' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: What about children who need adopting?

Friday, April 17, 2015

What about children who need adopting?

Lorraine at her desk 
While we have been discussing the great damage done by people like Catelynn and Tyler for their continuing advocacy of adoption as shills for Bethany Christian Services, I thought it might be useful to post an overview of adoption attitudes and practices in America. Surely some readers who find themselves here read our posts and say--What about all those children who need to be adopted? 

As I was writing Hole in My Heart, my upcoming memoir, I realized that some readers would have that very thought, and so I include a section under the rubric of "Facts and Commentary" to answer them. It will be posted over the next week in three sections. Part I is today below. 

As for Catelynn and Tyler, it appears that they will meet with the adoptive parents of their first child, Theresa and Brandon Davis, in a segment of Monday's show of "Teen Mom OG" (10 p.m. EST/9 CST). Of course it's edited, but it will be interesting to see the interaction of the four parents of daughter Carly. As for how deeply Catelynn is involved in pushing adoption, I just picked this up from Catelynn's Twitter feed online: Hi, I'm Catelynn from Teen Mom. My goal is 2 be an advocate 4 adoption. Contact us on website 4 speaking engagements & join our fan page!

Oh dear. Apparently she has totally become a handmaiden of the culture that advocates moving children from natural parents to others. How many children are going to be given away and grow up with genetic strangers while Catelynn and Tyler continue their spree? 

                                                            *      *      * 

Some of you surely are thinking that there are children who need adopting—children of felons in prison and crack whores who are not. What about them? Surely it doesn't make good sense to be against all adoption.

More than 100,000 children in foster care are available to be adopted.[1] They range in age from infants to 21 years of age. Most are past the cute baby stage and have been shuffled among family members and foster homes. Some were born with AIDs; others have emotional scars. They are all races. These are the children waiting for homes and families.

Some 50,000 children were adopted from foster care during the fiscal year 2013, the latest figures available at this writing. Many were adopted by relatives—grandparents, aunts and uncles, but how many we do not know. This is all well and good, but the children left behind are not the ones driving the engine that makes adoption a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide.

To live in middle-class America today one feels that either there is a great baby shortage (so difficult and expensive to get a white newborn!) or a plethora of babies in countries around the world (mostly black or black/white) who need homes. What about all those children waiting in decrepit orphanages in Russia, Ethiopia, you name it?
Let’s deal with them first. It is true that in times of war, famine, and natural disaster, some children do end up in orphanages and need homes that their home  countries may not readily supply. But the number of children without families is greatly exaggerated, pushed by evangelicals who are encouraged to adopt by their churches, some of which conveniently operate orphanages, as well as offer adoption services. As investigative journalist Kathryn Joyce notes in The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption [2] evangelicals look upon adoption as the “perfect storm” of a cause: “…a way for conservative churches to get involved in poverty and social justice issues that they ceded years before to liberal denominations, an extension of pro-life politics and a decisive rebuttal to the taunt that Christians should adopt all those extra children they want women to have, and, more quietly, as a window for evangelizing.”

The trouble is that a great many of the orphans are not orphans at all—they are only poor and live in areas where social services for children amount to orphanages that families turn to in a time of need. Often parents do not intend for their children to be adopted, but they end up that way, scattered around the world. In some cases, parents are duped into handing over their children, thinking it is only temporary, and that the children will return once they are educated. Language barriers mean the children cannot tell their new parents that they have mothers and fathers in their home country. Some orphanages are purposely kept in shambles to encourage people not only to adopt, but also to give money to upgrade the orphanage.[3]

Additionally, a great many middle and upper class people simply prefer to have a child from a foreign country rather than one from foster care (who knows what you are getting?), or get involved in an open adoption. As one father who adopted from Siberia put it: "Just because we'd been through the IVF wars and lost, that didn't mean that Elizabeth [his wife] should always have to save an extra seat at the dance recital."[4] 

How much tidier to adopt from a faraway land where the promise of molding an unformed child into your own likeness seems at least possible, and the natural mother has only the remotest chance of appearing. This process also offers the emotional bonus of rescuing a child from deplorable living conditions and makes the “rescue” of a child a noble humanitarian act. Everybody wins.--from Hole In My Heart by lorraine, not to be used without permission. 

To Be Continued: Part II    International Adoption: Salvation or Corruption?  

[1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children's Bureau, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb
For data: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/afcarsreport21.pdf
Fiscal year is from October 1st through September 30th.

[2] Kathryn Joyce, The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption, (New York: 2013), p.xii.

[3] Fraud & Corruption in International Adoptions, The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, Brandeis University, 2008-. http://www.brandeis.edu/investigate/adoption/;  Mirah  Riben, The Stork Market, America’s multi-billion dollar unregulated adoption industry (New Jersey: 2007);  Conor Grennan, Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal (New York: 2010).

[4] Brooks Hansen, The Brotherhood of Joseph: A Father's Memoir of Infertility and Adoption in the 21st Century (New York: 2008), pp. 80-81.


The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption
“In this chilling expose that promises to become a muckraker classic, Kathryn Joyce rips the veil off a sacrosanct institution in America and other rich nations: international adoption.  She exposes not just black- and grey-market practices—though she finds plenty of both in evangelical-Christian institutions piously claiming to rescue orphans from poor countries.  More profoundly, though, Joyce reveals how secular, squeaky-clean adoption can also do harm, not just to individual birth mothers and adoptees, but to the progress of children’s and women’s rights globally. The Child Catchers is essential reading for adoptive parents, those thinking about adopting, and anyone concerned with democracy—nationally and throughout the world.”Debbie Nathan, journalist



  1. I just found this on an adoption agency rating website:
    So much for an Open Adoption

    I would not recommend Bethany Christian Services to anyone unless they want a closed adoption. If you are looking for an open adoption, it is best to find another agency.

    1. Mama Bear, while I agree that Bethany Christian Services has repeatedly proven itself to be untrustworthy, I don't think finding another agency will remedy the problem that you are alluding to. Open adoption can always close in the blink of an adoptive parent's eye. In the end, they have all the power. And quite often they use that power in thoroughly unethical ways.

    2. I totally agree. I just found the comment and thought I would share for anyone searching on the net who found first mother forum. We know a great many so-called open adoptions close.

  2. I do not agree... categorically. I am sorry, as one of those children, I never wanted to be adopted and no one wanted to adopt me. To put that out there is to say that these children are not wanted or loved by their parents. Realistically, most of them are in the system for reasons other than neglect or abuse.

    The foster children of today are often put in care because, oh wait, the parents are too poor to afford what the world thinks is necessary - ie, brand name clothing, cell phones, that extra something that isn't kmart clothing. They come to school in clothes that are line dried, shoes that may be hand-me-downs and their parents can't afford the expensive things that others have. Social Services often gets involved because a well meaning teacher or school nurse thinks that maybe that bruise is abuse. Often - 79% of the time - it is not abuse... it is poverty.

    Children then enter the system and never return home. Often ending up in foster homes, and group homes, being abused by staff/foster parents and other children. The reaction of the child is to lash out, thus creating the view that they are still "needing services."

    Meanwhile the parents, usually struggling with poverty, can't afford the attorney that would have helped them end the issues immediately. Thus they are forced to "jump through hoops" of constant appointments, requirements, and needs that the state has decided are appropriate. They must maintain a job that will support the child, but are not encourage or assisted in any way by the system that is insisting that they get this job.

    They are often required to make long distance trips for visitation and if they are late or unable to attend because of lack of transportation, this is noted for the judge as proof of their inability to be good parents. These trips often are set for the middle of the work week and the middle of a day, necessitating that the parents who have to struggle to find a good job also find a job that allows them to take off work several times a month.

    Then, with the different appointments, etc., they are also required to attend the child's appointments - even if it means sitting in a waiting room for one hour, then leaving without even a visit with the child.

    Meanwhile, after 6 months the state decides to have a hearing to decide that maybe the child should be adopted.... so, the plan changes. The parent is now fighting the tide of money that flows when a child is adopted out of the foster care system... and yes, there is a lot of money involved.

  3. PART 2:

    Now, all the previous comment said... 90% of foster parents get into the business of foster care for one of 2 reasons - to adopt a baby or toddler or the money.

    And for all of you foster parents out there - don't - I was a foster parent and trained with a lot of people. The facts are very simple - you get paid, very well, for a child that is a problem. You are also the first on the list to adopt a new born or toddler.

    So, the child that is left out is the child that might actually need a home... the child that the state has taken away the parental rights or that hasn't but refuses to return the child to their parents for whatever reason... and the child that is older, with issues and in need of assistance that does not occur elsewhere.

    I know... I was a foster child, a parent, and a foster parent. The rest is smoke and mirrors and it is all about the money that is paid by the federal government for every child.

    1. Lori, I absolutely agree with you -- the child welfare system in many states is a mess. This is well documented by the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, www.nccpr.org.

      There's about 400,000 children in foster care, 100,000 of whom are available for adoption. Many of the children in foster care could go home if the state would help out. This doesn't happen because the foster care/substitute care industry is politically powerful and drives many of the child welfare laws. There are dedicated foster parents but there are also some as you say who are in it for the money. Others are in it for religious reasons. It takes people like you, telling their stories, to help decision-makers learn that the system needs to be reformed..

      Still it remains that there are large number of children who do need families. People who want children should look to these kids instead of paying big bucks for the child of a mother who could nurture her child.

      Members of the public often believe the adoption industry myth -- that infants who are adopted needed a home. The public is not aware of the immense marketing and out right corruption that goes into obtaining these babies. We need to do what we can to change the narrative.

  4. Lori: thank you for your insight and comment. I did change the post--and will change it in the book--though understand this section is not much about foster care, but to combat the idea that there are not zillions of adoptable babies out their waiting for people who want to do good adopt, or complete their families by adopting.

  5. I get that and totally agree with you! There are not zillions of unwanted or abandoned babies and toddlers. There are very few and most of them could be raised by their biological families.

  6. But, people want babies, and they are willing to pay for them. They don't really care about the damage it does.

    It's similar to prostitution. Does the John care about the damage he's doing to the hooker? He wants flesh, and he's willing to pay.

    Sad to think these are the people you're giving your babies to.

  7. In touch reader - the fact that you stated that "these are the people YOU'RE GIVING YOUR BABIES TO." (emphasis added) - makes me wonder what you are thinking. I didn't GIVE my baby to anyone. Excuse me - color me offended!

    1. These are the people Catelynn and Tyler gave their baby to. They willingly gave her away, and actively encourage others to follow their lead.

      This is for the ones who did it "by their own free will".

      I don't think they have any idea what they'e done, to their child or themselves.

    2. I don't think people like them are able to wake up and stop drinking the koolaid.

  8. There is not as much controversy about children who need adopting. Most people agree that there are those children truly abandoned by family that would do better in a private home than in institutions and/or foster care. The question is whether a child is better off with biological parents, family when they are not in the position or or want to be involved in raising the child. Children of single parents have historically done poorly in every study, and most of the penal institutions are filled with those so raised. The children I know who were adopted, and I know both sides of such situations, moms who gave up the children and have now reconnected and those who adopted infants seem to do quite well, though the private pain may well be there. On a measurable basis doing a lot better than those who were kept with the bio mother who was just not able to well care for the children. A number of my peers are grandmothers who ended up mothering children that they now feel should have been given up to parents who so wanted a baby to raise, instead of having those children raised by someone not on board to do so, but doing so because the parents could not or would not do so. Very sad situations.

    Yes, there is the pain, the hole in the heart of giving up a child but most children adopted by parents wanting, planning a family, ready to do so, do a lot better.

    1. Our concern, Jami, is not with the very few parents who truly do not want to raise their children; it is with the mothers who are suckered into giving up their children by the adoption industry. The US has an infant adoption rate 25 times that of England and Wales. Besides the lack of supports for new mothers, a primary reason is that adoption is a money-making business in the US but run by the government in the UK.

      The studies often cited to "prove children raised by single parents do less well than those raised by married couples" don't prove that children should be raised by strangers, That's trading one problem for another. The answer for single parent families is ending workplace discrimination against women and adopting family friendly policies nationally.

      Moving children from a single family household to an "Ozzie and Harriet" home may appear good but it often creates other problems. (Plus of course few adoptive homes meet that 1950's ideal.) Children raised in adoptive homes often struggle with a primal festering wound. A disproportionate number are in adolescent treatment centers. They have a higher rate of suicide. Even those who appear to be okay, will confess to the anxieties being adopted has caused them. It is simply hard to be raised by people who don't look like you or share your talents or interests.

      I find it surprising that you know a number of grandmothers who wish their grandchildren had been given to biological strangers. I know grandmothers who are happy to step in and help. I also know grandparents who suffer daily because they encouraged their daughters to give up their babies. These women grieve over their lost grandchildren.

      The US infant adoption system is not based on needs of children. It's a web which catches the naive and those who have a temporary problem. The US needs an adoption system which is truly based on the needs of children. Instead we have a system designed to find children for people who want to be parents.

    2. I do not know ANY adoptee who ''did better" by being adopted. I've seen nothing but heartache and serious anger and extreme suffering in the adoptees I know. I do not know one adoptee (within my family or in life)who as you put it, ''do [did] quite well''. They are loved and beautiful people but they struggle horribly. If what you are comparing doing quite well to is those in foster care or institutions your single mother argument goes out the window.

      THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO ''DID WELL" (made out like a bandit) IN ALL OF THIS ARE/WERE THE ADOPTIVE PARENTS. The rest of us and our true/real families have paid the price for others to ''play mommy and daddy''. People who adopt are human and prone to (and often suffer from) the same stuff, whether that be homelessness, poverty, divorce/single parenthood or any of a number of other ''excuses'' used to coerce or force a mother to surrender her child.

      I found out recently that my son was beaten for years. I am still in shock over that. My son did not deserve to be ripped from me and given to strangers to BE BEATEN BY THEIR new SPOUSE (after they divorced and remarried), my son did not deserve to be exposed to raging drunken anger or any of it. My son did not deserve to be ripped from me. My son does not deserve to be burdened with the horrible anger that is carried from all of this. My son did NOTHING!! wrong.

      If agencies and those who want to take other peoples children away from them and play mommy and daddy because they are ''holier than thou'' (''better/more fit'' to be parents than you).......... you **HAD**BETTER**BE. ... holier than thou. You ought to be forced to sign a contract with full enforceability by law in having to be ""holier than thou'''' PERFECT parents. No excuses and FREQUENT, IN DEPTH, HOME VISITS throughout the child's life while they are in your home! No more of this, "Whoo-hoo we're scott free. Let's take the baby and run". How can anybody who is responsible for forcing a mother into this position sleep at night? How can anyone who has '''''facilitated'''' an adoption sleep at night? How can they continue to promote adoption? How can they continue to do this knowing full well what is really going on with and to adoptees? How can they allow this to happen to children? OUR children. How? I'm trying to understand how this horror can continue unabated in this country.

      Why burden a baby, a child, a teen, an adult, and their children and families and others just so someone can play mommy and daddy? No child truly ""needs'''' adopting. Get rid of the foster care system. Give a child that NEEDS a home, a single stable home. ONE home. Guardianship in that home with option for adoption (with the child's fully informed consent) at a later time...----- IF----- adoption is NECESSARY. ..and it seldom ever is.

      Adoption is NOT A ''BETTER LIFE''... it's a life with strangers and burdens galore and often times ...abuse. This sorrow doesn't end.

    3. I will go on saying until the day I die, if you choose to carry a baby to term, be able to raise that child. Far too many grandparents are being saddled with children to raise that they would rather not be raising. The blog supports the right to choose, and that includes abortion.

    4. I do not mean to criticize of course the women who did not have abortion available to them as a legal entity--but today, most women have that choice. However, the right to a medical and safe abortion continues to be a raging battle among state legislators, who are largely male and do not have to deal with the reality of a child at a time when it is difficult to raise that child. Every other day I get emails from NARAL about the next curb on abortion rights in one state or another. Yet seven out of ten Americans support a woman's right to control her own body.

    5. Not all of us would have chosen abortion, even if we had had that option. Even though we knew that in spite of the fact that we wanted to, we were not going to be able to keep and raise our child..
      Just saying.

    6. Of course. But if you have a baby today--with effective birth control--then figure out how to keep that baby.

    7. Birth control was quite effective as far back as the sixties. Even today "accidents" continue to happen, and when they do, the resulting pregnancy is not always unwanted. Besides, some young women may not even realize they are pregnant until they are too far along to get a legal and safe abortion.
      I think you are being too harsh. It's easy to tell other people what to do.

    8. The Pill was not universally available to unmarried woman in all states until 1972. Not until 1965 did the U.S. Supreme Court rule in Griswold v. Connecticut that it was unconstitutional for the government to prohibit married couples from using birth control. Activist Bill Baird was arrested in 1967 for distributing a contraceptive foam and a condom to a student during a lecture on birth control and abortion at Boston University. Baird's appeal of his conviction led to the United States Supreme Court case, Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972), which finally made it legal in all states to allow unmarried couples to have and use birth control and thereby legalized it for all Americans. While these rulings were catching up to the fact that unmarried couples were having sex and not hiding it, they do indicate the puritanical ethos of that era. How different it was back then is hard to convey today.

      Yes today birth control is much easier to come by; women who chose to can have legal abortions in most places, except as the GOP keeps turning back the clock and make them harder to get. This is not the place to argue about abortions; perhaps you would like to direct your comment that I am being harsh to Catelynn who apparently is running around doing a great deal of damage encouraging young teems to have their babies and let older, richer, wiser people raise them. Please look into Adoptee suicide and How do natural mothers fare?

      It's not a pretty picture.

    9. You are right about the lack of general availabily of the pill, though I do know unmarried women who managed to get it.
      I don't think you are being too harsh to Catelynn. I agree about her causing damage, and even if she's a pawn, she's a willing one.

      What I am saying is, even with the best birth control, accidents sometimes happen, and also, even today, there are young women who are quite ignorant or misinformed about sex. If their circumstances are difficult and they have no supportive family or social support to help them, in my opinion it's a bit harsh to instruct them to just "figure out" how to keep their baby. The forces against them may be almost as great as they were during the BSE.
      Now if you had said "TRY to find a way to keep your baby" I wouldn't have minded so much.

    10. Although I tell people adoption should be off the table in a case of unwanted pregnancy, I know of a case where a 15 year old girl gave up a baby. Her parents would not hear of abortion or help her raise the baby. Because of her age, she could not get the pill and may have been too shy to insist on a condom.

      I know the mind set of some women -- I was there -- abortion would be selfish. Just grit your teeth for the next six months and give the baby to a deserving couple. I would never, never recommend that today. I am a strong support of abortion rights

    11. Same Anon here. I am a strong supporter of adoption rights too.And I would always encourage to try and find a way to keep.
      However, there are cases (such as the one you describe, and others, for other reasons) where it may not be easy - or even possible - for the mother to keep her baby, or for the baby to stay within the wider family. I think it's harsh to judge others for what we have done, even though times may have changed amd many things are different.

    12. That was meant to be " I am a strong supporter of abortion rights too". My iPad sometimes messes up on words.

  9. Jami: I know many adoptees. My adoptee cousin, who took her life, family members on my husband's side, my own contemporaries with whom I grew up. All of us were adopted as infants, myself included, with the promise of a better life. The international/ transracial adoptions I know of have fallen apart, and the domestic infant adoptees have not done much better. None of us have fared well. It is unnatural to be raised by strangers. The adoptee is in an impossible position, from day one.



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