How appropriate, now that Halloween is upon us, that the distaff side of the adoption argument trots out the horror stories of the damaged and fault-ridden mothers of their adoption-acquired children as justification for adoption. There are the usual crackwhores, mentally ill, poor, undereducated and (get this) non-English-speaking mothers (OMIGOD!! It's Alive!!!) whose failings just cry out, it is said, to have their infants adopted by others. (*cue blood-curdling screams and lugubrious organ music)
Let me make something really clear. I am perfectly aware that there are Mothers who, for many sad and horrible reasons, should not have custody of their newborns/children. While these Moms are a small minority of the moms who get gulled and brain-screwed into surrender, the other sort are, sadly, there, real and I do recognize that fact. Still, if you go look at the "Adopter Abuse" threads on Anti-AdoptionTruth, you will see that the same holds true for a portion of the adopter population. And I'll just bet that the adopters that perpetrated these DOCUMENTED abuses, murders, etc, would tell you that they rescued their victims from unfit mothers. I have never denied the existence of these heart-breakingly extreme circumstances on either end. I have just been concentrating on the mainstream Mom who loses her child to adoption.
However, that doesn't mean that I go along with the idea that the answer for the children of these damaged Moms is adoption...I don't. Please refer to my post about legal guardianship. It is not necessary to form a faux "family" to give these children what they need. For good or ill, these kids HAVE a mother, a heritage, a culture, a name and an extended family. That should be honored and it can't be if some baby-hungry person is forcing THEIR name and heritage on this vulnerable infant.
That also doesn't mean that taking children from a damaged mother should always be a permanent state of affairs. That's why the over-zealous CPS and other state agencies should first look to the mother's or father's extended family for fit and caring kinship caretakers if, in fact the situation really merits removal (CPS has been known to be a bit overreactive in order to get to the "goods," doncha know). Due to the bonus bucks offered the states by the federal government, the state agencies are in a heated rush to offer the youngest, especially newborns, to the adoption market. That is $$$ in their state's coffer. So, they may exaggerate the situations of some of these moms just a tad (*wink) and eager wannabe adopters will believe every slanderous, over-stated word of it.
For those Moms who really fit the description of unfit, there may still be some few who can find their way to recovery and a better life. It HAS happened. Too often, they are summarily disembabied with no offer of help, rehab, counseling, etc. Should the best scenario happen and these women recover, they don't need possessive adopters standing between them and their children. A lot of times, women are seen as unfit when all they needed was a helping hand. But this adoption-besotted society of ours is too eager to get their hands on the children to help the mother.
In any event, those children, who truly need to be in the care of someone other than their mother, should be seen to, and placed in a nurturing and caring situation...but not adopted. Beefing up the construct of legal guardianship and improving the atmosphere of temporary care is a must. The onus of adoption and the emotional needs of adopters shouldn't be added to the load of confusion of a child in this situation. Guardians can do a lot for a child versus a child doing anything for adopters.
I have an adopted friend who, after a very long search, found her mother in a mental institution, an unfortunate victim of a serious mental illness. She visits her mother weekly and, in her more lucid moments, her mother remembers her and cries a little and tells her how much she wanted her. It didn't matter to my friend that her mother was incapacitated..but that she was HER MOTHER, period. Taking away all contact, her given name, etc, didn't do this adopted person any favors.
And a lot of poor, less literate and even non-English speaking mothers (we Americans are so arrogant about our supposed superiority) have done a very good job raising their children. While mental illness might be a good reason to refer care of a child to someone other than the mother, these other reasons just don't hold any water. But then, don't people overreach a bit when trying to justify? In any event, you could tell me that a child's Mother was Bloody Mary, The monster Medusa or the Bride of Frankenstein, and that still wouldn't cause me to consider or to recommend adoption as the solution after the child is removed from said monster's custody.
It sure shouldn't be the solution for the mothers I discuss...i.e; the normal, competent woman who gets scammed by a social mythology into the loss of her child. That's Apples and Oranges, y'know. And it still doesn't compute.