Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Open Adoption Mythology In Action

This was written by an adoption broker 15 years ago. See the info at the end of the paragraph. Please excuse the language used.

"Biological parents in many locations are reporting that their supposedly open adoption have become closed once the decree has been signed. Adoptive parents report that attorneys have told them to promise biological parents anything because once the adoption is legalized they can do whatever they want. Some agencies are finding their adoptive parents making verbal or written agreements for future contact and then not keeping their promises. … The written adoption agreements may be solid but they are not legally binding, as determined by Oregon courts, because they have no statutory support. Yet making them legally enforceable will not necessarily solve the problem. As John Chally, Oregon attorney, pointed out in an interview, promissory notes are legally binding yet frequently broken” -- p. 266 of “Levels of Cooperation and Satisfaction in 56 Open Adoptions” by J. Etters, Child Welfare, vol 72, (1993).

Not too many years ago, a young mother who had entered into an open adoption agreement with a most heinous adopter (a story for another blog entry) was emotionally devastated when the adopter summarily closed the adoption and this mother no longer had any access to her child. The mother took her own life.

The paragraph above PROVES that the agreements signed for a so-called "open" adoption are barely worth the paper on which they are printed. Adopters have the power and the option to close the adoption without suffering any legal consequences in most states. Yet we have "good beemommies" singing the praises of open adoption without realizing that, unless they do things the adopters' way, they can lose every bit of contact with their child in the blink of an eye and will be able to do nothing about it. All it would take is the child showing a preference for the natural mother or the adopter just feeling "insecure" and that door slams shut in an instant.

Of course, said adopters use the excuse of "confusion and problems" affecting the child. The truth is that adoption is the only thing that confuses the child. And a closed adoption and a few choice words by the adopters can break a little heart as the child becomes persuaded that the natural mom just doesn't want to see them.

In some cases, that can be true. It can become entirely too painful for a mother to hear her child call a genetic stranger "Mom." It can be emotionally wrenching to visit and have to leave one's child behind. It can become emotionally debilitating to have to jump through the adopters' hoops in order to even get letters and pictures. For some Moms, it just is too much pain to take.

The crumbs that the industry threw out after the phenomenon of adoption reunions began is just that...crumbs. Nothing else has changed. A mother's and her child's sacred connection is broken and a family is forever changed and missing a vital piece. How those that adopt can justify "building a family" on the broken lives of another family is beyond me. Of course, they will argue that the mother "didn't want to parent." Basically, most of these mothers were convinced of that by the propaganda that is rife in our culture that says adoption is a win-win proposition. It's only later that they realize what they bought into was a large dose of grief.

Did anyone step in and do anything to support the mother in parenting? Did her family give her any options and help? Did anyone really tell her the truth about the pain she would endure? Did anyone tell her the truth about how all that love and back-patting she received from adopters and facilitators would end as soon as they got their hands on her flesh and blood? Did anyone tell her the truth from the persective of those of us who have been there and done that...that sooner or later, the pain catches up with you and give you a gut-punch from Hell?

I don't think so. The brochures touting adoption are slicker than most that come straight from Madison Avenue. The adopters are taught how to write those horrible "Dear beemommie" letters and the number given in the ads they post are usually either the number for the agency or an adoption attorney. The net closes as the potential adopters "love-bomb" the unsuspecting mom and there she goes, into the land of lies and living on the edge of pain.

Re-read the paragraph above. THEY KNOW what they are doing to you. THEY KNOW how little recourse you have, legally and THEY KNOW how to pull you in like a fat trout on a flashy lure. You'll be told that it isn't "necessary" for you to get your own legal counsel. You'll be encouraged to allow the potential adopters into the labor and delivery room with you so that they can take that baby, still warm from your body, and get out of there ASAP with the goods. Only later, sometimes years later, will you learn that you were nothing but breeding stock for them.

If you don't want to "parent" yet, then use birth control. If it fails, you have the option of a safe and legal, medical abortion. But, if you choose to give birth, then remember that your baby is already bonded to you in the womb and that baby expects YOU to be there for him or her...not some stranger. Yes, we are responsible for our actions and nothing could be MORE responsible than loving, keeping and raising the child you conceived.


1 comment:

Robin said...

I accidentally hit reject rather than publish on a question about where I got the quote that I used in this entry. A researcher who would rather remain nameless, found it online in some research documents. The source is shown at the end of the paragraph, but here it is again. Sorry for erasing your question.

p. 266 of “Levels of Cooperation and Satisfaction in 56 Open Adoptions” by J. Etters, Child Welfare, vol 72, (1993).