' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Should the Goverment Encourage Women to Choose: The Adoption Option, Part Two

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Should the Goverment Encourage Women to Choose: The Adoption Option, Part Two

"Birth mothers who participated in more recent open adoptions... found that approximately two-thirds reported a feeling of peace about their decision and were very certain they would make the same decision again." This data, reported in The Adoption Option, a report from the Center for American Progress, is from a 1997 study in Marriage and Family Review, and we do not know more about the first mothers who participated in the survey, or the number of them, or how soon after relinquishment did they participate, and if the study was under the auspices of an adoption agency, where the outcome would be influenced by the survey taker.*

We suspect many of those "at peace" were like Catelynn, a young first mother featured in People, struggling not to cry as she insisted she and Tyler, the baby’s father, did the right thing. When last heard from, the Catelynn and Tyler were planning their nuptials and were hoping that their daughter, now being raised by a North Carolina couple, could be their flower girl. This is so bizarre we couldn't make this up. We will have to check in on them in ten years and see how "at peace" they--and the child--are.

We further suspect that the mothers who participated in the survey mentioned above were questioned not long after relinquishment when the first flood of relief of not having a child to raise due to circumstances is utmost on their mind--and before the adoptive parents chose to close the adoption, something that appears to occur at a much greater rate than suspected, according to anecdotal evidence. At least that is likely to be impossible with the People magazine publicity.

And no matter how many were "at peace" with the decision to relinquish in an open adoption, that means that a full third of the women involved found this experiment in human engineering a failure, that is, they were not "at peace." In what other kind of survey would a one-third failure rate, no matter how that number was achieved, be considered a good result? If one-third of the people who, say, bought the Rosetta Stone to learn a language were not "at peace" with their decision and found the product not as advertised and demanded a full refund, the company would go out of business. But in the adoption business, one-third of the women participating in an open adoption are still suffering from unresolved grief, and that is touted as a "success." 

The ill-advised Adoption Option does acknowledge a downside of adoption for the mothers who bear the children, noting that: “A significant portion of women who placed children for adoption in circumstances that were closed, secretive, surrounded in shame, and sometimes coerced have experienced chronic, unresolved grief.” Ah, yes, that would be us. And the many many other voices that are heard on the Web through the blogs, as well as other writings.

Quoting from the Evan B. Donaldson report (Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents in the Adoption Process), we learn “that the poorest grief resolution occurred when adoptive parents did not honor agreements for ongoing information.” We know this happens with incredible frequency. We cannot prove it, but we do have a figure of 80 percent of open adoptions facilitated by Bethany Christian Services end up closed in the first few years.

The Adoption Option decries “outdated stereotypes about birth mothers and the adoption process. ” Outmoded stereotypes?  Now here we wish the report had gone into greater detail, as it seems to silly ole' us that most everyone concedes that birth mothers come from all social strata, that we are not all crack whores, and every prospective adoptive parent hopes the mother of the child they are hoping to adopt is a careless college girl who was impregnated by the brilliant professor in X (your choice) field. But we digress.  

Perhaps our favorite line in all the report is this: "Congress should provide grants to establish national public educations campaigns to accurately inform the public about adoption and its potential benefits for all involved.”

Spending money to promote adoption would be the biggest waste of tax payer dollars since the bridge to nowhere. No one is unaware of adoption. We grant that it is sometimes a necessary evil. Adoption purveyors run incessant advertisements in the print media and on the Internet to seduce women into “making the loving decision.” The “potential benefits”--spa-like living quarters (see the Gladney website, see the great gym and swimming pool, see the video clip Bastardette is showing at her blog), college scholarships, travel, and yes, of course, being free to pursue their dreams—are displayed in living color. 

Some time ago we wrote about college scholarships being offered to women after relinquishing their babies, and while we are in favor of education, and scholarships, we cannot condone such obvious "gifts" to young women in exchange for their babies. It smacks of baby-selling. Give me your baby, and you can go to college; keep your child or have an abortion, and Gee, sorry, we have nothing for you. This is baby selling prettied up as a scholarship, which inherently sounds good and removed from the dirty business of baby selling. Why not outright grants of $30,000 to girls for their babies so they can achieve their dreams of an education? But we digress.

Despite the deficit facing the United States today, keeping mothers and children together is well within our capabilities. Western Europe and Australia have much lower adoption rates because they support needy mothers and babies and tightly regulate the adoption industry. That can and should be done here in America, but public policy promotes adoption by not supporting poor single women who have babies.

The conclusion of the report is a mass of contradiction, as it notes that it is not the role of government to persuade or coerce a woman to give her child to others to raise, and "we should be wary of any programs that would propose increasing the number of infants available for adoption at the expense of pregnant women's interests." Sounds good, but this is after pages of suggestions as to how adoption should and could be made more acceptable--and thus make it more attractive to women considering it. Isn't that a back-handed way of persuading women to giving her child to others to raise? 

The answer can only be: YES.--lorraine and Jane
*Note: For more on the study sample, see comments submitted by one of our readers and fellow blogger, Cedar, and repeated here: 

- participants were surveyed only four years post-birth! This is NOT long-term. Weinreb states that it takes at least five years for the grief/devastation/loss to be fully realized! 4 yrs means the exiled mothers are likely still numb or in shock.

- almost 1/3 of the original survey group could not be found for the four-year follow-up -- if you were a traumatized mother, would you participate if it would trigger you?

- in this study, "parenters" have a much higher satisfaction rate with their "decision" than "placers" but that gets no mention when the study is quoted by agencies.

- the researchers don't tell about background factors as to whether "placers" are getting intensive counselling, are on meds, etc.

- the researchers admit that there are "persistant" socio-demographic differences between "placers" and "parenters" but do not explain that these could be leading to the "better socioeconomic" results for placers -- i.e. if you start off in a better social class with less oppression, you are likely to stay there, child or no child.
Next: The reforms proposed by The Adoption Option.


  1. Lorraine wrote:

    "every prospective adoptive parent hopes the mother of the child they are hoping to adopt is a careless college girl who was impregnated by the brilliant professor in X (your choice) field."

    Hey, that was me!:-) Well, he wasn't a professor yet, just a lowly grad student, but he became one. I had no idea my child was such a hot item or that I was the ideal birthmother. Gee, my son's adoptive parents evidently did not think so.

    I think open adoption, when it stays open, and they all do not, nor do they all close in a few years, is better than closed adoption for everyone, especially the child. It takes a lot of work and commitment and honesty from both sides. It is shame it sometimes used a lure by people with no intention of keeping their promises, but that does not make the whole idea a sham.

  2. The study that this is taken from has huge methodological problems. But of course, it is used extensively by the adoption industry to promote their agenda. I have copies of the articles published by Namerow, Cushman, and Kalmuss from their study. Have sent them to you.

    Example of the problems:

    - participants were surveyed only 4 yrs post-birth! this is NOT long-term. Weinreb states that it takes at least 5 yrs for the grief/devastation/loss to be fully realized! 4 yrs means the exiled mothers are likely still numb or in shock.

    - almost 1/3 of the original survey group could not be found for the 4 yr follow-up -- if you were a traumatized mother, would you participate if it would trigger you?

    - in this study, "parenters" have a much higher satisfaction rate with their "decision" than "placers" but that gets no mention when the study is quoted by agencies.

    - the researchers don't tell about background factors as to whether "placers" are getting intensive counselling, are on meds, etc.

    - the researchers admit that there are "persistant" socio-demographic differences between "placers" and "parenters" but don't explain that these could be leading to the "better socioeconomic" results for placers -- i.e. if you start off in a better social class with less oppression, you are likely to stay there, child or no child.

  3. re the scholarships -- this is one of those sickening sites:


    if they were truly meant as something more than bribes to increase surrenders, they would be offered to young women of any background (pregnant, parenting, childless, etc.) without it being contingent on surrendering a baby first.

    note that this organization was/is founded/run by adopters and baby brokers?

  4. It still never ceases to amaze me the avenues America adoption agencies wander down in the search for new and inventive ways to relieve women of their babies.

  5. I checked out the Gladney site - did anyone notice how very sad that girl is? I certainly did...talk about making it about a product, they might as well have a "new baby purchase" department at Walmart!

  6. Thanks Cedar, for the added information which I posted on the blog proper.

    and Maryanne, what a great prospect you were as a first mom! Me too, I guess. I was a college grad and the father was the equivalent of the professor, as he was a star reporter on the newspaper where I was working. ;) Of course when I found my daughter the parents were surprised. As my daughter had epilepsy (not inheritable) they wondered if I was in a mental institution or if mental illness ran in the family.

  7. This is the comment I mentioned earlier:--Carolyn

    Easy to judge
    Replied By: crytears on Nov 15, 2010, 10:35AM - In reply to cpippin4
    I can't imagine your really having tears rolling down your face, I'm NOT buying it.!
    Only those who have adopted these children who fail to attach or love anyone can understand what turmoil, stress and heart ache they bring every day.
    BUT...I do NOT support abusing them in any way what so ever!
    We adopted 2 girls from a Mexican orphanage, they were very damaged by time we got them,
    Were 4 and 10 yrs old. They turned our once very serene and functional home into virtual war zone.
    My husband diagnosed with cancer same year. My son turned against me...how dare I love another child. These girls refused to accept me as a mother and no matter how hard I tried or what sacrifices we made, nothing worked. Sadly, we learned very bitter lesson...these girls just don't have ability to love anyone, even their own children.
    My son refuses to have relationship with us and the 2 girls come around only when want money.
    When we stopped giving, is when they stopped contacting us.
    Our lives are totally ruined by it all, our savings spent on adopting, immigrating and educating them and my husbands terminally ill as the cancer has returned too many times.
    His doctors warned long ago, that stress was a killer to him.
    The girls in rehab treatments for drugs, drinking....we spent every penny we had set aside for retirement.
    Now we're broke, I'm now severely disabled (stress caused immune system to fail).
    I cry every single day and wish we never adopted the girls. We thought we could fix them because we were once strong Christians and put them in Christian schools...ha! Like sick joke.
    The older girl was stripper for several years...threw her college edu in trash, as did the other girl.
    Our son now bitter over all this...but can't blame him..
    God is punishing me now because I was abusive to the girls. Their constant lying, always in trouble, stealing, running away...always causing us heartache was more than overwhelming.
    All we wanted and hoped for was for them to just "like us"...I guess that was too much.
    But these were "throw away" girls as their families rejected them first.
    It began a loose loose situation and I foolishly refused to listen to good counsel by specialist who told us to send them both back...that they will only always be problems.
    But I thought God was leading, guiding me and would help us, help them...ha!
    How delusional was that? But I really, desperately wanted to love the girls, did anything I could
    to gain their love, trust....then they'd stab me in back.
    Regret....bitter....heartbroken, totally defeated...for what? Two girls we wanted to love, instead we got nothing but heartache. Now we're all alone, have no children to share holidays...
    and my husband will die soon and then I'll be totally alone.
    My son hates me...refuses to talk to me or allow me see grandchildren.
    He blames me for all his problems, that I messed up his perfect life bringing the girls into the family.
    Because of this he was molested by two "christian" leaders. his teacher and scout leader.
    Dr Phil wouldn't believe half what happend in our lives...is like virtual living nightmare taking place
    one trial after another...like the gods are angry and punishing us for even trying.
    I can't help but wonder if we have some sort of curse placed on us....who knows!
    Soooo...if someone wants to judge me for yelling, slapping lying girls faces...go for it!
    Nothing can make me hurt any more than I am now.
    There is a fate worse than death and I'm experiencing that now.

  8. The comment I posted is just something that made me angry in the Dr. Phil comments. There was a show today about an adoptive mom who abused her child and claimed he had RAD even though his twin brother doesn't have it.

    The video of abuse disgusted me and then this comment disgusted me. There isn't a link directly to the post, but this is a link to the page it's on. The title is "Easy to Judge." --Carolyn

  9. Catelynn speaks: "We made a (sniff, sniff) great decision to give Carly away (bawling hysterically). She has such amazing (she and Tyler hug, both crying nonstop) parents. Sniff, sniff."

    Yep, sounds like a great decision to me.

    Those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it.

    Why do I have the feeling Catelynn will be blogging at FMF in 20 year?

  10. Its the Christian religious weirdos who promote adoption. They are the ones who are always trying to get abortion banned. They are the ones who shame single mothers for raising children alone. If it wasn't for liberal progressives abortion would be illegal and single motherhood would be shamefull and unmarried women would have no choice but to put thier children up for adoption.

    Its mostly those right wing Christian's fault for adoption.

    The Catelynn and Tyler story was on MTV and MTV is liberal. Only 1% of unmarried women give thier children away by putting them up for adoption. Yet out of the 16 girls featured on MTV's 16 and pregnant and it's spin off Teen Mom, 2 of them gave thier babies up for adoption. (Catelynn and Lori) So it seems that MTV might be glamorizing adoption but i'm sure it's just to increase thier ratings and bring in more $$$$. Adoption causes drama and misery and alot of people cant help but watch train wrecks.

    Its very rare that liberals promote adoption because adoption exploits poor single mothers. The Center for American Progress is trying very hard to get the gay adoption ban overturned I found this on a pro adoption blog---

    """"Love it when adoption issues go main-stream -- here the Center for American Progress addresses State antigay adoption policies:

    A Florida appeals court unanimously decided last month that a state ban on adoption by gay men and lesbians was unconstitutional (Florida Governor Charlie Crist also said that the state will stop enforcing the law). This is a reminder that the struggle for LGBT equality extends far beyond the headline issues of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” passing the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, and achieving marriage rights for gay couples.

    The victory in Florida is a huge win for advocates of children’s rights and well-being as well as those working for LGBT equality. But several states still unfairly target gay men and lesbians who want to adopt or foster children.""""

    It seems to me the Center for American Progress is probably pandering to it's wealthy gay supporters who have been shut out of the right wing christian adoption market.

    Last month they do a major story about trying to overturn the gay adoption ban now they are trying with "the adoption option" to make it seem like women who want to put thier babies up for adoption shouldn't be "opressed" and they should have that choice. (How stupid is that? When have women not had the freedom to put thier babies up for adoption?)

    They gay adoption market must be big $$$$. 10% of the population is gay. I see alot of those dear birth mother letters by gay men looking for babies. Some greedy liberals seem to have lost thier ethics for all that big gay adoption $$$ potential.

  11. Catelynn speaks: "We made a (sniff, sniff) great decision to give Carly away (bawling hysterically). She has such amazing (she and Tyler hug, both crying nonstop) parents. Sniff, sniff."

    On the reunion show with "Dr Drew" Tyler and Catelynn talked about another pregnancy scare they experienced. They claimed that if Catelynn had been pregnant again, they would have also given up the second baby because they have come to realize that adoption is SOOOOOO AMAAAAAZING!

    Can I get a big round of WTF!!??

    Oh and the anger over not knowing Carly's last name and where she lives? All gone, everyone's hunky-dory now. Nothing like a big glass of denial to wash away the pain.

    RE the gay adoption issue: this means "potential birth mothers" (gag me with a spoon) are now getting it from all sides. Conservatives, christians, now gays, all lining up to promote adoption and exploit desperate mothers. Tragic.

  12. I bet the gays have alot of trouble finding pregnant women who will give them thier babies because most of the brainwashing about getting young naive girls to give away thier babies comes from conservative christians.

    Its conservate elitism, oh look at you birthmother you are poor and unmarried you are unfit to raise your baby if you loved your baby you would give it away to a nice upper class married couple.....and those are the people who get thier babies not gays.

    Now the liberals need to get in on the brainwashing for thier gay supporters. So the liberal think tank The Center for American Progress starts brain storming about how to figure out to a way to spread propaganda to turn adoption into a liberal issue to attract pregnant women who are more likely to choose a gay couple to parent thier child.

    They falsely project gay issues onto pregnant women considering adoption so they will have solidarity with gays. They make it seem like women don't have a choice about adoption (no thats a gay issue) they want to say that adoption should be a reproductive choice without social stigma (no gays are the ones being stigmatised for thier reproductive choices).

    The liberals want to get pregnant women on the gays side by trying to make it out to be that both of them are suffering the same oppression and letting a gay couple adopt thier child is a way of sticking it to thier oppressors.

    Gays, gay men in particular have alot of money to give to liberal causes. Whenever you read any articles from a liberal organization promoting women giving thier babies up for adoption simply type the name of the organization into google followed by the words "gay" and "adoption" you will always find that advocating for gay adoption is one of thier top priorities.

  13. Have we perhaps had enough homophobia for today? Funny, the gay folks I know, including parents by birth or adoption, do not have lots of money, nor are they involved in any liberal plots about adoption to steal babies from unwilling mothers that I know of.

    Jill, it seems you think it a terrible thing for anyone to adopt, gay, straight, conservative or liberal. Why not just say that? It would save space and the need to trot out a lot of prejudiced tired old anti-gay cliches.

  14. Yes I agree that most domestic infant adoptions in the u.s. are terrible things that will cause deep pain and suffering to both the mother and child.

    The only adoptions I am in favor of are orphans (they should be adopted by thier original family) and foster children. I am in favor of gays being allowed to adopt foster children.

    What we have here is a liberal organization that is a very active advocate for gay adoption issues spreading liberal propaganda to get more women to surrender thier babies. This is very suspicious because only desperate and oppressed women give thier babies away. Liberals are supposed to be advocates for the downtrodden why are they coming out with articles, propaganda and studies about how to make it socially acceptable for vunerable pregnant women to get themselves screwed over by baby beggers.

    What group in the liberal community needs adoption the most? Gays...... I can't think of any other reason why liberals of all people would promote adoption.

    Rosie O'Donnell adopted 3 infants and she along with her brother are advocates for closed adoption records. She was also the primary financial funder of the Children of the World Adoption Agency that was shut down for ethics violations. Gays can be just as ruthless as those Conservative elitists.

  15. Jill wrote: "... only desperate and oppressed women give their babies away."

    That is not true. Some mothers freely choose to surrender for any number of good reasons, and for some bad ones as well. Not all are desperate or oppressed, although some are.

    That fact that many adoptions are coerced and should not happen does not mean that all are, nor does the fact that some adoptions turn out badly imply universal suffering for mothers or adoptees.
    This is just as untrue and damaging a statement as "all adoptions are happy and nobody has problems". Reality is not that simple, from either side.

    My surrender should not have happened, my son did not get a good home, but I cannot extrapolate my circumstances to encompass "all" or "most" adoptions.

  16. P.S.
    Liberals would promote adoption because there are liberals who are infertile and want to adopt. Many marry late, delay childbearing for careers, then find they cannot have children, or are on second or third marriages and the spouse wants a child. Homosexual adoption is a very small part of this. Most liberal adopters are heterosexual couples or singles.

    Adoption is not really an issue that divides neatly along liberal or conservative lines, nor is support or opposition for access to birth certificates and adoption reform. People from both camps are on both sides. In NJ and some other states we have ACLU and Planned Parenthood coming out against open records, along with the Catholic Conference of Bishops and Right To Life. Strange bedfellows indeed!

  17. Any woman who feels cornered by society or their families and pressured to give up her child I would call desperate and oppressed.

    Also, maryanne, somewhere you said that being reunited with your relinquished son lifted any grief you had about surrendering him, even though he had a lousy home and cold parents, from what you have written. One does ask then, why you spend so much time on this and other blogs that deal with first mother issues? Or with CUB?

    It's a mystery.

  18. No mystery, Jamie. Grief is not the only emotion that motivates people. I stay involved in adoption reform because there is much that still needs reforming, and maybe I can help a bit. It is not about me, or my personal story; that is pretty much resolved as much as it will be. I would like more but am content with what I have. I do not see that as at all "mysterious". Endless grief is more likely to get in the way of effective activism than to facilitate it.

    I am doing this to help others, not that it is the most important cause in the world, but it is what I know best and have been doing for many years, and hope to continue to do. Life-long grief needs not be a condition of life-long activism for any cause.

    My son has pretty much gotten over his crappy childhood, which he himself has said was not all bad, and I have gotten over surrendering him. It is possible for some of us, but every person is different and every circumstance is different, and I am only speaking about myself, not criticizing or admonishing anyone else about their own suffering.

    I hope this clears up the "mystery" of why I am still involved.

  19. P.S. I will always regret surrendering my son, but regretting is not the same as grieving. I think it obscene to grieve for the living just because they make different life choices than I would prefer.



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