Consider Adoption?

A friend of mine who has adopted two children posted this on Facebook recently:

It is amazing what complete strangers will ask/infer/question/etc. I always answer for my kids ears (never for the stranger), but I sometimes have fun with replies when they are out of earshot.

Some of my favorites:
– Does he speak English? Me, puzzled look, “ummm…he’s a baby”
– Do they know they were adopted? Me, puzzled look, “ummmm???” (note a theme?)
– Does he look like his father? Me: “More like the FedEx Man” (FedEx delivered the adoption paperwork…and kiddo was out of earshot). She gave me a nasty look, but maybe she has since stopped questioning strangers about their family makeup? You’re welcome. LOL
– Random woman: Are they really brothers?

– Me: “They sure are!”

– Random woman: No, really…are they REALLY brothers?

– Me: “Yep!”

– Random woman: I mean, are they from the same family?

– Me: “Yes, we just live one street over.”

Since she was not going to stop, I finally said something about how my kids’ stories are theirs to tell and I like to honor their privacy.

And two of my favorites…
-How much did he COST?
– Why didn’t his mother want him?
(I have to channel Gandhi, King, Dorothy Day and more when I get these).

I read it, and laughed, of course.  Good grief, the things people say!  I admired the way my friend protects her children from as much of the ridiculousness as she can.

But it made me think about that one couple that used to come to the clinic.  If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know the one I mean.  The couple that used to bring their babies to the clinic.  They were chasers, and they’d strap the babies on – one for each of them – facing forward, so the people heading for the clinic couldn’t miss seeing them.

Cute babies, both of them, with big brown eyes that always looked a bit worried.  I guess the babies were four or five months old when they started bringing them and I bet they were over a year old when they quit coming.

You can see the video here if you want to.  But essentially the man would say.

“My son was abandoned on the side of the road the day after he was born, by his mother, to die.  And what youall are going in here to do is the same thing, you’re bringing a child to die.  And there’s families that would be willing to adopt this child

And the woman would say:

I know you might be having a hard time right now, but there’s options, you wouldn’t have to raise this child, there would be a family that would love the child.  I love my adopted child no less than I love my own…

They said those same things over and over, and I cringed every time the Dad talked about his son being abandoned by his mother to die.  Maybe it was true – or maybe the mother died giving birth – or maybe some agency made it up to garner sympathy.  I cringed because he was saying it in front of the child, and I would imagine those words, repeated over and over, seeping into that child’s heart.

I cringed every time the mother said she loved her adopted child no less than *her own.*  I’m sure she did, but watching her daughter listen to her, and knowing this mother thought in terms of her biological children being *her own,* made me sad.

I’m so glad they don’t come anymore – it’s been years now.  I hope they realized that it was harmful for their children, and I hope those children are growing up healthy and happy.  But you can see how my friend’s post on Facebook made me think of them, her concern was such a vivid contrast to the parents using their babies like props at the clinic.

If you listen to the protesters, you might think that lots of people change their minds and choose adoption.  Actually, the percentage of unintended pregnancies that end with adoption is one percent.  Not one percent of people who consider abortion, not one percent of people who make an appointment at the clinic.  One percent of all unintended pregnancies end in adoption.*

Seems unlikely that any of our antis who offer to “adopt your child myself” are going to get any takers, doesn’t it?

I’m not against adoption, you know.  It’s not so much like the old days, when I was in high school, and pregnant girls dropped out and “went away.”  That was fairly awful.  These days, I think there is less stigma and shame, and the prevalence of open adoptions or partially open adoptions make it a bit different proposition.  But most of the people coming to the clinic have already considered their options and made a decision.  Tormenting them at the last minute is just not helpful.

Someone accused me recently of showing “utter hatred…for anyone who stands in opposition to your opinion.”   I had to think about that – I had to check myself.  Are they right? Do I hate the protesters?

And I realized – no.  I don’t hate them.

Not Donna, not Nurse Betty, or Ron.  Not Screaming Preacher or the guy that always walks backwards in front of clients.  Not Andrew – whose wife has had the baby, which is understandably exciting for them.   (And I’d be real happy for them, if he’d quit telling the clients that they can be as happy with their baby as he and his wife are with theirs if they just walk out now.)   But I don’t hate him, or the anti-evolution preacher, or the one that used to be gay.  I don’t hate any of them.

I hate that they’re at the clinic.

I hate lots of the things they say and do.  But once they’re gone – if they quit coming down to torment the clients and companions – I won’t have any bad feelings about them at all.  Like the couple with the adopted children – I wish them well, and want only good things for them and their children.  Even  if I am one of those evil, baby-killing, Satan’s helper, Deathscorts…

~~ fml221 ~~

* Between 38-50% of all pregnancies are unintended.

P.S.  As my first commenter, Sara, points out, I have ignored the ethical issues with adoption that continues to exist, so I’m adding a link to this excellent article by RH Reality Check about the problem and some effort at solutions.

18 thoughts on “Consider Adoption?

  1. I think it is unfair to assume the worst about adoptive parents in all cases and to assume that the biological parents are some how saints just because they have been able to conceive and carry a child to term. Is adoption full of problems? Yes, but so are biological families. Not all biological families are able to or should stay together. Some families simply can’t be reunited for a variety of reasons. They are broken and all the kings horses and all the kings men can’t put them back together again. I’m not saying the adoption system is perfect but for that matter, the biological family system isn’t perfect either. I think it is unfair to automatically cast suspicion on people who build their family through adoption while assuming the biological parents are always saints. FWIW, I am neither a bio nor and adoptive parent but if I had chosen to parent I would have chosen to adopt over having biological children. Happy families come in many forms.

    • I agree, KyBorn – and I think the comments on this post have really highlighted the complexity. None of our systems work perfectly, and it depends on so many things. But I agree, there are not automatic saints or villains, each situation has its own balance. Thanks for your comment.

  2. I hate, hate, HATE that people think of adoption as a “compromise” between having to raise it yourself and having an abortion. It’s not.

    Their first mistake is to think pregnancy is no big deal to go through. “It’s just 9 months! What’s 9 months?” A lot. Women are still maimed and die regularly from giving birth and so are children. I’ve worked as a medical transcriptionist. I can handle the gory details of eyeball surgeries without flinching, but oooooohhhh god…OB/Gyn reports. I wish I could share with every single teenager the details of those reports. Do you know how many prolapsed wombs, bladders, and rectums I’ve had to type about? Infected episiotomies? CLITORAL TEARS.

    Then they assume that because you don’t want it anyway, tra la la la, it’s no big deal after you give birth to just hand the baby away. “Bye son! Talk to ya when yer 18 if you want to! Whew, glad I’m getting a week’s vacation off of work after this and I don’t have to interrupt my sleep!”

    Can’t tell them otherwise, either, because then they think it’s your just desserts for having sex.

    Then comes the ever-so-fun corrupt adoption system that is invasive and excludes thousands of excellent parents every year for frivolous reasons like being gay.

    Then there are no guarantees your adopters are good people. A lot of people as we have seen think of adoptees as not “real.” It’s a myth that because you had to shell out a bunch of money for adoption fees that you’re going to be treated well.

    I have nothing against the idea of adoption either, I’m just hugely against the adoption system and the poor attitudes and outright myths surrounding adoption.

    These people just plain don’t belong on the sidewalk. They know nothing, they don’t want to know anything, and they should just plain be banned to assemble only where they can’t be heard by any client. I don’t want anything bad to happen to them either. I just want them buffered away to yell from across the street only.

    • Yes, you’re absolutely right, Longtail, people act like adoption is some kind of middle ground, and of course it’s not. And it’s complex, it’s not a simple “adoption good” pathway. Your comment really captures that. Thanks for articulating it.

  3. Isn’t it funny how antis try and demonize Margaret Sanger (who didn’t even support abortion) while the “mother of adoption” Georgia Tann was actually responsible for kidnapping infants from their families to sell on the black market and allowing scores of “unadoptables” to get sick and die while under her care.

    • Oh, dear, Sand11878, I don’t even know anything about Georgia Tann! I guess if I’m going to understand adoption, I’ve got lots of reading to do. Thanks for commenting!

  4. I also thank Sara for her comment. For the parents and children separated by adoption, “It’s better now” rings hollow. We may like to think things are better now, but are they? Too often adopters will go overseas in an effort to circumvent protective laws. Not to mention the enormous tax credits for adoption that could instead fund family preservation efforts.

    You are right that we need to respect privacy and be careful of the stories we feel entitled to tell about children who arrive to us by way of adoption, but we should never claim that adoption is fine or that things are now resolved.

    One article I wrote recently gives advice for those who have not been adopted, and how they can interact respectfully with those who have:

  5. The Christian Right is IN BED with the adoption industry! they want to ban abortion and create as many “unwanted” kids as possible for Christians to adopt to increase their “army” of Christian soldiers. Read also The Baby Catchers by Kathryn Joyce.

    Mirah Riben, author,THE STORK MARKET: America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry

    Blogging at:

    • Thanks, Mirah Rib en – I really appreciate the input and the links. It would be interesting to do some more research and do a comprehensive post about adoption…

    • Oh, you’re right! And I hadn’t thought of that. I guess I’ve gotten used to the anti’s thinking of us as hateful so much that it didn’t surprise me. Thanks for the perspective!

    • It’s worth noting that there are outliers in both camps. And violence (bombing and killing) is never the answer. As far a harassment goes, I’ve heard terrible things said by antis. And I’ve seen pro-choice yell that they wish an anti was aborted. Not sure that your point holds much water in the grand scheme of things.

      • Oh, good point, Jamzth, I’ve heard escorts say some mean things too. I think the difference is that the antis are there to stop people from doing what they’ve decided to do and in the process they often say cruel and hateful things, while escorts are there to make sure people can access healthcare. So the point of me being there is not to interfere with anybody doing what’s right for them, which, imo, makes me less likely to be hateful. You are welcome to disagree, of course.

  6. Dear Sara,

    Yes. Of course you’re right, and I wondered, when I typed “….makes it a bit different proposition…” if anyone was going to open that particular can of worms. Because yes, you’re absolutely right. Thank you.

  7. I would be careful with the assumption that adoption is better/more ethical than it was during the baby scoop era. Considering that while many women who consider adoption today exclusively seek open or semi-open adoptions, yet there are no legal guarantees that their adoption will stay “open” or at least not to the degree promised by the potential adopters. Please consider reading the First Mother forum blog or Pound Pup Legacy for more information. Sadly the same bullies who stand out on street corners harassing women and trying to convince them they don’t know their own minds and haven’t considered all their options are the same people who tell scared young women they can’t ever be good mothers no matter what and that if they really loved their baby they’d give it to a nice Christian family. I’m personally convinced that one of the driving forces behind so much anti-choice legislation is driven by a desire to increase the supply of Caucasian newborns for adoption. When abortion became legal, the baby scoop era was over and the supply for nice Christian families of babies they could pass of as their own dried up. Anti-choicers always want to talk about how much money clinics make (ha!) but never about how much money is made by their affiliated Christian adoption agencies.

    • To jump on your bandwagon, which I agree with, I would also say that similar tactics used against expectant mothers to obtain their babies are being used today against future fathers who value fatherhood – public shaming, bullying, manipulating, bankrupting – and sovereign nations who want to keep their children within their own borders, nations, original cultures, and language. The adoption agenda has a multi-pronged approach –

      1) Belittle and discredit those (people and nations) who want to keep their babies and children instead of supplying them to hopeful parents
      2) Get the hopes even higher for hopeful adoptive parents (who will pay the bills) through economic and emotional incentives
      3) Bully and bankrupt those (people and nations) who dare to speak out
      4) Distract and avoid discussions about the actual longstanding issues and concerns about child welfare or human rights using steps 1,2, and 3 unless it supports the adoption agenda.

      Anything to get more babies to satisfy the demand and line the pocketbooks of agency directors and…

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