' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Feminists exploit anti-family adoption laws

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Feminists exploit anti-family adoption laws

 When I read Liz Latty's excellent piece on why mainstream feminism is pro-adoption* I was reminded of three strong feminists I've known in Oregon, all of whom served in the Oregon legislature and were adoptive mothers, I don't know why they adopted; two had biological children as well, suggesting to me that they saw adoption as both a way to save a child and a way to build their families without increasing the population.

From a few discussions with these women, I'm convinced of the sincerity of their actions, but also convinced that they wanted to accept the adoption industry Orwellian double think: Mothers love their children so much that they make the selfless decision to place them.
One of these women even believed that mothers feared contact with their lost children. After Oregon voters passed Measure 58 in 1998 which gave adoptees access to their original birth certificates, she introduced a bill to require the state to notify mothers before handing over the OBC to their adult children. This of course would have nullified the ballot measure since many mothers could not have been located. After protests from Measure 58 supporters, she agreed to amend the bill to allow mothers to add a contact preference in their child's file.

Based on Latty's experience as a reunited adoptee and a recent study by The Donaldson Adoption Institute,** she noted that the number one reason mothers relinquish their children is lack of financial support, followed by the absence of social support, and isolation. Adoption counseling is overwhelming pro-adoption counseling. Mothers were told that they would feel sad for a while but get over it--but many don't. Far from the win-win happy scenario they envisioned, many parents regret their decision.

The truth, Latty notes, is that the adoption industry is a business which generates billions of dollars each year but to do so, requires other people's children to stay profitable. These children are almost always the children of poor and working class people, people of color, native and indigenous people, and young people. The people who adopt them, who directly benefit from their economic and racial oppression are mostly white, middle and upper-middle-class people.

Yet mainstream feminists are pro-adoption. Latty offers two reasons for this: Like the adoptive mother legislators I've known, feminists assume the decision to relinquish is a freely made choice and feminists are part of the primary demographic that stands to benefit the most from adoption.

Let me suggest another reason. A pillar of some feminist thinking is that biology is irrelevant; children are blank slates; relationships between parents and children are not innate but learned after birth. Thus a child does just as well raised by biological strangers or having two fathers or two mothers as by a biological mother and a father. Because there is nothing special about being a mother, women can participate in the workplace, the community, politics, the military, on par with men. On the other hand, these feminists fear that if we accept that mothers are hard-wired to nurture their genetic off-spring and that blood ties have value, women will continue to hold an inferior place in society. These feminists fail to see that the way to assure equality is to restructure society (which actually is what is happening) rather than deny biology.

Latty concluded her essay by challenging feminist organizations and activists to "incorporate intersectional understanding of, and position on, adoption as part of their reproductive platforms. Read about adoptee and first parent experiences. Listen to adoptee scholars, writers, activists, and artists. ...There is much room for complexity, nuance, and growth around this issue."

I'd go further; feminists need to advocate for keeping natural families together. As we know from the presidential election, white middle- and upper-class liberals (a group of which feminists are very much a part of), were tone deaf to the needs, the wants of lower income, less educated people. White women without a college degree voted overwhelming against a white highly educated woman.*** They preferred the candidate, who sexually exploited women but promised help for working class families. Until feminists reach out to help struggling mothers keep their families together, our quest for equality will continue to be just out of reach.--jane
Baby Dance [VHS] A excellent film about a wealthy California woman (Stockard Channing) seeking to adopt the child of a working class Southern woman (Laura Dern).
Well worth seeing to understand how this class system works to supply babies for the industry.

*Adoption Is A Feminist Issue -- But Not For The Reasons You Think
**Understanding Options Counseling in Adoption: A Qualitative Analysis
***2016 Election exit polls

Can Feminists Adopt and Still Be Feminists?
Donaldson Report on 'Options' Counseling: No surprises, Proceed to adoption as primary 'solution'


  1. Regardless of whether a woman is a feminist or has a college degree or is a mother (any kind), each woman needs to do more than read and listen to adoptes and first parents. In order to be free from racial oppression the oppressed first mothers and first families have to be the educators to those who may not "want" to loose their political, social or economic status. I do believe that socially the adoption industry will implode because of the reproductive rights women have managed to keep. Progress in reproductive rights need to include making adoptions legally fair to all and regulated in the U.S. Women victims of sex trafficking have been given jobs by card companies and a local church here in Lawrence, KS has a Fresh Start program which employs women that are starting over from a set back. But while these are starting over jobs and wages they are far from acquiring a sustainable living for a family. In today's economy it takes two or more incomes to do this. It will always be about the money.

  2. As an educated white woman, I am just plain old embarrassed at how many of us voted for Trump. I was and am a Bernie-girl, but I happily and excitedly voted for Hillary, who I like in many ways even though I disagree with her in many others. (Note to anti-rape, by saying you wouldn't vote for the wife of someone who was accused of rape, you allowed an actual rapist to take office.) I can't even with Trump... I am blown away by the overall ignorance of the American public.

    Anyway, as an adoptive mom who is not infertile and adopted out of choice, I read this post four times. There was a lot to absorb. I think it's one of the best posts you have had in a while. I have been thinking about it all afternoon.

    I think for me, where feminism fails first moms and adoptees is by continuing to fail in addressing the societal issues and inequalities that prevent women from keeping their babies when they are in crisis. I have a lot of thoughts on how this pertains to the adoption of my daughter, but none I can share publicly... I don't think there is anything I could have done, in the moment, to change my daughter's adoption. But I do think I can be part of the force in society that helps keep more moms and babies together when there are pressures they are facing to give up their child.

    I don't think all my thoughts are fully formed yet. But I read the original article, and it's really thought provoking. Thank you for sharing. As always, your perspective is so valuable.

  3. Many of the most visible and public feminists in the USA have been feminists who advocate for female success in business. Motherhood and childrearing has been characterized as holding women back in their careers and as something that needs to be "handled" to have a successful career. Young single motherhood correlates with poverty and lower education because mothering a child is a job that is often not valued by either feminists or our socioeconomic system. Early young motherhood is perceived as a drag on a young woman's life so adoption is perceived as solving both a young woman's problem and a childless family's dreams. Our entire socioeconomic, religious and cultural historical past bleeds into the now with femininity and generativity marginalized as weak, dependent and a problem. I wonder if we put too much emphasis on arguing about adoption when the a priori issue is systemic gender bias including the sexual double standard AND the lack of respect and built in economic compensation for caretaking and caregiving of one's own child.

  4. Jane: So beautifully stated "...some feminist thinking is that biology is irrelevant..."
    I will be turning 74 in June, and I am more connected to my estranged daughter, Joanna - even more so after a reunion gone bad. Joanna's snarkiness clearly is derived from my side of the family. The solution as you say is clearly stated - "...These feminists fail to see that the way to assure equality is to restructure society rather than deny biology..."

  5. DM, great post and as a stay at home mom in the 70s and 80s, but also liberal and educated, I got a lot of scorn from childless feminsts who later wanted children. Ironically two of my best friends at the time were lesbian feminists who owned a great womens' book store. They were totally understanding because one was an adoptee and the other a secret birthmother.Of course they "got it," and later searched. The adoptee had a child at 15 she was able to keep due to a terrible early marriage that soon ended in divorce.

    As to mothers forgetting, I got a call last week from a mother whose son was born in 1964, and she has not found him yet. The birth was in Buffalo, NY, Catholic Charities, and she made a few tries years ago that went nowhere, and now is trying again. Anyone who knows a search angel or other means of search, please contact me at ma@hexatron.com
    She had my phone number from years ago, and luckily it is still the same.

    This mother said she thinks of him every day. She now lives in CO, a local group there would be helpful as well. So much for mothers forgetting.

  6. This is a very interesting post. Even though I lived through these times and changes, it sort of helps synthesize and explain and see the bigger picture of what was happening, how I wounded up where I was in that situation, other forces at play etc

  7. On the subject of white working class women (and men) voting for Trump, they will be sadly disappointed because he really does not care about them, will not create jobs, will take away their health care, destroy the environment we all have to live in, and in the end his policies will only benefit corporations and the very rich like himself.Poor whites will not do any better than poor Blacks, even though Trump won by pandering to their prejudices. Many dirty tricks and lies led to Hilary's defeat. Although I voted for her, I do not think she was the strongest candidate the Dems could have set against Trump, who is a horrid bad joke for most women and men in the USA. He is not good for women of any class, for adoption reform or family preservation, or in the end, for anyone but himself and those very wealthy and lacking in common decency like him.

    1. Hillary voter and proud of itMay 17, 2017 at 10:24 AM

      When can people stop apologizing for voting for Hillary? IF she won the electoral college rather than the popular vote (by 3M) we wouldn't be in this kind of trouble today.

  8. Adoption has always been about class. My working-class adopters were part of a higher social class in the early 1960s than my upper-middle class/educated pregnant bio mother because they were MARRIED. My adoptive mother felt (still feels, actually) that she deserved the babies of her adopted kids' bio moms because they were "loose" unmarried women. You play, you pay, and all that.

    It is no different today. Most adopters seem to fall in one of two camps; evangelicals or "feminists." Both feel that their income/education/faith means they DESERVE other women's children because they're *better than* these mothers.

    These women adopt because they want what they want when they want it. They flat-out DON'T CARE what's best for the child or mother--I don't believe they don't know what they're doing. They feel entitled to these kids because they've convinced themselves that they can offer a better life than the child could have with his own mother.

    No true feminist would adopt another woman's baby. It's a woman on woman crime.


    1. and for the love of god. Ask people who came from hard childhoods if they ever wanted to give up their mother. NOBODY wants to give up their mother. Kids would rather keep their parents then have a pretty bedroom.

    2. It takes a huge ego and a cold heart to permanently take a child away from his/her mother. What makes these women think they were/are better than a child's own mother? It is still unbelievable to think women believe they are entitled to someone else's child.

      Adoption destroys the strongest emotional bond on earth, the mother-baby bond. And to think women are doing this to other women for egotistical, self-serving, lustful, narcissistic reasons is beyond hideous and cruel to mothers and their babies.

      Another mother's child will never replace the one an adopter couldn't produce. Why do women continue to take away one woman's worth to justify another's? Does an adoptive mother feel like a complete woman after taking another woman's baby?

      Too bad the feminists haven't figured out that taking a baby from a poor single mother and selling it to an affluent married couple is right out of the male supremacy play book.

    3. Yikes. How do you even respond to a generalized comment like this?

      I'm an adoptive mom and I didn't permanently take a child away from his/her mother. The rights were terminated and we stepped up.

      I don't think I'm "better" than the child's own mother. She has wonderful qualities; unfortunately, they do not include consistency or being able to provide basic needs for a child. I am, indeed, more capable of attending to those needs. I do not disagree that, in many instances, poverty is a reason for this. But, in our situation, both bio parents come from well-off families and, unfortunately, suffer from addiction issues.

      Adoption doesn't destroy the strongest emotional bond on Earth -- especially if you have ongoing contact. Now, if the mom doesn't show up for phone calls or visits, I suppose we could argue that this is the thing that is aiding the deterioration of that bond.

      I get that your situation has colored your experience -- mine has, too! -- but to generalize that every adoptive mom is an egotistical maniac is, frankly, insane. I don't think every bio mom is incapable and I wholeheartedly support reunification. Our intention was never to be in this situation and was never to adopt. We haven't even "tried" for children yet. But this child deserves permanency and we stepped up. Luckily, there are laws in place now that allow children contact with their bio parents so we don't always have to sever those bonds that you speak of.

      Do understand that more situations than just yours exist in the world. The article was great at promoting others to consider another point of view. I'm hearing yours, but you should also consider mine. Wishing you peace.

  9. Excellent Post, Jane! Today is the first time I had a chance to read it. I was reminded of a feminist I encountered recently who adopted two children; one was troubled and got into drugs, which landed him in jail, etc. What I gleaned from our conversation--which made her very uncomfortable--was that her "desire" to have a child (which she could not or would not conceive) was not simple "desire" but something greater than that. It was "organic," and thus...she was compelled to adopt. What she did not say was that her position as an educated middle class woman made it possible to claim children of those in a lower economic class. As far as I can tell, feminists who adopt all have this attitude, which also includes the idea that they are also saving the world from over population and helping out a poor waif who would otherwise be raised in less than idea economic conditions. There will always be a need for some people to raise other peoples's children, but not on the scale that it is practiced today, and not with the idea that adoption is "normal." It is always sad, always traumatic, and should be avoided whenever possible, or at least not involve any sealed records or secrets between the adopted individual, the biological parent, and the adoptive parents or parents.

    On a personal note: We have made the move to another house, but it has been more traumatic than thought because of the amount of stuff (including my husband's 4000 books, and that is after getting rid of about a thousand) and my collection of plates (not nearly so large!!!), while we are moving into a house with much less storage space than we had. It will be a while before I post. I'll be back when things calm down in my life.

  10. I see comments from articulate and educated women who have adopted a child on blog posts such as these and for all that they've learned, none of them seem to turn round and decide to make the effort to reunite their adopted children with their original families, relinquish their claim to 'parenthood' and support reunion. Adoption adds trauma to people's lives, it doesn't solve trauma. The devastation in the family of origin that may exist in the present day is created partly by the loss of that child.

    1. Hi Crystal. I think I fall into that bucket- I'm at least an AP, if not an articulate one. :) Reunification is not always possible. Sometimes, years later, the same issues that caused the adoption in the first place still exist, and in my case, there isn't anything I can do to change them (there wasn't at the time of adoption either). I won't share my daugheter's parents reasons here as they are private and not for me to share. But it is not always as easy as just giving the child back. There are many complications.

    2. @Tiffany, so "your" child NEVER gets to go home or only after she is 18 and you have used up her childhood? I mean really. If either her mother or father is alive, there is always a chance. Through god all things are possible (except getting kids back to their families and a few others)

    3. No, not at all. She has contact with her parents, and if I had my choice, it would be a whole lot more than what she has now. She is free to talk to her parents whenever she wishes, and I send them emails she dictates and pictures she chooses. Visits are currently more challenging, again not by my choice. It's my hope that someday, I'll be sending her off to spend summers and breaks with them... but I don't see that happening right now given circumstances that I don't have any control over. And frankly, they are things that I understand from their perspective as well. This isn't at all easy for them. There is nothing at all easy about this situation for my daughter or her parents and it all around sucks, truly. Life just blows sometimes because it just doesn't play fair.

      I actually get what you are saying. My point was it's just not always possible. There are forces we must fight against in society to try to enact change in adoption. Like I said, I'm not going to share my daughters parents situation, most certainly not to make me look better on the internet. But there are multiple reasons why adoptions happen, and some of those, we should be trying to change on a larger level. Some include societal perceptions of single moms, cultural taboos against unwed mothers, support for younger women when they are pregnant, knowledge of the negative impacts to the adoptee, etc. I'm not saying any of those apply in our situation, but they are examples of things that are hard to change on an individual level, one at a time.

      I shared the article Jane referenced on my Facebook page and ended up in several heated conversations with friends about how adoption is so amazing. But for some, I was able to educate them on how challenging it is, and that it is not all sunshine and rainbows. If we try to work together to educate people and change perceptions, I believe that someday, maybe another little girl like my daughter won't have to be separated from her family. I can't change it for my daughter, but maybe I can for someone else.

      (I'm typing this on my phone so I hope I'm phrasing this all correctly.... I truly do see where you are coming from, and I get the anger. I mean, I don't get it from having lived it, but I think it is justified and I understand.)

    4. Gimme a break.
      Adoptive parents do call their children "theirs" and "my daughter" etc. Tifany is the parent every mother who can't raise "her" child would be happy to have. What was she supposed to say? The "girl I'm raising who is somebody else's daughter? I doubt her daughter would like that.

    5. @Tiffany
      Again no need for adoption ...ever. Removing and caring for a child yes, but no to adoption.

    6. @ Anonymous
      Sure, why not. As an adopted person I would have loved it if my adopters would have said the truth "The "girl I'm raising who is somebody else's daughter" Because that is exactly what she and all adopters are doing. We are not yours. You cannot make someone else's child your own...

    7. Older children in foster care often express a strong desire to be adopted. Their voices count and should not be dismissed by those who feel that adoption should not exist. There are many very "happy and content" adoptees who would rather be adopted than not.

  11. Yose mite: Take it easy. Tiffany is a nice person who empathizes with the plight of first families. She wants to reform the system. But for the time being, it is what it is. The only way to change it is if more citizens come to have a different perspective on the realities surrounding adoption. That will be much easier to accomplish if we can add some adoptive parents' voices to the mix.

    1. Take what easy? I think you are confusing my writing to Tiffany with my writing to Anonymous. Tiffany wants to reform the system? Like what, by ending adoption? What adoption industry needs most of all is for women to stop creating children that they are NOT going to parent. No need for adopters at all. You take it easy.

  12. Steve, There are adoptive parent voices in the mix. They are in the American Adoption Congress (AAC), they are in Concerned United Birth parents (CUB), they are in the mainstream narrative. They have been in "the mix" for decades. It's not changing things. I agree that Tiffany does show great compassion and understanding ("is a nice person"), HOWEVER to attempt to hush Yose mite you are following the "rules" of suppression and minimization that stops a true narrative. Please see that Yose mite is speaking to absolute truth and reality, not attacking Tiffany.

    The "but for the time being, it is what it is" line resigns folks and the urgency of reform to a sense of "well, maybe someday". Why not now? Why not today? Why not spread the message from the voices of the adopted and natural parents instead of shutting it down? It won't change if we keep stifling the voices of those that feel so strongly.

    I'm with Yose mite on this.

  13. I called my daughter "my daughter" and so did her adoptive mother. As far as I was concerned, no problem, and "our" daughter--which her adoptive mother used when talking to me--did not either. In fact, it took a while until my daughter was comfortable being called "my daughter" in public--unless it served her purposes.

    I don't think we gain anything by shutting down and shutting out adoptive parents like Tiffany who "get it"; that is, the first mother side of the story. Our attention should focus on what we can do; not I'd love to see what happened at Tiffany's Facebook page when she posted the link to the article Jane referenced. She's at least trying to reach and teach the women that we cannot.

    1. I had a ton of commentary on my page. I'll share some of it- too much to share all.

      Friend- So you adopted, but you have such a giant problem with it? That makes sense. /sarcasm

      Me- I'd be happy to have a one on one conversation sharing some of what transpired to lead us to adopt XXX. But I won't publicly share the reasons why she needed a second home, and even if I talk privately with you, some of it I won't share. She is getting too old for me to tell her story without her permission. I'm ok with being viewed as hypocritical if it gets the message out there. In a perfect world, my daughter would be with her parents, and if I had a wand, I would wave it for her even though it would break my heart.

      Friend- I know adoptees and they don't feel this way at all. I honestly think sometimes it is just the online people who get themselves all upset about it. i think there are so many cases of children who need homes, and so many crappy parents who should be giving up their kids to people who can't have them but would be better parents. I think its probably pretty rare that someone gave up their kid but would have been a good parent. They are giving them up in the first place, after all, kwim?

      Me-I'm honestly not sure how to unpack all that... there's a sh** ton of assuming in your statement. And you know what that makes you, of course. ;) XXX's mom and dad are good and amazing people, and since I'm the one of us two who actually knows them, I'm going to say you are absolutely wrong that they wouldn't be good parents. You know some of the backstory behind our adoption. {redacted some things that I don't want to share publicly for my daughter's sake} Adoptees are individuals- of course I'm sure you know adoptees who don't feel this way, and I do too- some are probably viewing this right now and refraining from commenting that they don't relate to this article. This is talking about us as a society and how we view babies of a certain group/class of people as interchangeable into a more middle class or rich (and largely white- hello, me) family. XXX isn't interchangeable. As much as I love her, she belongs with her family of origin, and I grieve for her that she has lost that. I also think you might be thinking of foster children who need homes. We started exploring that, and it's well worth considering. But it's very important to realize the foster system is stacked against poor people and POC as well.

      Same friend- I think this is projecting though on all birthmothers that they feel regret and pressure. I think most probably do it because they can't afford a kid or whatever, but I don't think they live this lifetime of despondent regret.

      Me- Not being mean here, but what do you base your opinions on? This article cited studies and other articles that cited other studies. How many first parents (preferred title) have you had honest discussions with on this topic? I shared this because most of us, including me, cannot possibly understand this from firsthand experience. We need to listen to the voices of those who do and partner with them to improve our support structure. If women genuinely want to give up their children, then that's one discussion, but I challenge you to find one who does. Even women who lose their children to foster care because of abuse or addiction typically do love their kids, they just struggle with forces that keep them from achieving the level of parenting skills others without those issues are able to achieve. And most of those kinds of issues are rooted in systemic poverty, which brings us full circle back to being true feminists who support women from all backgrounds to achieve parenthood when they have babies.

    2. Continuing....

      Positive one from a friend- This is a really fabulous article. As a therapist, i have worked with adoptees of many ages and from all different backgrounds and I have always found two things to be true 1) Even children who are adopted at birth have a yearning for their "first parents" for their whole lives. That yearning manifests itself in a multitude of ways, but almost always as a low level (or more severe) depression and anxiety. It is implicit in the "trauma" of the separation. Even if this happens at birth. 2) that adopted families are just as f***ed up as the ones that the adoptees came from. How terrible to be adopted and then have to go through a life of trauma and pain and divorce anyway?!? This is not always (remember the sampling of people I as a therapist am talking too) but it can be true. I understand the necessity to have families who are willing to adopt and that not all parents are qualified to be...but this article says it well.

    3. My friend then shared the link on her page (after telling me she was nervous to do so, but felt it was really important given what she and I have talked about since she has considered)

      I have to break this into two replied because of length, so my reply is continued.

      Friend's friend response (I'll call her A)- It's hard for me to even get past the picture attached to the article: that is a US navy sailor. A woman who has likely destroyed her reproductive health to defend her country. While I get the point of the article, I would never begrudge the process that brought her the family she couldn't have on her own.

      My friend - Tiffany really elaborated on it so perfectly, the fact that a child had to lose its first mother/ family is the main focus, that loss is very real and very, very heartbreaking. Families who can grow from that loss are privileged indeed.

      A- I would disagree that no one is seeing the other side of it if you would call that privileged. No one would chose to get a full series of the anthrax vaccine (the likely culprit of the reproductive issues in the US military) if they had another steady way to put food on the table. No woman should ever be in the position to have to give up her child if she truly doesn't want to but no woman should ever be put in the position to give up her reproductive abilities either. Basically, that picture is absolutely terrible for this article.

      My friend- I can totally see the trigger in this image, A. Devastating loss on both sides. I know adoption comes often after a lot of pain and loss on the adoptive family's side, too. But the loss experienced by an infant, a child, shouldn't be compared to a loss by an adult, if that makes sense? Which is what I mean by being privileged, an adult can take steps like adopting. A choice, to do that, to follow that road, albeit the circumstances leading to that weren't fair or just, but the child in this had NO CHOICE.

      I hope you see I'm not reducing the loss of any woman who turns to adoption in order to grow their family, but that I do feel all adoptive parents should acknowledge that adoption is still a privilege. One not granted to many, many who desperately want it too. Motherhood is a privilege, adoption even more so.

    4. Me- Hi A. :) I'm the friend of XXX that originally shared this. I'm an adoptive mom, and I'd like to share my viewpoint from that perspective.

      I didn't notice the picture was of a soldier. It's captioned as a stock image and isn't even necessarily an adoptive family, so while I understand your point that anthrax may have affected fertility for female soldiers, that isn't the point of the article. It is a very unfortunate choice of pictures.

      The point is that one woman does not have a greater right to another woman's child, and that is often perceived and presented as the case in the U.S. I have enormous sympathy for women struggling from infertility. It is not frequently known, but many first mothers end up struggling with secondary infertility. No matter how the infertility happens, even if it is serving your country at great personal cost, it does not entitle that woman to another woman's child. That simply shifts the pain and loss from one woman to another. It's not just simply a matter of building a family in an different way. It comes at a huge personal cost to a mother who is forever cut off from being a parent to her own child.

      You say no woman should have to give up her child if she doesn't truly want to. It is an incredibly small number of women who WANT to give up their child. I actually have yet to encounter one, or someone who knows of one, and I have talked with many first moms online as part of forums and in person at adoption groups. The vast majority of women are pressured from family, partners, society, lack of support and money, and adoption agencies. The pain of giving up a child is lifelong, and for many of these women, never goes away.

      My daughter is an adoptee forever. All the rest of her life, she will struggle with having been given up by her parents, and trying to reconcile that with being told that they love her- while I tell her that I will never leave her because I love her. Many adoptees can struggle with attachment and trust as a result. Adoptees have a higher rate of suicide than the general population. They are cut off from the genetic history and their entire family tree. In the U.S., they are legally denied the right to their original birth certificate. Friend said it really well- the adoptee must live her life dealing with a choice someone else made for them.

      Adoption is something that should happen rarely. As an adoptive mom, I firmly believe that. I would love to see exactly what you said truly happen- that only women who actually do not want to parent, or who are abusive or unwilling to receive help for addiction, place their children for adoption. We should, as feminists and society at large, be making every effort for children to stay in their family of origin whenever possible.

    5. Oops! Lost the first part of that last one. My fried shared the article on her page, and this went and my previous reply went on there.

      A (friend of my friend) - It's hard for me to even get past the picture attached to the article: that is a US navy sailor. A woman who has likely destroyed her reproductive health to defend her country. While I get the point of the article, I would never begrudge the process that brought her the family she couldn't have on her own.

      My friend - Tiffany really elaborated on it so perfectly, the fact that a child had to lose its first mother/ family is the main focus, that loss is very real and very, very heartbreaking. Families who can grow from that loss are privileged indeed.

      A- I would disagree that no one is seeing the other side of it if you would call that privileged. No one would chose to get a full series of the anthrax vaccine (the likely culprit of the reproductive issues in the US military) if they had another steady way to put food on the table. No woman should ever be in the position to have to give up her child if she truly doesn't want to but no woman should ever be put in the position to give up her reproductive abilities either. Basically, that picture is absolutely terrible for this article.

      Friend- I can totally see the trigger in this image. devastating loss on both sides. I know adoption comes often after a lot of pain and loss on the adoptive family's side, too. But the loss experienced by an infant, a child, shouldn't be compared to a loss by an adult, if that makes sense? Which is what I mean by being privileged, an adult can take steps like adopting. A choice, to do that, to follow that road, albeit the circumstances leading to that weren't fair or just, but the child in this had NO CHOICE.

      I hope you see I'm not reducing the loss of any woman who turns to adoption in order to grow their family, but that I do feel all adoptive parents should acknowledge that adoption is still a privilege. One not granted to many, many who desperately want it too. Motherhood is a privilege, adoption even more so.

      And then I replied, which I shared above.

    6. Thank you so much Tiffany. You really do help, and I know these kinds of conversations take so much energy and focus. I really appreciate your enormous efforts to join us all - those of us made invisible by the common adoption narrative of it all being beautiful - in trying to get new thoughts, based on actual lived experience of adoption, started up. I so appreciate you.

  14. Cindy: I wasn't trying to hush anyone, and I certainly don't want to stop spreading the message of the need for reform. If I did I wouldn't be here.

    When I said "but for the time being, it is what it is" my next sentence was "the only way to change it is if more citizens come to have a different perspective on the realities surrounding adoption." In other words, I don't want to accept the status quo, I want change it by changing people's viewpoints.

    I think it is helpful if there are adoptive parents who want a waiting period before papers can be signed, even if it means fewer adoptions. It is helpful if there are adoptive parents who want a time after signing when the adoption can be rescinded, even if it means "breaking the adoptive parents hearts." It is helpful if there are adoptive parents who want to address the issue of unfair tactics by CPS, even if it means fewer TPRs and fewer children available for adoption.

    I like that Tiffany does not dismiss the parenthood of her daughters' other parents. And that she wants them in her life.

  15. I want to say that I'm ok with what Crystal, Cindy, and Yose Mite said, although I sincerely appreciate Anon, Steve, and Lorraine's comments about how APs who get it are needed in this conversation. But I don't take offense to the anger. It is well understood, and as an AP, I am part of a larger group in our society who do indeed deserve a lot of anger and indignation and being called out. Someday, when my daughter is older and she is on the internet talking with fellow adoptees and first moms about adoption, I would be one angry mama bear if some AP came along telling her how wrong she was to feel the way she felt. They would have no right. Cindy is right- Yose Mite should not be shut down from sharing her truth. I was not intending to do that, and if it came across that way, I do sincerely apologize.

    I could try to clarify my position, but I feel that it might doing what Cindy said, and I am not trying to do that. I do understand if people disagree. I appreciate being able to share here, but I never want to drown out the voices that matter more than mine does as a privileged AP.

    1. Your perspective is really really valuable. Thank you for taking the time and effort to share. As a woman who aborted a baby, was abandoned by my mother (and father) and then had a series of 'caretakers' who resented my sister and I, I so encouraged by someone who takes the child's p.o.v. so seriously. I know very few adults who do and we are encouraged, I believe, in our western society, to identify with adults and ignore the feelings of children. That was certainly my experience. The only needs that were considered 'legitimate' by my various caregivers were physical and educational. Emotional needs were dismissed as trivial. The need for a mother is strong -- and does not diminish with age (I'm 60). I don't understand how we've become so unable to see children as people. I remember the losses as though they occurred yesterday. Anyway I just want to say thank you to someone for putting her own feelings and needs aside for the sake of a child. You're unusual, but show it can be done.

  16. Why is disagreement or a different point of view labeled as anger? I'm puzzled. I am calm and quite content, now, and when I wrote my previous comment. There is and was no anger, no malice...none, nada, zip.

    Those is Australia accomplished amazing things with limiting the practice of adoption. No reason why it cannot be done here. Or are we, as a nation, morally bankrupt?

    Steve, when someone comes back with "take it easy" to something I have said, they are trying to shush me up. Due possibly, to the strength of what was said and how it was felt by the receiver. You seem to have interpreted Yose mite's comments as being ..what? loud?, hysterical?, angry? Yose mite sounded to me like she was saying, very reasonably, what she feels in her soul. Not at all loud, angry, or hysterical, especially considering the circumstances of living adoption.

    To no one in particular. I claim my family by roots, heritage, long history and bloodline, not by some lying piece of paper. This thing called adoption effects generations. Generations of us have had to live lies and been prevented from having, speaking and living our truth. If morals in this country mattered maybe falsified birth certificates would be a big deal, but it seems that morals, especially for government ...nah, not so much. Folks don't seem to want any type of morally based government because it seems to mean somebody, somewhere, is not going to get what they want, when they want it, the way they want it. If we can't have lies (that claim these children as our own live born), or cheat (coerce), or steal (force), or exploit other women /families in their distress there would be many, many fewer children for others to adopt (refer to Australia's adoption reform).

    Will we give you, mommy, the funds to help you raise your child? No. We will put that child in foster care and give strangers the money to raise the child... huh? what kind of messed up is that? Then we will let them or someone else adopt said child because we still won't give you the funds to help you that we are willing to give to total strangers. What a messed up...mess.

    I think there are some pretty fine people here, from every place in adoption. Goodnight everybody.

  17. Hi--I'm sorry I don't have the time and energy to post a new blog but I am totally inundated with the exigencies of moving! We have so much stuff, and this house which I think I will come to love, lacks adequate storage space and so the house continues to be a mess until we can get some closets and cabinets built. A couple things happened during the move that related to adoption, and I look forward getting to write a blog about them but for now I have to be consigned to saying--I'll be back ASAP.

  18. Cindy: I should not have used the words "take it easy." I withdraw them. If I could edit my post I would.

  19. @ Lorraine

    Thank you for posting my shit even when it slaps you moms right across the face. I will not ever get over the loss of my mother and I never should. No adoptive mom can replace her anymore than prosthetics can replace limbs.

    That is what adoptive parents are...prosthetics.

  20. Everyone should also understand that we cannot edit, or delete any part of the comments. It's either all or nothing. So occasionally we receive comments that have observations we would like to publish, but then there is something in the comment that precludes us from doing so. This is not directed at anyone in particular, just a request that you consider the whole comment when you hit publish.

  21. When an adoption agency places a newborn with a 52-year-old single TV personality, you know Jane's assessment of the class system in adoption is right on.


    1. See what I wrote about Hoda's adoption.
      Why we aren't celebrating with Hoda as she adopts a baby

      and how we were criticized for speaking out
      Telling first mothers to shut up--again!

      All everybody focused on was that Hoda was happy; in general in adoption, that is all the public seems to care about, as well as how fortunate the child is to have such a gregarious, wealthy mother. Same thing was true when Barbara Walters adopted; sad but true, her daughter was plenty troubled. She eventually found her mother...I don't know about their relationship today but I do remember seeing them in a reunion special, I guess, and what I recall is how much alike they looked, down to the long jangling earrings both mother and daughter were wearing. This comes from the top of a search for her daughter by name:
      The police booking comes after Barbara, 83, chronicled her daughter’s struggles with drug abuse in her biography and several informative television interviews.

      But a more recent bio indicates that she may have cleaned up her act and there is an attractive photo of her. She and Walters appear to have reconciled, and Barbara does not talk about her publicly except to note on a recent birthday celebration that her daughter sent her a warm message, which was read on television, and that she wishes to lead a private life.

  22. Wonder how much the a-mother paid. $50 grand maybe. Wonder how the baby's mother will feel seeing her child paraded around as a media prop. She may be happy at first that her daughter is getting "the best of everything" and think her sacrifice was worth it. After her daughter is dumped into a private boarding school (when she's too old to be an asset) and her pain has not dissipated, she will regret her actions.

  23. The thing that irked me also is that my family and I in 1969 were considered middle class economically. Instead, I was sent by the adoption agency for OBS check ups to a hospital in a poor side of town during my pregnancy. The adoptive family was blue collar, certainly not as I requested and hoped for that my baby would have had, at least, experienced an adoptive couple with higher education. As so many of us learned this is another ruse. The state of mind I experienced at the time had not allowed me to give this any consideration; Shock as a consequence of rape, fear, abandonment, social and familial shame, had taken over my body and mind. Mother's Day this year tightened the noose of grief. I don't believe this will end until my life is over. No words have helped me comprehend the damage of wrongful adoption and surrender of babies.



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