Sunday, June 17, 2007

Wake up, Little Sandra

Sandra' Hanks Benoiton's most recent blog, "The low road to Paris (Hilton) 06/17/07" at International Adoptionblogs.com was pointed out to me. It indicates that she has discovered that we are alive and well here having sane sensible discussions about family preservation and defending ourselves against a series untrue, totally unwarranted, and unprovoked attacks against all adoption reforms, reformers, and adoptee rights.

Welcome. Please feel free to join us with a comment - or a guest blog - as long as you abide by the rules of decency and decorum. This is a place for meaningful discussions with respect. Personal attacks are not tolerated here and I reserve the right to delete portions of any comment that are inflammatory. I also reserve the right to block anyone who persists in flaming.

Half way through Sandra's latest post the tone and writing style change. I hope that we could continue a discussion in a rational, calm way – without personal attacks.

I would first like to point out that Sandra neglected to mention a very important part of my post to which she commented, so I will repeat it:

“I have spent 30 years of my life working with adoption issues. I have lived amongst mothers who relinquished, adoptees, and adoptive parents all of whom shared an intense desire to make adoption be more honest, open and humane. Bright, intelligent caring people, every one, respected and respectful.

“In hindsight, I guess I was sheltered, insulted from this anger and hate, for one, because I met all of the adoptive parents face-to-face not through the anonymity of the Internet. That is why nothing could have prepared me for the viciousness that I have read pouring out on these pages on Adoption.com over the past days!”

My point is that, thankfully, I know better that to generalize the meanness expressed by Sandra and some of her friends to anyone other than a small group of angry women. I do not lump all adoptive mothers together and blame the all for the things said by a few. I don't know Sandra and never said one negative word about her, or any other adoptive mother, in fact. I did what every other journalist in the world did and criticized Angelina Jolie’s adoption practices.

To state that adoption practices are racist and classist is no more a condemnation of any individual adoptive parents, than to state that the American school system is racist and classist is a condemnation of any individual school teacher or parent who send their child to public school!

FACT: A system that prices children based on the color of their skin is a racist system.
(Read: "Wake up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race Before Roe v Wade" by Solinger; read "The Baby Brokers: The Marketing of White Babies in America" by Lynn McTaggart)

FACT: Jolie adopted from a woman who was later charged with fraud.

FACT: Two of Jolie’s adopted babies – Maddox and Zahara - had living mothers. The truth was kept from her fraudulently, and when she found out, like Madonna (who also has been criticized by the world press), she refused to return the child.

That they did what they did and that they are criticized for it are facts, neither created by me or any anti-adoption conspiracy.

FACT: Most adoptees - domestic and international - feel unfairly and unjustly deprived of their original birth identity by adoption.

FACT: Some internationally adoptees are very angry and very much anti-adoption, especially international adoptions, and call it worse than cultural genocide.

FACT: Some who have adopted internationally have very strong opinions against many of the practices involved in IA

FACT: Government and non-profit watchdog agencies are well aware of the trafficking for adoption, have decried it and are working to change it.

Is UNICEF anti-adoption?

Is is also fact that Adoption.com is money making venture. If the jobs of some who work there are in jeopardy, it is not because if complaints, is is because of what they did that caused those complaints. (Even Paris Hilton has stopped playing victim.)

These facts may be unpleasant. It is difficult and painful to read the anger of some international adoptees. But they are facts and they are the true feeling so those who lived in their shoes. We can ignore them. Chalk them up to a few malcontent extremists...or, we could consider if there is not some amount of those feelings in every child who is transported from their homeland, though they may be too respectful to say so?

Does stating these facts point a finger of blame on all who adopt? Not at all. It does not implicate any who adopted with the full knowledge and assurance that the child they were taking into their care was legally and ethically relinquished or orphaned by both parents who were fully informed of their options and rights, and that all this was being handled by a reputable agency. Because you see, I am PRO the permanent care of children - such as the 130,00 here in US foster care - who have no families they can ever be returned to because their rights were severed by the courts...a position of mine (and the most ardent so-called or self-proclaimed anti-adoptionist), and one those who have read my work would be aware of.

Many adopters, either because they lose money through an unethical adoption practitioner here or abroad – or, because they become aware that these things exist -- work to REFORM unethical adoption practices and put an end to the corruption in adoption. Kelly Kiser-Mostrom, author of “The Cruelest Con” is a prime example. I could name many more including other adoptive parents, who Sandra has bashed because they too want to weed out the criminals and make adoption truly be in the best interest of these it is intended to serve....and then accuse me of bashing adoptive parents!

To openly say that aspects of adoption are bad and these aspects need to be weeded out and ended is no more anti-adoption that to be against the war in Iraq and to against some U.S. policies is to be anti-American. It is no different than a Catholic being repulsed and ashamed of those who wear the robe of priest in their faith and violate their vows and irrevocably harm innocent children. To be silent in the face of such abuse is far more shameful than to be a whistle blower to stop crimes against children and other innocent victims.

That is what I do. That is my job, my life. To point out the wrongs in adoption and make it safe for those who need to find suitable safe alternative, permanent family care.

Those who so vehemently defile that which they label “anti-adoption”.... does that make you, Pro-adoption? Adoption.com and its advertisers are decidedly pro-adoption. So, if I clump you all together, and paint you with one broad brush to ridiculous extremes as you do us, does that then mean that you see nothing wrong with adoption and everyone who can afford to pay to secure a child is entitled to that child, no matter what? Does that mean that you support adoptive parents who abuse and kill the children they are entrusted with?

I have never made such absurd assumptions. I judge individual actions, not people, and speak out against those I find to be in conflict with the best interest of children. Let's try to start over from a position of believing one another's sincerity, if that is possible. Attacking motives and sincerity will not fly here.

So, Sandra...do you have any interest in ridding adoption of its worst element and making it safe for all the parties to it?

If not, why not ... and if so, why are you being so argumentative and attacking of those of us who do?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, Benoiton is not satisfied to trash a book she hasn't read on her site, now she's coming after you on yours. I guess that "Boycott Adoption.com" movement is gaining some steam and her number of hits has dropped.

Margaret said...

This reminds me of an exchange I had with an argumentative colleague some years ago. I suggested that we take the disagreement off-list and she was not interested in even disagreeing with me once deprived of her audience. I'm so glad you have moved this discussion from Adoption.com. I doubt I will ever log onto that site again -- I can't see my curiosity supporting adoption profiteers.

Mirah Riben said...

Margaret,

Whoever you are are, whatever your connection to adoption (or not), whatever your opinion of adoption... you are welcome here, as are all, who care to discuss issues in an intelligent, meaningful way.

I also commend you on joining many of us in boycotting adoption.com

Jackiejdajda said...

You wrote..

“ Because you see, I am PRO the permanent care of children - such as the 130,00 here in US foster care - who have no families they can ever be returned to because their rights were severed by the courts...a position of mine (and the most ardent so-called or self-proclaimed anti-adoptionist), and one those who have read my work would be aware of.”

Does this mean you are in favor of some kind of permanent foster care?

Like what is happening in Australia?

I see you skirt around the word adoption. Is there a reason for this?

I am a birthmom.. Do you allow me to use that term here?

I relinquished in 1965.

Jackie

Mirah Riben said...

Welcome Jackie,

You have the right to use any word you wish here. I do skirt it because I do not support adoption as it is currently practiced in this country today. I cannot support a system based on lies. Even so-called open adoption begins with a falsified birth certificate and does not guarantee enforcement of any open contact "promises."

I support would be far more in line with Australia police. As you may know, Evelyn Robinson of Australia wrote the forward to me book, The Stork Market. You can read that foreword at

www.AdvocatePublications.com

Jackiejdajda said...

Hello Mirah

Thank you for allowing me to post on your blog..

I did not have a bad experience when I relinquished.. I was treated fairly..
This on terms of what was known about giving a baby up in the sixties. And yes I have read Wake Up Little Susie..

I approached the agency and they helped me.. I took care of myself till the delivery and I took no money except for hospital care.

I worry about the sweeping (negative) generalizations written and said about adoption in this day and age..

I know women that have given their babies up for adoption because they did not/do not want to raise a child.. Yes they grieve but.. they did not want to parent..
No coercion.. No bad adoption agency looking for vulnerable pregnant women..

I also believe that there are many many adoptive parents out there that are wanting to make sure infant adoption in the US is above board and not riff with coercion..
Of course I am against rushed signing and money given before the birth..

I recently read a news story about the Australian policy of a child being put into permanent foster care rather than being relinquished and taken into a permanent adoptive home..
The news story said that Australia is running out of foster care providers..This because the government is not willing to support foster care providers when they do not have children in the home.. The policy is that the foster care provider has to get a job in between taking in a child in need of a home..

I think of the US and all the problems in that country.. Lack of medical insurance etc..
I wonder if the Australian policy would work there. I am a Canadian.. I relinquished in the US..

I personally want to work towards making sure a woman is not coerced into relinquishing..
In 1965 I waited three months with my son in foster care (a policy at that time) before I signed the papers that told me he was no longer my son.

On reading the foreword of your new book.. by Evelyn Robinson I am struck by her inability to give women the dignity and right to actually decide whether to give her baby up for adoption or not..
She wrote..
“ Readers of this book will also learn that there are an alarming number of adoptions taking place in the United States with the consent of the parents (usually the mother). I am astounded that so many American women are apparently able to be persuaded that it is in the best interests of their children to be separated from their families and raised by strangers. This is in stark contrast to what is happening in other countries, such as Australia, where such adoptions are rare.”

A woman has a right to make her own decision.. Words such as the ones written above astound me..
Are women that easily led in this day and age? I think not..

According to the Donaldson report.. women relinquishing in the US are older now..
The younger ones are keeping..

Jackie

Mirah Riben said...

Speaking for myself (a 67-68 relinquishment) and women then, and now still... "persuaded" is a gentle and true word to describe what took place and is taking placing. Some received far more pressure than persuasion, and others were made to believe it was their own free choice.

1) No woman willingly gets pregnant intending to give her child away except a paid surrogate, and many of them are deluded into believing that it will be easier than it actually is.

2) Once a woman carries a baby to term, sees it, hold it...no matter what her circumstance...it is excruciatingly hard to part with that child. She mush be persuaded, convinced that it is her baby's best interest to do so.

"A woman has a right to make her own decision.. Words such as the ones written above astound me..
Are women that easily led in this day and age? I think not.."

If you think not, then what do you think is happening?

You are Canadian and relinquished int he US in 1965 and stayed with your child in foster care for three months? Where? US or Canada? I am unaware of any 3-month foster care program in the US for mothers and babies.

My daughter was born in the USA in 1967 and was in foster care for six months. I was allowed to see once a under very restrictive conditions.

Though my desire to parent was known as my reluctance to sign relinquishment papers, I received not one word of encouragement or help to do so, only pressure to sign.

There is no other family problem that has its weaknesses played upon by those who pretend to be
"counselors."

There is today, in the US still o enforcement of informed choice before obtaining a relinquishment, no provision for separate legal counsel.

This is indeed astounding.

Women can be taken out of state, isolated, pressured and coerced, made to feel liable for reimbursement of expenses paid on their behalf for medical care...and given papers to sign immediately after birth that are permanent and irrevocable. etc...

No waiting period...no cooling off period.

This is astounding.

Jackiejdajda said...

Marah wrote..

“1) No woman willingly gets pregnant intending to give her child away except a paid surrogate, and many of them are deluded into believing that it will be easier than it actually is.”

Of course this is true.. But when a woman gets pregnant and knows she can not take proper care of the child.. she takes responsibility for her actions and does what is best for the child..
As I did..

I made the decision to relinquish..

You wrote.
2) Once a woman carries a baby to term, sees it, hold it...no matter what her circumstance...it is excruciatingly hard to part with that child. She mush be persuaded, convinced that it is her baby's best interest to do so.

She must be persuaded??? Are we talking about the same kind of persuasion that happened in our time?
The society telling us that we can not have an illegitimate child? Or our parents telling us we must not shame our family?

Persuasion to me.. is taking away the ability or not allowing another individual to make a life changing decision on his or her own.. And telling a pregnant woman or a soon to be father that they must/should keep the child is wrong..

You wrote.
“If you think not, then what do you think is happening?”

What is happening according to the Donaldson report (and my personal interpretation of it) is that the women that are relinquishing today have already had children and are relinquishing because they know they can not care for another child..

http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/research/2006_11_birthparent_wellbeing.php

Or a woman that wants to get on with her education and knows she does not want to parent and gives her child to a man or a woman or a couple that want to parent..

The teenagers are keeping their children according to the Donaldson Report.. The ones easily led are keeping.. I find that interesting.

You questioned..
"You are Canadian and relinquished int he US in 1965 and stayed with your child in foster care for three months?"

I did not see my son.. I did not see him born.. I was drugged for the birth.. This was Florida Miami..
The law in those days was the child was put into a foster care program till all the papers were signed..
I never saw my son..

You wrote
“There is no other family problem that has its weaknesses played upon by those who pretend to be
"counselors."”

And what of the women/men that want to relinquish in this day and age?

Is she/he ‘played upon’ and persuaded by the ones that have decided the universe is not friendly? Told that there are people out there to ‘get her’/them?
Do we take away his or her reasoning powers? Take away their ability to actually make a good and proper decision? A decision that they can actually live with in the years to come..

Or do we still render the relinquishing parent childlike? Take away any kind of process of making a decision..

I agree that there are some terrible things happening in the US on terms of coerced adoption..
But that is what needs to be stopped.. not a woman’s (man’s) right to make her own decision to relinquish a child to adoption..
To shame a woman into keeping her unborn child is wrong.. and this is what I think is happening today to some people.. Always the word ‘some’..

Jackie

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