Demons in Adoption

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Why is adoption reform ignored by The New York Times?

Jane and Lorraine, 1983**
This morning's New York Times carries the last column of Arthur S. Brisbane as The Public Editor,* who comments weekly about the paper's coverage, good and bad. In it, I found this nugget:
"I also noted two years ago that I had taken up the public editor duties believing 'there is no conspiracy' and that The Times’s output was too vast and complex to be dictated by any Wizard of Oz-like individual or cabal. I still believe that, but also see that the hive on Eighth Avenue is powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds — a phenomenon, I believe, that is more easily recognized from without than from within.

When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.(Emphasis added.)

As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects."
And I thought, what they don't love is ignored. Like adoption reform. Like giving adoptees their original birth certificates. Birth mothers who complain I was robbed. Birth mothers who admit to anything other than a bittersweet sadness. All are routinely ignored. Anything critical of adoption is routinely ignored, as if it did not exist. The review pages are sometimes critical of movies that present adoption in a rosy light, but that is not enough to diminish the overall glowing image the Times imbues adoption in America with.

ADOPTION REFORM COVERED IN THE 70s and 80s
Yet in the Seventies and Eighties, when I knew the Op-Ed page editor, Charlotte Curtis, I wrote three pieces for the page on unsealing birth records. All were published, one the lead piece with a huge illustration. The other day The Times gave us a huge piece (with illustration) about how tuition in private schools (around $40,000 a year) is too low to actually cover the cost of these fine schools. Like how many people does this affect? Maybe the editor of the Op-Ed page, and certainly some of her co-workers.

Along with another first mother, in 1983, I was the topic in a lenghty feature story in The Times after Birthmark came out and my teenage daughter and I had reunited. Since then I have tried many times to get a story, or just a letter when appropriate, in the paper about the adoption-reform movement, or unsealing the records, but without success. A year or so ago, a free-lance writer was doing a piece about the situation in New Jersey, which was never published. Letters to the editor that several of us wrote complaining about the mistruth of adoption in America today in a recent Modern Love column*** were not published, not a single one. (I've tried to get a Modern Love story relating to adoption in also, but also without success. Is it because my writing skills have faded, or I don't know the editor, or he doesn't like stories that present adoption in less than a glowing light, as if shining from above?)

I propose that the Times' bent is so pro-adoption because the reporters and editors are among the high-adopting class: focused on career, they are late to desire procreation. Until they have difficulty procreating. Thus they turn to adoption.

In 2010, when I reconnected with the daughter whom my daughter gave up for adoption--yes, one of those sick follow-in-the-footsteps that are all too common in adoption histories--we were the subject of a column titled, Adoption, Reunion, Connection.  The story ends with a question whether this will be a continuing relationship; after a great year of a relationship, she has requested no contact.) This story was written by someone who I know through my work in publishing, and who occasionally read FMF when she had a weekly column in the paper. The column has since been discontinued.

WE FACE AN UPHILL FIGHT
Does that story count as a positive one regarding adoption reform? Does a brief movie review of as recent film on Chinese adoption, Somewhere Between, turn the tide? Well, maybe a little, but it makes our reunion seem like a blip on the radar screen, not emblematic of a robust movement. Yet that very movement should be the story, the way gay marriage was before it passed in New York. Without coverage from The Times about the push to give adoptees what should be their birth right, their original birth certificates, it is as if that movement for reform does not exist, that there is no clamoring for change. And without The New York Times' acknowledgement, we have an uphill fight, not only in New York, but everywhere.--lorraine
____________________

Sources: *Success and Risk as The Times Transforms 
 **The photo above was sent to me by the Times photographer, Tony J. Frome. It was taken July 25, 1983. I would guess we had on our identical shoes.
 *** (from FMF)  When adoptive parents meet the birth mother 
 Adoption, Reunion, Connection
Annette Bening in Rodrigo Garcia’s Study of Motherhood (movie review by A. O. Scott)
Somewhere Between,’ Documentary on Chinese Adoption
Yearning (Not accessible unless you are a paid subscriber or for a fee.) By Lorraine Dusky, March 1, 1975.
 MOTHERS FIND THE CHILDREN THEY GAVE UP 
by Judy Klemesrud, August 29, 1983

My two other Op-Ed pieces are not on line due to a lawsuit by the Author's Guild. I have contacted the the Times and give them permission to do so but that is easier said than done as this is the second time I am trying to reach someone in authority. "Adoptess' Best Interests" was published Saturday, February 6, 1982. At the moment, I have misplaced the other piece in my files. It was about adoptee Ann Sharp suing to open her adoption file; she was refused. I had testified at her trial.

42 comments :

  1. The NYT is a liberal paper which tends to report approvingly on liberal causes such as gay marriage and the OWS movement. They also like to publish criticism of the current administration when it acts in ways liberals do not approve of (e.g. the drone wars).

    The adoption reform movement is perceived by most people in the US as the anti-adoption movement. That is not a popular position among liberals or conservatives so I am not surprised the subject is not covered the way you would want it to be.

    The NYT has covered the Encarnacion Bail Romero case in a way you should approve of though:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/us/23children.html?pagewanted=all

    Just today they published an article about illegal aliens and their children (also illegal in this instance).

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/us/more-young-illegal-immigrants-face-deportation.html?_r=1&ref=us

    The second article does not mention adoption but it is about the issue of immigration law and how it is incompatible with family preservation and child welfare.

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  2. Thanks for writing about this bias in the press. Without more adoptees adding to the clamor for change, I feel like we will never make progress, real progress. this is right in line with what Jane had to say the other day about the coverage of the Veronica case.

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  3. Dear anonymous: You are certainly a careful reader of the Times. You are a New Yorker too?

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  4. "Anonymous is right". Adoption reform is not a liberal or conservative issue. The Liberal side will not support the cause because it means undermining the privacy issue for abortion rights. The conservative side won't support us either due to the moneyed adoption industry and the perception that reunion promotes abortion. We are on our own. However, with each reunion story, we change the the stereotypes associated with adoption and reunion. With the Internet, we are circumventing the sealed records laws. Eventually, the sealed records will become irrelevant. I doubt if I'll live to see that day, but it is coming and eventually the sealed records laws will be obsolete.

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  5. Only three days ago the NYT published a short, sharply critical review of the documentary "Somewhere Between", which focuses on the lives of four Chinese girls and their American adoptive families.
    The film is described as "relentlessly rosy" and generally avoiding the more complex and difficult issues behind the original parents' painful decisions.

    I propose that one of the reasons why the majority in the US regard the adoption reform movement as anti-adoption is that many of the people who claim to be promoting adoption reform are also on record as describing themselves as anti-adoption.
    This kind of inconsistency undermines the credibility of the cause.

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  6. I imagine that I might be called anti-adoption. Because I am against most infant adoptions. Call someone "anti-adoption" like calling someone a "radical feminist." It is a way to tar someone with a negative--they are so out there they are unreasonable, so you might as well ignore them. Tagging them like that makes it then possible to diminish everything they have to say or are fighting for. For a full discussion of what fellow blogger Jane and I think about adoption, read our page, What We Think About Adoption.

    I missed that short review of "Somewhere Between," when it appeared and read it now. You are right, Betty, in that it does take the movie to task for presenting such a rosy picture of the importation of Chinese girls to fill the Western market for children. Their on-staff reviewer A. O. Scott did touch upon what was wrong with Juno, and Mother and Child did receive a positive review, also from A. O. Scott. But those kind of less than positive critiques of adoption are rare in the "paper of record." We need to be on the Op-Ed page. Decades ago, BJ Lifton had a piece there, but certainly there must have been others who have tried to get pieces about the crime of sealed records. Instead we get a lenghty plaint about private-school tuition!

    I propose that the Times' bent is so pro-adoption because the reporters and editors are among the high-adopting class: focused on career, they are late to desire procreation. Until they have difficulty procreating. Thus they turn to adoption.

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  7. PS: You guys are great. Based on comments, I made a few changes in the original post. Thanks for the input!

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  8. Agreeing with dgedenton and Betty on this. Adoption reform is neither a conservative nor liberal issue, and factions of both of those camps routinely oppose us when legislation is introduced.

    What other issues do ACLU and Right To Life agree to oppose together, as they have in NJ and some other states? We have never had unquestioned support from either liberal or conservative organizations, although some from both camps do support adoptee rights, while others vehemently oppose us. It is not a simple issue that breaks along liberal and conservative lines.

    We are a somewhat peripheral issue with a small base of activists, unlike the economy which sparked the huge Occupy protests, or the solid opposition to gay marriage from the Religious Right and solid support from the Left.

    We are also a fragmented movement and the anti-adoption bias of many who also support adoption reform is not helping us politically to gain popular support. I have found that most of the general public including most younger adoptive parents support adoptee access to their own records. Many are not even aware that the records are sealed.

    Most people are also touched by the human interest of reunion stories, and are in agreement about cleaning up abuse in adoption arrangements and coercion of single mothers. Those aspects of adoption reform, when presented cleanly without other agendas, and without hyperbole and hysteria, generally elicit support and sympathy. But when all adoptive parents are vilified simply because they have adopted and all adoption is seen as intrinsically evil and wrong; all first mothers presented as victims; all adoptees as wounded; sympathy and interest in supporting our cause is lost.

    Yes, it would be good and helpful if the Times covered more of our side of the struggle for adoptee equality, and I do not doubt that they ignore letters and articles that they should be printing.That is a shame and does not make it easier to get the word out. But The Times is no longer the last word in news that it was in pre-internet days, and we are making some inroads in other areas of coverage, although slower than we would wish.

    Sealed records do not prevent search and reunion and do not protect closet moms, they just deny the civil rights of adopted adults. Adoption is not evil and does not need to be abolished, but it is broken and in need of much cleaning up and reform to be fair and honest to all involved.
    That is the message we need to keep stressing, as a united front. Eventually the Times and others will get it.

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  9. The coverage of gay marriage in the Times was undoubtedly part of the legislative push that got it over the edge. Yes the internet can do a lot but it still needs the imprimatur of a paper with the influence of the times. And it's because it is not written about more in the paper or covered on TV that many if not most people think the records are available to anyone who wants them. Wrong!

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  10. Lorraine, I admire your work. How can we ever expect adoption reform when we seem to be unable to reform the most simplest of things amongst ourselves? To continue to refer to yourself as 'birth' mother - a term that the adoption industry created to demean and denigrate mothers to a single act is beyond this first/natural/real mother's comprehension.

    If it is impossible for us to understand how triggering and truly disturbing this term is how on earth can we expect outsiders to understand the need for adoption reform?

    Buck Wheat

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  11. Adoption reformers do face an uphill fight. And not just with the NYT, as I am sure you agree. Your post, and some reader's comments outline reasons why. Once in a book review, an online editor pronounced my book "anti-adoption." It was part of her Catholic adoptive mothering blog. I protested I was pro-adoption and pro-reform. She posted a letter of apology, admitting she hadn't read my book. To her, my title and cover "looked anti-adoption." Long story short, she read my book and re-wrote her review.

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  12. Dear Buck Wheat:

    I hate the term birth mother as much as you do, but because of the Internet way of listing things when people search for information about adoption and mothers, "birth mother" is the term that is most readily going to push up the blog on the search page. I initially called this blog only FIRST MOTHER FORUM but Claud of Musings made me realize I was not getting nearly the readership I would because of that. So that is why I added [Birth Mother] in hyphens to the name, and Presto! Readership doubled. We use both terms (first, birth) here pretty interchangeably, and I often use NATURAL MOTHER too. I admit,that when talking to total outsiders not steeped in the friggen' correct language, I would would rather be asked, "Are you Jane's [my daughter's] biological mother?" It gets to the heart of the matter, doesn't it? I gave birth to her, she was like me in so many ways, don't we look like mother and daughter?

    Incidentally, it was Lee Campbell who either invented or popularized the use of the term (as one word, which I hate since adoptive parents are not adoptiveparents.) Campbell of course is one of the early reformers, and the mother who started Concerned United Birthparents. Like the phrase (or word) or not, it was her usage that made it common currency in language today. I hope, I truly do, that the use of FIRST MOTHER on this blog moves the language just a little bit away from BIRTH mother. It implies we were only there for the delivery of the package.

    But I'll keep trying to infuse the language with a different term, away from Birth and to..god knows what. WE ARE MOTHERS.

    SOME RECENT SEARCHES THAT FOUND FMF:

    can a birth mother take back after she has signed away rights in idaho

    birth mother. teen mom

    birth mothers and adoptive mothers together

    birth mother quotes

    birthmother of july 4, 1967 is wanting to meet you

    None of these newbies would have found us if we scrupulously used only first mother or natural mother, or eschewed both and just went with "mother." I wish it weren't so.

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  13. Dear Buck Wheat:

    OWTH--I changed one of the "birth" mothers in the blog post to "first mother."

    Who says I can't be influenced too?

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  14. Lorraine, you are wise to use the term that works with most people, like it or not, rather than insisting on a narrow standard of political correctness and losing potential readers and supporters.

    "Birth mother" is the most common usage today for a mother who surrendered a child for adoption. It does not connote anything more than that to the general public; it does not mean "baby machine" or "breeder" or anything else negative except to some unscrupulous adoption promoters and some over-sensitive reformers who would rather be right and correct than actually communicate with those outside adoption reform.

    Most people have no idea what "first mother" means and you end up having to explain. "Natural mother" or "biological mother"also work fine with the general public. Just "mother" only works in context where it is clear whom one is talking about. If you correct someone initially on our side or ignorant of the issues for using the term "birthmother" you are more likely to alienate a potential ally than to gain a convert.

    The debate over this word is a perfect example of how we ourselves keep our issues from being understood by the larger world, and look insular and cult-like to many outsiders.

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  15. Right, Maryanne, over the argument over what we are called. Breeder, however, does not fly! That's just like the N word, but it is used by folks on some blogs.

    Do we all notice that the "National Association of Colored People" has never changed its name?

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  16. Sure, NAACP honors its brave founders from the days when "colored was the polite word, and those "colored people" risked their lives and sometimes lost them for racial equality. It is not the name that matters, but the deeds, and someone like Lee Campbell deserves honor for her work as one of the founders of adoption reform as well, rather than inaccurate revisionist history.

    "Breeder" is offensive on all levels, of course! I have not seen it used but I avoid most adoptive parent blogs that are vehemently against reform and in support of a bad status quo of adoption practice.

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  17. ..."inaccurate revisionist history..."?

    Where are you reading that? I always see Lee Campbell credited for being the founder of CUB, as I stated here, and one of the first to openly talk about the pain of surrender of a child. Readers ought to be aware that you were also involved in CUB's founding. I always remember you being listed as a "Soft Shoulder" with your phone number, if anyone needed someone sympathetic to talk to.

    CUB's usage, however, did give the high sign to the term: birthmother.

    People who were not around do not have any idea how controversial it was to be involved in this movement, or to speak openly about it, back in the Seventies.
    "Birthmother" seemed like a much less harsh term than "biological mother" to some of us; I personally did not see much difference, but went along. Natural mother is still the best term, but agency types and adoptive parents dislike it for the opposite is: unnatural.

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  18. Off topic alert for yet another adoption reality show called "The Baby Wait." I had the misfortune of running into the promos while channel surfing so I watched as much as I could stomach. Also on my DVR in case I get the nerve to watch it again (doubtful, could be hitting "delete" tonight).

    Go to http://www.logotv.com/shows/the_baby_wait/series.jhtm

    "What if you knew your newest addition could suddenly be subtracted? Your bundle of joy no longer yours. Would you name her? Paint her room? Bond with her? The creators of Teen Mom, 16 & Pregnant, and Jersey Shore turn their hit-making docu-reality lens onto the subject of adoption. The series tracks the emotional journey with a primary focus on an agonizing period, unknown to most people but common to many adoptions, where the birth mom has the option to take her child back from the prospective adoptive family. Each episode follows a new case from both the birth mom and adoptive couple's perspective as they struggle with their decisions leading up to and through out the 'waiting period,' until finally one or the other family will call the baby theirs. No matter what the outcome, each story is an emotional rollercoaster where compelling real life characters will share their hopes & fears, and heartache & joy with us."

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  19. Excellent ,thought provoking article and comments As a reunited firstmother , I have been through many years of the ups and downs of reunion, filtering out the negative and remembering the overwhelmingly positive. That's how I survive in life.I think maybe knowing who brought us to this world(what most people call parents-but things get complicated when adoption intervenes) is such a taken-for-granted thing that people who make the rules cannot empathize with someone who doesn't have this basic knowledge or compass.Like it is hard for someone who has never been poor or disabled or anything else to empathize with someone else who is I also think most adoptive parents are not out to steal our children or hurt us They just want to be parents and can't empathize with us-also I don't think they are all rich career people with attitudes. Maybe they are trying to protect their children from what they might find-the negative birth mother stereotypes are out there as we all know I have my problems and disabilities but I'm an ordinary law-abiding citizen Sealed records have got to go It's happening slowly state by state

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  20. Lo asked:"Where are you reading that?"

    I don't feel like tracking it down to a bunch of dreary websites (son from L.A and girlfriend visiting tomorrow and I have a lot to do) but I have seen numerous essays like one entitled "Birthmother Means Breeder" or something to that effect floating around internet groups and websites for some time. While some of them belatedly admitted Lee Campbell and CUB's popularization of the term, the original thesis and emphasis was on the fact that some social workers had used the term in the early 60s, and this was interpreted as an attempt to make mothers who surrendered less than mothers who did not.

    It got so bad that there was a conference that forbid the use of the term because supposedly some women were so "triggered" by just hearing or writing or saying the word that something awful would happen to them. Betty Jean Lifton was scolded for daring to use the term birthmother at this event, and told not to come if she insisted. The word was treated like the name of Voldemort the Harry Potter villain, the dreaded "B Word", never to be spoken or written or whispered aloud without dire consequence. It all got rather silly and still takes away from serious discourse as when it keeps popping up here.

    The revisionist history was an elaborate conspiracy theory that this evil word alone would cause mothers to surrender and was always intended as a vile insult, not a harmless descriptive term as most actually used it, and that social workers knew this and profited from it.

    No credit was given to Lee Campbell or CUB until some of us pointed out that it was actually a mother who popularized the term, not a baby-stealing social worker plot.

    I find it ironic that while we all were called natural mothers when we surrendered in the 60s and earlier, that term hardly earned us respect nor made us entitled to raise our babies. I am not in love with the term "birthmother" and use all the others too when the circumstances fit. Lee Campbell does not insist on it either if people now prefer other terms. But we both insist that the history of the word be accurate.

    Yes, I too was one of the founders of CUB, and you were the first to write a memoir about your surrender, and also to be a member of ALMA as were Lee and I in the days when that did take some courage. For better or worse that is our history, and whether people now agree with any of us or not, our work stands and does deserve honor and honest history of what went before, something that some newer internet forums, blogs and group have not done a good job of accurately depicting.

    We may have made mistakes and we are not the last word by any means. We do need new people and new ideas to carry on the fight but as the famous saying goes, "those that ignore history are destined to repeat it."

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  21. "Natural mother is still the best term, but agency types and adoptive parents dislike it for the opposite is: unnatural."

    Yet they don't seem to complain that the opposite of birth is death...

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  22. Thanks Maybe,

    It gets worse and worse. Next they'll do shows about abortion, assisted suicide, divorce.

    The people doing these shows are sick!

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  23. Here you go, "Birthmother means breeder" and not a mention of CUB or Lee Campbell. This was circulated widely among anti-adoption groups and got more dire as it traveled on, culminating in a kind of phobia about the word "birthmother". Also, I think the whole "Positive Adoption Language" bullshit came about after the founding of CUB, some time in the early 80s, and although birth mother was the term they preferred, they did not invent it. They also preferred "make an adoption plan" to "surrender or relinquish". None of this really matters to anyone outside of some adoptive parent groups or adoption workers.

    http://www.exiledmothers.com/adoption_facts/Why_Birthmother_Means_Breeder.html

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  24. Lorraine said

    "I imagine that I might be called anti-adoption. Because I am against most infant adoptions"

    I think you are correct. Most agencies, adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents would consider that an anti-adoption position. Many other people might agree with them. Anyone advocating abortion as a better option than infant adoption (as some do on this blog) would probably be considered anti-adoption by most people but definitely by Republicans.

    The problem with being labelled anti-adoption is (as you point out) will ignore anything you have to say about adoption reform, no matter how valid the points you make are. I don't think in most recent domestic adoptions the adoptive parents think birth records should be sealed. Most domestic adoptions at least start off open.

    I also don't think that many adoptive parents would consider it acceptable to call a birth mother a breeder though I am sure there are examples somewhere on the internet. Conversely, I would be surprised if many of them referred to a birthmother as the natural mother or first mother. I am sure many of them would find the term natural mother mildly offensive for the reasons mentioned.

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  25. Lorraine, you wrote that labeling someone "anti- adoption" is like sticking them with the term "radical feminist".

    I agree with you. Rightly or wrongly, both are terms that the general public tends to see as pejorative.
    However, when a person describes themselves as "virulently anti-adoption", as you did in a recent post, they are tagging themselves.

    Describing yourself as anti-adoption, especially with the word "virulently" added as a qualifier, distorts the message expressed in your position page, "What we Think About Adoption", that some adoptions are "even necessary, and good".

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  26. Personally, speaking as one adoptee, I like the label “birthmother.” Fwiw I was grateful for it. I credit CUB and Lee Campbell for its origins. From the start, I grew up knowing and accepting I had two mothers. As a child, I thought of “her” or “she” as the mother that birthed me. To me, “she” was the mother who placed me for adoption. But I lacked a clear label to identify her at those times when I spoke with others about adoption. And, only when I publicly needed to distinguish between my two mothers for clarity. I had no trouble identifying my other mother. She came with a label “adoptive mother.”

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  27. Betty, you do keep me on my toes!

    But the truth is, I admit, is that I am against most infant adoptions, and I suppose quite radically. No exceptions say, because a couple has been infertile; no exceptions because a couple is gay and want to "build a family;" no exceptions because one can go to a poor country and import a child. It is for all these reasons that there is such terrible pressure to produce babies, however that is achieved, through kidnapping of kids in places like India and Guatemala; or farms of surrogate mothers in India who do it for the price of a small home; through the urging of teenagers like Catelynn and her whole crew of young, unaware kids to relinquish.

    Yet there are children who truly need homes; they are the ones who need the support and love of a "forever family." And they are the ones who age out of foster care without anyone claiming them as adoptable.

    In today's pro-adoption culture, having a position such as mine does make me "anti-adoption," I realize, but so be it. Any unnecessary adoption does great damage to the mother and child. I can't be two people when I have the mind and spirit of one. I can't appease the crowd who are doing the wrong thing by moving children around like so many chess pieces.

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  28. Talking about who calls who what: The writer Jill Bialosky in a book called "Wanting a Child" can't even bring herself to use the word "mother" when referring to the "woman who labored her son." Yes that is all she can bring herself to call her son's other mother.

    It is obvious Bialosky and her son do not share DNA.

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  29. I don't particularly like being called a birth mother though I try to use "other mother" when in conversation. But banning BJ Lifton from a conference was absurd. This argument is like whether African-Americans mind be called "blacks."

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  30. Many of the children in foster care who really need homes started out as infants whose parents could not or would not care for them. The way our current foster care system works many children are horribly damaged by the time they are adopted, if indeed they ever are. Perhaps infant adoption would have been the lesser evil in these cases. Eliminating all infant adoption would not give all children a better life or chance.

    The "exceptions" I would make for infant adoptions do not have to do with the needs of the prospective adoptive parents, but of the child whose natural parents have either made a truly informed choice to surrender. after being offered and considering alternatives, or those whose parents and extended natural family are unwilling or unfit for serious reasons to raise a child. It does happen; pretending it does not is not an honest answer.

    I am not against all infant adoption; I am against coercion of mothers who want to and are able to raise their children with a bit of help, and against adoptions that are not necessary. I do believe that some infant adoptions are needed and a better chance for the child than extended foster care, or being shifted around among relatives who resent having to raise the child. There is no one universal solution that is right for everyone.

    I do not think adoptive parents are horrible selfish people for adopting, nor do I believe that all surrendering parents are coerced or exploited or would make better parents. Adoption and child welfare are complicated and difficult things Infant adoption and older child adoption both have their place, if done ethically and with the welfare of the child as the prime consideration.

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  31. Maryanne:

    "Coercion" is a strong word. But what about a culture that keeps lots of adoption agencies in business? A culture that conveys a message "that if you love your child you will give him up to a better, ie, richer home?" Unless a woman is out of her mind and no one in the family can take the baby, there should be no infant adoption. Yes, I believe that if you cannot raise your child, abortion is a better solution. The world is already overpopulated, and eventually even the Catholic church and other religions of like mind will have to rethink their position on sex and abortion or become ever more irrelevant-and distructive. Over population is already a huge global problem. Population needs to be limited. Romney and his 18 grandchildren, two by surrogate, makes me sick.

    You are dancing on the head of a pin here.

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  32. Hardly "dancing on the head of pin" in saying that I cannot make the choice between life and death for another person or another person's unborn child. Nor can I make the sweeping statement that abortion is a better choice than adoption for any other woman. It is an individual choice, not a mandate that everyone make the same choice.

    I believe that there should be real unforced choice about crisis pregnancy, and that whatever choice the mother makes should be honored, whether it is abortion, adoption, or raising the child. There should also be responsibility for one's own choices.

    It is fine to make sweeping statements about overpopulation, but the only personal response to that it to have no more children yourself, not to berate others who do. Romney makes me sick too, but not because he has many grandchildren.

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  33. At aug 28 1:03 PM(I can't tell who's post this is-still in that connected-to-everything state of mind) Does Romney have surrogate grandchildren Uh-oh Nothing against the kids but the poor birthmothers I don't hate either side and I'm not crazy about either side I don't know who I'm voting for Everyone has to listen and not just with their ears and then make up their own minds as to who will least hurt them and those closest to them I ,as a naive firstmother, used to like the term birthmother because ,in my simple reasoning, I felt the word birth is a good word and the word mother is a good word I was a very strange kid Once in a while I would feel weird and say to my Dad "Dad, I feel weird My head is spinning He would then say "How fast?" and start laughing at me I would get very angry but then I would laugh too and my head would stop spinning I was never that political although since I went to college in DC during the late 60's and early 70's(same school as Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius LOL-they're a few years older) I did participate in a few marches since they went right outside our front door Civil rights, women's rights, worker's rights Some of the teachers yelled at us for coming to class and not marching Anyway, I was going to vote for McCain-I admire what he went through for this country but when they paraded those adoptees in front of the world at the last convention and they were supposed to be grateful adoptees,I guess that was cringeworthy I didn't know anything about Obama but I took a chance If the Repubs could convince me that they're not going to screw the same people who always get screwed no matter what politicians are in office-the poor and vulnerable- I might take a chance -or I might just stick with Obama- I am a true undecided in case anyone from either side is reading this Like you said, they are not aware how many are involved in this

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  34. I’m unlurking here for just a moment. You mentioned that you had misplaced in your files one of your Op-Ed pieces. I took the liberty of looking it up for you (what can I say; I’m a research librarian to the core). “Yearning” was published on March 1, 1975. I emailed you a copy of the article to complete your files.

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  35. I think Maryanne makes some very valid points, and I would hope we can all come together -- adoptees, original parents, and adoptive parents -- to at least accomplish that one goal, to give adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates. That would be a great starting point, and I agree with Maryanne that the infighting and name-calling is distracting us from that goal. I think most all agree that more honesty and transparency is needed in adoption, and that's where I feel the adoption reform movement should focus. We have to remember that no one person or group is the enemy; a system that has had little accountability and that has relied on market forces rather than research is the enemy. I think that should be our main selling point in the legislative arena.

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  36. Suzanne, thank you , but I do have copies of Yearning; and Adoptees' Best Interests. It is the one about Ann Sharp that I am currently missing but I believe I have one copy somewhere. If you can locate that one, I'd be grateful. But today I have been in touch with someone at the Times who says they are looking into putting the other two pieces back on line. Actually, anyone can link to Yearning (see link at end of blog) but unless you are a subscriber, you have to pay.

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  37. For the person in media wondering if I know what I am doing:

    Thank you for your support but please understand I am a former award-winning newspaper reporter, magazine journalist and editor, as well as the author of a half dozen books. I certainly did not write the kind of piece for the Times that I write here, and I always had a news hook. Often they have been picked up by other papers, but none with the influence of the Times. My pieces on adoption have been published not only in the Times, but a whole host of national magazines and newspapers around the country.

    Adoption reform in NY at least has held events, and press conferences and demonstrations, and sent out press releases, but they only result in coverage in small outlets, even in New York.

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  38. @Lorraine

    I'm glad I included my "assumption disclaimer" at the end of my note lol. I just got too into writing everything to remember to clarify that at the start. Obviously with your background you know how to present it so that's good. I actually do recall now that you've mentioned your news background in blog posts.

    Sounds like you're on the right track but that's the thing... it's tough! All about "cutting through the clutter". Persistence is key. Never stop. Best wishes!

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  39. Lorraine wrote:"In today's pro-adoption culture, having a position such as mine does make me "anti-adoption," I realize, but so be it. Any unnecessary adoption does great damage to the mother and child. I can't be two people when I have the mind and spirit of one. I can't appease the crowd who are doing the wrong thing by moving children around like so many chess pieces."

    Amen to that!

    I think it is important not to be bullied by the term "anti-adoption". This tactic is always used against reformers who go against the status quo. I am anti all of the myths and lies of adoption. The myth that adoption always gives the child a better life. That adopted children all do perfectly fine and have no special psychological/emotional/behavioral issues because of being adopted. That it doesn't matter if a child is raised by parents of the same race or religion because love is what makes a family.

    I am anti the horrible misogyny that leads to only females being relinquished in some countries. I am anti the pervasive myth that all children given up for adoption were unwanted. (we know how true that one is here at FMF).

    I am anti all of the myths, half-truths and coercion that convinced Melynda, Cassi, Faux Claud, Danielle and all of the other post-BSE mothers that they were doing a wonderful, selfless thing that put their child's welfare first only to realize later that they had been painfully and devastatingly duped.

    I do think that Maryanne makes a good point that for children whose parents really do not want them and who do not have any extended family to care for them that it is better that they be placed early. This is certainly preferable to moving from home to home in foster care and eventually aging out of the system. But I think that in the majority of situations adoption is in the final analysis just a money-making business.

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  40. Susan wrote:We have to remember that no one person or group is the enemy; a system that has had little accountability and that has relied on market forces rather than research is the enemy. I think that should be our main selling point in the legislative arena."

    Susan, you get an "amen" to that from me! Rather than looking for conspiracies of demonic social workers, or cartoon evil villains who steal babies, we do need to focus on getting the profit motive out of adoption, and getting the industry regulated, transparent and accountable, and making adoption practice ethical and humane. This would include making open adoption agreements legally enforceable, not something that can be used a lure and then walked away from once the adoption is final.

    Adoption is not going to go away, no matter how many self-righteous anti-adoption sites appear on the internet and preach to the choir in their own approved insider language. If we refuse to accept anything except the total abolition of adoption, nothing will change and our movement will continue to be marginalized and ineffective.

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  41. Any person who acknowledges that in rare instances adoption can be best for the child is not anti-adoption.
    "Anti-adoption" means against adoption in all circumstances. It is a divisive and pernicious label, and I don't know why anyone would want to stick themselves with it.
    In such a clear-cut context, raising the "necessary evil" argument as a sweetener makes no sense. Recognizing that adoption is occasionally the best option for a child who would otherwise not have a family negates any "anti-adoption" stance a person might have. All such occasional "necessary" adoptions deserve to be supported.

    Adoption is an institution which, like all institutions, can be analyzed, critiqued, and reformed. It is true that reforming established institutions is a complex and difficult task, but it can be and is being done. It has been accomplished in Australia and the UK although, unlike the US, in both these countries adoption comes under a central jurisdiction (and it goes without saying that both these countries continue to have problems when it comes to helping children in care).
    The fact that a lot of adoptions are wrong mustn't undercut those that are right. Adoption should be rare and necessary, and legitimate adoptions, such as those described by Maryanne and Robin, should not be stigmatized. However, "anti-adoption", whichever way it is cut, does not allow for exceptions.

    I firmly believe this is a problem when it comes to getting the message out there.

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  42. Are you talking about us? Please make it clear.

    Have you folks read WHAT WE THINK ABOUT ADOPTION? We--Jane and I--are not against every and all adoption, but we are against every and all CLOSED ADOPTION. Etc.

    I think I said I would be considered "anti-adoption" by those who consider me, married for 30 years TO A MAN--a "radical feminist." I am not going to check every comment I have made in the last four years in over 600 posts.

    There are always exceptions to the rule, aren't there?

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