We're also distressed because what our critics write is simply not true. We haven't denigrated all adoptive mothers or called them names as they accuse us of doing. Contrary to what they write, we are not against all adoption; in truth we have praised adoption as a loving act for a child who needs a family. (See What We Think About Adoption, link below)
We are sure these critics mean well; they have accepted the truthiness--that what they feel must be true!--of adoption as a GOOD THING, as close to Godliness as one can get. They truly believe that by giving up her baby to biological strangers, a young woman can improve her life while being assured that her child is well taken care of, that being raised by biological strangers allows a child to grow up in a stable two-parent home rather than an abusive home or orphanage, and that by raising another woman's child, a couple unable or unwilling to have a child naturally can form a family. Undoubtedly, in some cases these are true.
WHY DID MY MOTHER GIVE ME UP?
A handful of first mothers post comments insisting that they did the right thing, that they were not worthy of raising their own child. Ironically, their words belie them, showing them to be intelligent, articulate young women, capable of nurturing a child. We predict that eventually they will experience the hard truth of what they lost, what reunion will not fix.
We know these things through our own experiences and the countless comments from first mothers attesting to the ways that they were manipulated into relinquishing their children. We've received pleas for help from mothers desperate to get their children back, often within as few days of surrender. We've followed media reports of fathers fruitlessly seeking return of their children. We've reported numerous times on adoption corruption in China, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Guatemala, and other countries, and so have other sources, such as CNN, ABC, PBS, all the major news outlets.
But many who hold up adoption as basic good despite known corruption and other problems for the family of origin dismiss this evidence or treat it as irrelevant. They argue that no matter how egregious the conduct of an adoption agency, the child is better off. The truth is that growing up with biological strangers affects children negatively in many ways. As many adoptees who have commented here have stated, they ache to know why their own mother gave them away. They suffer from not being around people who look or think like them. They miss their birth families. A sad lament we read at FMF is encompassed in this recent comment: Even in open adoption where everyone is happy-dappy, I can't imagine a child not saying, "Why did she give me up?" In the worst cases, adopted children are abused or killed.
ADOPTION PROMOTERS IGNORE THE RESEARCH
Critics dismiss these truths by pointing out that children can suffer at the hands of their natural parents. Adoption promises more though; adoptive homes are sold as better than, not just as good as, natural homes. Adoption experts agree that children should be raised with their natural families if possible; the corollary is that adoptive homes should be more than better, to outweigh the damage, the primal wound, that adoption inflicts.
We're accused of not providing factual information about adoption, We frequently cite research developed by child welfare experts with close ties to adoption, the Donaldson Adoption Institute; the Child Welfare League of America; Anne Babb, Ph.D.; David Brodzinsky, Ph.D.; Arthur Sorosky, M.D.; Marshall Schechter, M.D.; Robin Marantz, Annette Baran, M.S.W.; Reuben Pannor, M.S.W.; Nancy Verrier, M.A.; Johanna Oreskovic, J.D., Trish Maskew, J.D., and the late professor John Triseliotis, OBE who studied adoption for more than two decades. These are not half-cocked, "bitter and angry" first/birth mothers as we are accused of being; they are respected doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social critics, social workers, and attorneys who have examined the impact of adoption on the people most directly impacted by the discordant, the mothers who bear the children and those children. We cite research from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Richard Wexler of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, law professor Elizabeth Samuelson, respected journalist E. J. Graf, and psychologist David Kirschner. We analyze and quote from research papers published in respected medical and psychosocial journals. We've referenced memoirs by those who live adoption, that is, the adoptees themselves, such as B. J. Lifton, Patrick McMahon, Peter Dodds, Jane Jeong Trenka, and others. We've included statistics from HHS, England and Wales, The Netherlands, and Australia. We've used media reports to write about specific cases. We've provided anecdotal evidence from employees of adoption agencies and adoption attorneys.
Adoption in the United States is big business, funded by the frustrated desires of would-be parents. The truth is that desirable children are valuable commodities, and their exchange from natural mothers to adoptive families provides considerable income to lawyers, social workers, adoption agencies. Millions of dollars are involved each year. Adoption has been subverted to a program to find children for homes rather than homes for children. If there was not money to be made in adoption, if it was run exclusively by the government rather than profit-making entities ("nonprofit" means that they don't have shareholders, not that they don't make money), the number of infant adoptions would decline dramatically, as has already occurred in Western Europe and Australia.
Critics accuse us of bitterness and meanness in an effort to silence us. It won't. Social change starts with those who are unhappy with the status quo, religious minorities, blue collar workers, African Americans, gays, women, others. Our voices are joined by first mothers from all over the country.--jane and lorraine
What We Think About Adoption
Favorite Adoption Quotes
How adoption agencies 'turn' vulnerable women into spokespeople for relinquishing
Abuse in International Adoption
Utah to Birth Fathers: Go Back to the Grave!
Adoption in Utah: No place for birth fathers
Should birth mothers to shut up and stay in the closet?
Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self One of Lorraine's favorite books about the experience of being adopted, written by an adoptive parent (Brodzinsky), a psychiatrist married to an adoptee, and a nationally known medical writer (Marantz). It coves the adoption experience from infancy to late adulthood. Highly recommended not only for first mothers and adoptees, but adoptive parents who wish to understand the stresses of the individuals they have adopted.
Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience "Important and powerful . . . [the author] is concerned not just with adoptees but with the experience of adoptive parents and birth parents."--Psychology Today
The Adoption Reader: Birth Mothers, Adoptive Mothers, and Adopted Daughters Tell Their Stories Educator, writer, and adoptive mother Wadia-Ells has put together an enthralling set of essays from birth mothers, adopted mothers, and adopted daughters. Each story reveals a different facet of the adoption process and of family life in general.--AmazonAnd not surprising: "The more positive essays were from the adoptive moms - birth moms and adopted daughters were obviously struggling to make sense out of their experiences."