the case of your daughter, adoption was the most appropriate action.

    Let's hope that your daughter's birth mother comes to realize that she is important in her daughter's life and maintains contact with her.

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  24. BD, *snicker*. You are too funny.

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  25. After reading the entry and the comments I have to wonder why an adopter - and yes ANON, that is what you are - come here at all? At no point is what happened with her adoptee ethical, moral or "GODS PLAN".... and to believe that this person would have helped someone keep their baby? Well, stupid was never one of my flaws. What is pathetic is that the closed mind that posted those ignorant comments is currently raising a child, getting a stipend for the child, and claiming to love a child, that they could have helped stay with their mother. But instead, Anon, in total selfish ignorance, chose to help by taking the baby. Helping by entering the mother's life and insinuating themselves into the world of a mother that should have had the option of deciding without the influence that is peddled by the adopter by being the "perfect" friend/mother/whatever to a vulnerable woman.

    Truth is, Anon, you know very little about what "your" child is about to live through... or has been living through. They will smile, laugh, and love you and they will feel empty inside, afraid to be themselves.

    I pity that little one... and if you don't like what mother's say, why did you come here in the first place? To placate your conscience by proving that all mothers are unstable? Or to prove to yourself that you did the "right" thing by using the subtle pressure of continued presence to steal another woman's baby? I am seriously curious.

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  26. Lori wrote: "They will smile, laugh, and love you and they will feel empty inside, afraid to be themselves."

    I would amend that to not just feeling empty inside but to feeling a deep, pervasive, unrelenting sadness as well.

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  27. Let's say an infant's mother cannot provide her with the treatment the infant needs.

    Let's say this treatment equals over $10,000 in U.S currency.

    Then an adoptive mother steps into the picture and is willing to pay for the infant's treatment - because the mother cannot, and the adoptive mother is allowed to adopt the child if she can.

    Take away the perspective of the adoptive mother for a moment:

    How on earth can anyone in their right mind say they would have helped the mother keep the child if the situation *already* called for the aid of someone who wasn't the child's mother?

    Basically, even if the mother wanted & loved the child with all of her heart - does it not occur that regardless of all the love in the world - having had a stranger pay for her infant's illness would make the mother feel obligated to hand over her child anyway?

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  28. "We tried to initially help her- if she wanted to keep the baby we would help her."

    Was she the 2% of mothers who truly didn't give a damn about her child?

    Really?

    Frankly, even in the scenario where this wasn't true, any mother would feel obligated to give up her baby to someone who can provide better.

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