Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Adoption Truth: Myth Busting for Adoption AWARENESS Month

It's National Adoption Awareness Month...the time of year when the glorification of adoption grows to a fever pitch of signing it's glory and wrapping all adoption in great big rose-colored glasses of promotion encouraging all to jump on the band wagon and go out a get a kid!

In the zealous appeals for adoption lie a multitude of myths and awareness entails being aware of the truth.

What is your favorite adoption myth? Let's share and fight back with TRUTH for National AWARENESS Adoption Month!

Here are my top dozen myths and the truth to each:

1. Adoption is a win-win. Adoption takes otherwise "unwanted" children and matches them with families who are just dying to have them be part of their family! Everyone wins and all live happily-ever.

TRUTH: Adoption is win-loose for the parents. Mothers and father loose, adoptive parents gain.  And a roll of the dice for the children. 

2. Adoption is a way of providing a child a better life.

TRUTH: Sometimes that's true, but adoptive parents doe and divorce at least at half the time.  On the other hand mothers and fathers who "voluntarily" relinquish generally marry, finish school, and have good, stable lives often raising other children perfectly well and capably. The "better life" for the child involved feelings of having been abandoned and a second class life denied the same equal access to his own birth certificates all non-adopted citizens take for granted. They are issued a falsified birth certificate that can and often does change not only their name but also they date and place of birth, leaving them to a lie...maybe not even told they are adopted as it is not indicated in any way on their "birth" certificate.

3. Adoption is a gift.  "Giving" a child "up for adoption" is a loving, caring, unselfish act.

TRUTH: So is raising one own child! In fact, many would argue that abdicating all one's responsibility for a child is not very loving at all.  Mothers who "chose" adoption do so out of desperation. They are not surrogates who are getting paid and making a free choice to conceive a child for another. 

4. Adoption provides a "forever" family for children who have no families.

TRUTH: Every child born has a family consisting of at least one mother and one father.  Ninety percent of children in orphanages worldwide are not orphans at all, but have at least one living parent or extended family who visit and hope for reunification, and not all adoptions last permanently, 10-25% disrupt.

5. Adoption should be encouraged because there are so many kids who need families.

TRUTH: There are currently 114,000 children in US foster care who could be adopted.  In fact if only half the people trying to adopt adopted these children they'd all have families. But they are routinely ignored while people spend tens of thousands of dollars for private domestic infant adoption or inter-country adoption which often involve children who have been stolen or kidnapped to meet a demand.

6. Adopting is a noble, "Christian" good deed.

TRUTH: Not all adoptions are equal. Adopting a child from foster care may fall under this category. But many other adoptions - private domestic and inter-country adoptions - are plagued with corruption and you might unintentionally adopt a child who has been stolen or kidnapped to meet a demand.

Children are being stolen and kidnapped and trafficked for adoption in China, India, Guatemala, Nepal, Ethiopia, and Vietnam...to name just some. Corruption has been DOCUMENTED in these countries. Even adopting from a reputable agency may not prevent you unintentionally adopting a stolen child.

I urge anyone considering inter-country adoption to read the following:
The most charitable way to help children in need is to help organizations that assist them AND their families, such as SOS For Children. Save the Children, UNICEF, Christian Children's Fund.

7. American women can choose open adoption and not suffer the pain of not knowing how their child is doing.

TRUTH: Open adoption contact agreements are unenforceable in most every state. Some states offer mediation if the agreement breaks down, but in the end, every adoption - even so-called open adoptions begin with the natural parents relinquishing ALL of their rights as parents. They have no "right" to visitation to be enforced. They are at the mercy of the adoptive parents to uphold promises.

Further, seeing your child call someone else Mommy, and watching another's parenting style, feeling at the mercy of the adoptive parents... is not pain free! Some mothers find it too painful to continue with visitation.

8. It is wonderful that adoptive can support a young woman in a crisis pregnancy and be handed right over the his or her new parents.

TRUTH: Matching perspective adopters with expectant mothers and creates false expectations for the prospective adopters and obligation and indebtedness for the mother. Paying pre-birth expenses circumvents and violates the intent of the laws prohibiting baby buying. Those hoping to adopt being present in the delivery room and taking the child immediately is coercive. It prevents any maternal bonding time and disallows the mother time to decide, violating the intent of laws prohibiting pre-birth contracts.

9. Adoption is the same as having a child by birth. The children are loved just the same.

TRUTH: Again, some are loved. Some not so much. Adoptive parents, despite being motivated and "screened" abuse, neglect and kill thei children entrusted to them.  And, no matter how loving and caring, it is not the same growing up not looking like anyone in your family and being treated - by law - like second class citizens.denied by law in most every state the right to ever know the names of your blood-related family.

10.  It's better to adopt internationally because if you adopt an American baby the mother can come back and claim her child back.

TRUTH: Once a mother and father's rights are terminated or the sign a relinquishment of their parents rights, they cannot interfere in the lives of the adoptive family. The cases that make headlines do so because of some slipshod legal practices that skirted the law in some way. They are rare and that is why they make headlines. Coercion is a possible cause of an adoption being contested. For example, telling a mother to lie and say she doesn't know who the father is, or telling her she may not keep her child unless she repays medical expenses could be seen as extortion. While such cases are difficult to prove or disprove, they can tie you up in nasty and costly litigation for a long time so you want to avoid any practice that is slipshod or could cause trouble.

11. Adopting from foster care is dangerous because the children are "damaged" and you would be involved with their family.

TRUTH: The children in foster care are older and some have disabilities. But this is also true of children being adopted internationally and through your state's social services you will get a far more honest and detailed medical report and know exactly what you are dealing with. Inter-country adoptions, especially from the eastern block countries are of institutionalized children who often have fetal alcohol syndrome and other problems related to being institutionalized. They have great difficulty bonding and their medical records are scanty at best. Think about the little boy sent back to Russia as a prime example.

Adopting from foster care is extremely low cost compared to the other two options, it is far more altruistic, and you can try it before you commit to a permanent adoption! 

12. Interracial adoption is fine if the parents have the right attitude, i.e. they are "color-blind" and can truly love any child regardless of the color of their skin.

TRUTH: While this may sound very progressive and "hip", being  color blind is really another way of saying White privilege because only Caucasians in our society are able to ignore issues around race. Race is deeper than the shade of one's complexion. It is about culture and it is imbued with discrimination that children growing up with few role models and no one in their family to mirror them experience as painful.  Unless you live in a very integrated neighborhood, and will send your child to a very integrated school, it is something to re-think very cautiously. Please try to see as many of these films as you can.


Von said...

They're all old favourites but the 'beauty of adoption' is aparticular favourite.

Anonymous said...

I was adopted through foster care in California. My Maternal grandfather had me and I was adopted by the foster family who had had my birth mom while she was pregnant at the age of 16. I did NOT know I was adopted until I was 27 and my birth mother contacted me thru reunion.com. I didn't believe her called the county, THEN paid my 20 dollars to see the paperwork, my adoption papers state that my birth mother was dead. My Mom will not speak of adoption and denies it at every turn, my birth mom is insane, bipolar, schizophrenic, major depression and Cervical Cancer. This is good information to know.
But if the adoption information says my Birth Mother is deceased, then was my adoption legal? The grandfather who signed me over is dead and my mom will not talk about it.


Mirah Riben said...

I share your feelings about being lucky to at least know your medical history now. What a shock to find out at 27! Yes, listing someone dead who is alive certainly seems illegal but what can be done about it now, i have no idea.

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to sound like there is something to be done, but when I was 17 I found out my younger brother (9 months younger) was also adopted. Was told never never tell him. I never have, makes me wonder though if my mom was involved somehow in facilitating adoptions through her status as an emergency foster home or if she was just an unwitting party as well, but since she will not speak of adoption I have no way of knowing any of the information.
For 27 years I thought my parents were my parents, and my older siblings were my older siblings. It opened my eyes to a lot of things though, as my birth mom said she came in 1985/86 to see if she could find me as her dad had had her committed as a defiant uncontrollable teen, that happened to be the year we up and sold out home and moved 100 miles away. And a few friends I had in elementary school knew I was adopted because they were adopted and had been to adoption events. It is a confusing time even still and I am 32 now.
Unfortunately there is no one for me to talk to about all of this.


Mirah Riben said...

Anna - But there ARE things you can do:

1. Tell your brother and any other siblings who are adopted and don;t know it! They have a right to know. They cannot go on giving false medical history as theirs.

2. Become active in the adoptee rights movement! Help change the laws that keep adoptions secretive and allow things like this to occur. Secret adoption practices foster and help cover-up such illegal activities. Tell your state legislators if you live in a state that has not reversed the Draconian laws that protect the lies.

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget