To adopt or not adopt (except from foster care) has become the subject of lively discussion in the commentary fostered by the previous blog, about a couple who advertised themselves and their healthy lifestyle on Facebook as they attempt to find someone willing to give them her newborn.
Advertising for a first mother--or as someone said, "identify a birth mother"--is so scary and futuristic I feel as if I have stepped into a Ray Bradbury movie like Farenheit 451, only this one would be called Baby Hunger, 2013. The couple we wrote about aren't alone in their audacious advertising for a baby; recently a couple from Maryland put up a similar kind of ad on the New Jersey Turnpike at the cost of $2,000 a month. They are looking for a second child. Why advertise in New Jersey rather than their home state of Maryland? Because in New Jersey the first/birth mother only has 72 hours to nullify the proposed adoption; in
Maryland, she has 28 days. In New Jersey, you are allowed to pay living expenses while "your birth mother" incubates "your" baby. And this is different from buying a baby, how? But that's another discussion.
MAKING ADOPTION SEEM NORMAL
Oxygen's I'm Having Their Baby does expose some of the immediate grief of relinquishing a child--and while a few strong young women decide to keep their babies--the overall effect of such the show is to make giving up your baby seem normal, even generous. As for the ads for babies, and the agencies who will take them off your hands? They are popping up everywhere: on the sides of trucks (seen in New Jersey), on paper place mats in hamburger joints that include 800 numbers of attorneys, in weekly newspapers and penny-savers under "Looking to Adopt" headings. Craigslist carries them too:
Soon I expect they will be in Seventeen. One of the effects of all this advertising is to make giving up a baby more acceptable, even attractive, to women and poor couples, at the same time abortion is being harder to come by. Yet given the state of the planet, and the resources that the burgeoning population is imposing on us, the human race should actually be restricting population growth. Certainly that is what the Chinese government has tried to do with its one-child-per-family policy that led to the abandonment of many girl children, and their adoption in the West. That occurred at the same time that many women in the West had delayed conception for education and career opportunities--and were able to do so because of more effective birth control, including legal abortion. Consequently the Chinese girl-baby export and the desire for children in this country at first appeared to be a fortuitous convergence. But of course life is not that neat and tidy, and the incredible market for babies here led to the next step: kidnapping and actual sale of children for profit there. A seemingly humane response to the Chinese government's dictum ended up with widespread corruption, and the Chinese eventually clamped down and severely restricted the number of children who exited via adoption. (Now, twenty-some years later, there is a shortage of marriageable young women.)"Looking to adopt. Any age is fine. < Adopt76 > 10/27 17:14:53
My fiancée and I would like to adopt a boy or girl, any age is fine. Because we are not married yet going through DCF is tough. We are good people and can give your child a loving home. We are willing to let you, if you choose, to be a part of the child's life. We can help you out as much as possible but we don't have tons of money and we wouldn't feel comfortable buying a child. We will pay attorney fees. My fiancée works full time and I stay home so I will have plenty of time to devote. Please email me if you would like to find a safe home for your child. Thank you so very much."
The burgeoning market for babies moved to other nations where a large percentage of the population is poor. Eventually more publicity about the corruption in adoption led to these nations restricting the export of one of the largest cash commodities: children. As the international marketplace for babies is becoming leaner, along with a growing awareness that moving people from culture to culture may be far from ideal, there is more pressure to find homegrown babies. Thus the ads like the one on Craigslist, and the people who trumpet their good looks and healthy lifestyle in social media. Their message is: What great parents they will be for your baby!
Government interference in a decision so personal is always problematic. Societies may voluntarily limit the number of children they produce--this is happening in Western Europe, Japan, and portions of the U.S. But unless this speeds up, the population on Earth will become unsustainable. The oceans are rising, swallowing up land that had been once habitable and usable for farming, and people are starving. Not only the Polar bears are in jeopardy. I remember reading somewhere about the increased suicide rate in parts of India where what once had been farm land had become too salty to farm. Families were starving. Fathers who could not provide were killing themselves in despair.
Perhaps all the infertility--no matter the case, age, illness or sexual preference--is part of a grander scheme to slow the rate of population growth. The infertility that becomes a baleful cry among the educated might be a good thing.
But what may be good for the Earth on a grand scale is proving difficult--even heart-breaking--on a personal level. People want a child, anybody's child. People like the Capobiancos use any legal means to take a child from a father who wants to raise her. Yes, they struggled with infertility, yes, that is painful, but that does not give them, or anyone, the right to another man's child. Given that the population growth patterns are not likely to shift, we will continue to see pressure on the less fortunate to transfer their babies to the wealthier, and that brings us back to the ads for "birth mothers" willing to give up their babies.
'WHY DIDN'T SHE KEEP ME?'
We here are but mere voices in the wind as we try to stem this trend. We suggest not looking for a "birth" mother, but taking in children who truly need homes, and the discussion devolves into how that isn't the answer, how difficult that is, have you tried it yourself, how dare you tell me what to do? We mention the statistics of greater thoughts of suicide among adoptees, and we are told they are likely from foster care. (In fact, they were not, and the study we refer to only included children adopted as infants.) We say giving up a child causes lifelong grief that cannot be assuaged in the normal way, and the those who would adopt say, but we offer "open adoption." But open adoption is not the solution.
Life is messy and children often end up paying the price, and there will always be adoptions. Yet the manic desperation to get a baby reflected in the billboard ads, in the media, on the Internet, glides over the unpleasant reality that that behind every “happy” adoption is a mother missing her child, and another family mourning the missing link in their family tree. And there is a child who, no matter how successful and well-adjusted or how open the adoption, who may one day wonder: Why didn’t she keep me? What was wrong with me? Why wasn't I good enough? --lorraine
Looking to adopt. Any age is fine.
Looking to adopt. Any age is fine.
See also from FMF
Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? by Alan Weisman
"[W]ith a million more of us every 4.5 days on a planet that's not getting any bigger, and with our exhaust overheating the atmosphere and altering the chemistry of the oceans, prospects for a sustainable human future seem ever more in doubt. For this long awaited follow-up book, Weisman traveled to more than 20 countries to ask what experts agreed were probably the most important questions on Earth--and also the hardest: How many humans can the planet hold without capsizing? How robust must the Earth's ecosystem be to assure our continued existence? Can we know which other species are essential to our survival? And, how might we actually arrive at a stable, optimum population, and design an economy to allow genuine prosperity without endless growth?" --Amazon
An intriguing, realistic, vividly detailed exploration of the greatest problem facing our species.
Coming Home to Self: The Adopted Child Grows Up
by Nancy Verrier, the second book by the author of The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child
"Verrier takes you a quantifiable textbook-like journey of healing. She starts off by reviewing the traumatic effects of being separated from one's mother at the beginning of life and the impact of adoption on the brain. She then talks about anger, rage, guilt, shame, sorrow, joy, and many other emotions that adoptees experience and why. She then tackles head on what we adoptees can do about our pain in order to find our authentic self. She illustrates how important taking responsibility for our actions are paramount, how periodic "reality checks" are crucial to make sure that we are not reacting to our childhood trauma. She points out how adoptees often misinterpret approval as love, observation as criticism, empathy as collusion, boundaries as rejection, different as wrong, disappointment as betrayal, and caring for intrusion. She reminds us that when our friend cannot accept our invitation to dinner it is not a betrayal, but simply a disappointment. Verrier also discusses reunion issues for the birth parent, adoptive parent, and siblings/spouses of triad members which is helpful for all triad members to see how the others side(s) feel. She does not shy away from difficult topics such as Genetic Sexual Attraction, difficult relationships with birth/adoptive family members, spiritual concerns, and how to deal with the adoptee in your life. Overall, this book has the feel of a resource book that can be accessed again and again, depending on the adoption issue that is pressing at the moment.(...)" Kelsey Hamner, adoption author and school psychologist at Amazon