LOSING A MOTHER TO GAIN A FATHER
"A child needs a mother...and a father." I'm sure I heard these words more than once in a TV show, spoken by an all-knowing social worker (or parent, teacher, clergyman) to a scared single woman who wanted to keep her baby: The words repeated endlessly in my mind when I was faced with having a child without a husband.
Growing up with a father who was not around much, I was acutely sensitive to what I had missed. Though he and my mother were married and had four children, I envied girls whose fathers ate dinner with the family and talked with them about their school work, their friends, current events, their lives. These fathers gave their daughters rides to school in bad weather. (We didn't own a car.) They took their families to the movies, the amusements park, and, for some lucky girls, to Florida on Christmas vacation escaping the sub-zero weather in Chicago. I was always uncomfortable when other girls talked about their fathers, as in "what does your father do? My father is a lawyer, doctor, engineer, owns a store." My father had a blue-collar job in a steel mill. He spent much of what he earned on liquor and gambling; my mother supported us as a high school teacher. My parents divorced when I was 15, and my father died five years later at 52.
I wanted my child to have a father, a rich powerful father. If the only way that could happen was for her to lose her mother--me--well, I was a loser anyway. I did not foresee that within a year I would meet the most wonderful of men, and a year after that we would marry. I know my husband would have accepted my daughter--he takes in stray cats; a extra kid would not have been a stretch. I have since known mothers who married after keeping their baby and their husbands adopted their children. In fact, step-father adoptions are far more common than voluntary infant stranger adoptions. The adoption industry, of course, downplays the possibility that the next man in your life will love and accept you and your child.
PHONY FACTS IN ADOPTION PROMO
Focus on the Family's adoption promo piece tells mothers-to-be: "Statistically, you're much more likely to meet and marry Mr. Right later on (and avoid another out-of-wedlock pregnancy) if you release [emphasis added here] your baby to loving adoptive parents than you are if you choose single motherhood." It provide no statistics to back up this statement. Release your baby? That makes it sound as if you are releasing her from prison, that is, the poor pitiful life you as a single woman can give this child, who deserves so much better.
Based on first mothers accounts that I have read or heard, more than half of adopted children grow up without both their adoptive parents. Adoptive parents appear to divorce at a higher rate than other couples, perhaps because adopting a child puts a strain on a marriage or perhaps because the couple adopted in hopes of saving a failing marriage. Since adoptive fathers are often in their forties--today it's not uncommon for them to be in their fifties or sixties--there's a good chance they will be gone by the time their children finish college.
Not only is a single mother who keeps her child consigning her child to a life of degradation but, according to Dr. Richard D. Lang of the Christian Post, she is "denying that baby the father that God wants for that baby, and every baby, to have." What God wants, of course, is contingent on who is speaking for God. Lesbian adoptive mother Rosie O'Donnell tells adopted children whom she is raising without a father that God put the baby in the "wrong mommy's tummy. "
Focus on the Family minces no words describing the fate which awaits children who grow up in families without fathers: "Statistically, adopted children have stronger identities and self-esteem than children raised by single mothers" and "will be less likely to experience a deprived and stressful childhood." If that's not bad enough, children raised by single mothers are "five times more likely to grow up in poverty, three to four times more likely to commit suicide, [and] two to three times more likely to abuse drugs; 70 percent of long-term inmates grew up without fathers. Girls without fathers in the home are more likely to get pregnant before marriage."
Statistics--even if correct--are not destiny as Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Gerald Ford, and countless other highly successful men and women who grew up without their biological fathers prove. While most adoptees, like everyone else, manage to make it through adolescence intact, the adopted in general have more trouble than most. In fact, several respected studies and journal articles describe the problems as quite specifically: adopted children have a tendency toward learning disability and under achievement, they are likely to exhibit high dependency and fearfulness along with low self-identity. Statistically, adoptees are over-represented in populations of those who are troubled: drug addicts, prison inmates, suicide victims, adolescent and young adult clinics and resident treatment centers. This is what they do not tell pregnant women and teens when they show up at an adoption agency or find themselves negotiating a private adoption through an attorney.
FATHERS WHO OPPOSE THE ADOPTION
If fathers-to-be want to be involved with their child, well then, that's a different story. The adoption industry works hard to keep them out of the picture by getting laws passed making it close to impossible to assert their rights as we've seen in the case of Terry Achane and many others. The industry also undermines the mother's trust in the father of their child. American Adoptions tells mothers-to-be "Even if the father of your baby wants you to keep your baby, your child may have a father whom you and your child won't be able to rely on." Focus on the Family is more blunt: "Sorry but babies RARELY have that effect on guys...especially guys who have sex with you before saying 'I do.' Moreover, it's not a baby's job to turn some guy who's possibly self-centered, immature and irresponsible into your ideal partner."
We at FMF happen to know a number of unmarried but committed fathers who are in unmarried, long term relationships as strong as any marriage. And in recent cases--Dusten Brown, Terry Achane, Jake Strickland--we have seen fathers do all they can to be able to raise their own children. The agencies make such fathers out to be untrustworthy bums, but that is only because agencies wish to get their babies to "sell" to waiting customers. Too many fathers demanding the right to raise their own children get in the way of a viable business model--that is, make money. Not enough babies and an agency (for profit or not) will have to go out of business; the director making a hundred grand will have to look for a new job. Thus, the attack on fathers.
Brigham Young University Professor of Family Sciences Terry Olson writes for the tax-payer financed
Infant Adoption Training Program run by the National Council for Adoption: "If she is not in self-betrayal, then with counselor-assisted knowledge and experience, she [the mother-to-be] can express or insist on her preferred definition of the future for the child and for herself" which are "a marriage of stability with mutual commitment to parent" or adoption. That's it. Either or. No single-mother can possibly raise a child, according to Olson. He further explains to the counselors how to manage the mother if the putative father fails to recognizes the best interests of the child, i.e. doesn't want to marry or place the child for adoption. The counselor must make the young woman see that "the self-betraying meaning of the demands of such a father so as not to be victimized by them." If the father wants to raise the child himself, the counselor has to raise the "the nature of the future relationship of the child with its biological mother" and the possibility of "the father's future marriage to someone else." In other words, let the woman know that the father may not allow her to have a relationship with her child, and another woman may take her place. And if grandma wants to raise the baby, counselors must let mothers-to-be know that: "the father being at the bidding of the child's grandmother is fertile ground for creating an uncertain foundation for the care of the child."
If the father persists in opposing adoption, the industry uses the same kind of perverted logic that it uses to convince mothers to give up their children, i.e. adoption is the selfless, brave and loving decision. American Adoptions tells fathers:
"Embarrassment is common because these men sometimes feel like they didn't live up to their responsibilities as the birth father....If you are a father in a similar situation but are unsure of whether to support the adoption, please understand that supporting an adoption doesn't portray you as irresponsible, weak or a man not living up to the responsibilities of a father. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
"Supporting the birth mother's adoption plan is the most responsible decision you can make....Making such a difficult decision takes a great deal of strength that will make others proud. You will be remembered as a true blessing to not only your family and the adoptive family, but also to your son or daughter."What the adoption industry doesn't tell mothers is that about 20 percent of first parents marry each other and go on to have other children together. Even when the parents do not marry, fathers are often fully involved with their children. The truth is that substituting an adoptive mother for a natural mother in order to gain an adoptive father is a losing bargain for all--except the adoption industry.--jane
Focus on the Family: Choosing the Best for Your Baby
Lang: "Adoption: The Best Option"
LDS Church: Policies on Moral Issues
American Adoptions: Father of the Baby
Terry Olson "In Adoption Practices in the Human World"
http://ncfaeducation.org/BirthparentCounseling/pdf/AdoptionPracticesInTheHumaneWorld.pdf, worked in November and I printed the article. It no longer works.
Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience
Utah to Birth Fathers: Go Back to the Grave!
If LDS Family Service ends adoption, it own't be soon enough
This is the fourth in a series on how the adoption industry convinces vulnerable mothers to give up their children. Others in the series: How money rules infant adoption was posted December 1; How the adoption industry convinces women they aren't 'ready to parent' was posted on December 15; Is giving up a child for adoption a 'loving' decision? was posted December 20.
Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience by Betty Jean Lifton
Still a classic, more than three decades later, with new material added on the controversies of the day, including egg and sperm donation. Highly recommended as a first read for adoptees and adoptive parents. "[Looks] at adoption from all sides of the triangle: adoptee, birth mother, adoptive parents . . . A provocative, comprehensive inquiry."---Kirkus Reviews
"Honest and moving."---New York Times
As a point of fact, it came out the same year as Birthmark, the Lorraine's memoir, which opened the lid on the trauma of relinquishing mothers, then considered too outre to be talked about in polite company. It is hard to understand today how swept under the rug even talking about the issues of adoption was once.Son by Lois Lowrey
I came upon this book at a free book exchange and I admit I had never heard of it, or the author, but she is a prolific and honored writer for young adults. This book, the last in a trilogy, is about what a mother will endure to get back to her son. Set in a futuristic society where young women have babies for others, it is a chilling reminder that we today are not so far away from this "unthinkable" society ourselves. Anyone with contact with a teen considering adoption should give them this book. --lorraine