Adoption Facts Demand Infant Adoption Reformation

Building a bridge to truths

It’s not about you, but it is..

There are some facts about adoption that, really, you cannot dispute unless you are just trying to purposely to stay ignorant regarding the facts of infant adoption in this country.

Adoption is, in its perfect form, suppose to be about finding homes for children that need them, not about finding children for parents that want them.

That’s the perfect ideal, for the perfect world, someplace we all know we do not live in. What seems to be missing are some very important adoption facts. That doesn’t mean statistics like how many children are adopted each year, or examples of great gifts for an adopted baby, or even simple logistics such as where to find an adoption agency in Va. I’m talking about the pull your head out of the sand, stop listening to heart-warning stories on Oprah, and acknowledge some cold hard, adoption facts:

There is nothing inherently wrong about wanting to be a parent, but it can become wrong Click To Tweet

There is nothing inherently wrong about wanting to be a parent, but it can become wrong depending on how you go about becoming a parent.

I will never judge anyone for wanting to have a child. I would not think less of anyone or negate their parenting if they became parents though adoption. In fact, despite my disgust at the system, there are many parents through adoption who I like as people, trust as friends, work with to achieve mutual goals. I would even go so far as to say that I am understanding when I hear someone spout off some absolute blatantly ignorant statement; I shrug and think that many of the times the perspective adoptive parents haven’t even had a clue.

It’s not like they were trying to be cruel or uncaring. I know that. They were just doing what the industry and professionals told them to do, what was “acceptable practices”. I blame a system that hides the real hard truths from all the parties involved. It is only afterwards, when we can come together, usually then, when the real truths are exposed and fears disassembled, that the “other” side becomes real people with real feelings, and do many of us realize that we played a part in this misuse of an emotional crisis.

I know that many adoptive parents might resist really looking deep into the way their children’s adoptions were handled.

They might fight to look into their earlier thoughts and often stereotypes. They could, understandably, desire to remain ignorant of the losses involved in their path to parenthood. They might begin to think now, with regret, about some of the practices of their lawyers and other professionals that they trusted. I’m not judging that. I know that’s how it works.

I think it works that way for many parents who surrender as well. Many do not want to look at it deeply and fully. It really can hurt emotionally, in a way that is completely indescribable and words could never do justice. Often, by the time we do allow ourselves to feel deeply regarding the relinquishment of our children, we have years invested in self denial. Because it cannot ever be undone and all we can do is live though the time, mothers and fathers who relinquish their child to adoption have a great resistance as well and often, anger, at seeing adoption in a real light. This is especially true for newer first mothers who still must function at a level for survival as they work through their grief.

The very same can be said for the adoptee, especially for the ones who insist that they “never think about that I am adoptedâ€. From some of the most honest and real, courageous and brilliant adopted persons I have known; I have had the honor to learn that many of the feelings that come from adoption do not always invoke feelings of gratitude, or contentment, but loss and primal rejection, as well as confusion, anger, many unanswered questions and often unsatisfactory love.

What it comes down to, bottom line; even if an adoptive parent technically participated in some questionable actions in the past, I don’t care. I don’t care if a posse of card carrying content birthmothers really thinks relinquishing adoption was the best thing ever for both them and their babies. I don’t care about how thankful you are that you were adopted.

It’s not about you, really, but it is. It’s not the past I am concerned about, it’s the future. It’s not how you got here, but what you are willing to do now.

Can you face the cold, hard facts?

Adoption & Child Welfare Services were expected to bring in a revenue of 14 Billion Dollars during 2015

Even the banking and insurance industry has more regulations applied to then than adoption and we know what they do to try and make money at all costs.

An industry analysis of Fertility Clinics and Adoption Services by Market Data Enterprises of Tampa, FL, has placed a $1.4 billion value on adoption services in the US back in’ 99. With a projected annual growth rate of 11.5% to 2012, this makes adoption the largest unregulated industry in the US.

Do the math; even if we follow those conservative projections, because the market has exploded since this last study was done making 11.5% is very mild of a percentage, we have a number that is in excess of 5 billion dollars by the end of 2012 with a growth rate of at least a half billion a year and growing. THIS Chart is a joke!

Adoption is a billion dollar business

Adoption & Child Welfare Services now are expected to bring in a revenue of 14 Billion Dollars during 2015.  That’s a BILLION DOLLAR INCREASE over the 2013  numbers of Thirteen Billion in Revenue from the Adoption Industry.


Adoption Laws In the USA are Antiquated

Many were placed on the books decades ago based on child development and human nature beliefs that we now know to be wrong.

The amount of knowledge that we have has changed, but the legislation has not been updated. Current changes have been made to benefit the adoption professionals and the industry in general because they have the money to pay for the lobbyists and the influence. The National Council for Adoption, a lobby group with a deceiving name and even more disturbing game, is paid for by the agencies, pro-life groups, and federal tax funds and grants to promote adoption. They like to separate families not protected by money or the Godly union of marriage in favor for a legally married heterosexual couples. Consent times, like in California and Pennsylvania, have been reduced, because lawyers and agencies want it and they are the ones speaking out to the politicians. It makes adoptions and the profits go though the system quicker.

Birthmother Grief is Real and Traumatic and Lifelong

Many, many mothers did indeed lose their children to adoption and suffer what can only be described as a real diagnosis of “birthmother griefâ€.

Whether they were downright forced and given no choice, or if they were made to believe they had a choice, but still felt they had no other options, or whether they felt they had options, but were not really given the accurate information regarding long term ramifications of relinquishment for them and for their child. These are women who are and could have been good parents. These children were in no danger of being bump around in foster care for years. No threat of abuse. If it was not for the happy adoption seduction dance of coercion, these families would just be. They would have parented. Maybe they would have had a few first years of lean times, maybe it would have been hard, but look at us now? Suz, Jenna, PoorStatue, Barb for example; all hard working, goal minded, strong willed ladies. I doubt any of us would have sunk to child beating, crystal meth, stripping, and getting beaten by our men just because we had a baby in tow. In fact, I dare to say that we would be more apt not to, because of the need to love and provide for our kids.

There is a huge difference between child protection and child surrender.

Erik Smith said that at the ‘o7 ACC conference, and I think it is brilliant.

Child protection is CPS and state removal for the benefit and welfare of a child. While that system does have concerning issues as well with lots of abuse and corruption, it does result in children that need homes. It is involuntary, it is necessary; it is for the good of the child.

Child surrender is voluntary, it is often not really necessary, but made out to be beneficial. The real “good” of the child is questionable depending on your personal interpretation of what is “better”. Often fraught with myths, and misinformation that sways the participants to be involved for the benefit of the agency and, often, the desires of the paying clients, the perspective adoptive parents. It is finding children to fit the needs of the industry which is based on transferring the parental rights from one party to another for a profit.

The rights of the unwed mother and the unwed father’s rights cannot be ignored no matter how easy it might be to judge them, or worry about the future financial burden on the taxpayer’s money.

Adoptees, Our Children, Pay the Price

There are enough adoptees who search, who are in damaged, who hurt or are just not thrilled that they are adopted that we should care.

They might not hate their lives totally or even at all, but adoption adds a whole bunch of baggage to their load that they must carry. Some had parents that rocked and some had parents that did harm, mostly though, I bet they had parents that tried their best, made mistakes, and loved them lots. The fact is though, that if a child does not need to be separated from their original family, then the great majority of child welfare professionals, from the United Nations to UNICEF plus many others, agree that children are best off with kin. It is a person’s birthright to be with family.

To top it off, many voluntary infant adoptions in this country never were and still are not necessary. Imagine growing up with the most important and foundation building relationship of your life, aborted without logical reason, before you could even voice your own opinions. Call it a Primal Wound, call it adoptee issues, call it a matter of adoptee rights, our children had no choice and they had no voice. Now, they do.

The Need for Adoptee Rights Can NOT be Ignored

Adopted persons are denied their civil right to have access to the Original Birth Certificates and are frequently torn and caught between two sets of parents who have their own needs and issues.

They are not abnormal, or damaged, nor bitter, nor angry, but they are people who we all need to learn from so that we can do better for the next generation. They have the keys to tell us what we need to fix in adoption.

There are enough adoptees and natural parents searching for each other that we cannot humanly deny that it is a primal and necessary urge in many cases. It’s not a whim, not a phase, nor a sign if immaturity, nor selfishness, nor of poor adoptive parenting, or anything else might we believe. It is just the truth: adoptees have two sets of parents, adoptive and birth parents, and often a need to know and have relationships with both.

We must look at both Sides of Adoption

We cannot say “adoption is always wonderful” nor even focus on only the positive and refuse to see the Birth mothers grief and adoptee loss.

While there are many happy adoption stories, many parents who adore their children and children that adore their parents; there are also enough stories of adoptees who got bad deals, adoptees who got good deals but still have enough issues, and relinquishing parents who just totally got screwed in various degrees. It can be good, it can be bad and it can be all the variants in between. The negative, though, is very bad and threatens all our good. We should all care enough to make it much better for not just our own needs, not just for our children, but as a legacy of improvement to leave behind for future generations.

Don’t Dismiss The Adoption Message with Generalizations

I may generalize and state that “adoption is badâ€, BUT I don’t mean YOUR adoption necessarily.

I still don’t need you to tell me how you were above board, super ethical, checked out everything, or begged your child’s mother to seriously look into parenting. I don’t need to hear about how she really IS a crack whore or how she really couldn’t manage it, didn’t want to parent, had a great agency. I don’t need to know about how sure she was, or her reasons for giving you her child. And I don’t buy it when you tell me that she is just fine…really, even if she is. Let me talk to her in 18 years when the taste of the Kool-Aid gets all stale and metallic, without you there so she could speak freely. Then I might believe it, but I don’t even need to do that. It’s not about proving that you are horrible person, less of a parent, or a baby stealing troll.

Really, I don’t care all that much about what was already DONE. It’s over, that’s the past and none of us can change it anyway.

If you gave your baby to adoption and you’re all content and peaceful and still think you made a great choice for your baby, and you have no regrets about adoption…OK. I’m glad for you, I really am. I am happy that you escaped the bullet. I can only hope that your child is in complete agreement with you when they can speak for themselves. And if that is not the case, of you ever feel that “hmmm…this is not what I expected, this is a bit more than I was warned about” or if that stale and metallic taste gets to heavy on your tongue, then I am here for you still. I know that deal all too well. And if you are super pissed off and angry and hate adoption with every breath of your being, well I get that too and ever stance of conflicting emotions in between.

If you are adopted and it is all peachy for you…..great!! You have only one mother and father, you have four, and you have six. ok. I cannot tell you how to make your heart beat. Your feelings are not about me, though I will listen and learn from you so I can understand my son more, but really the only one who I need to care about as far as the ultimate decree of my motherhood is my kids. If you want to be angry, I say that you are entitled to your feelings. If you feel abandoned or rejected, all I can do is hear you and try to help you understand what your own mom might be thinking or have felt, but even then..I can’t really speak for her, unless I do know her.

Adoption past is the past and we can really do nothing to change it.

But, we can speak of it, we can document it, we can be truthful about it.

That is all I ask: that you be truthful, to me, to the public, to yourself, to your children’s other parents, to your kids. Just speak the truth, even if it is hard, even if it makes you uncomfortable, even if it hurts you inside and makes you question yourself. No need to explain or defend this stuff to anyone, especially of you really are still trying to explain or defend this stuff to yourself. That is your journey. I got mine.

Even if your adoption was perfect, even if it was the most ethical thing on the face of this earth, even if you saved your child from certain death; it doesn’t matter to me. If you are somehow immune from being part of the problem, are you willing to be part of the solution?

I am still going to say things that make you uncomfortable about adoption.

I still want you to think, I want you to know that it goes beyond your personal experience, it goes beyond mine. I want you to behold such truths to be self evident, that adoption as an industry has a long way to go before it reaches that perfect ideal that we all strive for. I want you to care about more than just you and your child, but the child of that poor woman who looks like she just needs a break with decent day care. Or care about that really pissed off angry man who keeps getting a bad deal at work and can’t get insurance for his family to be or gets crooked out of his parental rights because an industry is running him down. Care about the young girl down the block who looks like a kid pushing a doll in a stroller to school every day with a loaded back pack of books, don’t judge her, or him, but remember, we all could have been in those shoes.

Yes, you; if the stars have aligned differently, if life handed you different cards.

I want you to stop and think about what it means for a mother, never mind if she is a young mother or a poor mother, as neither can measure love; what it might feel for a mother to lose a life with her own child. I want you to stop and really think of what you are asking her to do by relinquishing her baby. How do you feel when you hear of a missing child abducted? What emotions do you find OK for a mother to feel at that time? Do you sympathize with a mother when you hear about a tragic accidental death of her baby? And then explain to yourself what makes one mother’s grief over the loss of a child more worthy of our understanding than another mother’s loss because adoption was involved?

I want people to realize that even if, on the short term, it seems much more logical and sensible for the too young, or too challenged to give their unplanned children to those that have planned, waited and prayed to be parents; that infant surrender is sentencing both mother, child and extended family to a lifelong altercation, often with unpleasant results. What is exactly a few years of social support, non judgment, and maybe assisted day care and housing compared to a life time of unnatural grief? A life time of loss or a few lean years and maybe some tax aided support?

What is the greater evil? Trauma for life or public assistance?

I want you to think about the world we allow to happen for our children and their children; is it good enough? Would you want your daughter to have a story like mine, or Nic, or Suz? Do you want to have a universe, a climate in this country where the government spends money on known programs that fail, like abstinence only policies, that spends tax dollars on studies to find out who to make adoption appealing so that they can convince women to relinquish, that supports and promotes maternity homes like Gladney for political favors, that teaches professionals downright lies such as the infant adoption awareness training, that allows corrupt influences in your children’s schools like Stephanie Bennett, that has no regulations and no oversight and makes your daughters and sons venerable to an industry that is above and beyond reproach.

It’s not about what you did; it is about what you can do now.

Are you an adoptive parent, and do I make you angry? Do you care that you got what you wanted? Is that all adoption is to you, was to you, a way to be a parent and now it is done? Then why are you here? Why bother; go live your happy life.

Do you care about being the best parent for your child?

Which means that adoptive or original parent; you need to listen to the adoptees and what they have to tell us about our own children. It means making this world, this society, a better place where ALL understand and acknowledge what the adoptees tell us of their feelings so they do not feel they have to perform or lie or keep quiet at their own expense to protect those they love. So they do not feel alone and confused.

Think of your own children facing an unplanned pregnancy. Imagine being separated from one of your kids. Could you do it? Do you want anyone to feel the pain and grief of these adoption losses? Do you care about making some real changes in adoption practices and beliefs so that things are better for the next generations to come, our children? Can you put your money and your actions where your mouth is? Yes? Then come on, let’s go. We have work to do.

Think Beyond Your Own Adoption Experience

You can have the greatest adoption experience on the face of the earth, and still help.

It’s not about you, but it is. You don’t have to say what you did was wrong or right, but let’s go further now. Let’s make it ALL right for everyone.

And that means accepting the bad parts of it, even if you did somehow contribute to it. I will not say that makes you a terrible person, it means that you have learned and grown. We, as a society, as a community, as a people, have to be able to see, recognize and call out what is wrong in order to make it right. If you don’t all into the category of what was wrong then that statement is not about you. Don’t make it about you. If the shoe doesn’t fit, I am not forcing it on your foot. Just acknowledge that the shoe is there.

The Real Truth About Adoption IS HORRIBLY Raw, Frequently Ugly and Often Unjust.

I know that is hard, I really do. It hurts, it makes us uncomfortable and it makes us question everything we ever thought, everything we ever believed, every decision we ever made. It’s hard, but that is the crux of the issue; Adoption is HARD. It’s is difficult to navigate for us all. If it was easy, then none of us would be here. We would just do this one time act: adopt, be born, relinquish and never look back. It really would be the same as having a baby, being born to one set of parents, or never having a baby, but it doesn’t work like that.

The adoption industry wants us to believe it is the same, they say it is, but they are wrong, it’s a lifelong process for us all.

Sometimes, it gets to be too much. It is just too darn heavy of a load to carry. It becomes too deep, too convoluted, and our heads and hearts spin. We get freaked out, we need a break, there is so much to battle, so many venues and issues. It wears us all down. People need to recharge and not think about adoption for a little while; we go back to denial for a while, pretend to be normal. People say things that get us upset, generalizations are made and we feel on the defensive, we have to speak up, the negativity gets us down, nothing will ever change.

Adoption Facts are Just That: Facts.

You cannot change the truth.

Adoption will not change if we hide in our holes, in a safe area, and do not test ourselves, push the envelope, get discouraged, run away, or bury our head in the sands. Then in 20, 30, 40 years, we will be old and gray, drooling, and our children will be facing the same issues, writing on blogs and boards trying to make sense of it all.

It’s not about what you did or did not do. It is not about what I did or did not do. It is not about who is right or who is wrong. It’s not about what you knew or didn’t know. It’s not about whether you fit that generalization or not. It’s not even about what offends and hurts you. It’s about being able to speak clearly and make others understand, talk about the truth, the hard stuff, process that, and then improve it. It’s about growing and changing. It is about understanding. It is about seeing my mistakes and yours and learning how to not make them again. It is about the collective body of knowledge that we all must “get”. Adoption is too vast, too wide of an ocean with too many nuances. We only have one life and we cannot all live though every aspect of it for a total picture. We have to learn from each other.

Every time one of us speaks one iota of truth to someone else, the knowledge of truth grows. Little by little, one person at a time, we can make a difference. The adoption community can touch each other, we can support each other. We all grow, we understand adoption better. As players in the adoption arena, we have a moral obligation to make things better. If not us, those who live it, then who? I challenge everyone to stretch the boundaries of your mind and unlearn what you think you know about adoption. Find truth. Speak truth. Accept truth. Spread truth. And then think what the next step? What can you do to make adoption better? How can, we, as a society, not care about fixing adoption as a corrupt and antiquated institution?

I don’t care about how you got by my side, who you are, color, creed, place in the triad, age or adoption era; all I care about is if you are at my side or not. We all need to work together, use our collective voice, and cry out to fix adoption. Face the facts about adoption, then you must demand ethical reformation.

In fact, take a step right now.. and VOTE to Return Adult Adoptees the right to their Original Birth Certificates. Our Children need all the votes they can get from now until March 12th.

I originally wrote this as a long rambling rant on my blog called “It’s Not about You, But It Is” in Mach of 2007. I have edited a bit since then so it’s not as rambling, but I still find it to be one of my favorite pieces of writing and core to all that I do.
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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine,, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

62 Comments on "Adoption Facts Demand Infant Adoption Reformation"

  1. yeah Claud!

  2. I get it. It makes sense. It makes total sense to anyone that doesn’t have a vested interest in keeping adoption as is.
    Hmmm. who out there wouldn’t want to make things better?

    I wonder how many nasties are going to come out of the woodwork for this one.
    Good luck Claud.

  3. Who do you think will reform adoption those that already have adopted or those who are looking to adopt? I say neither as its all about them and their needs, the baby is secondary to what they want.

  4. Screw you, Anon. I’m an AP. I care…I care more than you will ever know. Amazing post, Claud. Where’s the sign-up sheet?

  5. i agreed with everything in this post except for the child protection bit. and even with that statement you did acknowledge corruption.

    I cant agree with that statement because my family is 3 generations affected by adoption thru child welfare/child protection.(my mother, myself, my daughter) they can and do use the same tactics as baby brokers only they have worse tactics. i think being a first mother by way of the child protection system puts me somehow at the bottom in the adoption reform movement. ive heard this same statement plenty of times, it’s a different issue. it’s like i’m on the bottom of the yucky adoption pool.

    to me however an adoption occurs, you need to look for the common threads. no matter which way it happened, we do experience similar issues. I for one, was pressured and coerced by social workers and falsely accused of abuse. i was never proven “unfit”. but yeah the rest of this blog is Right on!

  6. Oh give me a break. There ARE aparents who are willing–and actively trying–to reform adoption.

    If we don’t want people being ignorant and mean to us natural moms, let’s not be ignorant and mean to others, ourselves.

    • Third parties, secrecy, tabula Rosa, stigmas & dogmas, permanent solution for temporary problems. I hope we can change the mindset. Mentoring New kinds of family bonds that do not tear birth families apart or cause grief to child by separation from mother. This is a complex society, fitting in, becomes an unnatural process requiring more time, flexibility, by us all, the village that raises the children.

  7. I am so tired of writing YOU ROCK Claud…but man you really do…

    and ANON.. I am an AP and I am for Adoption reform…so keep your sorry comments to yourself…

  8. For the record, I was actually thinking of those involved in the adoption INDUSTRY having issues with reform.
    Honestly, I’m just tired of all the nastiness that happens in these comments. I guess I’m feeling a bit jaded.
    I’m sorry if I jumped the gun in my earlier post.

  9. Really, really fabulous post.

    The industry has a vested interest in keeping records closed and not reforming current practices.

    First of all–obviously–follow the money. Infant adoption is a billion-dollar business (going to exclude foster/adopt here).

    Secondly, if records for adult adoptees are opened, the adoption industry might have to be held accountable for past practices. Which will undoubtably cost money.

    One might logically connect the dots and say it’s not about the children, but about the money, but then we might be accused of being “anti-child” and “anti-family”. Sheesh.

    Loved it!

  10. I think Attila summed it up perfectly.
    And Bethco…oh, the industry…yeah, I would agree there, but even then..I have heard about some social workers that actaully see the issues ans agress. As far as for the big ones who make the profits and the NCFA who exists off those profits…hell no do I ever expect them to be one with

    And Erika,..I’m sorry. I do understand your fustration ..and yeah, there are alot of similarities..and I know HUGE corrupution in child welfare. I just have to start somewhere..and this is what I know..infant voluntary practices…so for me it is one battle at a time. I would hope that chnage and logic started here, will transfer over to other areas…someday, dreaming…

  11. Clapping loudly. Great post.

  12. Another AP here for adoption reform. Open those damn records already!


  13. Incredible post. Incredible.

    And I’m an adoptive parent who is all about wanting reform.

    BTW, I want to link this but am daft at doing so the “right” way; just so you know and credit where credit is due and all that.

  14. yeah, screw you too back to square one! Looks like you got “your” baby and oh how you want to reform adotption. Nice way for a “new” mom to talk by the way you are the type I am referring to in case you didn’t get a clue. but I think you did. go count some beans wtf

  15. debip,

    why don’t you keep your comments to yourself! I have just as much right if not more than you to comment on adoption.

    I don’t need another adopter telling me how self servingshe is and wants to reform after the fact that she got her’s.

    its called two faced. among other names

  16. “yeah, screw you too back to square one!…” etc etc.

    Totally and completely uncalled for.

    Anon, if you’re mad you lost your child, fine. I am too.

    But villainizing every single adoptive parent on the face of the earth is NOT going to help anything.

    It’s out and out prejudice to assume every AP is a horrible person who only cares about “getting” a baby.

    If you’re angry, fine…. it’s justifiable… but please don’t hurt the cause for reform by alienating our allies.

  17. I have to agree with Nic here. If we want reform to happen, not just talk about it, but really to make it happen..then we need to have the adoptive parents working WITH us.
    Moms and adoptees are too easily dismissed as angry or bitter, just having a “bad experince”, or needing some “help” to move on and accept things. The APs…can 1) talk to other APs and have them listen, 2)can demand better services formt he agencies, 3)have the power with the politicians…
    We still have too many moms who are with either forzen in shame or adoptees who are too confused with loyaloty to their Aps to speak out.
    I’m sorry, I’ll take all the help I can get. Heck, I WANT that help.
    If I can have a prespective parent say to an agnecy, hey…your webiste is misleading, and I don;t think I want to work with you ( IE you don’t get our money!) then, that works for me. If the APs can wrote into the legislation for open reocrds and say “hey I am an adoptive parent and I want my child to have their OBC” then that is great too.
    Thats WHAT this whole post is about. I DON’T CARE ANYMORE about what you DID. I care about what you will DO! And damning people for the past just not gonna fly for me. Can’t change the past.

    You don’t have to be with me on this, but I am not choosing. I want it all.

  18. I really think that adopters who actually DO support reform should put their money where they mouths are and begin by reuniting the family they (intentionally or unintentionally) dismembered. If you did it in ignorance, not realizing your part in coercion, then apologize and admit your error. Everyone makes mistakes. But raising a child that was obtained through coercion and exploitation of a vulnerable mother is immoral and unethical. It is like keeping “stolen goods.”

    Are you unsure about what coercion is? Check out the “coercion checklist” for some examples.

  19. Anonymous,
    What are YOU doing for reform? Spouting insults and bitterness I suppose is your right, but are you doing the work that Claud is talking about? AP’s as well as first mothers as well as adoptees have to be part of the change we want to see in the world. Adoption reform means changing sexism, poverty and erasing the big palace lie that adoption is all things beautiful. Being angry is a reflection of how hurt you are and you have every right to be angry. But anger is not a justification to be verbally abusive. I challenge you to look inside your heart and put down the black and white arguments and look at the shades of grey. It’s more painful to do that.
    Claud, I’ve read you for awhile but never commented here. Thank you for this powerful and beautifully written post. I am printing it for myself and putting it in my folder to always have a reminder of what is important. Thank you. Also, I’m was so happy seeing your happy face in the pictures with you and your son.

  20. I’m just going to chime in and say that I am really in support of ANY person who supports adoption reform, whatever position they are in, whatever has happened in the past….sheesh, even they were previously the most evil adoption agency worker you can imagine, if they read and learn and grow and discover that all that stuff of the past is horrible and they want to see it look different, than that is wonderful!!

    Anon-I too very much understand the overall feeling of betrayal….but many adoptive parents ARE listening.


  21. See the thing is…Syvia, I don’t want to have to “punish” (for lack of a better word) APs that DO get it and will really work on changing things, by saying..”Ok good! give the kids back!”

    Do I think, beleive, in my heart that many of us moms would just be thrilled for that! Sure! But, as much as I would like to see every family reunited…I just know that’s not going to happen. If some folks with closed adoption,s or less open decide to make more contact, real relationships then great, if adoptees and moms decide to search, even better, if adoptive parents learn to assisit and support the reuions and continued contact…wonderful!

    But of that is the outcome, the final “test” of how an AP really walks the walk..then it is setting not only myself up for disspointment, but the whole enchalada for failure. Plus, while I totally beleive that adoptees have the right to access their natural familes and that should be supported, and I totally respect any adoptee who decides to return to their original family legally as well as emotionally, that again, should be their decision.

    And I have to say, I have seen enough adoptees who are conflicted enough with loyalties..who do have good relationships and feel that the adoptive familes are part of their lives, that making that separation can almost be just as bad as what was done to us.

    The thing is…it is horrible being separated from those you love. And I do beleive that APs DO love the kids…so I am not into causing MORE pain, but making less, avoid it at all. I wouldn;t wish this pain on even my worst enemy. Well maybe temporarily on some so they can see what it is like just to sway them, but really…nah, not into it.

    Again, for what is done, it is done. Yeah, contact and find those moms of your kids if you can, don’t be afraid of her, do it for the kids, bulid the bridges for them…help the search and know all their families, but after that I am for realistic goals. And for reform to happen, their cannot be this clause that makes it a horrible place, a horribe reward when someone can accept the truth.

    An infant, yeah…definatly. I would like to think that if I adoted a newborn and THEN saw the truth, I might want to have nothing to do with the whole process…but man, even then..I would not want to be in that place!! For a disruption of abuse form APs, or their death, yes, I wish it would refer back to the families of origins. Even some of the very younger kids…hard call.
    And adults…let them decide. But on a massive scale, thats just shooting any real reform in the head.

  22. And just to be clear. I’m not anti-adoption. I’m not pro-adoption either. What I am is pro-adoption reform.

    Besides, some of us would not be able to find our children’s firstparents, those of us who adopted internationally, for example. And even if adoption reform in this country wouldn’t affect us on a personal level, we’re still interested in affecting change. Some of us still care.

    I like Claud’s and Nic’s open and accepting attitude. That I can work with. Yes, there absolutely needs to be reform, on a national level. On an international level. Definitely.

  23. To the anons: You don’t know my story so don’t pass judgement on something you have no clue about. If you have something productive to say, why are you hiding behind the name “anonymous”?

    Sylvia said…

    “I really think that adopters who actually DO support reform should put their money where they mouths are and begin by reuniting the family they (intentionally or unintentionally) dismembered.”

    I am one of the MANY people out there who have very open and very real relationships with their children’s natural family. Don’t lump all adoptive parents into one category. My daughter doesn’t need to be “reunited”. She’s been part of their family since before she was born. And she continues to be a very real party of their family.

    “If you did it in ignorance, not realizing your part in coercion, then apologize and admit your error. Everyone makes mistakes. But raising a child that was obtained through coercion and exploitation of a vulnerable mother is immoral and unethical. It is like keeping “stolen goods.”

    You don’t know my story. Your experience was not mine. My daughter wasn’t adopted through coercion or exploitation. That doesn’t mean that going through the process I didn’t see some *real need* for reform.


  24. Sylvia, this seems to be the exact discussion of past actions that Claud was speaking against.

    Rather than put a number of APs on the defensive with regard to their own adoptions, the specifics of which you know nothing about, can we please all find a way to move forward, together, towards reform?

    What can we all do, today, to help, regardless of our position on the adoption plane?

  25. brandi, I am talking about what they can do to move forward. They can take the future action of undoing the damage they did, if indeed they relied on coercion and exploitation to obtain a child.

    if they do this, then i can trust them. and only then.

    Jen co, if you have gone through the list of coercion tactics and can truly say that none of them were used on the natural mother of your child, if indeed she got to keep and raise her child past it’s birth, to nurture and breastfeed that child for several weeks until the hormonal and bodily changes of birth were past and any postpartum depression diagnosed and treated, if indeed the mother was assured of adequate non-poverty-level financial support and human rights protection as per Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, then you are indeed on the side of justice and are not the type of adoptive parent that I am referring to. I can then trust you. I would like to meet more like you then, as you would be the first one.

    But Claud and Brandi, i don’t see how you can enlist the support of anyone who has profited from exploitation. They have a vested interest in seeing exploitation continue and there is a very hurting mother out there who was robbed of her child.

    Nevermind that if an adopter was truly concerned about lies and justice, they would not have adopted and thus obtained a falsified birth record obliterating the natural mother, but would have performed a permanent legal guardianship that would not have involved falsifying documents to say that they had given birth. It is a crime to falsify government documents in all other instances — so why is adoption exempt?

  26. “Jen co, if you have gone through the list of coercion tactics and can truly say that none of them were used on the natural mother of your child, if indeed she got to keep and raise her child past it’s birth, to nurture and breastfeed that child for several weeks until the hormonal and bodily changes of birth were past and any postpartum depression diagnosed and treated, if indeed the mother was assured of adequate non-poverty-level financial support and human rights protection as per Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, then you are indeed on the side of justice and are not the type of adoptive parent that I am referring to. I can then trust you. I would like to meet more like you then, as you would be the first one.”

    You’re right. I’m evil. Nothing I can tell you about my story will make you see otherwise. @@@ I’m sure nothing my daughter’s natural mother and family would tell you would change your mind either. Again, you don’t know my story…but that doesn’t seem to matter to you.

    “But Claud and Brandi, i don’t see how you can enlist the support of anyone who has profited from exploitation. They have a vested interest in seeing exploitation continue and there is a very hurting mother out there who was robbed of her child.”

    Yep, that’s why we’re all here. We want the exploitation to continue. That’s why us evil adopters have very close relationships with our kids natural families. Because we want to see them screwed over even further.

    “Nevermind that if an adopter was truly concerned about lies and justice, they would not have adopted and thus obtained a falsified birth record obliterating the natural mother, but would have performed a permanent legal guardianship that would not have involved falsifying documents to say that they had given birth.”

    Not so. I am truly concerned about lies and justice…yet I did adopt.

    It is a crime to falsify government documents in all other instances — so why is adoption exempt?”

    Good question. That’s why I’m here. Open records and legally enforceable open adoption contracts, among other issues that need reform. But don’t pay any attention to me. Your mind is already made up regardless of what I tell you.

    I went into the adoption process being somewhat naive but completely unaware of the issues being discussed here. Throughout the process I found many things that concerned me, which was why I started doing research. My personal experience led me to believe that there is a need for reform. If that makes me suck, then so be it.


  27. I really think that adopters who actually DO support reform should put their money where they mouths are and begin by reuniting the family they (intentionally or unintentionally) dismembered. If you did it in ignorance, not realizing your part in coercion, then apologize and admit your error. Everyone makes mistakes. But raising a child that was obtained through coercion and exploitation of a vulnerable mother is immoral and unethical. It is like keeping “stolen goods.”

    My daughter isn’t an object to be bounced around from place to place just to benefit the adults.

    If her aparents came to me today and said, “It’s just NOT RIGHT that you don’t have your daughter, it’s so completely wrong that we want to give her back to you,” I’m honestly not sure what I’d say.

    The selfish part of me would accept. My heart would be leaping for joy.

    But I suspect ultimately, I wouldn’t go through with it.

    She’s almost six years old. How would removing her YET AGAIN from a family she knows and loves, really solve anything?

    Would that be fair to her?

    I don’t know.

    But I know that once upon a time, I made a decision to sever her from one family (mine), partially because I was pressured and had no choice, yes, but partially also because I was selfish, and I wanted to get married without the added complication of already having a kid… I wanted to finish school without doing midnight feedings around my term papers… and so on.

    Once upon a time, I had some damn selfish motivations in splitting my daughter off from her family.

    I really don’t think I could live with myself if I did the same thing all over again… even with the APs blessing.

    I’m not daft. I’d probably ask for a shared custody arrangement… or at least look into that. No, I wouldn’t turn down the offer completely.

    But to expect APs to hand over their kids, years later, and use THAT as the litmus test of their devotion to reform, seems woefully misguided to me, when not even I am sure I’d want that to happen to my daughter.

    Legal guardianship? It doesn’t bestow all the same rights on the ADOPTEE/CHILD as adoption does. Guardianship has problems, too. Have you considered that maybe some APs actually weigh the cost of adoption (closed records, falsified birth certs) and honestly come to the conclusion that the cost of guardianship is WORSE? It’s possible.

    These black and white judgments just don’t work in a gray world.

    I miss my daughter. I want her back. I wish I’d never relinquished.

    But there is no undoing that now, and focusing on a pipe dream of getting her back isn’t productive now–not for my growth and journey, and not for the cause of adoption reform.

  28. Sylvia – I would give anything to have my daughter’s mother’s name on her birth certificate. Having my name there is moronic. But see, I didn’t have a choice.

    Claud, I love this post. I think your approach is brilliant.

  29. For what it’s worth, I hate the changed birth certificates. Hate them. But it’s all we have. We can try to get that changed; I would love to. I think it’s assinine to have a certificate that says that my son was born to me; he wasn’t. I think it disrespects him and his mother. In a way, it disrespects me and his father too, because it basically makes us out to be morons who buy into this “he’s ours now; we even gave birth to him” nonsense.

    I meant for this to be short but got into a rant; my bad. Anyways, reform is desperately needed, but I so agree with Nicole. At 5 1/2, my son’s world would be devastated if he were to be removed from us and taken to another family.

    This post is all about the triad working together, not going after each other for past “sins.” That’s what I so love about what Claud has written. It doesn’t matter anymore as long as we can work together from here on out. And we can. Put all parts of the triad together as one force and that is POWERFUL.

  30. Well, I guess I was told by a totally anonymous person!! PLEASE!! Hmmmm I have the balls to say who I am and what I believe in…please don’t assume you know every nuance of my sons adoption even if you choose to read my blog. It is not all there somethings are not for public broadcasting and I have the respect of my sons first mom to protect here and her life as well…one can be and ADOPTER and believe in reform and want reform….

    like Jen CO said is you have something productive to say …OWN IT and put your name to it…I am up for learning and making a difference what are you up for? Never mind I am sure you won’t own it.

  31. “You took the words right out of my mouth” quoted from a Meatloaf song. I have linked this post to my blog. We have got to stop arguing so hatefully amongst each other. We must change adoption. The only way I know how to do it is to my money where my mouth is. I write my legislators, I write newspapers, and I write on my blog. If I could get to Austin or Indianapolis I would shake down the house.

  32. Mom2one, you said “Put all parts of the triad together as one force and that is POWERFUL.”

    the problem is that teh “triad” is a complete and utter MYTH. Adoption is NOT a “triad”. It is a four-party transaction! There are brokers and customers on one side, and mothers and babies on the other side. (Ignoring those mothers like some who seem to have willingly and joyfully gave away their infants.) The fact is that on one side is the broker held the power to take the baby from its mother and the customer who had the financial and social power to buy that baby. One the other side are the mother and baby, BOTH without any power to remain and without ANY options. Vulnerable, exploited, and with NO choice what-so-ever. And a coerced choice is NOT a “choice” at all.

    There is no triad, and there is NO way for adopters, adoptees and natural mothers to work together.

    Sorry, Claud, but adopters have our children and had the power to buy our children and paid their agents to dismember our families.

    It is very sad. Other groups have tried to get adopters involved to work on reform. In 40 years of trying, it has NEVER worked, because adopters as a WELL-MONEYED LOBBY have the NCFA which they and their agencies (with their adoption fees) support and pay, along with other lobbyists in Washington. The adopters have the NCFA. That is a fact. And if 1% of them give lip service to reform, the other 99% of them are still funding the NCFA.

    Will adopters form their own open records and adoption reform groups and put their money there instead of funding the NCFA, “Choose Life” license plates, “Safe Haven” acts, pro-adoption crisis pregnancy clinics, etc. Will they form organizations to fight exploitation, coercion, and records fraud? I’m interested in seeing the answer to this. I have not seen any form so far. Meanwhile, adoptees and natural parents have led the fight. To reform adoption is NOT a priority for those who hold all the power and all the cards.

    p.s. Ask adopters who got their babies during the Baby Scoop Era if they support reform. Those I see here have adopted recently, not 30, 40 or 50 years ago.

  33. Or we could just throw our hands in the air and give up before we even start. Yeah. Because all kinds of change is affected that way.

    As for me, I’d rather try to promote change, no matter what the naysayers say. Triad or not, it’s a matter of semantics. Try “those of us affected by adoption” if it’s more pleasing to you. Whatever works. Never mind those in the Baby Scoop Era. We can work with adoptive parents who have adopted recently.

    And it does seem like your mind is made up so it doesn’t make much sense for me to try to change it. All due respect, but I prefer to hope for the best.

  34. Reform has to start somewhere. I don’t know where that “aha” moment began for anyone else, but I KNOW when it began for ME. I can only speak for MYSELF. My daughter is only 5 years old…and that is how long I have been researching.

    I’ve been reading alot of adoption blogs lately that have brought alot of “issues” in my mind to the forefront. Some I agree with, others I don’t. But I like the fact that everyone has a “voice”. It inspires others to dig deeper, think deeper. It makes us all do a gut check and think, “Could this have been handled better? Could *I* have handled this better?”. Some people will automatically think, “Nah….” and give the subject no further thought. For me, I’ve thought about it and been haunted by it every day since my daughter was born. I think that is where passion is born. Where you can look at yourself in a situation and still have that “aha” moment that YOU are not the only one in this situation. Maybe it’s empathy. Maybe it’s humanity. Maybe it’s just passion. Who knows? Whatever it is, it’s lit a fire beneath us to want to reach out and CHANGE THINGS! How can that be bad?

  35. Please please read some of our stories at Mothers Exploited By Adoption and the pain and loss and feelings of violation and helplessness. This is why many of us feel that adoption cannot be reformed and that those who took our babies will never join our side, because there is nothing in common, no equality of power, no fairness, just those of us who lost our babies against our will, and those who got our babies.

    It took me several years after the loss of my son to realize that it had been a form of rape and that I had had no choice. That the love I felt for him after his birth did NOT go away and that i was NOT “getting over it.” Twenty-seven years later I still wake up in the middle of the night screaming from nightmares most of which are the loss of him or mothers losing their infants. Do adopters suffer like this from adopting? Do they have to spend hundreds of dollars on antidepressants to try not to commit suicide from the pain and grief? when 24 years of therapy does NOT do a damn thing for the pain. 🙠And frankly, NO adopter cares!

    “Adoption is a violent act, a political act of aggression towards a woman who has supposedly offended the sexual mores by committing the unforgivable act of not suppressing her sexuality, and therefore not keeping it for trading purposes through traditional marriage. The crime is a grave one, for she threatens the very fabric of our society. The penalty is severe. She is stripped of her child by a variety of subtle and not so subtle manoeuvres and then brutally abandoned.” – Joss Shawyer, Death by Adoption, Cicada Press (1979)

  36. Look, I am not disagreeing at all that bad things have happened. That to me is part and parcal of the truth. Thats the personal experiences on BEBA are REAL, that there was and IS coercion, that there are sides with money and power who seek to profit from sealed records to hide their secrets, and transfering the babies, etc…Those are facts. How I was stripped of my motherhood by mistruths and wrongful enabling, how you could were tied down and given no choice at all…FACTS.
    And was happened in the past DOES matter, as it shows us the mistales and the things that must STOP happening.
    But to me, my social worker is NOT here. The parents of my sone are NOT here ( and even if they were..I don’t blame them..they could have been anyone really..if not that couple, then there would have been another), the director of the agency that orchastrated the policies that let me throw it all away is NOT here..she’s dead actually. My mother is NOT here, she’s dead too.
    Who do i have to fight? The industry..and with the money and the poswer they have..heck, I will take what i can on my side.
    The way I see it..most of the adoptive parents who have small children how and are able to see the truths..are of my age group. They have grown up much like I have,in the same world. They have seen the same world I have, they have expeirenced many of the same things..and I assumed some same values. They are not responsible for MY pain, my life, my son’s loss…so why am I going to hate on them?
    Can they be guilty of wanting a cild, sure..if that IS something to be judged for. Can they be responsible for not knowing, trusting the professionals, doing what they thought was the right way? Sure…but SO AM I. If I want them to buy into the fact that I had really no choice and did what I thought I shoud do rather than making an informed choice and WANTING to have this life, then I have to extend the same thing. If I want them to understand that that I am not miserable, nor bitter nor filled ith rage, then I have to extend to them that they are not miserable baby stealers too. It is called getting beyond the sterotypes and trying to find what we do agree with and work form there.
    Yeah, it hasn’t happened before. And maybe it won’t happen again.
    But kids use to be blank slates, and APs were just told to love them ..that was accepted. People don’t see it the same way anymore. People treat kids differntly, they view adoption differntly, we view the world differently. Maybe things can change.
    It’s worth trying to me. Its worth it when I read of an adoptive parent who wants to know what to tell a person what they should be thinking of to parent..rather then..ooooh another baby for me! It’s worth it when I am asked for recourses, or what reading should be passed on, or who to write to.
    SO yeah, maybe the older parents of older BSE adoptees are NOT going to want to join in here, but hey…they all get older and they will DIE eventally! I still plan on being here. Fighting for changes and truth.
    And if this time it doesn’t work..well more ground work for the next fool, more mistakes for them to learn form.

  37. The fact is some of us APs do care. If we didn’t care we wouldn’t be reading Claud’s blog, or any natural mom’s or adoptees blogs, or supporting the efforts of those organizations working on reform (why should we start our own group when we can support groups already in place?), or writing to our Congresspeople on various issues, or posting on SofA, or discussing ethics issues on their own blogs like Dawn and Margie…we would be at the “Adoption is All Joy All the Time” blogs and sites of which there are plenty.

    We don’t have to hear your truth as mothers, we don’t have to listen to the truths of adoptees..those of us that listen, those of us that actively seek those truths do so because we give a shit. We could very easily surround ourselves with only those voices praising adoption and calling us saints for saving these children from the horrors of crack whore birthmothers or whatever bullshit stereotype fits….plenty of APs do so.

    Perhaps we don’t do everything exactly the way you’d like us to, we have our own truths, however you cannot say that no APs care, because that is demonstrably false as evidence by our mere presence here on Claud’s comments.

  38. Whew! I am all about co-parenting situautions.

    I don’t know about legally, but as far as really and trully sharing in the parenting and all being very involved and spending a lot of time together and being there for the child…heck yeah!

    I am lucky, that the couple who adopted my daughter are kind of like that. Although unfortunately I think it’s to some degree because they got divorced and feel guilty…but whatever…

    Adoptive parents really do have th emost power to make change. And all the change that Claud and Nic and everybody else writes about is a common goal among all people who want to see adoption reform.

    You know, even if there were people who wanted to adopt and just kind of wanted to get a baby and not deal with any of it…I would be willing to bet that even in most of THOSE cases if they could be offered a situation where they KNEW that the woman placing the child had been offered all kind of help to parent her child, that she had been offered strengths based counseling, going over all the positives that she has to offer her child and looking to find solutions to problems that she was concerned about….

    I think it would be a relief! No one wants to adopt a child thinking they really are giving a home to a child without one, and then find out that the original mother of the child actually wanted to parent and that she placed believing that she wasn’t good enough just because she was a single parent and had a very low income situation.

    I don’t think ANYONE wants to participate in an unethical adoption that is exploitive of bioparents. But even MORE than that, there really are adoptive parents who are listening to EVERYTHING…..

    And their compassionate spirits…are so important if anything is ever going to change….

  39. Claud, I think you’re awsome! I just loved what you said about the truth and the truth growing. That truth is the only way we’re going to create a better world for our children and also to gain enough understanding to live in the here and now in a way that we can live with ourselves and also be there for everybody else.

    I commend you and everybody else on these blogs for speaking the truth.

    I can’t believe people spend so long running from it… The truth is painfully beautiful, because it’s REALITY… who the hell wants to live in some bubble world. Denial’s not fun. It’s scary and aggressive and ignorant and pointless.

    Best wishes for your reunion with your son.

  40. But isn’t this the bottom line, Claud, in your own words?

    “Do you want to have a universe, a climate in this counrty where the governement spends money on known progams that fail…?”

    Adoption fails… it has failed. There is no “reforming” what has failed from the beginning to today.

    And adoption isn’t broken because it never worked to begin with except for the adoption industry and the people who adopt.

    It has FAILED and miserably. And what has failed and doesn’t work needs to be replaced with what can work. What can work is for all adoption social workers to FULLY support ALL mothers whether married or not, whether financially stress or not, whether young or not. Then there would be almost no mothers needing to surrender their child!

    Of course, realisically we know that there will always be some. In that case the adoption workers should turn to “kinship care” which is their social duty, which by the way, they too often do NOT turn to (the Stephanie Bennett case is a prime, recent example).

    And when those two options are not doable, we have legal guardianship whereby the child is raised by unrelated people who are first very carefully screened and deemed worthy to be a legal guardian to a child whose original name (and birth certificate) is NOT changed and who forever has full access to all natural family information and to all natural family members.

    And the money the government uses to reward adopters, which is OUR tax dollars, should be used for the above three humane alternatives to the failed, man-made, social experiment called adoption.


  41. Incredible………

  42. “Maybe things can change.
    It’s worth trying to me.”

    Thanks, Claud. And thanks, many natural mothers here, including Nicole, who get that many are trying to get it and do something about it.

  43. Anonymous | April 3, 2007 at 7:22 pm |

    good grief. i’m an adoptee, and completely blown away. what an absolutely amazing post. bravo:))))


  44. Anonymous | April 6, 2007 at 5:37 pm |

    Wonderful post Karen WB I feel the exact same way as you do. Adoption is a failed social experiment, and it has nothing to do with children, nor has it ever.

    Only in a real case of child abuse should a child ever not be raised with their own parents. If that is the case the child should have the right to be raised with relatives, failing that in a legal MONITORED guardianship where the guardian is actually monitored to see how they are treating the child. Not the adopters are saints crap and bull spewed by adopters and brokers.

    Think adoption is wonderful? Go to the website Adopters Who Abuse and Kill?

    Adoption is business, it is about selling babies and children? How to improve it? Abolish it!

  45. An adoptee has two mothers and two fathers. As a child I are taught to play nice or I couldn’t play. A lesson that stood me well. Why can’t the adoptees and the two mothers and two fathers play nice together when all agree change needs to happen and happen now.

    Why does it always have to come down to personal stories and slams and digs – Claud asked everyone to forget what was done before
    in the post we ALL just read.

    Lets just join forces once and for all – take away the BEFORE and focus on the FUTURE – make it a better world than what we live in.

    Really it is that simple…stop throwing the past up and creating more wars. Reconcilliation works, just read Mandella’s words if you don’t believe me.

    We all need to ask role can I play? And am I living up to that role and making a difference?

  46. I absolutely loved this post (came over from Kelsey’s blog). It gives me courage to post the misgivings I’ve had recently about being a hopeful adoptive parent. You’ve hit on everything I’ve been thinking about lately, and I love how you said it all. I couldn’t stop reading. I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to share this post. Thank you for re-posting this.

  47. So honored to have known you when you first wrote this article and that we’ve walked this journey of adoption issues together for a long time! Love you!

  48. Excellent post!

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  49. Great post, Claud. We simply have to get beyond the name-calling and move forward together. As an older adoptee, I bear no ill will toward my adoptive parents, who loved me and simply treated the adoption subject the way they were told to, or my original mother, who likewise did as she was told by the adoption “experts.” I reserve my anger for the industry that refuses to change in spite of all the evidence and testimonies. The system must change, and it won’t unless we can all come together and demand it.

  50. a wonderfully written post. it’s too bad that money has more power and influence than what’s right.

  51. Hi, Claud. What’s with the discrepancy in dates here? I get that it’s not a new piece, although the publication date is shown as March 2012. The majority of the responses go way back to well before that – most, including mine, to almost six years ago when the post was first published, which is confusing. Not that I have dramatically changed my own opinions, but the old comments represent where people were coming from then and may not reflect with accuracy what they think now. As you have often said yourself, opinions evolve over time.
    The dates do matter. Perhaps it would help if you pointed out and explained the discrepancy.

    • Hey Kippa.. you mean like I do in the bottom of the post?

      “I originally wrote this as a long rambling rant on my blog called “It’s Not about You, But It Is†in Mach of 2007. I have edited a bit since then so it’s not as rambling, but I still find it to be one of my favorite pieces of writing and core to all that I do.”

  52. Eileen Burke | January 24, 2013 at 2:14 pm |

    Great post. I have to say that I do get extremely frustrated from all sides at times. I get sick of hearing personal stories of wonderful adoptions from all sides. I think that is great that some people have great adoption tales. BUT I don’t understand why these same people wouldn’t want to make sure that EVERYONE’s adoptions are wonderful.

    It’s the same thing when I hear how great someone’s open adoption is. Okay, your experience has been fantastic, but shouldn’t that be the norm and not the exception? Actually shouldn’t there be NO exceptions? I especially hate to hear comments from other first moms about their great open adoptions. Not that I hate that they are involved in an open adoption that is working out, I just hate that because their experience is fine is must mean everyone’s experience is so. How can someone promote open adoption when it is so incredibly corrupt and the only reason it is working out for them is pure luck? They rolled the dice and they won, but it should not be a roll of the dice.

    We should all be working together for the norm to be ethical, moral, truthful, and transparent adoptions.

  53. “Adoption Facts Demand Infant Adoption Reformation |†was extremely entertaining and insightful!
    In todays world that is difficult to do. Thank you, Charles

  54. This is a great post! I am going to print it out for myself to save. And everything Eileen Burke said is right on too. I like hearing personal stories of others who have great open adoptions, but wish they would realize they are not the norm and they could be advocating for change. Some do, but more should be.

  55. I think change is happening. It is possible and it is up to us as adoptive parents to change it. I’ve adopted twice once through foster care (true need, distant relative) sad situation but it was needed.

    2nd situation was a private family of a friend situation. It was in this adoption that I had an opportunity to change how it was done and tell other AP’s who didn’t know about birth parent loss & grief, adoptee loss & disadvantage. Adoptive parent struggle with moral and emotional issues. In a truly open adoption like we have it’s not easy to be an adoptive parent, nor first parent, but I can tell you we do it for our daughter. It’s whats in her best interests according to both of her mothers so that’s that 🙂

    But it was my chance to “put my money where my mouth was” but it wasn’t in the rude way Anon was suggesting. My adoptions were both done in a way that I feel I can live with, my daughters can live with and so can their first parents.

    Our DD’s (#2) first Mom had all options open to her. Support for parenting, a safe place to do it and plenty of educational reading material (tons of birth mother, adoptee & adoptive parent blogs, forums, books etc etc) to make a decision with at least as much information on the subject as I could possibly give her. She then still choose adoption; so we gave her information on a loss support group to give her a jump start on her support network.

    But we did change how our adoption was handled, our first mom wasn’t pushed in to giving up her child (in fact encouraged to keep it with offers of help by us & others) we did seek counseling and we spent a great deal of time telling her what to expect in terms of loss. We got both children’s original birth certificates so they’ll always have the original paper trail. Both of our children’s families of origins are extended families to ours. We will be forever connected by our shared children. There is no such word in my book as reunion and there will be no need for my kids to wonder where they came from or why they weren’t loved enough. They will have two amazing mothers in their lives to make sure that they are fully aware of the extreme amount of love that both sets of parents have for them.

    We’ve shared this information with tons of other perspective adoptive parents as a part of our process and seeing the great need for change. So I know we did help change how it’s done. Perhaps only 1 adoption (ours) but it’s 1.

    We do need serious reforms, at all levels. Agencies are the #1 suspect in my book, the old world government is #2 (sealing anything is lying and lying is bad right…), the adoption home study & education process is #3 and I could go on for days. We need to educate our young first mothers in the truth of this process in a fair and unbiased view to not influence them either way. Just part of MHO as an AP after all. No real value to some I suppose & I guess in Anon’s eye’s we’ll all forever be evil baby snatchers.

    • I find your opinion to have tremendous value! And I am really so appreciative of you taking the time to share it! IMO, what you have done is how adoptions MUST be like. The fact is that while we pound our fists and yell real loud, there will be times when adoption will still happen and has been happening. IF that can be done within the realm of what you have described, then I DO really think that ALL will be better off in the long run. .. especially the children. Oh we cannot ever be certain that ALL the loss will be mitigated, but we HAVE to get better at it than what we are doing now.

      My hat is off to you for your efforts. And as I say in this post, I don’t care how you got here.. just glad we are finding where we agree and can change things. YOU, in my eyes, are a role model of what can be done and why it is worth it. If you would ever like to share that more, please let me know. I believe in highlighting ALL our efforts and having other PAPS see it CAN be done is vital!! Not a evil baby snatcher, but a role model.

  56. ’m also on the path to be an adoptive mother. I agree that adoption of the past was not good for everyone all the time (but that’s as far as I’d take that statement). During my process of looking into adoption, I just assumed I would have a closed adoption – that I would have the CHOICE of a closed adoption. I’ve been really surprised to find that I don’t even seem to have that option. (When I say closed, I don’t mean closed for all eternity with no possibility of my future child to ever be able to contact his birth parents. I say closed as in no contact until 18, and only if he wants.) Now in 2015, every agency I’ve spoken to insists that I be open to contact with birth parents: sending them pictures at least yearly, if not more, if not giving them my full identifying information and maybe even hopefully offering to provide face to face visits post-placement. As an adoptee, this prospect terrifies me. As a teenager, I discovered my grandmother had kept in contact with my birth father’s parents and she took it upon herself to send them photos of me, letters about me, videos of me, and she even had them over to her house while I was there (I made cookies for them, and ultimately got them sick because I was sick and they were all over me – I didn’t know who they were until years later). When I found that out, the level of complete betrayal I felt from a woman who I trusted implicitly was so unbearable that for the next half of my life, I would struggle to even be in the same room as her. Because of my grandmother’s constant contact with my birth family, I got a call from them on my 18th birthday. I was mortified and even further hurt. As an adoptee, I’ve never had any interest in my birth family. I realize that isn’t the case for many (or even most) of adoptees. But, for me, I just didn’t want that (whatever that is) in my life. So, the prospect of being forced to send photos of my child to someone who relinquished rights just makes me so sad. Not particularly for me, but for my child. I never, ever want to be to my child what my grandmother has become to me. I never want my child to feel betrayed. Instead, I’m really hopeful to arrange a situation where it is my child’s choice. We will always talk to him and be open with him about his adoption, but I want him to decide (even if he’s 3) whether or not he wants to send pictures to his birth family. As an (apparently atypical) adoptee, that is important to me.

  57. Adoption can go VERY wrong. Most agencies put adoptive parents through an intensive background check and vetting process, but not always. Remember that it takes a few months to finalize an adoption, and there is no follow-up afterward. The agencies and court system assume the child rides off into the sunset to a happy life with its new adoptive parents. Some adopters successfully hide all sorts of ugly things from agencies and social workers, and it IS possible to adopt directly in some states if you search out a birthmother and get her to agree to relinquish her baby to you, or find a lawyer or friend-of-a-friend who knows a girl who is pregnant….. These people don’t always go through a required home study, or get the most basic “home study” done by social services.

    My adopters fell into that category. They were completely, totally and absolutely unfit to parent. They did a private adoption that was arranged with my grandmother, who was eager to get rid of the unwed baby as fast and quiet as possible. The adopters claimed they didn’t go through an agency because they couldn’t afford it. I am convinced, knowing what I do now about their medical and social backgrounds, that they were rejected as unfit or potentially so by these agencies. I endured years of physical and emotional abuse and mental cruelty in this family that was rife with alcohol abuse, drug abuse and mental illness.

    Lots of birthmoms are attracted by this type of adoption because they think they’ll have more control, or are promised all sorts of things by the adoptive parents. My adoption was supposed to be open, with photo exchanges, letters and visits at will, although she had to promise she wouldn’t reveal her identity to me until after I turned 18. Those promises were broken the moment she signed the relinquishment papers. She never got to see me, never got a photo or letter, and I was told lie after lie. I found her in spite of, not because of, the adopters.

    Some people insist I wouldn’t have wanted to search if I’d had a happy adoptive home, but that’s completely false. I would have wanted to know regardless.

    Adoption can go very wrong, and is not always the perfect solution the industry and social services insist it is.

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