23 September 2015

What does it mean to you?

(Originally published: January 2010)

With all the various "blog wars" flying about the place, I have been thinking about the "anti-adoption" stance and the way people feel towards it.

I didn't always see myself as being anti-adoption; in fact someone labelled me with that and I just thought "well maybe that's what I am" and let it stick but currently, I have seen through the eyes of others, that this statement is more than what it means to me.

So in this post, I want to explain what I see it meaning and then ask you what you feel it means.

For me:

I am against a legal system that seeks to make a lie out of a child's life. I do not agree with the legal process and is one of the main aspects of adoption I am against. It is not even a requirement to tell a child they are adopted and I know of mothers whose children are not even aware of their adoption. This is crazy-making. I hate that in many places in the USA, adopted persons do not have the right to THEIR OWN records. I am against withholding Original Birth Certificates from those they belong to: the Adoptee and no one else. Not even the mother who gave birth to them has the moral right to keep this information from their child and if they loved their child, they wouldn't.

The other main aspect is the routine separation of mothers and babies to fulfil a demand. Infant adoption has become a business. Mothers who are perfectly capable of raising their own children are told they are selfish, are lied to, are worn down to feel they are unworthy of keeping their own babies, the most natural thing to do, so that others can adopt their babies. I disagree with this and find it unethical and immoral in the extreme.

I disagree with the kidnapping of children internationally being sold for adoption and human traffiking purposes. I am against keeping the poor helpless and unable to provide so they have no choice but to relinquish in order to feed their own children.

I am against the fact adoption is a multi billion dollar FOR profit industry in the USA. This issue makes me feel sick because I do not see how this is any different to slavery when a price is paid to adopt an infant under the guise of "fees" when in reality it is contributing to the profits this industry is generating.

I am vehemently opposed to those who aggressively seek out young mothers with the sole intention of getting them to place their child. Adoption should be a last resort not the first choice. Education should be employed to ensure more young women know how to protect themselves from becoming mothers before they are ready. There is just not enough education out there due to sex being such a taboo subject in the West.

I am against infant adoption because in most cases it is not ethical and is immoral due to current practises employed and the lure of the open adoption lie which has no guarantee and has so far caused much damage.

Now I have covered the main aspects of adoption I am against, let me share what I am actually okay with.

All children deserve a permanent and stable home; a family who loves them. I agree with this aspect of adoption although sadly, it is not always guaranteed. Children should not have to pass from home to home; should not have to worry about who they are going to live with next, whether they are going to be placed back with abusive parents. Children, our innocent and precious children, deserve to be loved, nurtured and above all, protected and I know there are people out there who want to give a child this which is GOOD.

Children who have no homes and no chance of being reunited with their familes, I want them to have a home. I want them to have what children are SUPPOSED to have, their basic human rights.

This is where adoption, particularly of older children, I struggle to be against as their right to this is more important than paperwork. And for the most part, where and whilst there is no other choice, I agree currently adoption is their best option.

Now for you my readers, I invite you to share what ANTI ADOPTION means to you. What do you feel or think when you see this term? What does this term really mean?

Please be aware this is not an invitation for attacks, jibes, etc but a civil and meaningful discussion so we can dispel some of the myths going around about what anti adoption is and what it isn't.

Maybe we will find within the adoption community more common ground with each other than we realise we have.

Thank you for your honesty and time!

22 comments:

  1. This is a good post. I have been introduced to the "anti-adoption" world only recently, through seeing a lot of different comments and reactions on blogs that I read and others that I have been linked to. Most of them (not all - and I am talking BOTH sides, here, definitely NOT just 'anti') are filled with derisive comments, slurs against the posters and other commentors, and just a lot of hate and negativity that ends up clouding the issue and causing people to retract even more firmly into their own camps. When you break down what "anti adoption" means to you, I am sitting here, actively nodding my head along with you, even though I would never have said that I am "anti adoption" and still wouldn't.

    Just so you have a background on me, I am a woman who dealt with infertility for three years and examined adoption as one method for building our family. I was very turned off by an adoption attorney that we met with during our research phase, to the point that I turned to my husband and said, "Well, we don't want to STEAL a baby, do we?!?"

    The only small point that I do disagree with is that infant adoptions should be abolished altogether. I do think that there are some appropriate infant adoptions that take place, but I see where the problems can stem from them and much reform is needed.

    Perhaps we need a different term for "anti-adoption," because I certainly don't know that I can call myself pro or anti at this point.

    Again, thank you for a thought-provoking post. If everyone on both sides could do the same, I think we actually get some place!

    P.S. I read your story and my heart goes out to you, both who you were then and now.

    P.P.S. I hope this comment does not fall under the heading of attack or jibe. Delete if it does!

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  2. I think I'll have to put this in 2 comments and Blogger does not like the long post:

    LITS: I am against a legal system that seeks to make a lie out of a child's life. I do not agree with the legal process and is one of the main aspects of adoption I am against. It is not even a requirement to tell a child they are adopted and I know of mothers whose children are not even aware of their adoption. This is crazy-making. I hate that in many places in the USA, adopted persons do not have the right to THEIR OWN records. I am against withholding Original Birth Certificates from those they belong to: the Adoptee and no one else. Not even the mother who gave birth to them has the moral right to keep this information from their child and if they loved their child, they wouldn't.
    O: I couldn't agree with you more. With every word. I'm especially furious about the lack of access to OBCs. A birth certificate belongs to the person whose birth was documented therein. It is their document; they are entitled to it. The government should stay out of the aftermath (contact or not; reunions or not).
    LITS: The other main aspect is the routine separation of mothers and babies to fulfil a demand. Infangt adoption has become a business. Mothers who are perfectly capable of raising their own children are told they are selfish, are lied to, are worn down to feel they are unworthy of keeping their own babies, the most natural thing to do, so that others can adopt their babies. I disagree with this and find it unethical and immoral in the extreme.
    O: I agree with you except that I still think it's someone's right to make an adoption plan and not be attacked for it. Some people do not want to raise their babies. It's saying such people are “deluded” or “drinking the Kool-aid” that gets to me. Everyone is entitled to her choice. Pregnant women should be supported, though, and time to think about surrender, if it is to happen, should be much more liberal than it is in the US.

    LITS: I disagree with the kidnapping of children internationally being sold for adoption and human traffiking purposes. I am against keeping the poor helpless and unable to provide so they have no choice but to relinquish in order to feed their own children.
    O: I agree too except that depending on the place, it has to be contextualized with what is going on in that country, the pressures have been placed on the population, and which children actually available for adoption and why. BUT I totally agree that int'l adoption is incredibly susceptible to corruption and that corruption is a fact of many programs.

    LITS: am against the fact adoption is a multi billion dollar FOR profit industry in the USA. This issue makes me feel sick because I do not see how this is any different to slavery when a price is paid to adopt an infant under the guise of "fees" when in reality it is contributing to the profits this industry is generating.
    O: I agree but can't see a way to stop it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. LITS: I am vehemently opposed to those who aggressively seek out young mothers with the sole intention of getting them to place their child. Adoption should be a last resort not the first choice. Education should be employed to ensure more young women know how to protect themselves from becoming mothers before they are ready. There is just not enough education out there due to sex being such a taboo subject in the West.
    O: I agree, except for what I suspect is that miniority of women who actually seek adoption.

    LITS: I am against infant adoption because in most cases it is not ethical and is immoral due to current practises employed and the lure of the open adoption lie which has no guarantee and has so far caused much damage.
    O: I agree. The ample time the first mother should have to decide whether to have her child adopted would seem to nullify infant adoption as a concept, really. I was talking to a friend of mind who adopted from Children's Aid years ago and the adoption wasn't finalized until 6 months after placement. If that is the case, then natural mothers should have this time too. Who else, if not them, should have such time to decide?

    Now I have covered the main aspects of adoption I am against, let me share what I am actually okay with.

    LITS: All children deserve a permanent and stable home; a family who loves them. I agree with this aspect of adoption although sadly, it is not always guaranteed. Children should not have to pass from home to home; should not have to worry about who they are going to live with next, whether they are going to be placed back with abusive parents. Children, our innocent and precious children, deserve to be loved and nurtured and I know adoptive parents are wanting to give a child this which is GOOD.

    Children who have no homes and no chance of being reunited with their familes, I want them to have this. I want them to have what children are SUPPOSED to have, their basic human rights.
    This is where adoption, particularly of older children, I struggle to be against as their right to this is more important than paperwork. And for the most part, where there is no other choice I agree currently adoption is their best option.
    O: Well, I basically agree with you here too, and I despair over families terminating their adoptions because they were unprepared. When I adopted, I believed the need was sincere and all I wanted to do was parent a child that needed a home within a system that accepted me too. Never in my mind did I think of it as anything less than providing permanence and love for my daughter.
    I'm surprised you didn't add the right of kids, if not to know their original parents, then at least to have the freedom to pursue as much about their background as is possible. I notice as well you didn't say anything about open adoptions. Should they be legally enforceable? And I know you're in a challenging one. I'd be interested in your thought on that.
    I enjoyed your post. I know a-parents can rub people the wrong way but I think you are on the right track by suggesting we may agree more than at first blush. On the important things, many of us agree completely. I find it's the personal swipes that put people off the most.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Katie,

    Thank you for your comment! No, it doesn't in any way come under an attack or jibe but very helpful.

    Yes, I agree, both sides (myself included) have been party to slurs as we both want our voices heard and this is what I got out of the latest "blog wars"... a desire to be heard and not having the chance.

    Thank you for taking the time to share with me your personal story and I am so very sorry for your own painful journey. I wish you all the best in your decision making process.

    And thank you for showing empathy :) It means more to me than people know.

    Cheers,
    Myst

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  5. Hi Osolomama,

    It is surprising to many how much common ground we do share which is the point of my post.

    As for open adoption, I did touch on it briefly in regards to opne adoption. As it is today, there is no legalality to it so I am against the way it is used to lure mothers in. However, it gets complicated from here because as I have issues with the main legal aspect of adoption, this doesn't change in open adoption regardless if open adoption is legalised or not. But I do feel children need to have contact with their parents etc. I didn't go too much into depth on what I want in place because I just wanted to cover what main aspects I am against so others can see if there is any common ground.

    And I agree, personal slurs do not help anyone.

    Thanks for the comment(s) :)

    Cheers,
    Myst

    ReplyDelete
  6. Myst-

    I wanted to thank you for this post. I agree with so much of what I see on the "anti adoption" sites but as an adoptive mom I almost always feel very attacked by it at the same time. My son was 2 and a half when we found each other. There was no hope of reuniting his family and no other relatives to take him.

    He is the joy of my life.
    I cannot in any way condone the coercive practices used to seperate new mothers from their children when there is no need but at the same time I cannot accept being vilified just for loving a child that needs that love.

    I do not comment very often on the blogs I read - a little here and there - but not much. Mostly this is because I do not want to respond knee jerk to how attacked I feel by the way thinks are expressed and add to the discord but also because these are often people really suffering from the corruption and horrible practices in what should never have been a for profit industry. It seems like to assert my position or disagree is to automatically invalidate the author and well - I cannot feel good about that. These are voices that deserve to be heard.

    Thank you, thank you for writing a balanced post that so clearly articulates a reasonable middle ground through such an emotional subject.

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  7. When I read anti-adoption, it feels like anti-me. I am adopted. It is my reality. I don't have an "A" tattooed on my forehead and, at least until as of late, being adopted only crossed my mind once in while when we're (my sister, dad, me,) thanking our lucky stars that we were, and laughing. (Lucky=not inheriting genes of crazy people in my family)
    Obviously I can't speak on behalf of other adoptees, but when I read how bad or sick adoption is it feels so personal, so directed at me and my story, at my family. That what I feel toward them and the fact that I feel part of the family (the whole family, cousins, aunts, grandparents) can't be real.

    I guess it's hard to understand that when a person IS adopted the term anti-adoption can feel like anti-me.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "Obviously I can't speak on behalf of other adoptees, but when I read how bad or sick adoption is it feels so personal, so directed at me and my story, at my family."

    Really? That's so interesting, and I mean to convey NO sarcasm when I comment that way.

    Personally I see it as a defense for the biological parents rather than an insult to the loving structure of an adoptive family.

    But that's just me.

    I do not read "anti-loving homes." I do not read "leave abusive children to suffer." I do not read "ignore poverty."

    I read "defend those who truly have no choice."

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Myst,
    I agree with everything that you've said....but as an adoptive mum to one and in the process of adopting our second (who's been with us for nearly a year now) I can't say I'm anti-adoption. I'm pro-adoption reform!!!!!!!!!!!!! Want to make it right for the children who cannot be raised in their families of origin.
    So what's the difference between ant-adoption and pro-adoption reform??

    Dawn

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  10. Just to clarify, I am just answering the question "what does the term anti-adoption mean to you?". Period. My previous comment is in no way shape or form an opinion on coerced or forced adoption. Just an honest answer to the question the poster put out there.

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  11. PS Myst. In NSW open adoption is legalised in a way- the adoption plan becomes part of a court order (much like contact orders in families where the parents separate) and while there is room for this to change if circumstances change it's my understanding that an order in place is enforceable
    Dawn
    PS. we should catch up soemtime. You're in Syd I think....I'm not that far away

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  12. Thank you everyone for commenting so openly.

    Campbell, I want to let you know that when I say I am/have been anti-adoption it is not in any way an attack on you and I thank you for that feedback as maybe my own daughter might feel that way and I am obviously not anti her :)

    Dawn, I don't know how to word this. I am obviously pro-reform too...

    Thank you Tina for taking time to put yourself out there and share how you feel.

    Sisterheping, obviously, that is how I have always viewed "anti" adoption too... but recently have seen how just one small word can feel as if it is a judgement and an attack on someone for what they feel is a good deed. And I know there are decent people out there who adopt in the hope of bringing love to a child's life and are unaware of the other things happening in adoption.

    Thanks again everyone and please, keep the comments coming. Also, thank you to everyone for keeping this so respectful and civil, it is highly appreciated :)

    Myst

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  13. My "anti" list as it pertains to adoption:

    -anti fake birth certificates. A person is only born once, yet we issue a falsified birth certifcate to change the names of the parents(and sometimes even date and place of birth).

    -anti sealed records. Sealing records allows for abuse and lies.

    -anti pre-birth matching.

    -anti payments of any kind from prospective adoptive parents to the mother.

    -anti counseling by adoption agencies and lawyers; their only goal is adoption and their so-called couseling is really propganda and pressure to relinquish.

    -anti open adoption agreements that are not legally enforceable.

    -anti open adoption that is not well-defined. I've heard from so many mothers who really had no idea what "open" was supposed to mean, and it typically hurt them a great deal when it turned out to be much less than they imagined.

    -anti open records legislation that fails to provide equal access for mothers. We have as much right to the records as the adoptee.

    -anti the general belief that adoption exists to fulfill a person's desire to have a child. Adoption should only exist to make sure children are safe and loved; it should not be a program to satisfy the desires of adults.

    Standard disclaimer: this applies to domestic infant adoption, abuse and neglect are a different issue.

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  14. Of course the term anti adoption starts with a negative and seems to leave you open to attack more easily. And as an adoptee, it does make me question a little my whole life, something at this date I am already doing enough of. Are you anti me? Of course not, but its a bit of an emotional trigger.

    But then pro adoption reform puts the pro and adoption together and people cant see beyond that part.

    How about pro reform of adoption or pro best practice adoption? They don't have the strenght of anti adoption do they?

    Ah adoption, such a confusing place to be.

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  15. i agree with your points completely. adoption needs to be abolished, a new system of guardianship would be more appropriate.this would allow children to keep their identities, allow for the focus to be on the child and not adopters. also guardianship agreements can be re visited if/when first families want contact or if child wants contact.

    i disagree with older children being adopted. as a foster care survivor, these older children are the most at risk. they are featured on tv and websites like buying a household product. the people who adopt these kids often abuse them and then discard them back into the system. they need forever families and the process right now does not allow for genuine matches to be made. these children are the most unwanted b/c they usually have knowledge and often contact with their first families. a truly noble person wanting to parent, should look at this group of children. they need love, therapy and patience.

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  16. This is a great post. I like the comment about adoption reform. Maybe that's where we can all get on the same page and put all our feelings and energy to good use. You have some great thoughts.

    I keep seeing a common saying on some of these blog that if we women can't conceive God meant for us not be moms. It's kind of hurtful. It's akin to you hearing that it's your fault that you are a birthmom. (Remember that??? I said it! What a dork! Sorry!) I know I don't really feel that way about birthmoms and so I am hoping that people don't REALLY think that we are somehow insificiant women and God is doing the world a favor by stopping us from conceiving.

    I don't know if I believe that God works that way.

    I certaintly don't have all the answers, but if everyone is trying to be kind and respectful about this, that comment is kind of rude.

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  17. Hi Shannan,

    I agree. I for one do not feel God works that way either with infertility and if it comes across that is what I have said or feel, I am sorry as I have never believed that.... just as much as I do not believe God intends to have mothers and children separated.

    Thanks for the comments everyone :)

    Myst.

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  18. Maybe, my adoption reform list is the same as yours.
    Great post mystere.
    I too have been called anti-adoption when really I am pro-reform. I agree with guardianship - we don't own our children.
    findingmaddy.blogspot.com

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  19. I agree with your points.
    Your perspective has been changing MINE.
    Did you read Tonggu Mama's links today? The one about the family who decided to turn down the sibling group of 3 children from Ethiopia that they had committed to adopting b/c they uncovered many unethical practices their agency had been doing...and found out that these children not only HAVE a mother, but Mom was co-erced into giving them up for a better life.
    This makes my blood BOIL!
    I want to give this family a standing ovation for asking the hard questions and laying aside their own "desires" in order to do what is best for these kids.
    Sadly, the kids have just been switched to another agency...so another unsuspecting, uneducated family could easily adopt them while their very own mother sleeps just a stone's throw away with a broken heart.
    What can we do? WE must do SOMETHING!!
    WHAT?
    HOW?
    all I know is NOW.

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  20. Thank you for this post. To me anti-adoption is right along the lines of anti-cancer. It is a profound loss and should not be something sought after.

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