adoptive families

Lies the Adoption Industry Tells …

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This is a little list i first began drafting a few years ago which has been sitting on my hard drive ever since.   These are the promises, guarantees, and blanket statements that the adoption industry (comprised of baby brokers such as adoption agencies, lawyers, and facilitators) routinely promote as being the gospel truth.  And they work — the industry now makes over $3 billion a year in profit.  Don’t let it fool you.

Lies the Industry tells to Prospective Adopters:

  1. All families, both adoptive and natural, are the exact same.
  2. The bond between parents and children in all families are the same.  The amended birth certificate will say that you gave birth, so act as though you did. You are now the only mother.
  3. The child needs only you and not the love of their natural parents.
  4. Environment is everything – the child is a blank slate (“tabula rasa”) – all the chid’s skills and aspirations will be yours.
  5. Rest assured that the natural family can never search because the records are sealed tight.
  6. The natural mom is just an incubator, a “b—-mother” and thus her only purpose is to gestate that child and then hand it over.
  7. This child is unwanted, the mother will never return.
  8. If loved enough, this child will never want to search.
  9. Adoptees will never feel hurt by being taken from their natural parents; love from adoptive parents will solve everything.
  10. “The Primal Wound” is a myth.
  11. This is a lifetime guarantee.

Lies the Industry tells to Expectant Mothers:

  1. Your child will be grateful to be adopted and won’t be angry at you for it. Your child will not be damaged by adoption
  2. Adoption shows you loved your child enough to give him/her two parents.
  3. You are not giving him away, you are giving him “more.”
  4. Children need two married parents.
  5. You will get over it and forget your child.
  6. You may feel “a type of grief’ but it will go away.
  7. Young and Unwed = unfit.
  8. The grief is resolvable.  Only flawed women or those who “cling to the past” can’t resolve the grief.
  9. It won’t hurt, or won’t hurt for long. The satisfaction of providing a wonderful future for your child will make any “regret” go away.
  10. Keeping your child will involve more pain, struggle, and sacrifice than surrendering him/her.

Lies that the industry tells to adoptees:

  1. Your mother chose adoption.
  2. Your mother “gave you away.”
  3. Your mother does not love you.
  4. You only need your adoptive parents.
  5. You should be loyal and grateful to your adoptive parents for raising you as your natural mother dumped you and who know where you’d be if your adoptive parents weren’t heroes for rescuing you.
  6. Searching is disloyal and will hurt your adoptive parents

Lies that the industry tells to society:

  1. Infant adoption is natural (false. it’s a relative recent (last 150 years) social experiment)
  2. Adoptive families are exactly like natural families, with no problems at all specific to adoption.
  3. Raising an adopted child is like raising a child of your own.
  4. Infant adoption has been common since Babylonian types (false. adult adoption was common but NOT infant adoption – infants were fostered but seldom legally adopted)
  5. Adoption is about finding homes for unwanted babies.

What is is all about? Filling post-WWII consumer demand for infants.

“Because there are many more married couples wanting to adopt newborn white babies than there are babies, it may almost be said that they rather than out of wedlock babies are a social problem. (Sometimes social workers in adoption agencies have facetiously suggested setting up social provisions for more ‘babybreeding’.)” SOCIAL WORK AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS, National Association of Social Workers, (Out-of-print) copyright 1964 (quote provided courtesy of BSERI).

The broker (agency, lawyer, social worker, doctor, or whomever else took the baby for adoption) made promises to the adoptive parents that permeate the entire adoptive relationship and even impact upon reunion.   And the promises are lies, nothing but a sales pitch.  Brokers knew there was a consumer demand out there from people who wanted newborn babies to adopt.  Brokers knew they could make money by meeting this demand — now $25,000 or more per infant.  So the brokers give promises that these  infants neither knew about nor could keep.  And adoptees are expected to live up to these promises, which they had no part in making in the first place!  It is all done for money’s sake.  It is time to take the profit motive out of adoption.

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“Baby Look for Home” and Adoptions from China?

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An new initiative by the Chinese government to try to find the homes of stolen and trafficked children was in the news this week (see “Chinese crackdown nets thousands of ‘stolen’ children“).   The news is about the creation of a website, named “Baby Look For Home.”  You can find it at http://www.mps.gov.cn/n16/n983040/n1928424/index.html.

As the newpaper article states:

“Many, if not most cases are not formally listed because local police are unwilling or unable to investigate crimes that usually involve crossing provincial borders. As well, many of the parents think police might be complicit in the kidnappings. It is a lucrative business that can net about $4,000 for each boy sold and about $1,000 per girl… The abducted children are mostly boys and are sold to families who want a son. The girls are often sold into marriage or to agencies that arrange foreign adoptions.”

The  sale of children within China has made the news as far back as 2001 (see “China’s Baby Traffickers“) and kidnapping since 2006 (see “Stealing Babies for Adoption“)   Despite this sordid history,China is lauded as having an “ethical” international adoption system that prospective adopters can have confidence in:

“For a family looking to adopt from the most ethical country, China is the best choice.  They are highly regulated and have increasingly good orphanage conditions” (Thome, 2007)

But, given China’s history of not enforcing laws against the sale of children within China, how is any Westerner able to guarantee that the child they are adopting from China is not stolen?  From the above quote, it appears that little girls in China, those same girls that are supposedly abandoned, are selling for up to $1000:   not exactly a price that would be charged if there were a surplus of “product” on the market.

But agencies and orphanages stand to make a lot of money on each transaction, so unfortunately they have a financial incentive to hide this information from “clients.”  (Perhap more “ethical” adoptions ( an oxymoron?) will only occur once  no-one’s paycheque depends upon the transaction being made, where there is no financial incentive to kidnap, abduct, or coerce.)

“Mr. Peng …  said some of the girls were sold to orphanages. They … often end up in the United States or Europe after adoptive parents pay fees to orphanages that average $5,000.” (New York Times, April 4, 2009).

Anyway, I wonder if this new website may be able to serve those who have adopted a child from China and wonder if that child has been abducted?  Many people adopted children from China, trusting in the assurances of baby brokers whom they now realize may have been lying or omitting the truth, and some of them now want to search, to find their child’s natural parents and discover if that child really was abandoned, or whether the child was kidnapped or the parents were coerced to surrender.   Maybe a photo-listing of that child on “Baby Look for Home” may be at least provide a small chance of finding the child’s natural parents and the truth?  I wonder if the Chinese government would cooperate?

(P.S.  If you check out the “Baby Look for Home” site and cannot read Mandarin, you’ll find Google Translate to be a useful tool.)

Separated by adoption reality: the adoptive parent experience

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Today, I had a conversation with a woman (whom I will call Helen) who had adopted a newborn 19 years ago. This child had behavioural problems while growing up, and the parents despaired. Eventually, the adoptive parents contacted the natural mother (“birthmother”) with hopes that the daughter would be “fixed” by some form of contact, and a reunion happened when the girl was 16.

And then, when the daughter was 18, she moved back in to live with her natural mother and full brother.

Helen is in shock. No-one had warned her that this would happen. I won’t elaborate on the contents of our conversation, as I respect her confidentiality, but it was clear that the agency she had obtained this baby from had not told her that the child could ever do this. In essence, this family was put together by the adoption industry, and then separated by adoption reality.

There is a sales-pitch that the industry promotes and tells to people hoping to adopt, manipulating them so that they will indeed hand over money ($25,000 or more in the current market) for that “perfect baby.” This is a brief sampling of what this sales-pitch can consists of:

  1. All families, both adoptive and natural, are the same.
  2. Your adopted child is now “As if born to” you, emotionally and socially. The amended birth certificate will say that you gave birth, so act as though you did. You are now the only mother.
  3. The child needs only you and not the love of their “birth parents.”
  4. Environment is everything – the child is a blank slate (“tabula rasa”). Personality is at least 80% due to environment.
  5. Rest assured that the “birth family” can never search for the child because records are sealed tight to protect you in most states and provinces.
  6. The natural mom is just an incubator, a “birthmother,” a “gene donor,” and her only purpose was to gestate that child. Her motherhood ended with the cutting of the umbilical cord.
  7. This child is unwanted, and the “birthmother” will never return or want her back.
  8. If loved enough, this child will never want to search.
  9. Adoptees will never feel hurt from being surrendered or taken. If they do have questions, love from adoptive parents will solve everything.
  10. “Adjusted” adoptees do not search, and those who do only want medical and historical information. Reunion entails a one-time meeting and then both parties separate.
  11. “The Primal Wound” is a complete myth. No adoptee faces it.
  12. This is a lifetime guarantee.

Even the loaded term “birthmother” primes the adoptive parents to believe that the natural mother is only a past and irrelevant part of the adoptee’s past, her entire role consisting of having given birth, as irrelevant to an older adoptee as a baby bottle would be. Or, as it was told to me by the man who had adopted my son:  “R— has only one mother, K—, and one father, me.”

So, this woman, like millions of people who have adopted, believed the word of the agency. After all, they’re supposed to be “adoption professionals,” right?

While I was talking to Helen, I began thinking about my son and the people who had adopted him. For those readers new to our story: I found him in 1999. We reunited in 2000. He moved back with me on New Year Day of 2003. I adopted him back in 2007.  He is now, in his eyes, a former adoptee. His former adoptive parents deny that I am related as “family” to him. “R— is a member of this family and shall not be shared in any way, shape or form” were their words to me in their 2001 attempt to forcibly end his reunion with me, to define me as being unrelated, a complete stranger, not-family.

They too believe(d) the adoption industry myths, the “sales pitch,” and it lead to them trying to control him and end our reunion. One more adoptee gets hurt, caught up in an agency promise of a “lifetime guarantee.” And the agency gets off scot-free. Agencies should be sued for false advertising.

I wonder if Helen’s adopted daughter will return to her entirely, will be adopted-back by her natural family, will maintain family connections with both families, or do none of the above? There is no predicting.

But agencies must stop promising adoptive parents that the baby they adopt is “as if born to” them. There is nothing preventing an adoptee, even one raised in a “good home” from feeling the strength of the blood-bond and returning once more to their natural family, whether it would be to build a family of 4 equal parents (2 natural, 2 adoptive) or to return exclusively to their natural parents. But would adoptive parents pay the same “big bucks” for a child who may only be “theirs” for 18 years? You make more money if you can sell an unrealistic, impossible-to-guarantee myth.