' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: The Adoption Option: Not a good choice

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Adoption Option: Not a good choice

By Lorraine Dusky and Jane Edwards

Lorraine Dusky
Making adoption more attractive to women with unplanned pregnancies is a “worthwhile goal,” according to the liberal think tank, The Center for American Progress. A 2010 publication, The Adoption Option: Adoption Won’t Reduce Abortion but It Will Expand Women’s Choices argues for government support for “ensuring that adoption remains an ethical and effective option” while recognizing that increasing voluntary infant adoptions (approximately 14,000 a year), would not impact the number of abortions annually (1.2 million).

We vehemently disagree. Yes, some will find their lives easier without the hassles of child care, but that does not take into account the fallout for both the mothers and the children so adopted. Adoptee and birth mother organizations, poignant memoirs from both first mothers[1] and adoptees,[2] as well as numerous psychological studies[3] attest to the enormous pitfalls and life-long consequences for the two individuals at the heart of any adoption: mother and child. That a liberal policy institute, the Washington D. C.-based Center for American Progress, takes such a stand is both shocking and offensive: Women should not be encouraged to part with their children, and certainly the government should not be involved in furthering such a policy.
Jane Edwards

Instead, the government, or private institutions, should find ways to help those who need assistance to raise their children. Yet the tacit implication of the report is that mothers-to-be are less aware of adoption as an option. This is absurd. Everyone of even modest intelligence is aware that adoption is an option—there are ads for babies in weekly newspapers and penny savers, on restaurant place mats, on numerous websites; television and movies further glamorize adoption. Only a moron would think that the “adoption option” was not readily available.

In spite of this the publication urges Congress to “provide grants to establish national public education campaigns to accurately inform the public about adoption and its potential benefits for all involved.” Quite frankly, we are speechless. The only long term benefit we can see is that adoption agencies, always short of healthy infants available for adoption, will have their orders more readily filled, that middle class women and men will find it easier to get a baby.

The report focuses on a 1997 study, “The Consequences of Placing versus Parenting Among Unmarried Women ,”[4] stating that two-thirds of teen mothers participating in adoptions “reported a feeling of peace about their decision and were very certain they would make the same decision again. This means that a full third of the women were not at peace with their decision to relinquish their children. The report also fails to note that a third of the original participants could not be located to complete the survey four years later, ten percent of the women who surrendered their babies reported a great deal of regret while ninety percent of the women who kept their babies reported no regret. This is a “success” rate only if you are comparing the price of widgets, not emotional impact and subsequent depression.

Furthermore, the mothers in this study were surveyed four years after relinquishment, and for many the full extent of their grief is not realized until years later. Through various social networks, we hear from these women many years later and they write and talk of the emotional devastation that the surrender of their children has wrought throughout their lives. In numerous letters from first mothers collected years after surrender, “there was still the intensity of feeling and the need to describe the pain, still carried within…. Even if the birth parents had become comfortable with the decision [to relinquish] because there were no viable alternatives, they nevertheless felt loss, pain, mourning and a continuing sense of caring for that long vanished child.”[5]

Because the mothers in this study were teenagers living in a maternity home during their pregnancy, the authors of the original research cautioned that generalizations from the findings should be limited to girls in these circumstances; yet the report suggests the findings would be applicable to all mothers who relinquish.

The report also states that the young women participating in the survey surrendered their children in “open” adoptions; yet nothing in the original study says they were participating in so-called open adoptions. There are no follow-up studies on the success or failure of open adoptions from the first mother’s viewpoint, as no reliable study has been able to find and survey a representative sampling. However, the anecdotal but overwhelming evidence that has come to our attention is that the vast majority of these adoptions close soon after the adoptions are finalized. Adoptive parents deny access to the child, stop sending information and photographs, or simply fade away without leaving a forwarding address or a listed phone number. As for these women? The report admits that these women suffer the “poorest grief resolutions.” In plain English, that means coming to terms with the disheartening and regretful reality that their children are lost to them, no matter what the agreement was with the adoptive parents.

The proposed solution? State-funded mediation services to resolve open adoption conflicts. But the reality is if adoptive parents are unwilling to cooperate or cannot be found, first mothers have little to no recourse since they typically lack funds to hire private detectives to track down the reneging adoptive parents, or hire an attorney to pursue whatever legal recourse they might have, and, in most states, that amounts to none at all.

As for the overall mental health of first mothers following surrender, the most comprehensive follow-up survey comes from the British Association for Adoption & Fostering, the primary UK-wide membership organization for all those concerned with adoption, fostering and child care issues. Researchers were able to document the overall devastating impact of relinquishing a child by finding first mothers decades later: “While only an insignificant proportion of birth mothers had been diagnosed with a mental health problem before adoption (three percent), in the time between the parting and contact, 24 percent had psychiatric diagnosis mainly for depression, with half of them having inpatient treatment.”[6]

The Adoption Option does cite a 2006 study from the E. B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents, which reiterates these findings: “a significant portion of women who placed children … [in closed adoptions] have experienced chronic, unresolved grief.” [7] However, Jessica Arons, the author of The Adoption Option, ignored these findings in her attempt to put an upbeat spin on adoption for the first mother.

What the report does not discuss is the most telling of all: the lifelong impact on being relinquished on those so relinquished in infancy to be adopted. It distressingly fails to include that adoption experts unanimously agree that keeping children within their natural families, except in extreme and exceptional cases, is unquestionably in the best interests of the children. We offer a few sources here, expert opinion is emphatic on the point: “The birth family constitutes the preferred means of providing family life for children,” Child Welfare League of America, Standards of Excellent for Adoption Services[8]; “Every society, including our own, accepts that it is generally in the best interests of children to be raised by their biological parents unless they cannot or do not wish to do so,” Donaldson Adoption Institute, Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents[9]; “Every attempt should be made to preserve the family of origin, and when family preservation is not possible, to safely place the child in the extended family,” Anne Babb, Ph.D. Ethics in American Adoption.[10]

The reforms proposed in The Adoption Option are supposedly designed to encourage more women to select the “adoption option.” Reforms are needed but the goal should be to decrease infant adoptions. The United States has a significantly higher adoption rate than Western Europe and Australia primarily because it fails to support families and prevent shoddy, unethical practices of the adoption industry. By way of example how skewed the adoption option is, in the U.S., we have a population about 5.7 times greater than that of England and Wales but more than a hundred times the number of voluntary infant adoptions each year.[11] This is not only unnecessary, but catastrophic.

The report stresses the importance of unbiased counseling but it fails to address who should pay for the counseling. Adoption agencies, funded largely by prospective adoptive parents, typically do provide counseling, but as they are looking for "product" for their clients, such counseling obviously has a built-in conflict of interest. Adoption agencies often supply mothers with services such as housing and medical care, but then threaten nearly destitute mothers with having to repay these costs—thousands of dollars-- if they change their minds and keep their babies.

While recommending that expectant mothers have independent legal counsel, the report again ignores the funding question. Currently, mothers’ attorneys are paid by prospective adoptive parents--creating yet another conflict of interest. True unbiased counseling and effective legal services can exist only when funded by an independent source, not connected with the adoption industry.

The Adoption Option recommends mothers have three days after birth before they sign consents to adoption and one week to revoke their consent. While an improvement over the laws of many states, this is still far too short for a mother to recover from hormonal changes after birth fully or reconsider what resources she might find to help her keep her baby. The Donaldson Institute recommends a considerable longer period: “Parents [should] have several weeks after childbirth before an adoption decision becomes irrevocable. Ideally, this would include a minimum of one week after birth before a relinquishment can be signed and then a substantial revocation period.” Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents.[12]

Notably, the report offers no remedies for women who lose their babies through coercion, pressure, or bias. Unless mothers have the legal ability to get their babies back when their rights are violated, there’s little to deter sleazy adoption practices, even at seemingly reputable agencies.

“Mutual consent registries” and “search and consent laws” are promoted in the report to protect “the minority of women who want to remain secret and do not wish to be contacted. But all evidence points to the fact that sealed records laws were enacted to protect adoptive parents, not first mothers. Birth records of adoptees are sealed upon adoption, not relinquishment. There is no moral reason to deny adult adoptees the right granted to the non-adopted, that is the absolute right to know who gave birth to them, what their life stories are, and how they fit into the tree of life. Without this base of self-knowledge, the best experts in the field agree that adoptees will face a dislocation struggle that may become a source of great disturbance and depression in their lives.

The report concludes by asking “whether it is a legitimate policy goal to seek to increase the adoption rate?

The answer is unequivocally no.

The report continues: “After all, in an ideal world where every woman had the resources necessary to plan wanted pregnancies, cope with unexpected pregnancies, and end unwanted pregnancies or medically complicated pregnancies, even fewer women would likely choose to have a child placed for adoption.”

Increasing the adoption rate should never be a policy goal, and is only a step away on the continuum that leads to the “one-child” only policy of China. The United States should strive for the “ideal world,” a state which already achieved in Western Europe and Australia. Despite the deficit facing the United States today, keeping mothers and children together is well within our capabilities, or should be. It is the humane thing to do. It is the right thing to do. It must be the goal of an ethical, humane society.

Lorraine Dusky of Sag Harbor, New York is the author of Hole In My Heart: memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption, as well as Birthmark (1979), the first memoir from a mother who relinquished, as well as several other books and numerous magazine pieces. Jane Edwards of Portland, Oregon is an attorney and a contributor to family law publications. Both are reunited first mothers and together they write First Mother Forum.

[1] Lorraine Dusky, Birthmark (1979), Hole In My Heart: memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption (2015); Ann Fessler, The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades  Before Roe v. Wade (2006); Carol Schaefer, The Other Mother (1991); Margaret Moorman, Waiting to Forget (1996); Jane Guttman, The Gift Wrapped in Sorrow (1999); Hall, Meredith, Without a Map (2007); et al.
[2] Lifton, Betty Jean, Twice Born (1975); Strauss, Jean, Birthright (1994); Green, Tim A Man and His Mother (1997); Saffian, Sarah, Ithaka (1999); et al.
[3] Deykin, E.Y., L. Campbell, & P. Patti (1984) The post adoption experiences of surrendering parents. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 54(2):271-280; Pannor, R., A. Baran, & A. D. Sorosky. (1978) Birth parents who relinquished babies for adoption revisited. Family Process 17:329-337 (Sept); Rynearson, E. (1982). Relinquishment and its maternal complications: A preliminary study.American Journal of Psychiatry 139:338-340; Sobol, M. P. & K. J. Daly. (1992). The adoption alternative for pregnant adolescents: Decision making, consequences, and policy implications. Journal of Social issues 48(3):143-161; Watson, K. (1986). Birth families: Living with the adoption decision. Public Welfare 5-10.
[4] Pearila Brickner Namerow, Debra Kalmuss, and Linda F. Cushman, "The Consequences of Placing versus Parenting Among Unmarried Women," Marriage and Family, Vol. 25, 3-4, pp. 175-197.
[5] Sorosky, A. D., Annette Baran, & Ruben Pannor The Adoption Triangle (1989) p. 72
[6] Triseliotis, John, Julia Feast, & Fiona Kyle, The Adoption Triangle Revisited (2005), p. 91.
[7] Smith, Susan. Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents in the Adoption Process, (2006) p. 6
[8] (2000), p. 13.
[9] P. 9.
[10] (1999), p. 138
[11] There were 93 children under the age of one in 2009 and 119 in 2008 compared to approximately 14,000 in the US each year. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=15049. The population of the US is 310 million; England and Wales, 54 million,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/England_and_Wales.
[12] P. 9


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Yup. Have used this quote on my adoption blog for over ten years. Very appropriate - certainly true in my case.

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  2. Wow! What a fabulous post. This should be mandatory reading for every social work program and law school in the country.

    1. I agree Robin. Trouble is, reading does not necessarily produce or equate with understanding. Maybe add to this a virtual reality product, to get the point across. Something to let them experience what happens to the separated infant and the mother and father through the next 1,5,10,40+ years.

      I would like those that continue to persist in promoting adoption, to really start considering that this -adoption "option"- has far reaching ramifications far beyond the mother, father and child. The generations that follow a single adoption are effected by it. The children and grandchildren and so on of the adoptee. DO those that promote this NOT CARE about ALL THOSE GENERATIONS? Do they have no care for the 'best interests' of THOSE families? Children? Is it only for the so-called "best interest of the ORIGINAL child"? We know from study after study and from the personal experiences of adoptees that speak up, (and mothers and fathers) that adoption (family separation) produces all sorts of UNNECESSARY difficulties and struggles. Closed records adds to the suffering.

      Does the 'family demolition crew' not comprehend what they have done and are doing to MILLIONS of other people? For every family they 'build' they have torn AT LEAST 2 apart. If not 3. The family of the adoptee, the mother, and the father(if he is aware of the existence of the child). That's 1st generation damage. Then add to that the children of the adoptee. 2 kids? guess what? 2 more people and possibly their families damaged by this. For the other children(if any) of the mother and/ or father there is plenty of 'mind mess' to go around for them too. When does this shtuff end?

      Yes. There can be 'difficulties and struggles' in biological families. Guess what!? There are MILLIONS of adoptees (or more). They have families, BIOLOGICAL families. How many of those that are dysfunctional STARTED WITH A FAMILY SEPARATION AND subsequent ADOPTION? The loss and feelings of abandonment and anger ABSOLUTELY affect the children of an adoptee. Hullooo... can ya hear me now?

      Do you care anything past what you are doing at this short, temporary moment in time with separating a mother and child and likely a father in the picture as well?

      Show us that you have understanding of the enormous burden that this practice has placed on the original parties AND how those burdens can, and very often do, have profound effects on those that follow.

      Just remember the next time you decide it is best to separate an original family and blot out their genetic, historic ties and their roots OR their branches. There will be those that come after that moment that will suffer as well. Those that will feel trapped into a family NOT THEIR OWN. Unable to claim their roots, their true history. Even if they know the names of their ancestors... they are STILL not LEGALLY PERMITTED TO BE WHO THEY ARE.

      Is the adoption you are promoting now in this moment in the very best interest of ALL OF THOSE OTHER infants and children and human beings to come?

      How would you like it if someone did that to you?
      How do you know someone didn't?
      All someone had to do was informally move an infant or young child from one family into another... and no one EVER need know the difference. Right?

  3. The truth is, that sadly they do not care. Infertile women want newborns. Where there is money to be made selling flesh, flesh will be sold.

    Mothers and infants are collertal damage to feed the adoption industry machine.By the time the babies grow up, the fees have ben collected.It really doesn't matter if we kill ourselves.

  4. This paper is already 6 years old, and it does not seem to have had any effect at all on real policy. This is the same old tired garbage that has been around for years about making surrendering a child "more attractive" to mothers. That is just polishing a turd; it remains a turd, not something anyone finds attractive or wants to do except in real desperation.

    Mother in huge numbers are not falling for adoption industry propaganda, which is why there is this desperation to repackage surrender as a good thing for the mother. Most with truly unwanted pregnancies are having abortions, more who go through with the pregnancy are keeping and raising their children. That is good news.

    Yes, there are still many unscrupulous adoption providers and among the adoptions still happening, many should not happen. But the kind of "education" this old study proposes to sell adoption as a cheery choice for all on a broad scale is a huge failure. They have already lost this battle for domestic infant adoption and they know it.

  5. The battle against adoption and keeping our babies is not quite as lost as that. Young and otherwise vulnerable women without resources are still being talked into giving up their babies when they need not be. One mother told me about her social worker telling her to make a list of what she could provide vs. what the adoptive parents could provide. A mother's love and a family's acceptance can be dismissed against: two parents, a good education, excellent health care, cultural opportunities such as summer camps, traveling the world, no financial worries. It ends up being a the proverbial pony against a life of struggle. A mother's bonding and love doesn't fare well against real goods because...as we know...the new parents will love that baby as much as if they were their own.

    And you, young fecund women, don't want to let them down, after they have been counting on your baby, now do you?

    You can always have another.

    While there are certainly not enough babies to fill the seemingly over increasing demand, the coercion that exists today to give up a child--once you walk into that door--is as powerful as what we mothers from the Baby Scoop Era faced, but even more insidious. It was assumed when we gave up our children that we first mothers would suffer deeply; now it is supposed to be a new and better world with open adoption on the table. Certainly it must be for some. But that does not change the basic human desire to nurture and raise one's own children. Human nature hasn't changed in the last 20 years.

    1. I have met other young women trapped by the list approach. A common refrain on blogs and industry websites from mothers who gave up their babies post-BSE is that I knew the PAPS could give my child more than I could. A natural mother profiled in Adam Pertman's "Adoption Nation" says exactly that. The book treats her statement a positive, showing her wisdom and maturity.

    2. Let me add, I suspect the "list approach" is the most common tool to induce mothers to give up their children. Mothers make two lists: what's best for their baby and what's best for themselves. Mother's list: welfare, minimum wage job v college and a career while still having their baby in their life.

    3. The "make two lists" idea is very old, some women as far back as the 60s were made to do this, with the hypothetical adoptive parents always coming out on top, because of course they were perfect. What is much more powerful today is the concept that mothers can choose and meet the adoptive parents, which gives an illusion of control and as has been noted, creates an obligation not to disappoint that " lovely couple" who have been so solicitous of the mother during her pregnancy. And of course we also have open adoption sold as painless and guaranteed to continue.

      It is not so much abstract ideas like this study, but personal pressure from sophisticated adoption entrepreneurs and prospective adopters that coerces some mothers into a surrender that could have been avoided. Mothers in distress look on the internet for help and advice and are presented with countless adoption providers and their glossy websites and promises.

      The best advice to women in crisis pregnancy unsure of what path to take is not to contact anyone arranging adoptions until after the child is born and they are sure that surrender is their own best choice. It is very difficult to stop the process once parents have been chosen, bills have been paid, the prospective adopters were in the delivery room, and the mother does not want to disappoint her "benefactors" by keeping her own kid.

  6. Sadly, this article is incorrect. You are failing to account for the good life the child has within a new family. You are failing to consider what may be best for the child. I come from a successful adoption situation and have nothing but praise for the mother who sadly, but so lovingly gave me a better life.

    1. Kris Kahle, No this article is very correct. What is a "good life" Kris? Are you saying the child would have a bad life in the old family? That is not a given any more than adoptive homes are always 'best'. Adoptive families can and do have the same difficulties and problems that natural families have. Being so adamant against this article, are you going to give your baby or babies to a new(better) family so they can have an even better life than with you? If adoption is so peachy keen. Go for it. Maybe then you will consider there are mothers and fathers (real people with feelings) of the children who are adopted that never wanted to let their children go. Just. like. you.

      You say, "You are failing to consider what may be best for the child." What MAY be best? I call that gambling. That is gambling with a human beings life and future. Flip a coin, adoption may be (or may not) best for the child. How many of we mother's found our children had been abused or neglected and/ or very troubled and distressed and suffered enormously from being given up and adopted. In and out of counseling or group homes, and still struggling as adults. NOPE Kris, it's just NOT worth the gamble.

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    3. What GOOD life? Adoptees have a greater use of shrinks, and a higher suicide which suggests that on average their quality of life might be acceptable as better than the alternative, staying with a would-be-child-abandoner, but that one cannot call it "good".

  7. @ Kris Kahle,
    " a better life"...than what?

  8. Kris, the owners of this site, Jane and Lorraine, have regularly discussed the well-being of the babies who are being adopted. They disagree with your assessment that adoption provides a child with a better life, as do I.

    Adoption doesn't give a better life. It gives a different life.

    1. I have to agree with Steve and point out that not every adoptee gets a better life. Some, in fact, get a worse life. It is adoption industry propaganda that giving one's child to strangers just because they may, at the time, have more money always guarantees a better life. That is too often far from the truth. I am glad it worked out well for you, but it is quite a leap to say that is the universal experience of being adopted.

  9. Yes, the list approach. . .and add to that the ever-decreasing resources for impoverished/single mothers since Clinton's "Welfare Reform" ended the AFDC. The policies that lead to propagandizing "birth mothers" to give their babies as "gifts" to sympathetic-seeming adoptive mothers are part of the whole "trickle up" in our country.

  10. Kris Kahle like you my adoption situation turned out great. And I firmly believe if my biological mother had raised me, it would not have turned out well at all. And that makes adoption a good thing FOR ME and my unique situation. There are enough bad adoption situations where the adoptee turns out to be a mess because of where they were placed that "adoptions gone bad" is not anecdotal but statistically relevant to any discussion on adoption. And as this blog shows, even when the adoptee lands in a good place, the relinquishing parent often does not. Adoption is a highly emotional event in any case, with ramifications beyond signing the papers. I can easily see how your comment could be construed as hurtful and insulting. It's always important to remember your audience.

  11. I appreciate the different backgrounds and opinions here in FMF. One leads to another and invariably the discussion is broadened. There is much to learn and think about--adoption is such a difficult and emotional issue--and complex.

  12. Yes, remember this is a first mother forum, a place for first mothers to share and vent. I always wonder why a "happy" adoptee has more than a passing fancy in this forum...hmmmmmm

    Adoption may seem like a good option for some "happy" adoptees, but for many first mothers and adoptees, adoption was not a good option but a traumatic experience with many life-long negative consequences.

    Many first mothers could not resist the tidal wave of coercion, coupled with (moral) societal and familial shame, guilt, and embarrassment. Too many pregnant teenagers/girls/women were and still are helplessly shamed and humiliated into adoption by well-greased and well-funded agencies that have perfected the taking of babies to fund the billion-dollar adoption industry.

    Adoption is an option for those wanting to build a family on the backs of loss and heartbreak and have no consideration about the buying of another human being's baby. Greed, selfishness, and narcissism have replaced empathy, understanding, and compassion, as those who covet healthy white newborn flesh don't seem to give a hoot about the humiliation, indoctrination, and coercion that has to take place before a woman can part with her flesh and blood.

    Adoption is an ugly conspiracy, legal slavery, and is hideously cruel to both first mothers and adoptees. Thank goodness adoptees are beginning to speak up and out....they will be the squeaky wheel that gets the grease called change....we are already beginning to see results of their involvement and their voices.

    When I encounter a happy, slappy, grateful adoptee who had a wonderful life with wonderful adoptive parents, I always take a closer look......

    1. Spot on...why is a "happy" adoptee reading blogs on "first mother's forum?"

      I had to laugh when I learned that my adopted son "knocked up" his girlfriend, and together they have a child...out of wedlock (oh the horror!) Ha,ha...what a blow to the morally superior A-parents who are very active in their church.

      The fact that he and his girlfriend refused to choose adoption, even though they knew they would not marry, sure sent a message to his A-parents about how he/they feel about adoption. Now...even if they want to...they can't say one negative word about single mothers, otherwise they would be insulting "their" grandchild's mother. Ha ha...I love it.

      Also, he did not turn out to be the success they dreamed he would be, what with their superior parenting skills. (But of course, they try to blame that on genes! So in their minds, I'm sure the "good stuff" is credited to them and anything negative to genes.)

  13. Passing Fancy and Theodore, I am one of those happy adoptees you doubt. I came to this forum when my biological mother made contact to try to understand her and navigate my way through a difficult relationship. But I can see from my biological mother that even when the child they relinquished has a good, secure life, the biological mother is left with scar tissue that can't be repaired with the knowledge that even if it's debatable that the "right" choice was made, at least both parties weren't left with all those scars. There's nothing, I've learned from this forum, that can "fix" that. There's no easy phrase or anything anyone can really grab onto. :(

    1. I have no reason to doubt that a) you are happy, and b) your rights have been violated. Adoption is like cutting people, in itself a bad wounding thing, but it has its uses in things like surgery, but that surgery saves lives, is not a reason to just promote the cutting of people.

  14. My experience with adoptees is that there are those who are content, like Kris K., and those who are not, those who hate being adopted and see it as the central tragedy of their lives, and those for whom being adopted is only a part of who they are and just accepted as such. As a non-adoptee, I cannot say that any of these people are wrong or incorrect, nor question their stated feelings about their own lives. As Bon Bon has said, adoption is a complex issue, not all bad or all good for everyone.

  15. Kris, looks like you were on "Long Lost Family" last month (April 17)? Hope that your reunion turned out well. I agree, it's good to have a variety of viewpoints here at FMF. I didn't see the show, but (my understanding is?) Kris's a-parents died years ago, and afterwards then she decided to seek her birth parents. Perhaps her post was in the spirit of expressing compassion for her birth mother, not meant to negate the original statement wholesale. Adoption is so complex, as others have stated above.

  16. The quotation about adoption being a "worthwhile goal" is taken from the final part of a three part series:
    This part of the report seems to be more intended to persuade the more moderate factions of the right-to-lifers that increasing adoption doesn't reduce the abortion rate than to deliberately promote and encourage adoption.

    It acknowledges that,"It is not the proper role of government to persuade or coerce a woman to give her child to others to raise, nor is it acceptable for the government to coerce a woman to continue a pregnancy against her will. We shouldn't be wary of any programs that would propose increasing the number of infants available for adoption at the expense of pregnant women’s interests. "

    While this is all good and true, it is not the "proper" role of anyone, let alone government, to persuade or coerce a woman to give away her child, and certainly not the right and "proper"role of adoption agencies. That much should have been made clear. The way is it expressed reminds me of Pontius Pilate washing his hands and leaving the dirty work to the Pharisees. Government should be careful not to condone coercive practices among its citizens.

    And towards the end, "Even so, ensuring that adoption remains an ethical and effective option for women facing an unintended pregnancy is a worthwhile goal *independent of its potential influence on the abortion rate.*" (Asterisks mine)

    It continues, "The adoption system in place today has undergone significant changes in the past few decades, but the public’s impressions of that system are not well-formed and are often based on outdated stereotypes. Moreover, abuses in the present system continue to occur and must be curbed. Reforms are necessary to ensure respect for women’s rights, improved outcomes for children, and increased reliability for adoptive parents."

    "Women's rights" should include guaranteed essential health care for all pregnant women and infants. Many women in the U.S, especially those with low incomes, lack access to adequate health care. Women's and children's rights which, especially in the early years, are inseparable, also include adequate child support. The second report of this series of three https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/report/2010/01/05/7221/theres-no-place-like-home/ touches on the issue of support.
    The first part of the report, Labor Pains: Improving Employment and Economic Security for Pregnant Women and New Mothers https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/report/2009/08/03/6599/labor-pains/ acknowledges that single motherhood has dramatically risen in recent years, and that unmarried women now account for nearly 40 percent of new births

  17. I'm sorry. The quote above, "We shouldn't be wary of any programs that would propose increasing the number of infants available for adoption at the expense of pregnant women's interests" should read "We SHOULD be wary of any programs that would propose increasing the number of infants available for adoption at the expense of pregnant women’s interests."
    I have no idea what happened there, as I copied and pasted the quote from the original.



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