“Adoption Ethics” is a Contradiction in Terms

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This  post was prompted by a thread on an adoption-related discussion board this morning.  I wanted to share it here, because even though my thoughts on adoption and ethics might be known by my regular readers, some of my new readers may appreciate a summary.

“Adoption ethics” is a contradiction in terms.

Why?  Because as long as adoption contains falsified birth records, coercion, reproductive exploitation, human rights abuse, and fraud, it is NOT ethical in the slightest.   But one has to back up and examine the elements which constitute child adoption in order to see this.   The only reason that most people accept modern day adoption and so few have questioned it is because or a long time it has been all around us as an accepted part of society.   But, the same once held with domestic violence and child abuse (anyone else remember “Spare the rod and spoil the child’?).   And, just like these ethically unacceptable acts, reproductive exploitation and coercion happens behind closed doors.  But society can change.

Adoption, as it was invented in 1851 and practised ever since, has been institutionalized in Western nations in such a way that these following elements are inherent to it:

  1. Falsified birth records: Fabrication of a legal lie that the people who are adopting gave birth to the child.  Forbidding the mother from filling out a birth record.  In any other situation, intentional fabrication of a federal or state government record is a felony offence.
  2. Coercion — See the “Coercion checklist,” “Open Adoption:  They knew it would work,”  “Proof of Coercion in the Industry’s Own Words“, etc.”   Coercion is ANY method that is intentionally employed in order to increase the percentage chance that the mother will surrender her baby.  Includes pre-birth matching, separation of mother and baby at or near birth.  To get an idea of what constitutes coercion, compare practices pre-adoption industry (1930s, 1940s) to practices once the Post-WWII adoption industry arose.  Compare to practices in the U.K. (e.g. mother has 6 wks protection post-birth to recover and experience motherhood before signing) and Australia.  The Trackers International survey of 1000 natural mothers found that 98% had been pressured to surrender their babies.  That means only 2% who were NOT coerced!
  3. Fraud: Withholding vital information from the mother regarding social services and financial support that would have enabled her to keep her baby, withholding information or blatantly lying to her about the devastating emotional consequences of surrender for most mothers, convincing her that she is unworthy of keeping her baby and that the adoptive family are perfect and almost “heaven-sent.”  Convincing her that parenting is overwhelming and that she is emotionally or financially  incapable of doing it.
  4. Human Rights Abuse: Many articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but especially Article 25, which guarantees mothers the support and resources they need to keep their babies, and in effect guarantees babies the support and resources they need to keep their mothers! Also the recent guidelines for substitute care of the child published by the General Assembly in 2009..  We are ALL human beings. We are not dogs or pond scum.  To treat us like animals, like livestock, is act of violence aganst the inherent dignity and personhood of each one of us.
  5. Reproductive exploitation : Just as bad as sexual exploitaiton.  Why should it be considered any better, any more excusable?
  6. Human Trafficking (Baby Selling):   Adoption is an industry that thrives because baby brokers profit from the exchange in human flesh.  This is no different from slavery, where people “paid for” human beings to work as labourers for them.  Similarly, in adoption, people “pay for” human beings to act as “offspring”  for them.  Children sell up for $50,000 or more, and this pricing does depend on race:  white children are “worth more” than children of colour.   Check out an online price-list (there are many) for buying yourself a child, where babies are euphemistically called “situations”:

“The following are a few situations available to our clients from the agencies we work with:
“African American baby boy due Oct. 5 in UT. Agency fees are 16K plus medical.
“Caucasian/African American baby girl due Oct. 17 in UT. Agency fees are 22,500 plus medical.
“Caucasian/African American baby boy due in Oct. Agency fees are 26,500 plus 4K in assistance to mom.
” Caucasian baby boy due Jan. 11 Agency fees are 30,500 plus medical”

Gee, in case #4 the mother even gets a cut of the profits!

The United Nations has even reacted with alarm over the sale of babies:

“During the course of 2002, the Special Rapporteur received many complaints relating to allegedly fraudulent adoption practices. Where such practices have the effect that the child becomes the object of a commercial transaction, the Special Rapporteur, like his predecessor, considers that such cases fall within the “sale” element of his mandate. The Special Rapporteur was shocked to learn of the plethora of human rights abuses which appear to permeate the adoption systems of many countries” (p. 25, Rights of the Child:  Report submitted by Mr. Juan Miguel Petit, Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 2002/92.“).

It is my serious opinion that adoption is SO flawed that it is impossible to reform.  That is why I do not believe in “adoption reform.”   What we need, instead, are laws that protect mothers and children from exploitation and coercion, from babies being sold like loaves of bread.   We need provisions that are based on ethics, not on exploitation for profit.

Shortlink to this post:  http://wp.me/p9tLn-ju


9 thoughts on ““Adoption Ethics” is a Contradiction in Terms

    Lori said:
    September 20, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    I would like to know how to contact the UN about an illegal adoption that included removing the child from the US prior to even filing the consent to adopt by the supposed legal guardian – please help. Thank you.

    Lissa said:
    September 21, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Excellent post, Cedar, as always!

    Unfortunately, paps and adopters ignore the many abuses and dismiss the coercion expectant mothers are subjected to in order to obtain a baby – at any cost. Paps are well aware when they provide money to their baby broker, they are implicitly instructing the broker to prey upon vulnerable expectant mothers to obtain that baby ‘as if’ their own. (The broker is also very clear on that point as well.) Adoption is not about providing a child with a home; it is about providing a needy couple with a child. What a broker won’t tell their paying customers is that no amount of money is going to make the children they procure ‘theirs’.

    An immediate abuse of the babies taken for adoption purposes is that of separation from their mothers. Babies need their mothers. I cannot imagine a more cruel and vicious act towards an innocent baby. The abuse continues when the person (and they are a person-not a possession) is stripped of their very identity and heritage. Their OBC is falsified to state the adopters have given birth. A blatant lie. Their Original Birth Certificate is then sealed and in most cases, denied to the very person whose identity was amended. This, obviously, is to cater to the adopters’ need to declare a stanger (to them) as their own. In some cases, as I am well aware, our children are given false birth dates. No one is allowed to arbitrarily change a person’s date of birth. Yet adopters and baby brokers don’t feel the need to inconvenience themselves with that little detail.

    All of these abuses and manipulation occur only after a mother has had HER rights abused. In whose interests is adoption really for?? It certainly isn’t about our children.

    Paps cannot be allowed to hide behind the baby brokers’ actions. Their need and financial resources drive the adoption industry. That need to obtain another woman’s child, the often-displayed disgusting and pathetic sense of entitlement to another woman’s baby, and the brokers interest in gaining profit from an adoption transaction all result in the coercion, fraud and manipulation mothers are subjected to in order to separate them and their child, in the most devastating and horrendous manner possible.

    Mothers are treated as vessels and our children mere commodities. It’s no wonder then mothers and those who are adopted – the very people whose lives are torn apart and devastated by adoption – are no longer willing to remain silent regarding the consequences of having been separated from each other.

    Speaking out about the abuses we have been subjected to and forced to live with is necessary. It may save other mothers and their children from being torn apart needlessly. We can hope.

    Lissa said:
    September 21, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Lori, if you take a look at Cedar’s post: ‘When she renounces her child… this alone… is punishment enough’ (Jul 7, 2010), Unicorn provided some information regarding contacting the UN. That might be of some help to you.

    Lizzy Brew said:
    September 23, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Wholeheartedly agree that ‘adoption ethics’ is the oxymoron of the slavery propaganda machine that the adoption industry is.

    It’s been thirty-five years since they took away my darling baby son to ease the sorrow of others then recently bereaved over two newborns of their own. When my mind first confronted the reality of that loss in 2004, I knew I could no longer live with the insanity of it all.

    With the help of good friends, I have now fully cast off the macabre imagining of the adoption industry – of being as if dead to my own living child. The Western Australian State Government soon plans to lay a memorial for living mothers who have lost children to forced adoption – an equally macabre imagining. I’m in the real world now, thanks to the truth that women such as yourself are speaking out. That is where I intend to remain.

    Looking forward to being a member of your readership.

    anonymouse said:
    September 29, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    What about mothers who dony want to keep their babies because they are too young or mothers that cannot look after their babies due to mental illness or addiction. And of course if mum dies and no family member is willing or able to parent – then what do you suggest?

      Lissa said:
      September 30, 2010 at 5:09 pm

      I have never met a mother who didn’t want to keep her baby. I have only ever met or heard about mothers who had no support, were coerced and abused and had vital information withheld from them that would have enabled the mother to keep her child. That is fraud and manipulation – duress – if that makes it clear, and it renders any adoption ‘placement’ illegal.

      Adoption is not about an unwanted baby. It is about unwanted mothers. It tears a family apart to create a lie. Baby brokers prey upon those vulnerable expectant mothers you refer to. Why is it that people assume a young expectant mother’s pregnancy is a problem? Or are they simply portrayed in that manner to present an opportunity for others? Brokers seek out young expectant mothers in order to obtain a baby for their paying customers. Not all mothers are crackwhores, btw. I am sure that is a comforting thought to individuals who try to convince themselves they have the right to take a mother’s child.

      In every instance a natural family member should be sought out to care for a baby that needs caring for. Baby brokers try to ignore the fact that the baby has a family – that wouldn’t result in profit would it?

      Guardianship, if NO other family members could care for a baby, (and please excuse my disbelief that not one family member wouldn’t want to step up), would allow a child to be cared for in an HONEST manner without violating their human and civil rights.

      Guardianship would provide care AND the child would have the right to their true name and heritage. It would allow for contact with their true family; not severing their relationships and causing a world of pain.

      However, paps and adopters want and expect something in return for all their hard-spent cash. They require ongoing gratitude and acknowledgment. They deliberately falsify original birth certificates by stripping a child of their identity, and in various cases, insert a false birth date on the amended certificate. That child is then forced to live the lie that they were ‘born to’ strangers. In most cases, that person’s OBC is sealed from them and they are denied the right to their true identity.

      Frankly, I am more concerned with the state of mind of denial of the adopter in this instance who is fully aware of their actions in taking a baby, than a mother, who, in the example you gave, would benefit from support services. However, there is no profit to be gained from helping a mother, is there?

      Forcing a child to refer to strangers as their mother and father is abusive and negligent. Unfortunately most paps and adopters wouldn’t accept ‘guardianship’ status because it would mean they are actually doing what is best for a CHILD. That’s right – it’s not about them. In adoption, it’s all about the adopters and their needs. In most cases, that child is simply a status symbol and a way for the adopters to pretend they are something they aren’t.

      Von said:
      October 23, 2010 at 9:54 pm

      Arrangements where the child does not loose his/her name,identity,country,language etc and can maintain contact with parents.Perhaps a new type of fostering/guuardianship.

    Lissa said:
    October 1, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    I should clarify: ‘Guardianship, if no other family members could care for a baby, (and please excuse my disbelief that not one family member would not want to step up), would allow a child to be cared for in an HONEST manner without violating their human and civil rights.’

    My disbelief stems from the very idea that a baby broker would encourage the family to support the expectant mother and her baby. A broker’s purpose is clear: obtain a baby for an adoption transaction; not helping the mother and her child.

    In some cases the family was not aware of their granddaughter/niece/cousin’s pregnancy. In others, the family usually sent the expectant mother to a maternity or wage prison, or were kicked out of their homes with no financial resources or support whatsoever. That was a deliberate attempt to hide the “shame” from society. Disgusting; yet there you go.

    Guardianship would force paps and adopters to acknowledge that NO, you are NOT that child’s mother/father, and YES, the child’s needs are paramount to your desires. NO, you cannot FORCE a child to pretend that you are her/his mother or father. And yes, you do have to acknowledge and accept that that child has a mother and father and are a vital part of their life.

    I am sure you are aware that most adopters will slam shut an “open” adoption as soon as they get their hands on that womb-wet infant they coveted. They make false promises to a young mother – taking advantage of her vulnerability and exploiting her and her baby -for their own benefit.

    If adoption truly were about the best interests of the child, it wouldn’t involve the deliberate violation of their human and civil rights. Lying to a person and concealing their very identity is reprehensible and abusive.

    Why do paps and adopters hold the belief that violating a child’s rights is the only way for them to procure what they covet?

    I previously mentioned the broker isn’t going to divulge the nasty truth to their paying clients. You can’t buy people and *make* them yours. However brokers are well aware what their clients’ aims are and will tell them exactly what they want to hear. They make a lot of money off those lies.

    Mothers, fathers and those who were adopted are speaking out about the pain of needless separation. We are not vessels nor commodities. We are angry and live with unimaginable pain. Our children are not required to be ‘grateful’ for their loss. We are not ‘bitter’. We are justifiably angry at the treatment we were subjected to in order to separate us. We live this hell. That’s adoption.

    Lori said:
    October 3, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    I am currently considering “Guardianship” as a way to help the kids that actually do need homes and chances – since I was one, I get that intimately. I would love any information on how to go about obtaining for, applying for – whatever, however it is done- legal guardianship…anyone with information, please let me know.

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