' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Advertising for a baby and other gripes

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Advertising for a baby and other gripes

It's hot outside. Really hot. I'm watching the conventions and the convention analysis, but still adoption goes on. Still we get comments here and messages on Facebook asking us to advertise a couple who are hoping to adopt your lovely baby.

The other day, I was asked, along with 24 others, in a message on Facebook, if I would please post their story because they were going to be "featured" soon by their adoption agency. So thus their "featured" post (which agency was not included) would be repeated on 25 other Facebook pages (assuming we all were invested in spreading their ad for a baby) and thus hopefully reach some woman/teen in dire straits who cannot figure out how to keep her baby.

Stop right there. 

This is not a couple looking to find a child that needs help and needs a home; this is advertising a marketing plow to find a baby for a couple who want one. This is the kind of marketing that keeps a billion-dollar industry alive. That is why Mirah Riben's book, The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry is such a valuable document. Agencies exist to fill a market, plain and simple. If social supports were in place for women to keep their babies, there would be far fewer adoptions. 

In response to this couple's plea to advertise for a child, I replied that I was not the individual they had come to assume I was and sent them a link to Response to The Adoption Option. I was removed from their message. Do people not read anything beyond the word "Mother" at the blog? 

I also am periodically offered children from some African country. This is so awful I don't know what to say about it. 

Then at the blog we get "comments" like this:
We are devoted christains looking for a loving and caring home for our baby for more info email...
Unknown at 4:58 AM 
Hello thanks for creating this blog It is a very great joy and blessing to my life, i and my husband have begin childless after 8 years of marriage now due to my inability for me to give birth and it has resolves to problems everyday in my home,so i visited a female friend in Florida,and she came up with an idea of adopting a child which i never had in mind,and now i got no choice than to apply for a child to my surprises everything went easily and today i got the baby through the Courier service here in the state. i am happy with the Hansom little boy i adopted from the babycenter. X@gmail.com in case anyone may need the same help you can E-mail the office directly on....
When these comments arrive, Jane and I either simply delete them or send them to spam to reread at a later date. But what they tell us is that adoption today for a large part is simply a nice word for moving children away from their natural biological birth mothers to others who want a baby and convince themselves that it is a "need." Mothers need to raise their own children. If you "need" to raise a child, please find one that truly has a "need" for a home, not one that is being traded on the baby market that profiteers are using as a commodity. And yes, that includes a vast number of adoption agencies today, for profit or non-profit. 

In other blog news, we received a comment from a rather irritated reader who says First Mother Forum is designed for adoptees, not first mothers, largely because I urge all mothers to not deny their children the right to know their identities, no matter what the social worker or priest at the time of relinquishment said. 

She wrote: 
Anonymous July 13, 2016 at 2:38 AM
...I am going to have my say for the last time if you post it or not. Your blog has been described by you as a support blog for first mothers. You also have been a strong advocate for adoptees. And this is where I take issue. You are an adoptee right's blog first, a firstmother support blog least. 
Your blog has been more about adoptee rights (IMHO) than for first mother support. I respect your works for adoptee right but in such I expect you become transparent and inform your readers that adoptee rights are your main focus. In your words "Despite how desperate a woman may have been to keep her baby’s birth a secret at the time, today that assumption has been subverted to allow her to hide from that child, and thus prevent his ever knowing his real identity." Read that again and please take note of the first half of the first sentence you wrote. The first half reads " Despite how desperate a woman may have been to keep her baby’s birth a secret at the time." 
I know you have statistics that show that most birthmothers want to know about the child they relinquished and are not concerned with their privacy. I believe this may be true, but we have to understand that not all birthmothers are represented in these statistics. Data can be gathered and interpreted in so many different (and not conclusive) ways. 
Regardless of how "most" birthmothers feel about their privacy, what about those who actually believed the first part of the sentence I quoted. That they would have been able to keep the birth of their relinquished child a secret? They who chose not to undergo a legal or back alley abortion and to give birth to a child who they would relinquish (with shame) but go on to have the "better" life that adoption promised for their child and themselves? Those who believed their pain was a sacrifice and went on to build a life that they believed would honor the privacy they were promised.

Fast forward and these birthmothers who were promised privacy (regardless of the benefit to the adoptive parents) are now "outed." The life they built can be changed in a minute by their relinquished child contacting them or their family. I especially feel sorry for the older birthmothers (I have read from adoptee accounts of mothers in their 70's) who have been contacted and when refused contact, their family members contacted.

Now let's go on to the second part of the sentence I quoted. I reads "today that assumption has been subverted to allow her to hide from that child, and thus prevent his ever knowing his real identity." I ask you honestly what the hell you mean by this. A birthmother who was promised secrecy is now hiding from her child and preventing that child from knowing his identity? No Lorraine. You can't have it both ways. The woman who was promised secrecy (for the promised good of herself, her child and her family) has not been swept away in the benefits of "today." Rather "today" has come for her and broken all the promises that were made for the good of the adoptee. So please admit and be transparent that your blog is for adoptee rights and those birthmothers who lives will change when confronted by their "secret child" regardless of their desires are just collateral damage. 
I really hope women or girls reading your blog, other blogs and internet sites fully understand that there is no no promise to a birthmother that will usually be kept. Be it open adoption or privacy- the rules change at the whims of others for the benefit of others. The reason- birthmothers don't deserve the promises made to them. 
And BTW- If you post this and you focus on my comments regarding abortion (the likely place to distract my full meaning of this post) I will be disappointed in you.
No matter how much you wanted anonymity at the time, no matter that a social worker or priest of the era promised you something they could never fulfill--and in most cases they did not have the right to promise--that anonymity should never mean anonymity from your child. Courts have already shown that they do not have a vested interest in protecting a mother's identity from her child; both are considered owners of that information. You, as the birth first mother, do not have to have a relationship, you don't have to put up with bad behavior that disrupts your life, but you also do not get a pass to steal another individual's identity. I've written about this many times, including the blog on which I posted this above comment--today:

A rationale for adoptee access to original birth certificates

And by the way, many mothers who are working for reform, and that includes letting all adoptees learn their original identities, are in their 70s, as Jane and I are.

Now back to my other jobs today. I still have a plant to transplant, other plants to water (even though July is fleeting) and we will have overnight guests for dinner tonight. Friends have sold their nearby house and are emptying it out and it's been somewhat emotional to see it happen, as we are unlikely to see them often anymore. Since the beds are already gone from the house, they are staying here for a few days. Tonight my husband Tony has another meeting of the Architectural and Historic Preservation Board tonight (which he chairs), and this one I don't want to miss. It looks like someone who isn't getting what he wants (take and old smallish historic house and engulf it with a big new house) is warming up to sue our village. I need to have dinner nearly done to make that five o'clock meeting. See y'all around campus. Or Facebook. --lorraine

The Handmaid's Tale
by Margaret Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now....

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid's Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

Expose of the privatization of the adoption industry; the indistinguishable line between gray and black market; the scams and rip-offs; exploitation in both domestic and international infant adoption markets where the children are the commodity and prices are set based on quality (i.e. age, race, health)while 143,000 children linger in foster care. Extensively researched and documented inside report of the lack of regulations that allow anyone to call themselves an adoption "professional" and arrange adoptions. Questions whether the money can be removed from adoption and return it to a service which puts the best interest of children first instead of simply allowing anyone who pay - including pedophiles - to "adopt" a child. Goes further than Riben's first book - "The Dark Side of Adoption (1988) and reveals for the first time Riben's involvement in the notorious Stenberg murder case in NYC.--Amazon


  1. Lorraine, this woman is right you don't represent First Mothers so much be cause you don't agree with everything she says. But as an adoptee I can tell you that you must not be representing the adoptees all that well either because you don't agree with everything we say either ! (:p) hahaha Of course i'm being sarcastic... I do appreciate the work you have done on behalf of adoptees and i am glad to have the opportunity to read and converse with first mothers here and become more knowledgeable and sometimes get downright enlightened to the fact that i don't know everything and it is not all about me, or adoptees.

    I guess Anon doesn't realize that first mothers' wishes in adoption are not respected post-adoption because there is a termination of parental rights. I do appreciate the work that you and others have done to bring attention to this, that tendering a termination of parental rights should not be something someone can do before they are of age, or before giving birth (!), or quickly, or under pressure, or even possibly without representation and definitely without information. For God's sake it takes people longer to get divorced from each other when two adults agree that they wanna be divorced than it does for a parent to terminate their parental rights - because of the babysnatchers waiting on the sidelines.

    Anyway I have been watching the conventions too and I noticed that Bill Clinton made the distinction between adoptions of kids in foster care vs. infant adoptions in his speech. I don't know if he said, not infant adoptions, or if he said, non-infant adoptions, as the crowd was pretty raucous, but it does make me appreciate the fact that the message that you and so many other activists have been sending about the crime of infant adoptions has made it to the very top and that there is a growing sensitivity there !! Hooray for that little but in my mind, very significant triumph !! and congrats to all you activists who made it possible - and thank you :) that is just wonderful ! I hope to see/hear more of that !

    1. Thank you, Kaisa. Yes, I seem to remember that we don't always agree! but I'm glad your voice is here. We mothers learn from the adopted, and vice versa, as you say.

      Thanks for the thumbs up. We get plenty of the thumbs down, and quite vocally. We are sometimes accused of not letting mother's voices predominate, but we don't consider the comments based on who they came from.

      Thanks again for your thoughtful comments.

    2. I hope your reading of Bil Clinton's comments is correct. I listened to a historic speech that Hillary gave in response to some numbskull regarding curtailing Planned Parenthood. Her response, which provided a broad perspective on women's reproductive oppression around the world, leads me to believe that she would very open to comprehending the plight of first mothers. The reason I say this is because she references the logic of providing birth control to prevent unnecessary births which, ultimately, reduces the number of abortions. Alas, the adoption industry is not interested in reducing the number of abortions. They are interested in increasing the number of crisis pregnancies so that they can profit from them. I think, if she is not already done so, she would connect the dots if provided enough information.

    3. Further, if we follow the money trail, my guess would be that we'd find adoption agencies committing money to lobbying against Planned Parenthood, contraception and abortion. I'll be exploring this further to see if this hypothesis has any teeth.

    4. Actually, some adoption agencies have gotten real cozy with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. PP has adoption agency literature in their clinics. When women have a positive pregnancy tests, the PP counselor is trained to ask them what they plan to do. If they say they don't know, the counselor will lay out the three options as co-equals. It's not just adoption agencies that work with abortion providers. An abortion provider here in Portland has close ties with an adoption attorney.

      Promoting adoption is great PR for PP. Plus there's still a bit of eugenics in the thinking of some of PP supporters -- the lower classes, the young, the uneducated, shouldn't be having children, but if they do, the children would do better raised by more affluent educated people. We wrote about abortion clinics promoting adoption several years ago. http://www.firstmotherforum.com/2010/06/adoption-posters-at-abortion-clinicswhy.html

    5. This may also be linked to old legislation set in place by Reagan that requires talking about adoption. I'd still like to see the money trail with regard to legislative lobbying with regard to TRAP laws and turning back the clock on reproductive laws. I think that Laury Oaks, Associate Professor and Chair of Feminist Studies at UC Santa Barbara may touch on this in her recent book _Giving Up Baby: Safe Haven Laws, Motherhood, and Reproductive Justice_. I spoke with her briefly after her presentation at the NWSA conference last November in Milwaukee, asking this question and she confirmed that my hunch was correct. I don't have any details at this point, however. I will definitely check out the Jun 2010 First Mother blog.

    6. Ah, yes, I had forgotten about the conditions on family planning money. From what I've seen, however, abortion clinics and the adoption industry have become cozier in recent years. The industry is becoming more aggressive in seeking babies. Abortion providers get a lot of support from upper middle class people who may be part of the adoption class. It may seem inconsistent that someone could be pro-choice and an adoptive parent but I think that's common. PP supporters are not adopting to save children from being aborted but adopting to meet their needs to be a parent.

    7. You would also find the same lobbyists representing prochoice organizations and religious pro-life adoption agencies, at the same time. I mean, the very same person lobbying for both sides. I have seen it, as have many others.

    8. Pamela, thanks for the comment. i don't know what Hillary or Bill really think for that matter, of course :) but the fact that he made a deliberate distinction and raised his voice to be heard over the cheering a bit, it was a point that he wanted to be on record as making and that in itself is important. I have to think that Hillary has friends who are first mothers, and who have said something to her. I'm sure she has friends who are adoptive parents, too, but she is of the right age that has to have known of some of the women who went away with crises pregnancies.

      She is also United Methodist, and I know that the UMC's position on infant adoption falls short of stating specifically against it - but they do stress the importance of keeping the family together (even if the family is only mother and child, or the parents are unmarried) and providing funds for keeping babies with their mothers in favor of adopting out children to other, deserving Methodist or other Christian families. They also stress honoring the birth parent's wishes in keeping open contact when possible. So that is a plus too in her favor as far as i'm concerned. It isn't perfect but i'll take it.

    9. Hillary's positions on adoption have been less than stellar but are probably typical of many Americans. As first lady Hillary sided with the prospective adoptive parents in the case of Baby Richard. The Illinois Supreme Court required the PAPS to give a boy to his birth father where the father had not consented to the adoption. This was one of those cases where the PAPs turned a contested adoption into a media event. For more on the case and Hillary's involvement see "Baby Richard: A Four-Year Old Comes Home" by Karen Moriarty.

      As first lady, Hillary also supported the Adoption and Safe Families Act. The Act encouraged removing children from their homes and encouraged "freeing them for adoption." The law capped funds to help parents care for their children while providing unlimited funds for foster care and adoption subsidies. Millions of children have been taken from parents who could care for them with a little help only to anguish in foster homes. For more on this law, go to the National Coalition for Child Protection reforms website, www.nccpr.org.

      I doubt that Donald Trump's views on adoption are any more informed.

      It's our job, when adoption issues come up at the national level, to educate decision-makers. We may have allies in David Brock one of the Clinton campaign consultants and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack who are adoptees.

    10. Jane, that it why it was so amazing to me that Bill Clinton wanted to make a distinction between infant adoptions and foster care adoptions in his speech. I'm not going to argue whether the Adoption and Safe Families Act helped or hurt more adoptees/foster kids and families than it served, i can't possibly know that. I'm not going to defend or argue anything. but i do find it remarkably significant that in 2016, the Clintonss choose to see and promote their past involvement in adoption as specifically helping non-infant adoptions, revisionist or not, it seems a victory to me, and maybe an indication that her opinions can be modified, educated, as you say.

      as far as religion goes, i dunno what part it has to play in any candidate's actual decisions, but i do prefer to see candidates aligned with beliefs other than those that believe in any such thing as the Ministry of Adoption.

      i hope that continued pressures from educated constituency and from ethical/moral appeals will play a positive role in such decision-makers.

    11. Jane, in regards to our Bill Clinton discussion i thought you might find this link interesting, some stats on welfare money since Bill Clinton's time in office and money spent on preventing pregnancies and encouraging two-parent households among other things, just kind of interesting data for thought:


    12. Thanks, Kaisa,
      Interesting article.

  2. Thanks. Lorraine. TROLLING for babies is abhorrent! It is akin to following ambulances from a horrible car, or train or plane crash to the emergency room and waiting to see which patients don't make it and then pleading with the family of the deceased for their loved-one's organs....guilting them into donating them.

    It's predatory. It's despicable. There is nothing "christian" about it. In one of my Huffington Posts http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mirah-riben/family-preservation_b_9614136.html
    I asked:

    "If your neighbor lost his job a year after his wife died, and he had three small kids, would you 'help' him by taking away his kids?

    "If a family in your church or congregation’s house burnt down and they had no family to stay with, would you help them by adopting their infant child?"

    Recently, I posted a story about indigent mothers who are fighting to keep their children being granted court-appointed legal counsel in NJ. https://www.aclu-nj.org/news/2016/07/27/poor-parents-have-right-representation-when-challenging-priv

    The comments following the post addressed why wealth or lack thereof is such an issue in adoption. it is not simply about who can give the child more "advantages." It is because we as a society assume that poor people are lazy, uneducated and worse, while we attribute favorable assumptions about the wealthy - they are bright and accomplished, well-educated.

    Classism is ingrained in our thinking perhaps even deeper than racism. The wealthy DESERVE more...including the "right" to take children from the less wealthy. And children "deserve" wealthy parents.

    I have also long asked where it ends. Do we take every child from honest hard working blue collar workers and give them all to white color professionals? There are some who may not say so out-loud but who see those in lower-socio economic groups purely as breeders for the wealthy childless. AND...intentionally deny them birth control, day care and abortion so they can keep breeding and providing babies to meet the demand!!

    As long as there is demand - which is now increased by same-sex couples - there will be exploitation, coercion and corruption. The only end I see is in technology such as artificial wombs and cloning. (Or, the end of the world via climate change., whichever comes first.)

    BTW - I have a few copies of the STORK MARKET left and FB readers can get one (signed) for just $10 including shipping. Contact me.

    1. But the bias with regard to class may actually follow the child into his/her adoptive family life. I've taken informal polls in various forums asking adoptees if they felt they were were given less opportunities because of their non-bio status and, at least anecdotally, there seems to be acknowledgement that many adoptees are not given the same privileged opportunities of their bio counterparts. So, if that were to prove true, what would this say about the whole class/adoption paradigm?

    2. another example... http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/08/shocking-story-israel-disappeared-babies-160803081117881.html

    3. This is horrible. Israeli doctors, hospital staff, and social workers stealing new infants born to Yemeni and other mothers from Arab countries because they believed the Arab Jews were inferior and the children would be better off raised by European Jews. This began in 1950's after Israel became a state.

      Not unlike what Americans did to Indian children who were taken from parents on trumped up charges of neglect and placed in white homes.

    4. And Australia (Rabbit-Proof Fence) and Canada....

    5. Horrible. Social engineering is always tragic and frightening. Bad stuff happens in the UK too. Adoption practices having improved after the sixties, they got worse again under the Blair government which gave 30 local authorities a £20 million incentive bonus. This resulted in many more children than before being permanently and in most cases unnecessarily separated from their parents and families. Thank goodness for the President of the Family Division if the High Court, Judge James Munby who speaks out for poor and vulnerable families.

    6. Bill Clinton did the same thing. Supported legislation that gave states financial incentives to put children in foster care and big bonuses for placing children for adoption. The states contracted with adoption agencies to find homes for the children. The agencies were hurting because Roe v Wade reduced the number of infants available for adoption. Even with the bonuses, however, the children weren't wanted by people looking to adopt and consequently many have become legal orphans, staying in foster care until they age out.

  3. CORRECTION: It is being there at the site of a crash with people screaming "HELP ME" and not lifting a finger to do so. ....THEN following the ambulance....

    It is seeing a family in crisis as an OPPORTUNITY to help oneself!

  4. People don't like it when I've said this before but tough cookies, those that promote and advertise for babies are promoting child abandonment. Is the common perceived definition of abandonment not -a mother leaving her infant/child and walking away-? It makes NO DIFFERENCE where mother leaves the child, whether in a hospital, a police station, the arms of strangers, a lawyers office, a church.. that baby MISSES mother. That baby KNOWS mother, it's whole world is NOT THERE. That baby FEELS the abandonment. The separation. The terror of nothing familiar. The fear. That is one thing that my child said is the strongest emotion that they felt then and deal with now.. fear. Why is placing fear into an infant "in the best interest of the child"? My dad HATED being 'abandoned', resented his mother for it with pure rage and every woman in his life got the results of it. I didn't want adoption for my son for any reason... I KNEW from growing up with an adoptee what it often did to them. But (said sarcastically and icily), "NO body listened", No body cared! Gotta have a baby, gotta, gotta, gotta!!! DAMN THE COST TO ANYBODY... even the baby!" SELFISH TO THE MAX!

  5. With DNA, who cares about privacy? You choose to give us life and abandon us, we choose to track your damn ass down. If you want privacy, get an abortion. Pretty darn simple.

    1. Wow! You must really hate your mother. That is truly in your face. I respect your need to say it, but WOW!

    2. ProBoard Bear your pain and hurt is so easy to see in what you say. I'm so sorry you are hurting. I know a hug is not going to undo anything but i'm sending a big bear hug to you.

      Oh I would that those that think adoption is such a perfect solution would open their eyes and ears ... and their hearts to hear you and all the other adoptees who speak out. Why won't people stop this painful practice?

      To me it's as so many other situations in life where things are done and those in charge know of the problems and let it continue because someone else "benefits" in monetary or other ways. An example being the Flint water crisis... or the use of lead in pipes in general. They knew since Roman times, if I have read things correctly, that it was detrimental to health. But still it continued to be used. They (somebody in charge) knew of the issues and potential outcomes. Same with adoption. Those involved, know.

  6. Proboard, your anger is justified. Still, I wonder if statements like this may scare a first mother out there, who isn't sure yet about her feelings or what has happened. It could make a first mother retreat further into her shell. I mention it from a birth mother's perspective.

    But I can say that it is not a simple situation, it's actually very complex, the array of events leading up to adoption. There's a lot of shame and lack of confidence as a person, involved. And some birth mothers believe that abortion is wrong, and never would have gotten one. A birth mother who has been led to believe that her child will be given a good life, a full life, certainly wouldn't think of it as abandonment, but an improvement in the lot of their child.

    I think it's good though, that you have stated what you think and hope you will continue to do so. Are you searching for your mother at the present time?

  7. Jane mentioned that "It may seem inconsistent that someone could be pro-choice and an adoptive parent but I think that's common." I'm an AP and pro-choice. I don't really understand the inconsistency in that belief structure? I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.

    I don't think adoption and abortion are related. A woman makes to either carry on with a pregnancy or terminate it. Once that choice is made, a woman makes a choice to parent a child or choose adoption. This is all very simplistic wording, of course, and in no way do I mean to make it out like it is as simple as just choosing A or B and then C or D and there you have it. There are many varying challenges and situations for many women tied up within these decisions. Of course, many women who are experiencing a crisis pregnancy may think about these decisions all mixed together- those are their feelings, and that's natural to be jumbled together.

    I firmly believe in a woman's right to choose abortion because no one else steps up to help out women when abortions are denied to them. Many people want to stand on the moral high ground, which is very easy to do when you are not the woman facing incredibly difficult circumstances with no money, support, or aid. I firmly believe in a woman's right to choose adoption because no one steps up to help them when they are facing difficult circumstances with no money, support, or aid.

    What I would love to see happen in a perfect world is honesty when a woman comes in considering an abortion- a clear and non-judgemental explanation of the pros and cons (because there are both). I would like to see her received explanation, support, and resources for a choice to have an abortion as well as a choice to continue the pregnancy. When a woman comes into a adoption agency considering adoption, I would like a clear and non-judgemental explanation of the pros and cons to be provided to her, as well as information on how she can choose to parent herself and the aid available to her. I would like ethics and morality to enter back into both of these situations, along with compassion and a lack of anything to gain from any of the agencies providing this assistance. I'd like to see women make these choices free from any pressure at all- knowing they can not feel they must have an abortion because they cannot afford another child when they already have three at home or feeling they must choose adoption because they feel they cannot manage with no help or support from family... these are some of the societal pressures and temporary situations that I would like to see removed from the equation. A woman should only have to make a choice for abortion because she does not wish to be a parent (or has a health crisis). A woman should only have to make the choice for adoption because she does not wish to be a parent. Other factors should be removed for them to allow true freedom of choice.

    So, I'm an AP who is pro-choice with a hopefulness that we can change the systems and increase support for women to make truly informed choices without pressure on any side.

    1. Well, your being pro-abortion and pro-adoption can be seen as a consistent Anti-Strong-Protection-of-Human-Rights-of-Very-Young-Human-Beings position, I agree. On the other hand, prevention of adoption can be seen as increasing the number of children available for adoption, and thus it would make sense that both would-be adopters and adopters trying to increase the size and power of their own group, so their interests can be protected better would like to decrease the percentage of aborted pregnancies...

    2. I see what you are saying, but I wouldn't call myself "pro-adoption." I'm not looking to increase adoptions. As I said, there are changes that need to happen to ensure that women are not coerced into giving up their child, but the ability to make that choice free from pressure is still, to me, an important right. No one should be forced to have an abortion, and no one should be forced to parent. That leaves me as pro-choice (not pro-abortion) and in support of adoption, given many changes to the current structure to ensure women are free from coercion and offered support if they need it. I understand it depends on the person, but my point was that Jane said it is inconsistent for someone to be an AP and pro-choice, and since that describes me, I am trying to understand what that inconsistency is... can APs only be pro-life? Can woman not choose to place a child for adoption of their own free will because they do not want to have an abortion?

    3. Tiffany, do you think agree if a mother chooses to keep a child that is born out of wedlock, that the father should have to pay child support throughout the life of that child?

    4. "In support of adoption" seems to me synonymous with "pro-adoption". I would not use Pro-Choice in twelve miles of an adoption discussion unless you either do not mind being called nasty words or you want to restrict adoptions to those chosen by the adoptee.
      A little problem is the difference between APs and PAPs, imagine you want to adopt a baby, could you at the same time be an abortion clinic escort too? If you never were really in the baby market and just adopted the kids of your new spouse, there is no problem at all in being for the availability of all ways to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. The looking for a baby preying adopter sees her own chances to acquire a baby harmed somewhat by the abortion of any perfectly fine pregnancy, so we have to assume that "Don't kill it, give it to ME" is a typical and logical mindset for an adopter (as in somebody who is adopting, not somebody who has adopted), of course, real families touched by adoption have their own stories and may not fit that model.
      To answer your last question: NO!!! One cannot abandon (place, if you like) a child before it has left the womb, and one cannot abort a pregnancy if the child has already left the womb, thus there is never a moment when those two options are the entire story.

    5. Theodore, I think you and I are misunderstanding each other, which is not unusual with this kind of communication. :) I'll try to clear those up, and then I'll let this be because I think that you and I may have some fundamental disagreements on a few points, and that's ok, but there's nothing that is going to be accomplished for each of us in going back and forth.

      I don't understand what you mean about not using "pro-choice." There are two established sides in the abortion discussion: 1) pro-life and 2) pro-choice. I identify as pro-choice. I understand lots of people do not agree with that stance, but I'm not sure why you think people will call me nasty words in relation with adoption? Do you mean in general? Yes, people can be quite divided on the abortion issue, and names are often thrown about. I do not connect adoption with abortion- as I stated, they are completely separate decisions.

      Are you asking if I personally could be an escort? Yes, absolutely, both before I adopted and now. I have zero rights to weigh in on the complicated decisions of another woman. That has nothing to do, for me, with being a PAP or an AP. It has to do with my personal beliefs and ethics. If someone feels they have biases that would keep them from honestly serving women in that capacity, then they have no business volunteering to do so, and I expect they wouldn't willingly put themselves in that difficult position. I do not take lightly abortion- I fully understand the many layers of complications that are involved for most women when they make that choice. Offering to adopt their child (which would be inappropriate) rarely can alter the circumstances of the situation leading them to choose abortion. Which is precisely why I said I do not view adoption and abortion as being related.

      Again, this is all in reference to me. Jane said that it is "inconsistent for someone to be both an AP and pro-choice." I am challenging the truthfulness of that statement as I am an AP and pro-choice and find zero inconsistencies in myself regarding those statuses. I cannot speak for others.

      I don't think you understood my last question... I am saying, should adoption not be allowed, period? If you give birth, you must parent. If you have moral or religious beliefs against abortion, yet do not wish to or have the capacity to parent, then that's just too bad. I believe that is wrong I have consistently made my views clear here that I am absolutely on the same page that serious changes must happen in the adoption agency, and women should never give their child up for adoption unless it is truly their choice (not a coercion or lack of financial resources).

      I do personally know two people who have done this- who have not had an abortion because of religious/moral reasons, but did not want to parent. One was a rape victim who had complete support from her parents to keep her baby (she did not want an abortion), but after several weeks of trying to parent, it was too emotionally hard for her, and she gave the baby up for adoption. I believe that was her choice, and I support that choice. She should not have been forced to parent simply because she did not want to have an abortion.

      That is why I say I support adoption (NOT pro-adoption- I am not rooting for it to happen, just acknowledging that it may in some circumstances and is a viable choice for women) and why I am pro-choice (NOT pro-abortion - again, I am not rooting for abortion, and actually, I am morally opposed to it for myself, but I support women having the choice for themselves and making the best decision for their circumstances).

    6. Kaisa, interesting question. Yes, I do, although I can easily see how complicated that can be as I believe men do not get a vote in the abortion decision.

      I think once the child is born, the father has both rights and responsibilities (in general- cases of rape, abuse, and incest would not be included here). A woman should not be able to give up a child for adoption if the father is capable and willing to care for the child.

      But I can see that it can feel unfair because the man may not want to have a child, but the woman gets the make the decision to not have an abortion, have the child, and sue for parental rights. I would say to that, those are the risks of the nookie. ;) Women do not have any choice in being burdened by pregnancy and making decisions regarding it- we can't opt out. So men cannot opt out, either.

      Just my general thoughts... I could see situations where maybe my thoughts don't fit so well.

    7. Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Tiffany.

      I guess I will never understand why women are praised for the selflessness of giving away their children to adoption when they know they cannot care for or do not wish to care for a child financially, but a man gets no such pass, and is considered irresponsible to say the least. What if a man wishes to give the child up for adoption and the mother wishes to keep the child? In such a case, should a father be able to sign away his parental rights, but to ask for an open adoption? (open question to anyone)

    8. A father should not be able to sign away his rights to a child if the mother keeps the child. Allowing him to do so would allow him to avoid paying child support which he is obligated to pay until the child is 18 or 21 if the child is attending college. In many cases, the burden would fall on taxpayers through welfare payments to support the child.

      The way cases where the father wants nothing to do with the child are often resolved is that the mother marries someone else and the step father adopts the child. Step-father adoptions are much more common than voluntary stranger adoptions.

    9. I guess he could ask, and maybe come to a private arrangement with the mother if she is agreeable - though I can't imagine she would be. But if he signs away his rights, doesn't he also sign away his privileges (as well as any financial and legal obligation he would otherwise have).

    10. The right to support from both parents belongs to the child, not the other parent. A mother cannot sign away her child's right to support. A judge would not sign a divorce decree unless it provided for support of the minor children.

      If the mother was unmarried, she could forego seeking child support although the child could in theory sue the father for support. If the mother applied for welfare, the state would seek child support regardless of any agreement between the mother and father.

      If she married and the step father wanted to adopt the child, he would have to obtain the natural father's consent unless he could prove in court that the natural father abandoned the child. Again, an agreement between the natural mother and father would have no legal effect. In other words, a father cannot sign away his rights unless someone assumes them.

      The one exception to the laws obligating parents to support their children are laws governing sperm donation.

    11. Thank you, Jane. That is clear and useful.

  8. @Theodore
    Being pro-adoption (or at least pro the transfer of legal responsibility from a mother who either cannot or will not raise her child to another person who is capable of doing so) is not at all inconsistent with being pro-abortion. In fact, trying to ensure that a baby or young child gets the security, love and consistent care they deserve is the very definition of Strong-Protection-of-the-Human-Rights-of-Very-Young-Human-Beings, *especially* when the child in question is not denied knowledge of and in most cases has access to their natural/original parent(s).
    A woman's right to control her own body is also a key moral right, and and access to safe and timely abortion, along with honest sex education and affordable easy access to contraception is part of that. However not all women who become "inconveniently" pregnant, but for whatever reason do not want to raise their child, want an abortion. And they cannot/should not be forced to do something that goes so strongly against their moral/religious principles/beliefs. As Tiffany pointed out, many women are opposed to abortion on these grounds. That does not mean a woman who feels this way should be forced to raise the child she gives birth to if she cannot or is opposed to doing so.
    What kind of solution would you propose? Maybe putting the "inconvenient" child in foster care or some kind of institution until such a time as the original mother may (or may never) change her mind or improve her circumstances so that she can accommodate the "inconvenient" one, whether the child wants this or not?
    One possible viable solution could be a form of permanent legal guardianship, tailored to fit the individual case.

    1. Lisa, we were talking about adoption (unrequested by the adoptee), not about other forms of foster care. You seem o have misunderstood the intended meaning of "Strong", what I meant was an under statement indicating "from-some-points-of-view-at-least-bordering-on-extremist". I'm not much in favor of blanket solutions, cases should be judged with the "reduce the harm done as much as possible" guideline.

  9. Okay - just a statement - being prochoice or prolife has absolutely no bearing on adoption. period. It never has. Choosing to remain pregnant, at least post-Roe v. Wade, is a sure fire sign that adoption was NOT the desired outcome. Most women do not lend their bodies to pregnancy (I did say most - not all) for the simple fact that they can't bring themselves to abort - but don't want the baby. Generally speaking,
    "if you don't want it - don't have it" was the watchword of most parents after Roe v. Wade.

    Thus, to compare the two is like saying that an ant died, so God flooded the world.... fallacious at best, but mostly just ridiculous. I was encouraged to abort - I wanted my baby and I refused to abort. I did not CHOOSE to have her to give her up. That is what is true as far as I have ever found.

    Surrogates rent their bodies. But women having their own babies rarely do it because they can't abort.


  10. That's what I said, if you think that the rights of the mother fully should trump the rights of the baby before and after birth, a position I described as Anti-Strong-Protection-of-Human-Rights-of-Very-Young-Human-Beings, there is no contradiction. Adoption as we know it, always ENDS access to the real parent(s), at least in some senses.

  11. @Theodore

    Unlike yourself, I do not consider a fetus to be a person. Consequently I think that up until the end of the second trimester (and in some cases, even later) the rights of the mother trump those of the fetus. It is because a fetus is a part of a woman's body that we talk about "a woman's right to choose."
    The moral status of a fetus when a woman is pregnant but does not want to be and wishes to abort, is not the same as the moral status of a fetus that the woman thinks of as her unborn child. That is why there are legal distinctions between the killing of a wanted fetus and the abortion of an unwanted one.

  12. a baby is -not- a tumorous, cancerous or benign growth / just rapidly multiplying cells until it reaches the age of "end of second trimester". It's just not. It doesn't just instantly turn into a baby at the end of the second trimester. Does it?

    1. @ Cindy.
      Of course a fetus does not magically become a baby at the end of the second trimester. It becomes a baby - and a person - when it is born.
      Until somewhere around the end of the second trimester, unlike the pregnant woman of whose body it is still a part, it is not sentient.
      Many of the elements necessary for consciousness/sentience are in place by the third trimester when most preterm infants, assuming they are given proper medical care, can survive outside the womb.
      Personally, I like the old idea of "the quickening", but this isn't about me.

  13. Lisa, if you want a Life-Choice discussion with me, fine, but not here, my comment was merely about the compatibility of views on abortion and adoption, and that those views may conflict or not in a worldview.

  14. @Theodore
    "My comment was merely about the compatibility of views on abortion and adoption. . . "
    It was Jane who first introduced the subject of abortion, I believe. The rest followed naturally, as these things so often do. But very well. If you wish I will merely redirect the conversation back to your comment to Tiffany that ' "in support of adoption seemsto me synonymous with "pro -adoption" '.
    I would qualify "in support of" as meaning "in support of adoption under particular and extreme circumstances". I could elaborate, but it probably isn't necessary.

    You asked Tiffany to imagine, if she wanted to adopt a baby, could she "at the same time be an abortion clinic escort too"? Presumably you don't mean simultaneously, and of course I'm not Tiffany, but speaking for myself, I don't see why not. I have accompanied a friend to an abortion clinic to give my support and assistance while she went through a procedure that she did not relish but deemed for the best under her particular circumstances.

    I totally agree that a child cannot, *should not*, be "placed" before it is born, and people who troll the Internet for potential birth mothers, are, as Mirah has already said, abhorrent. Of course there is no reason why a pregnant woman shouldn't consider her options regarding her future child's welfare. She cannot be prevented from doing so. But I strongly disagree with pre-birth placement, or even unofficial but emotionally binding arrangements made between potential adopters and the future mother. At least until the pregnant woman has had time and non-coercive-unbiased-either-way support to recover from the birth and think more clearly about the future in the now fully manifest context of her and her child's relationship.

  15. Correction. It wasn't Jane who introduced the subject of abortion into the discussion. I think it was Pamela. It was Jane who said that she felt that adoptive parents who where pro choice were being inconsistent. My bad.

  16. Correction. I said "It MAY seem inconsistent." emphasis added

    1. I really flubbed there, didn't I? However, now I have time to respond properly.
      I am sorry I misquoted you, Jane, but, like Tiffany and maybe some others, I would be interested to hear your thoughts about what may seem inconsistent about an adoptive parent being "pro-choice", especially as you state that you think it is common.

      I think those who may consider it inconsistent for adoptive parents to be "pro-choice" would probably have to be already convinced that the majority of would-be adopters are so morally bankrupt that they want to criminalize abortion for the sole purpose of increasing the supply of children available for adoption, while at the same time concealing their true motive beneath a "pro-life" mask..
      I do not believe this to be true, and think it is a misconception that does a disservice to the the majority of "pro-life" people who really do oppose abortion on moral and/ or religious grounds. They exist and in numbers. It also does a disservice to adoptive parents such as myself, Tiffany and many others who are strong supporters of reproductive rights for women but would not necessarily choose abortion for themselves.

      As Maryanne Cohen wrote in her excellent essay on the subject, Adoption is Not a Reproductive Rights Issue, "Once an adoption takes place the reproductive part is done. There is no longer one person, the mother and the non-legal person, the fetus, but two individuals with their own rights that have nothing to do with reproduction. I think we need to keep stressing this, to try to make it clear that however one feels about reproductive rights or abortion, it has nothing to do with adoption issues or open records. Reproductive rights issues are birth control and access to it, abortion, and perhaps infertility treatments and assisted reproduction. Once a child is born, no matter what happens next, the “reproductive” part no longer applies because that is done, ended for everyone with the birth of one who is now a separate human being, not an object or less than a person."

      I agree with this. I also think a woman has the right to consider adoption for her child, but it is not a reproductive right any more than it is a reproductive right to adopt. Including it under the term "pro-choice" misses the mark by a million miles. To keep or surrender one's child are decisions only to be made conclusively after the birth, ideally well after, when the mother has had time to really consider the ramifications of her decision upon herself, the father and the child. She also deserves to be able make this final decision in a supportive non-coercive environment.
      Personally I would like to see the word "choice" dropped from these kinds of discussions altogether, because it only serves to further confuse an already difficult and complicated issue.

    2. Lisa writes:
      "I think those who may consider it inconsistent for adoptive parents to be "pro-choice" would probably have to be already convinced that the majority of would-be adopters are so morally bankrupt that they want to criminalize abortion for the sole purpose of increasing the supply of children available for adoption, while at the same time concealing their true motive beneath a "pro-life" mask.. "
      Actually, I think this is not far from the truth. I think a lot of them are actually all for exactly that. They may mostly think they are opposing abortion on moral/religious grounds, but the adoption agenda is not far behind that, esp. adoption lawyers and agencies who are professing to be religious and "pro-life." I have certainly seen enough of this.

    3. Actually, I think this is not far from the truth. I think a lot of them are actually all for exactly that. They may mostly think they are opposing abortion on moral/religious grounds."

      There may be some, even a few, possibly agency shills with no conscience and eyes fixed on the $$$. But I am not convinced that there are "a lot" of such people, and do not think the cynical attitudes being suggested here are "common". No doubt they exist, but I disagree they are that prevalent. In fact, it seems to me that to attribute such cynicism to many is just as cynical, as well as a view of human nature that doesn't allow for complexity.

      For people who "may mostly think that they are opposing abortion on moral/religious grounds" - then that is what they think. I am wary of attributing hidden motives. So long as they are not fanatics, and are able to accept that others have the right to think differently for themselves and make different personal decisions based on their own individual beliefs, I can live with that

    4. Lisa wrote: "Like Tiffany and maybe some others, I would be interested to hear your (Jane's) thoughts about what may seem inconsistent about an adoptive parent being "pro-choice", especially as you state that you think it is common."

      What may appear inconsistent to others is that pro-choice adoptive parents have no problem benefiting from a "choice" a pregnant women made which the adoptive mother would not have made if she had been in the same situation. In others words, the adoptive mothers wants to have the choice to abort but doesn't want another woman to make that choice.

      And of course, some adoptive parents do oppose the legalization of abortion because they realize that the mother of their child could well have had an abortion. I recall a former US Senator from Oregon Gordon Smith supporting his opposition to abortion by pointing to his three adopted children.

      I can't resist noting that some adoptive mothers who are pro-choice use "choice" to justify contemporary adoption practices. The mother chose not to have an abortion; she chose not to parent; she chose the adoptive parents. This assumption of logical thinking on the part of the natural mother ignores the fact that the natural mother may not have been able to think clearly and may have lacked information which would have allowed her to make a different choice. Pregnant women may not consider abortion until it is too late, perhaps thinking the father will help them. Perhaps they get pressure from relatives and religious authorities not to have an abortion. They may be poor and be convinced that more money will give their children a better life. They succumb to slick adoption agency advertising and social messages that tell them adoption is a winning choice for all.

      For more on the fallacy of "choice," I recommend Rickie Solinger's "Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the United States."

    5. @Jane
      As I said in my previous comment, the term "pro-choice" misses the mark by a million miles. I cannot not agree that (presumably you mean "all" or at least "most.") adoptive mothers would want to deny other women the same reproductive freedoms that they would want for themselves so that they can take their children. I can see that some - maybe, at a push, even many - might, but certainly not all.
      I say this as an an adoptive mother who has never had nor wanted an abortion, but believes that other women should have that option, if they so decide.
      I believe women should be supported, in so as far as it is possible, to raise their children. And that their children's fathers have rights (as well as obligations) too.

    6. This will be the last blast of the strumpet. Promise.

      Saying that adoptive mothers who call themselves "pro-choice" are not really that at all (other than for themselves) and that they secretly support coercing other women into giving birth just so they can adopt is a type of ad hominum argument that calls into question the motives of a-parents as a whole. No doubt it is true of some, but certainly not all.

      Personally, I believe a pregnant woman, married or unmarried, rich or poor, has the right to become a mother and to parent her child - a right she may or may not exercise. I also believe she should be supported in that right, by her own family and by government through welfare, as long as it is in the real interests of the child (I.e, excepting severe abuse or neglect).
      I don't think my position is by any means exceptional.

      However, the facts that abortion is not always easily available (and becoming even less so in some states, where it is under attack), birth control can be expensive, health care is inadequate, education can be out of reach and work, even poorly paid work, is too often hard to come by. These are real problems that make the word "choice" as it is too often understood in this context, invidious. They present obstacles that cry out to to be tackled and overcome, not just in Amarica but in other countries in the world. For instance, the UK, which in the past has made headway towards resolving some of these problems of inequality is falling behind too.

    7. I did not say and do not believe that pro-choice adoptive parents secretly support coercing other women to give birth. However, they do want other women to give birth. Adoptive mothers do benefit from the coercive tactics of the adoption industry which convinces women who have given birth to give up their babies or, in the case of intercountry adoption, finances the theft of babies. Many adoptive parents turn a blind eye to these tactics, convincing themselves that the mothers made a free choice or that the child was unwanted and abandoned.

      I appreciation your recognition of the obstacles to free choice. We in the adoption community must work to educate the public and decision-makers to obviate these obstacles.

    8. Let me add that I am pro-choice and I'm happy to hear of others who are pro-choice. The more support we have the more we can fend off the relentless legislative attacks on women's rights. While the US Supreme Court may continue to strike down anti-choice legislation, we need to prevent that legislation from being passed in the first place. That can only happen by expanding the number of Americans who support a woman's right to choose abortion.

  17. Correction acknowledged

  18. We are not turning this blog--written and managed by two pro-choice women--into an unending discussion over a woman's right to control her own body. No further comments carrying this argument on will be published.

    This started out as a discussion of adoptive parents who are pro-choice, a reasonable debating point. All of my acquaintances and friends who are adoptive parents are pro-choice. Adoptees do have abortions, as the writers of some adoption memoirs attest. Ithaka by Sarah Saffian comes to mind.

    But FMF is not the venue to carry this forward over abortion in general.



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