Adoption Backlash

Borrowed from "Adoption Hate"

Borrowed from “Adoption Hate

Before starting the adoption process, did you have any idea that some people were negative toward adoption and assume all adoptions are unethical? I didn’t have a clue. I was in for an awakening when the more I tried to learn and advocate, it seemed the more flack I caught from the protesters. At first it really bothered me, now it inspires me to keep going forward in my journey. It is still hard to not take their comments, especially when directed at me, personal.

Yesterday on Twitter someone tagged me in two posts. The first one they said I was a baby snatcher or something along those lines and the second post, they said I lied to our son’s first mother about open adoptions not being legally enforceable and said I SHOULD feel guilt (referencing my recent blog entry). Obviously, this person was just trying to strike a nerve with me and has no clue what actually goes on in my adoption triad.

What things like this have you seen or been under attack for? How can we prepare ourselves for this and how can we respond in a positive manner that shows we are not baby hungry vultures?

These are questions I asked my online adoption forum.  The forum I moderate is composed of men and women across the globe that are either adoptive parents or hopeful adoptive parents.  They represent people from many types of adoption and are in different stages of their adoption process.  It is nice to get a variety of views and come together for insight and solutions.  It is also just a great place to know that we can talk freely and not be judged for asking questions and wanting to learn more.

Examples of how people have been attacked for their role in adoption were then brought up.  One such example is that we should take the money we have saved for adoption and give it to the expecting mother in order to keep the family intact.  This is unrealistic.  Good in theory, but if a baby only needed a little money and the rest is history, I am sure far less women would consider adoption.  The $15,000 we paid in adoption fees would not last long.  Surely not 18+ years to raise that child.

The people who speak out against adoption may come across poorly.  They may be hurt and angry.  And although they are offensive, we can still  learn from these people. Wading through the bitter words and attacks on our humanity can be difficult.  Setting our ego aside and listening to the injustice they have faced in their adoption story can help us reform adoption.  Do I think abolishing adoption is the answer? No.  And not just because I benefited from infant adoption myself.  But, because things aren’t black and white.  The downside of learning from these nay sayers, is whenever I have tried to reach out to them for clarity and have a sensible conversation with them, their repeated attacks to my family are so harsh, that I give up. I have so many times told them that more people would listen if they approached the subject with more respect, instead of scare tactics. They go for the shock value in their message instead of reasoning and solutions to the problems.

So while I choose to not engage them if they are not willing to have a healthy and productive conversation, I will not dismiss their concerns either as just angry rants from bitter people.  We can continue our education and fight for preservation of first families as well as rights for birth fathers, access to original birth certificates, open adoption and more.

Failed Match Stories

ImageIt’s an unfortunate, painful event when an adoption match falls through.  While most of us adoptive parents believe strongly that a woman should have every right to change her mind and parent her child if she wishes, in many cases it is going to be okay and even GOOD for that child to be with her.  A lot of times she goes into an adoption plan thinking she doesn’t have the resources (money) necessary to parent the baby, but with love and number crunching, she often finds she can and will make it work.  While that scenario hurts the adoptive parents who had gotten excited and invested time and money, we ultimately rejoice in her decision to parent.  We know that the loss for her and the child in adoption is far greater than the loss we suffer when she decides to parent. 

So what about the cases where the expecting mother has no intent to place her child?  I have run across friends and support group members recently that have had failed adoption matches because of fraud.  Women who go through private adoption instead of an agency and prey on adopting couples for money.  Then there are women who want to believe that they fully intend to place their child for adoption, but will never end up going through with it.  Some of these women are only “found out” after it comes to light that she had a baby shower!  Some go all the way to the end of the pregnancy saying they want to follow through with adoption, they “KNOW” it’s the right thing to do, they “CAN’T” keep the baby, etc. But with that scenario there are often so many signs that the adoption plan is not going to go through.  If you try to address it with her, ask the social worker to talk to her, or try to help any way you can, she may get defensive and lash out.  What do you do? 

I have been at a cross road of wanting to tell my FULL story of what happened in our failed match (from my perspective, I’m sure her side of the story is very different), but I still feel very vulnerable.  Even though I eventually cut ties with her and try to not interact, social media and the internet seem to have a way of keeping people connected through others.  This creates a lot of stress for me, not because I don’t want to run across her, but because I know that everything I say is scrutinized.  Sometimes I don’t want to be the bigger person.  Sometimes I want to just rant and say exactly what is on my mind.  No holding back. 

One of my friends did just that on Facebook today.  My friend is not Facebook “friends” with that first match nor is her profile public, so the first match will never see the rant my friend posted… but it was GOOD! It made me question, why am I protecting her?  Why are her feelings more valid than mine? 

Today when I tried to console another friend on her adoption Facebook page with a comment about how sometimes matches fail before the expecting mother even knows it’s failing, because she is destined to keep her baby, but is still insistent that she plans to place that child because it is her “plan”.  I said that even though it’s very painful, it’s okay when that happens, because her child that is meant for her WILL come to her.  Apparently our “first match” also follows my friend’s adoption page and she didn’t like that I referred to her as my “first match”.  She went on to say that I had no clue what she went through, even if I thought I did.  What about what I went through in all those months?   What about what I went through the months that followed?  These are the things I’d like to say out loud, to put my feelings into words, to tell the story. 

So do I?  Do I say them?

Why should my feelings be less valid than someone else’s?  I get it… Adoption is an unthinkably hard decision.  But, I didn’t make the decision for her, she came to me after the decision was made.  It totally sucks when your friends and family abandon you and don’t support your decision.  But, I did support her in both the decision to place her child and the decision to parent her child.  Why does she get to lash out and call me out by name on Facebook, when all I did was try to help another person going through a tough time? 

Our situation can be a bit more challenging because our story (or a version of it) was told on national television.  But, really, the show wasn’t all that popular.  Not many people make the connection that we are the people on that episode 6 months ago. So she is only drawing attention to herself as being the one I was talking about, not me.  And while we are at it, let’s point out a fact my friend who ranted about this today stated, she signed up for the show, no one forced her to tell the story on national television.  No one would have a clue who she was or who my first failed match was with, if it wasn’t for that show. 

Part of me wants to protect her and not tell all the dirty things that happened in our relationship and match that failed. Or all the things that followed that prompted me to end the relationship I once cherished.  The other part of me says, why should my good name be tarnished and people think that she did nothing to me? Why shouldn’t they know the reasons behind my decision to end our friendship, when so many times I publicly vowed to be there for her?  Right now it looks as if I backed out on my word, that I am just a bitter, hurt person that should be thankful for the child I have now (which I am by the way, beyond thankful for Ezra) instead of still mourning the loss of the first baby. 

I have a voice… should I use it? (Is this a rhetorical question? I don’t know. hahaha)

 

Adoption TV Shows

Adoption TV Shows

“I’m Having Their Baby”

Sarah Baker | June 12, 2013 | 09:30 AM

It seems in the adoption community there are mixed feelings about shows portraying adoption. When we decided to add to our family through adoption we welcomed any resource we could find to help us understand the process and cope with the emotions. Television was one of those ways. Whether a documentary on adoptees and birth parents being reunited or shows featuring the adoption process, we watched. However, I guess some feel that adoption shows shed a negative light on adoption or make adoption trendy.

One night while talking to our first birth mother over text, I was also watching a movie on the Oxygen Network. A commercial came on for “I’m Having Their Baby”. I told her how a new adoption show was coming out and we should watch it together each week. It featured two expecting mothers considering adoption and often also followed the adoptive parents the mother picked. Our birth mother thought it would be a great idea to watch together weekly (over the phone) so we could understand the emotions and gain insight the other person was feeling since those emotions are hard to communicate. I wasn’t expecting what happened next… she signed us up for the show.

What are the chances we’d get picked? The first episode hadn’t even aired yet. She started getting calls about her application and soon the media group was sending out producers and psychologists to meet with her to learn more about our adoption story so they could decide if we would be a good fit for the docu-series. It wasn’t long before they told us they wanted to film our journey. They found our friendship and match to be unique. Add in the fact that the birth father was involved and did NOT want to do the adoption and I guess it made for good TV.

Our episode airs tonight and I am terrified! The show has posted several sneak peeks of our episode on the web. I learned the hard way that although the media group shoots and produces the shows, the Oxygen Network can take the footage to make the clips any way they like. The first clip showed me in a horrible light. I cried the entire preview and was a ball of stress for days. I looked like a baby hungry vulture, circling the expecting parents to take their unborn child in the clip. What it doesn’t show is full conversations and the bond we had with the birth parents. Yes, the birth father was struggling with the adoption, so was the birth mother. It was hard to watch. So tonight when the whole episode airs, I have no idea what to expect. How can a 7 month long bond during the pregnancy be shown fully during 30 minutes of television? How can our journey be fully documented? I fear they will focus on the emotions at their highest and leave out the casual and fun times. I am nervous how I personally will look to others. Why do I care? I know, I shouldn’t care what strangers think… but fact is, I do.

It doesn’t help the situation that my family and I are on vacation. Our rental condo does not get the Oxygen Network. We have not seen the episode. So, it seems the rest of the world, our friends and family, will see the episode before we do. That feels like a nightmare to me! I have a feeling tonight my phone and Facebook will blow up.

So, hopefully you can tune in tonight and watch our episode. I hope that it portrays the real story well and helps anyone in our situation know they are not alone and maybe help them through the emotions and figure out solutions to the problems that come up. We are so happy that our story has a happy ending. Our little guy will be featured in the show’s season finale as well. The show crew came back and did a follow up with us when Ezra was 3 months old.

http://im-having-their-baby.oxygen.com/

“I’m Having Their Baby” Oxygen Network Wednesday June 12th @10PM/9Central

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.