More on Pre-birth Matching: Assumptions Some People Make

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My previous post on pre-birth matching was inspired by a question asked in a forum that is supposedly to support everyone who has been touched/torched by adoption.

I received a response from another member of this group, who had adopted, and she displayed some assumptions in her response that are very common in society.  I am glad she responded as she did, so that maybe another point of view could be provided, by a mother who has actually been there and has lost a baby against her will.

This is what this woman who had adopted said:

“Obviously, for an expectant mother to see these profiles, they must be looking for families to adopt their babies.  I’m not sure – what do you think would be a better thing for an expectant mother who thinks she wants to place her baby to do?  We don’t want her to leave the baby on a doorstep.  So what should she do, if we lived in a world where no one wrote ‘dear birth mother’ letters?”

Reading this, the first question that came to my mind is:   No it is NOT obvious.  Why do people think that a mother looking at prospective adopters’ profiles is REALLY, concretely, at the stage of looking for a family to adopt here baby?  Is this expectant mother really 100% at that point yet and never going back to the question “Should I, can I, keep my baby?”?

So this, the rest of my post here, is my response to her:

Actually, I think that it’s possible that for many mothers, they are not looking for a family to adopt their babies, they are still deciding “Should I surrender or keep my baby?”  The mother is still making up her mind, and these profiles can influence this decision.

I know mothers who read these online profiles during their pregnancies and it made them feel they had no right to keep their babies, that they would be selfish and greedy and “unchristian,” as they are made to feel that there are these wonderful people out there who deserved to be parents much more than the mothers did. It was one more nail in their coffin of insecurity and lack of self-esteem. Worse yet if an adoption agency is coaching them that parenthood would be too much of a struggle for them and that their babies “deserve more.”

If you are a woman who has given birth, a mother, you know the emotional changes that come with late pregnancy, labour, and birth. This can be a shock to new moms, how much they may want their babies once their babies are in their arms.  And many moms separated from children by adoption feel, from experience, that the final decision about this should (or must) be made post-birth once the mother has her baby in her arms and knows her emotions, preferably given a few weeks so she can recover from birth first.

Viewing profiles of course leads to forming a relationship with someone hoping to adopt — later on — BUT how much pressure does this relationship put on her to “not change her mind” and cause a “failed adoption” —  in many cases, lots. (i.e.

Paul Meding, a Columbia attorney who has been taking adoption cases for 12 years [says] “In my opinion, when the birth mother has  more input and can see first hand how important the adoption is to the family, it is more difficult for her to back out and disappoint them.” (“Open Doors,” The Columbia Star, April 29, 2005)”.

What Meding talks about here is also called “emotional coercion.”

So, another person who had adopted responded and asked me what an mother should do instead (i guess, instead of boarding the adoption bandwagon while her child is not yet born).  I responded:

I think that the supports are in place already that expectant mothers can obtain necessary prebirth and post-birth counselling and get care and resources such that she can make this decision once recovered from birth, without the decision being influenced by relationships with or expectations from people hoping to adopt.

A good example is South Australia: Adoption offices are ready with substitute care for the baby if the mother wants this while the mother makes up her mind, and she is encouraged to have visits, given parenting mentorship, and to bring her baby home overnight. Various public service agencies have programs providing this type of “cradle care” already in place.  After the mom recovers from birth, then an adoption agency (or child welfare office) can provide her with profiles of couples she can interview and choose, *if* she then finds first-hand that she doesn’t want [to raise] her baby.  I corresponded with adoption workers in the state of South Australia, who confirmed this information.  Evelyn Robinson also has written about it, and she can be contacted through Clova Publications at http://www.clovapublications.com.  In Australia, an adoption workers’ paycheque does not depend on the sales she or her agency makes per year, on how many babies they can broker for $25,000 and up.

There is no reason to fear that children will be “left on doorsteps” if there is no pre-birth matching. And there is no need for mothers to be pressured to make decisions about adoption pre-birth, or even soon post-birth.   Pre-birth matching is just another tactic that agencies use in order to obtain more babies for the market.

I seriously do not think that any person who adopts can claim that the mother was not coerced, if they have engaged in pre-birth or even pre-surrender matching.  How can they guarantee that they did not affect the mother’s decision?  Do they even care how they obtained the baby?  Several people in the same group, when asked, said that they felt that the mother’s reasons for surrendering “were her own,” indicating that they did not care if she was coerced or not, or whether they themselves had pers0nally engaged in coercion.  I find this to be very sad that anyone would s0 blinded by “baby hunger” that they would put this ahead of having ethics, did not care how or why that baby was being surrendered for adoption.

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5 thoughts on “More on Pre-birth Matching: Assumptions Some People Make

    Amanda said:
    July 5, 2010 at 4:17 am

    Pre-birth Matching is the most horrendous practice I have ever seen. It is absolutely emotionally manipulative. If you go on agency websites where there are PAP profiles and “dear birthmother” letters where couples are embarking on a single-minded pursuit of a baby, they are clearly screaming “choose me! choose me!” They want to be selected above other couples and give you all the reasons why they are so wonderful…..

    But they’re also telling the expectant mother how much more wonderful THEY are than HER.

    The profiles that show more pictures of their homes, material posessions, and pools are the ones that really make me shake my head in disbelief. Do they really think a poor woman with no resources looks at that and feels like she’d be a fantastic parent?

    And how ignorant it is for someone to believe that if a woman can’t be fast-talked out of giving their baby up immediately after birth that she’d sooner just leave it on a doorstep. I’m sick of expectant mothers and mothers who have lost children to adoption all falling under these ignorant assumptions.

    People who have such poor opinions of other women that they’d make these blanket assumptions should not be adopting. If you cannot have respect for your child’s natural mother, you are not respecting your child either.

    Good answer to these people BTW 🙂

    Denise said:
    July 5, 2010 at 4:51 am

    Pre-birth matching is the ultimate reason that tomorrow my son will celebrate his 21 birthday with another woman that he calls MOM. If I had never met nor formed a relationship with my sons a-parents before he was born I would have left the hospital with him in my arms. Instead I was escorted down the back stairs of the hospital as they feared by near break-down may upset the other patients and visitors. They have my son, simply because their feelings were more important to me than my own, or my husbands, or even my baby’s. That is what pre-birth matching does, it is the cement that solidifies the coercion.

    Lissa said:
    July 5, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I was subjected to pre-birth matching. A description of the paps was forwarded to me with the “dear birth mother” letter. I was also harassed by baby brokers who screamed and yelled at me that I was ‘selfish’ for loving and wanting my baby. Selfish?? I was stalked and pressured constantly – even by one frantic woman driving by me and yelling out her car and asking me about my baby! I was threatened and placed under extreme duress to sign documents I stated I didn’t want to sign. I did not have independent legal advice to protect my rights and my daughter’s rights. Another violation. Sign the consent, or don’t, we will take your baby anyway. Don’t sign – we’ll “place” her in foster care and state she had been “abandoned”. They knew that was a lie. No, it was not *my* choice.

    The baby brokers never offered support for my decision or advice on how to keep our baby with their mother. I was manipulated and lied to. Incompetence, or eager for profit??

    I was beyond offended and horrified the paps felt they were owed a baby and were better for her than her mother. Their sense of entitlement that they deserved someone else’s baby was astounding. Their letter also included a charming poem that stated in part: ‘You didn’t grow under my heart but in it’. It completely dismissed a mother’s existence. It ignores the fact that babies grow under the hearts of expectant mothers who always have their baby in their heart. Broken, but always loved.

    Paps don’t care whether they were part of the coercion to force a mother to surrender her baby. Their only concern is to obtain a baby ‘as if’ their own. Expectant mothers are preyed upon by paps who feel they have a right to another woman’s baby. Their behaviour is beyond disturbing and frightening.

    My daughter’s a-rents don’t particularly give a damn what was done to me or my daughter. THEY benefitted, now everyone else should just shut the hell up. I am confident they were treated very well indeed, they were, after all, the paying customers.

    The a-rents have also threatened me with a restraining order should I attempt to tell my daughter the truth of the circumstances surrounding HER adoption. Their actions scream they are only concerned with maintaining the lies my daughter has been forced to live with. They don’t want her to become aware of or question their true role in her adoption. They don’t want my daughter to know that her adoption was completely unnecessary and that her mother loved her and wanted her. They are only concerned with themselves. Their insecurity and selfishness is disgusting and pathetic.

    They feel better about themselves ignoring and denying they took a mother’s loved and wanted baby. I am still confused as to HOW they managed to convince themselves that I didn’t want my daughter?? Paps and adopters don’t give a damn that the mother and her child are devastated and suffer horrendously being separated in such a cruel manner. It’s always about them – they demand and expect it. And our child is forced to live with such individuals.

    Denise said:
    July 6, 2010 at 2:14 am

    Re: This can be a shock to new moms, how much they may want their babies once their babies are in their arms.

    No wonder the hospital staff prevented me from holding, or even seeing my newborn baby, in 1970. They told me it would be easier for me if I didn’t. Decades later I realized it would be easier on them in terms of having me go ahead with “the plan.”

    I wasn’t pre-birth matched. The attorney (who represented the PAP’s, not me) wanted my baby to go into foster care while we “selected” his parents. I refused (maybe not that smart, since maybe that would have bought me time), thinking it would be better if he stayed in the hospital, and as soon as I was released he came over to where I was living with PAP profiles. I picked one and it was over.

    Shit! Adoption critique is putting it lightly…

    Trish said:
    July 18, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    I am an a-mom and I worked with an agency that is specifically against pre-birth matching as well as direct placements from the hospital- I chose them because of this. 70% of expectant mothers who go to that agency for services parent their babies, many after few weeks with the baby in interim care. Our daughter was placed after 2 months of interim care, in which her first mom visited her, recieved OPTIONS counseling, and made a more informed decision. I presonally do not feel that our open adoption was negatively impacted by not forming a relationship before birth. In fact, I believe it is better, I don’t feel like I coerced someone to give me her baby, and she feels like she was (and is) respected as our daughter’s mother. I guess there are those that beleive pre-birth matching is a good thing for the relationship, but I have a very different perspective.

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