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Adoption vs. "Parenting"


Forum: Unplanned Pregnancy

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  #1  
March 15th, 2005, 01:44 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 6
Hi everybody.

IF everyone is pressuring you towards adoption, but you want to keep your child are you just being selfish?

Most of the websites you find are from agencies and attorneys that specialize in finding babies for their clients who want to adopt. What do people who are not in the adoption business say about adoption? Are there any risks? Learn about adoption from adoptees and moms whose children were adopted out - open adoption as well as closed. Also get some ideas about how you can keep you child if you decide to.

Are teenage mothers unfit delinquents? Does the responsibility of caring for a child help them grow in maturity?
  #2  
March 16th, 2005, 01:42 PM
gonetocarolina's Avatar Regular
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: North Carolina mountains
Posts: 99
I got pregnant at 15 and again at 17, both by the same man. I tried to stay with him for a few years, but got smart and left him and his abuse when the kids were two and one. I had no idea how difficult being the single parent of two small children could be. I had no car, a 9th grade education, and very little family support. I couldn't keep a job because I was constantly having child care issues. My sanity was slipping and I was taking it out on my two precious innocent babies, yelling at them, losing patience, just not handling it at all. Twice I put the kids in 'respite care' while I tried to get on my feet and save money and try to make a life path for us. But each time they returned to me it became harder and harder to manage. I began to see the effect of this struggle and instability on my kids, in their behavior, eating habits, overall health. I had flashbacks to the difficulty of my own childhood and my own single-mother's pain and depression as she worked 2 or three jobs to support us and I raised myself as a latch-key kid. The possibility of putting my two angels through that was a harsh realityAfter a lot of soul searching and crying I made the very difficult decision to give my children up for adoption. I knew I could never make it on my own, I could never get ahead and give them the better-than-average life I so wanted to. Even though the thought of giving them away, of 'failing them', of not having them in my life anymore was a horrible thought and made me cry uncontrollably, I knew that to keep them for selfish reasons would only hurt us all in the long run.

I found the Children's Home Society and with the help of a fantastic social worker I chose a couple with strong religious beliefs and a 15 year marriage. They'd been trying for 13 years to have a child of their own with no luck, and I felt that my kids would be a blessing to their life. They were certainly a blessing to mine! They agreed to take both kids which was my main concern. We met and the kids began living with them. After a year's transition where I visitied with the 4 of them every month or two, the adoption was final and I slipped out of their lives completely to allow them all to adjust and bond and become a family. This was 6 years ago. It has been a tough 6 years for me, emotionally, because I spent a lot of time blaming myself, beating myself up for being a failure as a mother, and hanging on to my guilt and the bad memories of the mistakes I made. However, in that 6 years I also got a GED, kept a job for 5 years, had my own apartments, leased a new car, had some mature healthy relationships, and basically grew up as a person. My kids have gotten the opportunity to go to private schools, play organized sports, be a cheerleader, go to a fantastic church, and they have been blessed with a caring mother AND father, plus a large, tightknit extended family. As a bonus, the adoptive parents became pregnant with twins a year after the adoption was finalized. I receive pictures regularly, and the social worker that initially brought me and this family together still keeps in touch with all of us and acts as a liaison for me, filling me in on their lives. I send the mgifts and cards and letters and pictures whenver I can, and they know me as 'Mommy Kristen'. Of course there are times now, seeing myself so secure and stable and so much more able to handle motherhood, that I wish I could have them back, but in my heart I know they are happy and to try to get back my rights as a mother now would only hurt them. And I have so much love in my heart for them I would never want to hurt them. I just sit and pray and wait anxiously for the day when their new parents decide they are old enought to handle meeting me again, as they've promised several times they would.

The bottom line of this long story is that adoption is a beautiful option, to me it is another word for 'second chance'. It can makes the lives of everyone so much better, more hopeful. It's not a decision to be ashamed of, or scared of. It's a selfless thing to do, it's putting your child(ren) above yourself, getting over your pride and doing what a parent SHOULD do for their kid, and that is WHATEVER it takes to give them a chance for a wonderful life. It isn't giving up, and it's certainly not failure.

It can be hard though, I will not deny that. If anyone considering this wants to talk I would be happy to!
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  #3  
March 16th, 2005, 06:40 PM
Alice's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I speak from the other side: my 6 year old son is adopted. He was born in Korea, and came to us (in NY) at the age of 7 months.

There is never a day in my life that I don't thank God for the sacrifice that Brian's birth mother made. She was 17 years old, alone and unwed in a society that really looks down on unwed mothers.

We talk about her on occasion, although we have yet to have the really big "why did she give me up" chat; just the occasional comment.

But my life would not be the same without her huge sacrifice.
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WIFE TO PETER
MOM TO BRIAN (6-18-98)
JULIA (2-17-00)
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  #4  
March 17th, 2005, 06:01 AM
Margaret
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I am not officially on either side of this coin yet, but I have been a child abuse advocate and was involved in emergency foster care. Many parents, male and female, are good parents and some are not. It's been my experience that age is one of the least determining factors in who will be able to handle the responsibility of parenting a child.
  #5  
March 17th, 2005, 07:20 AM
gonetocarolina's Avatar Regular
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: North Carolina mountains
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"I am not officially on either side of this coin yet, but I have been a child abuse advocate and was involved in emergency foster care. Many parents, male and female, are good parents and some are not. It's been my experience that age is one of the least determining factors in who will be able to handle the responsibility of parenting a child."

I agree with you completely, however age begets experience, wisdom and maturity. A 15 year old is nowhere as emotionally intelligent or stable as a 26 year old. The differences in myself from age 15 to 26 are huge, and I'm sure many can say the same.

I'm afraid that my first post seemed like hard-core advocacy for adoption, or like I was pushing people towards that. I was just relating my experience and how adoption saved 3 lives, possibly 5, in that instance. I think, if a young girl has a strong support system, in family and friends, and the ability to continue school so that she has a strong foundation for a future for herself and her child, then keeping that child is a wonderful option. I wish every day that my life situation when I got pregnant was different, that the father was not an immature volatile jerk, that my family was cohesive and supportive, that I had the opportunity to stay in high school, all of that would have changed things dramatically and I would have the joy of life with ym 9 and 10 year old children. But the reality is what it is. And I did what I had to and after a lot of heartache and self-loathing I'm finally ok with it, and I want to be able to make other girls in trouble feel ok with their choices, too.
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  #6  
March 17th, 2005, 08:10 AM
Margaret
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Hi,

I apologize if my post sounded like I was chastising you. What I was attempting to convey and still believe is that age is not necessarily a predeterminant for experience, wisdom and maturity. I know people much, much older than their teens who are not capable of being responsible for themselves let alone a child or pet. I also know people (myself included) who have been judged as incapable solely based on age. (It wasn't related to child-bearing, but I lost a promotion nonetheless). My only point was that age is not the ONLY reason someone may not be prepared to have children. It certainly makes no sense to me that it takes more to get a job, get a driver's license, join the military or buy alcohol and tobacco than it does to have children. :-)

Best regards,
Margaret



Quote:
Originally posted by gonetocarolina@Mar 17 2005, 09:20 AM
I agree with you completely, however age begets experience, wisdom and maturity.* A 15 year old is nowhere as emotionally intelligent or stable as a 26 year old.* The differences in myself from age 15 to 26 are huge, and I'm sure many can say the same. I'm afraid that my first post seemed like hard-core advocacy for adoption, or like I was pushing people towards that.* I was just relating my experience.<div align="right"><{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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  #7  
March 18th, 2005, 08:22 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
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Quote:
Originally posted by gonetocarolina@Mar 17 2005, 09:20 AM
"It's been my experience that age is one of the least determining factors in who will be able to handle the responsibility of parenting a child."

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This is an interesting observation...and as for experience and training, an older person might need some help with these and a younger person might need help as well. In fact, most new parents benefit from some support.
  #8  
March 22nd, 2005, 09:45 PM
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I think it is unfair to say A 15 year old is nowhere as emotionally intelligent or stable as a 26 year old. That is your experiance. I know a lot of 15 yr. olds that are more motionally intelligent and stable then older parents. That do not have help.
It really sounds like all teens should give there children for adoption because of not being 'Old enough' or muchure enough.
I know people who got there education While being homless or having kids. It just takes a lot of planning when finding out. I wanted to metion this because people that are pregnant young already worry about this and it sounds like it can't be done.
I really believe it just takes planning
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  #9  
March 23rd, 2005, 07:47 AM
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Many teenagers are considered perfectly capable babysitters - so why assume they cannot love and care for their own child? Many people raise a child while they complete their schooling. In fact 97% of single moms (and dads) today keep their children.

People who want to get babies for adopters always rationalize that a young, fertile woman can simply have more children later. But no other child can replace the lost child in a mother's heart. And a surprisingly large number of women who had their babies adopted-out were unable to have more children - estimates range from 28% to 60%. Some are too traumatized - a pregnancy would remind them of the loss of their firstborn - and others have unexplained secondary infertility. Whether the estimates are correct or not, this is still something to keep in mind, especially if it is YOU or your daughter that is considering surrendering a baby.

It's ironic that so many "Christians" insist that single or teenage moms must give their babies up for adoption. Mary agreed to a pregnancy when she was young and single. Joseph stood by her but even if he had deserted her, would that mean Mary was no longer Jesus' mother, but just a "birth thing" meant to be used as the source of a baby for adoption?

A social worker would probably say the envornment in the stable was unsanitary, that Mary and Joseph were "cohabitating" and did not even plan well enough to start out early in the morning so they could get to Bethlehem in time to get a hotel room.

Today people would say Mary "made poor choices" and they might take her baby and give him to some older wealthy married people - or even to gay people or some aging single person.

The people promoting adoption have an agenda - either to change the culture so there are fewer families with single parents - or to profit from adoption - or both. Even when a pregnancy is unplanned, the baby when born is nearly always very much loved and wanted by his mother and other relatives - including the baby's father in many instances. Yet they claim they have saved that already born baby from an abortion by takeing her for adoption.

You CAN'T abort a baby that is already born. The options at that point are to keep and nurture the child in her own home or to legally abandon her so that someone else can adopt.

Adoption agencies and lawyers are making a lot of money selling the "services" required to get a baby away from her naive, vulnerable mother so their real customers can adopt. Many of them get lots of donations for this "charitable" work as well. Why not get donations to help family members stay together?

God has created the entire world and everything in it. God is all-knowing and all-powerful. When God blesses single parents with a child, there is no reason to assume God made a mistake in His choice of parents.
  #10  
March 23rd, 2005, 07:00 PM
Jenni's Avatar Super Mommy
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Location: New York
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gonetocarolina~
I am simply here to applaud you. Your post had me in tears.
My husband and I were fortunate enough to have our daughter after many miscarriages and surgery. We are now in the process of adopting a baby girl from China. Your experience and your decisions had to be harder than I can ever imagine. What you did for your children and how you have come along is wonderful. As you wish, I hope that you get to meet them again one day. In the meantime, it's nice to hear that you have had contact and that you are also still in touch w/ your social worker. We have come to love ours during our adoption process and hope that she will be around long after our post placement visits!!
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  #11  
March 23rd, 2005, 07:48 PM
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Sorry, I don't mean this to be in ANY WAY against what gonetocarolina said here...I surely empathize and in fact this is part of what I'm talking about.... A mom knows when she had no real options. She is in a vulnerable position when suffering from morning sickness and other effects of pregnancy. There are nine months from the time a baby is conceieved until she is born and she may feel sick and pressured the entire time. But with all this time available- or even just a month or two - many of these obstacles that moms face can be worked on, if the social workers and family really care to help.

Counseling fathers to stand up to their obligations, counseling families to fix their problems, a babysitting service while in school....

Some people would say helping is being far too kind to moms....but when the result of helping is that both the moms and the rest of the family learn to work together - the outcome is tremendous joy, rather than heartache. Too often social workers counsel moms in a way that leads them to give up hope.

When moms who had a baby adopted-out say they have come to terms with it that's good FOR THEM personally - and it makes people around them happy.

But if a mom comes to terms with it FOR HERSELF and yet still wants to ensure women of the future have more compassionate options, I surely hope people will applaud THAT as well. Because it is not only the mom, but other children and the rest of the family may be affected by the loss as well.

Women and children all over the world should have their basic needs met and policies enacted that make it so they can keep their families together. It's a very traumatic thing when families are separated. We should not look the other way when we can do something about it by educating others.



Laurie

Newborn Nursery Adoption Dolls
  #12  
March 24th, 2005, 08:59 AM
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I just wanted to say that I agree with you in what I think you are saying, No woman should have to give up their child because society makes it to hard to take care of them, lack of basic funds, daycare, housing should not be reasons to give up children because ideally they shouldn't exist.
If a woman is free of things like crime and drug addiction and wants to take care of her children and provide for them society should provide every support needed like universal daycare, free education so that they have the tools to give the child the life they want to,
Also I do not think it is selfish to want to keep your child,.....my boyfriends parents played this card with me, trying to get me to adopt, and I am in a much better position than a lot of mothers, I am 23 educated and in a stable relationship, it would be selfish to abandon my child to people I do not know, I do not trust anyone else to take care of my child better than I can even if I am not married or have a lot of money in the bank. It is sad that some couples can not conceive but an obligation should not be felt by unmarried mothers facing crisis pregnancy to sacrifice their children to help people they have never met.
Adoption should always be there, and obviously there are unfit parents out there married and unmarried, I just think that because someone is young and unmarried does not mean they are unfit, and noone should call them selfish because they choose to raise their children.

Quote:
Originally posted by lafrisch@Mar 23 2005, 10:48 PM
Sorry, I don't mean this to be in ANY WAY against what gonetocarolina said here...I surely empathize and in fact this is part of what I'm talking about....* A mom knows when she had no real options.* She is in a vulnerable position when suffering from morning sickness and other effects of pregnancy.* There are nine months from the time a baby is conceieved until she is born and she may feel sick and pressured the entire time.* But with all this time available- or even just a month or two - many of these obstacles that moms face can be worked on, if the social workers and family really care to help.

Counseling fathers to stand up to their obligations, counseling families to fix their problems, a babysitting service while in school....

Some people would say helping is being far too kind to moms....but when the result of helping is that both the moms and the rest of the family learn to work together - the outcome is tremendous joy, rather than heartache.* Too often* social workers counsel moms in a way that leads them to give up hope.

When moms who had a baby adopted-out say they have come to terms with it that's good FOR THEM personally - and it makes people around them happy.

But if a mom comes to terms with it FOR HERSELF and yet still wants to ensure women of the future have more compassionate options, I surely hope people will applaud THAT as well.* Because it is not only the mom, but other children and the rest of the family may be affected by the loss as well.

Women and children all over the world should have their basic needs met and policies enacted that make it so they can keep their families together.* It's a very traumatic thing when families are separated.* We should not look the other way when we can do something about it by educating others.



Laurie

Newborn Nursery Adoption Dolls
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  #13  
March 24th, 2005, 07:02 PM
Jenni's Avatar Super Mommy
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Laurie and Sarah~ I am certainly not here to debate w/ either of you. Obviously, I support adoption, but obviously I also support people raising their own children when at all possible. I have a six year old that I gave birth to and my husband and I are currently in the adoption process due to problems with carrying a baby to term.

Laurie~ I'm not sure if it is me you are referring to as far as "educating other people" and applauding people that choose to keep their children. Yes, I would applaud that also. I DO believe that children should be with their birth parents if at all possible.
If you are trying to say that there need to be more efforts taken to support people in enabling them to keep their children, I agree.

Sarah~ I don't think anyone would ever say that someone should "sacrifice" their child to a couple they have never met just to "help" them. If a mother decides that she cannot keep her child and a couple that couldn't conceive is given the opportunity to adopt, then, yes, I guess you could say "it helped" them.
Also, just as you said: Just because someone is young and/or unwed, does automatically classify them as unable to raise a child. I think there are usually other circumstances involved also, but this needs to be their decision, no one elses.
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  #14  
March 25th, 2005, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sarah1981@Mar 24 2005, 10:59 AM
Also I do not think it is selfish to want to keep your child,.....my boyfriends parents played this card with me, trying to get me to adopt, and I am in a much better position than a lot of mothers, I am 23 educated and in a stable relationship, it would be selfish to abandon my child to people I do not know, I do not trust anyone else to take care of my child better than I can even if I am not married or have a lot of money in the bank.*

Exactly. Look at these quotes which tell about a baby's experience when separated from her mother:

In “Attachment And Separation: What Everyone Should Know” Dr. Peter Cook wrote: “Infants may develop attachments to other members of the family or carers, who can take mother's place for a while. But if mother does not return soon, some infants can become quite distressed, with crying and an increase of behaviors designed to bring the mother and infant together again. If the separation lasts for some days, the first state of crying and 'protest' may be replaced by a mood of quiet unhappiness or despair...It is painful to go on experiencing such hurt, angry and even depressed feelings, and eventually the infant may pass into a state which has been termed 'detachment.'"

James W. Prescott, Ph.D. and associates discovered in the 1960s and 1970s that lack of affectionate, intimate contact between mothers and infants during the most sensitive periods of brain growth may result in permanent brain abnormalities associated with juvenile and adult patterns of depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, aggression and violence.

Nancy Verrier, MA, first brought home her adoptee when she was 3-days old. In “The Primal Wound” Verrier wrote: “My belief was that love would conquer all. What I was not prepared for was that it was easier for us to give her love than it was for her to accept it.”

In “Known Consequences of Separating Mother and Child at Birth and Implications for Further Study,” Wendy Jacobs, B.Sc., B.A. wrote, “Several years ago I had a letter from a woman who had adopted a four-week-old baby (boy) in between the births of her daughter and younger son. She wrote that it came as a very great shock to her to find that her adopted baby did not respond to affection in the way that her other children had done, and that she felt rejected by him. Her adopted (boy) had behavioural problems all his life, was once considered borderline hyperactive, and consistently underachieved at school. He always seemed afraid of something, lacked self-worth, was very demanding and constantly needed reassurance. He committed suicide at the age of 21, after telling a friend that he had seen (the newborn baby boy of his adopters’ daughter) and that he had no feeling for it.”


Why Solicitation to Obtain Babies for Adoption Must be Outlawed




Laurie
  #15  
March 25th, 2005, 12:14 PM
gonetocarolina's Avatar Regular
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Just my two cents, I think what should be applauded is a parent who does what it takes to nurture and support and care for their child, no matter what form that takes. It seems like everyone views adoption as some evil thing and people who seek to adopt babies are part of a conspiracy. True, no one should be pressured into giving up their child if they truly have the desire to keep it and the means to do so. But what I keep envisioning is the trailer park families where the young mother has too many boyfriends, does drugs, gets beaten up, gets pregnant again and again, endangers the kids' safety and future with neglect, bad environment, poverty,and to me that's not a viable alternative either. I am not accusing anyone here of being in that situation, but does anyone see where I am coming from?

And as for all these studies of the consequences of seperating moms and babies, there are just as many consequences for leaving a child to grow up in a less than stable, downright dangerous environment, is there not? Better to give a child the chance to grow and thrive in a place where they are truly wanted and appreciated than subject them to one where they are unwanted and resented for their entire lives.
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  #16  
March 25th, 2005, 04:30 PM
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Sarah~ I don't think anyone would ever say that someone should "sacrifice" their child to a couple they have never met just to "help" them. If a mother decides that she cannot keep her child and a couple that couldn't conceive is given the opportunity to adopt, then, yes, I guess you could say "it helped" them.
Also, just as you said: Just because someone is young and/or unwed, does automatically classify them as unable to raise a child. I think there are usually other circumstances involved also, but this needs to be their decision, no one elses.
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Hi,
I was referring to an attitude that I have encountered, that it is selfish for an unmarried young mother to keep their baby when so many married couples can not have children of their own. I just don't think that when making a personal decision the needs of others they don't know should even be brought into a discussion. Ofcourse its great if someone who chooses adoption free of coercion feels good that they helped someone.
I wholly support adoption, I just don't support the ageist classist attitude that some people hold that an upperclass married couples are automatically better parents than a biological single young mother.
Sarah
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  #17  
March 26th, 2005, 05:40 AM
Jenni's Avatar Super Mommy
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"And as for all these studies of the consequences of seperating moms and babies, there are just as many consequences for leaving a child to grow up in a less than stable, downright dangerous environment, is there not? Better to give a child the chance to grow and thrive in a place where they are truly wanted and appreciated than subject them to one where they are unwanted and resented for their entire lives. "


Thank you!!!



Sarah~ I totally agree with you and understand where you are coming from in that case. No one should automatically juge someones capabilities or think that someone of a different "class" will do better. Every situation is different.
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  #18  
March 26th, 2005, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by gonetocarolina@Mar 25 2005, 02:14 PM
But what I keep envisioning is the trailer park families where the young mother has too many boyfriends, does drugs, gets beaten up, gets pregnant again and again, endangers the kids' safety and future with neglect, bad environment, poverty,and to me that's not a viable alternative either.

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I may be kind of slow...but YOU lost a child to adoption, did you not? My question is are you trailer trash? Or do you want people to think you are trailer trash?

I am not trailer trash and I know for a fact that many of the moms who have had babies adopted-out were not trailer trash. They often come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, from intact families (Stolley 1993) That was reported according a study reported on adoption.com and National Adoption Information Clearinghouse. I believe the moms are simply naive, not anyone who is on drugs or who would be for long if they had a baby to care for.

You may not realize that the adoption industry has gotten large government grants and implemented Infant Adoption Awareness Trainingand associated advertising in an effort to target pregnant (usually naive Christian) moms get more healthy babies. No surprise really - some of the babies go for $60,000.


The most disgusting things are probably the books and websites that tell people how they can get a baby. They're VERY disgusting. For example one book is advertised as "How to adopt in months, not years - with a rock-solid legal foundation." THAT doesn't sound to me like there is ANY concern for the child or the child's mother, siblings, or other family members. The idea is to kidnap a baby and get away with it. Some websites tell would-be-adopters to think of it as they would a job search...and you know many of these "goal-orented" type-A career people will consider themselves a failure unless they wind up with the baby they go after. I personally know more than one mom who had either professional negotiators from an agency or else the prospective adopters themselves come and harrass her mercilessly while she was still recovering from labor and after she already said "no" to adoption. They stay there and keep making promises of pictures, letters and continuing contact. They tell her that her child will be "better off". They simply won't go away.


Did you see 20/20 last night? The horrendous pain in that one Cambodian mom's eyes? The suffering of the kids who had been adopted and carried off away from family to another completely different culture?


The really good thing about the show was that some of the people who had adopted were willing to say HEY we didn't intend to separate family members and inflict pain. Our adoptee is suffering horribly.

Laurie
  #19  
March 26th, 2005, 04:54 PM
Jenni's Avatar Super Mommy
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Laurie~ it may not be your intention to have the effect that you are on me, but as a parent who is currently in the adoption process, I am feeling somewhat attacked by you. You have not quoted me, but for some reason, it's feeling personal.
It's obvious that you have a focus concerning adoption, but the strength that you are using is a little offensive to me. I really feel like you are trying to deter anyone from adoption.
Your post yesterday really bothered me and here I am allowing you to do it again.
It seems that this topic should possibly be in the Heated Debates Forum, where I do not frequent. I only posted on this topic to support "gonetocarolina". I was not looking for any ill feelings or arguments. I am not going to comment any further.
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  #20  
March 26th, 2005, 06:58 PM
Alice's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I'm with Jenni on this one.

My son is adopted. And, no, he wasn't taken from his birth mother's arms as she called out his name. She (an unwed 17 year old in a society that does not condone unwed mothers) willingly gave him up. He spent 7 months in a foster home; I would imagine she could have gone back at any time and changed her mind.

Each year I try to send a Mother's Day letter to the agency to fill them in on what Brian's up to, and I include pictures. So the people there know he is well loved. (OK- I did miss the one year my dad died and my youngest daughter was born.)

Any reputable agency will have documentation as to how the kids arrive with them. Of course all parties should deal with a reputable agency!

And I didn't go into it thinking I was saving the world. We adopted because it was the right choice for us-- it was selfish, not altruistic. But I think it's unfair to paint us all as villians because of some particular cases, especially the 20/20 brand of cases, where they're out to make a point, not present both sides of an issue.

Like Jenni, I'm done here.
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ALICE
WIFE TO PETER
MOM TO BRIAN (6-18-98)
JULIA (2-17-00)
KIRA (2-04-03)
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