Negativity Around Adoption

Negativity Around Adoption

“I’m Having Their Baby”

Sarah Baker | May 21, 2013 | 12:43 PM

Adoption is a beautiful and loving act. Until recently, I had no reason to think anyone would ever feel differently about it. Imagine my shock when I saw there are groups online that are anti-adoption and seek out social media and other platforms to voice their hate of the practice.

There is a TV show on the Oxygen Network called I’m Having Their Baby. The 2nd season of the series premiers June 12th. We are on that premier episode with the story of our adoption. Of course, being featured on the show, I visit their website, watch the station and follow their Facebook page.

As the show fan base grew, I began seeing more people posting on the Facebook page about their experiences with adoption. Most were birth mother’s saying they love the show and telling their story or adoptive parents sharing their story or their hopes of becoming parents through adoption one day. Later, I started seeing people post that they disliked the name of the show and that it implied that these pregnant women’s unborn child already belonged to the adoptive parents. I can see where that might strike a nerve. I don’t think it was the intent of the network to have it looked at like that. The show’s first season very much focused on the birth mothers and the journey of deciding to place their child for adoption. The adoptive parents played very little role in the show, sometimes they weren’t featured at all.

I then began seeing the comments get ugly. Activist groups started posting daily messages on every single post the TV show made. On the posts that people made supporting adoption or saying they liked the show would get attacked. Of course I wanted to understand why they hated adoption so much. Some people were from other countries where the adoption history is not formal or even legal in some situations. It is true baby trafficking. But, this show features American adoptions which follow very strict guidelines. I was dumbfounded by their hatred and felt they were off topic with comparing apples to oranges. Comments that I read are: “Adoptees would rather be aborted than placed for adoption.” And “Infertile women feel entitled to take other women’s babies.” And “Adoption is nothing more than baby trafficking.” One comment even said that instead of adopting women’s babies that are too poor, uneducated, addicted or incapable, it was our job to help them by providing for them so they were able to keep their baby. I can understand the want to keep babies with their birth family. As our story will show when it airs, (If you watch that show, be aware this entry brings somewhat of a **SPOILER ALERT**) I fully support a mother parenting her own child. But if she makes the decision to place her baby or child for adoption because of where she is in her life, I am not here to judge her for her reasoning, like many of these online trolls are doing, but to instead open my heart and home to raise that baby as if it came from my own womb.

I did not purchase Ezra, I adopted him. I did not coerce his birth mother into giving him to me, she made a decision and I accepted him. The agency provided her and her fiancé with counseling to make sure the decision she was making was truly the decision she was comfortable with. Not only do these activists against adoption attack the adoptive parents, but they have begun attacking women that post on the Facebook page about how they placed their child for adoption X number of years ago and how they have no regrets. I read a comment directed to a birth mother yesterday that said “you never loved that baby, stop lying.” WOW, that is just devastating to me. Until you are in someone else’s shoes, why be so judgmental?

In a perfect world every person would be able to have the exact number of children they want at the perfect moment in their life while living the in the perfect environment to raise that child. But that is not the case for everyone. The decision to place a child for adoption does not mean the mother doesn’t love her baby. She will likely always have an ache to raise that child. The decision to adopt a child does not mean that we are so baby hungry that we lack the emotion to deal with the pain the birth mother feels in her choice or to love our adopted child so much to realize we need to recognize the hurt and loss he/she will feel in their life. As an adoptee wants to know his/her birth parents that does not mean they don’t love the parents who raised them. This is why I am so thankful to have training, counseling, open adoption, and ongoing resources to help my son as he grows. But no matter what anyone says, he is MY son… he just also happens to be the son of someone else as well. Adoption may hurt in some ways, but it also is so cherished in many others.

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3 thoughts on “Negativity Around Adoption

  1. Pingback: Open Adoption Bloggers Interview: Sarah Baker of Grew in my Heart Through Adoption | The Chittister Family

  2. I think many adoptive parents don’t think about all of the negative consequences or problems in the system before adoption, and so they, like you, are shocked to hear the criticism. Adoption is a highly political decision, though. Adoption is not always a “beautiful and loving act.” It’s deep history lies in the attempted “whitening” of aboriginal peoples in Australia and of genocide of Native peoples in the U.S. The current system internationally relies on poor, illiterate women who can be easily coerced by middlemen, faulty family planning policies like the One Chile Policy in China, and a notion that living in a Westernized society is “better” than being raised by biological family if they happen to be poor or uneducated. Adult adoptees whose parents didn’t file proper citizenship for them as children can be deported back to their home country that they may have only known for a few months. Domestic adoptions are not problem-less either. Many adoptions in the States rely on the biological father’s complete ignorance of their child’s birth (the state of Utah has particularly horrendous grievances of intentionally keeping fathers in the dark, so that the adoptions can be completed). Additionally, open adoptions often don’t work out, and many biological parents never hear from the adoptive parents again because they have relinquished all rights. Another battle adult adoptees are facing is the right to access their original birth certificates. Just this month, Ohio granted 400,000 adoptees in the state this right, and I hope other states will follow this example. A recent phenomenon, brought to my attention this summer through Reuters, is the use of internet forums to informally exchange adopted children into new homes. This is a sickening practice that allows many children to end up in abusive homes, where they are molested, neglected, sometimes even killed. There is no governmental involvement at all, so these kids become missing numbers. http://www.reuters.com/investigates/adoption/#article/part1

    You seem to be very bothered by some comments that were posted. As someone who wants to see much improvement in the adoption system, the harsh words that fly across keyboards can be discouraging, but I know that intense reactions on the behalf of all parties comes out of a place of pain – mothers who wanted to keep their children, adoptive parents who fear their child will choose biology over them, and adoptees who feel like they have been unfairly ripped out of their birthparents’ arms. You mention “one comment even said that instead of adopting women’s babies that are too poor, uneducated, addicted or incapable, it was our job to help them by providing for them so they were able to keep their baby.” I fully agree with this statement. When hearing about children in orphanages or foster care, I think the common question is how to get them out of the system, mostly through adoption. I think more people need to question why children are entering the system in the first place, though. Answering this question can’t be as simple as “immature, first parents who are neglectful” or the fact that “well, the parents chose to give them up.” Were children abandoned by parents who desperately wanted to keep them but couldn’t because of governmental policies like the One Child Policy in China? Were these children given up because their impoverished, unwed mother didn’t have anyone to support her? Or were drugs and alcoholism a problem in the child’s first home? While adoption may be a short-term solution for some children right now, I think it is our responsibility to facilitate long term solutions to prevent family separation that lie in community building, working to eradicate the negative social stigma of single motherhood, and even advocating more education for women and drug prevention programs. I fundamentally believe that most people want to be good parents, but services to aid them are lacking. My desire is to someday have a clean adoption system where money isn’t abused and programs exist to help first families, so it is 100% clear that the children being adopted don’t have living family who want to raise them.

    I don’t think all adoptive parents are greedy, baby-snatching people, but I do think that we need to lose the possessive language regarding children. I also think that the adoption rhetoric has been framed for so long by adoptive parents and so-called specialists, but adoptees are now of age to say what worked and what didn’t. I think the adoption industry needs to hand over the reins and listen to the voices of those most affected. I’m so glad that you recognize that a child can love more than one set of parents and can see some of the pain associated with adoption for the first parents and for the adoptee. Your openness on the subject will certainly help your son as he ages. You don’t have to post this outrageously long comment, but you seemed curious about why someone may not favor adoption. I personally think it’s too complicated of an issue to be pro or anti-adoption. Conversations around adoption (particularly online) can get intense, and I think the key is to remember “It’s not about conformity in the adoptee experience, it’s about solidarity. It’s about standing with one another, it’s about respect, and it’s never about silencing. (from http://www.laura-dennis.com/)”

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    • Thank you so much for you feedback! I know you said I didn’t ha e to post it, but you addressed many things that at the time I wrote this, I didn’t have an understanding of. This blog not only is for others to learn, but myself. So I want your comment to be visible. 🙂

      The one thing I want to clarify though is the comment that we should help women keep their children. The person. Who stated that actually meant that as someone wanting to adopt, that I should personally decline the child potentially being placed with me, and rather finance her life to keep her child. I am all for keeping first families intact and donating my time and voice to helping women realize their strengths and parent their own children. But to say I should take on women case by case is unrealistic. Adopting a family at Christmas is a bit different than adopting them for a lifetime. I hope that comes across right? Sometimes it’s hard to make sense when typing it out.

      As an Ohio resident, I am thrilled about the birth certificates being opened. I am also sickened by much of what I have learned since adopting Ezra. I hope this blog helps shed light on many of the things in adoption that can change.

      Thank you again for writing! – Sarah

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