adoptive parents

The Power of Words … and an Adoptee Rights Petition

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Sometimes my blog posts are inspired by conversations which occur on message boards, and this is one of them.  So, it is very possible that you have read the original conversation where this took place, and if so, then I apologize for the repetition.

This came from an online conversation about a recent “birthmother petition,” where an organization is requesting the signatures of natural mothers to support adoptee-rights.  Now, I believe wholeheartedly in open records, and that EVERYONE has the right to their original birth records, their family history, and the right to make contact with their lost family members if they choose (this means both ways!) … BUT, I also do not believe that it is the right thing to do to objectify a group of people in order to further the rights of a separate group, at the expense of the first.

So, in this conversation about this petition, several natural mothers such as myself stated that we would not be signing it.  Not that we do not support adoptee rights (we wholeheartedly DO! and the women discussing this have spent years of their lives actively working for open records), but because: (1)  being mothers still, we are not “birthmothers;” (2) we find it offensive, dehumanizing, and objectifying to be defined and labelled as “incubators;” and (3) we feel that the organization which sponsored this petition could just as easily have used the term which respects us:  “natural mother.” Even if it used both terms, that at least would show respect for all of us, those natural mothers who respect themselves as being mothers, and those who accept the adoption industry’s statement that we are no longer mothers.

So, this is my response to the person who defended the use of the term “birth mother” in the petition.   I sincerely respect her an an open records advocate, but I do feel that even if she does not feel that her own natural mother is a mother to her, that is her personal choice in her life, but it does not mean that this can be generalized to cover other mothers-of-adoption-loss without our consent.  And I do not give consent to be dehumanized.

” I am sorry to hear, xxxxxx, that your natural mother is nothing more than an incubator to you (yes, this is what she is reduced to if your adoptive mother is awarded the status of being your sole mother, it means that her only relevance/action as a mother in you life was to gestate and push you out), but the word dehumanizes and objectifies women as being nothing more than convenient uteri. Legislators also recognize and understand the term natural mother. They have for ages, as much currently-in-effect state and provincial legislation still uses that term.

”  I disagree with you that it is necessary to use this term with politicians. I have been involved in open records campaigns in 3 provinces, actively writing to politicians, creating websites that promote open records, and sending out bulletins to members of nonprofit organizations I belonged to in order to publicize open records campaigns and get members in involved in open records. I have never yet had to use the term ‘birthmother’ in any of these actions.

”  People have the right to not be objectified. The ‘birth terms’ objectify women. They were invented and defined by the adoption industry, which treated and treats us as livestock anyway:

‘… the tendency growing out of the demand for babies is to regard unmarried mothers as breeding machines…(by people intent) upon securing babies for quick adoptions.’ – Leontine Young, ‘Is Money Our Trouble?’ (paper presented at the Nationa…l Conference of Social Workers, Cleveland, 1953)

”  And, if one reduces a human being to an object, one can then treat them as voiceless, with rights, in need of protecting. The term ‘birthmother’ actually plays into supporting closed records legislation by defining us as having NO continuing love or connection with our lost child, and thus no interest in ‘reunion’ or being ‘found.’ And reunion IS the elephant on the dining room table when it comes to ‘adoptee rights’ and ‘open records.’

”  I have the right not to be defined as an non-mother, an incubator, etc. So do all other MOTHERS who have lost children to adoption. Thus the term natural mother, which recognizes and respects our continuing motherhood, is the one which is not derogatory or denigrating to us. Or you can call us mothers, or mothers of adoption loss. Or mothers separated from a child by adoption.

”  What is a natural mother? I am a mother by the laws of nature. The adoptive mother is the mother who was created by the laws of modern human society, pursuant to laws which began with the first child adoption law, invented in 1851 in Massachusetts. So, natural and socially-created. But the continuing love and blood-bond I have with my child, our sharing of genes, that I created him through the processes of Nature, all count towards me being a mother. (He also calls me Mom and I have adopted him back, but these are moot points). If laws and social-worker-procedures and the adoption industry had not been created to rip us apart, we would still have been together. My love for him never died, my connection with him that is just as strong as my connection and love for my other children. This is NOT saying that adoptive parents are unnatural. It is not a game of ‘Opposites,’ because if you say that this makes adoptive parents ‘unnatural’ then in the ‘Opposites Game’ the term ‘birthmother’ makes them into ‘deathmothers.’


Sometimes I feel that i beat this topic to death, and you, dear readers, are likely sick of hearing it. But why ask for my support in a way that treats me as less-than-human, that assumes that I do not have or want a family relationship with my son?   The issue this time is that we, as natural mothers, are being asked to further the interests of another group while ignoring our own interests (e.g. open records for natural parents as well), but we’re being asked as “incubators” do to so.

Meanwhile, please sign this petition, which has been active and on in the internet since 2000:

Mothers for Open Records Everywhere
(MORE)

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“Dear Incubator”

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An analysis of what is REALLY behind “Dear Birthmother Letters”

Dear Incubator

We want you to give us your baby. We know that by meeting us and seeing just how perfect we would be for your child, you will gladly do this.

Why do we know this?

Because you are young, vulnerable, and don’t feel confident about your ability to be a mother. We know that we will appear mature, confident, capable, and will make you feel like we could take care of your baby better than you can. We may even remind you of your own parents.

Because we know that the reason you are considering adoption is out of fear and guilt. Guilt that you have disappointed your parents by irresponsibly getting pregnant.  Fear because you do not know what to do and you don’t know if you’ll be a good parent or not.  We can take advantage of your fear and your guilt, and we don’t have any qualms about doing it.

We know that research shows that mothers who “meet” and “choose” prospective adopters during their pregnancies will give up their babies out of guilt and obligation.  Especially if we are in the delivery room with you, or “bonding with” OUR newborn in the hospital with our family and friends congratulating us.  How would you DARE think of keeping our darling newborn from us? Giving us a “failed adoption” by “not carrying through with your adoption plan.”  We are scared that if you take your baby home first before deciding, that you likely wouldn’t give her to us, so our agency’s “birthmother counsellor” will ensure that won’t happen.

We know that if we befriend you while you’re still pregnant, you won’t have a choice. In fact, we’re happy to take that choice (and all choice) away from you, because we are desperate and we know we deserve your baby more than you do. After all, we’ve paid thousands to the agency – you just had a broken condom.

We also know that our promises of open adoption will sounds great, and the same pregnancy hormones that make you feel trusting of others and insecure about yourself will make you believe us, and WANT to believe us. And we also know that these promises have NO basis in law, that we can close the adoption any time we want. And we will close it, especially if it looks like OUR baby loves you when you visit (as many adopted children do with their natural mothers). We’ll just crush that pesky blood-bond by stopping those upsetting visits. They will only “confuse” our child.

If need be, we can get you a counsellor at an adoption agency. We know that the more visits you have with agency staff, the more likely you will be to surrender your baby.  They will have lots of time to work on you and convince you how expensive and difficult it would be to raise a child at your age.  Can you actually afford it?  Like any other luxury commodity, only the rich should be allowed to obtain (and keep) a child.  Poor?  Too bad.  You should have kept your legs crossed.

We promise we will treat you like a queen while you are gestating our baby, while we are “Paper Pregnant” and counting down the days until we get our freshly made bundle of joy from you. We’ll praise you and call you things like our “heaven sent angel” and “God’s gift” to boost your ego and make you feel valued and incredible and loved during your pregnancy — the love and support that your parents and those around you don’t show.

We’ll even give you flowers and a “birthmother gift” when you hand over OUR baby to us — a reasonable exchange, right?  If you’re lucky, the hospital will give you a teddy bear to take home with you – standard practice now, right?

And of course we or our paid agency worker will be right there with you in the delivery room, to make certain you don’t try to “bond” with our baby. We’re paying too much money to the agency/lawyer/facilitator for this baby to allow THAT to happen.

Speaking of money, we offer to pay your medical and hospital expenses.  This will make you feel like you “owe” us that baby.

But frankly we don’t care what we do to you — how we will manipulate you, exploit you, and then cast you aside like a used container (and that’s what you are, right?) — because we’ll be better parents than you will ever be.  That’s why we’re writing you this letter:  We know we deserve that baby more than you do.   We pay more in taxes than you earn in a year (but we’re sure looking forward to that $10,000 adoption income-tax credit that we’ll get!).

Contact us at our 1-800 number, and check out our “profile page” to see how good-looking we are and how confidant and mature we look compared to you.

Signed,

Two “Waiting Parents”
Praying that God will bring us Our Little Angel

~

shortlink:  http://wp.me/p9tLn-k1

The basic facts of pre-birth adoption matching

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Unfortunately, due to it increasing the chance that a mother will surrender her baby*, the practice has grown in North America to allow prospective adoptive parents to track down and try to convince expectant mothers (whom they call ‘birthmothers”) to give up their babies.

Or, at least that is what it looks like.  A “Dear Birthmother” letter could be seen as saying “Choose us over other people hoping to adopt!“, but, unfortunately, first and foremost the message it gives is “Choose us over yourself! We are better for your baby than YOU are! See how loving and perfect we are?  We have everything your baby needs.”  Whether the prospective adoptive parents mean to give this message or not, it is there.

So, unfortunately, the whole issue of “profiles” and “dear birthmother letters” is rife with ethical land mines

An expectant mother who is considering adoption and is feeling very emotionally insecure, inadequate, and scared may — instead of getting support and counselling to help her overcome these problems — may see the prospective adoptive couple’s “Profile” and think “Wow, they’d be better parents than i would.” or “My baby doesn’t deserve me, he deserves a family like this.” or “They want a baby so badly, I shouldn’t be selfish.”  So, reading “dear birthmother” letters and seeing profiles combined with raging pregnancy hormones can actually influence a mother’s decision regarding adoption.  This is where it gets ethically sticky.

Plus, can the mother really recover from birth first before deciding on adoption if she has formed a loving bond with people hoping to adopt her child?

Paul Meding, a Columbia attorney who has been taking adoption cases for 12 years, works as a medium to match birth mothers with adoptive parents. For Meding, this process has been successful. “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)

I think that these are questions to be considered by anyone who is hoping to adopt, plus by natural mothers who found that this tactic worked on them to get them to surrender their babies.  (Would you have surrendered if the alternative was a closed adoption?  If not, then you were coerced by adoptive parents using this practice).

Another reason why this is ethically problematic is that women most often surrender babies to adoption because of lack of support, resources, finances, etc.  A woman is hence being made vulnerable to exploitation because society and government has put her into a position where she can be exploited, removing protections (such as human rights in the form of a guaranteed income sufficient for her to raise her baby) that would protect her from predation.

To try to find a woman who is in a vulnerable position, so you can obtain her baby from her, is reproductive exploitation, and the people committing it are, by definition, reproductive predators.  This is why prospective adoptive parents are handing out “adoption networking cards” at teen activity centres, in Walmart, to high school guidance counsellors, in poor areas of town, to pregnant waitresses — women who look vulnerable due to youth or possible financial stress.  This unfortunately resembles to some degree what sexual predators do to find vulnerable women and youth to exploit.  Removing power and protection from socially vulnerable groups leaves them open to being exploited by those with more power, money, and social status. No-one wants to be a predator, but many prospective adoptive parents blunder into this practice without realizing what they are doing.

There are many reasons why women surrender their babies for adoption, but some of them involve influence or pressure from other people, even adoptive parents who have NO idea that they are affecting a mothers’ decision (i.e. coercion), or that reproductive exploitation is what they are engaging in.

Fuelling this is desperation: Unfortunately, as we all know, adoption is market driven. There is a huge demand for babies:

“For every healthy newborn available, there are now almost forty potential parents searching.” – (“Love for Sale” Adoptive Families Magazine, 2000).

But I encourage all adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents to get educated about this issue, so they have enough information that, if practising this type of coercion falls outside their ethical framework (and it should — do you really want in on your conscience that you made a mother give up her baby?), they know how to avoid it.

Related Posts:

*Meeting prospective adopters increases surrender rates (Chippendale-Bakker & Foster, 1996) and prevents mothers from “changing their minds” (Caragata, 1999). Choosing them increases surrender rates (Barth, 1987; Chippendale-Bakker & Foster, 1996).The infant going directly from the hospital to the adoptive parents increases surrender rates (Barth, 1987)

Also see this follow-up post: “More on Pre-birth Matching: Assumptions Some People Make”

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.

The Truth About Teen Parenting

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Unlike what alarmist government-funded programs and conservative-religious lobby groups will try to tell you, teen motherhood is neither a crisis nor an event that will destroy or ruin the life of a young mother.

Old studies that supposedly proved that teen pregnancy was a crisis were based on biased data with confounding variables (race, culture, social class, etc.). But this supposed “research” fulfilled the right-wing, socially conservative, political purposes of the time.

New data proves what people knew up until 50 years ago: teen pregnancy is natural and is NOT a crisis. (When was the greatest rate of teen pregnancy during the past century? During the 1950s. These were the mothers of the Baby Boomers!)

Here are some quotes from recent studies, illustrating the new knowledge about young motherhood:

“.. a review of the research evidence finds that the age at which pregnancy occurs has little effect on social outcomes. Many teenage mothers describe how motherhood makes them feel stronger, and marks a change for the better. Many fathers seek to remain connected with their children.” (Duncan, 2007)

“Moreover, we find that teen mothers may actually achieve higher evels of earnings over their adult lives than if they had postponed motherhood. Finally, we find evidence that while teenage childbearing does seem to increase public aid expenditures immediately after a teen birth, this “negative” consequence of teenage childbearing is not a permanent one, in that teen mothers use less public aid in their late 20s as their earnings rise and their children age.” (Hotz, McElroy, & Sanders, 1999).

Of young mothers who had left foster care: …”becoming a parent meant a positive change in their otherwise chaotic lives. Their experience of motherhood brought about love and enjoyment,
and it signified continuity and fulfillment of a void. For some young mothers, the child provided a focus in their lives and a drive to achieve a position.” –Barn and Mantonavi (2007, page 236-237)

Look at your family trees. My guess is that almost all of your female ancestors prior to 1900 were teen mothers when they had their first babies.

And, existing social class that a woman has grown up in indicates that social class she and her child will be in — NOT the age at which she has given birth! A mother who has grown up middle-class does NOT automatically become a “welfare mom” just because she started a family when young:

“Teen mothers’ life trajectories reflected legacies of unequal life chances that began in childhood and persisted into their 30s. Mothers with childhood advantages fared better over time than impoverished mothers, and a legacy of advantage contributed to a cushion of safety and opportunity for their teenaged children. Conclusion: The powerful legacy of social class and racial divisions on teen mothers’ long-term outcomes challenges the view that teen mothering leads to a downward spiral with negative repercussions for mothers and children” — SmithBattle (2007).

Not only this, but recent research has shown that there’s no good reason to postpone childbearing, especially postponing it until you can no longer conceive. Nature made women to be their most fertile between the ages of 16 and 26. Age-related infertility begins it’s slow climb at around age 27. So, whey are women waiting until their 30s or even 40s to try to conceive? It is their individual choice to do so, but if they do, then I do not believe they “deserve” another woman’s baby to fill that need. It was their own choice to wait, and to take the risk that conception would not possible.. Whitley & Kirmayer (2008) mention that the average age of first births in Canada in 2003 was 28, compared to 22 in 1972.

“Don’t be selfish! Think of that poor couple who can’t have a baby of their own!”* — my father’s words to me when i was crying my eyes out, wanting desperately to keep my baby.

We as young mothers were (and are) supposed to put the wants and needs of adoptive parents before our own, to give away our babies in order to allow them to “build their families.” We are called selfish, self-centred, and immature for wanting to keep our babies. (But does anyone apply these adjectives to older, married mothers who have children? No, because it is only teen mothers who are considered “not worthy” to have babies at all.)

Is it any wonder that a teen parent not only has to fight for the right to raise her baby, but also for her basic human right to the support to keep her family together — and on top of that, she has the social stress of the stigma against her? To show how incredibly unnecessary and inappropriate this stigma is, Whitley and Kirmayer (2008) found that it is now being applied to women in their early 20s!

“Anglophone Euro-Canadian mothers in their early 20s may now be experiencing aspects of social exclusion traditionally associated with ‘teenage mothers.’ This may have a deleterious effect on health.”

I was forced to leave high school in 1979 when I became pregnant – that’s what girls did. I worked on courses by correspondence. It wasn’t even an option to stay in school. This exiling and ostracization was barbarous to do this to any woman — and I thought that this inhumane, discriminatory, and backward practice had ended — but then I read this, written in 2008:

Girls are forced out of the mainstream education system because they are pregnant or have given birth. The consequences for the young mothers and their children are dramatic… there is a los tgeneration of teenage girls who hve become pregnant in the last two to three years and have effectively ‘fallen through the net.'” (Lall, 2008)

What we need are strong programs that support young mothers, without exclusion, without limitation. Programs that recognize that young children NEED their mothers at home, and that mothering as a career is JUST as important as any other career. Not only that, but recognizing that becoming a mother can be a powerful incentive for a woman to advance her education. Here is one study’s recommendations about helping young mothers:

We suggest that the UK Government adopts a broader approach to addressing social exclusion associated with teenage pregnancy, and one which: values and supports full-time mothering as well as gaining skills; affords teenage mothers the same rights as less vulnerable mothers; fosters supportive social networks and enables the young women to engage actively in the process of their own inclusion. (Austerberry & Wiggins, 2007).

Related Reading:

Austerberry, H., & Wiggins, M. (2007). Taking a pro-choice perspective on promoting inclusion of teenage mothers: Lessons from an evaluation of the Sure Start Plus programme. Critical Public Health, 17(1), 3-15.

Duncan, S. (2007). What’s the problem with teenage parents? And what’s the problem with policy? Critical Social Policy, 27(3), 307-334.

Gibbs, N. (2002). Making time for baby. Time Magazine, April 15, 2002. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1002217,00.html .

Hotz, V. J., McElroy, S. W., & Sanders, S. G. (1999). Teenage Childbearing and Its Life Cycle Consequences: Exploiting a Natural Experiment.

Hope, T., Wilder, E. I., & Watt, T. T. (2003). Pregnancy, pregnancy resolution, and juvenile delinquency. The Sociological Quarterly, 44(4), 555-576.

Lall, M. (2007). Exclusion from school: Teenage pregnancy and the denial of education. Sex Education, 7(3), 219-237.

Luker, K. (1996). Dubious conceptions: The politics of teenage pregnancy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Oberlander, S. E., Black, M. M., Starr, R. H. (2007). African American adolescent mothers and grandmothers: A multigenerational approach to parenting. American Journal of Community Psychology, 39(1-2), 37-46.

Richards, J., Papworth, M., Corbett, S., & Good, J. (2007). Adolescent motherhood: A Q-methodological re-evaluation of psychological and social outcomes. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 17(5) 347-362.

Shanok, A. F., & Miller, L. (2007). Stepping up to motherhood among inner-city teens. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 31(3), 252-261

Smith-Battle, L. (2007a). ‘I wanna have a good future’: Teen mothers’ rise in educational aspirations, competing demands, and limited school support. Youth and Society, 38(3), 348-371.

SmithBattle, L. (2007b). Legacies of advantage and disadvantage: The case of teen mothers. Public Health Nursing, 24(5), 409-420.

Solinger, R. (2000). Wake up little Susie: Single pregnancy and race before Roe v. Wade. New York: Routledge.

Whitley, R., & Kirmayer, L. J. (2008). Perceived stigmatisation of young mothers: An exploratory study of psychological and social experience. Social Science and Medicine, 66(2), 339-348.

Zeck, W., Bjelic-Radisic, V., Haas, J., & Greimel, E. (2007). Impact of adolescent pregnancy on the future life of young mothers in terms of social, familial, and educational changes. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41(4), 380-388.

* The sad irony is that this “poor infertile couple” that i was supposed to give my child to, to satisfy THEIR needs, then went on to have two children of their own. So there was absolutely NO reason for this adoption to occur. They could have children of their own – they did not need mine.

Jaycee Dugard … a DIY adoption

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Recently, the world recoiled in shock when a young woman named Jaycee Dugard, age 29, was rescued from a filthy back yard where she was held captive for 18 years, imprisoned by a convicted sex offender, and forced to bear two of his children.

When the story broke, all I could think (and feel) besides relief that Jaycee had been found, was: I know exactly how her mother feels. That crushing feeling of hopelessness, a soul-destroying grief that has no end and no resolution, a feeling of being entirely helpless when you cannot find your child — even to find out if they are alive or dead — and no-one can help you. Physically and emotionally, reading her story, I felt an a echo of the long years of living these emotions.

The world sympathized with her parents — even more when it was revealed that Jaycee had bonded with her abductors and had even worked for them. She was introduced by her abductor as “his daughter,” and he even stated that she was part of his family and that her story of abduction was even “heartwarming.”

The abduction also destroyed Terry’s life. Carl said that every year after Jaycee was taken, she would stay away from work on the anniversary of the kidnapping and spend the day at home, in tears.”

Jaycee was kidnapped at age 11, before she could give any consent to leaving her family (much like an infant taken for adoption), and before she could speak out to anyone against it (ditto). No minor can make this type of decision.

Eighteen years … not much shorter than the 20 years I remained in limbo, not knowing where my son was, if he was alive or dead.

Not that I didn’t try finding him, as as Jaycee’s parents must have. I scoured major B.C. newspapers, searching for “birth” announcements that may have been placed by people adopting. I found an adoption reunion registry, which I applied to in hopes that the people who had adopted him would have a heart and conscience and also apply while he was still a minor — I could not imagine anyone would intentionally or even inadvertently be so heartless as to put me through that torture willingly. I placed “happy birthday” greetings in newspapers, hoping he or his adoptive family would see them and contact me. When he was about 9, I spent several hundred dollars on a retainer for a private investigator … who found nothing. I studied the faces of every male child I saw who would be of his age, throughout the years. He was never absent from my mind — not a day went past without him being in my thoughts. How could it be otherwise?

I am certain that Jaycee’s parents felt exactly the same way. Except they had police to help them … not that it helped much.

So, tell me … why is our loss considered any less — any less tragic, any less traumatic, any less involuntary — than the loss experienced by Jaycee’s parents? Why are we expected to shut up about it? Why are we written off as nothing more than an incubators? Why do people willingly and happily adopt the babies of women who have had just as much choice as Jaycee’s mother, Terry? I am certain that these same people would feel for Terry, and meanwhile tell me that I have no right to talk

Why is the pain considered to be any less?

[Mr Garrido] told us up-front he works with his daughter.”

Jaycee Dugard was abducted, and then treated as both a sex slave and an adopted daughter by her abductors. Let’s call it what it is: A do-it-yourself adoption. And when there is no choice on the part of the mother, how is either situation anything less than abduction?

“(281) Abduction of Person Under Fourteen – Every one who, not being the parent … unlawfully takes, entices away, conceals, detains, receives or harbours that person with intent to deprive a parent … of the possession of that person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.” – Criminal Code of Canada

ETA: A person who had adopted made the comment on another blog, “Regardless, signing ‘sealed the deal’.” Well, in B.C., I have heard many stories first-hand of what was done to single mothers who refused to sign while “customers” waited. Their babies were put into foster homes, and government social workers then went to court to terminate the mother’s rights on grounds that her baby’s best interest was to be with a married, stable, 2-parent family. Also, 3 months of your baby in a foster home you cannot find, and your rights could be automatically terminated on grounds of “abandonment.” Signatures were moot, especially when given while one is medicated to the gills. If one level of coercion did not work, a stronger level was applied until it did.

Taking babies right at birth while the mother was medicated and tied down was abduction. This happened across Canada.