by Laurie Frisch
Open Adoption ‘Options’ and Modern-Day Adoption Coercion: As more parents and grandparents work together to keep and nurture their own children, adoption agencies and adoption attorneys are promoting “open” adoption to get more babies for people who want to adopt.
The announcement of a domestic adoption “baby boom” has undoubtedly brought hope to people wanting to adopt an infant. But this announcement begs the question: Where are these babies coming from? Is there a systemic issue to be addressed?
Marion, IA (PRWEB) June 9, 2004 — The recent headlines must give hope to people who want to adopt a baby: “Local adoption agency has rare openings” and “Catholic Charities expands its adoption program”. The first article describes a domestic adoption “baby boom”; the second article announces an expansion in a domestic adoption program. But by announcing domestic adoption “baby booms” these agencies might as well be announcing their role in the exploitation of United States citizens.
Not only do mothers who lose children to adoption have life-long problems so severe that some commit suicide as a result, but there is also a higher rate of suicide, childlessness, divorce, alcoholism, and other addictions among adoptees than the norm in society.
Those who profit from adoption blame the adoptees’ problems on genetics. If genetics is the cause, the collection of statistical data might clear up any doubt. In the many cases where mothers married their adopted-out child’s father and had other children, it could be determined what percentage of the kept children experienced the same problems as the adopted-out ones.
According to statistics compiled on adoption.com the mothers who lose babies to adoption “often come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. These women come from intact families.” (Stolley, 1993) These mothers and their families are more likely to be naïve than to be genetically defective. Told “everyone benefits” from adoption and in the absence of any real information, they may think it’s true. In poorer families, younger “adoptable” children and babies are systematically taken under the guise of child protection. The poverty frequently follows divorce or is related to medical problems of some family member. Most of the mothers have jobs. And although the people who know these moms may see a caring, wonderful, competent individual from the perspective of the government they are only a source of babies for adoption.
The fact that adoptees and natural mothers frequently have serious problems due to separation is well known to experts.
In a paper entitled “CHALLENGING THE SILENCE OF THE MENTAL HEALTH COMMUNITY ON ADOPTION ISSUES” published in the Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, Vol. II, No. 2. April 2002, Douglas B. Henderson (University of Wisconsin, Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology) discusses some of the reasons for the experts silence on the issue: Professionals not wanting to admit to failure, the money to be made in adoption, and an unwillingness on the part of adoptees to appear ungrateful to their adopters are a few.
He explains the techniques used by the National Council For Adoption, which represents the agencies that profit from adoption, to silence others: “…the NCFA has attempted to marginalize and pathologize anyone who reports that adoption experiences are problematic. Setting themselves up as the national experts on adoption, while actually representing not the adoptees and (natural) parents who have lived adoption but rather the agencies making money on adoptions, the NCFA has long accused anyone who criticized adoption practices as being ‘antiadoption.'”
With all that is known by experts about the ill effects of separating family and of the secrecy in adoption, it remains that adoption is a very lucrative business. Thanks to lobbying efforts we now have government funding for Infant Adoption Awareness training, maternity homes, adoption counseling, subsidies and other aid for adopters, and so-called “safe havens” where a frightened mother unsure of how to get real help may leave her newborn son or daughter. In some states there are adoption aid “Choose Life” license plates, with proceeds going toward advertising and adoption services.
Those in the health professions can become an “Adoption Specialist” after a free three-day training program. There is no requirement that this training inform trainees of the life-long emotional consequences of surrender/adoption to mother, child or other family members.
By implementing the Adoption University@ curriculum in schools both mother and father may be influenced to “choose” adoption before they are even expecting. All risks are hidden and the implementation of this training in a group setting makes it possible for an opposing viewpoint to be squelched by the group.
The joy and pride of parents and grandparents who have maintained hope, worked through their issues and kept their children is very evident. But with all the adoption training now implemented, a pregnant mother is likely to encounter teachers, doctors, nurses, counselors and others who will not mention the joys of motherhood, but instead will pressure her to surrender all parental rights and will speak of surrender in glowing terms to her parents as well. Her baby’s father is unlikely to support her when adoption has been presented as “better” than taking responsibility for his own child.
A young pregnant mother or her parents may be lured by a “dorm” with “park-like setting”, “beautiful swimming pool” and “cozy fireplace”. Separated from family and society to aid in “decision-making” and repeatedly hearing “It’s your choice” the mothers will leave this maternity home still bleeding from childbirth saying “It was my choice”. With their thoughts constrained by the carefully chosen phrases provided by the adoption industry, it’ll be years before they comprehend that in the their best interest and the best interest of their child the risks of adoption should have been disclosed and the choice to keep children they give birth to should have been promoted.
Other coercive tactics used to obtain babies include having prospective adopters chosen in advance and even present at the birth (and we wouldn’t want to disappoint them, would we?).
The cruelest tactic used to obtain a baby is the use of the open adoption “carrot”, the promise to a mother or family of continuing contact with their child. Many parents don’t know that the adoption may be closed at any time without their consent. Frequently, the adoption is closed immediately; the promise of openness made only to lure them in. For the natural family, it’s devastating.
From the industry standpoint, open adoption has a clear advantage: Mothers whose children were adopted-out know that for speaking out honestly about the effects of adoption on themselves, their child and the rest of their family, the “punishment” will be cutting off all contact with their child. So, as they see their adopted-out children cared for by nannies, treated harshly by male adopters who didn’t really want them in the first place, denied access to their siblings or experiencing other problems these mothers keep quiet or even continue to promote adoption. They may have to convince themselves it is “better” or was “meant to be” just to cope.
The intense solicitation to obtain babies now includes offers to pay “expenses” far beyond pregnancy-related costs. These “expenses” include scholarships, car payments, entertainment, house maintenance, credit card payments and personal loans. How does this compare to soliciting to buy children from families off the streets in Cambodia? THAT is considered criminal! After accepting this aid, a mother may be coerced by agencies or lawyers using the lie that she will have to pay all expenses back if she decides to keep her child. Not surprisingly, there is adopters insurance to protect the adopters.
New tactics to obtain babies are being developed all the time. Even whole nuclear families may be advised that it is “best” to surrender their new baby if a parent has been laid off temporarily.
In his paper, Douglas B. Henderson concludes: “It is time for the silence of the mental health professions on issues related to adoption to end…. Continuing the silence will serve the interests of no one, and will lead to further difficulties for all those touched by the adoption process.”
A domestic adoption “baby boom” should not be a source of pride, but of shame on the part of agencies, medical experts, the government and others for having exploited citizens of our own country, the United States, to obtain babies.