It’s not about you, but it is..
There are some facts about adoption that, really, you cannot dispute unless you are just trying to purposely to stay ignorant regarding the facts of infant adoption in this country.
Adoption is, in its perfect form, suppose to be about finding homes for children that need them, not about finding children for parents that want them.
That’s the perfect ideal, for the perfect world, someplace we all know we do not live in. What seems to be missing are some very important adoption facts. That doesn’t mean statistics like how many children are adopted each year, or examples of great gifts for an adopted baby, or even simple logistics such as where to find an adoption agency in Va. I’m talking about the pull your head out of the sand, stop listening to heart-warning stories on Oprah, and acknowledge some cold hard, adoption facts:
There is nothing inherently wrong about wanting to be a parent, but it can become wrong depending on how you go about becoming a parent.
I will never judge anyone for wanting to have a child. I would not think less of anyone or negate their parenting if they became parents though adoption. In fact, despite my disgust at the system, there are many parents through adoption who I like as people, trust as friends, work with to achieve mutual goals. I would even go so far as to say that I am understanding when I hear someone spout off some absolute blatantly ignorant statement; I shrug and think that many of the times the perspective adoptive parents haven’t even had a clue.
It’s not like they were trying to be cruel or uncaring. I know that. They were just doing what the industry and professionals told them to do, what was “acceptable practices”. I blame a system that hides the real hard truths from all the parties involved. It is only afterwards, when we can come together, usually then, when the real truths are exposed and fears disassembled, that the “other” side becomes real people with real feelings, and do many of us realize that we played a part in this misuse of an emotional crisis.
I know that many adoptive parents might resist really looking deep into the way their children’s adoptions were handled.
They might fight to look into their earlier thoughts and often stereotypes. They could, understandably, desire to remain ignorant of the losses involved in their path to parenthood. They might begin to think now, with regret, about some of the practices of their lawyers and other professionals that they trusted. I’m not judging that. I know that’s how it works.
I think it works that way for many parents who surrender as well. Many do not want to look at it deeply and fully. It really can hurt emotionally, in a way that is completely indescribable and words could never do justice. Often, by the time we do allow ourselves to feel deeply regarding the relinquishment of our children, we have years invested in self denial. Because it cannot ever be undone and all we can do is live though the time, mothers and fathers who relinquish their child to adoption have a great resistance as well and often, anger, at seeing adoption in a real light. This is especially true for newer first mothers who still must function at a level for survival as they work through their grief.
The very same can be said for the adoptee, especially for the ones who insist that they “never think about that I am adopted”. From some of the most honest and real, courageous and brilliant adopted persons I have known; I have had the honor to learn that many of the feelings that come from adoption do not always invoke feelings of gratitude, or contentment, but loss and primal rejection, as well as confusion, anger, many unanswered questions and often unsatisfactory love.
What it comes down to, bottom line; even if an adoptive parent technically participated in some questionable actions in the past, I don’t care. I don’t care if a posse of card carrying content birthmothers really thinks relinquishing adoption was the best thing ever for both them and their babies. I don’t care about how thankful you are that you were adopted.
It’s not about you, really, but it is. It’s not the past I am concerned about, it’s the future. It’s not how you got here, but what you are willing to do now.
Can you face the cold, hard facts?
By 2012, Adoption Will be a 5 BILLION Dollar Plus industry
Even the banking and insurance industry has more regulations applied to then than adoption and we know what they do to try and make money at all costs.
An industry analysis of Fertility Clinics and Adoption Services by Market Data Enterprises of Tampa, FL, has placed a $1.4 billion value on adoption services in the US back in’ 99. No other government or private agency has bothered since then. With a projected annual growth rate of 11.5% to 2012, this makes adoption the largest unregulated industry in the US.
Do the math; even if we follow those conservative projections, because the market has exploded since this last study was done making 11.5% is very mild of a percentage, we have a number that is in excess of 5 billion dollars by the end of 2012 with a growth rate of at least a half billion a year and growing.
Let’s all repeat: NO REGULATIONS PLUS LARGE SUMS OF MONEY EQUALS CLIMATE FOR CORRUPTION. That, folks, is human nature.
Adoption Laws In the USA are Antiquated
Many were placed on the books decades ago based on child development and human nature beliefs that we now know to be wrong.
The amount of knowledge that we have has changed, but the legislation has not been updated. Current changes have been made to benefit the adoption professionals and the industry in general because they have the money to pay for the lobbyists and the influence. The National Council for Adoption, a lobby group with a deceiving name and even more disturbing game, is paid for by the agencies, pro-life groups, and federal tax funds and grants to promote adoption. They like to separate families not protected by money or the Godly union of marriage in favor for a legally married heterosexual couples. Consent times, like in California and Pennsylvania, have been reduced, because lawyers and agencies want it and they are the ones speaking out to the politicians. It makes adoptions and the profits go though the system quicker.
Birthmother Grief is Real and Traumatic and Lifelong
Many, many mothers did indeed lose their children to adoption and suffer what can only be described as a real diagnosis of “birthmother grief”.
Whether they were downright forced and given no choice, or if they were made to believe they had a choice, but still felt they had no other options, or whether they felt they had options, but were not really given the accurate information regarding long term ramifications of relinquishment for them and for their child. These are women who are and could have been good parents. These children were in no danger of being bump around in foster care for years. No threat of abuse. If it was not for the happy adoption seduction dance of coercion, these families would just be. They would have parented. Maybe they would have had a few first years of lean times, maybe it would have been hard, but look at us now? Suz, Jenna, PoorStatue, Barb for example; all hard working, goal minded, strong willed ladies. I doubt any of us would have sunk to child beating, crystal meth, stripping, and getting beaten by our men just because we had a baby in tow. In fact, I dare to say that we would be more apt not to, because of the need to love and provide for our kids.
There is a huge difference between child protection and child surrender.
Child protection is CPS and state removal for the benefit and welfare of a child. While that system does have concerning issues as well with lots of abuse and corruption, it does result in children that need homes. It is involuntary, it is necessary; it is for the good of the child.
Child surrender is voluntary, it is often not really necessary, but made out to be beneficial. The real “good” of the child is questionable depending on your personal interpretation of what is “better”. Often fraught with myths, and misinformation that sways the participants to be involved for the benefit of the agency and, often, the desires of the paying clients, the perspective adoptive parents. It is finding children to fit the needs of the industry which is based on transferring the parental rights from one party to another for a profit.
The rights of the unwed mother and the unwed father’s rights cannot be ignored no matter how easy it might be to judge them, or worry about the future financial burden on the taxpayer’s money.
Adoptees, Our Children, Pay the Price
There are enough adoptees who search, who are in damaged, who hurt or are just not thrilled that they are adopted that we should care.
They might not hate their lives totally or even at all, but adoption adds a whole bunch of baggage to their load that they must carry. Some had parents that rocked and some had parents that did harm, mostly though, I bet they had parents that tried their best, made mistakes, and loved them lots. The fact is though, that if a child does not need to be separated from their original family, then the great majority of child welfare professionals, from the United Nations to UNICEF plus many others, agree that children are best off with kin. It is a person’s birthright to be with family.
To top it off, many voluntary infant adoptions in this country never were and still are not necessary. Imagine growing up with the most important and foundation building relationship of your life, aborted without logical reason, before you could even voice your own opinions. Call it a Primal Wound, call it adoptee issues, call it a matter of adoptee rights, our children had no choice and they had no voice. Now, they do.
The Need for Adoptee Rights Can NOT be Ignored
Adopted persons are denied their civil right to have access to the Original Birth Certificates and are frequently torn and caught between two sets of parents who have their own needs and issues.
They are not abnormal, or damaged, nor bitter, nor angry, but they are people who we all need to learn from so that we can do better for the next generation. They have the keys to tell us what we need to fix in adoption.
There are enough adoptees and natural parents searching for each other that we cannot humanly deny that it is a primal and necessary urge in many cases. It’s not a whim, not a phase, nor a sign if immaturity, nor selfishness, nor of poor adoptive parenting, or anything else might we believe. It is just the truth: adoptees have two sets of parents, adoptive and birth parents, and often a need to know and have relationships with both.
We must look at both Sides of Adoption
We cannot say “adoption is always wonderful” nor even focus on only the positive and refuse to see the Birth mothers grief and adoptee loss.
While there are many happy adoption stories, many parents who adore their children and children that adore their parents; there are also enough stories of adoptees who got bad deals, adoptees who got good deals but still have enough issues, and relinquishing parents who just totally got screwed in various degrees. It can be good, it can be bad and it can be all the variants in between. The negative, though, is very bad and threatens all our good. We should all care enough to make it much better for not just our own needs, not just for our children, but as a legacy of improvement to leave behind for future generations.
Don’t Dismiss The Adoption Message with Generalizations
I may generalize and state that “adoption is bad”, BUT I don’t mean YOUR adoption necessarily.
I still don’t need you to tell me how you were above board, super ethical, checked out everything, or begged your child’s mother to seriously look into parenting. I don’t need to hear about how she really IS a crack whore or how she really couldn’t manage it, didn’t want to parent, had a great agency. I don’t need to know about how sure she was, or her reasons for giving you her child. And I don’t buy it when you tell me that she is just fine…really, even if she is. Let me talk to her in 18 years when the taste of the Kool-Aid gets all stale and metallic, without you there so she could speak freely. Then I might believe it, but I don’t even need to do that. It’s not about proving that you are horrible person, less of a parent, or a baby stealing troll.
Really, I don’t care all that much about what was already DONE. It’s over, that’s the past and none of us can change it anyway.
If you gave your baby to adoption and you’re all content and peaceful and still think you made a great choice for your baby, and you have no regrets about adoption…OK. I’m glad for you, I really am. I am happy that you escaped the bullet. I can only hope that your child is in complete agreement with you when they can speak for themselves. And if that is not the case, of you ever feel that “hmmm…this is not what I expected, this is a bit more than I was warned about” or if that stale and metallic taste gets to heavy on your tongue, then I am here for you still. I know that deal all too well. And if you are super pissed off and angry and hate adoption with every breath of your being, well I get that too and ever stance of conflicting emotions in between.
If you are adopted and it is all peachy for you…..great!! You have only one mother and father, you have four, and you have six. ok. I cannot tell you how to make your heart beat. Your feelings are not about me, though I will listen and learn from you so I can understand my son more, but really the only one who I need to care about as far as the ultimate decree of my motherhood is my kids. If you want to be angry, I say that you are entitled to your feelings. If you feel abandoned or rejected, all I can do is hear you and try to help you understand what your own mom might be thinking or have felt, but even then..I can’t really speak for her, unless I do know her.
Adoption past is the past and we can really do nothing to change it.
But, we can speak of it, we can document it, we can be truthful about it.
That is all I ask: that you be truthful, to me, to the public, to yourself, to your children’s other parents, to your kids. Just speak the truth, even if it is hard, even if it makes you uncomfortable, even if it hurts you inside and makes you question yourself. No need to explain or defend this stuff to anyone, especially of you really are still trying to explain or defend this stuff to yourself. That is your journey. I got mine.
Even if your adoption was perfect, even if it was the most ethical thing on the face of this earth, even if you saved your child from certain death; it doesn’t matter to me. If you are somehow immune from being part of the problem, are you willing to be part of the solution?
I am still going to say things that make you uncomfortable about adoption.
I still want you to think, I want you to know that it goes beyond your personal experience, it goes beyond mine. I want you to behold such truths to be self evident, that adoption as an industry has a long way to go before it reaches that perfect ideal that we all strive for. I want you to care about more than just you and your child, but the child of that poor woman who looks like she just needs a break with decent day care. Or care about that really pissed off angry man who keeps getting a bad deal at work and can’t get insurance for his family to be or gets crooked out of his parental rights because an industry is running him down. Care about the young girl down the block who looks like a kid pushing a doll in a stroller to school every day with a loaded back pack of books, don’t judge her, or him, but remember, we all could have been in those shoes.
Yes, you; if the stars have aligned differently, if life handed you different cards.
I want you to stop and think about what it means for a mother, never mind if she is a young mother or a poor mother, as neither can measure love; what it might feel for a mother to lose a life with her own child. I want you to stop and really think of what you are asking her to do by relinquishing her baby. How do you feel when you hear of a missing child abducted? What emotions do you find OK for a mother to feel at that time? Do you sympathize with a mother when you hear about a tragic accidental death of her baby? And then explain to yourself what makes one mother’s grief over the loss of a child more worthy of our understanding than another mother’s loss because adoption was involved?
I want people to realize that even if, on the short term, it seems much more logical and sensible for the too young, or too challenged to give their unplanned children to those that have planned, waited and prayed to be parents; that infant surrender is sentencing both mother, child and extended family to a lifelong altercation, often with unpleasant results. What is exactly a few years of social support, non judgment, and maybe assisted day care and housing compared to a life time of unnatural grief? A life time of loss or a few lean years and maybe some tax aided support?
What is the greater evil? Trauma for life or public assistance?
I want you to think about the world we allow to happen for our children and their children; is it good enough? Would you want your daughter to have a story like mine, or Nic, or Suz? Do you want to have a universe, a climate in this country where the government spends money on known programs that fail, like abstinence only policies, that spends tax dollars on studies to find out who to make adoption appealing so that they can convince women to relinquish, that supports and promotes maternity homes like Gladney for political favors, that teaches professionals downright lies such as the infant adoption awareness training, that allows corrupt influences in your children’s schools like Stephanie Bennett, that has no regulations and no oversight and makes your daughters and sons venerable to an industry that is above and beyond reproach.
It’s not about what you did; it is about what you can do now.
Are you an adoptive parent, and do I make you angry? Do you care that you got what you wanted? Is that all adoption is to you, was to you, a way to be a parent and now it is done? Then why are you here? Why bother; go live your happy life.
Do you care about being the best parent for your child?
Which means that adoptive or original parent; you need to listen to the adoptees and what they have to tell us about our own children. It means making this world, this society, a better place where ALL understand and acknowledge what the adoptees tell us of their feelings so they do not feel they have to perform or lie or keep quiet at their own expense to protect those they love. So they do not feel alone and confused.
Think of your own children facing an unplanned pregnancy. Imagine being separated from one of your kids. Could you do it? Do you want anyone to feel the pain and grief of these adoption losses? Do you care about making some real changes in adoption practices and beliefs so that things are better for the next generations to come, our children? Can you put your money and your actions where your mouth is? Yes? Then come on, let’s go. We have work to do.
Think Beyond Your Own Adoption Experience
You can have the greatest adoption experience on the face of the earth, and still help.
It’s not about you, but it is. You don’t have to say what you did was wrong or right, but let’s go further now. Let’s make it ALL right for everyone.
And that means accepting the bad parts of it, even if you did somehow contribute to it. I will not say that makes you a terrible person, it means that you have learned and grown. We, as a society, as a community, as a people, have to be able to see, recognize and call out what is wrong in order to make it right. If you don’t all into the category of what was wrong then that statement is not about you. Don’t make it about you. If the shoe doesn’t fit, I am not forcing it on your foot. Just acknowledge that the shoe is there.
The Real Truth About Adoption IS HORRIBLY Raw, Frequently Ugly and Often Unjust.
I know that is hard, I really do. It hurts, it makes us uncomfortable and it makes us question everything we ever thought, everything we ever believed, every decision we ever made. It’s hard, but that is the crux of the issue; Adoption is HARD. It’s is difficult to navigate for us all. If it was easy, then none of us would be here. We would just do this one time act: adopt, be born, relinquish and never look back. It really would be the same as having a baby, being born to one set of parents, or never having a baby, but it doesn’t work like that.
The adoption industry wants us to believe it is the same, they say it is, but they are wrong, it’s a lifelong process for us all.
Sometimes, it gets to be too much. It is just too darn heavy of a load to carry. It becomes too deep, too convoluted, and our heads and hearts spin. We get freaked out, we need a break, there is so much to battle, so many venues and issues. It wears us all down. People need to recharge and not think about adoption for a little while; we go back to denial for a while, pretend to be normal. People say things that get us upset, generalizations are made and we feel on the defensive, we have to speak up, the negativity gets us down, nothing will ever change.
Adoption Facts are Just That: Facts.
You cannot change the truth.
Adoption will not change if we hide in our holes, in a safe area, and do not test ourselves, push the envelope, get discouraged, run away, or bury our head in the sands. Then in 20, 30, 40 years, we will be old and gray, drooling, and our children will be facing the same issues, writing on blogs and boards trying to make sense of it all.
It’s not about what you did or did not do. It is not about what I did or did not do. It is not about who is right or who is wrong. It’s not about what you knew or didn’t know. It’s not about whether you fit that generalization or not. It’s not even about what offends and hurts you. It’s about being able to speak clearly and make others understand, talk about the truth, the hard stuff, process that, and then improve it. It’s about growing and changing. It is about understanding. It is about seeing my mistakes and yours and learning how to not make them again. It is about the collective body of knowledge that we all must “get”. Adoption is too vast, too wide of an ocean with too many nuances. We only have one life and we cannot all live though every aspect of it for a total picture. We have to learn from each other.
Every time one of us speaks one iota of truth to someone else, the knowledge of truth grows. Little by little, one person at a time, we can make a difference. The adoption community can touch each other, we can support each other. We all grow, we understand adoption better. As players in the adoption arena, we have a moral obligation to make things better. If not us, those who live it, then who? I challenge everyone to stretch the boundaries of your mind and unlearn what you think you know about adoption. Find truth. Speak truth. Accept truth. Spread truth. And then think what the next step? What can you do to make adoption better? How can, we, as a society, not care about fixing adoption as a corrupt and antiquated institution?
I don’t care about how you got by my side, who you are, color, creed, place in the triad, age or adoption era; all I care about is if you are at my side or not. We all need to work together, use our collective voice, and cry out to fix adoption. Face the facts about adoption, then you must demand ethical reformation.
In fact, take a step right now.. and VOTE to Return Adult Adoptees the right to their Original Birth Certificates. Our Children need all the votes they can get from now until March 12th.