' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: The Vance Twins: Raising awareness about adoption realities

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Vance Twins: Raising awareness about adoption realities

Speaking up and speaking out about a controversial issue is always scary the first time. Adoption as we know it today has become highly controversial, as adult adoptees and first mothers have opened up about the painful effects of adoption, whether they are the ones who lost a child to be adopted, or the child who grew up in a family not her original one. 

Yet at the same time, with more people--straight couples, gays couples, single people--desiring to adopt, a several billion dollar industry world wide has grown up to serve that market.Those who want to adopt do not want to hear that adoption is anything other than a win-win solution. They imagine there are babies everywhere that need to be adopted, and such a baby will be the fix for infertility; at the same time many churches, both conservative and liberal, are part of the pro-adoption movement to "rescue" children from poverty.

Criticizing "adoption" per se leads one to be labed "anti-adoption," and while that should be innocent enough, considering what Western style adoption is--severing the original mother-and-child bond, often for less than sacrosanct reasons, often for profit--that appellation is interpreted as a slur to diminish the impact of the one speaking out against the abuses of adoption. Call someone "anti-adoption," and you automatically make her seem like a crazy person whose complaints are absurd. 

Jane and I have both been there. For that reason, we wrote the permanent page, What We Think About Adoption, and it is the most visited page that we have posted at First Mother Forum. While both Jane and I have had our own "comings out," as first mothers, it is equally difficult for adoptees to find the strength to speak out about what is wrong with adoption, since they have drummed into their brains by adoptive relatives and friends, as well as society, how "lucky" and "fortunate" they are to have been rescued by their adoptive parents from a life that almost surely was not as comfortable as they one they were raised in.  

It's true, adoptive parents by their very nature, are often better situated financially than the first mother and family; but creature comforts alone do not make up for the genetic glue that generates a firm sense of our place in a society, in a culture, in a family. Yet to speak the harsh truths takes courage. Many adoptees will have grown up in loving families and deeply love the parents and siblings who raised them, and many adoptive parents will interpret any criticism of adoption in general as a criticism  of them in particular.  We mothers have to get over the burden shame in order to speak out loud; adoptees have face the criticism of being "ungrateful" if they speak out. 

Jenette Vance

Because of that, we especially admire the Vance Twins for what they accomplished with their book, Adoptionland: From Orphans to Activists, which I reviewed in the previous post (link below). Jenette Vance left  the comment below at the post, but it is such a strong and beautiful statement about what is wrong with adoption that Jane and I wanted to give it more readership and so wrote this post spurred by Jenette's stirring words: 

My goal is to raise awareness, protect and enlighten vulnerable mothers, fathers and families from around the world today. These days adoption agencies carelessly throw around the word 'orphan' to advertise and market children and pull at the heart strings of unaware potential adopters which is creating this huge demand for children. Using the word 'orphan' in their advertising materials and campaigns creates life long corruption and heartfelt pain in original families. 

Families in foreign countries are unaware of this man-made 'children's market'. Adoption is truly not 'saving' a child, it's destroying a family and a society. In the grand scale of things it's taking away from the country, the country's future. In reality, adoptive parents do not know for sure if the child they receive is a real orphan or a stolen child. Paperwork is falsified and the truth will never be revealed because documents are locked up. 

Placing pictures of 'available' children should also be illegal. This is an inhumane way of showcasing children that are not even theirs to showcase in the first place. Do the children even get compensated or sign a release form to have their photo online? What about their rights to privacy? What about their rights to dignity? 

Mothers and children should not be separated. Children are an extension of ourselves. When the fetus is in the mother they are one. Once the child's umbilical cord is cut we sometimes forget that fact, but it remains that we are still one with our children by way of DNA, spiritually and emotionally. That is why it's important we don't let these agencies manipulate mothers, lie to fathers and cut off children from their God given families. This pain must stop. 

In the beginning agencies said that the Korean children were 'saved from prejudice', but in fact, we were just thrown into another society of prejudice to navigate through, cut from what was rightfully ours, our Korean ethnicity and language. I think it's ridiculous the propaganda these agencies throw around to justify these adoption traumas. Agencies create fears to create a demand. This is very manipulative but they are very good with what they do. This book is the first book to acknowledge the voices of the victims and if heard...well, perhaps a way we can start to heal and forgive. Adopted people feel left behind from every direction and it would be nice to get acknowledgment or an 'apology day' for the industry's 'gotcha day'.

Join us in our FB group Adoption Truth and Transparency Worldwide Network for more discussions

Jane Here:  Thanks, Jenette. Speaking up is the first step in any reform and no one has more credibility than those who have lived with bad practices and policies. Seventeen years ago, on November 24, 1997 (also a Monday), I talked to my lost daughter Rebecca for the first time since I held her in my arms when she was two days old. Several months later I attended a rally in Pioneer Square in downtown Portland, Oregon for Measure 58, a ballot initiative to allow adult adoptees to have their original birth certificates. I stood in the back, of the square, fearful that somehow I would be identified as a first mother. I realized then then that I needed to step up and out--no law would pass without the support of those whom opponents claimed the law sealing records was designed to protect. A year later, I appeared in a full page ad in the Portland Oregonian as a first mother in support of Measure 58. The measure passed with 57 percent of the vote.

Five years ago Lorraine and I wrote a piece for the Oregon State Bar Bulletin in response to a glowing article about adoption. We pointed out that Oregon's adoption laws fail to provide even minimum protection to vulnerable mothers, allowing mothers to sign irrevocable consents while on the delivery table without the benefit of any counseling. Our piece attracted the attention of other attorneys and we developed legislation to afford some protection to mothers. Our bill did not pass but it caught the attention of the adoption industry, some of whom were supportive of change, and led to passage of legislation opening up court adoption records. We are now working on legislation to give mothers time and information to decide about adoption.

Lorraine: I came out of the closet long ago--1975--but some of the harsh reactions are crystal-clear in my mind. People said nasty things behind my back, mostly along the lines of: What gives her the f*&^ing right? I was passed an anonymous note at a party with that poem about "you grew not under my heart but in my heart." At dinner parties, people literally pounded on the table, others attacked me verbally. Anonymous nasty letters arrived at my home.

So it goes, was my attitude. I expected it, and after I while I became somewhat inured to the criticism. Times changed and I was no longer alone. 

Adoption will not change until more people--first mothers and adoptees--united and strong, speak up and speak out loud about the true impact of adoption on them. Only then will we accomplish the changes we so eagerly seek. 
To order Adoptionland: From Orphans to Activistsclick on the title or jacket. Thank you for ordering through FMF. 

Related letters and commentary:
Birth Mothers Respond

From FMF
What We Think About Adoption
Adoptionland: Brutal essays by adult adoptees expose the truth of intercountry adoption


  1. Lorraine writes: Adoption will not change until more people--first mothers and adoptees--united and strong, speak up and speak out loud about the true impact of adoption on them. Only then will we accomplish the changes we so eagerly seek.

    Very true. At least this is my hope. But during this month of November my hopes were struck down more times than I care to remember. There are arguments about adoption taking place 24 hours a day on Facebook. When an adoptee or first mother posts a comment trying to tell the truth about adoption, they get attacked, or blocked from making further comments. When I post a status, trying to educate some of the general public, the same 4 or 5 people agree with me and the rest of the world tells me I must be wrong. Adoption is wonderful, don't you know? Adoption saves children and builds families and how could I possibly say there is a down side to such a wonderful institution? The media has made adoption into a fairy tale, and not too many people want to hear otherwise.

    It is very frustrating, especially here in progressive New York. Every group of citizens in this state have all the rights to which they believe they are entitled, except adoptees. If last year's legislative debacle is any indication, we are far from adoption reform in NY. I live in the biggest city in what is supposed to be the greatest free country in the world. And I can't get my birth certificate.

    1. You're right Julia Emily. The common thinking, "adoption saves children and builds families".... No. It. Does. Not.

      The -act of adoption- REQUIRES in ALL cases, that somehow, a child be ABANDONED. Whether that be by the hospital/dr. drugging the mother up so much she can't function, or doctored documents, or kidnapping, or outright lies, deceit and FORCE(coercion is too gentle a word) so that they can be adopted. adoption in ****most**** cases, severely harms the children (and their mothers) and tears families apart! That, is the truth of the matter. The complete opposite of what the spin doctors want to sell. Money, money, money **or** baby, baby, baby not yours, mine -now and forever...hahahahahahahha. Evil.

      I mean -really- who promotes this wickedness? Is - child - abandonment - good?? Is it GOOD for a child to feel the severe pain of abandonment, and the confusion, grief and often anger that goes with it? Answer please agencies, prospective adoptive parents, adoptive parents, others... if you can. Are these things *good*? and I don't mean good in that you can take advantage, put to use for your benefit of ''sainted parent hood". Leave your ---selfness---(as supposed rescuing parent/s or others) completely out of the picture and answer ONLY about ---the child!

      Is abandonment good for a child?

      from a very recently reunited after almost 33 years mother... who is not at all surprised by the longing, hurt and anger she sees in her son. I have felt the same ....since before he was born. The many cars of the adoption freight train said he was going to be adopted .. whether I wanted it ...or not. What a pile-up... Thanks everybody. NOT. Oh, and thanks/NOT for no or very few HELPFUL post adoption support services. for any of us. The best *help* is going to be bringing this adoption train to a screeching halt... and turn it into something truly helpful and beneficial for all.

  2. Julia E: You gotta ignore the nay-sayers and keep on putting out your truth. All of us--first mothers, adoptees, adoptive mothers and fathers" who "get it"--need to keep saying the message over and over, and eventually it will sink in that adoptees not happy with the status quo are more that just a few disgruntled people. Attitudes towards adoption have changed a great deal since I've been in the trenches. We are moving the needle. Exceedingly slow, I'll grant you, but it is moving.

    New York--ah New York. We need to replace Dean Skelos and Kemp Hannon and Sheldon Silver with more enlightened people and we might get some where with our legislation. We need a first mother in the Assembly or Senate who speaks out and we need a few more adoptees to be there too! Gov. Cuomo will only do something when it appears to be politically useful--so let him know that it would be. There is no wrong or right time to write him--JUST DO IT.

  3. I've never understood the "in not under my heart" thing. Our children grew under and in.

  4. I have written to the Governor so many times I am sure he never wants a letter from me again! But he will get one. Actually more than one!

    Anon: I did not grow in or under anyone's heart. Because I don't know who I am. Those words are meaningless to me.

  5. "Social justice requires outspoken allies who are not part of the marginalized group, but visible representation from those groups is even more imperative."--Mara E. Gottlieb, in a letter today to The New York Times, commenting on a four part series by Nicholas Kristof about racial inequality. Ms. Gottlieb's comment can also be said of correcting injustice in adoption.

  6. I found my biological family almost a year ago and met everyone that is alive except my biological mother. It would have been wonderful to speak with her but she died in 1980, when I was 14 years old.
    I had a very sheltered life, my parents were the only family I ever knew and I was never told that I had been relinquished and then "adopted". They had me straight out of the incubator. My biological mother wanted to have an abortion but was too far into her pregnancy. She was getting divorced and had an affair with my biological dad who never knew of my existence. My mother afterwards was a drug user and had multiple affairs, leaving my half brother for months at a time with relatives. My biological dad was a fugitive from the law an was in jail for 11 years! My 5 half brothers and sisters from his side all had very difficult childhoods.
    It would have been nice to have met my biological mother for she was a glamorous woman and I look a lot like her. She made the right choice giving me up. She was not ready to be a responsible parent and who knows where I would have ended up, surely in a worst place than in my parents home .
    I would love to say I was robbed of a better opportunity but the truth is that she saved my life by leaving me. Al that my siblings on both sides went through I was sparred. I wish I could have met her and told her that I understood. I wish I could have told her how pretty she was...I have my angel, my adoptive mother to thank, she was there for me through thick and thin and has never left my side.
    I recently met my bio dad and we have so much in common. We talk weekly and I really have connected with him. I can feel the DNA connection to him and to my mother's side as well. Yet, my loyalty is to my family that raised me. Who I am is a survivor that fought to live and to be her own Self. I broke the mold and today I can say that it has been a blessed journey.

    1. Carla, I don't see how your story has any connection with this post.

    2. I could be wrong Jane but I read Carla's comment as a response to Jenette's blanket statement that mothers and children should not be separated, and that she is only sharing her truth about her particular situation.

    3. And sometimes adoptees and first mothers just need a place to tell their stories. Carla, your truth is yours and at least you do know the truth of your origins and have a sweet image in your mind of your first mother, even if her life was what it was.

      It's Thanksgiving week. We all need to be glad for what is good in our lives. My brother and his extended family is coming from Michigan and NYC. Looking forward!

  7. Thanks, Jane. I don't see the connection either.

  8. Here's the truth that no one wants to acknowledge: international and transracial adoptees' opinions carry more weight with the outside world. People generally think they have more of a *legitimate* reason (they do) to be frustrated with adoption. Many non-adopted people tend think domestic adoptees, and dismiss our opinions as "complaining" or "whining."

    1. Yes, you are right about that, but not only international and transracial adoptees need to raise their voices.

      We need all kinds--esp to pry open the damn sealed original birth certificates and make all people truly equal!

    2. And by the same token, even today when I speak out about the anguish of relinquishment and even reunion, I am asked: Do other first mothers feel this way?

  9. Have a great Thanksgiving. I'm going to try but my heart is not in it. This year November drained all of the life right out of me! It will be over soon, thankfully.

  10. I would add that adoptive parent voices need to speak out as well. I do not agree with this, but the fact is that adoptive parents carry the greatest weight in this equation when speaking out. I would far prefer that adoptees have the strongest voice, followed closely by first mothers, and simply supported by adoptive parents. But until that is the case, and adoptive parent voices continue to be the ones the public are willing to listen to, we need to actively support reforms to the industry.

    Unfortunately, and I speak from sad experience, when I voice my desires for reforms and my frustration with the way the industry is currently run, only adoptees and first mothers support me. I am often ridiculed for what I say, and I've had some terrible things said to me by other adoptive and prospective adoptive parents. I know that adoptive parents who speak out against international adoption are frequently attacked for their outspokenness. I've had the "well, now that you've gotten yours, you want to keep others from getting theirs" thrown at me so many times it doesn't make me quite as sick to my stomach as it used to. I've had many people come to me to ask about adoption who are considering it, and after one conversation, they never talk to me again. And I don't just mean they never talk to me about adoption again; I mean they never talk to me again, period. My viewpoint is apparently so offensive that I deserve to be cut off, and that frustrates me because I am speaking my truth, as someone who has gone through it, to someone who has no idea. No one wants to hear the bad, though, they just want shiny rainbows and unicorns farting puffy clouds of glitter.

    I suppose what I am trying to say is that we need to rally as an entire group, labels and division aside, and use our collective experience, different as it may be, to encourage and lobby for continued enlightenment and reform. Adoptive Parents needs to support these efforts where a light is shown on the bad parts of adoption, even if it makes us uncomfortable or the target of derision, because these are our children and their reality. They deserve 100% of our support.

    1. Tiffany, amen.
      That is why we prize your voice here so much.

    2. Tiffany, I appreciate you and other enlightened adoptive parents speaking out. I agree that you are more likely to be listened to than first parents or adoptees, both of whom can be marginalized as "angry" whose experiences are not representative.

      In working on legislation, though, I've noticed that the voices which receive the most attention are those of the adoption industry. They claim to be speaking for hundreds, maybe thousands, of adoptive parents, adoptees, and first parents. They know how to lobby and work the media. The fact that many of these people have not lived adoption and make their money off it seems to escape notice. It reminds me of the education battles going on now where politicians are listening to corporate executives and for profit institutions and ignoring teachers, children, and parents.

      It's also worth noting that like teachers, the majority of involved adoptees, first parents, and adoptive parents are women. The adoption industry has a large number of men at the helm.

    3. The industry is also paid. If someone takes a day and drives to Salem, OR to testify or Albany, NY to walk the Capital corridors, they are paid. Their expenses are paid. They are unemotional and professional as Nazis, and yes I chose that word carefully. They were just doing their job, remember. Adoption agency workers and owners have a job to do--and that is continue business as usual. Only the vulnerable women who are recent mothers stick in their minds, as well as the judges in surrogate court. We are the kooks, the deranged, the angry. I get angry because there are not more of us speaking out.

      Adoptees and birth parents are unpaid, passionate, emotional. Yes, we can be dismissed because we are not standing with 10,000 other adoptees--or even a hundred. In New York City, we are lucky if we get 30 people to show up at a press conference. It's not a big enough crowd for the major press--TV or newspapers--to cover. So yes, we seem like a small few who are malcontents. Until there are more adoptees who lobby, who stay the course even after they get their documents, this slowness of unsealing records, or reforming adoption will continue with the speed of a slow ooze.

      Adoptees in state legislatures sometimes are able to move mountains. Adoptive parents are important, but this cause is not their fight, and so we will never have them by the thousands lobbying hard for reform and unsealed birth certificates.

      As for getting to Cuomo, he is walled in behind his political ambitions and his grandmother's adoption somehow doesn't touch him.

      Incidentally, one of the women anchors in the morning is adopted. I've heard her mention it. Did they trace her background?

    4. Maybe you mean Michaela Pereira:


    5. Excellent point, Lorraine. This is an incredibly patriarchal society, and nothing speaks louder than money.

      "Adoptees in state legislatures sometimes are able to move mountains."

      They certainly are!! So many persistent adoptees out there who are vocal and tireless in their efforts to attain equality.

      "Adoptive parents are important, but this cause is not their fight, and so we will never have them by the thousands lobbying hard for reform and unsealed birth certificates."

      I disagree. There are many APs who don't think this is our cause to fight, but it absolutely is! These are our children. What is important to my children becomes the most important thing in the world to me, their mother. For my daughter who is adopted, one of these is the right to her OBC. I have and will continue to feel that this is as much my cause as it is hers or any other adoptees because she is my child. I am disappointed more APs don't feel that way, but don't let us off the hook by saying it's not our cause to fight. We APs need to be called out on our failures to actively and loudly support our children in a cause passionate and important to them.

    6. Most/many adoptive parents don't see unsealing records as their fight--a great many of them adopted with closed records, and a great many of them want them still. To judge from what we learn from agencies trying to broker a connection between distraught first mothers and adoptive parents, many of them do not keep their promises.

      And if there were so many who were willing to take on this cause, they would be there right beside us--lobbying legislatures, at the press conferences, writing letters. But they are nowhere to be found in this fight, except the very very few, as Lou D'allesandro in New Hamshire, who opened records there.

      You and he represent the minority.

  11. Julia Emily, I posted this somewhere else but not sure who saw it, wanted to add re: NY and OBC. So frustrating for a so-called progressive state. Last month CNN did a show Finding Roots for their anchors. Chris Cuomo was taken back to Italy and discovered his great-grandmother was an adoptee. She and her husband moved to NY and according to Chris, she never spoke about it, no one in the family knew. It was very understanding regarding her fear of talking about it. Said everyone should know where they come from. Don't know if this would be a small window to the Governer or not?

    1. Barb. see above. Gov. Cuomo doesn't see this issue as politically expedient, and Sheldon Silver doesn't want to make waves or have a fight with Helene Weinstein, who will never change her mind. We should have had the legislation passed by now, with all the supporters and co sponsors we have.

      But our bill in NY is ... stuck.

    2. I am beginning to think no one can get through to Governor Cuomo regarding this issue. As I said, I have written many letters to the Gov. If I get a response, it's just a form letter. My husband went to high school with him. We are all the same age. I have tried to point out that Cuomo knows his heritage and my husband does as well. Why shouldn't I? They have their true birth certificates, why don't I? We all came from the same backgrounds and type of upbringing.....why am I being treated so differently just because I was adopted? My husband says that they were in many classes and clubs together, surely the Governor remembers him. But I'm getting nowhere. I will write again, but next time I will try yet another approach.

    3. Well, I've gotten the same form letter I guess from the Gov.--and you have this personal connection to him. I think until someone very close to him raises the issue or he sees it as politically expedient, we get nowhere. But everyone should keep on bugging him--especially if you haven't written him in the past.

  12. Wish I had not adopted, plain and simple. It was a mistake, I did not realize how the system works at the time. It is complex, my daughter's situation was bad and she most likely would not have been raised by her mother, but international adoption should not have been her only option. Even though we did locate her family, it will be very difficult for her to ever have a meaningful relationship with them unless she moves to Russia. I hate that I did that to her. I can never take it back. I hate that Russia does not do a better job with their abandoned children. I wish things could have been different for her.

    1. Michelle,
      I don't think you should regret your adoption. It sounds like your daughter would not have had a safe home with her original family. There is SOME need for adoption. Those of us on the family preservation side need to be careful not to get so carried away with our stance that we think any and all adoption is bad. Tragically, we live in an unfair, unjust world and some children do need to be raised outside of their bio-families. My beef is with the many unnecessary adoptions and the mind-set that adoption always provides a better life, that biology doesn't matter and that being adopted is essentially the same as being raised in one's bio-family. It isn't.

    2. Yes, some children do need to be raised outside of their (bio-) families. Doesn't mean that a child cannot or should not still be related (hello! duh, like they suddenly, with the stroke of a pen, become non-relatives.) to their families. I'm all for children having a safe home to grow up in. But. I do not believe it is right to -stake out permanent, forever family- 'ownership'. Closed records, and what amounts to a type of 'witness protection program' (from my experience more for the AP'S "permanent parenthood" claim) to attempt to forever cut children (sons and daughters of any age) off from their parents, their history, their heritage, their *reality* that they live with -every single day-. Yes, I happily support guardianship with option for adoption (if and when) the child so chooses. But that would mean the fully informed -consent- of the child.. and in the world of adoption... fully informed consent very rarely occurs.

      Don't nobody scream, "we're not just baby sitters"..... no, you're not, nor do you have to be, you can be -true parents-, loving parents.. whether or not you have ''ownership papers". The ****choice**** is up to you.

  13. I am going to be the voice of dissension.

    I've worked with teens who should have been domestically adopted from birth. There are many people who say "I want to parent and I am ready" but when push comes to shove, they fail miserably. Some of the teens that I worked with were from foster care or dysfunctional homes where their "parents" had no business being parents. On the other hand, international adoption is, in my opinion,"trickier." Many of the "orphans" age out of the orphanages ( like here in the U.S. foster care system) and either become sex trade workers ( exploited children) or indentured servants. None of these choices are good. I cannot imagine saying " I rather be raised in an orphanage and later become a sex trade worker than be adopted." Can you really see yourself saying/wishing this too? Then on the other hand, there are children who are stolen from their families, and that needs to be addressed and stopped.

    However, adoption will always be needed-that's a fact. What can be done is to make sex education and birth control available worldwide. Because not everyone can be the right parent to their child at the time of conception. Mya

    1. I donate almost exclusively to child-related causes. There are two that are very dear to my heart. One is a charity started and run by my dear childhood friend (and foster mother and fellow adoptive mother) that works in Romania to supply needed and basic items to several hospital wards of children. She has been involved in Romania for almost 12 years, and has watched the change from an exclusively hospital run orphanage system (which is truly heartbreaking) to moving more children into foster care, which is better. But many still languish in hospitals, like the one she serves, and she is expanding this year to a second hospital in another city. So many children in need! As she has explained it to me, it is a very complicated culture there in regards to children, and many parents still view their children as better off if given to the state (a remnant of communism). However, international adoption in Romania proved to be a horrid failure, and given that this is a repeat pattern in almost every third world country that tries to do international adoption, it is likely to repeat itself should Romania ever open again.

      I am broken to bits when she talks about what she has seen- the children languishing in cribs, the lack of understanding among the workers on how to care for the children (she actually pays someone to go in every day and just hold the babies because otherwise, they are rarely touched), the desperation of the parents who have no money and still feel their children are better off in this broken system. But adoption won't cure any of that, and for every child who would grow up in a loving home in the US, dozens more languish in that broken system. The cure is to fix the system! To flood money and education into it! To encourage a radical change. $30,000 could impact so many children! My friend's budget isn't that for an entire year, and she impacts dozens of lives with her single charity. Every life is important, and saving even one life among the hundreds is important.... but at what cost is that one life worth when we have seen the grave detriment international adoption brings to so very many children?

      As for sex trafficking, the other charity close to my heart works in Asia getting women and children out of that very hell. In America, half of the sex trade workers are foster children, sometimes brought in right as they age out of the system. In other countries, children are often victims because they are sold into slavery by a parent or guardian or they are orphans. In no cases are these vulnerable children the ones being offered by adoption by agencies. Adoption does next to nothing for these children.

      I 100% agree with you that being in the foster care system or an orphanage and aging out are not preferred by any of these children. I 100% disagree with you that adoption cures these problems. Sex trafficking needs to be addressed on the most basic of legal levels, and extreme actions need to be taken to prevent and stop it. But adoption cannot find justification in this unless we actually are talking about making great strides towards increasing older legitimately orphaned children and foster children adoption, which at this point, is the lowest proportion of adoptions.

    2. I posted before in response to Tiffany's post and I did not see it. So forgive me if this is repeated.

      Tiffany I agree with your post in most aspects but in regards to adoption, I don't agree.

      Adoption has "saved" many children from having a life of being a sex trade worker or an indentured servant ( in the U.S and abroad) . And that may includes the Vance twins too!. In foreign countries the children that are in orphanages are not considered an investment. Meaning, they are the children of the lower class/undesirables and are treated as such. Where would many of these international trans-racial adoptees be IF it weren't for adoption? Who would take care of them when they age out? Who would look after them and guide them. Certainly not their own country because they see them as a burden on society. Yes, they may lament they lost their identity, culture and language but I dare them to "switch" places with the ones left behind ( the sex trade workers, street beggars and indentured servants) in order to have all they claimed they "lost". I don't think they would, would any of you?


    3. Of course there are children who would have been better off adopted -- and there are adopted children who would have been better off raised by their natural parents. The system is not selective. Being raised by a teen mother does not consign one to a sad life -- think Barack Obama. And being raised by older parents is no guaranteeeither.

      We need to put our efforts in helping women plan their children and helping parents raise their children. Adoption has never solved social problems and never will.

    4. Jane:

      I agree world wide family planning needs to be implemented, as I stated in my previous post. In America there are programs that do help parents keep their children but sadly, some of those child are still placed in foster-care or grow-up in dysfunctional homes. I think we (general ) need to be honest and face the fact that some people should not be parents and not all children are better off being raised within their bio-families. It's a sad but true fact. And I do commend those who speak-up about the pros and cons of being adopted. But as an adoptee who's 47, and who has worked with kids whose parents should not have been parents, I am realistic about the realities of life and how harsh it is for many children born into families or circumstances that are horrific.

      And as I said before, the Vance twins could have been one of the very same children we are talking about!

    5. Mya,
      You are correct. There are teenagers as well as adults who will not be able to parent effectively. But it is not possible to predict in advance with certainty which teens will be successful parents and which will not. Your comment comes across, imo, as implying that teenagers across the board should immediately look to adoption as their best option when facing an unplanned pregnancy. That is as simplistic and dangerous as what happened during the BSE when unmarried, primarily white middle-class expectant mothers were told that stranger adoption was in the best interest of the child and would allow the mother to move on with her life. And, in my mind, anyone who wants to stress the value of adoption is very likely working in the adoption industry.

      I do read in your comment that you care about the welfare of children and I agree with you that there is, and always will be, a need for adoption. And, unfortunately, I don't think the system will ever be so perfect that all children who truly need an alternate home will get one and that all children who truly can be raised in their original families will remain there. But we must still do our best to speak the truth about adoption, and make it clear that due to the lasting consequences for both mother and child adoption should always be a last resort.

    6. What I object to is the wholesale selling of adoption to expectant mothers based on their age and/or marital status, especially when I know that they are not being given a true picture of the full impact of adoption on both mother and child over the long run. I am not an expert on IA. My pov comes from being a domestic adoptee born during the BSE. But there is no question that perfectly fine, capable, educated women like our two bloggers and my own mother should never have been encouraged, forced, or given no realistic option other than to relinquish their children for adoption.

      OTOH, as I was that vulnerable child whose parents did not take responsibility for me, I can tell you that I would not have wanted to grow up in an orphanage or foster care. I am glad that I got a family, even if my APs were nothing to write home about. I think it is very hard, no, nearly impossible, for anyone who was not relinquished to really understand at a gut/soul level the depth of an adoptee's vulnerability.

      But in the final analysis, the only true experts on International Adoption are the adoptees themselves who live it.

    7. Robin, half way through your comment I teared up. Yes, Jane and I (and your mother) should have kept our children. ...."given no realistic option..." was certainly how I felt. I talked about this last night at dinner with my husband and a friend, and he said: you had no back up, you had no money....it's hard and it always helps when people understand.


    8. Mya, let me try to explain another way. Adoption as part of a social welfare system needs to be targeted to those who would benefit from the service. The current adoption system does not discriminate between children who can and cannot be raised by their natural parents. It's a net with the holes in the wrong places.

      The industry actively recruits mothers to-be whose babies fit the profiles of babies PAPS want -- white, non-drinkers and smokers, some college, healthy. The industry can charge the most for these babies. These are also the babies whose mothers most likely could raise them successfully.

      Meanwhile, mothers whose children would more likely benefit from an open adoption are less likely to come in contact with an adoption agency unless pressured by a state child welfare agency. And welfare agencies don't become involved unless the family already has children in care or someone or when it receives a report of possible abuse. This is as it should be.

      We need an adoption system where only truly needed children enter into it. We won't have that system unless we take the profit out of adoption. We need to put our efforts into a system which supports family preservation and where adoption is rare. This is the system which exists in Australia and western Europe. Sadly, those countries face constant pressure from would be adoption practitioners and those who want a child to go back to the bad old days when babies were plentiful domestically and abroad.

    9. Mya you're right, ''not everyone can be the right parent to their child at the time of conception". Truth. However, instead of promoting, encouraging, or forcing an adoption.. just because the parents are young, poor, inexperienced/don't know proper care of an infant.. doesn't mean they cannot be taught and learn. **One step at a time** parenting classes. Who would that hurt? I would think that a great many parents could benefit from such things. Young and inexperienced ... or not. It's often that no options are given for learning or are not disclosed quite conveniently.

    10. Cindy: I agree with the parenting classes but as I wrote before, there are many parenting classes in the U.S. and many of the children still end up in foster-care or being raised in dysfunctional homes. Also, many of today's bmoms aren't teens. They're older women who are parenting a child already, and are facing problems such as: financial instability, drug/alcohol addiction or other poor lifestyle choices that played a huge part in them placing their child.

    11. Mya I know you feel strongly about this and I certainly do appreciate that fact. It's a beautiful thing to want children to grow up in healthy and well functioning homes. Were you affected by poor/dysfunctional parenting? I come from a very dysfunctional family. In large part, I've come to learn, due to my dad's abandonment issues from being adopted and his anger at "abandonment/being 'placed' for adoption". Do you think that is a healthy thing to pass on for a generation?.... two?.... three? Is it alright to remove from one form/source of dysfunction to create another form/source of dysfunction? Is that ok to expose the next generation to that pain, anger, dysfunction? Does that make it ok for you if at least you can get some kids now, for the moment, out of the **current** dysfunction? Send it on down the line? Let me say, that hurts too.

      In regard to the available parenting classes you mention, as I stated in my previous comment, the last line- It's often that no options are given for learning or are not disclosed- as in the mother is not told that those things are available or is given the idea that it wouldn't help. Also, the preceding line to that one, I stated, "Young and inexperienced.... or not." The -not- meaning older mothers and fathers as well, whether in their 20's, 30's or other. Parenting classes to me should also include financial resources or other opportunities to increase financial stability. This attitude of 'you made your bed lie in it' is unsupportive, unhelpful, and to me, unloving. If we truly care for/about others without expecting gain/ or something in return, that to me, is the true definition of love. If -we- find ourselves in a difficult situation do we want others to just shake their heads and say, "to bad for you, I want your kids, give 'em here and buh-bye"? Is that really what we as a nation are all about?

      I'm also very curious as to the number of children in foster care who ended up there as infants or small children being placed for adoption yet not adopted or were 'returned'.

      As far as dysfunctional homes.. they come in all flavors... even and often adoptive homes. Would love to know the actual stats on that as well but that seems to be a 'hands off don't touch' category. As the rainbows, glitter and unicorns of adoption float past. Let's all smile and breath real deep. ...oh, don't unicorns smell -wonderful-!
      Phew! What was that?

    12. Cindy:

      No, I didn't grow-up in a dysfunctional home-thank god! I am an adoptee born in 1967 who has two very loving parents and a wonderful afamily. I have had the honor of working with kids in a alternative high school, which is where I learned about dysfunction and foster-care. Working with those kids opened "my"eyes to the truth: some people aren't mean't to be parents because even with funding and support they still fail at it. I think parenting is an innate desire that comes from within and no matter how much money is given and spent on parenting programs, if the person doesn't have it in them to make the sacrifice that's needed to be an excellent parent its a waste and the child lose. As I said before, I think we ( general) have to come to a realization that not everyone who can make a baby should/would be a good parent.

    13. Mya, you said, "Adoption has "saved" many children from having a life of being a sex trade worker or an indentured servant ( in the U.S and abroad) ." and "Where would many of these international trans-racial adoptees be IF it weren't for adoption? Who would take care of them when they age out? Who would look after them and guide them.'

      I did actually address that when I said, "Every life is important, and saving even one life among the hundreds is important.... but at what cost is that one life worth when we have seen the grave detriment international adoption brings to so very many children?"

      This is my precise point, at the point at which my head and heart converge in a very painful way. I believe every child is valuable, and when faced with a face and a story, like I often am from my friend, it is so painful. I want to go and adopt that child right away. But here's the crux of the matter: adoption has proven to be an overall detriment to a country's children even while it does indeed help a small number of them.

      For the one child who is able to escape a future as a sex worker, there are dozens if not hundreds of others who are not, and one reason they are not is directly related to the corruption and greed adoption brings to that country. How much is one child's life in America worth? Is it worth a dozen other children suffering? Is it worth children of loving parents being coerced away from them? Is it worth children being kidnapped from families who love and want them? Is it worth people who shouldn't be allowed to adopt because of psychological issues "slipping through the cracks" because the system is so corrupt and unmanageable in a third world country?

      This is where I struggle with international adoption... the human cost that is paid by the children, the many, many, many children, left behind in the wake of white Americans desperate for a child or arrogantly or naively trying to save a life.

    14. Sorry Tiffany I don't agree. So we can agree to disagree.

      Many of the very same kids we are taking about are sold into the sex/human trafficking trade by their parents or they age out of the orphanages ( like the kids here in the U.S.). The reason why many of the kids in the U.S. foster-care system aren't adopted is because by the time they are free to be adopted, they have been shuttled between their dysfunctional families and various foster homes. They are so "messed-up" that when they are free to be adopted many families who would love to adopt them can't because they are too far damaged.

      All of these examples could be prevent if family planning was accessible world-wide .

    15. 'All of these examples could be prevent if family planning was accessible world-wide."

      Agreed! I'd also put forth the notion that if we spent the amount of money we do on adoption towards helping existing family units stay together, we would have less of that as well. For many parents, sadly, they make these unconscionable decisions such as selling their child into slavery to care for their other children. It's really easy to simply write off all of these people as monsters and that isn't always the case. Adoption does nothing at all to help these families. I'd love to hear from you an example of why you think it does? Do you think that the adoption agency would instead give money to the family for their child rather than the slave trader? And if that were the case, would you endorse that as ethical? Children sold by families into slavery are not looking at adoption as another option, so please stop using it as a means to justify adoption.

      Children aging out of orphanages and the foster care system... this does break my heart. Again, though, let's look at adoption in China, for example. There are still children aging out of the system there, but we have adoption. What has adoption done to actually help stop it? Real numbers, I mean. Because for every child adopted who actually needs a home, like I already said, there are many other children who are unethically placed into this system.

      I saw this today, and it illustrates so perfectly what is wrong with international adoption. I know someone from Guatemala, and this was all too common. The poverty in that country is heartbreaking, and I am 100% for doing something. But adoption causes problems, not cures. If you really think that being adopted by a loving family is the best cure for the sad situations facing so many children today, read this. What happened to AnyelĂ­ and her family is absolutely unacceptable and way too common. International adoption is corrupt - it creates orphans by removing them from their families rather than helping existing orphans find homes and assisting existing families to stay together. You cannot depend on a money making bureaucracy to be voluntarily ethical.


    16. Mya I would appreciate it if you would answer the question, ''is it ok to trade one form/source of dysfunction for another...?'' Is it an 'unanswerable question'? Is it that the truthful answer is, 'No, it's not ok.' Are some unwilling to acknowledge the -fact- that separation through adoption does harm as well? Emotional and mental neglect ****are**** forms of neglect if not outright abuse. Not to mention emotional and mental neglect creates physical suffering too. Is that ok to do to a child? Or to their parents? Is it ok to continue to promote adoption as a save all, be all, win-win when so very many ---aren't? Why should anyone need -healing from adoption issues (loss, trauma) if adoption is so stinking """""wonderful"""""? How much dysfunction is created for the parents (particularly the mother) of the child taken/surrendered for adoption? How many human beings have been damaged so severely by having their families torn asunder that they are not at all who or what they could have been (as far as 'functional') had a bit of decency, kindness, understanding and compassion been shown?

      As far as U.S. foster kids wouldn't it be easier and much better for the kids if not less costly over-all to provide a better support and or rehab system for the original families?
      Why does it, ''take so long for kids in foster care to be *freed for adoption*? and if they're so, as you say, """messed-up"""" by that time. Is 'foster care' really benefitting them---at all????? It would appear to me that if the family was that messed up/dysfunctional to begin with the courts would have been =easily= able to terminate their parental rights and free the children for adoption. So what's up with that? Hoping you will address these questions. Thanks.

    17. Cindy, as a foster parent, I feel that your comment about U.S. foster kids is very much on point. I had a foster daughter who reunified with her mother. I do not feel that her mother is so messed up as to deserve to lose her child, so I am glad reunification happened. I witnessed the intense love this mother had for her daughter, but I do feel that support services were severely lacking for the mother to preserve a stable family. My husband and I did a lot to help her, but she needed more than what we could provide - and it really would have been nice if there was a system in place to provide family preservation support.

  14. Tiffany wrote: " I've had many people come to me to ask about adoption who are considering it, and after one conversation, they never talk to me again. And I don't just mean they never talk to me about adoption again; I mean they never talk to me again, period."

    I have had the same experience and it is terribly sad. I don't understand why people who are not adopted, or who have never given up a child, insist that they are the experts on the subject. I have even been given flak for making the assumption that an adopted child would have been better off in his or her bio-family. But I do think that in the vast majority of cases that is true. Adoption should only be for children who have abusive or neglectful parents or who are 100% not wanted by any member of their original families.

    Of course, if that were the case, there wouldn't be anywhere near enough children available for all of the people who seem to want to adopt. I write "seem to" because in too many cases APs find that parenting an adopted child is not all they had hoped it would be. Reuters re-homing expose, anyone? Or even the more garden variety estrangement that occurs in many adoptive families such as that which Nancy Verrier discovered in her practice (and led to her life's work).

    I am glad you shared your story. We adoptees appreciate that FMF is a safe place to tell our stories. So please allow us to do so, even if our comment is not totally in sync with the topic of the post.

  15. First: Thank you Carla and Mya for writing in a respectful manner. This space is for natural mothers, not us outsiders to stir up emotions.
    Second: Michelle, you have a point. The Chinese government should never have forced over 100 families to give up their children in my daughter's home neighborhood. They were happy to take our $3000 each instead of raising the children at the orphanage or better, just let their families raise their own. Good news: this orphanage no longer processes international adoptions. They are able to use the money to support the small number of children still arriving at their door.
    I love being my daughter's mom, but that is no reason to not wish she was never taken from her family.
    Third: It is a disgrace the supposedly free United States allows an industry to take babies from their mothers then hide the documents from adoptees in adulthood. I encourage all AP's to fight for their children's basic rights. Good News: Even the most territorial AP's see that their children should have the right to their documents.
    Thanks for putting up my poor writing style. I was feeling passionate today

  16. My AP's have never offered me my documents. We can barely discuss this adoption which happened almost 60 years ago. There is no good news coming from my AP's

  17. What momengineer, Mya, Michelle say....much of it resonates with me as I return from a month long visit to my home country, India. But first I want to talk about my adopted country, America (and yes, pun intended)

    It absolutely is mind-boggling to me that this country, regarded as relatively advanced in the free world, built on the principles of respect and acceptance of all human beings, certainly prosperous relative to my home country, could harbor an industry where able-bodied women of sound mind feel desperate enough to give up their babies. Where there is a widespread infrastructure in place that actually counsels these women, encourages them even, to voluntarily relinquish their child during what, for many of these women, is a fleeting hardship.

    Not that ANY first mothers should lose their children, but when you see so many relinquishments in America by women who are NOT facing the abject poverty and lack of education that their "sister first mothers" in India experience, it is very, very wrong. Further, for the women in America who do feel that their hardship that drives them to relinquishment is not something that will pass in a short period of time, this country absolutely can provide resources to assist with family preservation. Some efforts are being made in India in this area, but the overwhelming population and poverty makes the resources much fewer and father between. America has no excuse!

    I will talk about my visit to an Indian orphanage in a later comment but, right now, I want to take a moment to talk about the most recent American beheaded by the ISIS terrorists: Peter Kassig. A lot of what I read about Peter's life made me feel that he was in pain, in search of an identity. I later read that he was adopted. The article that I have linked below about Peter's biological family broke my heart. It is shameful that this country harbors an environment that results in women like Peter's first mother, like Jane, like Lorraine, like countless others, relinquishing their babies. The practice continues to this day - and we call ourselves advanced?!!

    I have no way of knowing if Peter's life journey would have been any easier if he had stayed with his biological family, but my gut tells me he never should have been relinquished. Here is the article:


    1. Hi Jay,
      Welcome back! I actually wondered why we hadn't heard from you for a while. Next time you go away you'll need to keep us informed here at FMF. Ha! Ha! I'm just kidding about that but you were missed!

      Thanks for the link to Peter Kassig's story. I found it interesting that his first family felt they had to cut ties with him for a time due to his anger towards his first mother. Gee, I can't imagine why. Maybe he was none too happy that his 25 year old mother gave him up. Something whoever was facilitating this adoption probably never warned his natural mother about.

      I realize Peter's mother said she did not want to be a single mother at that time in her life and maybe for her that was the best choice at the time. But oftentimes these difficult situations in a person's life are temporary and losing one's child for life and the child losing his or her original family permanently (because you can never get back the relationship you would have had) is too high a price to pay. Also, you seem to operate under the assumption that all adoptive parents are wonderful and never go through horrid situations in their lives either.

      Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    2. Thanks for your shout out, Robin - I would never stay away from FMF for too long :) The community at FMF sustains and educates me in a variety of ways, and you are one of the foremost among its cherished members! Happy Thanksgiving!

    3. Robin:

      Everyone goes through hardships adoptive parents included. My point was, this young man's bmom said it herself that her life was a wreck when he as born and adoption was the best option for them both, according to her. My point was at least she was honest with herself that her life and abilities to parent at that time weren't good. This is why adoption will always be needed because there are people who know that even with help/support they aren't ready to parent. That's when I heard " adoption destroys families" I can't help but wonder what would happen to children whose bfamilies can't or don't want to raise them? Where would they go and who would raise and guide them?

  18. Jay:

    I just finish reading this article and as his birthmother said" I could have raised him financially but my life was a wreck." Not to be Debbie Downer but I doubt if this young man's life would have been better off being raised by his bmom if she acknowledged her life was a wreck when he was born. At least she was being honest with herself, and to her child, that most likely both of them would have been victims of a hard,horrid life.

  19. Hi Mya,

    Rhonda Schwindt, Peter Kassig's biological mother, is now an assistant professor of nursing. She has raised two accomplished children who, by all accounts, appear to be fine, well-adjusted human beings.

    When Peter Kassig first sought out his biological family at the age of 18, Rhonda's life was very much together and she was happily raising two children aged 12 and 10. Thus, within 6 years after she relinquished Peter with many tears, an extremely short time when you consider the life of a human being, her life was on track (most likely less than 6 years if you consider the strong possibility she was already not a "wreck" in the months leading up to her daughter's birth).

    I think it is a travesty, an utter travesty, one that all of us in America collectively are accountable for, when we allow, in Robin's words, "perfectly fine, capable, educated women like our two bloggers and my own mother," women who eventually and often in a very short time overcome their hurdles, to feel such a level of desperation that adoption, the severance of a human being's fundamental ties to his/her identity, is considered to be the only way out. The only reason why we allow this to continue is because there is the lucrative opportunity to make money by selling the baby. There is no money gained by a third party when a mother in crisis is instead supported and encouraged to keep her baby. A society that fuels this route, the adoption route, instead of being based on the principle that there is strength in mutually supporting one another, is by no means the advanced society it claims to be. In that regard, I beg to differ from you, Mya, but I read nothing but sadness and injustice in the article I linked.

    Now as for children who truly are in need of homes, and your comment about children in orphanages, that is a reality. I visited an orphanage when I was in India, and I will address my thoughts / impressions about that visit in a separate commentary.

    1. Thanks, Jay, for calling our attention to this article. I felt there was something not quite right when I watched an interview with the Kassig's. Deeply religious of the pacifist sort, why did their son join the most hawkish branch of the Army? Then do a 180, becoming an aid worker? Then another big switch, converting to Islam, brain-washed perhaps by his captors. Peter was searching for something and went to the most dangerous place on earth to find it.

      On another topic,when I read that Rhonda said she wasn't ready to be a mother, I threw my hands up. No woman is ready to be a mother! Yes, he might have had a hard home life--for a while--but the problems would have resolved themselves as we can see by looking at Rhonda's two younger children. If Peter had stayed with his natural family, he would have been where he fit in, not a stranger in two worlds, traveling to the end of the earth to find himself. .

    2. Jane, what you say mirrors my own thoughts. Exactly, exactly, the torment is palpable and could have been avoided.

  20. Mya's comment about orphanages struck a chord in me, given that I have just returned from visiting an orphanage in India. First, I do want to say I am not at all knowledgeable about international adoption, the running of orphanages, and the types of abuses that might go on in these institutions. I am simply conveying my impressions. This is Part I.

    The orphanage we visited is one that my parents support through various donations of money, meals and other material items. It houses 105 children, from infancy to about 15 years of age. In theory (meaning I haven’t verified this), all the children are either abandoned by their parents or orphaned. I find this plausible after reading extensive news reports, day after day, of “dumpster babies” and other abandoned children being rescued by police. After the children turn 15, the Indian equivalent of Child Protective Services comes in and determines the next course of action for each child – generally channeling them into various homes for older children and providing opportunities for further schooling, technical school, etc.

    The orphanage was well-maintained, with a nice playground, a school, housing facilities and dedicated medical professionals for health care. The children looked well-fed, well-dressed and cheerful. The staff were affectionate and it was clear that the children had been held, cuddled, etc. rather than simply being left unattended. I also know this was not a show put on for our benefit because we dropped in without advance notice. My parents have done the same over the years, dropped in whenever they wanted to visit.

    I guess the only question I might have is whether the various donations indeed all go towards benefiting the children. For example, the toys, books, crayons, etc. that we brought from America were taken from us and we were told they would be distributed later in a fair and appropriate manner. Our son had wanted to hand them to the children directly, and they said he could not do that. I can only hope the staff did not take our goodies to their own families/children. I also found out that the former manager of the orphanage had recently been let go, for reasons that are unclear, and that he was getting ready to start up his own orphanage. That makes me wonder whether running an orphanage is a profitable business where the resident children are means of attracting revenue. I wonder if that is why very few of the children are adopted out and most of them are kept at the orphanage (see Part II of my comment). But I have not investigated this.

    In Part II, I will talk about the adoptions aspect where I see Mya's point about children not having to grow up in an orphanage.

  21. Part II. The orphanage that we visited is also an accredited adoption agency, although only few of the resident children end up being placed (see below). My overall feeling is one of agreement with Mya - that an orphanage is no place for a child to grow up. I believe this to be true even if the child does not end up being subjected to egregious abuse (such as sex and/or slave trafficking).

    In this particular orphanage, they have a couple of rules in regards to adoptive placements: (1) Only Indian families living in India can adopt from this orphanage; and (2) Only children 2 and a half years old and under are placed for adoption because they believe children older than that threshold do not bond with their new parents.

    I really appreciate their policy in regards to (1). I think it is a great idea not to transplant children from the culture of their home country, plus the orphanage is very good about keeping track of the children and how they are doing in their placements. With regard to (2), however, I am not so sure. The older children we met, while cheerful, had a rough edge to them, like they were missing the security of an intimate parent-child bond. They seemed somewhat hardened and expressed resentment towards our son, often saying cruel things (that thankfully he didn’t catch as he doesn’t know the local language). I felt that they should attempt placements for the older children, they would benefit greatly from secure and loving one-on-one guidance even if they don’t form a “parent-child” bond. I also know from my experience with the American foster system that older children can indeed bond with and accept “new” parents.

    So, I came away from the orphanage with several positive feelings about how good the children looked and acted, yet a lot of sadness that these children are missing the loving intimacy of a home. I believe that the orphanage is committed to providing these children with a decent means of making a living free of abuse, yet I think a lot of them will end up hardened and on the streets. While I would never advocate for adoption as routine, there were many, many older children there who I am sure would benefit from being placed with a family.

    1. The no older children adoption policy is a real shame. A friend adopted a boy from India who was officially eight years old but probably at least ten in 1981. They seemed to bonded okay. At least he never ran away. But he has had his share of problems. She never had any post-adoption support. I don't think it existed then.

      With regard to the donated toys that the staff may have taken. One of my daughters worked at a state welfare office. A do-gooder donated a TV so that children could stay in a room off the lobby and watch TV while their parents conducted their business with the welfare staff. After a short while, the staff took the TV and placed it in the employee lunchroom so they could watch TV during their lunch hour.

    2. Jane, this is exactly what I am afraid of, that our donations will be misused. As for older children who are not considered "adoptable," that is a sad situation indeed, no matter where it occurs. A former neighbor of mine was a foster child who aged out of the foster system without getting adopted, and it has resulted in lifelong feelings of not being lovable enough for someone to want her in their family. This in spite of her now having a wonderful husband and three beautiful girls of her own.

  22. Mya - Please look up White Savior complex: “fastest growth industry in the US is the White Savior Industrial Complex.” “The White Savior Industrial Complex is not about justice. It is about having a big emotional experience that validates privilege.” Teju Cole

    Please watch “Living with Dead Hearts”, “Every year in China Thousands of children are kidnapped and sold. The orphanages classified the children as ‘orphans’ or ‘abandoned’ and put them up for international adoption.”

    We've all seen the front of a peacock....beautiful, exquisite, gorgeous....but have you ever seen the back? Shockingly ugly. Adoption, beautiful from the front, but shockingly scary from behind. Adoption is a business and an industry to make money, and it is very political while at the same time it's the perfect crime from behind the scenes. Some even describes international adoption as white collar human trafficking and that is why people don't recognize it as child trafficking.

    'Vance twins' could have ended up as a prostitute, but they could have been stolen from their Korean parents for adoption purposes or worse yet, they could have been murdered by their adopters too. They could have ended up as owners to a huge empire if they stayed in Korea. How many of the 200,000 plus Korean adoptees would have ended up as prostitutes if their Korean moms kept them? We need to start promoting keeping families together. That’s the problem with adoption as we know it today, adoptees will never know the truth, adopters will never know if their child was stolen for adoption profits and natural parents will have to live a lifetime of pain of not knowing where their child is. We will never know, adoption allows 'authorities' to judge and gamble with vulnerable women's lives. I will never be grateful for the implication that my adopters are better parents then my Korean parents therefore the adoption was in our best interest and had to be done. I will never be grateful for an industry that separated us and threatened me that if I wasn’t grateful I could have been a prostitute. I will never be grateful for "what if". It just doesn't make sense. Jenette

  23. Jeanette:

    I appreciate your opinion and experience as an adoptee (as I am) . However, as you said "we don't know" what would have happened to you and many others if you were raised by your bfamily or in a orphanage. Think about it, there was something that prevented your bmother from raising you. Maybe it was lack of suppport, poor life style choices, or the stigma of being an unwed mother. But whatever the case, adoption in her mind was the best choice at that time. I think we (general) tend to think if we were raised by our bfamilies life would have been "peachy" but a lot of times it's a romantic myth. Because there was something going on in our bparents lives that prevented them and their families from keeping and raising us.

    And without adoption what would have happened to us? Would you have preferred to be raised in an orphanage or foster-care? I was born to two teen parents who were too young to take care of themselves much-less a child. My birthgrandparents were busy raising my parents and siblings and didn't want to raise my parents, their children and a grandchild ( I don't blame them). So, adoption was the best option for me. I have been blessed with wonderful parents and a family that I love and cherish very much! I also have a wonderful relationship with my bparents too. We all realize that adoption, no matter how painful it was for my bparents, was the best option for them and me at that time.Adoption will always be needed because not everyone is able or willing to raise a child.

    1. Mya you wrote "But whatever the case, adoption in her mind was the best choice at that time." Please dispel yourself of the notion that mothers freely choose adoption. For many, it was the ONLY option. Many others like myself simply did not have enough information to make a sound choice. Expectant mothers today continue to be victimized by the slick advertising of the adoption industry.

      Regarding the benefits of intercountry adoption, last night I watched an old episode of "Law and Order." The story line was that of a couple who arranged the adoption of poor Haitian children by wealthy New Yorkers who used the children as unpaid domestic servants. Fiction, of course, but likely based on real events. Then there is the case of Masha who was adopted at age five by a pedophile and used as a sex slave.

      Adoption is not a guarantee that child will be better off.

    2. Thank you Jane for clearing up some of the misconceptions 'Ms. Rose Colored Glasses' Mya has about adoption. My n-mother never 'chose' adoption. She always knew that she never wanted to give me up. And she was hardly too young, either; she was in her twenties. Also, not everyone ends up as lucky as Mya to get such wonderful adoptive parents.

      But Mya does make a good point. If a parent is going to keep their child, he or she must be able to raise that child.

  24. Mya – You are wrong. You could have had the exact same life but as your adopters as guardians. Adoption is not needed and it is a violation to our basic human God-given right (and under the UNCRC) to know who we are as living beings. Adoption is not needed in a lot of countries until the Western hemisphere stepped on their soil. Communities took care of their children. People always knew their lineage and family tree. If a child was really orphaned the relatives took care of the child. Adoptions equals secrets and lies and keeps the truth from us. Adoption is a legal document that cuts the ties to your real family and does not allow one to know the physical root of oneself, therefore one has a hard time going forward. Adoption separates you from your real family and your rights to know. Guardianship gives you the right to know one self and your roots and is not a document of ownership. It allows for changes to happen in the original family so that one day families can be reunited. Adoption is traumatic to the child and leaves lasting scars to both sides. How can we keep judging others, who we think is good and who is bad, and if we think the person is bad we must take away their child? Parents have a right to their child because they created the child. It’s their flesh and blood. They have a right to know where their child is no matter what.
    I know many teen mothers who have ended up quite successful. My best friend had her son at the age of 16 and ended up getting her masters in nursing (before she was 21) and opened up several teen clinics to offer healthcare services. I myself a teen mom who ended up being quite successful, going to school and working in healthcare for almost 20 years. You cannot judge teen parents or parents that have had vulnerable situations because people’s lives change ALWAYS. People change ALWAYS. People grow spiritually, mentally, emotionally from their experiences and hardships. I have also known adopted people who grew up in orphanages and were traumatized to leave it for another country, were deeply sad to leave their friends who they considered their family. Kids in orphanages also knew their families. In fact, the orphanages were considered similar to how we in America use day cares. Temporary care until the family can get things back on track. It was foreign people that stepped on their land that changed all of that. In fact, in Korea the women did not even know what ‘adoption’ was. A white man (who had a vision of having an Asian child) started to preach to them the word of God and saying that their child would be better off in the US. How do we not know that maybe they thought this white man was somewhat of a ‘savior’? He mislead the mothers into thinking they were not good enough parents.
    Have you ever seen Masterchef Junior? All the kids surrounding the child who thought they messed up, consoling him/her and joining in the circle with tears in their eyes too? It’s only when the adults interfere that their children’s attitudes change. Did you ever think that some kids wanted to be in the orphanage because they felt safe (these are the orphanages owned and run by the countries government, not the adoption agencies owned orphanages that harvest the kids for international adoption). Adoption agencies need to stop interfering in foreign soil because their overall intention is to have access to the kids. It’s not about the children. It’s about the money. If you want to learn more about adoption just follow the money.

  25. Jenette:

    Adoption gives the child permanacy whereas guardianship doesn't and that is what children need, permanency. We each have a difference of opinion based on our life experience, and I respect that. However, for "me" I believe children need stability not the uncertainty of guardianship. I also believe that not all international adoptions are ethical, but I do know children in orphanages are seen as the undesirables and not much investment is given to them by their country's government. In short, they don't care about these children and they participate in helping to exploit them when they age out of orphanages.

    In regards to teen moms, I never said teen moms should place. What I said was if a person and their family members aren't willing/ able to raise the child then what should happen to the child? Should they be placed in foster care/orphanages until the family gets it together ( if they do get it together). Or, are the kids expected to raise themselves?

    1. Mya, Adoption does not give a child more permanency than guardianship. 1). Adoptions can and do fail and children are re-homed or returned to foster care/back to being wards of the state. 2). Adoptive families fall apart/divorce/implode like any other family can. 3). Adoptees often become estranged from their adoptive parents -due in part to the secrecy in trying to prevent access to records or reunion or the inability of the adoptive parents to handle reunion or records access, or the pressures of trying to navigate 2 families. 4). With guardianship the child can receive a home (since that seems to be the ''big'' selling point) and can call their guardians mom and dad for as long as they live... it's dependent on the quality of the relationship between the adults and the child. It's *not* dependent on whether or not someone has 'legal papers on you saying I am MOM or I am DAD' the LAW says so. Most kids wander away from home in their late teenage years or early 20's and 'move on'. If you have loved, truly loved the child/ren in your care, they will be your ''kids'' for life. Look at how often foster kids (now adults) call their former foster parents -mom and dad and feel great affection for them and relate to them as family. It's all about love...... ain't it? I'm sure others can think of more points to add. What is so wrong with guardianship with option for adoption with the child's **fully informed consent** at a later time. It would create some pressure on the parents(guardians) to be ---good parents---. Would that be hardship? If so then maybe.... well, I think you know where I would go with that.

      Could you explain to me in what way/how does this ''permanency" work? How does adoption make for permanency for the child? Does guardianship mean the guardians can throw the kid out any time they feel like it? Seems to me like adoptive parents -throw the kid out- whenever they please so ...what is the difference? I truly want to understand where you are coming from. Right now, I don't see a difference. Except adoption can often feel like a 'prison' from the -you have no right to know that/them point of view.

    2. Don't forget the permanency of having just one birth certificate and one identity, having the same mother and ancestors for your entire life, being able to go home if circumstances improve by miracle...

  26. Jane:

    You're right, adoption is no guarantee that a child will have a better life, just like it's no guarantee that the same child would have thrived being raised by their bio family. Nothing in life is guaranteed..

  27. Mya, the oft used retort that staying in ones natural family is no guarantee misses the point. Adoption is unnatural. If it can't guarantee a better outcome, it should not be used just as medicines should not be prescribed that have side effects worse than the disease.

  28. I think guardianship could work in certain cases, but not in all. In our case, what you propose, Jenette, would not have worked. The fact of the matter remains that there will always, as Mya said, be children in need of homes. I think that is an indisputable fact- there are cases where the mother is not coerced and is not looking for support and doesn't want to parent or cases where the parents are not safe for the child. What I take issue with is the rampant corruption in adoption because it is a business driven by money and bureaucracy, not a benevolent, non-profit system that puts the child's needs first. I take issue with using needy children as a posterboard for why we should have adoption, and saying that adoption saves children when it in fact does this quite rarely instead of as a matter of course.

    Adoption should never be a first choice and it should never be a choice made out of desperation and lack of resources or support. But I do believe it must exist as a choice, and we must push for major reforms to the system. I do not believe international adoption should exist in third world countries, though, period. It has proven, again and again, in country after country, to cause rampant corruption and cannot be trusted to exist.

    I would also like to point out that foreign orphanages are not pleasant places for the majority of children, especially a child with any level of special needs. I don't deny that children forge bonds with the other children, but orphanages pose major physical and psychological problems for children, including issues from the other children, who are not always so innocent as one would like to think. It is far better for children to be in a family situation like foster care or a small group home, and there are countries realizing this; for all the problems with foster care, and there are many, orphanages are not a good concept.

    1. I thought of something I wanted to add...

      Regarding international adoption, what is disturbing for me is the cost children pay for some to be adopted. It is a fact that children are sold, coerced, and stolen in many of these countries, directly for the purposes of adoption. I cannot endorse one child paying this price for the chance for another child to have a chance at a loving home. I will not accept that this is the only option we can provide; I believe we can and should do better because it is sickening to me to continue to support an industry where children are burdened with the heartbreaking fallout of corruption and the "white savior complex" desire to assuage our consciouses.

  29. Mya -
    "According to human rights conventions such as the UDHR and the ICESCR, motherhood should be protected and parents have a right to social protection and assistance. Enforcement of these rights would, in many cases, prevent the separation of children from their families. And if they don’t, the state has a duty to provide a suitable form of care. According to article 20 of the UNCRC, when considering solutions ‘due regard shall be paid to the desirability of continuity in a child’s upbringing and to the child’s ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic background.’ From a human rights perspective, sending children in ICA can be regarded as the result of a country’s failure to fulfil its international human rights law obligations."
    Please read the rest of the article: http://ohrh.law.ox.ac.uk/the-uncomfortable-place-of-inter-country-adoption-in-the-human-rights-arena/

  30. I want to understand the feelings of adoptees and birth mothers. I can speak only on domestic USA adoptions.

    With sincere respect, while I can understand the remorse in not raising ones child, losing and giving are two different things. One implies a child was taken, the other that a choice was made. She clearly states in "A Hole in My Heart" that shame and embarrassment provoked a choice. My friend gave up a daughter for adoption in the 60s as well for those same reasons. She's never implied anything other than that it was her choice, regardless of her family's provocation. I commented once that it must have been awful to be coerced like that. I was set straight with, "Are you implying I was stupid or otherwise mentally deficient?" She then gently told me she may have been young but knew better and it was never anything but her choice. She has never made an excuse for her decision, though she still lives with remorse even after her daughter found her. My friend still grieves, because she sees what she would not admit to while pregnant - that she could have raised her little girl if she'd been willing to give up herself instead of her child. She would never blame anyone or anything else for her choice to give up her child. Not even the social atmosphere of the early 60s. I have a cousin that conceived and bore a child from rape. Everyone told her to abort the child or give it up for adoption. She refused and moved away (or ran away depending on your point of view), had the child and moved back later after she married. Her son has some genetic problems not from her genes, and she's thankful to be the one to help him through. I have another friend that was found 30 years ago at the age of four crying and alone in the pouring rain in the streets of Somalia. She has no idea why she was abandoned, but she will tell you she's so thankful that someone “nice” found her, brought her to the US, adopted her and saved her from the typical end of abandoned children. She tells everyone to adopt the left behind from anywhere. I have a son through older domestic adoption. Adoption saved him and his brothers from being statistics.

    Read an old book "How it Feels to be Adopted". Interviews with several adopted children. One adopted 15 year old young man sums up how my friend says she feels and felt all those years after giving up her daughter and what she thinks birth mothers should keep in mind, without minimizing the birth mother's remorse about her decision. My cousin also read the book and, unprompted by me, pointed out that this young man's thoughts were exactly why she decided to raise her child. Not because it was her child, but because she knew she'd never know, and would never have a right to know, how he turned out if she gave him up. My adopted friend says any relatives she may have in Somalia have no right to even her memory. She says she has no “rage”, “anger”, “incompleteness”, etc. She has not read the book. She says I need to stay away from negative adoption blogs. Here is that young man's thoughts: "As for birthparent's searching, I don't know how I feel about that. I assume they gave up their kids for a good reason, and if they didn't - well, I hate to blame them, but it truly is their fault, and they don't have the right to reexamine their decision later on." Are our adoption impact stories welcome here too?

    1. Sarah, I don't quite understand what your point is. This is
      A place where first/birth/natural/real mothers share news and opinions. And vent.
      as it says above.

      Yes, despite how I felt "forced" by the times, for me it was better to understand and feel that I personally was not strong enough to resist the forces around me--including the (married" father's insistence that I give up our child to be adopted. I really did not see another way out, but I was fully conscious and not forced by my parents, as many many younger women were.

      It appears that you want to come here to talk about great adoptions, happy adoptees, who you know? I am not sure this is the place for that, as we do know that many mothers, no matter how or why or when they lost their children to adoption, are not at ease with their decision. You say you can only speak about USA Domestic adoptions, but then tell us of an international adoption.

      You also do not state you are an adoptive mother but that is the only conclusion I can make. If adoptive mothers come here to comment, it does seem that they ought to make that clear. We do not go to adoptive mother blogs and criticize or post comments there telling them their feelings are misguided; but is that your point here, to confront our feelings?

      When you say "she" says in Hole in My Heart, please understand you are saying it to Lorraine, the person who wrote the book. You are welcome to comment here--as we are decidedly not welcome at most adoptive mother blogs and we stay away--so I ask again, what do you hope to gain here?

      As a matter of fact, this is an old blog and feel people will see you comment. You can find the current blog by simply hitting the blog's logo.

    2. Sarah, it was not simply that I was not strong enough to keep my child. I was convinced that there was no value to my child in doing so. Keeping her would be selfish; that no matter what I did I could not come close to giving her what she should have: A loving TWO PARENT household, a pony, a picket fence, yadya yada. The mantra was "think of your child, not yourself." These marketing ploys are still used to seduce vulnerable mothers into giving up their children.

      As for the primal wound, every adoptee I've ever met has issues about being adopted. For starters, they wonder why they were given up; later they wonder who they would have been. They may be better off or at least think that, but they still have the nagging feeling something is not right. Adoptees suffer a burden the rest of us don't.

      I liken it to losing my right eye to cancer. Am I better off? Well, I've lived cancer free since the surgery in 1999. Would that justify removing someone's healthy eye. Of course not. Likewise, adoption is wonderful for children who need homes, but not good for those who don't. Much of adoption in the US is driven by culture, not need. That's why our rate is 25 times higher than the rate in England and Wales and much higher than other Western European countries and Australia.

  31. Greetings, Lorraine. I did state I am an adoptive mom of an older child, though I think I wrote so much that it's easy to miss. I want to understand how birth mothers feel, because 1.) Regardless of my friend who was a "first mom" telling me it's only the unhappy that speak out, I keep finding blog after blog and book after book about how awful adoption is for the mother and child. I keep finding wide-sweeping statements that adoption is wrong from what appear to be educated people. So, I feel there must be something to it that I'm missing - that even my friend is missing. 2.) We are now considering another domestic adoption, but this time from a birth mother.

    What do we do? Do we decide that adoption is a terrible thing that should not exist and not adopt? Do we adopt as long as we know, through investigation and interviews, that we are getting a child that is not wanted and just accept that it's a fact that our child will probably grow up to hate us and themselves no matter what we do? Or - are there specific things we should and could do to help our child heal and grow?

    There just seems to be too many conflicts and that adoption is a no win. I read one story from a Korean adoptee that says he never had an identity or abandonment problem and that it was known he had birth family alive when he was adopted. He was already in an orphanage, so the damage had already been done and his a-family knew he'd never be able to go back to his birth family, even if they tried, so they agreed to the adoption reasoning that at least they knew they would give him a good home. I thought I'd found something to work with because his parents had incorporated Korean culture and activities, and even the language, in their family from the day he came home, even though he says he rejected and didn't want it. He remembers just not wanting to do what he saw as "weird parent stuff". He ends with saying that perhaps that's why he never had any problems or angst with who he was, because he'd been shown who he was. Fully American and Korean. But then - I read Jeanette (I think that's her name - sorry) say her a-parents did the same thing with incorporating Korean culture and she - well, she appears to live in torment. Surely it's not simply a matter of disposition? So what detail are we missing? What is the difference that allows an adopted child to sincerely love his a-family and grow into an untormented adult, rather than a child that "loves, but" his a-family and grows into a tormented adult? Or, perhaps it's a combination of nature and nurture? People can have a natural disposition to grow into torment, even in the most nurturing homes. People can have a natural disposition to not grow into torment, even in the most un-nurtuing homes. Is it at all possible that natural disposition is a factor?

    We don't want to add to the pain. How do we do this? We know well-informed, educated and even well-off women that just do not want their children, for a myriad of reasons. Do we tell them we won't take their baby because they're obviously not in touch with themselves (I'm not being sarcastic - I am very serious)? And what about the one mother that says she wants to find a couple that will agree to never let her child know her name or find her - and has said if she can't find such a couple she'll drop off her newborn at another hospital with not even medical or birth information? Do we run anyway selfishly because we "know" the child will hate us and grow up with abandonment issues, or do we say "well, we know she'll do what she says and at least we know we'll give him a good home"? What do we do? Thank you.

    1. Sarah, I don't doubt you are trying to understand birth mothers but you are showing your ignorance and bias when you say "We are now considering another domestic adoption, but this time from a birth mother." A woman is not a birth mother until she gives up her child. A pregnant woman is never a birth mother to the child she is carrying. By referring to her in that way, you are using language adopted by the adoption industry to convince pregnant women and prospective adopters that the woman is carrying the baby for someone else.

      Women who truly do not want their children have abortions. Women who give up their babies fear being mothers, fear the changes and demands that motherhood will bring, They may voice this as "I don't want to be a mother" or "I'm not ready to be a mother." Adoption agencies emphasize to these women how difficult and expensive motherhood is. What they really mean is "I'm afraid to be a mother." The don't realize that all pregnant women have fears and that no one knows how to be as mother until they are one. These pregnant women considering adoption believe that adoption somehow makes the baby disappear. In truth, these women are always mothers but mothers who did not raise their children.

      Regarding the "well-informed, educated and even well-off women that just do not want their children" -- are these women who already have children? Are they seriously seeking homes for the children they are raising? That's hard to believe. "Well-informed, educated and even well-off women that just do not want their children" typically send them to boarding schools or let nannies raise them. Many adoptive parents also oft-load their children because of the demands of their careers and the behaviors of their children.

      Or are these "well-informed, educated and even well-off women that just do not want their children" women who are pregnant? I have to think they are women who bought into the sophisticated marketing about adoption being a "reproductive-option.' They can pat them selves on the back, pride themselves that they are not like welfare riff-raff who keep their babies out of misguided ideas about the importance of blood ties. These women give up their babies and smile through their tears, telling themselves they did the right thing until years later, they realize that the pain does not go away and their child has suffered a loss. It's hard for them to admit they were wrong to give up their babies. Easier to get the kudos from adoptive parents and society in general by insisting they made the right decision.

      The purpose of adoption is to provie a home for a child who needs one. I encourage you to adopt through your state;s child welfare agency. Use the $30,000 or so you would spend to adopt from a "birth mother" to posy for college for your adopted children.



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