Sunday, April 22, 2012

How adoption agencies 'turn' vulnerable women into spokespeople for relinquishing

http://starcasm.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Catelynn_Tyler_Teen_Mom.jpg
Catelynn and Tyler, spokespeople for Bethany
Is adoption in America a business? Yes, it is a billion-dollar a year business. How do you get more babies to satisfy the customers, the prospective adoptive parents? How do you get other women to give up their babies? 

You get still-stunned mothers who have relinquished their children recently--brand new birth mothers to jump in and convince others that they too can do the "right" thing by giving up their children to better fixed folks. Catelynn and Tyler of Sixteen and Pregnant and Teen Mom
fame are Bethany Christian Services' most visible new recruits who help convince other young couples to give up their babies to strangers. That is the kind of marketing tool used by the unscrupulous but ever present Bethany, an adoption and family service agency, with over 70 sites in 30 states and 13 other countries.*  

I just picked up this tweet from the Bethany website: RT @TylerBaltierra: @Bethany Cate and I will be speaking next week @ Penn state!!! Come c us #uwontbedissapointed

Sickening.  

Lorraine
But before reality TV, before the Internet was the tool it is today, Bethany used recent birth/first mothers the same way. Earlier in the month we featured two posts that arrived at First Mother Forum as comments. The writer has since been in touch with us privately, and we are today sharing more of what occurred when she--more than two decades ago--was blindly led into being a poster birth mother for Bethany. She relinquished in the late Eighties via through what Bethany then called "an extremely open adoption. Today it would be described as "semi-open,"--annual visits, letters, gift exchange. It evolved into a fully open, then completely closed, adoption.

We hope this post will serve as a wake-up call to women who recently gave up their children, whether through Bethany or some other adoption facilitator, to not turn into first mothers who urge others to take the same path.--lorraine
THOSE PROUD BIRTH MOTHER BLOGS...     
A phenomenon I’ve found especially troublesome are agencies encouraging newly-counseled, newly-relinquishing/placing mothers to erect and write blogs on “the birth mother experience”--blogs that tend to lean toward, or stop just short of, advising pregnant mothers to place their children. Not all blogs are the product of this encouragement, but bear with me.

Before the Internet, newly-relinquishing moms were recruited to write for their Crises Pregnancy Centers’s (CPC) newsletters, and to speak on agency panels to couples hoping to adopt, "mentor" pregnant mothers, as a part of CPC-sponsored “counsel.” As I've revealed here earlier,  I was one of them, and I admit I sounded a lot like the newer birth mom bloggers, "proud" to be a birth mother.  

I wrote and said what I’d been counseled to write/say, using words and ideals I’d been spoon fed--words forged by others to define an experience I couldn't yet wrap my mind around; one that my own words could not then--so early on--begin to convey.  Would not, fully, for decades. But to go back to the beginning, before I gave birth, a horrific night I remember as clearly as if it happened yesterday. The sound of squeaking chairs, the murmurs and nervous laughter of hopeful couples, the butterflies ascending from my solar plexus, my pregnancy counselor's announcement to the assembled group, the strange new name with which she introduced me:  

"This is Alicia" she said, "one of our 'birth mothers.'" [Ed: she was still simply a pregnant young woman, not a "mother."]

I was around seven-and-half-months pregnant, my belly swollen beneath a maroon tent of a dress. During the previous week's counseling session, my counselor had made a request of me. Something important, she'd said. She asked me to talk to prospective adoptive parents--an "opportunity to educate...to make birth mothers more real to them." I'd been hand selected as I was "especially mature and responsible."  

And it was good to feel valued--by anyone--after my family, and my child's father, had abandoned me. She wanted the people hoping to adopt to know that birth mothers were not merely careless derelicts, devoid of maternal love. She knew I wanted to parent. She knew I was actively seeking resources to do so, but she'd told me she was not allowed to help me locate said resources. I'd grown to like her, to believe she had my and my child's best interests at heart. I believe, even now, that she was as naive as I was at the time. I trusted her. I felt beholden to her. But I didn't understand that she was, first and foremost, a facilitator on the path to adoption of my baby.

So when she asked me to speak to people looking to adopt, I agreed. I sat alone, a one-woman panel, poured awkwardly into a stiff chair. The couples addressed me as a kind of composite. To them, I was a learning tool, a guide book of sorts. I was all "pregnant birth mothers."

They asked me questions like:

"Do birth mothers prefer parents with a college degree?"

"Do birth mothers have a problem with homeschooling?"

"Do birth mothers change their mind?"


When I returned home, I drew in my journal. A huge belly, hands reaching for it. A barely visible, faintly-sketched woman behind it. The group's collective view of me, at least the view that had come across in their questions and responses, had sifted into me.  

I'd never heard the term "birth mother" before I darkened my counselor's door but, as a writer, I know language is a powerful thing. That one little word inserted before "mother," when assigned to me, while pregnant, was a wedge...and that night it insinuated itself into my consciousness, helped to groom me toward relinquishment. Toward what would come to be a koan -- a mother, but not a mother.

It would be years before I realized it had not been "an opportunity to educate," a way to "make birth mothers more real."  I had been merely a living, breathing "how-to-gain-a-pregnant-woman's-favor" manual. It was the most humiliating night of my life.

And the social worker? Some years later, she confided that I'd tried harder than anyone she'd ever worked with to find ways to parent. A couple of years after my eleventh-hour relinquishment/entrustment, she left the agency unwilling to play God anymore. 

WHEN STILL STUNNED BY LOSS OF MY BABY.... 
In that state, I truly believed the love I had for my child was so permanently bound to another’s through relinquishment and placement (including an entrustment ceremony), was so vulnerably encompassing and obvious to everyone involved...that it alone would surely see all of us through. To see it otherwise, when it was too late to alter the course, would have been devastating. 

Typically, the writing/speaking/mentoring invitations were first issued when we were mere weeks or months post-placement, still in degrees of shock, still in the earlier stages of grief. We continued to be asked until we lost interest in speaking, or simply could no longer tow the agency-endorsed line. 

A birth mother mentor I met while I was pregnant spoke of the whole thing with such confidence and bravado that she nearly glowed. She’d made a plan. It hurt at first, but the plan was working the way she’d hoped it would. She had no regrets. She had served God. A couple of years later, I am sure I appeared to be somewhat like her to a new mother I mentored. The doubts I had I kept to myself when speaking to other prospective "birth mothers." 

Still unaware that open adoption agreements weren’t a legal aspect of the adoption, I assured the new mom that open adoption guaranteed ongoing contact with one’s child, I assured her that a forever-extended family would form and bond in the wake. I assured her that children were naturally grateful to be relinquished/placed/adopted. 

When it didn’t turn out that way for her and her son, I figured she just hadn’t chosen well, she just hadn’t done it right, she was just unlucky. I assured her that God would open a window where the door to her child was clearly closing.  
THE NIGHTMARE OF THE PANELS
And the agency orchestrated panels?

We moms (anywhere from weeks to two years post-placement) would file into a room, take our seats, and try not to look too deeply into the assembled crowd. The feeling that comes to me now, remembering those times, is emotional nakedness; an attempt to keep my hands over my most private parts. We used words terms like “adoption plan” and “God’s plan for families” and “surrender” and “sacrificial love.” And we’d do our damnedest to keep from breaking down. Polite tears were fine, but nothing guttural.
Some of us saved that for after, when we confided to one another that we’d felt just a little bit like carnival attractions. That we had a collective gut feeling, based on the Q/A period, that we hadn’t quite gotten through. Some of us kept our lips stiff until we got home. Some of us managed to get through with only a few whimpers.
One mother (who had relinquished only a few months before participating on her first panel) stands out in my memory.   She would eke out a few words, tremble, and start to cry. Hard. Her head falling into her hands. Then she’d muster her courage and try again. In the end, she couldn’t continue, and I thought maybe she wasn’t as strong as the rest of us. Not as brave, somehow. But that wasn’t it at all. I now believe she’d been strong enough to defy polite stoicism we were supposed to show. Despite the admiration she’d stood to gain in that room, she was courageous enough to forgo the agency-endorsed words. 
But she shouldn’t have been there. I shouldn’t have been there. None of us should have been there. Not only because we were vulnerable and grieving, but because we didn’t yet know what “the birth mother experience” was, let alone what adoption really would come to mean. 
Most of us didn’t yet know that our children’s birth certificates were sealed. Most of us didn’t know open adoption agreements weren’t a part of the adoption, itself, endowed with all the attendant legalities. Not one of us had ever been privy to an adult adoptee’s perspective.

WHEN THE FOG CLEARS, THE IMPACT BECOMES REAL…
We knew the force of a new mother's love, the heartbreak of finding ourselves at our hospital's curb with empty arms, the bitter-sweetness of those early photos or visits (if it is an "open" adoption), but as epic as those sacredly or horrifically-perceived hours are, they are but page one, volume one in the veritable library that holds “the birth mother experience.” I know that they still tell pregnant mothers that, if they relinquish, the void will automatically be filled, and I want to say, “I know many loving mothers for whom it was not. I know of many adult adoptees for whom it was not.”
We had no business representing the "birth mother experience." And just as we new birth moms did not know then, agency-encouraged or relatively-new birth mother bloggers don’t know now. They don’t know, yet some assure pregnant moms who find or are directed to their blogs (at an exponentially higher volume than we reached) that they and their children will automatically, through the act of relinquishment and adoption alone, be blessed. There is no way to know that.

No new mother (and by new I mean anywhere from weeks to three, four, five years post-relinquishment) should be offering definitive advice on an experience they’ve yet to live out. We cannot begin to fathom the “birth mother experience” until our children begin to articulate their thoughts on the matter. A large part of the “birth mother experience” is directly linked to whether or not our children wind up well-served by placement/adoption. And we can’t begin to know that until they are, at the very least, able to comprehend cause and effect, their place in the world. We can’t possibly begin to know until they become able to articulate their particular thoughts and feelings regarding their adoptedness. 

It’s easy to get swept up in the innocence of babyhood, the appropriately sweet metaphor of “angels” and “gifts” and “blessings.” Indeed, the mothers I’ve known view their children in all of these ways. But inside of those angels and blessings are increasingly autonomous people who grow into totally autonomous people--autonomous people who may one day say something along the lines of, “I cannot see how loving means letting go.”--Alicia, a 
pseudonym 
-------------------------
*Bethany and the agencies sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (LDFS) are the two largest member blocks of the National Association for Adoption, a staunch opponent of revoking the state laws that seal original birth certificates of adopted people. 

From FMF: 
 

27 comments :

  1. Aside from all the other ethical issues, what a demeaning experience to subject someone to.
    More exploitation, and a way to maintain control by piling on the shame under the pretense of "empowment".

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  2. I grieve with her.

    I am linking, I hope that is okay.

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  3. A beautifully written, but very sad post. Thank you for sharing that story with all of us... and so very sorry you experienced this.

    Thank you also for exposing the truth of what happens behind the scenes - it is sickening - it feels like some sort of production line the way agencies treat mothers. Its all so very slick and they use the mother herself against her - measuring the loves she has for her baby as giving that baby up.

    Only in the disturbing world of adoption, especially infant adoption, is giving away one's child seen as an act of love. Outside of that, in the real world, it is seen as desperation or abandonment and the opposite of love.

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  4. Thanks to Alicia for sharing her story with us!

    Re: Catelynn and Tyler - I'm not a Twitter expert - can a link to this post be "tweeted" to them?

    Wish I was close to Penn, it would be nice if some "elder birth mothers" could be there to offer a long-term perspective. Adoptees, too!

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  5. Just found this "tour" info re: Tyler and Catelynn. Be careful when you look at it you might throw up in your mouth.

    http://impregnant.org/tour/

    "Meet reality TV stars Catelynn & Tyler as they discuss unplanned pregnancy, today’s adoption, and other issues facing young adults and teens. Includes a Q&A session with them as well as with Bethany adoption professionals.

    Who Should Attend?
    Students, parents, teens
    Social workers, pregnancy care center professionals
    Anyone considering placing a child for adoption
    Anyone experiencing an unplanned pregnancy"

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  6. You were used plain and simply by your agency, NOT however, by the hopeful parents who were in all likelihood required to attend such a function as part of their training. Blame the system/agency? Absolutely!

    We were forced to attend one such "event" ( makes me sick thinking of it) while considering domestic adoption. Horrified for the poor young woman on display that day, we severed our ties to said agency and made the decision not to adopt.

    Sometimes life has a way of turning on a dime and years later we adopted 2 older children(familial adoption) and have an ongoing relationship with their First Family (distant relatives who asked us to consider adopting their children....very complicated and long story!). Its not perfect but its our reality.

    Deep breath...as I expect some flames: HOWEVER, I don't agree that Catelynn and Tyler should be placed into the same category as yourself or other young mothers forced to endure that indignity.

    Yes, they chose ( were influenced towards?) adoption. Yes, they are young. Unmarried? Yes again. They are however being paid a sum of money for their opinions and the sharing (exploitation) of their story. I find it appalling for the young daughter who one day will see those awful "reunion shows" or read those tweets by her First Family.

    Were they used as tools perhaps initially? Probably. Was it still their choice? Yes. They probably had more choices and options than most! And collecting a paycheck and cashing in on that fame, separates those truly most vulnerable from the rest IMOP.

    The danger of course is their "fame" might somehow seduce another to relinquish, who otherwise might not. I just don't know....the same could almost be said of the show highlighting the young mothers who opted to keep their children. Watching their lives often mirrors a train wreck, all too frequently with the children in the middle of the fray; that too might offer insight into the very real struggles of keeping your child when all the odds are against you. Could that too be an influencing factor? Yes.

    And btw, those young parents(on the show) are well paid too and often seek out additional publicity stunts to further fatten their coffers while their children are collateral for paychecks and unwitting "stars". I wonder how they will feel one day, grown, and watching these shows?

    In my estimation that entire show is unethical and wrong.

    Jay

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  7. kudos, lorraine


    says it all

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  8. "In my estimation that entire show is unethical and wrong."

    Jay

    Agreeing with Jay about this and any other "reality" show that deals with real people in crisis. Also agreeing that the people who go on these shows are used, but they get paid, and greed and fame are certainly a factor. I will never watch this show, but assume it shows other teen moms who are raising their children, so they had to have a couple surrender just for variety and drama. These shows really are scripted you know, it is just that real dopes are cheaper than actors paid union scale.

    Back to the original post by the mom used by Bethany, Bravo for writing a touching and accurate piece about agency exploitation of those who have recently surrendered. This needs to be exposed.

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  9. Disgusting and dispicable these agecies that use these shell shocked young mothers. The term shell shocked comes from war where a soldier cannot tolerate unbear-
    able acts of being in war. Do we throw them back into war? No we get them help.
    Young moms even Catelyn might think she is doing something wonderful while making money. She is being used by agency. She is not even aware yet how she willl truely feel, right now she is "shell shocked" surviving and
    just taking steps to survive. Unlike, the man who is able
    to get counseled and taken away from war she us thrown in front of paps asking stupid questions. She might as well go before a firing squad because after losing baby one feels dead inside.

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  10. Maybe: I just clicked on the link you sent and Holy Cow! They are on a regular tour:

    State College, Pennsylvania
    Friday, April 27th | 8:30p.m. – 9:30p.m.

    Penn State University Main Campus

    Heritage Hall 1st Floor at the HUB

    Pollock Rd

    University Park, PA 16802

    View Map >>
    For Additional Information, Please Call: 814-487-8080
    Wayne, New Jersey
    Thursday, May 10th | 7:30p.m. – 9:00p.m.

    Wayne YMCA Rosen Theatre

    1 Pike Drive

    Wayne, NJ 07470

    View Map >>
    Friday, May 11th | 11:30a.m. – 1:00p.m.

    Wayne YMCA Rosen Theatre

    1 Pike Drive

    Wayne, NJ 07470

    View Map >>
    For Additional Information, Please Call: 201-258-3813
    Glenside, Pennsylvania
    Friday, May 11th | 6:30p.m. – 8:00p.m.

    Arcadia University

    450 South Easton Road

    Glenside, PA 19038

    View Map >>
    For Additional Information, Please Call: 215-352-3504
    Reading, Pennsylvania
    Saturday, May 12th | 6:30p.m. – 8:00p.m.

    Alvernia College

    400 St. Berndadine Street

    Reading, PA 19607

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  11. "it is just that real dopes are cheaper than actors paid union scale."
    True fact.

    "Back to the original post by the mom used by Bethany, Bravo for writing a touching and accurate piece about agency exploitation of those who have recently surrendered."
    Hear, hear!

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  12. In the post Alicia wrote, "we didn’t yet know what 'the birth mother experience' was, let alone what adoption really would come to mean."

    Indeed, it is a journey rather than a one-time event and our "birth mother experience" evolves with each passing year.

    Some adoptees also experience this when people try to correct them by stating you WERE adopted instead of you ARE adopted, insisting it was a one-time event and now that it's over there is little impact on their lives.

    In the post Alicia mentions that the social worker left the agency - I'm curious about how long she remained in contact with her or if she still is in touch.

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  13. This was a very moving post and I appreciate you sharing your horrifying experience. I am an adoptive parent of an infant and I would be beyond angry if I discovered our agency asked his first parents to participate in similar activity. In just the several months since his birth, they've obviously gone through many different phases in processing their decision to place (and I'm sure I'm not privy to most of that, anyways), so it seems especially exploitative to take parents at their first stages of processing to recruit prospective adoptive parents and to be "mentors" to expectant parents considering placement.

    After reading this, I am reflecting upon my own experiences as a pre-adoptive parent and our agency's adoption seminar. We did have a first mom and first dad (of different children) speak at our seminar. Both of their children were in their early teens, so they had both had many years to reflect upon their experiences and had had several conversations with their children about their decision to place. Additionally, the agency we worked with doesn't ask birth parents to speak at these seminars, but accepts volunteers - that seems like a subtle difference, but I can imagine it being harder to say no if someone specifically asked you to speak. In thinking about all of this, I think the agency we worked with handled the situation in an ethical manner, but I also fully recognize that I'm a new adoptive parent and am still learning. I think it was very important to hear from birth parents and it was definitely a part of my own journey towards realizing that I could not enter into anything other than a fully open adoption. We were required to read a couple books on open adoption including first parent experiences, but nothing really substitutes hearing someone's experience firsthand. What ethical safeguards do you think should be present for first parents' participation in these events (adoption education seminars or mentoring relationships - not recruitment speaking tours)? Are there circumstances where it wouldn't be exploitative or is it always wrong?

    Thanks again for sharing your story.

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    Replies
    1. I am so grateful I found your post today. I deliberately lied to by bethany christian (completely non christian). I released my daughter for adoption through their agency. I was promised my daughter would have 3 families. We would have contact on a regular basis via visits, telephone calls, letters., emails, etc. Not 1 time have I been allowed any contact at all. My daughter was a toddler she knows me as her mother. I would not of ever released her if I would have thought Bethany christian services & the adoptive family was lying. I have contacted two different attorneys. I shared my email correspondence. The director of the agency even called me twice because he even knows they were wrong. After I signed that's when the worker asked me about us coming up with an adoption plan. It was so backwards & wrong the way they handled my adoption. Both attorneys stated it is clear what they did is illegal. I am torn because I don't want to cause my daughter emotional harm. I hurt EVERY single day what should I do?

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  14. Anon11:25

    I do not think there is a way to do those agency sponsored panels ethically, even with volunteers, nor do I think those like you in open adoptions need them. The only birthmother you need concern yourself with is the mother of the child you are raising, and if you keep the adoption open, she is there for you to talk to about how she feels. The most important thing is to keep your commitment to openness and dealing with your own family's reality, even when things get uncomfortable, as they will some times.

    For those in closed adoptions, such panels do not really tell them anything about anyone but the people on the panel at that moment. Those people need to find their child's mother and ask her how she feels if they want to know.

    There is too much room for exploitation and wrong impressions, intended and unintended, in agency-staged birthparent panels for adoptive and pre-adoptive parents.

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  15. I'd written this long response -- the one above and a part 2 -- even as I wondered, like Maryann, if it can be done ethically.

    I have to agree with what she's said. All human beings are individual. All open adoption relationships, not unlike all marriages, will differ. So, yes, nobody can truly speak on someone else's behalf.

    Other than something run independently, divorced from an agency (which would likely wind up being influenced somehow, anyway), I'm not certain such panels can ever be truly ethical.

    I could ramble on for pages about so many aspects - adopting fees based on race, agencies seeking to Christianize children rather than serve their earthly needs, agencies lobbying against open records, slick false advertising geared toward pregnant mothers, the trampling of father's rights, siblings brought together then severed through unenforceable open adoption agreements and more ... ad absurdum infinitum ...

    I suppose what I'm getting at is this: The panels are just a part of a much, much larger story that encompasses, as Maryann has pointed out, unique individuals that cannot adequately be represented by anyone but themselves.

    - Alicia

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  16. I trusted my social worker implicitly--she was a lifeline to the outside when I was in purdah as I waited for my child to be born. Yes, I saw her father nearly every day, but female friends were few (one, and she had a busy life as a newspaper reporter and hardly knew what to make of what had happened to me) and so though I will continue to feel that my social worker, Mrs. Mura, did not "push" adoption--it was a fait accompli when I went to her--if she had asked me to talk to prospective adoptive parents, I do not know what I would have done.

    Would I have had the courage to say NO? Not only would have "volunteering" seemed like I was returning a "favor" to her, speaking to them would have seemed like a good thing to do, to show them that I was not a derelict. I was a college graduate, the father was a well known man in town, etc. It would have seemed as if I were advertising that "this is a good baby."

    Asking for "volunteers" to speak to adoptive parents does not excuse the insidiousness of the "birth mother" panels or talks to them. Anyone considering placing a child should meet and speak to adoptive parents and know how to reach them indepenedently of the agency, but it is a sensitive thing--pregnant young women--women of any age considering adoption--must not feel indebted to them or that they cannot let them "down" when they choose to keep their babies.

    As some of you know, my own relinquishment occurred at Northaven Terrace, the obfuscatory name of the agency in Rochester, NY at the time. All I can say with any certainty today, 46 years later, is that I will be forever glad that I was not asked to participate in the kind of brain-washing activities that Alicia was. I have no idea I would have been able strong enough to resist. I might have just gotten there and burst into tears. You folks know I'm a crier, and I was even before my baby was born.

    That said, to all the adoptive parents out there, do what you can to be truly open and understanding about your child's reality. Let him or her know in word and deed that it is all right to feel blue sometimes about being adopted; it does not mean he does not love you less; it means he is allowed to feel what is real.

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  17. As for Tyler and Catelynn, I don't watch "reality" shows. Never have. Don't even have cable television, intentionally. I know little to nothing about them and had no clue they'd been taken under Bethany's dubious wing. Figures, though.

    I have to wonder how they will feel, years down the road, having so publicly sung praises (if that's what they're doing on the show and in these tours)that they don't yet know their child will echo. And, IMO, the exchange of money is never good in the context of adoption.

    They are naive kids. Maybe their belief system will continue to work for them, or maybe they'll come to regret accepting money for imparting something they believed was a good thing at a moment in time ... but may not turn out to be.

    The whole thing, reality TV in general, strikes me as some kind of twisted spectator sport.

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  18. The Anon 4:07 was me, Alicia.

    Lorraine, the strange thing was that I felt "brave," very brave at the thought of speaking on the panels. I figured allowing myself to be filleted before a crowd was courageous ... that it might help truly "educate" people who may have assumed mothers who relinquished were drug addicts or abusers. I suppose, looking back, it was brave ... in a sad way. I still met with my "counselor" from time to time then,and many scales were still adhered to my eyes.

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  20. First of all I want to say thank you to Alicia for having the courage to write this wonderful post. I know it may sound cheesy and I don't mean it to be but I think you are brave, heroic, and selfless to have come here to FMF and tell the truth about your experience and Bethany in general. I know those words are used to make a first mother feel good about herself for relinquishing her child but I think they apply to someone like you.

    I wonder if Catelynn and Tyler are getting paid to be spokespersons for Bethany. I would be horrified to learn that my natural parents made money out of giving me away and then encouraged more people to give up their children as well.

    Teresa and Brandon Davis did not use pseudonyms on the show. They just were not required to give their last name or the city they lived in (and this was done under the guise of it being an "open" adoption).

    Brandon is a Financial planner with The Morehood Group in Charlotte, N.C. Here is the link:

    http://www.moreheadgroup.com/about-assoc-davis.asp

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  21. Thank you for your story; I am an adoptee, in my 40s, and have found both of my parents. My mother, unfortunately, does not want contact, but my father and I have a fairly good father/daughter relationship. Adoption does not only damage mothers, it damages the children, the babies, as well and the trauma is lifelong. I think if more social workers/mental health professionals were aware of this, they would not snatch babies from their mothers so easily. I did not grow up in a wonderful home, either, and have scars from that. I fail to see the "benefit" I received from adoption. I struggle every day with mental health issues and related problems, in part, due to this. To me, adoption, in most cases, is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. If society really valued children, all children would have free day care, pre-school and could be parented by their own parents, whenever possible. What happened to me and my mother and father in the 60s was a nightmare and that it continues to happen is a tragedy.

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    Replies
    1. I am so grateful I found your post today. I deliberately lied to by bethany christian (completely non christian). I released my daughter for adoption through their agency. I was promised my daughter would have 3 families. We would have contact on a regular basis via visits, telephone calls, letters., emails, etc. Not 1 time have I been allowed any contact at all. My daughter was a toddler she knows me as her mother. I would not of ever released her if I would have thought Bethany christian services & the adoptive family was lying. I have contacted two different attorneys. I shared my email correspondence. The director of the agency even called me twice because he even knows they were wrong. After I signed that's when the worker asked me about us coming up with an adoption plan. It was so backwards & wrong the way they handled my adoption. Both attorneys stated it is clear what they did is illegal. I am torn because I don't want to cause my daughter emotional harm. I hurt EVERY single day what should I do?

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  22. Like others have said, adoption is not all it is cracked up to be....I am an adoptees in my 30's. I have met my birth mother and am now a mother myself. My mother was somewhat tricked into believing adoption was this amazing solution for everyone. the unfortunate mistake of pregnancy to a woman in an unfortunate position is solved! people who can't have children gt a baby! a mother who is pregnant and doesn't really want to be can move on with her life! And an innocent child gets the opportunity of a better life! Zunfortunately this is not necessarily true. My birth mother suffered horribly as a result of her choice to adopt me. The guilt she bestowed upon herself plagued her for years until she found me. I was raised believing she was a godly woman who sacrificed me for the good of others, but I really just believed she was a selfish women who didn't want me, and couldn't keep her legs shut. my adoptive parents split when I was teenager, and my mother became an alcoholic and I had to live with the repercussion of that. If there is one thing I want evey prospective birth mother to realize it is that no family is perfect, life is not greener on the other side, bad things happen to anybody, and are you adopting your child out for their benefit or for yours? If it is for their benefit, keep your child because you have what it takes to be an excellent parent rich oit'll or. If it is for your benefit then put them up for adoption by all means!

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  23. "A large part of the “birth mother experience” is directly linked to whether or not our children wind up well-served by placement/adoption. And we can’t begin to know that until they are, at the very least, able to comprehend cause and effect, their place in the world. We can’t possibly begin to know until they become able to articulate their particular thoughts and feelings regarding their adoptedness."

    This was articulated perfectly and struck home with me.

    I hope my son has a "better" life with his adoptive family, but I don't know. I my greatest hope and wish is that he had a wonderful childhood, but that is only a hope.
    The truth is, how I feel later on will be directly correlated to his feelings on his youth. There is no way around that for me.
    If someday he fulfills my wish and acknowledges he is happy with his childhood, I think that I can finally exhale. But what if he hasn't? What if he always felt out of place? What if he always felt abandonment by me? I just won't know until that day comes, and that is a huge part of my truth.

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  24. I was also asked to 'talk' to other pregnant girls about the positives of adoption. This was in the UK, in 1980, weeks after I had given birth, while my dear son was in a foster home awaiting adoption and I was reeling with undiagnosed post-natal depression.
    Thankfully, for some reason, I ended up not doing that persuasive work for the adoption agency. Thank god. To have the awful guilt that I had inflicted this pain on anyone else would be intolerable.

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  25. Imissmydaughter,
    I am so sorry this happened. I encourage you to find a support group. If you don't know any, contact Concerned United Birthparents (CUB) and see if there is one in your area. www.cubirthparents.org.

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