' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: What We Think About Adoption

What We Think About Adoption

Are we against all adoptions? No.

Some are absolutely necessary, and good. There will always be children who, for one sad reason or another, need to find a home and parents, and in many cases, they will not be family members.

We are against unnecessary adoptions whether domestic or international. In many cases, adoptions  occur because mothers are not told about resources that would allow them to keep their children, nor are they cautioned about the lifelong impact adoption will have not only on themselves, but also on the children. Women are sometimes coerced into surrender by the adoption industry, prospective adoptive parents, or family members; they are pressured to sign consents within days of birth--in Alabama, Hawaii, and Washington they may sign consents prior to giving birth--well before they can recover from the effects of childbirth, and appreciate their loss; mothers are also sometimes falsely promised that they will be able to maintain contact with their children, and thus agree to an "open" adoption when they would not agree to a closed one.

We are against adoptions where fathers who are eager and able to care for their child are denied this right.

We are opposed to marketing and policies that urge young and/or poor women to relinquish their children to be raised by others. By this we mean agencies offering college scholarships to young women in return for their babies; spa-like living conditions during the pregnancy that will be charged to the woman if she decides to keep her baby; travel, and other amenities that amount to the exchange of money in return for a child. We find these practices abhorrent, unethical and immoral.

We are against adoptions, both domestic and international, which close off an individual's right to know the truth of their origins whenever they ask, whether that be at five or fifteen or fifty. If they are old enough to question their identity, they are old enough to know the truth. And the answer of "I don't know" is not good enough in today's world--unless the adoption occurred at least a decade ago. Today forcing an individual to be the unsuspecting party to a "closed" adoption is patently immoral. Adoption lasts for an individual's entire life yet he or she never has a say in what is undoubtedly the most traumatic and life-altering occurrence in one's life, yet it is one he did not make.

Though Jane and I both relinquished in the era of closed adoptions, in the middle of what is known as the Baby Scoop Era (BSE), 1966, we were not given a choice as to whether we wished to remain anonymous from our children. In fact it is adoption, not surrender that results in the sealing of records. Thus, the argument that the sealed records were to provide anonymity to the first mothers is spurious, false, and incredible.

We believe that all sealed-records laws should be repealed and all adoptees should have the right to their original birth certificates. We go a step further and also believe that first parents should have the right to learn the names of the adopted individual. The few cases where open records for both first parents and adoptees might cause trouble must be weighed against the enormous good of lifting the veil of secrecy that has plagued both first parents, especially mothers, and the children they relinquished. And we both are committed to working for reforming archaic adoption laws that hurt the two people most impacted and hurt by those laws: mother and child.

We know some adoptive parents that are understanding of not only the child's insecurities brought on by the obvious relinquishment that is at the heart and soul of every adoption: someone had to make that child available for adoption; someone had to give him or her up. We applaud those parents who make the effort to learn and understand the psychology of adoption as it affects the adopted individual. We appreciate the many adoptive parents who have posted their thoughts here that display not only an awareness of the adoptee's plight and position, but also express sympathy for the woman--now a mother--who relinquished her child, no matter her reasons and situation.

By contrast, we are highly critical of adoptive parents who have promised to maintain communication with the (birth. first) mother who bore the child, but in effect shut down communication unilaterally and thus an "open" adoption becomes a "closed" one. These people are deserving of the scorn and contempt not only of birth/first mothers, but society in general for they reneging on a promise that may have been the deciding factor in a mother's choice to allow her child to be adopted.

We do not think that all adoptive parents are grasping people who will take a child--anybody's child and not ask questions--but unfortunately we learn that all too often still remains the case today. While we sympathize with those unable to bear children, we believe that children, whenever possible, belong with the parents who bore them, and that more efforts should be made so that this is possible. We agree with this statement of UNICEF:
"The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which guides UNICEF’s work, clearly states that every child has the right to know and be cared for by his or her own parents, whenever possible.  Recognizing this, and the value and importance of families in children’s lives, UNICEF believes that families needing support to care for their children should receive it, and that alternative means of caring for a child should only be considered when, despite this assistance, a child’s family is unavailable, unable or unwilling to care for him or her."
We decry any efforts to increase adoptions as that is surely a manifestation of the mind-set today of the adopting class: men and women who delayed conception past their most fecund years or chose not to have biological children, and hope to "complete" their families with other people's children. --Lorraine Dusky and Jane Edwards