• A Must Read List for Adoption Truths

    • In many states across the USA including New York, Adoptee Rights bills are introduced to state legislators year after year. Due to lack of public support and misinformation based outdated beliefs about the adoption process, year after year, this bills fail to become laws.

    • I am a product of this experiment. I was born on December 24th, 1988 and I was soon transferred from one mother to another because my first mother, known throughout my life as my birth mother, wasn’t married to my birth father. She was 16 years old and still in high school.

    • I was 14 when I learned I was pregnant and my life changed forever. Once I’d gotten that fateful news, I tried to imagine what it would be like to have a baby; I wondered if I’d be able to finish school, would I be able to give my baby the life she deserved?

    • So How Do We Fix Adoption in the USA? Domestic Voluntary Infant Adoption is what we are discussing here. Women facing and unplanned pregnancy and “choose” adoption rather than parenting. If you aren’t aware of adoption facts, then you might not be aware of the need for reform.

    • 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.

    • What Happens to the Numbers of Adoptable Infants in the USA if We Compare to Australia? IF the USA had similar adoption practices to Australia and supported mothers, in the US we would have only 539 Voluntary Domestic Infant relinquishments annually give or take.

    • The relinquishment and subsequent adoption of my son was actually picture perfect. I am a perfect example of exactly what adoption is when it works just as it is suppose to.The adoption of my son was perfect, I did everything the “right” way and still; the adoption of my son caused unnecessary pain and was wrong. This is way I speak out against adoption today.

    • Adoption was almost more like a crack that happened in my soul. A crack that that I thought and was encouraged to believe that would be temporary or always below the surface. Over time, the rest of life worked it’s way in, like water in cement and caused the very foundation of myself to crumble.

    • When I relinquished Max, it was suppose to be something that affected ME. Like so many things in adoption, the professionals were wrong. The “gift of adoption” just keep on giving and giving.. the pain has a huge ripple effect that touches every aspect of a woman’s lives including ALL our children.

    • Secondary adoptee rejection is a very real reality in adoption reunions. We all have a different skill set and experiences to handle a reunion.There are many mothers who were simply told to “never speak of this again” and that has proven to be a real unhealthy bit of advice.

    • The simple fact is that it is less than 1% of all relinquishing mothers desire to never set eyes on their children again. So because these 1% mothers another 6 to 8 million people and their children and their children’s children get denied medical histories, get denied their identity, get denied their truth..

    • Most adoption agencies will offer free “birthmother” counseling as part of their adoption services. A true counselor is supposed to advocate for their client, not the organization for which they work. Often adoption counseling is “in agency” and therefore, not really nonpartisan. There is no guarantee that the “counselor” is neutral and actually has the expectant mothers’ best interests at heart.

    • I figured that I would write a post that makes it easier for women to become birthmothers. Hence, here’s a handy guide on how to become more appealing to adoption agencies and ways to ensure that you will place your baby.

A Perfect Example: Pre- Birth Matching in Adoption is Unethical & Exploitive to ALL

Prospective Adoptive Parents in the Labor Room for Birth is Just Not Cool

adoption broken promisesThe other day, I was alerted to the public “A Letter to our Birth Mom” that I was told was making the rounds around various adoption sites.  It is written by a prospective adoptive parent after the birth of a baby girl which the PAP’s attended as is common and acceptable adoption practice in adoption.  The prospective birth mother of the baby opted to take the child home from the hospital and requested more time to make up her mind to relinquish and the prospective adoptive mother was hurt and upset, sending this letter, to the mother of the child, though the adoption attorney, about her feelings over this possibly, “failed adoption.”

Failed Adoption Placement Hurts Prospective Adoptive Family

Now, I will admit that when I first read this “Birth Mother Letter” I was quite horrified and my first desire was to rip it into shreds.  I had planned to copy it all, in its entirety, and get all snarky on it. Then, I would, as my methods demand, make sure that the author of this was aware of my snark and somehow I would ” teach her”.  Yes, this letter is one way trip on the guilt train and I wanted to send it back to its station of origin. Yes, this letter to the almost birthmother reeks of entitlement. I was angry, so very angry, upon reading this public letter.  And I hated the person who wrote it. I hated that the mother of the baby had be forced to see it. I hated that this letter was garnishing attention and support for the family who “suffered this fail adoption.”

And then, I changed my mind.

See, blasting the author of this letter would not really do any good. She is upset and hurting as it is human nature when one is disappointed. And, in the end, while I do not agree with what is happening, she is another human being who has been hurt by the adoption industry. So blasting her would only make anything I had of value to say summarily dismissed and therefore, would be a waste of my time. My counter attack would only prove to hurt another person and possibly cause others to think, maybe even rightly, that I was cruel.

So instead, I would like to use this letter to point out how the adoption industry creates an environment where people have no choice but to be hurt, disappointed and face heartbreaking loss. Blaming her for being hurt is wrong. Blaming this woman for speaking of her hurt is wrong. The issue, instead, is that she was hurt to begin with, by adoption to begin with. And that, I can, surely understand.

Accepted Adoption Practices – Someone Must Lose, Someone Must be Hurt

I would like to use this letter to show that what is considered “acceptable” adoption practices are wrong, unethical and create a situation where someone, one party, is always exploited in the end. The enemy is not this couple that had their hearts broken. The enemy is the adoption industry who profits no matter who loses. I will use examples of this letter, perhaps not in order, to illustrate my point.

Issue number one, the prospective birth mother was 100% in her right to take home the baby, request more time to decide if she wanted to relinquish.

She “…decided she may want to keep the baby. She said she was taking the baby home from the hospital because she needed time to think and has not made up her mind yet. We were left wondering and waiting until Tuesday.”

There was an adoption attorney involved in this situation as the attorney is referenced, but this speaks of a huge failure on the part of the attorney and possibly an agency that did not make sure that the prospective adoptive couple understood that this was the right of the mom.  Fully 100% her right. In fact, this mother did the right thing by taking home her child to make sure that she had adequate time to decide.  Surprise and hurt should not be the outcome.

“I feel I have failed my children, myself, my wife and our family. I have failed in not giving them or myself the one thing we desire, a child, but I will not fail in hurting any of us any further. We cannot go another day wondering. Tuesday cannot come soon enough for those of us walking on emotional egg shells. Friday evening is as far as our emotions will last I’m sure; it is on that day we will sorrowfully accept the reality that the baby will not be coming home to us.”

If the adoptive family had been prepared for this reality, then their level of disappointment  and failure would not be so encompassing.  A child, a baby, is not something that any person should feel, on behalf of either the birthmother or the adoptive parent, to provide.  There should not be addition hurt fostered upon people  because of something that really is a good thing; a mother and child will not be separated.

“In a perfect world, we would be holding that beautiful little girl right now, but we live in an imperfect world, with imperfect people.”

Again, I blame out society and the adoption industry for allowing this woman to think like this. She should have been cautioned, educated, in the very beginning of the adoption process.  In a “perfect world” mothers and babies find ways to stay together; are supported.  In a perfect world, children do not require adoption. Adoption, while it can bring a child to lives that would not be able to have children, always begins with a huge traumatic loss to both the child and mother.  When a mother and child are separated for any reason, it is a tragedy. Adopting is, at best, a patch job- not perfect.

“I am thinking back to the very first day you reached out to Lisa and I. I remember thinking this is too good to be true, it was God’s divine intervention. It saddens us that this situation has turned against us. We feel we have gone out of our way to meet your needs, make you comfortable and feel the love that we have to give your little girl. “

The emotional investment made by both parties in adoption pre birth is just wrong and exploitive. Pre birth matching is wrong. The adoption industry has set this up so that somehow prospective adoptive parents and the original families are pitted against each other and do not act as they normally would. Would the author and her wife Lisa normally go out of their way for a pregnant woman whose baby they were not intend to make their own? Probably not. And that’s not because they are horrible people or anything; it’s just because that’s not what normal people do under normal circumstances. Adoption, is just NOT normal! Did they go to doctors appointments?  Do you attended sonograms off the street? Did they have weird stressful lunches? If they aren’t’ people that would normally hang out and just have fun together, then perhaps sharing a kid is not the best way to be pals.  People should not be required to “go out of their way” and then be angry that their efforts did not result in the outcome they desired.  Again, a failure of counseling, education and preparation by the adoption professionals here; this “situation;  is not about the adoptive parents and what they wanted. It is supposed to be what is best for the baby involved, therefore it cannot “turn against” the PAPs.

Keep Prospective Adoptive Parents OUT of the Delivery Room!

“When we saw her face for the very first time our hearts beat with love. When I cut the cord it felt as though Mya was leaving your family and joining ours. I watched her find her way into this world, and breathe her first breath. Watching the tears she cried flow down her rosy cheeks, leaving the only comfort she had known; only made me want to love her that much more. I knew from the moment I held her in my arms, she was my daughter.”

But she wasn’t. And I don’t say that to be mean, I say it because it is the truth.  When PAP’s are in the delivery room they are essentially watching a stranger give birth, a stranger be born, and they have no place there. It is not good for either party.  At this point there is still so much uncertain and the mother of the child, in the heights of physical distress that is labor and so emotionally vulnerable, should not have to worry about ‘making memories’ or ensuring that there is adoptive parent bonding or whatever. On the same vein, if the prospective adoptive parents were not there, then they would NOT have that additional emotional connection to a child that they would not have. It’s like falling in love with a $3000 dress with 20 bucks in your pocket. Why go shopping? Wait until you have the money  or child is actually free for adoption, but the adoption industry isn’t there to protect the feelings of the PAP’s or make sure that Emom is really doing the “right thing” or has a true choice.

“At your reassurance, we tried to remain confident, that she was coming home with us, and we tried to give you the space you needed. If you could take a moment to put yourself in the shoes of Lisa and I, you would see that our lives are put in your hands.  Every decision you make affects not only your life but ours, your family and our children’s lives as well. “

Can’t we see the tactics and unethical practices here at work? Bring these parties together in a most venerable time for all.  The industry wants the expectant mom to know that the happiness of the other family is on her shoulders and her shoulder’s alone.  They want the adoptive family to be adding that pressure on the mom to move her along towards the outcome of adoption.  It is not about the adoption industry protecting or doing what is right for any of them. It’s about making the adopting go though and this contact usually means it usually will. The fact that this mother asked for more time alone is amazing as so many  birthmothers do not. They bite the bullet and sign off other relinquishment consent knowing that they did have second thoughts, that they might not want to relinquish and they live in regret form that moment on. The “reassurances’ here were probably only to gain space, to get this prospective adoptive family out, to let them down gently. And again, it shouldn’t be that way. The emotional happiness of one family should not be hinged on the pain of another.

“Your mother pushed us aside and whispered sweet confidences of, “Grandma’s here” as she kissed Mya’s forehead, and I knew then our dreams of Mya coming home with us, were gone”

Again, if the prospective adoptive parents were not in the delivery room then this actual act that completely signifies the coming together of the original family support and love and the pushing aside of the need for adoption would not be a real memory of hurt and pain for another human being.  A grandmother should not have to push people aside to love her granddaughter. A person should not have t feel pushed aside. The birth of a human should not have opportunities for bad feelings, but should be completely surrounded with love and acceptance on all sides.

Money and Profits Drive the Adoption Industry; Industry Wins

The letter goes on. It speaks of the investments made by the adoptive family in terms of time and intrusion, feelings and money. A lot of money”

“It is not an easy decision to take out loans, spend your children’s college fund, and all of your savings, hoping that someone will choose you to raise their baby and if they do not, then all your money, faith and hopes are gone.”

I can’t help but to wonder what this couple was told. Where they reassured by the adoption professionals that this mother seemed “really sure” upon a possible placement? Or were they just so thrilled to be “matched” that caution was brushed away? Did anyone say to them “Hey, you have other children to think about.. don’t spend their college education… this is a risky investment and you might not get what you want?” Or was it just a slow steady stream of fees, additional expenses and payments needed, by drips and checks, until they were in so far that only a baby would make it all worthwhile? The desire for a child and the access to cash was exploited by an industry that did not care about the feelings of this family at all. The adoption industry got what it wanted. Their banks accounts are dry.

Yeah, I Hated the Letter; but I am in Agreement

“We need to reevaluate the adoption laws and process. Adoptive Parents are not protected. We have lost all of our savings, and now must spend thousands on counseling to heal our broken hearts.”

We do need to reevaluate adoption laws and process. It is wrong that this happened.  It is wrong that a family was hurt. While I can rejoice that in this case a mother and child were not separated. That this mother was spared her own broken heart. That this grandmother will know the joy of watching her granddaughter grow up. That Mya stayed where God placed her, with her mother, it is wrong that another family lost all their savings and were disappointed by the adoption machine.

Despite my initial disgust at this letter, I have put that aside and realized that I cannot fault the author for the same mistake that so many of us, that I myself, have also made. We trust the adoption professionals. We believe the marketing messages that lie. We believe what we want to hear. So I can only hope that when these people have healed and have some distance, they realize that it was not this mother that wronged them, but the adoption industry that lead them down a path where someone had to be the loser.

How to Fix Adoption

A more ethical adoption placement would occur where the PAPs’ were not in the hospital with the mother and family and there was no  pre-birth contact between them. In this way the mother of the child would be free to make her decision without intervention and outside  influences. Then, if she did decide to relinquish, she could after birth on her own time. The prospective adoptive couple could then be notified after the relinquishment consent was signed and after the revoke period had passed, when the child was completely free and available for adoption. Then, they could rejoice without  fear and their funds could have been used to pay finial legal fees and not just wasted, put in the pockets of the adoption industry who are now free to do this, yet again.
ETA: I wanted to share the feedback form the author of the letter as it was shared on her Facebook page with a link here to this conversation as I REALLY DO appreciate that she has been able to understand the point of this post as it was intended.

I would like to share a members feedback on my article, “A Letter to our Birth mom”, she has what I believe to be a critical point of view, not so much toward me, which is how I initially felt, but towards the adoption industry. I had to read this with an open mind and believe me when I say it was a challenge not to feel attacked; however, I commend her for her strong views and firm stance. She and I really are not different we both see a need for change. Please read her Blog about my article. Thanks for sharing.

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Claudia Corrigan DArcy

About Claudia Corrigan DArcy

Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine, Adopt-a-tude.com, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.
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30 Responses to A Perfect Example: Pre- Birth Matching in Adoption is Unethical & Exploitive to ALL

  1. bev says:

    Wow, wow, wow…
    1. “spent all their savings” – so they didn’t have a money tree in their back yard after all.
    2. “spend thousands on counselling” were they going to continue their support for the mother into post adoption counselling for the rest of her life? Maybe they could put away some for a counselling fund for their other kids along with the college fund – they seem to have overlooked them.
    3. The sense of entitlement is almost as disgusting as the industry.
    Thanks for the rational well thought out response.

  2. Writer, Shaba Mitchell says:

    This is ridiculous! Such criticism from people who don’t even have all the facts. WE did not ask for this, she found us. She actively sought us out and pursued contact with us. We do not feel entitled but do feel tricked. I didn’t get her pregnant or make the choices that put her in a situation that had her looking to relinquish her parental rights, she did. We simply wanted to be parents and she didn’t want to be one. What is extremely sad is that these women continue to breed at will and don’t even want to be parents and yet those of us who do, cannot. How do you know she is raising a happy, healthy baby? You don’t and in fact, she may be the woman you see on the news who killed her baby because she snapped. So please do not judge what you do not know.

    • Barbara Calchera says:

      WHAT??? ……Continue to breed? You are judging……Who are you to think you can raise the baby? PLEASE.

      Sorry you were ill informed. Again, the atrocities of adoption.

    • Barbara Calchera says:

      Did you do any research at all? If you had you would’ve realized that it is NOT in the best interest of the child you want to bring into your home.

      I know you WANT another child. Do not adopt. because it is stealing, in so many ways it is stealing.

      If you truly loved Maya you would want her to stay with her mother.

    • Suzanne Merdian says:

      Ms. Mitchell,

      I am sorry that in the end you did not get to adopt the child that you’d invested so much of your emotion, money and time. I will refrain from saying what I really think of your comments (these women continue to breed at will), and let you know the OTHER side of the story.

      As a pregnant 18 year old, it was discovered that the child I was carrying was way underdeveloped and wasn’t doing very well. A stress test revealed that his heart rate was weak, which put me on bed rest, and monitoring round the clock.

      When it came time for him to be born, prematurely due to extreme decelerations in his heartbeat, in a span of 3 hours I went from Suzanne, pregnant 18-year old to Suzanne, mother of a 3lb 10oz baby boy who was extremely guarded, frail, and in dire straits.

      I already had a family picked out for this little man and as the days went buy, he grew stronger and stronger. His treatment after hospital would include a round the clock monitor, among several visits to doctors and specialists to make sure his tiny organs would continue to grow.

      It was two days before my son was set to get out of the hospital that the adoptive family decided that THEY were going to back out. That’s right. They pulled the plug on the adoption because the wife decided that she wouldn’t be able to handle the medical issues.

      It works both ways in these situations, Ms. Mitchell. The problem here is that, in your post, you come off as selfish, and self-absorbed, almost entitled to this child just because you’d spent the money. I have to ask you. Did the pregnant, young woman force you to spend all of that money? You don’t have to answer that question. I know the answer. No, she did not. You chose to do so for the sake of adopting her child.

      You blame her for getting herself into the situation. I would suggest you examine that very thought for yourself. Of your own free will did you walk down this path.

      Again, I am sorry for what you endured, and I hope that you will find peace with it. Your language, however, suggests that you will find any way that you can to blame someone else for the choices you’ve made.

  3. zygotepariah says:

    “We have lost all of our savings [. . .]”

    I’m an adoptee. Ask me what I lost.

    • Barbara Calchera says:

      I am sorry.

      • zygotepariah says:

        Thank you, Barbara. So am I, for all of us who lost with adoption.

        I was adopted as a four-month-old in 1971. I was told growing up that my natural father ran away; in fact, I discovered when I searched as an adult that he was unaware of my existence. He never had (other) children and since finding out about me has completely embraced fatherhood. We talk every day. We are so alike; I’ve never had a relationship with anyone like the one I have with my natural father.

        It makes me wonder where Mya’s father is.

  4. ariel says:

    The heartbreak this couple feels is the same heartbreak they are asking another woman to go through, only so much worse. She will be losing a real living part of herself forever. To believe they have rights to another woman’s child is wrong, but it is exactly how the adoption industry wants it. They are selling dreams.

    Only the most entitled can claim they were misled. I’m sure the young mother did want her unborn baby adopted and felt frustrated with an untimely pregnancy. Once the baby is born, feelings will do a 180. She deserves to have time to make a decision that is true to herself. Would everyone rather that she go through with the adoption even if that’s no longer what she wants?

  5. Natural Mom says:

    I’m one of “these women”, Shaba Mitchell. How offensive of you to say what you did. Get over yourself. Yes, I went on to have two more children after relinquishing in a CLOSED COERCIVE system – forced and threatened by my own parents with homelessness if I even thought about keeping “that” baby. I would have kept my son if I had a choice. And he wouldn’t have gone through near as much pain in his life had he stayed with me. So maybe “these women” like you should get over it. What right do you have to take another woman’s baby? None. Zippo. I don’t care if she contacted you or not. Sorry you spent all your money on a wing and a prayer. That’s what adoption is about, baby – didn’t you know? You pays your money, you takes your chances. Maybe you will join in to reform a disgusting system that promises crap to PAPs and us little “birthmothers” that it has no intention to deliver. With you attitude please don’t even consider adopting a puppy, let alone a child.

    • Natural Mom says:

      And, by the way, my two raised daughters were honor graduates, and one is an artist; one is a playwright. I guess I really sucked at being a mother. My son? Still drifting well into his 30’s. Suffers from depression. Never married. Diagnosed as “learning disabled”. All because of grief and identity issues and the garbage his aparents put him through. Give me a break.

  6. Sherron Wright says:

    I believe you all must know each other because you all seem to have jumped on the bandwagon. Shaba I am so sorry you endured such foolishness. It is one thing to force someone into giving up their baby but you nor your wife forced anyone to do anything. This woman came to you of her own free will. God bless you and your wife for all you do in the community. She was blessed to have you two by her side and supporting her. I am an adopted child and had a great up bringing by my adoptive parents. I never felt a sense of loss, I always felt loved and supported. I am successful, happy and never had any desire to find my birth mother. It sounds as though these people are angry at their lives and trying to take it out on you. You cannot atone for the sins of others. Adoption is free will and your story is heart wrenching to say the least. It is unfortunate that you were deceived and to have people further insult you and blame you for the whole adoption system or their failed miserable lives is Ludacris. I wish you and your wife a happy life and I pray you are blessed with a little one you seem to have a lot of love to offer.

    • adminadmin says:

      Yes, many of us DO know each other. Its called the “Adoption Community” and some of us have been fighting for decades, some even longer. Still an “adopted child” huh? THAT says a lot. Glad you are one of the lucky ones, but we don’t sell Kool-Aid here.

    • Barbara Calchera says:

      @Sherron

      Then why are you on this site if you are at peace with your adoption?

      And I have a hard time listening to someone who has little care for the woman who gave you life. Where is she? Is she ok? Where is your compassion?

      But, I am glad you are ok. That is all that matters right?

      Again, that is the problem with adoption….it breeds selfishness.

    • Barbara Calchera says:

      Again, it was foolish.

      Buyer beware.

  7. Sherron Wright says:

    I only found this site because it was on the original writer of the articles page. I am confident and secure in myself and my life. I would not have known you existed were it not for the beautiful soul, Shaba, who decided to share your blog on her page. It goes to show, unlike you all, she is not biased and can have an intelligent discussion without placing blame. Direct your anger towards the individual who hurt you, not her nor I. Hope all you miserable souls find peace but you won’t find it pointing the finger at a woman who tries to make the world better one life at a time. None of you are making the world better, you are simply balls of anger in human form. Make peace within and perhaps you will forge peace with those around. I am done “debating”. You are all are hurting so much you cant even see the hate spewing from your lips. smh I will be a fan of her page long after I forget about you. She exudes positivity. Good day :)

    • adminadmin says:

      Yes and are you aware that she share the link again with these words:

      “I would like to share a members feedback on my article, “A Letter to our Birth mom”, she has what I believe to be a critical point of view, not so much toward me, which is how I initially felt, but towards the adoption industry. I had to read this with an open mind and believe me when I say it was a challenge not to feel attacked; however, I commend her for her strong views and firm stance. She and I really are not different we both see a need for change. Please read her Blog about my article. Thanks for sharing.”

      Maybe, you should take a hint from that and reread it what was written again instead of a calling everyone else “miserable souls”. The adoption industry that allowed this happen was attacked –
      as it SHOULD be. Always amazes me when people criticize pointing fingers and laying blame while pointing fingers, calling names and laying blame.

      • AC says:

        Two years ago, I was hired as an adoption counselor. Our agency has been in operation for over sixty years. We have two programs, a “waiting child” or adoption of children from the USA foster care system and domestic infant adoption. When I first started working, my director told me to surf the internet to update myself on domestic infant adoption. I was shocked to discover unethical practices by some so-called adoption agencies who advertised to pregant women free housing, cell phones, food, allowance, and “counseling.” I also was shocked to learn of fees charged to couple for the adoption of an infant, anywhere from $30,000 to $55,000.” In contrast, our agency charges a maximum of $15,000 for couples making in the upper $100,000 range.

        When these agencies provide upscale housing, food, allowances, etc, I see this as posing an ethical dilemmas for everyone, the birth mother/adoptive parents/social worker and attorneys. If a birth mother accepts free living expenses for weeks or months, she may feel coerced to surrender her parental rights and the hopeful prospective adoptive couple will feel not only disappointment but anger when the birth mother changes her mind and decides to parent. The adoption counselors will feel pressure to place a baby with the adoptive couple. It is a bad situation for the adoption triad, the birth parents, adoptive parents and child. Luckily, our agency is located in a state that does not allow these types of agencies to operate, however, it does not mean that adoptive parents and birth mothers are not recruited by out of state organizations.

        Our agency has an open adoption program because research has found that it is best for all parties. We also counsel all birth mothers and adoptive parents that adoption is about loss. We do not tell the birth mother what to do but to help and support her the birth mother and/or birth father to make a decision that is best for the baby and themselves. During the past two years, our adoption agency has counseled several birth mothers who learned of us through their pastor, a pregnancy counseling center or on a list of adoption agencies provided by a medical social worker. About half of the birth mothers elected to parent their baby after their child was born and the other half elected to make an adoption plan. Our agency counsels our couples NOT to give money or any gifts to the birth parents, as it is illegal to do so in our state and it is crossing ethical/emotional boundaries. Our agency will only provide up to $2,000 for birth mother expenses and rarely has a birth mother asked for more than $500 for gas, food, clothing, medicine, and/or housing expenses. These expenses are only available for two weeks prior to birth and four weeks post-delivery. Our counselors have helped a birth mother return to live with her parents after her parents had asked her to find alternate housing. Recently one of our counselor helped a birth mother realize that she had the money and family support to parent her child (the birth mother was in her early forties). Our birth parents are able to call us any time for counseling support. I have spoken with several birth parents who made adoption plans twenty or thirty years ago who just wanted to talk or to find out about reuniting with their birth children. We have assisted birth child and/or birth parents reunite.

        As far as a the wisdom of birth mother/father choosing adoptive parents prior to signing surrender or parental rights (sorry that is the legal term in our state), we inform our birth parents that they can choose the adoptive parents before or after their baby is born or they can let us choose the adoptive parents. The majority of our birth mothers who call us from the hospital post-delivery generally do not want to choose the adoptive parents and the birth parents who come to us prior to delivery generally want to choose the adoptive parents in advance. During the two years, we see more birth parents who want to interview several couples in advance to find out if they are open to the type of open adoption that they envision and they want to have contact with the couples outside of our agencies walls.

        As adoption counselors (all licensed graduate level social workers) it is not our role to tell birth parent whether or not they should or should not pick a prospective adoption couple in advance. It is our role to explain all available options to them. We also inform our prospective adoptive parents that the birth parents have the right to change their mind and that there is no way for us to predict whether or not a birth parent’s decides to parent or not to parent. Of course, our adoptive parents are disappointed when the birth parents change their minds, however, they have been counseled to anticipate a possible change of heart by the birth parents. Our agency has a policy that the birth mother counselor and prospective adoptive parents counselor are different. It is very difficult for a counselor to perform both roles.

        Our agency’s costs are significantly lower then others because we are a very small part of a large religious social service organization. They understand that the adoption program will not be profitable. Our agency is successful in matching couples and foster children which is a labor-intensive process. I have spent anywhere for 60 to 200 hours to match one couple with a sibling group. Once the child is matched with one of our couples, our agency spends another 20 to 40 hours of time on paperwork, telephone calls, and counseling to get the child or children from one state to another state, and an additional 40 to 60 hours on post-placement social work time. Due to federal and state monies available to adoptive parents of foster children, our services are reinbursed for the total cost of the adoption. There is something very special about seeing a scared, depressed, anxious and traumatized foster child blossom into a calm and happy child after being in a loving adoptive home.

        Adoption is not inherently bad. However, I see a frightening trend of essentially for-profit adoption programs where individuals makes a profit from infant adoption. I have seen infertile couples duped/scammed out of thousands and thousands of dollars by a birth parents who never intended to have the couple adopt her baby. In fact, one birth mother crossed state lines in order to find a couple to adopt her infant and who gave her another $20.000 for pre and post-natal expenses.

        Our state legislators are being heavily lobbied by adoption attorneys to change the licensing of adoption agencies to include the use of private attorneys. If the attorney’s lobbying is successful, I fear what will happen to legitimate adoption agenices like ours who truly care about the birth mothers, prospective adoptive parents/ and the innocent children. If profit was our goal, we would be out of business.

        My recommendation to couples wishing to adopt an infant to work with a true non-profit adoption agency. Our agency only accepts 10 couples into our infant adoption program and the wait time is 1 to 5 years. As I tell prospective adoptive couples, unmarried pregnant women largely parent their children and our birth mothers tend to be older mothers who already are raising one to four childen and/or women with substance abuse issues.

        I would like to say to the Shaba that some of the posts were incredibly judgmental and opionionated. I was offended by some of the self-righteous attitudes expressed in the posts.

    • Danielle says:

      Yes, seperating mother & child is definitely making this world better.

      Overcompensating, dear Sherron?

  8. Writer, Shaba Mitchell says:

    Thank you Sherron for your kind words. I appreciate all the support. We have received a ton of outpouring support from those who know us as well as those who do not. It was not the intent of my writing to cause such angry emotions to be evoked. I agree, the comments posted here have been critical, mean spirited and come across as anger and hurt. However, to the Admin of this page, do not misconstrue what I said, I believe your breakdown of my words is critical and the way in which it is presented comes across accusatory and angry, I simply said we both agree there are some adjustments necessary in the system. I do not wish to comment any further. I believe we will have to agree that we don’t all agree on some things.
    Be well,
    Shaba

  9. Writer,Shaba Mitchell says:

    CORRECTION: The comments on this page come across angry and hurt, NOT the Admin. I can see her POV and intent.
    Be Well,
    Shaba

  10. Judy Thompson says:

    I have never understood the adoptee that is closed to meeting their first family. Is the adoptee closed to meeting all people or just their first family?
    I asked this question of a group:
    “To those adoptees that have no desire to meet your parents, do you desire to meet new people and make new friends?
    If I said to you “meet my friend Pat I bet the two of you would get along great because you have so much in common” you would probably meet Pat.
    If I said “meet my friend Pat he/she is your father/mother who gave you up for adoption”, would you go and meet Pat? Why not?”

  11. sherron Wright says:

    Judy in response to your question, I say for what? I have a family who loves me and has made my life absolutely wonderful. They are my moms, that is all I need to know. I want for nothing and my life is fulfilled. DNA is the only thing that links me to the stranger who gave me life. I care for her no more or less than I care for any other person I don’t know. I am kind to everyone I meet and perhaps I have met my birth mom in passing, I don’t know and I don’t want to. It is not for anyone to understand but me.

  12. Greg says:

    Typically I get annoyed by these types of pieces and look for a reason to get on Claudia. But in this case I can’t.

    It’s a well balanced piece that is empathetic to the PAP while at the same time makes a strong case that this is another example of what is wrong in adoption and why things need to change. The PAP was obviously used by both the emom who manipulated them and also the attorney as well. Though I think the PAP should have done more research in what can happen in pre birth matches, I can’t blame them for getting sucked in. Sometimes couples want a baby so bad it’s easy to get sucked in.

    I don’t know what the emoms intentions were whetted they were to manipulate this couple or if she was scared and realized that she wanted to parent her child afterwards. Either way it’s her decision and could have been done without bringing the PAPs into it. But it’s the way the system is currently set up that allows this to occur. And it’s not like stories like this don’t happen the other way where emoms are coerced into relinquishing.

  13. Barbara Calchera says:

    I am thinking that I need to go back to college. I am not angry but shocked at the responses by Shaba and Sherron.

    And saying that adoption breeds selfishness is an observation that I have made. Again, not an angry comment.

    Sherron, that’s fine that you don’t care to find out about your mother or family. But I GUARANTEE that if you have children, either they will, or your grandchildren will find out about their DNA. Won’t that be a pisser….again, not angry.

  14. Eileen Burke says:

    While I can certainly sympathize with the prospective adoptive parents who wrote the letter, the fact that they had the letter forwarded to the mother is, at best, inappropriate and at worst, an attempt to coerce this mother into giving up her child.

    The letter represents all of the things that are wrong with prebirth matching. Hopeful adopters in the delivery room…wrong. Referring to another woman’s child as your own…wrong. Writing about a private situation and publishing it online and using real first names…wrong. Exchanging money for another person’s baby…wrong. Attempting to make a mother feel bad for you because she has decided to take the time she needs to make a life altering decision for both herself and her child…wrong. None of these things would have occurred if pre birth matching were not involved.

    Prospective adoptive parents are protected just fine. In fact, you can choose how little or how much you will be involved with a mother before her final decision has been made. Prospective adoptive parents have the ability to say, “I want a baby very badly, but no, I am not willing to participate in corrupt practices.” In fact, I wish more of you would speak up and say that.

  15. contentedadoptee says:

    Claudia, I really appreciated your response to this letter. I often disagree with you -almost always, in fact. But despite that, I love how you checked your anger and used it to write a thoughtful critique, rather than personally attack the writer. On this site I often feel like people are ping-ponging back and forth defending the bio mom or the adoptive mom. Bio mom or adoptive mom. As an adoptee, sometimes I feel like the well-being of the child is lost in the noise. And then, I’m aware that may be because it is so hard, and I think so subjective to each family, to know what exactly the best outcome for the child is. It is easier to speak about what the adults want. The most recent research in neuroscience and attachment theory has found that the baby begins to bond and attach to the mother in utero. The infants first months, first days, are highly important. Obviously, the ideal situation is for an infant to bond to an emotionally healthy birth mother and for them to be able to stay together. But if a birth mother is NOT emotionally stable, her love will be withering and destructive, and the harm she will cause her child into adulthood is exponentially more than the harm that would be cause by adoption to a loving couple. It seems on this site that angry birth mothers have come to believe that their love would have been better than the love of an adoptive parent. But that all depends. I have been saddened and grieved by my adoption, but when I sought out my birth mother and discovered that she was a rageful, unstable woman with a personality disorder, I became SO. UTTERLY. GRATEFUL. that I was adopted. As my therapist stated, I would be a different person if I hadn’t been adopted. And not for the better. I would have been an insecurely attached, scattered child who would probably exist for my birth mother’s narcissistic needs. She would have tried to love me, but her definition of “love” is very limited and my soul would have withered because of it. THANK GOD I was adopted. THANK GOD my bio grandparents encouraged my bio mother to give me up. I know this caused her incredible grief, and for that I am sad. But I love myself enough to be so grateful that it happened how it did.

  16. Danielle says:

    I have to say I am near tears now, not because of the pain the couple is experiencing, but the Grandma coming to be there for her child and grandchild. Her first words being loving assurance to the new baby (and new mom). That this mom had the strength to encounter all this overwhelming pressure, and I’d think guilt bc of the letter, but still did what she did.

    I almost hate to be writing how heartwarming this story is to me because it comes with the pain of the PAP, but I can’t help it. “Grandma’s here” is making me very emotional.

  17. Jane Smith says:

    It is very obvious to me that everyone on this web has been hurt deeply by their attempts to grow their family. I’m very sorry for everyone’s pain.

    I have finally successfully adopted after more than five years of failed infertility treatments and six years of dealing with adoption professionals. It was a deeply painful journey.

    We really wanted a large family of four or five children. Clearly our dream for a large family isn’t going to happen. Many clueless professionals told us that foster care adoption would help us grow our family. After five years of being a certified foster family without a single placement, it is painfully clear to us that the sole purpose of foster care is to reunite families even if it kills the child. Other clueless professionals told us we could adopt within a year if we followed their plan. Obviously, that did not happen. Fraud is everywhere in the adoption industry. The number of childless couples is raising. There are currently millions of childless couples. In a couple of generations there are will tens of million childless couples.

    Almost all women love their children. I NEVER wanted to take any child from their mother. But defrauding childless couples by offering a child via pre-match adoption is wrong. While this might be tolerated under the guise that the birth mother decided to parent, I don’t think this will be the case when there are tens of millions of childless couples all trying to grow their families. I know my legislator is already tired of hearing about this problem. They state they get hundreds of calls about this and law enforcement officials are growing concerned about the growing number of incident reports.

    I strongly support this model for adoption:

    “A more ethical adoption placement would occur where the PAPs’ were not in the hospital with the mother and family and there was no  pre-birth contact between them. In this way the mother of the child would be free to make her decision without intervention and outside  influences. Then, if she did decide to relinquish, she could after birth on her own time. The prospective adoptive couple could then be notified after the relinquishment consent was signed and after the revoke period had passed, when the child was completely free and available for adoption. Then, they could rejoice without  fear and their funds could have been used to pay finial legal fees and not just wasted, put in the pockets of the adoption industry who are now free to do this, yet again. ”

    I would not wish the pain and anguish that my family experienced on my worst enemy. Two of my best friends also cannot grow their families biologically. Both have had no luck adopting. One family had to file bankruptcy due to adoption professionals and pre-match adoption practices. The other was committed to a mental health facility when their last attempt to adopt was determined to be fraud. Her involuntary childlessness broke her. I completely understand why.

    I’m sure my opinion will be hated by almost everyone. Adoption professionals think I’m anti-adoption. Birth-Mother Advocates think I hate anyone that can have children biologically. Feel free to flame away.

    • adminadmin says:

      No flames Jane. There is no reason to.
      Thank you for your comment; really! See, I think the industry kind of likes it when we are so busy hating on each other that we can’t figure out that they are screwing all of us. Keeps them safe as we fight and argue!
      I have had it also proposed to me recently that the agencies might actually be ok with mothers choosing to parent post birth, because at that time they have their hook sin the HAPS, and can just continue to suck $$ out of them.. and the $$s collected for the mother who changed her mind, just keeps flowing. They get to use the same HAPS again and again..

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