Sunday, June 8, 2014

When adoptive parents reject the birth/first mother--they reject the 'child'

Woman at work
When I met my daughter and her other parents, it was 1981, and "open" adoptions were unheard of, and just as unheard of were natural mothers popping up for reunions--and meeting the adoptive parents. In some ways, my initial meeting with both my daughter and her parents was made a lot easier by the fact that no one knew exactly what to do and the insidious language that permeates adoption today was not yet written. 

So everyone was going on instinct--let's do the best for "our" daughter, and the weekend went smoothly. 

What went so right? My daughter Jane's parents were welcoming me into their home. This let my daughter--who was 15 at the time--see that it might be possible to have a relationship with both kinds of parents: those who raised her,
and the woman who bore her. That is not to say that she wasn't under some stress to show her parents that she would not be disloyal to them, especially her mother, but their acceptance of me made it easier for her. We met at the airport, and naturally one of her parents (her father) was present, and so she had decided to put her hands in her back pockets when I hugged her upon greeting. She told me later that she had blocked out this scene because she knew her father would be watching and felt the need to be initially standoffish. "I wanted to hug you," she said, "but I felt that would hurt my dad." 

Sure, I would have liked a big hug, right away, but I was just thrilled to be there--and I too was aware that we were being observed--so I went with the flow and did not get bothered by that. I simply noted it.

STUNNED AT HOW MUCH I LOOKED LIKE 'HER' DAUGHTER
Her mother--call her Ann--I would later learn, was of course fearful of my arrival--at the same time she knew it was best for Jane. So there was no immediate hug from her, and and I felt as if she were inspecting me like a side of beef. Okay, we were both checking each other out. She was stunned by how much "her" daughter looked like "her" other mother; naturally, I had no such reaction to her--I would have been surprised if she looked like Jane! 

Later I would learn that Ann heard from people she worked with: I wouldn't let that woman come. What does she want? However, one of Ann's closest friends was in favor of our meeting--because she understood that Jane had a lot of problems (multiple grande mal seizures, low self-esteem, falling behind in school, social awkwardness), and that perhaps meeting me would be good for Jane. Good for Jane. Good for the girl. Just plain Good. 

In most circumstances, that the adoptee will benefit from meeting their biological parents, and see them graciously be accepted by the adoptive parents, is what far too many adoptive parents ignore. Instead they are reluctant to deal with the reality of the adoptee's original life and very existence. Since the adopted person did not come by stork or divine intervention, but does have a past that goes back generations, accepting the real live people who brought the adoptee into the world signifies that adopted individual is fully and completely accepted by their adoptive parents. Reject the natural/biological/birth family, and adoptive parents are rejecting the adoptee. No matter what else they say or do. The message is: You're okay, but your mother and father and et cetera? They are trash. They don't count. But you aren't like them....

I don't recall Ann or Jane's father ever referring to me as the "birth mother, " but if they did, it did not make much of an impact. There are things not getting worked up over. In conversation with each other over the years, Ann and I simply referred to each other as Jane's "mother." I do not know how she referred to me when I was absent; fair to say, probably "birth mother." I always referred to her as Jane's "adoptive mother" or "other mother," which seems a tad softer and nicer. When we spoke of Jane, she called her "our" daughter. Bless her for that. 

THROW OUT THE 'BIRTH' PARENTS...THROW OUT THE BABY
We know that today many younger adoptive parents are not people who reject the natural/birth parents, and make an effort to include the biological parents however they can. We also know that some first mothers (and fathers) cannot deal with seeing their children grow up in a different family, or just seem not to be that interested. We are aware that some adoptive parents wish to include the natural mother in the lives of their children, but the mothers are distant, or disappear. For some, continued contact is too emotionally roiling. Others just bail. About that, no one can do anything; it must come from the mother herself. But we also know that there are legions of adoptive parents who make reunion difficult; who cut off all communication about an adoptee's heritage and beginnings, who, for all extent and purposes, make that adoptee's life an emotional hell. Mental slavery I'd call it.  

Why do that if you truly love the individual?

One last thing (as far as this post is concerned) in 1981 when my daughter and I reunited, the language her parents used was not steeped in the PC pro-AP (politically correct, pro-adoptive parent) language of today. I was not called a "birth" mother; they did not expect me to evaporate after Jane and I met, and in fact, she spent several of the next summers living with us, arriving a day or two after school got out; they did not "thank" me for the "gift" of my daughter, nor did they praise my "braveness" and "courage" in having a child and not aborting her. Well, that would have been absurd because they would shortly learn that I had tried to have an abortion but because it was illegal, was not able to. 

BABIES ARE NOT 'GIFTS'
But a gift? Thanking me? Thank god Jane's parents didn't thank me--I wouldn't have known how to react, but I sure would have known something was off. My daughter was not something I bought at Tiffany's and had shipped to you! Thanking me is not appropriate! I gave up my child in pain and sorrow and did what I felt I had to. Appreciate his or her specialness and individuality, but don't thank me or act like I did it to please you, the way I might bring over a homemade cake for your birthday. Not since slaves were transferred to another people were real life human beings "gifts." Nor was giving up my child the "brave, courageous" thing to do; first mothers give up their babies only because they are desperate and see no way to keep them. 

Adoption "plan"? You've got to be kidding. Maybe the agency was dealing with a pregnant woman's or teen's "adoption plan," but that pregnant woman was drowning, no matter how clear and calm a veneer she presented to you, dear social worker, dear prospective parent. If you are a person considering adopting today, scrub your language of the stuff you hear at the agency, and look for a prospective mother from those who are nearby--that way the likelihood that the adopted child will have contact with his first mother is enhanced. If she is from a distant state, visiting will be much more difficult--and so consider the impact of that on the child. 

Yet that is what the agency-approved PC language of today inspires. Consider this email a first mother friend recently received from an adoptive mother who is also a friend of hers: 
"Tomorrow my little boy will be 9 years old. 9 years on this Earth. 9 years of joy and happiness in our family... I want to take this opportunity to thank his birth mother for the courageous and difficult decision she made. I hope she has no regrets. If I could tell her how amazing he is and how he fills us up each and every day and how words can't express how much I love him and how I will be forever thankful for the gift she gave us... I would tell her over and over again. So happy birthday (name of child), and blessings to the one who I know is thinking of him now... He is smart and polite and curious and loving and one of the best things that ever happened to my life... Sigh..."
This is just so wrong. My friend noted to me she wondered how the woman would feel if she had to deal with a real, live mother--as this AP does not.--lorraine
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In a totally unrelated piece of news: There is a soap box derby today on our street which has a straightaway and a good incline. Fifty-one contestants! Several heats! Rolling right past our front door. Tony and I are going to have a front seat on this event, which draws hundred of spectators. Start time in less that two hours. I can't wait.

We have never before so directly addressed a post to adoptive parents but we do know they are among our readers, and after considering the impact of adoptive-parent rejection of their children's first parents (and the difficulties of Julia Emily and others), we decided such a post was in order. We would appreciate hearing from adoptive parents in the comments. We can learn from each other, and do our best to be kind. We are all just doing what we can to get through. Life isn't easy.

READING

The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child by Nancy Verrier 
The author is a mother, both by adoption and biology. In some ways, this is a tough book for both kinds of parents to read, but it is full of nuggets that may help both kinds of parents understand the adoptee. Some find it controversial, and her main theory--that adoption is a kind of primal wound--specious. I found the book very informative and useful. I sent a copy to Jane's parents. I do not know if they read it, because we never discussed it.


Adoption: Uncharted Waters by David Kirschner
Talk about controversial!  This book is it. But eye-opening.
"A must read. I found the book interesting, intriguing and well-supported by well-known members of the adoption community." --Adoption Today Magazine, August/September, 2006.

"Kirschner brings attention to the concept of Adopted Child Syndrome, which is bred through lies and fantasies about birth parents." --Fostering Families Today Magazine, July/August, 2006.


TO ORDER, CLICK ON BOOKS OR TITLES. Thank you for ordering through FMF and especially thank you to those who do. The blog as a money-making operation is a joke, so I do appreciate those of you who remember to order from Amazon through the blog.

132 comments :

  1. Thanks for this post, Lorraine. Everything you outlined here NEVER would have happened with my AP's. There was no history, as far as they're concerned, before I was placed in their home. Witness the fact that they never asked questions, never looked into medical history, never found out my ethnic background, never met, or asked any questions about my first mother. There was a sense of urgency going on. They had to get this golden-haired baby. They had to get her NOW before she was lost. They had waited a long time. They were not going to wait any longer.

    Compared to how my adoptive mother would have behaved, I would say Ann did an almost stellar job of trying to handle the situation. Awkward? Of course, but at least she tried for Jane's sake. Neither you nor Ann had any precedent to follow. I think you did rather well.

    I had a medical condition as a child as well. Not as serious as Jane's, but the first episode kept me out of fourth grade for almost two months. I was in and out of hospitals, undergoing every test imaginable. NO ONE mentioned my medical history. I remember this distinctly. This condition followed me into adulthood. Every doctor I saw as an adult asked me about medical history. I asked my adoptive mother once more, after being in the hospital for about 10 days. She got very flustered. Blurted out "I don't know. Change the subject, because I don't know. You're OK now." Those words will stay with me forever.

    So, you are absolutely correct. Dismissing the adoptee's first mother/family/background definitely does a number on the adoptee. I am sorry my AP's were and still are so insecure, but that is not my fault. And I am slowly coming to terms with everything that was said and done over the years.

    I am eager to hear from adoptive parents here as well. This post was a great idea in my opinion.

    BTW: Medical history or not, I researched my condition and basically eliminated it through a healthy diet and an exercise program. And a strong will. maybe I am stronger than I thought!!

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    1. JE: You are strong and have come a ways since you first posted here! We are all following your journey.

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  2. Once again, Lorraine nails it. I am a reunited birth mother AND an adoptive mother, so I have lived both roles. Like virtually all birth mothers, I thought about my lost son every day of his life and only gave him up because it was 1968 and the whole world was against me. I now realize I adopted a baby (from Vietnam) in an effort to heal that terrible wound, and in doing so I participated in another child's tragedy. I thought love was enough. It's a lot, but it isn't everything. There are also biology, DNA, genetic inheritance, and those count for so much. I would rejoice if my adopted son could reunite with his biological family, and rather than thanking them, I would apologize for failing to understand their son's pain as he was growing up. Adults play with the lives of innocent babies for their own reasons. Every parent is a selfish parent. No one gives birth because she thinks it will be good for the baby. It's easy for adoptive parents to convince themselves that they are acting in the best interests of the child, but are they really? Or are they trying, like I did, to fill an unfillable hole? Using persuasion, advertising, and religion to con women out of their babies or countries out of their children is not the loving thing it's made out to be. Oh yes, I also worked for a time for an international adoption agency. That's when the adoption fog began to lift for me. I've seen adoption from every angle except that of the adoptee himself. If you are trying to adopt an infant, do yourself, the birth mother, and her baby a favor. Get a dog.

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    1. Wow Pam thanks--you nailed it too@!

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    2. Yes, Pam.... You really nailed it!

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  3. On the night after I touched my 40 year old son for the first time since I never was allowed to hold him after he was born, his a/parents wanted to meet me to "thank me." The entire situation was so dreadful that if I could have backed off of my reunion that night I would have. The a/mother used every "put down" she knew to "put me in my place." I believe her goal was to humiliate me although I had a professional career, a post graduate degree and an affluent life. In short my preferences for my son's family were ignored by the adoption agency and my son was "adopted down." My son's natural father, who met them later, remarked that "maybe she was intimidated by you." Fortunately, I never had to be with them again. I have learned that she was a "social climber" and they both were prejudiced against my ethnic background.

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    1. I was "adopted down" as well. And I've taken heat for acknowledging this--as if I'm supposed to be grateful no matter the home I grew up in.

      My mother felt as you did ("Fortunately, I never had to be with them again.") about my adopters. For you it was an event, for us a lifetime. I hope that you do whatever you can to make your son's life better now.

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  4. “…but their acceptance of me made it easier for her.”
    This goes both ways, the fact that you were prepared to accept the a-parents to make it easier for Jane saved her a lot of unnecessary pressure and stress.
    When n-mothers reject the a-parents, they also reject the 'child'.

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    1. HUGE point! One that really is never thought of. Very true.

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    2. Not in all cases, Jo, especially in fraudulent open adoptions where the natural mother is banished from the picture when she was assured she would not be.

      It is quite possible that many natural mothers were once accepting to the "a-parents", but that changed when they were treated despicably by them. Treating someone like that does not deserve acceptance or respect.

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    3. Lynn, I agree with you entirely, I know first hand the spiteful nonsense that a-parents dish out to n-mothers, but it is from the 'child's' perspetive I'm coming from. To us it 'feels' like a rejection of our history with a-family. N-parent left us with that/an unknown family and that was okay then (I know it wasn't really okay), but that 'choice' was made for us, so it 'feels' like rejection of the choice made and disrespectful of us as part of the a-family. You are right though, nobody should tolerate disrespect, but it is such a conflict for the 'child'. Up until reunion they are led to believe that n-mother made a loving choice (puke) only to experience hostility between both mothers/parents when they unite. Knowingly or not all parties are hurt and damaged and they don't know how to behave.

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  5. As an adoptive parent, it is impossible for me to see my son and not see the beauty of his original, natural family. We provide the nurture effects, and I see those in him, but the vast majority of what I see - his looks, his personality - come from his genes. In fact, I agree with Pam because, especially of late, I am not able to regard myself as anyone other than a substitute mother. Lenny really does have only one real mother, and I think about doing the best possible job in place of her, every single day. Regardless of her lack of contact now, I am sure Lenny will meet his first mother one day (all I have to go with is my intuition, but I believe they will seek one another out). And when he does, I want her to feel that I have managed to convey to him her love for him, and that he has become the kind of human being she hoped he would become.

    Lorraine, I feel that, considering it was the early 1980's, your daughter's adoptive parents did pretty well by you. Times are slightly more progressive now, at least in regard to the prospect of meeting natural families being entertained more often on online forums.

    Lastly, in honor of the recent memorial service dedicated to a woman I greatly admire, Maya Angelou, I want to talk about the time when her grandson was kidnapped by the child's mother. Maya Angelou's son, the boy's father, had full legal custody, with visitation for the mother. When father and son were eventually reunited, Maya Angelou told her son not to press charges against the boy's mother because, in her words, 'There's a bond made in the womb between the child and the mother. I mean, that bond is irreducible." She did not want her grandson growing up knowing his father put his mother in jail. Full article link is below:

    http://articles.latimes.com/1986-06-12/news/vw-10461_1_maya-angelou

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  6. I really don't understand why there seems to be such an anti-adoption sentiment. "get a dog instead" means that a lot of children may be left in orphanages or in foster care with no permanent home.

    Is there any way for adoption to work? Or is it always a negative?

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    1. Many of us are from the Baby Scoop Era, the period between WWII and Roe v. Wade.
      I think adoption gave our families permission to relinquish us. They assumed we would go to good, loving homes with parents who desperately wanted children.

      If adoption hadn't been available to our mothers, I wonder how many of us would have been kept. My belief is that if the only other choice had been an orphanage or permanent foster care, some of our mothers would have made other choices.

      My mother could have married my father. I truly believe that if she only had the option of putting me in an orphanage or foster care, she would have married my father.

      It's a myth that there are a lot of babies out there in need of homes. I don't know why this is perpetuated. Older children and children with special needs are the ones who are in most need of a family.

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    2. "Get a dog instead" means that a lot of adoptees were adopted for the wrong reasons. We were adopted due to a couple's infertility problems, or to replace a child that had died. We were adopted because society said it was the thing to do. We were adopted because single motherhood and unmarried pregnancy were such grave sins. We had our histories erased, and were expected to live a life of secrets and lies.

      That can be done to a dog. The dog will wag it's tail and lick your face and be happy. It is NOT the way to treat human beings.

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    3. This is a really interesting train of thought - one I haven't followed before.

      My first thoughts on it are this:

      If adoption wasn't available, what would I have done?

      For my own personal private reasons, I would not have had an abortion, and this never came into my mind as an option for me.

      So what was left?

      Keeping him.

      I would have kept him, even though I was a young, impoverished, inexperienced mother. The message that these qualities would ruin his life would not have managed to insinuate themselves so wholly in my mind without the adoption social workers reiterating it repeatedly, and in such certain terms.

      That message might simply have remained a feeble one, uttered by the individual pessimist of the family, a message I could have overriden with my own unquestioned self-belief and maternal love. Maybe that message wouldn't have got the traction it did when spoken by the band of socially legitimised professionals adoption trawls with it.

      I'm pretty sure I would have kept him, despite knowing he would be growing up in a house with a highly irascible grandmother, a bewildered mother, no money and absolutely no idea how to get to a good future.

      Perhaps my mum would've come round to the situation, softened, helped make the house warm with love for him. I'm sure neighbours and wider family would've appeared with helpful objects and tips. I think all would've fallen into place, even if it wasn't perfect at all. And within a few years I would've been old enough to manage anyhow.

      Instead, thanks to the availability and heavy promotion of adoption, and the dismantling of my belief in myself as a possibly good mother to him, my son went to a 'better' home where he was hit so hard it left marks, where he was almost strangled by his amum's boyfriend, where he grew up in poverty too, in a house that was almost repossessed before the adoption was even finalised.

      My hopeless was so much more preferable than the hopeless situation he was actually adopted into. My hopeless was short-lived because I was young and inexperienced; my son is stuck in adoptionland, with all its complications and pain, forever. My only hope is that, by listening to other adopted people, he can loosen the grip of enough of its psychological snares to be able to live a life that reflects him rather than the needs of his afamilily. And most of all, that he can feel loved and treasured for exactly who he is.

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    4. Thank you for this, Cherry. What a shame. Why were so many young girls put through this? I have tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. We all have a lit to deal with, I am sorry to say. All so unnecessary.

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  7. Sorry, I posted anonymously without a name. It's Anna

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    1. Anna, next time you post...click on the choice for Name/URL and type in Anna. We have no other Anna who comments. You don't need an URL to use that, and it will come up ANNA and be easier for everyone else! Thanksx

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  8. When I first reunited with my daughter Rebecca, I thought of her adoptive parents as rivals, not only for her affection, but for her soul. I could not imagine meeting them. I changed my views after attending several conferences of the American Adoption Congress. I met first parents who told me they had positive relationships with their child's adoptive parents. One woman told me she always stayed at her child's adoptive parents' home when she came to visit her child.

    My daughter told me that her adoptive parents were not happy about our reunion. After learning that adoptive and first parents were not inevitably at odds, I suggested to my daughter several times that it might help things if we were to meet. She told me they did not want to meet me. She also told me not to contact them. Her adoptive mother passed away six years after our reunion and her adoptive father seven years later. We never met.

    I doubt if we could have become friends -- too many differences in views and values -- but I think it might have made all of us feel more secure if we had met.

    I would like to tell adoptive parents that they have nothing to fear from first parents. Your relationship with your child will survive or falter on its own merits. Many adoptees say that reunions with first parents improved their relationship with their adoptive parents.

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  9. Although things did go remarkably well for me...yet I'm not pretending it was all love and lightness. When I asked Ann what she told her friends and co-workers about me, she said she told them I was a "New York career woman." When I told this to one of my male friends who has lived in several places in the country (Army brat) he laughed and said: there is not one word in there that they approved of!

    So...unless you are very much like the adoptive parents, be prepared for attitude. Coming from the midwest as I do, I knew about the prejudice toward New Yorkers, but it was like a cold bucket of water when I hear it said like that: New York Career Woman. (Almost certainly a feminist! Not a family type! Not one of us!)

    And in time, relations between Ann and myself faced a rocky road. Yet...

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  10. Why oh why couldn't that a-mom have written "our son" instead of "my son" in that e-mail?!? There's quite a lot to deconstruct in that tooth-grinding communique, which I'll leave to wiser heads. But doesn't a-mom have a husband or partner, not to mention a whole family? Or is the "my" the initial, unconscious effort to minimize the massive contribution--under what circumstances, we aren't told--of the child's other mother?

    Just my $.02... collect 'em all!

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    1. Words to savor in the email:
      my son..
      thank her
      courageous
      I hope she has no regrets (which tells us she is pretty damn sure the woman must)
      forever thankful
      for the gift
      polite (did anyone else gag a bit over that word? or am I being picky?)

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    2. As I said, a "wiser head" galloped to the rescue and grimaced along with me. Yay, Lo!

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  11. If adoption had not been available, I would have kept my daughter. There is no way that she would have gone to an orphanage (I doubt if any existed in 1966) or foster care. In fact, when a social worker told me that adoptive homes were becoming scarce. I was excited because if there were no homes, I would have an excuse to keep my baby. A few weeks later, another social worker told me that as a Caucasian girl whose mother had some college, my daughter would certainly be adopted by a good family. I believed I could not deny my daughter the opportunity to be raised by these superior people. How wrong I was !

    Today, many more couples want to adopt than there are babies available. Huge sums are spent marketing adoption to vulnerable mothers-to-be.

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    1. You say you were led to believe that you could not deny your daughter the chance to be raised by "superior people." I am convinced that so many first mothers were coerced into believing the same thing. My first mother was not a young teenager. She was 35 years old, and an art teacher. Which tells me she had some level of education. and was capable of earning a living. Both of my AP's dropped out of high school. A-dad didn't start to make money at his career until I was engaged to be married. A-mom had no skills, other than housekeeping. She never would have been able to hold a job. Were these people superior to my first mother? Hardly.

      But, there were two of them. They were married. End of story.

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    2. Thank you, Lorraine and Jane – for your sage words in helping guide me through the post-adoption gauntlet. This is another door opened on a perspective I didn’t even consider. What does it feel like for an adopted kid to watch the people who taught her about love/life to kick the woman who gave birth to her to the curb?

      My daughter’s a-parents rejected me so completely and harshly, I believe it is what made our reunion eventually impossible. I can only speculate how it could have been different if they had demonstrated an ounce of support, but I realize we could have still ended up here; living separate lives. Initially I think their rejection pushed my daughter to me, but after she absorbed the full reality of fighting to see me/navigating her a-mother’s self-induced psychological torture – how could it not have interfered?

      I have no knowledge of what/if my daughter thinks about me, our situation, her a-parents epically awful reaction to our relationship - because she didn’t share her feelings with me. Our contact was kept simple and fun and I never wanted to push the envelope. Her one comment on the subject was out of nowhere and in the middle of the night… she said “we’re both smart, we could have made it together”. That simple statement sucked the air from my lungs and punctured my heart, because she was right. That one statement made me realize that her two parents, their money, her education and life without me might not have been (what I considered) her saving’s grace.

      My take-away from my gut-wrenching, detestable experience is that if I had any insight into how my decision would impact me and my daughter (and if I’m completely honest), I would have had an abortion or raised her myself. The problem with raising her myself was not only that I was a struggling teenager with no family, was that her biological father was addicted to drugs and from a meddling/highly-dysfunctional family… a family that absolutely would have harmfully involved themselves in our lives. The thought of that alone still makes my skin crawl. I naively had a baby and ‘gave’ to a couple who couldn’t have children, thinking I was doing a wonderful thing for all of us. 25 years later, this tops the list as the most under-educated, horrible decisions of my life.

      I can only speculate what it would be like to adopt a child and 19 years into all of my hard work raising said child, a woman who looks similar and is biologically connected to her appears. I have considered adopting a child myself and then I think about this scenario and my own experience and have NO desire to test these waters – even if it means being childless. I’d rather have dental work every week for the rest of my life than to deal with another adoption triad.

      Maybe in a few years I’ll feel differently, but right now, I don’t want to see/know my daughter, her a-parents or having anything to do with adoption. I’m happy to read/share experiences with other regarding adoption, but other than that, no thanks.

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    3. Julia Emily, 50 or more years ago your mother would have lost her teaching job if she had kept you. At her age it is likely the father was a married man she had an affair with, so no marriage was possible. If she came from a very ethnic family as a single woman she could have still been living at home with parents. You won't know the real story until you find your relatives, but given what you have told us it would not have been so easy for her to keep and raise a child in that time period.

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    4. Very true, Maryanne. I know that my first mother could never have raised me alone in the 1950's. It simply wasn't allowed. But I am blown away by the fact that people actually believed that nonsense. And some caseworker and some lawyer decided that they could play God and decide that a married couple, although strangers to me, was the better choice to raise me. And, if any of that cast of characters is still living, they can read my file and look at my OBC and I can't.

      Infuriating!

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    5. So Jane, you're indirectly saying that adoption was a "good" option for you. Because, if adoption wasn't available you would have "woman up" and raised your child despite the stigma and shame you would have endured?

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    6. If you were asking me this, rather than Jane, I would say the following:

      You are missing the core lie of adoption, which is that one's baby will be better off with someone else.
      This lie is made convincing because it is perpetrated by those with social authority - doctors, social workers, etc.
      It takes root in the ear of those who are especially vulnerable - the young, the poor, the isolated. It worms its way there through repetition by trusted people.
      At the same time, doubt is seeded about one's ability to be a good mother. Even about one's necessity as a mother.

      It is completely natural to want your child to have a good life. And to protect him or her.
      Being told, when you are vulnerable, that your child will have a good life away from you, and that you will harm your child by keeping him/her works. It needles into our deepest feelings about our babies. It fans our own existing doubts about ourselves and our circumstances (ones that many new parents have).

      Your rather cruel comment about 'womanning up' shows that you have an extremely superficial understanding of why woman relinquish their babies for adoption.
      Perhaps you don't WANT to know - perhaps you are more comfortable holding on to your simplistic view. Perhaps that serves you.
      But if you want to know more than just silly stereotypes, there's plenty of reading on this website. Going back years, and on all topics, with contributions from a rich diversity of people affected by adoption. It might warm your heart a little.



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  12. Lorraine,

    What could have your daughter's other parents have said to you to be both appreciative of your role in your daughter's life but at the same time been sensitive to your loss? Is there a right thing to say? Or is it better to just not say anything?

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    1. "Appreciating" what "you did for me" (which is implied) is just wrong.

      Better to say nothing. Much better. Once someone starts "appreciating" that you gave them a baby, you turn the act of surrender--the worst thing that ever happened to me--into an act of "courage" for them. You are saying: I am so glad you had this baby! Thank you! God meant this to happen! Surely! Look how well this worked out!

      I know you don't mean it like that, but the language itself implies that. People appreciate gifts, don't they? Any appreciation turns the child into a gift. Cut that thought out of your thinking, say, I'm so glad to meet you, Johnny is such a sweet little boy--he looks (or not) just like you!

      Say nothing about thanking or appreciating, no matter what the agency and the current zeitgeist fills your head with.

      And don't be surprised if the woman thanks you! for taking care of "her" little boy. How would you feel if the mother comes along and says, I so appreciate you for taking care of little Johnny. Thank you for being such good parents....I mean, many mothers have said that and in some ways it is understandable, but it puts the shoe on the other foot, doesn't it?

      If you meet, talk about the good qualities of the child, some of the experiences you have had raising him, what he's like.

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    2. I think you misunderstood what I was implying by appreciating. The appreciation is your role in your daughter's life. Meaning you gave her life you passed on half of the DNA that make up her. I wasn't implying the gift at all.

      But I do believe I have my answer that it's better to say nothing than have something be taken out of context. You're right that the way to honor you is to talk about the qualities of the child. I appreciate your feedback.

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    3. Non, Anon, I got it right. Saying you "appreciate" the mother for being his DNA Mother...is off putting, just as I think it would be off putting for a first mother to say: I appreciate all you have done for Johnny....because that implies that she is the one who has the right to "appreciate" and "thank you." I know none of this is meant in ill will, but thanking or appreciating each other just doesn't fit the situation.

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  13. Not only was our family expanded when each of our daughters were entrusted to us, our family was expanded by each of their families including and not limited to grandparents.

    We were guided on our journey to parenthood by Ellen Roseman. Her integrity, her wisdom and her guidance were integral parts to our deep understanding of what a family built through adoption would be like.

    Because of how our family is we can appreciate the nature that combines with the nurture all of us give our daughters.

    My heart is fuller because of how our family is and the love we have for each other. We are not saints or martyrs, we are parents who are not perfect but knew from the start what we wanted for our future family.

    It breaks my heart when I hear stories of insecure adoptive parents that can't feel or see the importance of embracing family for what it is. It breaks my heart when I hear how open a relationship was until the baby was born and placed and then they turned their backs and walked away. It break my heart not only for the birth family but for the child who will be divided without know is it okay to seek out my family in plain sight or hide the truth.

    We realize there is still loss and daily we recognize that an open adoption doesn't solve anything for anyone. We just hope that as a family we can together be there to support each other for the good times and the tough ones.

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  14. I respect the opinions voiced in this article and in the comments above. However my experience differs and there are several ideas here that I must take issue with. I am not an adopted child or birth parent who chose adoption. I am an adoptive parent of a beautiful little boy. My wife and I are foster parents who have had more than 20 children come through our home. These children are removed from their previous homes for a myriad of reasons, most commonly neglect, drug use, and physical/sexual abuse. In the case of our adopted son he came to us at 3 months old, after he and his older brother were nearly beaten to death by his biological father after the mother left them alone with him. The mother, being the "non-offending" parent, was given a case plan and more than a year to fulfill its stated goals. Unfortunately she was unable to demonstrate basic parenting skills, got pregnant again after being warned that something like that could jeopardize reunification, and failed every psychological evaluation she was given. Because of these, and several of occurrences, her rights were terminated. All known family either failed criminal background checks or simply told case workers they would not take the child. Luckily for the older brother his biological father, who didn't know the child existed, was located (by us) and was reunified with him. We did not set out to adopt any child that we ultimately cared for, as that is not the role of a foster parent, but when we were asked if we would like to adopt this child we did not hesitate. He had been in our home more than a year and a half, and as far as he was concerned we were the only parents he had ever known. I do not nor will ever regret this decision as he is our son through and through. He has seen his birth mother several times since the adoption and we keep in contact with her, despite her constant relocation to other states and numerous boyfriends. She even had yet another baby after the one she conceived while her sons were still in foster care limbo.

    We will always be open and honest with him about his past and his "genetic" family, but will never push him to have contact with them if he does not want to. We will also not encourage or support contact with the family as long as we feel that they are still unstable, unpredictable and dangerous. His bio father is in prison as we speak for the attempted murder of the children and will stay there, god willing, for the foreseeable future. We fully support the idea that no child can have too many people who love them, as our continued contact with his birth mother shows, but there limits that we will not permit to be broken. The childs safety, emotionally and physically, are of a much higher priority than anyones ego, guilt, regret, remorse, jealously or other numerous feelings that come with this territory.

    My wife was adopted from foster care as well so we are not blind to what adopted children can be going through. Time and again she has learned the hard way that being removed from her biological mothers care and being adopted was the best possible scenario. She continues to have contact with her biological family and they are still struggling to remain stable, productive and law abiding citizens, which is why we keep them at arms length and do not let them into our everyday lives.

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    1. 'They are no one else's children but my wifes and my own.'

      Seriously, look into the centre of that sentence, right in the centre, and try saying that again.




      'Why should the woman who cared for him for less than two months and could not fulfill even the his most basic needs get the courtesy of being on the same level as my wife and I?'

      Courtesy has nothing to do with it.
      It's way deeper than that.

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    2. Because she gave birth to him. Gave him her genes, talents, personality traits. That's why.

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    3. Erick:

      Thank you!

      As I have said all along: if one cannot or doesn't want to raise their child ( i.e. make the sacrifice) then DNA/blood ties means nothing. In short, just because one has given birth to a child doesn't mean they are the "right" people to raise or be around them.

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    4. Ah, I see Erick's pedestal has room for another.

      Delete
  15. (Continued from above.....ran out of space)

    I do not have any issue with the letter to which you seem to be so up in arms about. There is no malicious intent. In fact, she is trying to reach out and reassure the mother that what she did was the right thing. Why is that so wrong? And to the comment about "my son" vs "our son." The child we adopted is MY son. I understand that many of you here did not relinquish your rights because of faults of your own, as our sons birth mother did, but we are the ones raising him, comforting him, protecting him and providing for his future. It is no different than our two biological sons. They are no one else's children but my wifes and my own. Why should the woman who cared for him for less than two months and could not fulfill even the his most basic needs get the courtesy of being on the same level as my wife and I? Like I said, this is not a shot at anyone here personally, but in our case I don't feel one speck of guilt for my attitude towards his birth mother. She is not a bad person, but has repeatedly made terrible decisions that could have gotten her children killed, and continues to put her current children in the same danger.


    Lastly, I don't think anyone here should claim that they have experienced the adoption world from all sides. None of us truly have. There is a major difference between adoption agencies and child protective services. We are heavily involved in the adoption world in our area and there is little doubt that the hundreds of children we come across that are being removed from their birth families and being adopted need exactly that.

    Thank you for listening to my thoughts. I do sincerely hope they do not offend, but thought they might be of a slightly different perspective than what I saw above.

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    1. Maybe I'm misreading Lorraine's meaning, but I don't think the email she quoted was sent to the child's first mother at all. I had understood "email a first mother friend recently received from an adoptive mother who is also a friend of hers" to mean that the email was sent to a friend of an adoptive mother who happened to be the first mother of a different child, not of the child being discussed.

      In that context, like you, I can't understand the concern about the use of "my son." In a message to the child's first mother "our son" would have been better, but if I were to say "our child" to a random friend it would only be confusing (or, more likely, the friend would just assume I meant "my wife and I" when I said "our").

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    2. Mark, you are right. From what I understand, there is no way to contact the first mother. Or ever find out who she is....
      In that state, it is possible to (from a website):
      "Safely, Legally, and Anonymously Surrender an Unwanted Infant
      X's (state) Safe Haven Infant Protection Act allows an individual to give up an unwanted infant safely, legally and anonymously. The parents - or someone acting on their behalf - can bring a baby less than 30 days old to any hospital emergency room or police station. The Department of Children and Families will take the infant into custody and place the infant with a foster or pre-adoptive home."

      Many of us believe this encourages bereft women to do just that and tremendously oppose such laws. they were passed with the mistaken belief that women might not abort if they could give up anonymously. Very bad law and most likely does not prevent a single abortion but condemns more children to live without a past. Not all states have them.

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    3. And you are right about the "my son" on the list of comments that bothered us. I shouldn't have included it. And as I have stated, My and Our would be used with different people. When I referred to Jane, I don't know if I ever said My daughter but let's assume I did. Using Our daughter to an outside party would have indicated my husband and me, but she wasn't "our" daughter. She was Our daughter when Ann and I talked to each other.

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    4. Erik,
      As we have said repeatedly here, adoption should be about caring for children who need a family. You and your wife deserve a big thanks from all of us for stepping up in and taking children who have been abused and neglected.

      While we understand you need to protect your son by controlling his contacts with his biological family, it still remains that he has two families. One day your son may want to know his other mother. When he turns 18 that will be his right. His mother may be a much different person by then and they may have a rewarding relationship.

      If, however, you deny his other mother by insisting he has only one set of parents, he may come to distrust you. Adoptees have written about living with adoptive parents who refuse to acknowledge the first parents. To avoid upsetting their adoptive parents, these adoptees don't talk about their first family but think about them often. It's better to tell your son that he has another mother but she is unable to care for him and that you and your wife are happy that you were chosen to care for him. Allow him to express his feelings about his other parents rather than pretend that they aren't important..

      Regarding your second point, for an adoptive mother to reassure a first mother she did the right thing is patronizing to say the least. The adoptive mother is saying in effect: "I congratulate you on knowing you were so defective that giving Johnny to a superior family was the best thing you could do for him." I don't think any first mother would be receptive to an adoptive mother telling her she did the right thing. It's bad enough when adoptees say it.

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    5. Erick: We have always been supportive of and encourage adoption from foster care. Those children need families, and we are glad that people such as you and your wife step up to provide a stable home.

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    6. Hi Erick: what Lorraine says is true. Adopting from foster care is what adoption is supposed to be about. Your son needed a stable home and you provided one.

      However: Your son has two mothers. Just as I do. Yes, your son's first/natural/bio mother....whatever label you choose.. IS HIS MOTHER. She gave birth to him. Without her, you and your wife would not have a son. Maybe she was not capable of raising him. Maybe her life is a mess and she is not responsible enough to raise her child. This is when adoption can work, because you and your wife stepped in and removed him from all of that negativity.

      But you can not erase the fact that she is his mother.

      Which is the problem with closed, Baby Scoop Era adoptions like my own. The first mother was erased. And her only crime was that she was not married.

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    7. Lorraine -- Interesting about the Safe Haven laws. I'm not sure if they would prevent many abortions (that would require some way-in-advance thinking), but they might be useful with regard to preventing the abandonment of infants in dangerous circumstances. We had a case in our state a few years back in which a newborn was left in a bag in a church parking lot early on a cold morning. Luckily, somebody noticed before there was any physical harm. But better to have such an infant left someplace safe where there will be immediate care.

      FWIW, our state's law specifies leaving infants at hospitals or rescue squads, and merely makes doing so an affirmative defense against felony charges for child neglect or endangerment. No promises about "pre-adoptive homes," etc.

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    8. Mark,
      We certainly don't want to see children left to die. Safe Haven laws may save some children but they may also induce mothers to abandon their children instead of working with an adoption agency.

      After safe haven laws were passed, mothers continued to leave newborns in unsafe places. Proponents of the laws thought this was because mothers did not know about the laws so they undertook advertising campaigns. I've heard of at least one instance when safe havens were promoted in a high school sex ed class.

      Many mothers who abandon their babies are mentally ill so the laws have no affect on their behavior.

      Because the children taken to safe havens many never learn who their parents were, the Donaldson Institute and other child welfare agencies oppose safe havens. A better solution is to create and expand program which provide counseling and medical; care to women with crisis pregnancies.

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    9. as the adopted parent of an older child taken from her family due to abuse and neglect, I support Erik. I struggle with the idea of "openess" for the safety of my child both physically and emotionally, but we have photos of her birth family and siblings displayed in our home and speak of her birth mother openly. I know that one day she will see her first mother again, and I hope that it will be a positive experience for her. But at this time, I think that they need some time apart.

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    10. Time apart is fine and a good idea. I applaud you for acknowledging that your child has a history and first family. Contact or not, you are not sweeping it under the rug. You are doing the right thing.

      Delete
  16. Gosh, I do not want to hurt anyone and advice on feelings from everyone's side is appreciated. But I work with teens who were brought into this world by parents who in no way were prepared to be parents for a variety of reasons - too young, impoverished, single, addicted, uneducated on parenting and that is also devastating to a child, as I teach kid's in incarcerated settings. The bottom line is, even married people who have children make mistakes, and sometimes single parents are the greatest. I am currently a single, almost impoverished mom with two college graduates under my belt, and yet if you ask my kid's I'm sure I've said words that will haunt them forever. We are human, and while I appreciate the advice of the story, saying that it is so completely wrong to say thank you, or get a dog instead is so dramatically an over statement. If only some of my students had been adopted and raised in safety, security, and love...and to all the foster children who long for a family to love them. A dog? No a child who needs a home and a dog, or a cat which is my preference

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  17. Erick,

    We adoptees that have been around enough have heard all the horror stories of our birth[parents...some are true, some are made up. There is NOT a soul born that want to be adopted but every soul needs to be taken care of with love and acceptance. When you say that your children ,are your children, only you, are basically TELLING THE CHILD A BIG FAT LIE AND THAT IS HURTFUL. YOU CAN PONTIFICATE UNTIL YOU ARE BLUE IN THE FACE ON HOW YOU ARE THEIR SAVIOR BUT THAT IS A HUGE, DEGRADING PUTDOWN OF YOUR CHILD. THIS CHILD CAME FROM ANOTHER MOTHER AND FATHER NOT NATTER HOW MUCH YOU AND SOCIETY WANTS TO FORGET THAT. EVEN IF THEY ARE BONNIE AND Clyde they are still the people...mother and father ,that are the reason this child is here. The reason you have them now. So, no, you ARE NOT they're only mother and father. Your job is to make sure that in some way they can accept the horrible things their mother and father have done without the child internalizing their biparents characteristics. Because these kids not only have first parents but they have blood ancestors that..who knows...may be very successful and interesting, law abiding people. I can't imagine it being an easy job but thats what happens when you adopt. As far as the attitude that those that can't speak from another side of adoption? Well, the ones that are living the life of an adoptee, and has lived it, voices need to be heard and listened to and NOT preached to.

    I know of no one that does not believe that SOMe children NEED to be adopted due to abuse. Safety of the child first. But how its done and the lack of sensitivity show to the adoptee(notice I didn't say "child" because most of us are not children anymore) regarding the history of their unique biology, that has NOTHING to do with the aparents and the defensiveness of the aparents is what needs to change.

    They are who they are by both bio and who raised them and all of it needs to be respected. When the bio parents are true monsters of course they need to be kept safe from them but be very careful how you tell your child about. Their self esteem depends on it.

    Please excuse the upper case portian...horrible typist I am.

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    1. Everything you stated above is true. One cannot erase the first mother. By doing so, the adoptee's history and self esteem are also erased. Enough lies. Adoption can not work with adopter's attitude and lies.

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    2. Do some kids need to be adopted? Meaning they need families. Or do some kids just need homes? Meaning they just need adults to provide homes and care until they turn 18?

      I'm interested what you all think especially the adoptees. Would you have preferred to have the adults who raised you do so until you turned 18 and then you were no longer attached to them afterwards.

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    3. I want to respond to Erick, because I come from a very similar situation. My son was adopted from foster care. His first parents did not keep him safe and, in fact, directly endangered him and his siblings. As a result, all the children were taken in by Child Protective Services and placed with adoptive families.

      I am sorry that my son could not be cared for by any member of his first family. But, they are his heritage and integral to his being. I am happy that my husband and I have been able to fill-in as his parents, and we love him with all our hearts. But to say that his first parents deserve "less consideration" than us because we are parenting him on a day-to-day basis is appalling to me. I can understand keeping the child who is entrusted in your care, for whom you are the legally designated parent, safe. I absolutely cannot understand extending that concern to conclude that your child's first family has a lesser status in your child's life. My son's most fundamental thoughts and reactions to the world are dictated by his genes. And, what richness there is to be found in those genes!

      You are doing the thing I have seen many foster parents do: assume a superior attitude towards the “messed up” biological families who lose their children to protective services. As foster parents, it is incumbent upon us to be compassionate and try to understand why things went wrong for the natural family. My son’s first parents never stood a chance at providing safety and stability for their children – they themselves were never given any. But the circumstances of their upbringing did not take away the many positive qualities they possess. Surprise, surprise, ALL human beings are a combination of good and bad (that would include us foster parents).

      So, while my husband and I will do all we can to ensure that our son does not feel like he is missing out on the love of a mother and a father, we deem his roots to be fundamentally important, something that all of us should accept and appreciate. I hope our son never, ever feels that we did not give his natural family the very important recognition they deserve. To proclaim that we are my son’s only parents would be a tremendous denial of who he is. He will always be the son of his natural mother and father.

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    4. To Anon, June 10 @ 8:19 AM, I have pondered this question for the past several months now. I think the way legal rights are currently set up for children and families, a legal guardianship seems to be a less stable situation for children, compared to adoption. But that doesn't mean we can't implement changes so that adoption becomes even less necessary.

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    5. I think some need families, some just need a home until 18....every situation is different.

      In my case, I would have liked to have truth. My AP's could have become my legal guardians. Maybe I would have called them "Mom" and "Dad", but they would have taken over the role of my parents. I would have liked all original documents available, and a certificate of adoption or guardianship or whatever.....rather than a fake birth certificate. I*n other words....just tell me the truth.

      The sealed records garbage made adopters tell so many lies and keep so many secrets. The falsified BC made the adoptee into someone else, the original person being erased. Now I am stuck with legal problems due to the sealing of the records, and the dates being all messed up. There was no reason for this. My AP's could have raised me while telling the truth, instead of all the pretense.

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    6. Hi Julia,

      Forget the legal stuff of sealing your birth certificate which shouldn't happen regardless of whether there is an adoption. It sounds as if you would have preferred a situation where your APs provided for you until you were 18 but you never would have been a member of their family as is the case with non biological guardianship. Am I wrong?

      Thank you for the feedback.

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    7. dpen:

      How would you like to been raised in a dysfunctional home? Would you still be proclaiming the "importance" of being raised by "blood" and being screwed-up ( like Tatum O'Neil and her brothers)?

      Really, I think EVERYONE should acknowledge that adoption in many cases is good especially when the bparents are not in a "good place to parent". Let's face it, today's bparents are messed up and many of them don't have kids in foster-care.

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    8. @ the anonymous who asked do some kids need to be adopted? Meaning they need families. Or do some kids just need homes? Meaning they just need adults to provide homes and care until they turn 18?

      All kids need permanency. Kids who absolutely have to be by other than their natural parents need foster or adoptive parents who commit to them and love them as much as if they were their own children, while at the same time respecting their origins.
      No child who has been separated from their original family needs parents who see themselves as nothing more than substitutes - or worse, use the children they are raising as a source of income.

      This is really sad:
      "A month before his 18th birthday, Jeffrey Williams who was adopted when he was four became homeless because his adoptive parents would not support him after he graduated high school. . .
      . . . As of September 2012, there were approximately 397,122 US children in foster care. According to Children Advocacy Institute at University of San Diego, only about 3% of them earn four-year degrees. By the age 24, 37% of them have experienced homelessness or had couch-surfed for extended periods of time, like Williams.
      "Jeff is most certainly not a special case. It happens to a lot of adopted and foster care youth," says Cyekeia Lee, director of higher education initiatives at the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth."

      More here -
      http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/jun/08/homeless-college-students-poverty-education-family-home#start-of-comments

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  18. My daughter's adopters told every crazy lie they could come up with because the truth would have been, in my opinion, an admission of using pressure to purchase a child.... pressure of friendship with social services and being "foster parents" for a while. They were too old (she was my mother's age) to raise a toddler and he was not truly wanting children at all.... didn't know they were adopting until my daughter was presented to him upon his return from some military training. They were abusive and neglectful to the point of OMG! The same state that stepped in and forced her out of a loving home, because I was unwed and poor..... did nothing to protect her from being abused in ways that horrify me. She hates me. That's cool. I get it. I should have been there to protect her. But the truth is, I wasn't. So, while I read about how this person and that person are being wonderful, I remember the "wonderful" people that raised my daughter, lied about me until she is terrified to even be alone with me (and she is over 30 years old ---- almost 40), and did things that make me ill..... and yet she still would rather be their daughter, unloved and ignored, than mine. Adoption is a nightmare. And to deny the child's biological parents is to tell the child that they have something wrong with them. It doesn't matter what you were told about the parents, true or false, you didn't know them and you should not tell a child anything you don't know to be fact. Social workers are known for "painting" the truth to suit their needs in placement. If you think I am lying - I AM A FOSTER PARENT - I know that to be true.

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    1. How true, Lori. Everything you said here is true.

      One thing I have learned from this thread is that I am not the only adoptee with insecure, threatened AP's. In fact, some of those outlined here make mine look almost OK. All the adoptive parents I ever knew were like mine, some much worse. This thread tells us all that something is very wrong with adoption as it is practiced now, and as it was in the past. It desperately needs reform. Some of these adoptive parents are nuts, in plain English. Controlling, possessive, entitled, etc. It is all here in black and white for anyone to read. And at least I know I'm not crazy.

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    2. Lorraine, claiming that adoptive parents who can't stand the adopted child's first mother don't care about the child they adopted either is not a new idea. I have seen this same sentiment expressed on Yahoo forums and other message boards for years. One woman in particular who stated she was adopted relayed a story of a friend of hers who suddenly couldn't stand the child of a woman who screwed her over. She went on to say that when an adult doesn't like another adult, they don't like her their child either. They feel cold and caustious towards the kid. I realize you probably won't publish this comment because I am sure it will hurt your ego, but I am not going to give you credit for this post being an original idea, despite the fact that I agree that adoptive parents are guilty of posssibly the same resentment towards the child they adopted as they have towards the entire biological family, especially the mother.

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    3. Why would I not publish this? Except for the fact you erroneously think I claim the ideas in the post are original?

      Even Shakespeare used plots that came before. Since the Bible, nothing is original.

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  19. People are talking about infant consent adoptions, what about crown ward apprehensions of older children, is openness with the first parents a good idea??? anyone with experience?

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    1. As one of those parents - who was a foster child, fighting to keep her own child, and then paying for the rest of her life for the opinions, proven beyond erroneous, I can say that openness is the only way to have a healthy child. That doesn't mean you have to be stupid about it and allow an abusive person in a child's life.... just don't take the social workers word that this being the truth. Remember that you can't judge their biological families on your own cultural standards, or by what a social worker claims is real. Children who are removed from their homes for neglect/abuse are often children of poverty stricken families who are struggling. That doesn't mean they are bad people or abusive. Every state has a different standard for what is constituted Neglect or neglect/abuse or abuse. Most consider neglect to be someone that doesn't buy new clothing every time they supposedly need them (I have seen parents cited for neglect for failing to purchase coats for children who refuse to wear one of the coats they already have). Neglect/abuse usually refers to chronic unwashed body, appearance of hunger or other "bad" thing a parent should fix. This doesn't mean that they did anything wrong.... If you have kids that hate the tub, and there are a lot of them, this is not as big a deal as most outsiders assume (one of my nephews refused to wear shoes in the summer - would inevitable pick his scabs and bruised easily - you would not believe how many people thought my sister wasn't feeding the boy). Abuse can be a myriad of things.... including that one moment you swat the kid on the butt in public after a screaming hissy fit over not getting their way.... and a person who believes they have the right to interfere in everyone's life calling the cops.

      It's called using your head and considering that everyone that writes a report on a child has an ulterior motive. Sort out the motives and then observe. Be the parent if that is what you are talking about.

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  20. Eric you are a great parent.
    Anon who says just place children til they are 18 in homes and then let them leave -- do you know any children? Children need families not homes. Check out the foster care system and the true dilmenna children are in when they age out. This is a big problem. 18 year olds still need guidance and families and love.
    Adoption has its place. Children need homes. They are not the property of anyone, even birth parents. They are people who have the right to a loving home. Some of the talk on this site is quite literally "throw the baby out with the bathwater." A child is born to a parent who tries to kill him/her .... does DNA matter there????? Would you rather have a child be killed by a birht parent than placed with APs who will love and raise ???????

    Sometimes the black or white thinking here is a real turn off and even creepy to me. The desire to promote DNA above all kind of harkens to ownership of another person. Just because someone gives birth they dont have a right to abuse mistreat neglect. Yes the child has this legacy of DNA and will have to deal with it, but deserves to be protected.

    Safe havens -- if they keep even one baby from being born and left in a toilet and I hear these stores on the news often enough - are a good thing. A part of the solution.

    I am glad they are there. Babies deserve love and protection. The innocent children matter way more than the birth or AP

    A mom

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    1. Mom--we are going to assume you are an adoptive parent to at least one of your children.

      As far as I know, Safe haven laws do not appear to reduce abortions in the least.

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    2. Just a clue to our Anonymous Adoptive Parent - NOT ALL FOSTER CHILDREN WANT TO BE ADOPTED! NOT EVEN THE LITTLE ONES. It creeps me out that you still buy the old line that we wanted families - what do you call them "forever families" - as if we are puppies that were spanked with a newspaper. That is just stupid. And Safe Haven laws don't stop anyone from getting an abortion - they simply make it easier to say "I don't know, but we love you no matter what" to adoptees with no clue why they have epilepsy or are schizophrenic or one of the thousands of other disorders that are about BLOOD.

      DEAL WITH IT? WTF - you can't just deal with your genetic make up - that is who you are. You can be taught things, but the truth is personality and preferences are more about genes than they are what adoptive parents teach.

      GRRR - people like you make my skin crawl.

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    3. Lori,

      Am I correctly assuming that in your opinion not all Foster Children whose parents parental rights have been terminated need families? If that's the case what you are saying is that what they need are homes and providers until they turn 18 years old.

      I am not arguing whether you are right or wrong, I just want to understand your position better.

      Delete
  21. DNA matters.....no matter how dire the situation with the first mother may be. DNA matters. Anyone would be fooling themselves to think otherwise.The child/young adult/ adopted person may exhibit symptoms of a serious illness someday. Any mental or physical issues that the first mother had may show up in her child. Then tell me DNA does not matter. Then proclaim that you are the child's only true set of parents. It is simply denial of the truth.

    I know a number of adoption situations. A black market adoption. I know two young teenagers who were never told they were adopted. I grew up in the same building as a "happy adoptee", but I am convinced that was because of his overbearing A-mother. I know of a reunion that seriously went south. And I lived with two people who lied.

    What is the common denominator here? The adoptive parents were wrong. Plain and simple. You can not make a human being into something they are not. You can raise the child, love it, nurture it, guide it. But, for the love of God, be truthful to the child in your care!

    Until we get this point across, adoption is doomed.

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    1. Julia emily my point is DNA does not confer ownership of another person and no child should be left to suffer or die because a first mom or first dad shares half of their DNA.

      Of course DNA matters. But it does not matter enough to leave a child in peril!

      I don't know all of your adoption situations. All of the AP I know are actually pretty wonderful committed parents who seem to totally love their children and are truthful to them.

      For health, I think adopted people who don't have access to medical records need to be vigilant with their health check ups. Most disease prevalence is greatly reduced by eating healthy and excersise - many cancers, most heart disease. I would encourage adopted people to be aggressive with their doctors about getting tested for stuff like colon cancer, breast cancer and start screening earlier than recommended and to even assume a family history, better safe than sorry.

      a mom

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    2. A Mom, Just a heads up - I was a perfectly healthy normal person until I turned 40 - then my genetic make up came crashing down on me. So you can pretend that diet and exercise fix things - but it is bs.... what are you any way? I used to power lift, was in the military, did all kinds of things - then stress almost killed me because oh wait! GENETICS. Good grief, ignorance gets an standing ovation from you.

      Delete
    3. Lori sounds like you are an adoptee who did not know her past and something bad happend to you at 40 that could have been prevented had you known your medical history?.
      I am a person who worked in health care for 12 years. I am also a person who has an adoption in my direct line so I don't know all of my own past and genealogy, a chunk is just a mystery. Most if not many diseases can be prevented or mitigated by eating a healthy diet and exercise. To me it is not ignorant but rather the opposite to take a defensive stance against an unknown past by mitigating risk factors as much as I can, and by taking a proactive stance - instead of hoping colon cancer is not in my past, can I talk to my doctor about it and say should I get tested early and assume it is in my past? Should I get a mamogram early because I don't know? These are the kinds of questions and actions that I think people who don't know their medical history should take. I will encourage my adopted kids to be proactive this way too. I think it is actually the opposite of ignorance. If you don't know your background, be aggressive in doing all you can to be healthy.

      Delete
    4. I think the common denominator here Julia is that the AP's were/are insecure. That needs to be addressed prior to an adoption so the children aren't the ones who suffer.

      Delete
    5. Actually - I am the mother and a former foster - if that helps. And I was very aggressive about my physical health. That can't fix genetic issues.

      Delete
  22. As usual, a site for natural mothers to share feelings, stories, and opinions about losing a child to adoption is turned into a message board for foster parents to vent about their children's troubled families.

    None of the mothers here were one minute away from pitching their babies into a dumpster. No one dropped of her baby at an orphanage so she could go to a crack house and hook up with her criminal boyfriend(s).

    Please stop conflating young and vulnerable mothers who were given no help with criminals and drug addicts. I understand that you became part of the adoption community due to foster/adopt, but that doesn't mean you can relate to mothers who DID NOTHING WRONG yet were denied motherhood simply due to marital status.

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    1. Well said! I agree wholeheartedly. It is really difficult to get this point across, to make people see the difference. And it is exhausting!

      Delete
    2. Maybe, Lorraine said at the end of her post that First Mother Forum would appreciate hearing from adoptive parents. She INVITED them to contribute. She also said we should do our best to be kind.

      Julia Emily, Eric mades it very clear in his comment that nothing he said is a shot against anyone here personally. You may disagree, but I think that's recognizing there's a difference.

      Delete
    3. I am not a foster parent. I am an adoptive parent. Thankfully I have no troubles to post here. I visit this board from time to time to stay informed on what some people say and think about adoption so I can be a better parent.
      I rarely rarely post because I don't want to add to the grief of first mothers. I don't often agree with what they say because I know so many wonderful APs who truly don't act the way people here write about but I rarely post even then. I understand this is a place to vent.
      But sometimes I am driven to speak up when I think children are being cast aside -- such as if "DNA matters" leads to a child being left in an unsafe situation (and it happens!) or if Safe Havens are maligned. Even one child being left there is one child enough for me. I care more about the children than paretns be they first or last. Children are vulnerable and voiceless.
      a mom

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  23. And yes, I did ask adoptive parents to contribute comments. Let's treat each other respectfully. Not surprisingly, we are not hearing from parents who admit to being fearful of the first mother.

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  24. To add to what Lori said, not all children in foster care are victims of abuse. The New Yorker had an article a couple of months ago about a mother whose two year son was taken into foster care because she left him alone for a couple of hours. Obviously wrong. The State of California refused to return him even after she took parenting classes and did everything they told her to do. The reason: she had the wrong attitude. Eventually, the State put the boy in a pre-adoption foster home. A judge terminated the mother's rights because he had been in foster care for a couple of years and had adjusted to the pre-adoptive home. This kind of atrocious behavior on the part of child welfare workers is not rare. See the work of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform. nccpr.org.

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    1. This is an important point. I have heard nightmare stories of CPS workers abusing their power. And it always seems to involve the younger children, the ones who are more coveted. I have heard a couple stories of women whose babies were placed in foster care, and then the moms were subjected to the same coercion to do "what's best for the child, and be selfless" that is often seen at adoption agencies and crisis pregnancy centers.

      Gerdi raised the issue of "crown ward apprehensions." I assume that means she is from Canada. And that raises another matter to consider: this board is not just read by people from the United States. It is written in English and is likely read by people from the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. I have heard several nightmare stories of UK Social Services engaging in ruthless behavior when they want to facilitate a TPR and an adoption. So foster care operates differently in different countries--as well as variations from state to state and province to province. The foster care system, like infant adoption, can also be used as a mechanism to avoid providing a home for a child who is truly in need, so that the PAPs can go after the more coveted "blank slate."

      Delete
    2. And this is why those who push people to adopt from the FC system because it's more ethical are uniformed. The sad reality is that anyone looking to become any type of AP or Foster Parent for that matter is taking a big risk that the way the child ended up in their home might not have been ethical.

      It's sad because the cases that are unethical end up hurting the cases where it's truly needed.

      Delete
    3. This is in response to Steve: While most of the readers of FMF course are in the US and Canada, the blog makes its way to several countries all over the world--because of the translation function. I just peeked at the "map" and found Europe (Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, etc) so crowded with points it would take a while to write down all the countries, but it's read in India, South Africa, Botswana, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Barbados, Turkey, South Korea, as well as the English speaking places you mentioned--and that's just the last 12 hours!

      Delete
    4. Steve is correct that UK social services can be ruthless when they have decided on a TPR.
      Katrina and Lee Parker have just won an 18 custody battle to stop the notorious Essex County social services from taking, for absolutely no sane reason, their thriving grand daughter India from their care.
      In the US there's the appalling treatment by police and social services of unemployed veteran Shanesha Taylor who left her two young children unattended in her car for 45 minutes while she went for a job interview. She made a serious mistake, but no allowances were made for her situation. All she wanted was a job so she could afford a home for herself and her two children. Thankfully she has had a lot of support and has won visitation rights. I trust she will eventually get her children back. But it should never have played out like this.

      Delete
  25. Anon: Erick stated that his son's first mother should not "get the courtesy of being put on the same level" as he and his wife.

    Courtesy? Sorry. She gave birth to him.

    If Erick and his wife found themselves in a dire medical situation with their son, maybe his first mom wouldn't give them the "courtesy" of any medical information.

    That remark made my blood boil.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And mine.
      It was also rather gruesome watching someone place themselves on such a lofty pedestal. Climbing there of course on the backs of first mothers and using adopted persons to justify it.

      Delete
    2. Julia Emily, if you are talking to me, re-read my comment and you will see that I was NOT referring to the part of Eric's comment where he said his son's first mother "shouldn't get the courtesy of being put on the same level", but to your response to Maybe about adoptive parents who conflate "young vulnerable mothers with criminals and drug addicts". There IS a difference and Eric fully acknowledged it.

      He went on to say that his adopted son's natural mother is not a bad person but someone who "made terrible decisions that could have gotten her children killed".
      I do believe that parents, adoptive or biological, who habitually put their children in danger because of their lifestyle choices are bound to forfeit a certain amount of respect. But I also think adoptive parents, even if their are angry about the deprivation and/or abuse their adopted children have suffered, need to muster up some compassion the first parents and try and understand the reasons why they were like that. Apart from anything else, NO child needs to hear ugly sentiments expressed towards the people who gave them life.

      AnonymousJune 10, 2014 at 6:19 PM

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    3. I also think that round about now we're due the 'any beast can give birth' nonsense - a favourite phrase of those who would diminish the significance of a first mother.

      A phrase that groans with a lack of self awareness.

      A phrase that turns a real, living, feeling, emotionally complex human female into a farmyard animal.

      A phrase that turns the profundity of pregnancy and the sheer incomparable magnitude of birth into something akin to a small cough.

      A phrase that reduces it all down to the physical in an attempt to erase the powerful and deep emotional and psychological connections between a mother and baby.

      A phrase that suggests a mother is simply irrelevant to her baby.


      The thing is, a lot of us on here say otherwise.

      We've had our minds swamped for years by adoption propaganda, by dizzying manipulations of our trust and world view, we've had our dignity attacked, our existence erased by adverts, our reality wrapped in hideous bows or turned into scary fairytales, and doubt sown about the words we can use to name family.

      Underneath all of this it's simple.
      Who we are born to, and who we bear, matters and deserves acknowledging with dignity.





      Delete
    4. Cherry: thank you for stating so well everything that I have been thinking. It's as if you can read mind!

      Delete
    5. Thanks Julia Emily, but that's the very feeling I often have when I read your posts!

      Delete
  26. Anon: I was lucky that my medical troubles were something I could work on with diet and exercise. I was EXTREMELY lucky. As far as all the testing you mention....insurance will not pay for many screening tests if one can not prove the illness runs in the family. Where does that leave the adoptee? And the adoptees children? I have 2 daughters. Do we all pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for screening, all because no one will give me my medical history?

    DNA Matters. I never said is confers ownership of a person. I said that the first family of an adoptee can not be discarded, erased, dismissed or even looked down upon, because it leaves the adoptee out in the cold.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EXACTLY! - I got cervical cancer at 15 - but because I was a foster child and they couldn't prove that it was genetic, they did almost nothing - cryo-surgery - and said better luck next time.

      Insurance companies do not pay for unproven genetic history of a disorder - usually life threatening. I know. So I did the right thing by my daughter - I did the testing, had her notified and let it go. If she has issues, she has a history. But without it they would let her become end stage prior to treatment. They did it with my husband - because we could not prove his father had died of cancer in 1992.

      Delete
  27. I don't know. Leaving a child alone at 2 shows an appalling lack of judgement! A two year old could die in such a situation. I'd have to read the article (if you have the link can you post?) . It may have been the action that got the attention of child welfare workers but there may have been a lot of other things they discovered. It could have been the tip of the iceberg but having raised a child though 2 -- I cannot imagine leaving them alone or ever thinking that was ok. I can't really comment beyond that but i have to say I am glad to hear that the world does take action when a mom leaves here two year old alone. That is extremely dangerous and neglectful behavior. Not to say that at times the system does not go horribly wrong but leaving a two year old alone is really really bad parenting!!!.

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    1. I have a question - does a singular appalling lack of judgment justify that kind of ripping of a child's life?

      You sound extremely judgmental - they took my daughter because I moved out of county without court permission. Never mind I had a job she could go to with me, space in a house with a private entrance..... food, shelter and love. I simply moved.

      Delete
    2. I don't have the article but it was only a few months ago. Yes, terrible judgement to leave the child alone but that was the only wrong thing the mother did. The New Yorker does not deal in sensational journalism. The author had access to the entire file and documented everything. The mother did nothing else that could be harmful to the child..

      Leaving a child alone is not grounds for termination of parental rights. In most cases the child is not even put into foster care. The mother is sent to a few parenting classes and that is it. The reason for termination was essentially that the "professionals" -- psychologist and social workers didn't like the mother. They cut off visits and deliberately drove the mother and child apart so they could have him adopted.

      Delete
  28. There are a lot of anonymous comments here, and it's becoming confusing. I was stating that I was very put off by that remark of Erick's. No matter how he tried to qualify it, it sounded like a very superior-feeling adoptive parent to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Julia--I find it difficult to respond to the anons. PLEASE USE A NAME. maybe we should disallow the "anonymous" choice?

      Delete
  29. The examples of bad parenting is not the point here. the ridiculous comment that all an adoptee needs to do is eat right and then they don't need to know their DNA is not the point here. all that does is prove the defensiveness of the adoptive parents that want to "own" their little adopttee and not respect who they really are. DNA is who your child is it defines their physicality,their strengths and weakness, their basic emotional coping, it is who they are! To dismiss it as not important is dismissing your child whom you claim to love so much. There is NOT a person here that want to keep a child in an unsafe place. We all want the child to be protected. BUT that does not mean they lose who they are, who their ancestors were, they very identity because their adoptive parents want to feel more like mommy and daddy! That is NOT good aprenting either. That is selfish parenting. Adopting is NOT the same as having your own, starting with the fact they don't carry your DNA. No matter how much you try to dismiss, deny and rationalize it will NEVER be so. No matter how much you try to brainwash your child, your family, and all us adoptees and birthmothers the fact is WE ALL KNOW BETTER! No matter how much you try to patronize, preach and rail at us we still know better. MANY of us are very much adults, professionals and maybe better off then you...or not.

    With all of that being said, there are many adoptive parents that do get it right or at least try. My aparents were in that group, for the most part. I do believe that for the most part they treated us like "their children" but fully respected who we were and understood our need to find our identity. My mother told me she would do the same thing, watched my children for my first meeting with bmother. Dad gave me the money to go to my bmoms funeral services. Did they have fears? I think they did. but they did NOT make them my problem. Did not demand gratefulness for saving me. Did not wail and cry when i meet my other family. Their ancestry was very important to them, their family history was very important to them..but it was not mine. I think they got that. For that i love those 2 for being wonderful aparent..not because they "saved" me but because they were honest and caring parents. (Don't get me wrong they were no saints..haha...As i get doped slapped from heaven..ouch) My dad back in the 50's understood that many of the adoption agencies were unethical and called it baby buying. thats why he adopted the 4 of us from foster care. WE needed a home and once we got that home it did not mean that they forgot we carried another s DNA. Because DNA is IMPORTANT. Its who your child is and its your job to help them respect that and feel good about it to feel good about themselves.

    A comment about the "Just eat right" BS....how about all of society don't bother to know their family history, make it illegal if we can't know why should anyone else? Our need is just as important as anyone else's. Knowledge is power. why would you want to take power away from your child that you love so much? Afraid it might make you feel less of a mommy or daddy? I deserved to be feed, sheltered, and loved. Just like all of you and i wont be MORE grateful for getting what I deserved. I am forever grateful for the apernts that I had that truly loved and RESPECTED me for who I was. Their child but with another set of parents out there. Didn't deny it, didn't get at all superior about it.

    If my 50's,60's parents could do it whats wrong with the rest of you?

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    1. It has been my experience that most adoptive parents are like yours. they just want to do the best job that they can for the kids they really love. a mom.

      Delete
    2. Dpen:

      Its great that your parents were open about you searching. BUT, has it ever occurred to you that many of TODAY"S aparents are facing different circumstance as aparents than yours did?

      Take for example, a child whose is the bmom's second or third born and she is "placing" them while she "keeps the rest" or a child born addicted to drugs or alcohol? Or, how about a child born to a woman/man who is married to someone else? Would you, as a parent, be so kind towards them ( the bparents) or would you be polite for the benefit of the child? Because we all know that the child does not represent who the bparents are.

      Delete
    3. I just have to say: you came up with the idea of the century, dpen! make it illegal for everyone to access their medical history. Across the board....medical history denied to everyone!

      That type of argument might make some ignorant people open their eyes.

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    4. But thats not I am reading. What I am reading is that there is an ownership of the child. That many adoptive parents feel a need to preach to us on how and what adoption is about. What I am reading and have seen in real life is the fact that adoptees are there to placate the mothers and not allowed to be themselves. What I see is, a society that needs to tell the adoptess to just be grateful for living, breathing, eating and love. What I see is adoptive parents finding all sorts of excuses to not bring up DNA...trying to dismiss DNA and the need to proclaim the child is all theirs because look at what I have done for them. No, sorry, not measuring up to my parents at all.

      If the adopte were truly accepted for who they are the fight for open records would be over, the anonymous donor program would be over, the baby lust would not exist. No, sorry disagree most adoptive parents are NOT like my parents. Let it be know that my parents did have fears also, my point is they did not make them mine. How many fathers today and years ago would have said "of course you have to go to her funeral"....SHE IS YOUR MOTHER....meaning my birth mother. How many amothers would make me get back on the phone to my bfamily because I made up a story to see if I had the right family and tell them the truth...its not fair to lie, she told me.

      Like I said they had their fears and I could only talk so much about my feelings about adoption. And even with them being so wonderful I truly wish I never had to be adopted in the first place. That has nothing to do with either set of parents but my feelings and really folks I think its pretty normal to feel that way. My birth and adoption really is ALL about me. Isn't that the way non adopted people live? And when it does not it continues to be about the child and their needs not making someone else a mommy or daddy.

      Delete
    5. DPen,

      I think that a lot of people thinking about adopting and those who have can learn so much from your parents. I wish we all could be just like they are.

      Delete
    6. Typical response.."it was different then" Many adoptees have found that they are the 3rd born, last born or whatever. Many adoptees have found not so good stories, what ever the story is ...is. Its the child's truth and should not be kept away from them. You really believe that todays stories are so different from years ago? They are not! ANd it was more that my parents respected me enough to not make my birth and adoption ALL about them. I was adopted through Foster care, my story could have been anything. The only real difference I see today is the drug addicted babies of today. AND yes the the person that was adopted because of that should know and should be able to know who their birth parents are. I am not saying that the birth parents should keep them...I am pro child..not anti adoption or anti anything. But the rationalization that go around truly are about brainwashing the person adopted on who they should feel is important.

      My bmother WAS married to another when I was conceived. I still want to know who they are. Who are you trying to protect here..the parents or the child? Adoption for the child's sake...riiiiight.

      Would I be polite? Yes, because to not be only causes confusion for the child...your relationship with the bioparents is not the point, its the relationship with the child and biopaprents thats important. If it is truly unsafe for the CHILD then maybe it does need to be shut down. I mean really unsafe, not uncomfortable for the parents.

      Here's the thing...if both sets of parents can be unselfish and mature it only validates and increases the child's self esteem Is that not the point ?

      BTW...lots has "occurred" to me about adoption. I have been around a while, I get it.. The social ills that are happening today most definitely were happening then but nobody heard about it. It was swept under the rug and the child spirited away, proof of the adults "badness" To never be allowed to upset their bioparents lives ever again..So the "Has it ever occurred to you" comment is patronizing and dismissive.

      Delete
    7. dpen - i can tell you as an a parent I don't expect my child to be grateful to me for being adopted at all, I hate it when people say anything implyng a parents are saintly types or how lucky the kids are. in my experience, a parents never say anything like this or expect this, though we hear it from non adoptive parents from time to time. it is kind of weird that it is almost always bio paretns who go on about how great a parents are. I also don't know any aparetns who say DNA does not matter. or try to deny a child's past. I just don't. in fact, it is just the opposite. i am in a couple groups devoted to a families and we have programs, evetns, talks about all aspects of adoption, no rose colored glasses here. I have to say the aparents I know are for the most part caring parents. I cant pretend otherwise. i live immersed in a world of parents of kids and I see alot from all parents, adopted or biological, good and bad moments from both. But mostly good. from most of them, most of the time.

      Delete
    8. Dpen:

      Everyone has different morals and values and if an aparent wants to shield the child from their complex and often embarrassing birth story until they are older ( and when age appropriate), then it is their choice as parents.

      If my child was born addicted to drugs/alcohol do you think I would have an open adoption? HELL.NO. I would have a semi-open adoption to keep the lines of communication open so when the child is older, and if they want, they can navigate a relationship with the bparents. I would also do the same if the child was the second or third born and the only one "given away" or born of a marriage between people married to others. There are somethings I believe children SHOULD NOT to be exposed to until they're older and can "get it", because when expose to complex situations children tend to "blame" themselves and internalize.

      Aparent of a child who was the only one of three placed for adoption

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    9. Well, thats good, but I can tell you that to this day most people that are or are not imvolved in adoption make it a point to tell me "how lucky" I am. IT i
      is alive and well. Read some of the adoption forums and all over them are comments that "blood does not matter, love does" I think there is a commenter on this forum that states DNA does not matter. If in fact you really are in touch with people that get the reality of adoption then for your child's sake keep educating those that don't.

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    10. Depen,

      Unfortunately there are some who are closed minded who will never get it no matter what. But there are those out there who are open minded who have the potential to get it but are just unaware. Those are the people that need to be gotten to.

      It's people like you and your parents that are strong enough to share your story and make a difference.

      Delete
  30. Anonymous, that is exactly what I am saying. They need homes and providers.... period. To assume a child wants to become part of your family because their family no long has rights is a huge dose of self-entitled bull. When I was 12, I would have killed to be adopted.... when I was 14 and eligible for adoption, I just wanted to be left alone. Not moved every time a panicky woman thought I was screwing her husband (more pervs in the system than you would believe) or when I refused to embrace their religion. I wanted to go to school, take drivers ed, get summer jobs, etc. NOT be part of the family that was pretending to love me at the moment. The idea that just because you remove a child from what you consider a bad situation, doesn't mean that they want to be part of your situation. FAMILY COUNTS! I am and have been since I was 18/19 years old, in touch with and totally connected to my biological family. I know their flaws, faults and bs, but it changes nothing.... they are my family. You can say they need forever families, but the truth is most adopted foster children - 92% from last count - end up being abandoned by their adopters. Either at age 18 when the dividends dry up - if they are not special needs as adults - or before that when mom finds out her so good hubby likes to diddle the kids. Yes, cynical - but I was in 13 homes in 6.5 years - and there was not one where the adult male didn't try or do something icky to me..... even in group homes. I know more screwed up formers than I do adoptees and that is saying something.

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    1. I think kids at age 14 have the right to say yes or no to an adoption. Not sure, but I know this is true in some adoptive circumstances.

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    2. Lori:

      I knew your upbringing was not a happy one, but I had no idea...of the extent of the abuse. I will treasure my hat (that you made for me) more than ever and you enjoy those plates!
      xxx

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    3. Lorraine, My biological family was a mess, but not abusive! I wasn't abused sexually until I was raped by a boy at age 11, then molested by a STEP brother-in-law, then it just snowballed in foster care.

      As for having the right to say "no" as a foster child - that is a fallacy. Foster children are coerced through things like "If you don't, we will have to place you in "LOCK UP" "GROUP HOME"" and on and on..... fear is a good controller.

      Also, no child should be adopted without true reason.... there is no reason to take a child from a home except "IMMINENT" danger - meaning a child that has a green slimy nose, but is happy and basically healthy is not the purview of social services. Just because a parent can't buy that cell phone, or a kid won't wear their coat is not a reason to place them in care.

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  31. Arrows flew at me from both directionsJune 12, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    Here's a related blog article for another day. Is there a corollary to title of this post that would ready thusly? "When first parents reject the adoptive parents they reject the child." I believe this may be true for some adoptees. In my situation, when my first parents are critical of my adoptive parents, it feels like rejection to me. Deeply. Telling me to "face the truth" about my adoptive parents only makes me more angry. I think my first parents need to face the truth that I am deeply attached and bonded to my adoptive parents. Pointing out their mistakes doesn't change that. I already know about their mistakes.

    There may an assumption by some first parents that an adoptee needs to shove adoptive parents aside in order to truly embrace the "real" natural parents. If you ask them to make a choice like that, don't be disappointed when then keep with their adoptive parents and shove the natural parents aside. Don't ever imply that they need to make that choice.

    Early in our reunion my first mother would make remarks to me about which set of parents I would choose. It was like she was talking Egyptian to me. I was trying to add more people into the circle of people I call family, and she was talking about making cuts to the parent pool. As if this were a corporate staffing decision and we were trying to close a funding gap by identify the non essential people.

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    1. Arrows, I totally agree with you. First parents should NOT be critical of the adoptive parents--no matter what you feel. Hold it in. Even if there is a real reason to be critical (I mean, less than molestation or other oblivious abuse) say nothing. The adoptee has grown up with them and in the best of circumstances, loves them. Respect that, just as you ask them to respect you.

      Thanks for pointing this out, Arrows.

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    2. totally agree! I did not experience that personally but I have been told that if I loved my aparents it must be because I was brainwashed or in the fog. totally dismisses my whole life and my feelings. Attempt to manipulate yet again.

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    3. Once again, I agree with this to an extent, but when natural parents are treated despicably by adoptive parents in fraudulent open adoptions it is not a matter of "being critical of adoptive parents". It is a matter, in my case anyway, of not playing along with the "being put in my place game" anymore.

      I, for one, am not kissing the backside of people who deliberately and with malice lied and deceived me. My child can "shove me aside" for the likes of that and they can all go live in fantasyland without me. I'm not playing along with the facade.

      Telling women they should not speak out about how they have been treated in these situations is something I do not agree with when so many have been silenced into submission for too long...

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    4. I see your point, Lynn. And if you were being treated badly and lied to, certainly you have the right to speak up for yourself. We do know lots of mothers were lied to, esp. in supposedly open adoptions.

      I did not mean for us first mothers to simply be treated badly and not speak up, but since we are all human and make mistakes, I was thinking about the adoptees who write and say their natural mothers are hyper critical of the adoptive parents. That can only hurt--the adoptee, who loves her aparents. Certainly my relationship with my daughter's other parents, esp. her mother, went up and down, and then, down and downer, but I said nothing. She was setting it up for my daughter as "me" or "that woman" as the years went on, and I knew it was difficult for Jane. And, of course me, esp. when she would cut me out of her life totally. And then she would be back.

      There is nothing easy about adoption.

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  32. Lori,

    Thank you for your feedback. I wasn't arguing for or against the idea that all of these children need forever homes. For me I think it's all on a case by case basis. Listening to the child and what their needs are will deliver the best results.

    Hugs and kisses aren't always the answer. A lot of the time just listening to the child and supporting them no matter what fulfills their need.

    I think it's awful that these Foster Families abandon these kids after they turn 18. Not everyone of these kids will be able to reconnect with their bio families like you did and it's important for these young adults to have someone in their lives that can support and guide them.

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  33. To the person who asked for Jane to fine a particular article--we do have lives other than this blog. I am sure that if you scroll through old issues of the New Yorker you will probably find it. Just as quickly as Jane might!

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  34. Regarding overreaching by social workers in the UK: Apparently common enough that it was the subplot of Agatha Christie's long running play "The Mouse Trap."

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  35. There are many comments here that I agree and disagree with but will talk about the medical history issue. There are thousands of genetic diseases (and colon or breast cancer are not genetic diseases) and it is impossible to test for all of them. I recently had a specific gene test and the original cost was close to $1800. Had I not known some specific medical history in the bio family the doctor would not have ordered the test and insurance would not have paid for it. Eating right and exercise will not change a gene, it is like your blood type (which also cannot be changed) and is passed down through your DNA.
    As far as adoption I am glad that it exists and think the idea of legal guardianship until 18 is a really bad/terrible idea. I don't think OBCs and records should be sealed and at the very least should be available to every adoptee at age 18. Safe haven surrender, I'm not opposed to it but it does have its drawbacks for the child having no medical or genetic history, not sure how to fix that. I did find my bio family and am glad I searched and happy to have some of them in my life, along with knowing some needed information, but also realize that adoption was the best outcome in my situation.

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    1. I have been told, at my mammogram screenings, that certain breast cancer is genetic.

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    2. I was thinking of breast cancer in general but you are right there are the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes which greatly increase the risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer and they are genetically transmitted. I was responding thinking of the person who said getting screened for breast or colon cancer and taking good care of ones self can go a long way toward lowering ones risk of those diseases in general. That may be true in the general sense but yes the BRAC genes will make it much harder to avoid. I was thinking of genetic diseases like hemophilia and sickle cell anemia (that most people have heard of) where there is nothing that can be done to prevent it if you have the gene. And you are right the BRAC genes can greatly increase your chances of getting breast or ovarian cancer but I don't know if you have the gene that you will absolutely get it, but I could be wrong, wouldn't be the first time. Many of the genetic diseases like the one I was tested for are kind of rare and not commonly known and testing for them is really expensive. There has to be a really compelling reason to do the testing and family medical history is essential. I have a friend who is dying of a rare genetic disease and he was the only one to inherit it of all his siblings. Nothing could have prevented it and there is no cure, a very sad situation. As you know so many adoptees just don't have the medical information they should have and testing for everything is just not possible.

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    3. Adoptee123 - I had the testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 - for my daughter's sake. But if I had not, I found it would have cost her $2000+ and they would only do it if she had female children and had cancer. I have a very specific blood disorder that looks horrible, but in truth is something of a blessing.... I heal at unbelievable rates, even though I also have diabetes and A-Fib......

      None of this information would be available to my daughter - including the family predisposition to fibro-myalgia, bi polar and clinical depression disorders, obesity in middle age, and bone deterioration.... along with arthritis (both) and degenerative disk disorder...... because she was adopted. I have NO history for her father or his family since he was an adoptee and deceased.

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    4. I hope my reply has not been misunderstood. I totally agree that adoptees should ideally have as much medical information as possible since it is so important. I feel so fortunate that I was able to obtain enough to be able to now fill out a medical history form at the doctors office and have most of the pertinent information. And having that information led to me being tested for a rare genetic condition that probably would not have been considered without knowing the family medical info. My original reply was in response to the person who seemed to think that it would be easier to test for all health conditions than it really is and that healthy lifestyle could lessen the chances of some conditions, but my point was that nothing will change your genes. Yes there are tests for some common things but there are so many other possibilities that will never get checked without a compelling reason which usually includes a family history. And in addition the history will include a stronger reason to investigate certain conditions that may not be caused by a gene but can indicate a stronger possibility. And there are genes that either will increase your chances of a certain disease (like the BRAC) or will outright produce a certain disease. There are literally thousands of these genes which can cause problems and each test can cost thousands of dollars. Lori that is great that you were able to get the BRAC test for your daughter's sake and you know first hand how expensive these tests are and that you can provide her with the other information about predispositions. So many adoptees are not able to have that information..

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  36. I'm Nolee and I'm 22 yo. I'm 4 months pregnant now and most days I think adoption is the best option, that my baby will be better without me, that my baby will have a better life NOT because a social worker told me but because I told myself this, I'm sure this is the best way to go.. until I reached this forum and specially the comments here and now I don't know what to do. I'm not prepare to raise a child in any level, financially, emotionally and as much as I love this baby I feel keeping him/her it's gonna hurt both of us. Now I'm so confused. Now I'm even thinking that adoption is the wrong way to go but so is keeping my baby. In my country the only legal way to place a baby for adoption is with a closed one, so I will never know if the a-parents adopted for the ''wrong reasons'', I just gotta trust the system and it makes everything even harder.

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  37. With domestic infant adoption (not talking about foster adoption yet), not much has changed since the BSE, no matter how they try to sugar coat it. Agencies and PAPs still troll for women in crisis--some agencies even have doctors in poor areas or near colleges on their books so that they can try to acquire a woman's baby while pretending to be caring for her. Agencies promise help such as housing and then later inform the women that they would have to pay back all the costs if they don't place their infants. Aparents still promise open adoptions "so as not to disrupt the adoption" and then take the baby and run, "for the good of the child." Look at the boards for aparents--the contempt for natural parents, especially mothers (fathers are often disregarded completely as not worthy of consideration) is staggering. And boards such as ParentProfiles and Adoptimist are still full of "dear birthmother" letters that begin by congratulating a pregnant woman who has not even decided on adoption for her "noble, courageous,' ad nauseum) realization that the best she can do for her child is give them to us, the affluent people who look like toothpaste ads and have always wanted a "noble" (poor, powerless, young) woman to turn over her baby and make our dreams come true, so THANK YOU FOR THIS GIFT! Look at the case in Utah of the father in the military, or Baby Veronica or Baby Deseray--can't say adoption is about finding homes for children who need them. It is about finding babies for people who are willing to pay for them.
    As for foster care, yes of course there are children who can't be raised by their natural parents, but not as many as we might think--witness the Kentucky social workers who reported that they were forced to terminate the rights of loving parents because the state agency gets more money that way--https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ETfgoSmTHI
    As for foster children needing adoption, though--I'm not so sure. If, as some aparents say, it's love and care that make a parent, why can that only happen when a child assumes a fake identity? And who says you have to kick a child you have raised to the curb when they turn 18 if they are not legally "yours?" Or, alternatively, who says you can't kick a bio or legally adopted child to the curb when they achieve legal adulthood? I don't personally see a compelling need for a single "forever family"

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